Saturday, November 16, 2019

There New Flicks: One Really Worth Your Time

There are three new movies out which are actually worthy of note.
One has a Christmas theme and is warmly romantic.
Another features two powerhouse British stars.
And the third a wonderfully evocative here film that pays homage to the glory days of Warner Brothers gangster flicks.
Two of these movies are set in London and one is set in 1950s Brooklyn.
All three films feature more twists and turns than a rollercoaster and they all sport surprise endings.

Last Christmas is a romantic comedy directed by Paul Feig and written by Bryony Kimmings and Emma Thompson, who co-wrote the story with her husband, Greg Wise. Based on the George Michael song of the same name, the film stars Emilia Clarke as a cynical Christmas store worker in  a relationship with a mysterious man (Henry Golding) She begins to fall for Golding ad that's where the complications commence. Thompson and Michelle Yeoh also star. Golding and Clarke are wonderful together but the movie is gimmicky with Thompson affecting a thick slavic accent. Still, it's a passable date movie this holiday season so long as you don't mind seeing a Hallmark flick (with an appropriately gooey ending) on the big screen.

The Good Liar, billed as a suspense thriller, is directed and produced by Bill Condon and written by Jeffrey Hatcher, based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Searle. It stars Ian McKellen as a career con-artist who meets a wealthy widow (Helen Mirren) online, and begins to plan how to steal her fortune. These two fine British actors pull out all the stops playing opposite one another and, as the story unfolds, you will soon begin to wonder exactly who's conning whom. The film is really a tour de force for Mirren and McKellen and the story, such as it is, is merely a backdrop for their talents. Though some have said this flick is Hitchcockian, don't believe it. The Master would have made a tighter, tenser, shorter, more satisfying film.

Motherless Brooklyn is the  best of the lot and may even be more worthy of your attention than the seemingly unending new movie by Martin Scorsese that everyone's talking about. Motherless Brooklyn is a neo-noir crime film written, produced and directed by Edward Norton, based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Jonathan Lethem. Set in New York City in 1957, the film follows a private investigator with Tourette syndrome, who must solve the murder of his mentor. Norton also stars in the film, along with Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones and Willem Dafoe.
A passion project of Norton's ever since he read Lethem's novel in 1999, the film took nearly 20 years to go into production. Although the book is set in contemporary times, Norton felt the plot and dialogue lent themselves more to a noir setting, moving it to the 1950s.
This film is so lushly detailed and so beautiful to watch that it will remind you why you go to the movies in the first place. It's mesmerizing -- a well-crafted novel come to life with crisp, literate dialogue, extraordinary acting and mature direction. Though it will doubtless remind you of other films of the same genre, it stands on its own as a particularly notable triumph by Norton and his superb company of actors who really give their all. It's one of the best moves of the year. Don't miss it!

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