Wednesday, August 8, 2018

One out of three ain't bad

Just want to park a few reactions to recent films I've seen.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a big disappointment -- especially since Martin McDonagh made the wonderful In Bruges. The whole thing is inauthentic. There isn't a real character in it, just an assemblage of posits -- which extends to the titular community. It's a schematic chess game that feels as ungrounded as Antonioni's Zabriskie Point. Maybe McDonagh, too, can only make movies about his native land.

Eighth Grade, in contrast, is excellent. The characters are fully imagined, which frees Bo Burnham and the cast to be improvisational and tenderly vulnerable. The social media schtick is perfectly serviceable, but it's not what really matters here.

Sorry to Bother You is another dud. Incomprehensibly praised as a clever social satire, it's sophomorically crude and clunky. Lakeith Stanfield is an appealing performer, and his charm and chops keep us watching. But there's no serious idea about the world here, and no amount of charm can overcome the middle-school happy-with-itself-ness.

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