Over the weekend, I saw three movies and an opera. Here are some brief reactions.
Lady Bird – Written and directed by actress Greta Gerwig, who's has other screenplays to her credit. I liked it all the way through, and loved much of it. But I didn’t “loooove” it as much as many reviewers because (for my taste) it was more episodic than I prefer, and for a character study, the characters don't change much. But one doesn’t have to “looove” something to still like it a lot and admire it. And I enjoyed it very much. And though Saorise Ronan is getting the deserved star attention, Laurie Metcalf in particular is great.
Geostorm – Utterly popcorn silliness, but well-produced, great effects, and to its credit only about 90 minutes, not a long, drawn-out epic like so many of these try to do to give themselves more "heft." This accepts that it's just light-hearted folderol and so it zips through without being overbearing and pretentious. And as a result I thought it was fun to watch and then move on.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. – Written and directed by Dan Gilroy, who also made the well-crafted and eerie, Nightcrawler. Very good, though it is a little slow for a while to get going, taking about an hour for the first substantive plot turn, being largely character-driven up to that point. But (and this is critical) it’s never boring during this first hour because Denzel Washington is so utterly terrific. I was absolutely fascinated by the character that's being developed, so going along for the ride until things turn was a pleasure.
And then I went to the L.A. Opera on Sunday to see Verdi’s Nabucco because Placido Domingo was in it. I’m not a big opera fan (though oddly I’m okay listening to it), but this was enjoyable, and this Domingo guy has a future in him. Mark my words. I think it was also the first opera I've seen with super-titles, which I know have been around for a while. But that's how few operas I go to. Though a little distracting, they certainly make a big difference for following things. Combined with reading the plot beforehand, it sure helps. Anyway, I'll be curious to see what this Domingo fellow does next.
By the way, back to Roman J. Israel, Esq., there's a terrific trailer that gets across much of why Denzel Washington is to tremendous in the role -- but it also gives away some of the big plot twists, so I'm not going to post it here. This short clip doesn't do his full work justice, but it does give a sense of it. The scene comes near the beginning, where he has been working as the hard-working grunt in a three-person law office for a great many years, doing the research and court filings for the firm's owner, whose daughter has just told Roman he had a massive heart attack.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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