TL;DR This Week In Cinema: Capitalism, Nationalism, Misogyny And Holistic Detection
Welcome to the BRAG's weekly rundown on what's hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases, and oh boy are there a lot of reasons to be a grouchy fella at this very mo.
As it's a quiet week, your bonus is a Netflix Original that I've thoroughly enjoyed, therefore you better thoroughly enjoy it or I'll come to your house and I will cut you.
Also, shout out to my mates at Hottest 100s And 1000s who've just RTJ-style surprise-dropped their Season 4 debut - for those not in the know, these guys are ripping through the history of the Hottest 100 one year at a time, and it's great. On your way to the movies, give 'em a listen.
There's little to say here that I haven't said in my review, except that 38% is an inordinately generous score for this excrement. Gold is my Wooden Spoon contender for 2017, a cynical Oscar grab for Matthew McConaughey made in the hackiest possible fashion.
Gold is the kind of film Martin Shkreli would give a standing ovation. Dumping every copy of the film in a river would be less pollutive than having people watch the fucking thing.
From its lazy title to its lack of any compelling quality, it's a total mess AND an ethical swamp. Avoid, tell your friends to avoid, and if you can force your way into the projection room, actively disrupt screenings of it.
tl;dr The McConaissance is over.
This week is seriously gunning for my cynical side. Films that pander to the fear and still-fresh wounds of local tragedy are not the kind of thing I go in for, especially not in an environment where paranoia and hysteria are approaching boiling point.
The critics are mostly on side for Peter Berg's latest, immediately following last year's Deepwater Horizon, and there's serious acting credentials on offer - not so much Mark Wahlberg, but greats like J.K. Simmons, John Goodman and Kevin Bacon.
The concern comes from the application of genre to the tale - the inevitable inspiring drama of rescue workers a la World Trade Center; the thriller-style hunt for the terrorists; and all of it scored by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. I won't be rushing to it, but the response will surely be interesting. May nationalist sentiment and fearmongering never enter the conversation.
tl;dr Sage words for dark times.
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Six Oscar nominations, that now familiar Boston accent, an Affleck, Matt Damon, and a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score: how could I possibly have no interest in this film?
That's purely personal - writer/director Kenneth Lonergan's credentials speak for themselves, and universal critical acclaim is a hard thing to dispute (see: my feelings about La La Land).
But more to the point, I find it very, very hard to continually support the career of a performer who behaves the way Casey Affleck has been reported to on set. This a real bad dude, and no Oscar can change that.
tl;dr "But Dave, we can enjoy art made my problematic artists."
BUDDIES IN INDIA
TIME FOR SOMETHING DUMB AND FUN YOU GUYS. It's officially the Year of the Rooster, so head out and get a real multicultural perspective by watching as a Chinese goofy comedy actor/director takes a trip to the exciting other world of India.
Wang Baoqiang's debut is intensely colourful and very, very silly. It's also part of efforts by China and India as nations to celebrate their cultural and historic ties through film, and an opportunity for untravelled Aussies to get an glimpse into the diversity of Asia.
Have politics been too much for you of late? Switch off and watch some Chinese dudes yell their way across India. Make it your Lunar New Year outing!
tl;dr Kung hei fat choi, y'all!
Netflix Bonus: DIRK GENTLY'S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY
Alright, now it's fun time. My scepticism regarding another adaptation of the great Douglas Adams' work was firmly rejected by this outlandish, surprisingly violent and refreshingly wild take on Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
Exec. producer Max Landis (of Chronicle fame) heads this bizarre comedy thriller in which the kinda crappy Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood) is drawn into a complex web of intrigue by holistic detective Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett), who believes in "the interconnectedness of all things" and investigates whatever comes up in his life.
It's as vague as adaptations get, and that's entirely to its credit. The comedy is adeptly modernised and Americanised, no one has any idea what's going on, and best of all, we get Bart Curlish (Fiona Dourif: literally the daughter of Chucky, Brad Dourif) - no spoilers, but she too has a 'holistic' approach to her craft. Genuinely hilarious and thrilling.
tl;dr Daddy's very proud of you, sweetie.
And now for THE VERDICT - maybe you only get to see one of these flicks on the big screen, and you don't wanna waste that night out. So, drum roll please...
Buddies In India is my outside bet - could be fun, and it wins you CNY points! But honestly? Fuck these nationalists, capitalists and misogynists off, get Netflix and chill to Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Dave out.
Until next week!