Here are three movies I’ve recently seen. I’ll also tell you where I saw them.
A In a Lonely Place (1950), FilmStruck
Nicholas Ray critiqued masculinity in many of his films, but rarely as strongly as he does here. Early on, the movie feels like an exposé of Hollywood. Then it becomes a murder mystery. It ends up studying the worst of masculinity. Humphrey Bogart, in one of his best performances, plays a screenwriter who hasn’t had a hit in a decade. He’s a man whose violent temper makes any good relationship impossible. Charming and friendly, he will inevitably lash out physically at those he loves. Gloria Grahame plays the woman with the bad luck to fall in love with him. An amazing character study disguised as film noir.
B+ Wonder Woman (2017) Grand Lake Theatre
The latest movie in the DC universe has all the problems that make today’s superhero movies so tiring: bombastic music, overly CGI-enhanced fights, end-of-the-world stakes, and worse, movies designed to advertise the next movie. But something delightful happens between the clichés in Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot plays the feminist icon as both a strong heroine and a confused fish out of water. The result is warm, friendly, and funny. She explains, to the first man she ever met, that men are necessary for procreation but not for pleasure. Chris Pine plays that lucky and unlucky man. The fight scenes occasionally turn dull, but for the most part it’s grand entertainment.
B- Tiny Furniture (2010), FilmStruck
Lena Dunham’s precursor to Girls feels very much like the hit HBO series to come. It’s sometimes funny, often true to life, but frequently feels like it’s going nowhere. Dunham (who also wrote and directed) plays an immature young woman looking for both a direction in life and a man to have sex with. She’s selfish, dishonest, and unreliable, and more than anything else, I found myself wishing she would grow up. As in Girls, Jemima Kirke plays a close friend with substance issues. Another future Girls cast member, Alex Karpovsky, plays one of the men she goes after. Dunham’s real-life mother and sister, Laurie Simmons and Grace Dunham, play her movie mother and sister.