Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Screen Log 9: The Shape of Water; Loveless; Wonder Wheel; RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 3

"Wonder Wheel."

Was THE SHAPE OF WATER the so-called "best" among this year's Best Picture nominees? No. But was it a deserving winner? Yes. I've read some complaints online about the movie's loopholes and illogical turns, and all I can say is, what loopholes and lack of logic this is an effin' fairy tale it's not supposed to make perfect sense! Looking at it as a fairy tale--which was obviously Guillermo del Toro's intent from the start--greatly increases one's appreciation for this film. Lovely, lovely storytelling from start to end. I'm not sold on Octavia Spencer barging into the Supporting Actress race; this was just Octavia being nominated a third time for another feisty, winning but typical Octavia performance, and the slot should have gone to Holly Hunter or Tiffany Haddish, or both (taking Mary J. Blige out of the roster as well). But my my my that Sally Hawkins is truly a wonder isn't she. And Richard Jenkins. And the production design. And the cinematography. And the Desplat score. And, well, I'm just gushing now.

LOVELESS, the Russian nominee in this year's Oscars and the Jury Prize winner in Cannes last year, challenged me to be a better viewer. It's essentially two movies conjoined at the 50-minute mark. The first half's about the bleak, heartless wasteland brought about by a yet-to-be-finalized divorce. The second half's a search-and-rescue (though there's no rescue in the end) thriller, when the prospective divorcees' only son goes missing. I loved the second half; the first half almost drove me to sleep. I could not for the life of me enter the world of the movie, and really, when the search party entered the story, it felt like an entirely separate movie already. Get this: It's a competent movie, with the camera work pulling off a lot of neat tricks (my favorite being the one where the camera just focused on the rearview mirror inside the car while the world--and the story--continued outside that focus, all the while the actor in the scene acting only through said mirror). I appreciate--no, I'm grateful, really, for the chance to have seen this movie. But I will not be watching it again.

Years from now, people will talk about the exact moment Woody Allen's career turned into total shit, and there will be varying answers. Me, I will say that the highlight of this decline was 2017, with WONDER WHEEL, a loud and shallow film populated by Allen stand-ins talking like scripts on autopilot. This was just bad, bad writing, as if Allen were telling the world, "I'm deaf and don't give a shit what you all think, I'm right, I will defend myself to the grave!" I could never presume to know what made Kate Winslet say yes to this role (though in fairness to her, she wrings the life out of it), and as for Justin Timberlake, well, kid, this was your choice--painful, yes, but yours to make. The saving graces are the production design and the cinematography--both illuminating, really, against all the ongoing verbal incoherence.

I just have a few words for the recently concluded third season of RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE ALL STARS. First, when the series started, I was like, whoa, why these contestants? And then how quickly they all converted me with what they brought to that stage. This was basically Ben dela Creme's crown, so her shadow will always be attached to Trixie's win, no offense to Trixie fans out there. Kennedy Davenport deserved Ben's elimination spot, and Bebe was just a high-class feral bitch through and through, I almost wanted her to win. Almost, because I wanted Shangela to win. Yes, that Shangela. Shangela of Tulle-gate of Season 3. Shangela of the gift box. Shangela who kept referencing "Game of Thrones" throughout the season and then finally got Game of Thrones-ed herself during the finale. 
Post a Comment