July 22, 2017

Dunkirk

Chris Nolan dazzles with his complete mastery of film craft in this stunning chapter of World War II history.  Some viewers feel Dunkirk is not a complete success because it's a war movie that's not "about" anything. I admit I left the theater thinking "yes it's masterful moviemaking but what for?" The theme of the movie is "war is stupid and pointless and inhuman" full stop. Nolan felt this history needed to be shown on the big screen, and in 2017 he has the clout and tools to do it. Perhaps he feels that justifies its existence alone, and perhaps "war is hell" is enough of a theme. My Stub Hubby Grade: A (Somerville Theater, screen 1, in dazzling 70mm, with Adam)

Also By Chris Nolan on Stub Hubby

July 15, 2017

Sing (again)

Took my boy to see Sing (again) at the DCR Sylvester Baxter Riverfront Park in Somerville at sunset; with Bobbi and Roo.

July 7, 2017

163 She Dances

  1. "Ride", ZZ Ward, featuring Gary Clark Jr. from CARS 3
  2. "Linus & Lucy" (live), Los Straightjackets
  3. "I Got You (At The End of the Century)", Wilco
  4. "Time Spent In Los Angeles", The singer from Dawes still sounds like Daryl Hall...
  5. "Fall In Philadelphia", Hall & Oates ...so I found this smooth early soul track that pairs well!
  6. "Say Goodbye To Hollywood", Ronnie Spector & The E Street Band: Billy Joel wrote this song, and recorded a fine performance of it, but it clearly belongs to Ronnie Spector.
  7. "You & Me", Dave Matthews Band
  8. "Helena Beat", Foster The People
  9. "Favorite Waste of Time", I am very fond of this Marshall Crenshaw song, and Bette Midler's cover is very nice.
  10. "Right By Your Side", Until this summer I don't think I had ever head this Eurythmics song! It's so silly and frivolous, it seems out of character for this otherwise serious duo.
  11. "Alive Again", Trey Anastasio
  12. "Adventure of a Lifetime", Coldplay
  13. "Green Light", Lorde: when this song came out I complained to my wife that it didn't belong on rock stations because it was a pure pop song. I complained that rock radio was playing it because she was too popular to ignore. My wife replied that I was being sexist and I would feel differently about the same song from a male group. I gave it some thought, and she's right. I can easily imagine Coldplay releasing "Green Light" and I would not have made the same complaint.
  14. "People Got a Lotta Nerve", Neko Case
  15. "Bad Boy", The Beatles
  16. "Shine On Me", Dan Auerbach
  17. "Sail On, Sailor", The Beach Boys
  18. "Kings Highway", James Bay, from CARS 3
  19. "Burden In My Hand", Soundgarden: RIP Chris Cornell!
  20. "Going Under", Devo
  21. "One Of These Days", Pink Floyd: this song is not terrible, but Pink Floyd is on my list of Bands I Don't Like But Everyone Else Does, along with Bob Marley and the Allman Brothers.

Baby Driver

I hoped and expected to love this movie.
I am a big fan of Edgar Wright, and I enjoy fast driving heist movies, so Baby Driver should have been a slam dunk.
Something about the movie just didn't click with me.
Maybe the movie is too self-indulgent? Wright has always tightly integrated pop and rock music into his movies, in a deeply thoughtful Scorsese method, but this obsession with music-as-soundtrack is foregrounded here. Baby listens to music on his earbuds all day long, and literally choreographs his getaways to specific songs.
The title walk-dance-lip sync sequence (perhaps an homage to Shaun's walk to the shop for a Cornetto in Shaun of the Dead?) isn't as charming as Wright hopes it will be.
My other problem with Baby Driver is Baby- he's an essentially passive protagonist, entangled with a Mob boss who won't let him quit driving.
Ironically the guy who specializes in escaping from crime scenes cannot escape from his career as a getaway driver. It was hard to emotionally engage with such a lame hero who's escape plan includes saying "no" a couple of times, glowering, and sneaking away in the middle of the night.
Maybe I would have liked it better if it were funnier- it was easily the least comic project I've seen from Edgar Wright yet, and I did not find the gun battles, fight scenes, or car chases as innovative as I hoped for.
(Somerville Theater Screen 1, by myself because the sitter fell through)

July 4, 2017

Cars 3

Thanks to my son Hawkeye's obsession with vehicles, I may have seen Cars 1 more than any other Pixar movie. He likes Ratatouille, Nemo, Toy Story 1, and Bug's Life too, but there was a time when Cars 1 was his favorite. He doesn't watch it much anymore- thankfully that phase has passed - but I learned to hate Cars 1 a few years ago, which wasn't hard because it was my lowest-ranked Pixar movie from the first time I saw it. (I truly despised Cars 2, but thankfully I only saw it once.)
So I was not thrilled to see Cars 3 on Independence Day, but taking my son to the movies is a sweet Dad Job so I was still happy to do it.
Cars 3 surprised me. It's got a great heart, some surprises at the end, and it's visually gorgeous, easily the best-looking Pixar movie yet. It's not great moviemaking like Ratatouille, Nemo, The Incredibles, or Toy Story 2, but Cars 3 is better than Cars 1, and can stand on its own too. You could see it without seeing Cars 1 with no problems - they pretend Cars 2 never happened and you should too!
My Stub Hubby Grade: B-plus.
Moviegoing Notes: My son Hawkeye is seven and a half, so he's old enough that I take him to the movies regularly now. This is skewing my movie-going history, not in a bad way per se.
I've been to the movies about 800 times in the last quarter century, but this is only the fifth time I've seen a sequel in a movie theater unless I saw the original in the theater too. This is only the second time I've seen a Part 3 in the theater without seeing Part 1 or 2 in the theater first.