GONE GIRL

gone1What begins as a thought-provoking examination of a made-in-heaven marriage undone by the Great Recession turns into a tedious, misogynist–& very long–riff on FATAL ATTRACTION. Bummer! Dickens is great in a big role & Sela Ward shines in a walk-on, but otherwise this latest Oscar Bait from Fincher reeks of desperation. Adapted by Gillian Flynn from her best-selling novel. (JLH: 3/5)

Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku.

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Review of Gone Girl by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky

Gone Girl is the seductive, disturbing tale of a man accused of murdering his wife – interesting and thrilling up until it isn’t. The last 20 minutes of the film strip away anything engaging from the previous two hours (yes, two hours). The David Fincher-directed film is a compelling rollercoaster ride for the first two-thirds, but ultimately ends up hollow, unsatisfying, and jam-packed with layers that unsuccessfully translate from text to screen.

Gillian Flynn’s adapted story from her own novel follows “Nick Dunne” (Ben Affleck), a failed magazine journalist who moves from New York City to recession-hit Missouri with his stunningly beautiful, yet unhappy wife Amy Elliot. The first half of the film unfolds on two tracks, the first in present day; when Nick comes home to find Amy missing, the authorities try to solve her disappearance by questioning him, dissecting the house for clues, and holding a nation-wide press conference urging people to call “1-855-4-AMY-TIPS.” The other track is narrated by Amy herself, journaling the story of how “Nick and Amy” came to be and flashing back to happier times. From their first meeting to their engagement, Amy narrates how their once-fairytale love story went from infatuation to satisfaction to “This man of mine might kill me.” (Side note: Amy should have spent some of her unemployment time taking drama classes).

From there, the mystery unfolds until it is prematurely solved and the bizarre epilogue-type story takes over. There are so many scenes and elements from the book that are included in the movie that cover too much ground for a feature-length film. First, there’s the overly complicated love story of Nick and Amy, where the audience is trying to figure out who is the more sympathetic (or pathetic) character. Then, there’s the investigation with the police, with “Detective Rhonda Boney” (Kim Dickens) and “Officer Jim Gilpin” (Patrick Fugit) following the clues of Amy’s disappearance with the assistance of Nick’s lawyer “Tanner Bolt” (Tyler Perry). There’s Amy’s parents, famous novelists for their Amazing Amy series about a fictional girl named Amy that accomplished everything their daughter couldn’t. There’s the relationship between Nick and his loyal, bartender twin sister “Margo” (Carrie Coon). And then there’s the most out-of-the-blue storyline of Amy’s stalker “Desi Collings” (Neil Patrick Harris). Although every storyline tied together nicely for a good portion of the film, the lack of resolution makes it all seem pointless. It’s almost as if the rollercoaster we were on for an hour and a half chugged to the top, dropped a little bit making us think it was going to be thrilling, and then anticlimactically coasted in a straight line, coming to a dead stop and making all the hype lead to absolutely nothing.

There were so many elements laid out that could have made this film the best of the year, from Rosamund Pike as disturbed, doe-eyed Amy to Ben Affleck and his unreadable characterization of Nick, making you wonder, “Did he do it? No, he couldn’t have. Maybe he could have. I don’t know.” At the risk of using another metaphor, there was a volleyball bump, set, and unfortunately no spike. The casting, the direction, and the character development were there. The cinematography, the score, and the editing made the past and present worlds seem eerie and mysterious. What failed was the trajectory of the story itself. What is supposedly a novel about the trials of marriage is more of an onscreen story about the unemployed sociopaths in suburban Missouri.

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Review © Brigid K. Presecky (10/03/14)

Top Photo: Ben Affleck as “Nick Dunne” at his missing wife’s vigil

Bottom Photo: Kim Dickens as “Detective Rhonda Boney” and Patrick Fugit as “Officer Jim Gilpin” searching for clues in Amy’s disappearance

Q: Does Gone Girl pass the Bechdel Test?

Not really. There are scenes between Amy and other females, but they are completely centered on her tumultuous marriage to Nick. To me, the film is in no way a female-empowerment movie; it’s almost the opposite. From Amy’s character as a whole, to the foolish, pregnant neighbor and the Nancy Grace-type spokeswoman on TV, Gone Girl is the complete opposite of how women should be portrayed (and it’s surprisingly written by a woman herself). Margo and Detective Rhonda Boney were the only two female characters that had sensibility and substance and were not pigeonholed like the rest of the women caricatures.

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THE GOOD LIE

TopSudanSomewhat didactic but ultimately very moving drama about how a small group of kids managed to survive the Sudanese Civil War, followed by years in a Kenyan refugee camp. Finally they arrive in the USA just before 9/11… where a new set of challenges awaits them.

Kudos to Reese Witherspoon for adding her star power in a supporting role as a Kansas City employment counselor. (JLH: 4/5)

Directed by Philippe Falardeau. Screenplay by Margaret Nagle. Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku. NOT YET SEEN BY RICH.

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The Good Lie is based on the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, caught in the mid 1990s civil war between the Arabic North Sudan and the Christian South. The film begins with young cattle herder “Mamere,” (Arnold Oceng) on a very placid, peaceful day, carousing with his large extended tribal family when Islamic men arrive on horseback and kill every parent in their group. The surviving children walk for 300 miles through scrub Savannah to end up being turned away in Somalia. Starved and dehydrated, their only option is to head towards Kenya. But in the midst of their journey, leader “Theo,” (Femi Oguns) gives himself over to the Northern Sudanese soldiers to protect his siblings and cousins from being caught. When Theo is dragged off, Mamere becomes the chief by default and they struggle on, eventually making it to a Kenyan refugee camp.

The film jumps ahead years later from the children at the refugee camp to when they are young adults, with their tribal group dwindled down to only four original members. Mamere and two other young men, “Jeremiah” (Ger Duany) and “Paul,” (Emmanuel Jal) and a young woman “Abital,” (Kuoth Wiel) have been working in the refugee camp in Kenya for more than a decade. Since Mamere has gotten to know the inspirational clinicians from Doctors Without Borders at the camp’s medical clinic, he and his friends are inspired to enter their names on a list to go to America for better opportunities.

Mamere, Jeremiah, Paul, and Abital are notified of their acceptance and the four of them board a plane to the United States. When they land in what’s presumably JFK, the group is separated – the boys are allowed their own apartment in Kansas City and while Abital is sent to Boston (since no family in Kansas City wants to house a woman refugee). When the boys arrive in Kansas City, the scene shifts abruptly to employment counselor “Carrie” (Reese Witherspoon) in the bedroom with her casual love interest. Although her introduction is slightly melodramatic, an introduction to a star like Reese Witherspoon is somewhat appropriate. Carrie receives a call to pick the boys up and runs off to the airport, pissed off and rushed, to take them back to their rented apartment. After a quick tour, (i.e. “This is the refrigerator. This is how you turn on the lights.”) Carrie says she’ll be back to pick them up to start looking for jobs and leaves the three Sudanese boys looking at each other, wondering: What just happened? Where are we? What is going on?

Act Two takes a relatively predictable course as gruff Carrie slowly gets attached to the three young men and their transition to the United States. We meet Carrie’s boss, Vietnam veteran “Jack,” (Corey Stoll) who lets the boys visit his cattle ranch and get a glimpse of their old lives. The simplicity of dealing with the animals and their recollection of growing up in rural circumstances makes the boys long to go back instead of being stuck in a small apartment in Kansas City. Each boy finds a difficult job, with Jeremiah working as a stock clerk in a grocery store and offended by all the food that goes to waste. Even if it’s one day past expiration, they’re supposed to dump all the food into the dumpster, leading to tensions between the casual attitude Americans have toward privileges and the way a newcomer would look at these privileges. Paul, diligent and great at his factory job, and makes his Kansas City coworkers upset when his efficiency makes them look bad. In an attempt to slow his productivity and progress, the white-boy coworkers take Paul out and give him a joint, pulling him into a drugged-out haze. Mamere’s, meanwhile, is the only one who’s going to school and trying to balance his education while tiredly working as a parking attendant.

The entirety of Act Two is related to their adjustment to their new circumstances and environment, all the while communicating with Abital and becoming concerned with her absence in their lives. Carrie decides to help with the situation and offers her home to Abital so they can all be reunited, but in order to do so, she calls up “Pamela” (Sarah Baker) to help her clean up her messy apartment. The character of Pamela represents the people of the church fronting the money for refugees to come to the United States. People like her not only provide the bulk of the money, but the hands-on-care for refugees coming from all around the world. It’s impossible to underestimate the hands-on role that people in the church have played in making this possible for immigrants coming into the United States and the good work that they do.

The heavy-handed film was very emotional and very good, especially as the boys reunite with Abital in a beautiful, big reunification scene with the four of them together again. The rest of the film deals with their return to Kenya and the troubles refugees encountered after 9/11, from swapping out passports to changing identification – hence the title, The Good Lie. Overall, the film made important points about the way Americans live and amount of things we take for granted.

THE GOOD LIE

Review © Jan Lisa Huttner (10/19/14)

Top Photo: Okwar Jale as “Young Theo” leads his small group of siblings & cousins as they trek from South Sudan towards Kenya.

Bottom Photo from Left:  Arnold Oceng (“Mamere”), Emmanuel Jal (“Paul”), & Ger Duany (“Jeremiah”) begin new lives in Kansas City.

Photo Credits: Bob Mahoney

Q: Does The Good Lie pass the Bechdel Test? DigitalStampA

Yes, but it’s a squeaker.

In one funny scene, a kind woman named “Pamela” (Sarah Baker) who is affiliated with a Church sponsor helps “Carrie” (Reese Witherspoon) clean up her mess of an apartment, and afterwards they down a few too many shots of tequila. A warm and wonderful scene.

Otherwise, Carrie primarily interacts with the “Lost Boys of Sudan” now turned young men.

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Final Photo: Sarah Baker as “Pamela” with Reese Witherspoon as “Carrie,” celebrate the fact that Carrie’s apartment is clean–probably for the very first time!

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THE HERO OF COLOR CITY

Opens today in NYC. Review coming soon.

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MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN

donReview of Men, Women, and Children by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky

Jason Reitman’s outdated, extremist view on the evils of the Internet overshadows any redeeming qualities in Men, Women, and Children. Although there are truthful elements in each storyline, from extra-marital affairs and eating disorders to young love and helicopter parents, the film leans heavily towards melodrama and over-exaggeration.

The story follows families in an “unremarkable suburb” dealing with different problems in their technology-driven world. Independent of each other, “Helen” (Rosemarie DeWitt) and “Don” (Adam Sandler) turn to online dating and escort services to escape their marital rut, while their 15-year-old son “Chris” (Travis Tope) gets his sexual pleasure in online porn. Meanwhile, Chris’ partner for a school project, “Hannah” (Olivia Crocicchia) is posting scantily clad pictures on her modeling website in the hopes of becoming an actress, or better yet, a celebrity. Hannah’s failed-actress mother “Donna” (Judy Greer) is her Webmaster – snapping pictures, posting them, and more or less pimping out her daughter with “private modeling sessions.” It’s not long until Donna reveals her secret site to her divorcée love interest “Kent,” (Dean Norris) after meeting him at the neighborhood’s Internet safety group.

Kent deals with his own problems, however, and tries to get his son “Tim” (Ansel Elgort) back to normal life after his mother left them for California. When Tim finds out via Facebook that his mom is engaged to a new man, he finds comfort in an online role-playing game and companionship with classmate “Brandy” (Kaitlyn Dever). In the sweetest and most enjoyable portion of the film, Tim and Brandy bond over their similar attitudes towards their less-than-ideal mothers and innocently start to fall for each other. But Brandy’s psychotic, overbearing mother “Patricia” (Jennifer Garner) not only disapproves of the new relationship, but changes every password, reads every text, tracks her moves with a GPS, and digitally disguises herself as her daughter to turn Tim away.

In what is supposed to be a realistic take on Patriciaoverprotective parents, the film goes one step too far – with not only Patricia, but every character, including shy and anorexic “Allison” (Elena Kampouris). Wanting the attention of a pigheaded football player, Allison loses weight rapidly and becomes malnourished. She goes on websites with girls typing away advice on how to avoid eating dinner (i.e. smell the Shepherd’s Pie while gnawing on a celery stalk). Although this is an accurate portrayal of a teenage eating disorder, the film (once again) oversteps its realistic boundaries and has Allison sleep with the football player, brand herself with his name on her pelvic area, and then endure an ectopic pregnancy.

The main draw of Men, Women, and Children is the cast – and rightfully so. Although the A-list stars like Sandler and Garner do a fine job as their respective, unfunny characters, the standout performer is Ansel Elgort as the emotionally unstable “Tim.” Coming off of this year’s teen romance juggernaut in The Fault in Our Stars, Elgort nails his role once again and has even more chemistry with Dever than he did with Stars’ Shailene Woodley. The interactions between the long list of characters felt natural, proving that the pitfalls of technology are not the only thing these people have in common. They interact in person on a frequent basis throughout the film, which does even more to counteract Reitman’s and co-writer Erin Cressida Wilson’s views on how technology is ruining us.

The sweet, heart-wrenching moments of the film are well done, but unfortunately, those moments are clouded by the surrounding extremism. Yes, today’s teenagers are addicted to their phones. But no, not every single person at the mall is staring at their gadgets and not speaking to each other. The film was entertaining and the general ideas were there, but showing the Internet as the source of all evil is an cynical, outdated view that maybe would have worked better a decade ago.

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Review © Brigid K. Presecky (10/20/14)

Top Photo: Rosemarie DeWitt as “Helen” and Adam Sandler as “Don”

Middle Photo: Jennifer Garner as “Patricia”

Bottom Photo: Ansel Elgort as “Tim” and Kaitlyn Dever as “Brandy”

Q: Does Men, Women, and Children pass the Bechdel Test?DigitalStampA

Yes. Brandy and her stifling mother Patricia talk about what “protection” means and how being a teenager doesn’t give you the right to any privacy. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Donna and Hannah act more like friends or agent/client more so than mother/daughter. Both relationships are centered on digital problems rather than the men in their lives.

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THE SUPREME PRICE

Opens today in NYC. Review coming soon.

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MISUNDERSTOOD

aria1 Misunderstood is a fantastic cinematic memoir based on director Asia Argento’s childhood as the daughter of a famous filmmaker.

Primarily known as an actress in French films (like Catherine Breillat’s The Last Mistress), Argento collaborated with Italian writer Barbara Alberti to tell the story of her upbringing from the perspective of her nine-year-old self.

Is it all true? Well, it’s clearly true to the imagination of a child! (JLH: 4/5)

Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku.

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Semi-autobiographical film directed and co-written by Asia Argento  shows “Aria” (Giulia Salerno) and her famous family living in Rome circa 1984. Her volatile mother and handsome father (Charlotte Gainsbourg and Gabriel Garko) are a prosperous, well-to-do, French/Italian family with daughters from previous marriages, immediately setting up an opposition between the father and his daughter “Lucrezia” (Carolina Poccioni) and the mother and her daughter “Donatina” (Anna Lou Castoldi). Their one shared daughter–Aria–feels the monkey in the middle, so she finds comfort in her two consolations: best friend “Angelica” (Alice Pea) and “Dac” (the stray cat who she treats as a guardian angel).

Misunderstood is a wonderfully imaginative story about this young girl living in difficult family circumstances. Early on, her parents split up (which is obvious in the opening moments) and her father moves away with spoiled Lucrezia. When Aria acts up, and she is sent to live with her father, Lucrezia’s witch-like behavior provokes Aria into fights. Of course Lucrezia complains to “Padre” (who never gets his own name), and he sends Aria right back to her mother’s house.

At a certain point, as Aria treks back and forth between households with only her backpack and her cat, it becomes clear that some of this is “only” imagination–but no less deeply felt. Emotional story elements told from Aria’s POV are on the edge of reality; although it’s hard to believe that her childhood was totally chaotic, it must certainly have felt that way to her as a nine-year-old.

The other half of the story, aside from her difficult life with her parents and half-sisters, is her life in school and her relationship with Angelica. She and her best friend are typical “tweens.” They each refer to the other by the pet name “First” to indicate that they are best friends (i.e. you are “the first” to me). But at a certain point, as Aria’s life gets more and more out of control, one of the popular girls tries to peel Angelica away, making Aria feel even more abandoned. She is very bright and accomplished, but even being the daughter of a famous actor doesn’t fully protect Aria. And since the other kids intuitively respond to Aria as weird, imaginative, and kinda “out there,” it comes as no surprise when Angelica eventually has to choose between her BFF and all the rest.

Misunderstood pulled me into Aria’s wonderfully vivid reality, swirling with emotions and imaginative flights of fancy. I left with new insight into how a girl can find total comfort in the embrace of her big purring cat, even as she longs to find her place in the adult world.

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Review © Jan Lisa Huttner (10/06/14)

Top Photo: Giulia Salerno as “Aria”

Bottom Photo: Giulia Salerno as “Aria” with Carolina Poccioni as “Lucrezia” and Anna Lou Castoldi as “Donatina”

Q: Does Misunderstood pass the Bechdel Test? DigitalStampA

Absolutely, positively, yes. Although Aria does have some scenes with her father, most of Aria’s interactions are with her mother, her half-sisters, and her best friend. There are also a couple of small but significant scenes with her [female] teacher.

All in all, Aria’s world skews heavily and poignantly female… but what about Dac…? Who knows ;-)

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ADVANCED STYLE

Opens today in NYC. Review coming soon.

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THE BOXTROLLS

eggsReview of The Boxtrolls by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky

The Boxtrolls is the intricately animated adventure of a young boy raised by a group of box-clothed creatures in a dystopian, Gothic, and whimsical world. Although marketed to young children, this animated film is more for the world of Tim Burton lovers than any bubbly, colorful world expected from Pixar.

From the creators behind Coraline and Paranorman, the film is about a boy known for the box he’s always worn, “Eggs” (Isaac Hempstead Wright) who makes joyous music and lives underground in a fantastical world of gadgets and gismos – or so the posters and promotional material lead you to believe. The film is mostly the story of the terrifying, cross-dressing villain “Archibald Snatcher” (Ben Kingsley) whose only mission in life is get into White Hat Club of four, an elite group of men who sit around in a mansion and eat fancy cheese. Pathetically desperate Archibald tells the White Hat Club that Boxtrolls around town have kidnapped and eaten babies and makes a deal that if he (and his posse) kills every Boxtroll in Cheesebridge, he will have earned a white hat. The animation of Archibald himself could be a little upsetting for a teeny child, let alone the metaphors about genocide, government, and the class wars extremely evident to any adult viewer. Archibald and his three minions (anything but the adorable and loveable minions in the Despicable Me franchise) hunt the Boxtrolls for years. After being found, beaten, and kicked, the Boxtrolls are taken to Snatcher’s mysterious work camp where Eggs’ biological father has been hanging upside down for a decade.

Since Eggs was raised in the underground world of the Boxtrolls, he doesn’t realize he’s human until he befriends a snarky, independent redhead named “Winnie,” (Elle Fanning) the ignored daughter of the White Hat Club’s leader. The budding friendship of Eggs and Winnie grants a seldom bit of fun and light in an otherwise dark film. Winnie shows Eggs how humans behave above ground, showing him how to act at a party, shake a hand, and dance in fluid motion. Unfortunately, those adorable, heartwarming moments do not last nearly long enough. From there, the too-long film shows the ultimate rise of Archibald Snatcher as he attempts to kill each and every Boxtroll, eventually dangling scrawny Eggs above blazing fire. All because of what? A white hat? Honestly, I was too lazy to pick out each and every metaphor about our chaotic world, especially when Nightly News anchor Brian Williams informs me of the mess every night before dinner.

The animation was spectacular. The vivid, 3D picture and attention to every detail in the world of Cheesebridge was spectacularly well done. You can see how much work went into making this film and taking everything in was one of the most fun parts. But fun in The Boxtrolls was too rare. In an age when Frozen is played and replayed (and replayed again), I can’t imagine too many kids replaying this one. It was a film made for adults, but so wrongly marketed to children.

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Review © Brigid K. Presecky (9/30/14)

Top Photo: Isaac Hempstead Wright as “Eggs” in his underground Boxtroll world

Bottom Photo: Isaac Hempstead Wright as “Eggs” and Elle Fanning as “Winnie” as they escape the wrath of Archibald Snatcher

Q: Does The Boxtrolls pass the Bechdel Test?

No. But I will say the only female character, Winnie, was the best part of the entire film. She was brass, adventurous, and funny (When Eggs asked her to point in the direction of “Curds Way” she looks up at the street sign and says, “Milk turns into it.”) Her scenes were the only points in the movie where I genuinely laughed out loud. Her royal, picture-perfect mother is shown briefly, but the real hero in The Boxtrolls was pudgy, theatrical Winnie.

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THE LITTLE BEDROOM

edmond1The Little Bedroom is a Swiss film directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond about elderly “Edmond” (Michel Bouquet) forming an unlikely friendship with his nurse “Rose” (Florence Loiret Caille). What begins as a well-intentioned, realistic film about love and loss unfortunately falls apart and loses most of its credibility by Act Three. (JLH: 3.5/5)

Set in Lausanne, the French part of Switzerland, the story begins with Edmond dealing with his son’s move to Chicago. As Edmond sits in the passenger seat of a car, he sadly listens to his son’s marriage plans and big move to the United States. Although his son says he’ll be back for summer vacation, grouchy Edmond tells him he’ll be dead by August so he can visit for his funeral.

One person who does stay in Edmond’s life is Rose, his young nurse who lives comfortably in a little apartment with her computer programmer husband. One room in their apartment, however, is sadly never opened. Although it’s not explained in great detail, Rose was far enough along in her pregnancy to have a nursery room ready and waiting for her baby that passed away. Understandably depressed, Rose goes about her business on autopilot, not really paying much attention to what’s going on around her. Her frustrated husband attempts to be sympathetic and supportive, but he takes a work opportunity as quickly as he can to jet off to New York with his partner. Rose and Edmond are left with only each other. These circumstances lead to the formation of a strong bond – the two find solace in their grief because of the emptiness created by the absence of their main support systems.

The low-key film is mostly well done as Edmond and Rose open up to each other in ways they haven’t been able to with other people in their lives. They form such a close, trusting relationship that Rose offers Edmond the titular little bedroom – once intended for her late child – when he falls and can no longer be alone. At this particular point, however, the film starts to lose its credibility. Though poignant in the beginning, The Little Bedroom lacks realism and nuance in the end. Up until then, it was well acted by Bouquet and Caille and had a realistic Act One and Act Two, but by Act Three it went off the rails and left me with a bad taste.

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Review © Jan Lisa Huttner (10/09/14)

Top Photo: Michel Bouquet as “Edmond”

Bottom Photo: Michel Bouquet as “Edmond” and Florence Loiret Caille as “Rose”

Q #1: Does The Little Bedroom pass the Bechdel Test?

No.

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THIS AIN’T NO MOUSE MUSIC

ChrisNowFabulous doc about Chris Strachwitz–the founder of Arhoolie Records–and his passionate love for American Roots Music.

Combines classic performance footage with great interviews plus snippets of youngsters bringing these old traditions to new generations.

FYI, co-director Chris Simon is the widow of Les Blank (to whom film is dedicated) & this helps account for the great access Chris & her co-director Maureen Gosling had along the way. (JLH: 4/5)

Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku.

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Joyous documentary celebrates the life of Chris Strachwitz. Strachwitz was born in Silesia in 1931 when it was still part of Germany. At the end of WWII, he emigrated to the USA–something he could do because he had American relatives–thus escaping just before Silesia became part of Iron Curtain Poland. I don’t mean to inject too much psychology into a life well lived, but perhaps his embrace of “Authentic Americana” can be traced in part to his feeling of personal salvation?

Whatever! Strachwitz came of age in Eisenhower America, but without the prejudices of the time. As he tells it, he really didn’t understand why he couldn’t enter a restaurant and eat at the same table with his musicians when they traveled in the Rural South. But his musicians accepted it so he accepted it. His goal was to bring their music to the world and he did. BigMamaLP

Along with Alan Lomax (who died in 2002), Strachwitz is now universally recognized as one of people who preserved “Roots Music.” We all owe them a great debt; without Lomax and Strachwitz, many of our greatest American cultural treasures might well have been lost forever.

To tell their story co-directors Maureen Gosling and Chris Simon meld their interviews with Strachwitz (= first person) with terrific interviews about Strachwitz (= third person) from the likes of well-known “talking heads” including Ry CooderTaj MahalBonnie Raitt, Michael Doucet of BeauSoleil, and Davia Nelson of NPR’s Kitchen Sisters.

Punctuating the chatter–fabulous as it is–are innumerable musical sequences with stars long gone as well as snippets of young performers who are bringing these old traditions to new generations. The on screen musical sequences include Bluegrass/Hillbilly Grooves, Cajun/Zydeco Grooves, Delta Blues/R&B Grooves, and Tex-Mex/Tejano Grooves. In the interview segments, Strachwitz also mentions Klezmer, Greek, and Gypsy music. As the founder of Arhoolie Records, Strachwitz was in a race against time to collect as much as he could. BRAVO!

I was a huge fan of the HBO series Treme and I cried real tears the night I watched HBO’s final episode. This Ain’t No Mouse Music provides some consolation to Treme fans like me. American Roots Music has a life of its own, and because of visionaries like Chris Strachwitz it will live on long after all of us are gone.

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Top Photo: Chris Strachwitz just knows great music when he hears it!

Middle Photo: Big Mama Thornton! Ya gotta love her!

Bottom Photo: Chris started his odyssey by going to Texas in 1964 to search for Mance Lipscomb.

Photo Credits: Sage Blossom Productions

Q: Does This Ain’t No Mouse Music pass the Bechdel Test? DigitalStampA

Often a hard question in the case of documentaries, but in this case I am going to say yes. Me, I don’t think two male directors would have used so many female voices in their final cut.

Just sayin’…

 

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