Last night I watched the 2021 film “A Tale of Love and Desire”. “A Tale of Love and Desire” is French with English subtitles. “A Tale of Love and Desire” is a modern romance. It’s not my favorite romance but I enjoyed the film. Unfortunately there aren’t many romances being made these day and I love a good romance. I recommend “A Tale of Love and Desire” if you enjoy foreign, artistic films.
The film is a love story of two students at the Sorbonne who meet on campus and fall in love. Ahmed is a French man from a first generation immigrant family from Algeria. Farah is a foreign exchange student from Tunisia. The pair are from a similar cultural background but have different and surprisingly different viewpoints. A Tale of Love and Desire makes subtly commentary about immigration, identity, racism, traditionalism, feminism and sexuality. It’s an intelligent and thoughtful film with youthful sex appeal. I enjoyed it and recommend it.
I recently watched the film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”. I recommend the film for a certain type of movie watcher. “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” would be enjoyed by a person that likes artistic films and films with a thought provoking message. This film touches on matters such as gentrification, environmental pollution, urban blight, the dissolution of the family unit, racism, the future of Black communities and mental illness. This film is heavy.
My rule is that any movie or book that makes me tear up gets a positive review. This movie stayed on my mind after it ended and it felt like a gut punch. I was rooting for the main character, Jimmie but he did not prevail. He couldn’t. The ending is very sad. I think it’s particularly sad if you’ve visited San Francisco and you’ve experienced the beauty of the city and seen the choppy waters of The Bay. However, the film is slow moving and a bit dull in spots.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco is about a young Black man named Jimmie from San Francisco. Jimmie has a goal of living in a house that was built by his grandfather in the 1940s. Jimmie seems to be essentially homeless. He lives with his friend Mont who lives with his grandfather who is played by Danny Glover.
Jimmie seems to be around thirty so he’s young but not an adolescent. I can’t tell what he does for a living if anything. He’s not married. His family is fractured. Jimmie’s father rents a room. His mother is a mystery and I’m guessing she’s homeless. His most stable family connection is his aunt that lives far outside of the city with her significant other who is a nice guy but gives the appearance of an Asian gang banger. The aunt is played by Tichina Arnold.
He didn’t have much direction aside from the goal of moving into his grandfather’s house. His grandfather did not design or ever own the home. It was a fantasy or a blatant lie. Either way the story about the house being built by his grandfather was a coping mechanism in order for him to cope with his bleak reality.
Jimmie commits suicide at the end of this film. He may have been clinically depressed but he wasn’t different from the other younger men in the film. His friend Mont is the only man in the film who is employed. Mont works as a home health care aid.
If you enjoy watching films critically I recommend “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”. If you only enjoy feel good films with happy endings this movie isn’t for you. But I think the film is valuable and it could lead to discussions on the various topics that it touches.
“House of Gucci” is about the family behind the famous, high end fashion brand. It was released in November of 2021. It’s long and a bit slow in parts but overall I enjoyed it. The story spans the 70s to 90s. I enjoyed the wardrobe and soundtrack. I thought it was a story about fashion but it’s mostly a story about a tumultuous marriage and family dynamics.
The film features pop singer Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani and Maurizio Gucci. Patrizia met Maurizio at a party in the 70s and she took a liking to him. They must have lived in a small town because she was able to find him after the party and create a meeting that seemed to Maurizio to be by chance.
The two began a relationship and Maurizio fell in love with Patrizia. The two married despite Maurizio’s disapproval. Maurizio’s family had a clothing business. They were successful despite not having the best business instincts. Patrizia came from a more modest background and had very good business instincts.
Patrizia’s instincts and under handed dealings made Gucci a very successful company. She also created tension among the Gucci family. Once Gucci became a top fashion brand Maurizio fell out of love with Patrizia and began an affair with an old flame.
Maurizio divorced Patrizia. He was very matter of fact and cold towards her but it was hard to feel sorry for her because of the way she treated Maurizio’s relatives and business partners. Patrizia thought she would be able to woo Maurizio back but she couldn’t. She became bitter and vengeful. Patrizia put a hit out on her husband with the help of her psychic advisor and friend played by Selma Hayek and had him killed.
I didn’t expect all of that from that story. I would recommend it especially if you enjoy 70s and 80s fashion and music. You’ll also learn a bit about fashion history.
“How to Build a Girl” is a movie based on a novel by the same name by Caitlin Moran. The story is about a teenaged girl named Johanna who has a knack for writing. Johann lives in a working class town with her parents and four younger siblings. Her mother is suffering from postpartum depression after having twins at thirty eight. Her father is suffering from middle aged disillusionment.
After sending a sample of her writing to a music magazine Johanna lands a job reviewing bands. Her column becomes very popular and a star is born. Her success goes to her head and she changes from a bubbly girl to an arrogant and at times mean woman. The negative characteristics are what helped her to become a success.
This movie is OK. Just OK. At times I found it to be a bit unrealistic. Johanna was given a lot of freedom to only be sixteen. The story took place in the 90s in the UK so perhaps that was realistic for that place and time. But I have a hard time believing that many parents would allow their teenage daughter to travel alone to big cities to interview rock musicians.
I also found it to be far fetched how easily success came to Johanna. She became a writer after sending in one sample story and one interview. Again, that may be realistic for that era and place. It also may be realistic for a White person. However, I can not relate.
The best part about this film is the actress that plays Johanna. Her name is Beanie Feldstein and she carried the film with ease. Her role called for her to cover a wide range. She had to play innocent, awkward, and confused as well as confident mature and sexy. Beanie did all of this convincingly.
I would recommend this film if you have time to kill and you don’t mind teenage chick flicks. It’s not bad. The lead actress is charming and effective. But the plot seems a bit far fetched at times and the ending feels like an After School Special. “How to Build a Girl” is merely OK.
I returned to work a week ago so this is my last Lockdown Review. I watched a documentary on the Kanopy app which was made available to me through my local library. “Drag Kids” is about children who dress up in drag and participate in shows and competitions. The children participate in drag the way other children play in little league basketball.
The film features three boys and one girl that are drag queens. They are around the ages of ten to fourteen. I was a bit apprehensive about watching the movie because I don’t know if I am comfortable with the idea of children performing drag. These children perform before adult audiences.
Young boys put on make up, dresses and heels and dance before grown ups. I’m not sure that most people would support young girls doing the same activity. The girl in the movie was the oldest and she was quite precocious. Her drag performances weren’t much different than something a young girl would do in pom pom squad.
The children were truly innocent in their enjoyment of drag and it seemed like a good creative outlet for them. However, I don’t think I would want my child in some of the environments where the performances took place.
Adults were in attendance at some of the performances wearing sexually suggestive fetish clothes. I think preteens can wait for that. The young lady in the documentary was disappointed that she wasn’t allowed into a club where a drag gathering was going on and I was relieved. The children were always accompanied by an adult.
What I loved about this documentary was the parents. They were all very sweet and supportive. The love they had for their children was evident. To me this film was mainly about parenting and what people will do in the name of love for their children. The parents beamed with pride while watching their children on stage in the unconventional settings. It was quite touching and I really don’t think that theme is presented in film making very often.
I would recommend “Drag Kids”. Once you get past your pearl clutching you will enjoy watching the heartfelt relationships between these parents and their children. It’s a great movie about nurturing children, acceptance and true love. I think that you will enjoy the film.
I saw “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” the other day. I enjoyed it and I think you will as well. It’s not exactly what I was expecting but the surprise added to the success of the movie. I was expecting the movie to simply be a biography of Fred Rogers but that wasn’t quite the case. The movie didn’t even revolve around Mr. Rogers.
This film is a testament to how great of a show “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” really was. I learned that the show was filmed in Pittsburgh, PA and Fred Rogers was a long time married man with two sons. None of this ever crossed my mind. The production of the show and Mr. Roger’s personal life was not something I ever questioned even as an adult. I bought into what the show was selling and I accepted that Mr. Rogers was a bachelor that lived a quiet life in the Land of Make Believe. It wasn’t weird to me at all.
I also learned that the mission of “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” was to teach children how to process emotions. I watched the show as a child and I never realized I was being taught anything. I just watched adults talk to puppets while a train milled around and enjoyed it. How brilliant! I guess you have to sneak up on children like that.
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” also revealed that Fred Rogers was real sweetheart. He was a baby doll that would melt the coldest of hearts if you got too close to him. Fred Rogers was brave because it takes bravery to extend yourself to a person in love and that’s what he did face to face and through his TV show.
Another great thing about the movie is that it is 109 minutes long. Over the last twenty years or so it seems that all movies have become very long. It’s to the point that a film needs to be very special to make me want to invest the time. But this delightful film didn’t waste time and I appreciate that.
I didn’t love this movie as much as some people. It’s not even my favorite Tom Hanks work. That distinction still belongs to “Bosom Buddies”. But it is a respectable, light hearted film about a very nice person. This movie is optimistic as opposed to the cynicism that we’ve all grown use to. If you get a chance take the time to watch it.
I learned of about the movie “Bird Box” because of Twitter. I was minding my business scrolling through tweets and I read all the buzz about “Bird Box”. In the following days I saw “Bird Box” memes all over social media. The movie was a sensation. I bought into the nonsense.
I don’t use Netflix so the movie is not available to me so I got a copy of the book when I saw it at the library. I finished reading “Bird Box” by Josh Malerman over the weekend. The book is pretty short but it took me a long time to get through it because it was boring.
I was waiting for the plot to build and live up to the social media hype but it never delivered. Perhaps this is one of those anomalies where the movie is better than the book (like “Divergent”). I’ll never know because I’ll never spend my time watching “Bird Box”. I don’t even know how to describe this film; suspense, horror, mystery, science fiction, family drama. I don’t know because nothing happens. Seriously nothing happens.
The story is flat the entire time. The book blindly meanders to an anti climatic ending that just added to the confusion. I rushed through the ending of the book because I was sick of it but I was tempted to reread it because I couldn’t quite figure out what happened.
It seems like the writer was trying to leave things open ended so he can write a sequel. However the sequel to watching grass grow would be watching paint dry. I promise you that no matter where you live you will be more entertained by putting a chair in front of a window at your house and looking outside.
The premise is ridiculous. I don’t understand what Twitter got so excited about. I only saw three bad reviews of “Bird Box” one of which came from Cardi B. Cardi was as confused as I was by the story. I’m glad I wasn’t alone.
Warning: This clip contains expletives, racial slurs and general vulgarity. But she’s not wrong.
I’m mad a Twitter too for getting me to read that. This is the third time that the media has sold me on a book and it was garbage. Actually, probably more than that but I digress: 1. “The Host” by Stephenie Meyer. (It was an unoriginal snoozefest.) 2. “50 Shades of Grey” by E.L. James (The protagonist made women look stupid because that relationship should have ended very soon after she met Christian. And the sex scenes in the book are over hyped. Harlequin romances are kinkier than “50 Shades of Grey” and I was reading those in middle school) and now this.
I wish I could say I’ll never fall for this type of media hype again but I take book and movie recommendations seriously. What can I say? I like to stay on top of the trends. This won’t be the last time I have egg on my face due to buying into hype. It’s just how I live.