Intelligent and Believable! Burnt Orange Heresy

Burnt Orange Heresy, from a Charles Willeford’s novel, has been spun into a marvelous screenplay by Scott B. Smith (nominated for a screenplay Oscar back in 1999) and film directed by Giuseppe Capotondi.

Set in Italy, Claes Bang (absolutely fantastic in the foreign film The Square and currently playing Dracula on Netflix) plays an edgy art expert, very similar to the role in the aforementioned Academy Award nominated film.

In Burnt Orange Heresy, a tryst involving an American tourist, played realistically by Elizabeth Debicki, brings them to a castle owned by mega wealthy art collector, coyly portrayed by none other than Mick Jagger.

Low and behold, down the wooden path from Mick’s castle, lives reclusive artist Donald Sutherland. And here I ask, need I say more? Power house acting, superbly suspenseful, gorgeous music and cinematography, Burnt Orange Heresy is great escape from our new normal.

Three (new films) for the Road (Couch): Arkansas, The Wrong Missy, & Deerskin

I’m slipping folks, between Covid 19 c blocking my movie theater experience and a new temp job, my review writing has gone out the window like a worn out mask.

But here’s three new films I watched this week from the old couch or recliner:

Arkansas: I’ve come to adore Vince Vaughn, in fact, gosh darn it, I’m going to go to his filmography and try to catch up. There’s something about his dark side and hapless demeanor that makes me sympathize more with him than his machismo contemporary Ben Affleck. In Arkansas, he plays a no nonsense drug runner. The cast is also supported by the genius John Malkovich, another guy, akin to Jeff Goldblum or John Goodman, whose performance, you know, can make even a bad movie, great. Rounding out the cast were lesser knowns (Liam Helmsworth, formerly Mr. Miley Cyrus and CLARK DUKE, in caps since he directed the movie and actually hails from Arkansas). Definitely worth a rental and much better than the lame 49% Rotten Tomatoes.

The Wrong Missy: I also confess to love David Spade’s humor. I could watch the guy eat toast and find it funny, so Adam Sandler’s produced The Wrong Missy, while hideously dumb in parts, had me in the over ten fingers worth of laugh out louds. Lauren Lapkus is a comedic genius and I predict she’ll be the next Melissa McCarthy as far as star power. Directed by Harvard grad/stand up comedian (how’s that for oxymoron?) Tyler Spindel, the movie’s tropical hotel cinematography is quite grand. I also have to mention a minor character who really made me laugh, Nick Swardson.

Deerskin: Last, but not least, those crazy French…written and directed by Quentin Dupieux, starring Jean Dujardin (Academy Award Winner for The Artist) is a comedy horror flick about a guy unhinged after a marital break up. And wow, knew she looked familiar but Adele Haenel (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) plays his side kick. A great movie for PETA folks seeking vengeance, this film is well written and acted.

Feeling like a teenager again, “The Gift”

The Gift

I’d like to personally thank Joel Edgerton for “The Gift” for making me like being scared again. Not since I gave up horror flicks back in the 80’s due to my hyper guilt feelings/PTSD while watching “Fun House”, have I enjoyed a scary movie. Thank you also for not having to gore us to death. There was less violence in this film than Straight Outta Compton.

And both actors were excellent. Rebecca Hall made what could have been a whiney female role, seem not only plausible, but sympathetic. Jason Bateman, as usual, kicks ass. I mean, come on, this guy excels at comedy (Bad Words, Arrested Development) and at drama (DisConnect, very underrated film) and now this.
And let’s not leave out Gordo the Weirdo (Edgerton’s character in The Gift) since he not only wrote and directed the whole thing, but played the third pivotal role as well! Superb, superb, he also made a creepy guy seem just a smidge enough normal to keep us guessing the entire movie (and that’s not a spoiler, there’s more twists and turns in this than Rodeo Drive, trust me).

Probably most fun on the big screen, but no matter where, see it to experience the old roller coaster days, but none of the violence induced vomit of Jason in Halloween-esque suspense.

Birdman vs. Nightcrawler

Fifty years ago, my title (Birdman vs. Nightcrawler) might have sounded like a new idea from the creators of Mothra vs. Godzilla (Okawara, 1964), but nope, this is my humble blog.

First, Birdman. The alphabet soup of screenwriters (Inarritu, Giacobone, Dinelans and Bo) probably should apologize to Michael Keaton. He won’t win the Oscar. And my claim is that he won’t win because the movie was stripped of dramatic impact due to the supernatural ‘fireworks’. Yes, the film’s original, yes it has great dialogue hurled at mind spinning velocity. Yet today, I don’t think writers trust a dramatic story enough unless there’s some type of fireworks, explosions or car crashes. And it could be that I’m the weird one, that the masses will no longer go see a movie unless an explosion or two occurs. I would just like to see Birdman again, without the physical super power delusions of the actor to see if I was more moved by the film’s conclusion. Again, just to clarify, Michael Keaton was incredible and the couple of scenes where he’s speaking on the verge of crying, were unbelievably real and profound.

Second, Nightcrawler. Here’s the shame of this film. The main character Louis brought to life better than Frankenstein’s monster by Jake Gyllenhaal should win an award, but will surely be bowled over by the holiday blockbusters. The story of the movie, while unique, is solid, but lacks the hyperbole necessarily to sustain Oscar momentum. To me, though, I’d love to see JG get nominated for best actor and Gilory nominated for a new award I am creating:) called Most Original Character Writing. If you haven’t seen Nightcrawler, go. If you are autistic, an idiot savante, go see Nightcrawler. If you are simply sick of unreal explosions and super powers, go see, go see Nightcralwer. If you think Too Many Cooks ISN’T ‘genius’, go see Nightcrawler.

In Birdman vs. Nightcralwer, feathers fly and Nightcrawler comes out the victor.