Archive for June, 2016

“B.F.G.,” “Swiss Army Man” And The Economy of Scale

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When Steven Spielberg releases a new film attendance is mandatory. It’s not always a great experience but it’s always an interesting demonstration of the strengths and flaws of  one of the great directors of our time.

Sometimes his films are facile, sentimental and narratively broken in ways he cannot fix. But occasionally he creates something extraordinary like “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.”

He dabbles in textures and technologies but always with an eye to the marketplace. At 69 he might consider the Biblical advise to “put away childish things.” Because the awe of childhood has deserted him.

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Offbeat “Maggie’s Plan” A Charming Indie-Frosted Thingy

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If the movies of Woody Allen and Nancy Myers had a baby it would look like Rebecca Miller’s “Maggie’s Plan.”

Miller breast fed the newborn she just had with Daniel Day Lewis when I interviewed her for “Personal Velocity” in 2002. And motherhood is also the theme of “Maggie’s Plan.”

It’s about a young woman whose desire for a baby leads her to marry in haste  and who then attempts to give her husband back to his ex-wife.

Greta Gerwig plays the young woman, a Quaker from Wisconsin in ribbed winter tights, calico blouses buttoned to the neck and sensible shoes.

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Faith-Based Ghostbusters Do Gods Work In “Conjuring 2”

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“The Conjuring 2” has two story arcs but is half as scary than the original.

One story involves faith based ghostbusters Ed and Larraine Warren, of “Amityville” fame who are being are haunted by a sense of foreboding.

The other concerns the “fact based” account of a single mother in London whose teenage daughter is possessed by a spirit who died in their dingy but expansive flat.

Both these painfully slow set ups come complete with a predictable jumble of slammed doors, creaky stairs and bumps in the night. The man-in-the-mirror-who-is-not-there-when-you-turn around gag always gives me a start.

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