Comedy galore: Once upon a time… in Hollywood, A rainy day in New-York & others

After some weeks of inactivity due to illness and being lazy, I come back talking about four movies this time!

What’s your number? – Mark Mylod (2011)

I like movie genres. While it’s definitely not all there is, a genre has benefits.
Having usually a set rules to follow, those rules can either be broken, played with in lots of creative manners, or just as effectively be followed because they’re effective in the first place.
So I enjoy watching romantic comedies. A lot are truly terrible (I’m guessing), but it’s not difficult to make your pick, going from just okay to really well done.

I would not say this one is among the best, but it’s certainly an entertaining one.

What I probably like most in this are the performances.
The premise is definitely silly. It pokes fun at the pseudo-science that can be found in women’s magazines, and the shallow pursuits of upper-middle-class / wealthy socialites.
There is little-to-no surprise on how the overall plot goes, but that doesn’t take away the pleasure of following the characters around.
Even though most of them are stereotypical: the sister, the mother, the perfect rich guy, who of course is not that nice.
Anna Faris‘s quirky, self-destructive character, could appear somewhat unlikable at first, but I find her very endearing. She has a clumsy charm that makes you root for her.
Chris Evans is of course charming and carefree. He’s probably too good looking, that makes the outcome even more obvious as soon as you see him.

The movie has a string of succulent minor roles, Chris Pratt‘s probably being the best, along with Anthony Mackie and the Great Martin Freeman (did I tell you he was great?).
I’d say it’s a very american movie, which is in itself both a compliment and a criticism.
Obviously not among the best “rom-coms” (urgh…), but a very enjoyable one.

A rainy day in New-York – Woody Allen (2019)

I only have seen a few Woody Allen films, and every time I enjoyed myself a lot.
But as always I’m not very good at following up on good ideas, so I’ve yet to watch the other good ones I missed.

But every time I say the same thing to myself, this is good cinema.
Woody Allen has a great sense of setting up an atmosphere, be it oppressive and claustrophobic like in the fabulous Match Point and Cassandra’s Dream, or a more elegant, laid-back one like in Midnight in Paris or in this movie.

The main trio of young actors did wonders for me.
Elle Fanning is possibly the best one. She’s cute, charming, funny, awkward, and really kind of dumb too.
Timothée Chalamet is romantic, broody, bored, but he’s a delight to follow around.
Selena Gomez is sexy, spunky and intriguing.

And the supporting roles are just fantastic, Liev Schrieber, Jude Law and Diego Luna helplessly falling in love with naive Ashleigh, being all miserable and ridiculous in their own way.
In a proper Allen way, you are shown the ridicule, the vanity of most those characters, but it never feels like resentment or hate, it is lighthearted, some kind of ironic glee that scoops you up and doesn’t let you go.

I don’t talk about much framing, lighting and other technical aspects (cause I know jack sh*t about it…) but at times it struck me, there are some really beautifully shot scenes. Outside “Yardley”, the rainy streets of New-York,
the carefully placed light reflecting on Elle Fanning’s face and hair, it was just magnificent.

I’ll definitely re-watch this later on, and this made me want to see more of Woody Allen’s work.

The Hangover – Todd Phillips (2009)

It is one of those movies that works particularly well at first viewing, in the the theater with the whole room laughing. It was definitely a fun experience then.
Watching it again in your living room takes a loooooot away from it.
I still like it though, the main trio is working well enough to avoid being bored. There are some fun ideas, ridiculous situations that can still make you smile even if you know what happens.
I’d say without Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms, this could truly be terrible. I get the awkwardness of Zach Galifianakis, but I just don’t like him that much.
Jeffrey Tambor has a minor role but is very funny.

I don’t have fond memories about both sequels, the second installment being a rehash of the first, but just worse in every way.
The third one at least tried things, but I seem to remember it fell completely flat.

So yet another franchise where they definitely should have stopped at the first one.

Once upon a time … in Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino (2019)

For years I’ve been only half-sold on Quentin Tarantino. Each movie I watched I enjoyed, I think the only one I haven’t seen is The Hateful Eight. But the constant (over)praise, the “genius” thrown ad nauseam have always had some negative effect on my overall perception of his work.
But with this one I’m totally on board! I think this might be my favorite Tarantino movie.
It’s so unique, so different than anything else you can see these days, especially with that big of a budget and actors of that caliber.

Brad Pitt is absolutely great in this, Cliff Booth is such a likable character. Bad-ass cool guy with an air of mystery to him.
Leonardo DiCaprio‘s performance as aging TV star Rick Dalton has been vastly understated in my opinion. This role brings him a lot to do and as usual all he does is perfect. So many little details like the stutter, the anxious looks, the coughing.
Margot Robbie‘s character is a glowing presence, she’s definitely not a major character by normal standards, but she contributes greatly to the dream-like atmosphere.
Speaking of that, it is a very important part in this film. You’re transported into this version of LA, that probably never really existed, and you don’t want to leave it.

It is a very peculiar movie, in the sense that you could think not a lot happens, but of course it’s not that simple. The long dialog (or even silent) scenes tell you a great deal about who these people are.
There are two very intense scenes, the first with Cliff encountering the “family” for the first time, and the nerve wracking final piece.
The former builds the tension very well, to end up falling apart like a joke, and the latter suddenly changes the pace and gives us a cathartic explosion of violence, tonally completely different from the rest of the movie. And it’s glorious!
I know very little about cinema, but I definitely know this is among the best stuff that I have seen. The ending leaves you a bittersweet taste, the movie and the characters stay with you for days after watching it. What more could you want?

I’d be very sad if we only get one more movie out of Tarantino.
Though now I will probably see his previous work under a new light.

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