library dvd
La belle et la bête (1946)

So I totally get why this is a movie that has moved many people and entered deep into the subconscious of as many more. The dreamlike sequences, the simplicity, the horror, the refusal to explain anything but the most basic bits of story—it's as fairytale a movie as any put to celluloid. No wonder it's the standard!

But half the stuff that make it powerful are also things that make it problematic. The 5yrold and I just watched it, then we shuffled through all the photos on IMBd and this was her favorite.And that's not getting into the awful relationships in the film. I don't think there's a single one that's #goals!

None of which is to take away from the film's accomplishments, but with so many excellent films to show a child, the why one shows a particular film becomes important.

But, man. Belle's introduction to the castle—I think that'll stick with me.

our dvd
WWJD (2022)

Finally showed it to the 15- and 12yrolds and they thought it was great. Which is great. The movie is funny and I like to think sticky.

Maybe it'll become an occasional Sunday tradition.

(First viewing.)

library dvd
Boss Baby: Family Business (2021)

I love how these films unashamedly embrace cartoon logic. They aren't alltimegreats or anything, but they're fun and they work on several pleasure centers and, really, what's not to like?

If you want to watch Shawshank or Citizen Kane, watch Shawshank or Citizen Kane. If you want to watch heartfelt silliness and pure cartoon madness, try this instead.

our dvd
A Serious Man (2009)

Lady Steed and I tried to have our second viewing of this film about a year ago but the kids returned from the grandparents before we were ten minutes in. But now our film group picked it and so we finally had our second chance and it's great. The shock of the ending, time one, displaced the rest of the experience, but I knew it deserved a secondchance. For one thing, Kohl often mentions its excellence and value as exemplar. But it's also smart and moving and absolutely unwilling to tell you what to think or what to believe or what to take away.

Which I guess is why so many people call the Coens nihilists. But how bad at reading do you have to be to find nihilism, even Larry Gopnik's miserable week?

He said with way more confidence than is reasonable, given he was speaking about a movie who's only clear thesis is no one can know anything.

Dan in Real Life (2007)

This came out fifteen (!) years ago and at the time we were poor and the reviews were lackluster and so it passed us by. But my younger brother loves this movie (which you might not believe from his first impressions) and talks about it regularly. So of course I had to watch it some day. And someday was today.

On first watch, a couple of the beats feel slightly clumsy, but I'm convinced those (mostly teenager bits) would be better on second viewing because I believe the characters more by the end.

I love the set-up though and it could resolve many different ways. We could all write novels solving this problem different ways! What fun!

But perhaps the most remarkable thing about it was the way it handled a large extended family. Lots of trust in the actors and the audience to put the pieces together. And the result is a loving chaos that sings true. You don't see that much in the movies.

While You Were Sleeping (1995)

I saw this with my sisters in theaters long, long ago. At the time, I thought it was pretty so-so as a romantic comedy. But I understand it better now than I did when I was 18. It means something to be that lonely. It all makes sense now, all these years later. I have a lot more sympathy for Sandra Bullock's situation. I believe it now.

Also, in a fun connection to the last movie I associate with my brother, this movie too creates a larger family with simple strokes that's easy to believe in. Not as strictly realistic as in Dan in Real Life but wondrous and true all the same.

Great doublefeature! Thanks for tricking us into watching another, Disney+!

library dvd
The Addams Family (1991)

I haven't seen this in a very long time, possibly since 1991 at the Hitchin' Post, but I've long remembered how much I loved it. (And it's pinball machine is among my favorites.)

And so when it started out like a hamhanded Scissorhands knockoff I was deeply concerned. But it came around. It was funny and fun.

And Christina Ricci deserves all the acclaim we immediately gave her. She holds her own.

I remember reading about her at the time, probably in an Entertainment Weekly at the doctor's office, about how impressed everyone was with her, that she already understood the craft of filmmaking and was expected to be directing at any time. I don't know if her interests evolved or if Hollywood*, but she still has not directed. This makes me a little melancholy.

The film's most jarring moment is the ending credits when MC Hammer's voice suddenly appears. Do you remember this? I did not. Apparently, they even played the video before the movie?? I most certainly do not remember that. If you'd asked me, I'd have said that Hammer was passe by 1991. (Maybe he was but the suits didn't know it?) Anyway. Um. It's not bad or anything, but a strange, strange choice.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (2022)

Son #2 calls it the best movie we've watched in a loooong time.

But no question it was hilarious. We all laughed from go. And I'm certain it'll only get funnier on rewatches. Will we rewatch? Eventually. I mean---we're a big UHF family, so . . . yeah?

Also, I WILL WATCH THE OSCARS if, as the closing-credits song claims for itself, it "is technically eligible for Oscar consideration," is nominated because that means Al will perform it and that IS EXACTLY WHAT THE OSCARS NEED.

P.S. Has anyone interviewed Madonna yet?

library dvd
Suburbicon (2017)

The first thought anyone has when beginning a movie written by the Coens but directed by someone else (in this case George Clooney) is . . . how did they do? One would think this regardless, but I think regularly about that question as framed here.

Within the Coens' ouevre, I suppose the nearest thing is probably Fargo although this movie has no Marge to make us feel better about the world. It does have moments of sterling humor (Matt Damon on that bike) and the film is extremely Coeny (the biggest help here is probably using the same casting directory; the cast is filled with striking character actors), but I can't think of a movie where our ultimate protagonist is a child. (Well, True Grit, but she's a very grown-up little girl.)

The movie works okay. It has a bifurcated format with the kids being really the only connection (though the beginning of their connection seems strangely forced), but the heightened suburban paranoia (which is a real vibe of late) basically works. I'm not sure it wouldn've have been a better movie had it just stuck with its primary tale, but, overall, it is good.

UPDATE: Originally, there were two scripts.

AMC Bay Street 16
Glass Onion (2022)

I, like Daniel Craig, will keep doing these movies as long as Rian Johnson keeps making them. This was so much fun to watch—and so much fun to watch in the theater with a great audience.

That said, I look forward to watching it again at home with the kids. So smart, so funny, so cutting.

I really want to read that New Yorker profile.....

An Honest Liar (2014)

This class is nearly impossible to get to talk. But the Amazing Randi broke down a couple walls for me and we almost (almost) had a conversation.

Prime Video
CRYO (2022)

Just assume a lotta SPOILER WARNINGs in this review, mkay?

I've been meaning to watch this since before Barrett Burgin argued even harder for my probably liking it. And now I finally have.

Funny thing, my heightened expectations worked against the film at first. I so smugly assumed that I understood how things were unrolling that I was disappointed with some clunky moments. But then, as the film was ending, it did not end. I had days to go, in fact. And slowly I came to realize that I had fallen for the lies of the adversary.

The teeny budget of this film does not show in the sets or props or camerawork. And the actors are skilled, but the budget does reveal itself a few times in some lines that could have used a few more takes. But even with that caveat, I feel no need to complain.

Unless it's at myself I really wish I had watched CRYO before recording the latest episode of Face in Hat (look for 5.4 which has not yet posted as I post this). At least I watched it before the next issue of Irreantum hits! It's not too late to watch it yourself! Irreantum won't drop till the end of December (watch for 19.4)!

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