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Cinema Saturday, 1/23/21

Eastern Promises

Year: 2007
Runtime: 1h 40m
Rated: R

Director: David Cronenberg

Writer: Steven Knight

Stars: Naomi Watts, Viggo Mortensen, Armin Mueller-Stahl

Sentimental value? Ah. I’ve heard of that.

Initial: Re-watch. As my husband noted, “I remember that being a solid movie, but I don’t remember anything else about it.”

What Did I Think:
You know, barring some of his more recent movies that I haven’t seen, this is probably the most normal of David Cronenberg’s film. It’s really just a gangland drama. Don’t get me wrong, it is well done; this is a solid movie, but it lacks that extra Cronenberg weirdness. I guess that can be either a bug or a feature depending on your point of view. And, yeah, I didn’t really remember much of the plot. I enjoyed it like the first time I watched it!

In & Of Itself

Year: 2020
Runtime: 1h 30m
Rated: N/R

Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Derek DelGaudio

Stars: Derek DelGaudio

Initial: I had heard numerous magicians on numerous podcasts talking about how good Derek DelGaudio’s stage show was, but, dang, the Hulu summary makes it sound painfully pretentious.

What Did I Think:
Listen, In & Of Itself is probably best watched cold, without knowing anything else about it. If you have Hulu, maybe you want to delay reading the rest of this until you’ve watched it.

In & Of Itself is the teleplay version of DelGaudio’s very successful one-man show. DelGaudio combines personal narrative and storytelling with some really impressive magic effects. One of the most interesting things to me is the variety of magic during the show, throughout only six set pieces. If a magician got up on stage and just rapid-fired the tricks, they wouldn’t hold together as a show. Instead, DelGaudio makes an anthology of them with a gentle wrap-around narrative. He is an extremely proficient card handler, but it’s the non-corny mentalism at the climax of the show that is outstanding—mostly because it wears none of the trappings of mentalism.