By Anne Brodie
Don’t expect anything that remotely resembles today’s political correctness, instead suck it up and give in to the Technicolor glories of the musicals of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
These include but are not limited to the eye-popping Singin’ in the Rain, Wizard of Oz, Show Boat, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Annie Get Your Gun, Meet Me in St. Louis and Cover Girl.
And the Esther Williams’ swimming technicolour fantasies like Neptune’s Daughter or Dangerous When Wet.
Why not the non-musical Du Barry Was a Lady? Technicolour gave us unearthly colours like Lucille Ball’s hair, free reign. The colour coordinated costumes are a treat and the set design décor, colour mayhem.
Speaking of Lucy, The Long, Long Trailer, one of the few features she made with then-husband Desi Arnaz follows a young married couple on a road trip and offers sustained, stomach hurting laughter, romance, tears and colour. You’ll gasp for air as they ascend a mountain when Lucy lies about throwing out her rock collection. Take a look.
At the other end of the emotional spectrum, look back at the hyper-stylized, dramatic and sexually charged Film Noir genre, popular in the dark days of post-war ’40s and ’50s. The leads are often amoral or become amoral, and the outcomes were surprisingly blunt and rarely happy. YouTube and Turner Classic Movies have excellent libraries and weekend television programming. Here’s an interesting crash course.
Writer-director Deborah Kampmeier’s uncomfortably, brutally honest #MeToo film Tape, based on real events, concerns Rosa (Annarosa Mudd) a young woman in revenge mode. It opens with ancient portraits of women without hands and tongues, and there are a lot, women raped and disfigured by their attackers so they couldn’t reveal their identities. Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus which explores the concept is a recurring theme. To present-day New York as a woman shaves off her long hair off, pierces her tongue and self harms as apparent preparation to go to battle. Rosa straps cameras around her body and goes to an audition. Hopefuls clamour for the attention of Lux (Tarek Bishara) the talent manager and he begins his grooming campaign. Rosa secretly shoots him with Pearl (Isabelle Furhman) the woman he chooses for the inevitable “test” in an empty warehouse where Rosa previously set up cameras. She watches as Pearl is forced into doing his bidding over the course of several hours. A camera directly on Pearl’s face reveals her pain, confusion and shame. Absolutely devastating. Its experimental look, feel and sound creates “being there” authenticity and timeless reality of sexual and psychological abuse against women. Virtual screenings on now through April 9 and on Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay and Microsoft April 10.
The suburbs have long been fodder for satire, mockery and disdain since post city enclaves were invented. Popularised in the forties and fifties, they resembled shoe boxes on grids, little houses with exact lawns and dimensions, colourless and boring. Lorcan Finnegan’s Vivarium rips the lid off a future / timeless suburbia finally giving it an edge, horrific murderous and inhuman edge, that is. Imogene Poots and Jesse Eisenberg, a young married couple, a teacher and arborist want their own home. A weird real estate agent, who seems strangely hollow drives them to a mint green nightmare collection of houses, they choose #9 Thus begins a journey I’d prefer to forget, a repetitive, yet motionless existence burdened by an annoying child with a man’s voice “I’m not your f***ing mother!”, Mother seethes. Wildly imaginative and lunatic, it’s admittedly frightening and. Their ennui/violence/entrapment goes on forever. Waiting for the condo version. On Apple TV March 27 then OnDemand. Mongrel
Jesse Eisenberg again starring in the true Holocaust drama Resistance. He plays French-born Marcel Mangel a Jewish actor who created the “silent art” of mime, to the horror of his conservative father. Mangel was writing plays when he joined the French Resistance, against the Nazi occupation in WWII, focusing on saving Jewish orphans, which took wit and nerve and his miming skills. He helped thousands over time. In one particularly nerve-rattling scene, he uses mime to guide them to safety as Nazis approach, led by the Butcher of Lyon, Klaus Barbie, as the children fled to the safety of the Swiss border. Another incredible story of bravery in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Mangel changed his name to Marcel Marceau and became a world-renowned entertainer. Written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz and co-starring Ed Harris, Matthias Schweighöfer and Clémence Poésy. On Digital Platforms iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay/YouTube, Vudu, PlayStation March 31.
Amazon Prime Video’s Tales from the Loop is a trippy look at the future past through the eyes of a family employed at The Mercer Center for Experimental Physics. Jonathan Pryce plays the patriarch who with his daughter (Rebecca Hall) develops The Loop, an underground lab, home of a supernova that makes things vanish into the black hole and the Ecosphere in which they see lives fast forward. “I prove its possible”, says Pryce. Death is the only thing that can’t be changed. Episodes focus on individual members of the family. Oddly beautiful and solemn leaving much to think about, like seeing yourself or your loved ones onto the future, to travel to the past and live each fully. The implications of what The Loop might create make the heart swell with joy and skip a beat in wonder. Based on the book and art of Simon Stålenhag.
Ozark S3 is back, baby! Six months later and The Missouri Belle is open but Marty and Wendy find there’s no rest for the wicked. Wendy defies her husband to plan expansion with drug cartel leader Omar Navarro while Ruth’s ambition threatens to run the enterprise off the rails. Seriously Byrdes, is it worth it? Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner, Emmy Award and Janet McTeer Netflix
Disney+ has nature documentaries galore and they are across the board, excellent. Disneynature docs glimpse into worlds we would never see otherwise, the intimate lives of animals in the wild. I am eternally grateful that filmmakers wait patiently inside camera blinds for months and years to shoot creatures doing what they do. The series launches in April and I strongly recommend them for all ages, the films are unsentimental, thorough and engaging. We must respect all species sharing our planet. Titles available are African Cats, Chimpanzees, Bears, Wings of Life, Crimson Wing, Monkey Kingdom and Born in China.
And let’s not forget that Public Libraries of this province offer free movie and TV streaming through Hoopla Digital. All you need is a library card and you’re good to go. A superior television lineup including British police procedurals and comedies, PBS library, fitness and exercise, home and lifestyle, homeschooling, reality programming, sci-fi, westerns and more than 796 titles. Hoopla’s massive film library offers everything you can possibly imagine – international, blockbuster, genre, animation, documentaries and a world of subjects. And in the comfort of your home.