Christmas Song and Dance

Well, here we are. Christmas Day, and finally you can catch up to the TIFF People’s Choice award-winner as it rolls into theatres on its way to Oscar glory (or at least a few Golden Globes). Some other stuff is opening too, but honestly? There’s only one movie you need to see.

Fences: Denzel Washington can be a compelling and vital actor, but he’s never been an especially distinguished director. His lack of filmmaking chops becomes a particular liability in this leaden attempt to bring August Wilson’s stage play to life; he compensates for the lack of cinematic juice by turning up the acting, and it doesn’t work. (Viola Davis maintains a certain steadfast dignity, but then she always does.) Glenn nails it.

Ghostland: The View of the Ju/’Hoansi: Simon Stadler’s documentary is being billed as a real-life version of The Gods Must Be Crazy. Okaaaay.

Hidden Figures: Theodore Melfi’s follow-up to St. Vincent stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae as Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — three black women who were of crucial importance to NASA during the space race. Susan feels much the same way I did about it: It’s a good story, told in a manner as meticulously calculated as any of its heroes’ equations.

La La Land: Gosling and Stone, together again — and singing and dancing, because god dammit we need this right now. One of the best films of the year; go see it and lose yourself for a couple of hours over the holiday.

Why Him?: I haven’t seen this one, but as far as I can tell it’s just Bryan Cranston and James Franco making faces at each other for an hour and a half in a next-gen subversion of Meet the Parents? Anyway, Rad hated it.

That’s that! Check back on Tuesday for a brand new episode of Someone Else’s Movie, assuming I don’t die of turkey before I finish the edit.

2 thoughts on “Christmas Song and Dance”

  1. Dear Mr Wilner,

    I love the podcast and it’s introduced me to so many films and also reaffirmed my love for favorites of my own. It’s so interesting to hear other people’s takes on these wonderful pieces of art. I’m curious – what are your top 5 films of all time? Everyone else gets to voice theirs somewhat on the show.. How about you? Please keep it all going. I’m such a fan. Happy holidays

    1. “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Jaws” are at the very top of the list, with “2001: A Space Odyssey” immediately behind them. And then it gets a little fuzzy. Truffaut’s “Day for Night”, Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai”, Scorsese’s “GoodFellas”, Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors”, Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, Donen and Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain”, McTiernan’s “Die Hard”, Boyle’s “Trainspotting”, Scott’s “Alien”, Wright’s “Shaun of the Dead” … I can’t imagine my life without any of them, really.

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