Malcolm & Marie, Ladies Before Gentlemen

Ok, I made a choice this weekend to avoid cancer (as in Our Friend) and instead chose a Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf one percenter first world problems debate in Malcom and Marie. Why you ask? Sam Levinson, who produced Pieces of a Woman, wrote and directed Malcolm & Marie, that’s why.

And I both relished and cringed at his evening long battle royale between a gorgeous couple: John David Washington (Black Klansman) and Zendaya (Spiderman and Euphoria neither of which I was hip to). The film’s second saving grace, after watching gorgeous people get figuratively ugly, was the fetching black and white (Kodak, yeah Rochester) film. Like Mank, the black and white choice leads to a more intimate experience with characters, there’s not the distraction of ‘impediment’ of color.

As realistic as the debate was (a woman scorned is never good optics for a man and also never a dignified look for the victim either) it’s basically a lose-lose situation. Yet try as they might this very equal and eloquent couple battles back in forth in one of those fights that we’ve all had…one that ebbs and flows and just when you think a resolution has occurred, up comes more grievances and resentments.
One scene that bothered me was the parallel brushing of teeth…I’m not an oral hygiene watching fan, hence think that was wasted time. Beyond that the movie was worth watching on the big screen at CineBistro. I highly doubt I would have hung in there simply watching on my Netflix big screen. Thanks Jack!

Spike Lee’s Signature: Blackkklansman

I enjoy Spike Lee. God Bless him, seriously, every movie he makes really tries to do what his first big film was actually titled, “Do The Right Thing”. And every movie he makes definitely has his signature. Kooky graphics, mystical camera tricks, and ‘hit you over the head morality’. He also has the gift of Scorsese, meaning he’s rich enough that he can pour everything but the kitchen sink into one film, without having to regard any advisers or editors going, “Maybe you could trim back a bit”.

The acting was rock solid. John David Washington, the star of the movie, didn’t have to show great range, yet, he was terrific. Adam Driver, also, isn’t the king of stretching, but can be damn serious and still interestingly watchable all day long. The poor saps that had to play the angry Klansman (Topher Grace as David Duke) were all good, too, even though cringe worthy to watch such hate or even fathoming that type of person existing in the world.

I thought Colorado Springs was an interesting setting choice, being ignorant to the Klan and merely assuming it was mostly south of the Mason Dixon line. And wow, if you check out History vs. Hollywood, you’ll find out just how true the movie is AND, having not read John David Washington’s IMDB bio, I just learned that he is the son of Denzel Washington! Having not seen many interviews or entertainment shows, I think it’s great that they didn’t lead with this, letting JDW stand on his own merit. So a two-fer for me in learning important history as well as trivial movie relationships.

Blackkklansman is definitely worth seeing. Is it a perfect film? No. Spike wraps the plot up too quickly and neatly for deep emotional resonance in order to make his other points, but that’s ok, that’s Spike and I like him. He’s trying to get us to wake up and be nice and there’s nothing ever wrong about that.