Dough Unfortunately Undercooked

Posted in Review with tags , , on April 28, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

Dough, a new British comedy set in present day London, strives to mix the feel good with the timely.  The film stars Jonathan Pryce (Brazil, “Game of Thrones”) as Nat, an aging Orthodox Jewish baker who’s struggling to keep his bakery afloat. Into the picture wanders Ayyash (Jerome Holder), a Muslim teenager struggling to find his place in the world. When Ayyash’s sensemilla falls into the challah dough one afternoon, the bakery unexpectedly becomes the culinary hit of the neighborhood, with lines snaking around the corner.

If that sounds like a goofy plot development, well, Dough is pretty goofy. Tonally it commits to keeping things light. Religious differences are (spoiler alert) overcome Continue reading

In the Eye of the Beholder

Posted in Review with tags , , on March 28, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

 

Set in 1920 Paris, Marguerite tells the story of Baroness Marguerite Dumont (Catherine Frot), an eccentric woman of considerable means with a passion for music. She’s amassed thousands of scores, sings for hours each day, reenacts famous operas complete with elaborate costumes and performs in front of large crowds at charity fundraisers.  Only no one, not her husband, not her butler nor the rest of the staff will tell her sings horribly. Her voice is not mediocre, but astoundingly, shockingly bad.

This simple premise, based on a true story, blooms into a surprisingly complex meditation on love, beauty, ugliness and truth. Continue reading

Death in Venice

Posted in Review, TV (Prime-time) with tags , , on March 26, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

Flaked, the new Netflix series starring and created by Will Arnett, is a show about identity issues with a host of its own issues. It tells the story of Chip (Arnett) a recovery alcoholic who cruises around Venice, California on a bike because he lost his license after he killed someone drunk driving. Chip presents himself as ten years sober, but seems to use AA mostly as a way to find and hit on young women and sneaks sips of wine out of a Nalgene labeled “Kombucha” at any chance. Continue reading

Uneasy is the Ear that Hears the Sound

Posted in Review with tags , on March 21, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

Cinema occurs when sight and sound collide, and Orson Welles’ Chimes at Midnight is bisected by that crossroad. The visuals, shot in black and white by cinematographer Edmund Richard, are overwhelmingly gorgeous. The score, written by Angelo Francisco Lavagnino, is memorable and evocative. The dialogue, adapted by Welles’ from Shakespeare’s Henry IV and V, is unfortunately nearly impossible to understand, ruining what could be a singular piece of filmmaking.

Continue reading

Feed the Beast

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

A period piece that feels timeless, Embrace of the Serpent is a journey to the heart of the Amazon. Two trips, separated by decades but both in the first half of the twentieth century, take two different white men upriver in search of the same elusive plant. Karamakate, a shaman who lives in self-exile, takes a sick German explorer in search of a sacred plant that may him. Then, forty years later, an elderly, amnesiac Karamakate agrees to take an American scientist, who has “devoted his life to plants,” on a search for the same plant. “That’s the most sensible thing I’ve ever heard from a white man,” Karamakate deadpans. Continue reading

Between a Rock and a Pin Prick

Posted in List-omania, Review with tags , , , on June 14, 2015 by Timothy Parfitt

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In Needle, a short film by Iranian filmmaker Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, sixth-grader Lily (Florence Winners) stands on the threshold between child and adulthood. Adults, including her bickering parents, talk over and down to her, and pump her for information on the other figures in her life. Ghazvinizadeh’s sharply observed film builds of Lily’s emotional landscape by filming her reactions to the turmoil around her. By making her the focus of the camera, but not the conversation, Lilly is portrayed as simultaneously a part of, but outside of, the adult world. Continue reading

In Defense of Old Run Down Theaters

Posted in Ruminations and Dedications with tags , , , , on April 26, 2015 by Timothy Parfitt

by Timothy Parfitt

The two closest movie theaters to me offer two different experiences. One is a bit stuffy, and shows foreign and art house movies that I theoretically want to see, but rarely actually go to. They also sell cocktails and the audience is often on the elderly side. Then there’s the mall multiplex, which shows all the blockbusters and is full of kids and teenagers.

Never had a ventured to the third farthest, the one unconnected to any upscale shopping establishment or quaint faux-downtown area. Deep in suburban no man’s land I found what I had been missing all along: the dingy run-down theater. The girl selling tickets is sixteen. The man ripping tickets belongs in a Peter Jackson movie. There’s barely anyone working there and twenty screens showing a mishmash of first and second run attractions.

The night in question, I was in an inattentive mood, so I ended up skirted the law and watching bits and pieces of four different movies. I watched a smidge of While We’re Young, which felt plodding and stiff. Then I sat through the first thirty minutes of the movie I had paid to see, It Follows, which I wanted to like, but it felt polished in a distancing way. Then I snuck into Get Hard, which seemed painfully unfunny. Why Will Ferrell had decided to go with his innocent-baby-schtick instead of his arrogant-asshole schtick, I’ll never understand. Finally, I watched a bit of Danny Collins, which looked painful from the previews, but ended up being the best of the bunch. Al Pacino in full hoo-hah mode can be a little much at times, but here he’s put to good use.

So I thank the run down theater for letting me pick at these different movies like a buffet table. It wasn’t a balanced or refined meal, but boy did I leave satisfied.

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