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Dinner With Beatriz

What’s there to like?

To be honest, Dinner With Beatriz started a little slow for me. I wasn’t quite hooked in. Salma Hayek is more off-putting than appealing as a frumpy holistic healer. But then Jay Duplass and Chloe Sevigny (what a pair!) show up as a striving, hopeful, 1%-wannabe couple, and I knew I would enjoy this thing.

The story, centrally, is about a fish out of water. Wealthy people are having a dinner party to celebrate a business deal that will make them all a lot of money. Hayek’s Beatriz, comparatively much poorer, ends up attending the party because she gave a massage to the hostess earlier in the day and her car wouldn’t start.

And while a primary way Beatriz is different from her dinner mates is social class, there are other differences too. She’s got a soft spot for the weak and oppressed, be they animals or people. She doesn’t seem to have very good manners. She grew up in Mexico. And all those factors come into play in making the party less successful than hoped.

I haven’t even mentioned John Lithgow and Connie Britton yet, but they’re central and wonderful. Mike White’s screenplay brings nice complexity in showing how strong convictions don’t always make you right.

What’s not to like?

Well, the screenplay’s complexity can also be a little confusing towards the end. I left not quite being able to figure out what the movie was trying to convey. That’s partly a good thing–I like leaving with something to think about–but sometimes it’s a little much.

Also. There’s an ending that’s extra confusing.  I had so many lingering questions. Just too many, really. Seemed out of character. And I guess I’ll leave it at that.

The Verdict

A fish out of water, culture clash movie that shows everyone sharing the blame for a crappy evening–even the supposedly moral ones.

Fine

[cross posted at loganbeaux.com]

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Beatriz at Dinner, Veep, The Great Wall, Weekend Picks

Beatriz at Dinner is a fun smaller-movie treat for us in the season of big budget blockbusters. What’s it like when the protagonist is also the villain in a way? What does it justify if you’re a good person?

Logan and Bob both take a hand in mini reviewing Veep season 6. Bob mini reviews The Great Wall.

In weekend picks, Logan mentions Broadchurch and Okja. Bob talks about Despicable Me 3 and The House, but picks Baby Driver.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

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My Cousin Rachel, Land of Mine, Weekend Picks

Logan and Bob saw different movies this week. Bob reviews My Cousin Rachel. Rachel Weisz in a period piece? Sign him up. But what about that ending?

Logan reviews Land of Mine. Can German soldiers in World War II actually be made sympathetic? Should they be?

In weekend picks, Logan talks about GLOW and Preacher Bob mentions Transformers: The Last Knight, Beguiled, and The Big Sick. Watch Twitter for the final pick.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

 

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Mass Effect: Andromeda, E3, Weekend Picks

Crowding out all other comers this week is a video game! Mass Effect: Andromeda gets our full review. Is it as bad as everyone seems to say? How does it compare to previous Mass Effect games and other expansive RPGs?

Bob talks about the Microsoft E3 announcements.

In weekend picks, Logan mentions The Great British Baking Show. Bob talks about Cars 3, Rough Night, and All Eyez On Me. Keep an eye on Twitter for our final pick!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

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Wonder Woman, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Keeping Up With the Joneses, The Americans, Weekend Picks

Back from a week off, but with double the full movie reviews! Wonder Woman is up first. How’s Gal Gadot at bringing the kick-assery? Is the hype warranted? We then turn to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. How’s Johnny Depp, now in his fifth(!) go at Captain Jack Sparrow? Is this a classic Javier Bardem guest role?

Bob mini reviews Keeping Up With the Joneses. Logan mini reviews The Americans season 5.

In weekend picks, Logan reminds us of House of Cards season 5, which dropped last week, and Orange Is the New Black season 5 this week. Bob mentions Megan Leavey, It Comes At Night, and Beatriz at Dinner, put chooses The Mummy for our weekly pick.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

What’s there to like?

Well we have a fifth(!) installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The first trio was surprisingly enjoyable. And the fourth, lagging behind by a few years, pulled together a nice victory lap. Johnny Depp did his thing, and Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane brought enough pizzazz to make it fun.

And now we have a fifth, subtitled Dead Men Tell No Tales. So how is it? Continue Reading

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The Wizard of Lies

What’s there to like?

Biopics have a hard row to hoe, at least as far as I’m concerned. There are the facts of the story to deal with, characters to develop, and only a couple hours to do it in. The Wizard of Lies largely manages to rise above a lot of that and deliver some nice touches.

The best decision they made was to focus on Bernie Madoff’s personal and family life through the ordeal. Obviously the scandal had tragic reverberations that affected lots of innocent people, but the family effects were where the drama was. Continue Reading

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The Wizard of Lies, The Meddler, Assassin’s Creed, Catastrophe, Weekend Picks

It’s an HBO movie week: The Wizard of Lies draws our attention. How does it balance telling a historical story and making a good movie? Is there a sympathetic take on Bernie Madoff?

Bob mini reviews The Meddler and Assassin’s Creed. Logan mini reviews Catastrophe.

In weekend picks, Logan talks about Casual, The Bachelorette, and War Machine. Bob mentions Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Baywatch.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, 13 Reasons Why, Billions, Weekend Picks

It’s Guy Ritchie time! We review King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Is the trademark Ritchie style effective here? Can we abide yet another hero’s journey?

Logan mini reviews 13 Reasons Why and Billions.

In weekend picks, Logan talks about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Wizard of Lies, and Twin Peaks. Bob mentions Alien: Covenant, Wakefield, and The Survivalist. Watch Twitter for the final pick.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell