Sils Maria

Most of this week was about getting back to normal, plus-or-minus an epic baseball game. Next week will be much more than normal, so stay tuned.

A whole sick day was also dedicated to catching up on “Westworld”. Y’all watching this? It seems very much like it wants to be HBO’s heir apparent to Game of Thrones, which can often be bad news for a network and a property. Don’t believe me? Just look at how many shows AMC has tried to develop as the new Mad Men or Breaking Bad.

For now though, I’m enjoying what I’m seeing…even if I did accidentally tip myself off to something that might affect everything I see going forward.
#52FilmsByWomen got back on track this week with a double-dose; TOMBOY directed by Céline Sciamma, and MCFARLAND directed by Nikki Caro.
Funny story – until just one moment ago when I dropped TOMBOY into Google for the purposes of this post, I didn’t realize I’d seen Céline Sciamma’s follow-up to TOMBOY, the spectacular GIRLHOOD from last year. Y’all may or may not remember that I adored that movie.

TOMBOY, meanwhile, was an interesting film to watch in the age of increasing awareness to gender identity. The film is a mere five years old, and actually feels ahead of its time. On the one hand, there is just so much to love about its innocence, its youth, and its vibrant story of young affection.

On the other hand, it makes us take a long hard look at the way children take to the roles they are born into. I’d wager I knew more than one child like Mickaël growing up, and if I didn’t, I’m certain I knew several that identified in the opposite direction.

TOMBOY is a film I think that every adult having trouble with the debate surrounding gender identity should be forced to sit and watch, and likewise one I hope every child dealing with identity manages to find.

The film arrives with so much love…and the conversation could do with a little more love these days.

Meanwhile, MCFARLAND is an interesting point in the career of Niki Caro…less for what it is on its own, and more for its place on her career trajectory.

Caro made a deep impression on the film scene in 2003 with her breakout film WHALE RIDER. The film was intimate, personal, warm, and came with a clear voice that feels wholly unrepresented on the landscape of film.

Now we find her working on films for Disney – films that while still very good (seriously, see this one soon), feel like they could have been done by anyone. I hear her voice less in this film than I did I WHALE RIDER (or even NORTH COUNTRY). I have to believe that lack of singularity is a side effect of Disney as a production company. In trying to make films that will appeal to so many, they tend to smooth things over.

So what we get is less texture from films like WHALE RIDER and MONSOON WEDDING, and more uniformity in offerings like MCFARLAND and QUEEN OF KATWE.

Male directors go through this too…but there’s more of them and they get more opportunities to tell “their stories”…so who cares about them?

Just an observation.

Here’s the week at hand…

DOCTOR STRANGE –Marvel is headed in the right direction again. More on this on Monday.

Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
TOMBOY –Such a beautiful film.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE AND THE TENNESSEE KIDS –A decent concert film, but nothing that I haven’t seen before movie-wise. JT puts on a great show.
KON-TIKI –I feel terrible for taking so long to see this.
MCFARLAND –Between this and DRAFT DAY, it’s been a weird year for me re-appreciating Costner.

Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Seen Before
HANNIBAL –I had to, with new appreciation for all the Florence sequences.
THE BEACH –I should have watched TRAINSPOTTING the day the trailer dropped, but I went with a different Danny Boyle selection instead.


Boxscore for The Year
212 First-Timers, 113 Re-Watched
73 Screenings
325 Movies in Total

How’s about you – seen anything good?