In the true story Can You Ever Forgive Me, she plays author Lee Israel who made her fame in the 60s and 70s writing profiles and biographies of Katharine Hepburn and Tallulah Bankhead amongst others. In the early 80s she wrote an unauthorised biography about Estée Lauder, which was widely panned and effectively ended her career. Over the following years, Lee falls on hard times and becomes a broke, lonely and bitter alcoholic.
The title of this movie refers to ‘The Negro Motorist Green-Book’, which was a guidebook for black road travellers. It was published by Victor Hugo Green from the mid-thirties to the mid-sixties when discrimination against non-wites was the norm across much of, in particular, the southern US. Green’s book helped coloured people to find accommodations, restaurants and road houses where they would be welcome.
So first of all you have to go into this movie with the right mindset: it is a graphic novel adaptation, and it is as violent as Jonh Wick, as over the top as Crank, and the lead is played by Mads Mikkelsen. What more can one ask for if you’re in the mood for a fun, brainless actioner?
The story of bankrobber Forrest Tucker “is, also, mostly true” according the opening scene. The ‘mostly’ probably refers to the fact that the story we get told is pretty rose-tinted. Apparently Robert Redford is hanging up his acting hat, and The Old Man & The Gun is his final role, so if we take the movie to serve as a vehicle for Bob’s last hurrah then this rose-tintedness may be forgiven. Actually, knowing it’s to be Redford’s last makes the entire movie a bit more worthwhile.
Sydney 1959; we find ourselves in Goode’s department store where Lisa (Angourie Rice) starts a summer job over the holiday period as she awaits the results of her final exams. She hopes to be able to go to university to realise her ambitions of becoming a poet or an actress. Her mother (Susie Porter) is keen to see her achieve her potential; her father (Shane Jacobson) isn’t particularly interested in this – he never went to university and he did alright, so why should his daughter?
If you think of Crazy Rich Asians as My Big Fat Chinese Wedding you sort of get the picture. Take a handful of Chinese ‘deep’ cultural values of ‘Tradition’ and ‘Family’ and ‘Honour’ and juxtapose these with the American ‘shallow’ belief in ‘Follow Your Passion’; then add insane amounts of money, old and new, and you have the basis for the bananas plot.
Annie (Rose Byrne) lives with her boyfriend Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) and they find themselves in a deep rut, something she sort of know but lacks the chutzpah to do anything about, and something he seems too self-obsessed to realise. Actually, Duncan is obsessed with someone else: Tucker Crowe, an obscure American rocker who disappeared in the middle of a gig sometime in the 90s.
Mildred Hayes’ teenage daughter was recently raped and murdered in the small town of Ebbing, Missouri. She now brings up her son alone and becomes frustrated at the local police department’s lack of progress into the investigation of her daughter’s brutal death. Spotting a trio of unused roadside billboards on a quiet road in the town, she hits on the idea of renting them and keeping the case in the public eye by using advertisements to accuse local chief of police chief of neglecting the investigation.
This comedy is as black as the ace of spades, with Beria issuing detailed orders about the manner of the executions being carried out, and with an understandable air of paranoia amongst the scheming Politburo plotters, any of whom was at risk of being denounced and shipped off to Siberia or worse. The film has not gone down well in Russia, where the Ministry Of Culture has apparently considered banning it, an act worthy of Stalin himself.
Sally Potter has a history of making arty films dating back to her best-known work Orlando (1992), though she made her first super 8 film at the age of just fourteen. The Party is a low budget, black and white affair shot in a fortnight and restricted to just seven characters. The film works because Sally Potter’s script has a keen eye for middle class hypocrisy and pretentiousness, the sharp lines delivered by a classy cast.