Cinema Sat…er…Sunday, 6/20/21

Saint Maud

Year: 2019
Runtime: 1h 24m
Rated: R

Director: Rose Glass

Writer: Rose Glass

Stars: Morfydd Clark, Caoilfhionn Dunne, Jennifer Ehle

Initial: Saint Maud has been recommended to me by a few people. I’m expecting something fairly mind-bendy.

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead)
Saint Maud was more straight-forward than I expected, probably because I put Maud/Katie into the category of unreliable narrator pretty early on in the film. That said, it’s a well-made film. This is the feature debut for writer/director Rose Glass and her cinematographer Ben Fordesman. Maud’s world is alternately dream-like/nightmare-ish and grungily real. The movie hangs on the performance of Morfydd Clark and Jennifer Ehle, and both actresses nail their characters with nuanced performances. I’m really interested Rose Glass’s future projects.


Extraction

Year: 2020
Runtime: 1h 56m
Rated: R

Director: Sam Hargrave

Writers: Ande Parks, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Fernando León González

Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda

Initial: So I added a bunch of movies from different to-watch lists and randomly picked. First pick: Extraction.

Production Note: This movie was sort of a big deal when it came out last year, becoming a kind of proof-of-concept for a “big” film opening on a streaming service (not that it had much choice).

What Did I Think:
After Eric watched this movie, on my recommendation, he described it thusly: “It’s like a reverse trolley problem. There’s one person on the main track, but this plot switches rails to kill sixty people on the other track.” He’s not wrong…

This movie felt very retro to me, very 80s actions movie. There’s lots of violence. The bad guys are Evil. The good guy is honorable. There’s pathos! There’s humor! There’s an extraction team that doesn’t seem to be a very good extraction team… And there’s also an 10 minute “no-cut” action sequence. I am not a fan of the super rapid, choppy cutting that happens in many 2000s action films (the Transformer films stand out to me as being fairly egregious), but I’m on the fence about long, no-cut POV scenes too. On one hand, the lack of cut builds tension. On the other hand, it can fall into feeling like video game play. No doubt, stitching 36 scenes into one continuous sequence (which is what Hargrave does here) is a feat, I’m just not sure it completely serves the movie.


1BR

Year: 2019
Runtime: 1h 30m
Rated: TV-MA

Director: David Marmor

Writer: David Marmor

Stars: Nicole Brydon Bloom, Giles Matthey, Taylor Nichols

Initial: Random movie #2!

Production Note: The second feature debut of a writer/director in this post.

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead)
First off, I’m tired of women getting tortured in horror films. It’s probably a trope that I just need to avoid. I’ve come to find it distasteful and lazy. Could the premise of 1BR work with a 20 year-old guy? Yeah, more or less.

Maybe you can fault me for this not being a good-faith argument, but Sarah (our protagonist) is doing fine at the beginning of this movie. She’s moved to Los Angeles on her own. Sure, she didn’t immediately break into costume design (she hasn’t been in LA long), but she has a job and she’s looking for an apartment. Other than lying about her cat, she doesn’t have any notable sins/vices that require cult-like reprogramming. Is the message of this movie that if you don’t have immediate success, you’re so broken you need intervention? Also, are apartment showings like that in LA? A dozen people milling around a one bedroom? It seemed bizarre to me. The bright spot is Nicole Brydon Bloom. She really does a fine job with the role.

A similar, better movie: The Invitation (2015).

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