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The Beguiled

What’s there to like?

The Beguiled is a dark, sometimes mysterious story. What drew me in was the detailed world of Civil War-era Southern manners and customs. The way they talked, the propriety of how men and women interact with each other, and so on. And most of all, the restraint. But all that wasn’t just a historical curiosity or part of the art direction–it really drove the plot forward. You’ve got this soldier (Colin Farrell), a representation of brutality and power, of masculine brutality and power, entering a secluded girl’s school (led by Nicole Kidman’s headmistress, Kirsten Dunst playing a teacher, and Elle Fanning as one of the students)–this bastion of only women. He’s injured and he needs their care. But the restraint and the polarization between masculine and feminine highlight the sexuality in the air. So you’ve got a blurring of the lines between danger and sexual attraction, at least from the point of view of all these women towards this unknown, scary soldier. Continue Reading

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The Big Sick

What’s there to like?

It’s been a little while–a few months at least–since I’ve seen a nice little indie comedy. In The Big Sick, Kamail Nanjiani plays a Pakistani man in Chicago who falls in love with an American woman played by Zoe Kazan. Cultural obstacles present themselves, and then a serious illness sends everything sideways.

Indie romantic comedies live or die on how relatable they are. And with The Big Sick, I can believe it. I can buy into the whole thing. I believe the group of friends who are sort of trying to make it as comedians but giving not 100%. Maybe 80%. Good enough to get by and probably pretend to yourself you’re really #gettingafterit. The flirting between Kumail and Emily felt real, and charming. There’s a we-can’t-do-this-again theme to their first meetings, but it becomes clear they don’t entirely mean it. And there’s this bit of heartwarming heckling at the end that’s nice and, again, charming.

Another relatable factor: my family is obviously nowhere near as traditional as Nanjiani’s was, but when I lived in New York and Chicago, it definitely felt like my growing up was out of another culture. So I enjoyed that too, even though the details were different and more dramatic in the movie.

And oh, there was some surprisingly real relationship and marriage juice from Emily’s parents. Pearls of wisdom like, you can never know you you love someone until you cheat on them. Simultaneously ridiculous and maybe containing some tiny kernel of bizarre insight buried deep down.

I guess I should say it’s funny too? Certainly there were some laughs, but nothing overwhelming, and it’s hard to remember a lot of the jokes and lines. I mean, it’s definitely a comedy, but I enjoyed the romance and the poignant stuff more than the yuks, I think.

What’s not to like?

It’s not that I didn’t like a lot of stuff. Just at this level I’m talking about things that kept it good instead of great.

So, with that disclaimer, I’ll say that even though I said I liked the flirting part, a lot of the rest of the romantic relationship part felt a little flat. Which is a bit weird, if it’s based on a true story. And since I’m sure they spiced up a few things in the name of artistic license, maybe some of the dramatic elements could have been heightened to make the romantic part of this romcom more . . . romantic.

The Verdict

A charming, heartwarming indie romantic comedy that has strengths in the indie aspect as much as in the romantic or comedy parts.

Recommended

[crossposted at loganbeaux.com]

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The Beguiled, Master of None, Silicon Valley, Table 19, Weekend Picks

We give a full review this week to The Beguiled. How does the restraint of Civil-War South manners drive the plot? And listen to us disagree on whether the mysterious objectification of the stranger makes this a recommendable movie.

Bob mini reviews Master of None season 2 and Table 19. Logan mini reviews Silicon Valley season 4.

In weekend picks, Logan talks about Loaded, Ozark, Ballers, and Insecure. Bob picks Dunkirk for next week’s movie, but also mentions Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Landline.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

 

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The Big Sick, The Leftovers, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Weekend Picks

Nothing like an indie romantic comedy in July, amirite? Logan and Bob review The Big Sick. How does the real story it’s based on translate to a movie? Will anyone remember it at year-end time?

Logan mini reviews The Leftovers season 3. Bob mini reviews Spider-Man: Homecoming.

In weekend picks, Logan talks about Suits and Game of Thrones. Bob mentions War For the Planet of the Apes, Wish Upon, and Lady MacBeth. Keep an eye out for the final pick.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

 

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Baby Driver, Master of None, Review, Weekend Picks

Happy Fourth of July! We hit it with a full review of Baby Driver. Just how much fun can a movie be, anyway? Oh, and does Jon Hamm finally transcend the Jon Hamm effect?

Bob mini reviews Master of None season 1. Logan mini reviews Review season 3.

In weekend picks, Logan talks about Snowfall and Castlevania. Bob mentions Spider-Man: Homecoming, A Ghost Story, and City of Ghosts. Stay tuned to Twitter for the final pick.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell