The insanely wonderful conceit through the Despicable Me films is “minion speak”. It’s gibberish sure, but what they’re saying is more than clear to us thanks to the cartoon artistry and vocalisations of the filmmakers. Nothing is missed. Their voices sound like tickles, loud children having a blast, all the good things in life and they’re hysterical. Despicable Me 3 starring Trey Parker, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig brings Gru shocking news – he has a twin brother Dru – who is fabulously wealthy and looks like Donald Trump thinks he looks and wants him to help pull off a big heist. Timing’s right as Gru who was once a super villain but changed his ways has been booted from the Anti-Villain League and needs new options. Listen for Julie Andrews!
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Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick is a warm-hearted, edgy and ultimately moving portrait of a modern love affair. Stand-up comedian, co-writer and star Kumail Nanjiani positively radiates appeal and the story based on his affair with his wife Emily Gordon who also had a hand in the script writing. It’s a delightfully open hearted, smartly paced, feel-good flick about a Pakistani New Yorker whose family is arranging a suitable marriage for him. Thing is, he’s fallen for a spunky white girl (Zoe Kazan) who is subsequently diagnosed with a serious disease and put into a coma. Her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) join him in in hospital hallways, waiting. There is no sugar; there are no cloying stereotypes just honest writing, passionate performances and lots of laughs. Millennials will want to marry this film.
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Sophia Coppola’s The Beguiled with Nicole Kidman, Kristen Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell is set during the Civil War on a ramshackle Virginia plantation/school. It’s sweltering and overgrown and the girls endure close fitting bulky dresses as well as the rigid discipline of Kidman’s headmistress. One day while picking mushrooms a student finds a Union soldier critically wounded and on death’s door so she take shim to the school. Headmistress says fix him up and send him on his way; he is the enemy, a “bluebelly”. He’s handsome and charming and attracts the attention of the girls ranging in age from about 9 to 25, stirring powerful sexual feelings. One by one they present themselves to him but he plans to run off with his “delicate beauty” (Kristin Dunst) The house explodes with sexual tension and jealousy as the girls act out and he is named the true enemy. Coppola’s 35mm Southern gothic steamer is deliciously wicked, the art design is flawless and the characters reflect the sheltered lives of longing and shame. The winking nature of this wild sex tragedy is entertaining and deeply funny, a dual sensation that’s lovely. A total pot boiling delight! Clint Eastwood starred as the soldier in the 1971 film adaptation of the novel by Thomas Cullinan.
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Cate Blanchett plays 13 roles and is the only character to speak in Manifesto from Julian Rosefeldt – THIRTEEN roles. She’s a suburban housewife with serious issues, a go-for-the-jugular newspaper reporter, a TV news anchor, a homeless man, a woman reading a blistering obituary at a funeral, a scientist, a doll maker who makes dolls that looks like her exactly and on and on. The characters read artists’ manifestos as a living history and rallying cry thirteen in all. Some are outrageous, some are galvanizing and all make you shut up and listen. . All well and good but once the novelty wears off it’s a very tough slog. Blanchett is incredible. It’s a feature adaptation of a 13-channel film installation at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image.
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HBO Canada presents David Bowie: The Last Five Years a portrait one of our most beloved and mourned artists, whose death from cancer came more or less out of the blue. Francis Whately has not created a hagiography thank goodness; instead this is a hard eyed examination of Bowie, through his own words, music and from friends. We learn about the genesis and execution of The Next Day, Blackstar and his play Lazarus. I learned that Bowie was highly sentimental, dreamed of his life in 70’s while in his 60’s and his music now seems different, cries for help. The doc features unseen and rare archival footage and knits together the links Major Tom and Blackstar, Diamond Dogs and Bowie’s musical play Lazarus, and Fame in the song The Stars (Are out Tonight). That’s Sunday night on HBO, and following its premiere, TMN GO and HBO Canada OnDemand, then Crave TV.
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Acorn’s Janet King launches its third season in the world of sports and gaming, the crime lords who run international gambling networks and elite athletes forced to throw games and the collision of drugs, sex and murder. Marta Dusseldorp, one of Oz’s busiest actors, plays King, a respected even feared prosecutor in the Crime Commission and there is little she hasn’t seen. Her lover was murdered by someone with a grudge against Janet, and she is now raising her twins with another woman. The plot takes wild corners as unexpected complications and side stories throw us off the track in believable ways. King stands as the calm brilliant mind at the centre of storm, aided by sharp instincts. This is serious drama, beautifully written and produced with a character you can get behind and complexities that make it rich.
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Netflix ‘Nobody Speak’: Trials of the Free Press, asobering doc that begins at the Hulk Hogan sex tape trial with Gawker looks at a troubling trend in American culture, the suppression of the free press by the rich and powerful. Hogan won his lawsuit and Gawker was shut down, unable to pay the out the multi millions settlement. PayPal entrepreneur Paul Theil financed Hogan’s suit because, the doc alleges, he had a grudge against Gawker which had outed him nine years earlier. Over to Las Vegas where Sheldon Adelson the secretive billionaire and friend to Republicans and Donald Trump bought the local newspaper to avoid disclosures about himself all under a cloak of secrecy. In turn, Theil stumped for Donald Trump who calls the media the enemy of America and the fake news. There’s no good outcome when the powerful suppress reportage. That’s how authoritarianism has gained footholds in the past.
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Netflix’ ten part psychological thriller Gypsy stars Naomi Watts as aNew York therapist whose seemingly well-ordered and satisfying life conceals a troubled mind. She begins to befriend her patients and their significant others in ways that cross all the lines, ethically. Billy Crudup, Sophie Cookson, , Lucy Boynton and Karl Glusman co-star. Approach with caution.
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