Mank, Federico Fellini, Ford Fairlane and More: My Films of the Week #11

As a lifelong cinephile, I have always consumed a copious amount of films. In this new feature, I keep track of the films I watch during the week. (Also, Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!)

 

The Adventures of Ford Fairlane
dir. Renny Harlin
USA, 1990

I cannot be the only person in the world who feels this ’90s classic is criminally underrated and should be re-evaluated. A perfect vehicle for Andrew “Dice” Clay. This film is a surrealist comedy take on old noir tropes, viewed through the lens of a cocaine addict. That’s the best way I can describe this highly entertaining rollercoaster ride of a movie.

 

Ginger and Fred
dir. Federico Fellini
Italy/France/West Germany, 1986

A dancing couple, popular in wartime entertainment, reunites on a trashy TV show decades after becoming estranged. This may be one of Fellini’s funniest movies. But his take on television is not a condemning satire; he chooses instead to be fascinated by its eccentricity and the colorful, bizarre characters that populate it.

 

Curfew
dir. Amir Ramses
Egypt, 2020

A daughter reunites with her estranged mother, fresh out of jail, over the course of one night. Amir Ramses takes on taboos in Egyptian society, occasionally stumbling on the restrictions he imposes on his film – namely the fact that it mostly takes place in one location and over a restrictive period of time. However, he also doesn’t exaggerate the drama and the subtlety works in its favor.

 

Mank
dir. David Fincher
USA, 2020

Another underwhelming biographical movie. Style over substance. This one explores the life of Herman J. Mankiewicz as he writes the screenplay of Citizen Kane. Even overlooking the historical inaccuracies, the character of Mankiewicz is too caricatural and Gary Oldman doesn’t seem to know how to approach it. Critics almost automatically seem to have fallen for it. But I’ll be damned if this film won’t be forgotten in a few years.

 

Lift Like a Girl
dir. Mayye Zayed
Egypt/Germany/Demark, 2020

A documentary on a group of young women trained as professional weightlifters in Alexandria, Egypt, by a larger-than-life character named Captain Ramadan. An inspiring observational documentary about a little-known story. Aside from it making you feel thankful for the potential of documentaries to captures such truths about life that would otherwise remain unseen, it also manages to make sophisticated observations on how concepts of gender shape perceptions and even communications in society.

 

Get Out
dir. Jordan Peele
USA, 2017

One of the most defining psychological thrillers of recent memory, brimming originality, including via its distinctly black perspective. The film draws on racial conflicts in America but never overplays metaphorical representation. The fact that it remains so grounded and gripping actually adds to its effectiveness. It’s fair to say that Get Out rightly granted Jordan Peele “master of horror” status.

 

Entertainment
dir. Rick Alverson
USA, 2015

Though it’s an American flick, it feels more influenced by Michelangelo Antonioni. Though it’s about a traveling comedian, this movie is an anti-comedy. Despite the title, this is not entertainment. In other words, this is kind of the opposite of anything you may expect on the surface. And that’s kind of the point, as well as why it works so well.

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