Thursday, February 15, 2018

Screen Log 6: Big Little Lies Season 1; Our Souls at Night; Meet Me in St. Gallen; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1

"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."

A week later, I am still not over the spell cast by BIG LITTLE LIES, which, trashy as it supposedly was in the way the best pieces of gossip are, was nothing if not gratifying television. The writing, the multiple narrative arcs, the world building, the design of the whole endeavor, and I'd be damned if I forgot about the acting. Some reviews compared the women of this series--Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz--to a tribe in a primeval sense, and I thought that was very accurate. You wouldn't want to mess with their children, not after that finale. At the start, I thought Witherspoon, she who weaponized "Frozen on Ice," should have taken home those Lead Actress trophies, but by the end, yeah, I definitely made a 180 for Kidman, because that was just intelligent, career-defining acting from her. Now I'm kind of scared the second season won't live up to its predecessor.

OUR SOULS AT NIGHT made me think, for a brief second, about growing old in a small First-World town, but were it not for Jane Fonda and Robert Redford's mesmerizing presences--they could literally have read the phone book and it probably would've made a good film--I would have dropped this Netflix baby. I'm trying to recall now what the film was about, the scenes that stood out, the dialogue that struck me as particularly genuine, and all I can remember are Fonda and Redford, probably having dinner, or playing with the child, or going camping.

I don't remember a time post-2010 when the cinemas offered a stellar Filipino film on commercial (versus festival) release for four consecutive weeks. After "Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes," "Mr. and Mrs. Cruz" and "Changing Partners" came MEET ME IN ST. GALLEN, which featured, among others, a bona fide star performance from Bela Padilla (whom I last saw in the unsatisfactory "Camp Sawi," I think). The first fifteen minutes of the movie were comedic gold, thanks to Padilla's incredible timing and sardonic line deliveries. ("Terorista pala dapat kelangan niyo kung gusto niyo ma-shock" was responsible for my first big laugh.) The three-part, coffee-centric structure I found not always effective; the second segment, especially, the one hewn closest to the tenets of realism, was also the least enchanting for me, perilously teetering on the edge of overwrought-kabit-moviedom at times. The sins of this imperfect movie about imperfect people, however, were very, very easy to overlook (they were almost impossible to discern with a layman's eye), and the final result was nothing if not a celebration of what Philbert Dy called the continuing maturity of Filipino films (or something to that effect).

The Golden Globe winner for TV series-comedy this year was THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL, and that was simply an ingenious choice. Tony Shalhoub, in particular, ought to have another Emmy nomination by year's end (a serious oversight on the part of the Globes). Whenever I feel down, I shall go back to that scene where the whole family sees Joel (the titular character's unfaithful husband) in the same restaurant, then execute their not-so-covert escape.

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