Covid-19 has made us all change the way we watch movies. Those of us lucky enough to have computers can cope easily enough with online purchases. Others have to be more innovative; I saw a news report about a man in Fermoy recently who’s showing films on walls for his neighbours. Desperate situations require desperate remedies.
The Irish sci-fi thriller Sea Fever is being streamed on digital platforms. So are Jihad Jane and The Disney Family Singalong – the latter is one for all the family. Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
The #MeToo movement has meant Woody Allen has been halted from making films for the moment. A sexual scandal about him allegedly abusing one of his children in the past has re-surfaced. It seems to have made him surplus to Hollywood requirements. He’s transferred his attention to writing. His memoir, Apropos of Nothing, has just been published.
Woody has many successors and they’ll take up the mantle when he retires. Noah Baumbach is one of them. Check out his film Frances Ha on Amazon. It’s reminiscent of Woody’s Manhattan, another black-and-white nugget. Greta Gerwig is the main star. She’s another Allen aficionado and his fingerprints are on her work.
Another director who’s heavily influenced by Allen is Todd Solandz. He’s like a darker version of him. You might like to watch his most famous film, Welcome to the Doll House. Others I saw recently were Happiness, Dark Horse and Wiener Dog. Beware: these films are adult and very quirky.
The best film I bought since the outbreak of the virus is The Kindergarten Teacher. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays the title character. One of her pupils is a poet – he’s five years old. Have you ever seen a five-year-old poet? He even gives readings.
Gyllenhaal takes an inordinate interest in him. It leads her to perform a shocking act. The film is directed very tastefully by Sara Colangelo. It’s European in its style. Out of a very far-fetched premise has come a very moving work. Everything is understated. It’s really a film about loneliness when you boil it down.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood is an uplifting Tom Hanks film concerning a jaded magazine writer who overcomes his cynicism about a neighbour and learns to appreciate his great decency. A strong friendship ensues.
If you’re into political films you might like Vice, which documents the life and career of Dick Cheney, or The Front Runner. This deals with the rise and fall of Gary Hart, a presidential candidate from the 80s. He had his career cut short by an extra-marital affair with a fundraiser. It’s also tasteful. The director, Jason Reitman, avoids anything sleazy.
The Ides of March is a political film featuring Ryan Gosling. He plays a staffer for the campaign of presidential hopeful George Clooney, a character who hides his skeletons behind idealistic rhetoric. The Caesarean overtones are obvious from the title. Et tu, Ryan.