Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Monday, December 28, 2020
Sunday, December 27, 2020
SOUL is rated PG and has a running time of 100 minutes. It is streaming on Disney+.
Saturday, December 26, 2020
The resulting film is good if you take it as it is - a filmed play. As such the language (Ruben Santiago-Hudson adapting August Wilson) is stylised and the action largely confined to either the rehearsal room or the recording room. We have moments of high drama in the form of powerful monologues by Ma Rainey and Levee, and a final act release of tension. If you take it as it is, this really is a powerful and moving drama. Viola Davis' Ma Rainey is an instant icon of queer and black cinema - a powerful and uncompromising figure who speaks honestly to the racism of her time. Kudos to the costume and make-up designers that gave her heft and sweat and revolting make-up - underlining the fact that she was not going to survive a more superficial mass marketing age. But it's Chadwick Boseman in his final role that steals the show, with his two powerful monologues. The latter is a violent indictment of an absent God, and given what we now know about Boseman's fatal illness, and can see in his thinner frame, it has an extra pathos. I suspect that he will be posthumously nominated for Awards and deservedly so.
MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM is rated R and has a running time of 94 minutes. It is streaming on Netflix.
Saturday, December 12, 2020
THE PROM is a ridiculous frothy neon-lit confection that perfectly fills our need for joy in this winter Covid lockdown. I know it's taken heat for a) not casting its original Broadway cast but upping the ante with big Hollywood stars and b) not casting an actual gay man but James Corden playing a very cliched camp gay man but I honestly do not care because the result is just wonderful! Meryl Streep and Corden are superb as an old down-on-their-luck, woefully un-self-aware couple of Broadway stars! Corden is just very good in this role! Despite their narcissism and delusion we root for them and their two friends - a similarly hapless chorus girl played by Nicole Kidman and a barman played by Andrew Rannells.
This wonderfully kooky foursome cynically jump on a social media story about a teenage lesbian who isn't allowed to go to her homophobic small-town high school prom. They swoop into town and lobby in her favour, but when the rest of the town cold shoulders her by not turning up, they throw her an inclusive prom of her very own. The dramatic tension comes from whether her girlfriend will come out, despite the fact that her mum (Kerry Washington) is homophobic; and whether James Corden's characters mum (Tracey Ullman) will finally accept him. But suffice to say that this all ends in a wonderful show-stopping tune with enough glitter and neon-light to banish the Covid blues.
This film is cheesy, predictable, progressive wishful thinking but damned if I didn't shed a happy tear by the end. Like SCHITT'S CREEK, this film shows us the world as it could be, and how joyous a thing it is to behold.
THE PROM is rated PG-13 and has a running time of 130 minutes. It was released on Netflix on December 11th.
Thursday, December 10, 2020
THE DIG is rated PG-13 and has a running time of 112 minutes. It will be released on January 29th 2021.