6. A documentary: Period. End of Sentence. (2018)
4. An animated film: Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018)
12. A film released in 2019: Isn’t It Romantic (2019)
List Progress: 5/12
I have been on a movie binge recently, maybe the Oscars got into my head, so here is a mass of mini-reviews for movies I have seen in the last week.
Period. End of Sentence. (2018)
Between a pun-title and a topic that I am very interested in, Period. End of Sentence. caught my eye even before it won the Academy Award for “Best Short Documentary” this year. At twenty-five minutes, this film scratches the surface of the taboo around menstruation in India. It tells the story of a group of women that are manufacturing affordable disposable pads and selling them in areas that are otherwise underserved in terms of menstrual care, as well as discussing the deep shame associated with menstruation and how it can be a barrier for young women’s educations. By necessity at this length, there is not a huge amount of depth, but what is there feels richly displayed. It didn’t shake my world, but I was glad to see these Indian women getting to tell their stories of how their own communities are helping themselves and each other. A nice solid documentary about a solid topic.
Would I Recommend It: Yes.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Ooooooh man this movie is good. This film definitely lived up to the hype (and the Oscar) in my mind. I saw it on a Thursday matinee with two other people in the audience, but this display of beautiful animation should definitely be seen on the big screen if possible. These are some stunning stylized visuals to pair with a great story that shows a lot of respect and love for the legacy it represents.
The last Marvel Cinematic Universe movie I saw was Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. (In other Marvel products, I also saw Venom last year, but that was largely because of a Tom Hardy crush.) My point is, I have long since become numb to live actions superhero movies that throw giant CGI fights together with flimsy premises and no real eye to making the images on the screen beautiful or composed. I know I have probably missed some great movies in that time, but I just got burned out on it. Into the Spider-Verse, in contrast, feels like there was not just time, but care and love put into every frame on screen. There was a feeling that this was a story someone had to tell, that there was a passion to put this together in the best way possible.
I don’t feel like I can say much that hasn’t been said elsewhere, but I would highly recommend anyone with an even passing interest to see this movie while it is still in theaters post-Oscar. It will be worth your time.
Would I Recommend It: Spider-yes.
Isn’t It Romantic (2019)
Effective parodies are hard. Effective deconstructions are hard. At the best, you bring insight into something, and make a piece that both the fans and the critics of the original can enjoy. At the worst, you recreate the original while blowing a raspberry. Isn’t It Romantic falls kind of in the middle of these two extremes, and ends up merely okay as a result.
Rebel Wilson plays a bitter woman in a job where she’s ignored, and she hates romantic comedies with their trite tropes and happy endings. After hitting her head in the subway, she wakes up in a world that seems to work entirely on those rom-com tropes: her apartment is resplendent for her income, New York City smells like lavender and sunshine instead of piss, emergency room doctors are hot and flirtatious, and meet-cutes are waiting around every corner. The aspects on the periphery of the concept are the ones that I enjoy the most, the aesthetic and acting choices and the like. It’s the main core of the plot, her coming to realize her Work Friend Guy is actually her Meant To Be Love, that falls a lot flatter for me. Yes, it’s a parody, but the movie also recreates these type of plots beat-for-beat, so there’s not much more for me to enjoy about seeing a trope I already don’t like repackaged. At the end of the day, Isn’t It Romantic has a lot to say about the trappings and decorations of romantic comedies, but doesn’t actually have much insight into the meat of the genre.
Would I Recommend It: Ehhhh, if you feel like it, there’s nothing actively bad, but not my cup of tea.