Friday, February 22, 2019

1063. Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name
Chiamami col tuo nome
Directed by Luca Guadagnino

I haven't really loved any of the movies on this blog lately and my cold, shriveled heart was fearing that it could never happen again. Fortunately, this movie came along and brought me back to life. My euphoria is tempered slightly though, by the realization that Shape of Water won the Best Picture Award over this. Does that mean the Academy would rather see a woman and a fish mate then see two men fall in love? Come on people.

Seventeen-year-old Elio lives with his parents in a villa in northern Italy. He spends most days reading, playing the piano, and hanging out with his parents. In other words, he is a total dreamboat. His father, who is a professor, invites Oliver, an American grad student, to live with his family for the summer and help out with his paperwork. Elio and Oliver are drawn to each other and the sexual tension is off the charts.

It's so nice to see a love story between two people of the same sex that isn't about how dickish society is toward gay people. Of course, that story needs to be told, but falling in love is hard enough on its own, even before you add societal pressure. Elio and Oliver had amazing chemistry and the stunning backdrop of Italy almost made their love story seem mystical. Mr. Perlman might win Greatest Movie Dad of All Time. Can you imagine if him and Toni Collette procreated? That child would be blessed.

A phenomenal film and one I will be revisiting many times in the future.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

Armie Hammer was most uncomfortable filming the dancing scenes.

Guadagnino plans on doing a sequel. I usually dislike sequels but this needs to happen.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

1062. Precious: Base on Nol by Saf (Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire)

Precious: Base on Nol by Saf (Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire)
Directed by Lee Daniels

I have previously expressed in this blog an all consuming disinterest in watching this film, as it seemed like a somewhat manipulative tour of human misery. However, I saw this was available on Amazon Prime, and since me completing this List is an inevitable as the Patriots winning the Superbowl, I decided to take advantage of when I could get this for free. That last comment was an attempt to connect with the heavy male audience I know I have accrued on here.

Precious is a dangerously overweight teenager who is pregnant with her second child. After being kicked out of her school for her pregnancy, she attends an alternative school and bonds with the women she meets there. This movie includes incest, rape, AIDs, developmental disabilities, illiteracy, verbal and physical abuse, and poverty. If they had included starvation I could have completely filled out my misery bingo card, but that is obviously...ahem...not the issue being faced here.

At the time of the release, Oprah was shoving this down all our throats and even she admitted this is not a film to be enjoyed, but to be appreciated. There is no denying that the performances are incredible. I suppose the point is to tell a story about a person who is largely ignored by Americans, that illiteracy is still a huge problem in the United States, and that our welfare and education systems are broken. But after serving up heaping after heaping of tragedies, I think this message gets bit buried, and you're left wondering why you're subjecting yourself to this story in the first place.

Still, I did enjoy Precious' fantasy sequences and like I said, the acting is phenomenal.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Taraji P. Henson wanted to play of the role of Precious, but Lee Daniels turned her down. Oh, honey. Just no.

First Best Picture nominee to be directed by an African American filmmaker.

Over 400 women auditioned for the role of Precious.