film fatales #102: jane eyre (susanna white, 2006)
movies 2020

what i watched

V for Vendetta (James McTeigue, 2005). Missed this one somehow along the way. Not a great movie, but pretty good, and up my alley, so I have no idea why it took me 15 years to finally watch it. The Wachowskis adapted the graphic novel. Hugo Weaving from their Matrix movies plays the title character ("V") and does a great job without ever getting to show his face, which is hidden throughout by a Guy Fawkes mask. There are hints of 1984 and Mr. Robot, although in the case of the latter, the influence goes in the other direction, Mr. Robot coming out a decade after this film. Natalie Portman shines, and there's the usual who's who of British actors: Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt. Sinéad Cusack turns up for an emotional scene. Creative and dystopian, at least until what passes for a happy ending.

African-American Directors Series/Geezer Cinema: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (George C. Wolfe, 2020). Oscar bait, which in this case I don't mean as an insult. Ruben Santiago-Hudson's screenplay from August Wilson's play hits the high points, and the direction from George Wolfe gets out of the way of the great performances, which are the main reason to see the film. Those performances are noteworthy from top to bottom, but the ones you'll hear about are from Viola Davis as Ma Rainey and Chadwick Boseman as her trumpet player, Levee. Davis will likely get a Best Actress nomination, although she's on screen for less than half-an-hour. You can believe that all of the men are intimidated by her ... Davis carries a lot of power in her characterization. Boseman is every bit as good as you've heard, and yes, he'll get some nostalgic sympathy because this is his last role, but he doesn't need our sympathy. He almost overpowers the movie, not an easy feat when dealing with co-stars like Glynn Turman and Colman Domingo. Wolfe does everything he can to make the setting feel authentic, but he doesn't try too hard to "open up" the film ... he trusts Wilson's play enough not to mess with it. The result is too often stagy, and your appreciation of the film will depend in part on how much that staginess bothers you. I can't say I was bothered, but at times it did draw my attention away from what I should have been watching. Still, I've never held this against A Streetcar Named Desire.

Since my wife and I retired, we decided to have a weekly date at the movies. We call it Geezer Cinema. We take turns picking movies. We watched 32 (through Emma.) before the virus sent us to our living room.

Letterboxd list of all Geezer Cinema movies


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