Can't Stop the Movies - No One Can Stop The Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
26Apr/180

Changing Reels Season 2 Episode 6 – Queen of Katwe

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

In this episode, Courtney and guest co-host Kristen Lopez (Roger Ebert, Hollywood Reporter) journey to Uganda through Disney’s Queen of Katwe directed by Mira Nair. They also discuss this episode’s short film pick First Match by Olivia Newman.

Show notes:

  • 1:05 – First Match by Olivia Newman.
  • 13:40 – Queen of Katwe by Mira Nair

If you like what you hear, or want to offer some constructive criticism, please take a moment to rate our show on iTunes! If you have a comment on this episode, or want to suggest a film for us to discuss, feel free to contact us via twitter (@ChangingReelsAC), follow us on Facebook and reach out to us by email (Changing.Reels.AC@gmail.com). You can also hear our show on SoundCloud or Stitcher!

If you enjoy my writing or podcast work, please consider becoming a monthly Patron or sending a one-time contribution to keep me in coffee! Every bit helps keep Can't Stop the Movies running and moving toward making it my day job.

Filed under: 2016, Podcasts No Comments
23Apr/180

Pass Over (2018)

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

Moses and Kitch, stuck on the corner, start imagining what their paradise would be if not for the realities of life keeping them where they are.  Spike Lee directs Pass Over, a theatrical production with collaborating director Danya Taymor, with the screenplay written by Antoinette Nwandu, and stars Jon Michael Hill and Julian Parker.

Every few years, Spike Lee takes time away from his own work to collaborate with the creative team of a theatrical production to bring it to the cinema.  My favorite Spike films are in this vein, from the nervy excitement of Freak to the heartbreaking creativity of Passing Strange.  They're as much a creative exorcism as they are a focused realignment, freeing Spike from multiple duties to place his faith in the theatrical talent and bring the closed-off world of the stage to the screen.  Pass Over is not as entertaining as Freak or Passing Strange, but vibrates with uncertainty and pain on a level similar to A Huey P. Newton Story.

The wordsmith behind Pass Over is Antoinette Nwandu, a name I was not familiar with prior to Pass Over and now realize I have much to learn from.  She's a passionate and powerful speaker which is reflected perfectly in the dialogue of Pass Over as the lightly reserved Moses (Jon Michael Hill) and Kitch (Julian Parker) wait for something - anything - to free them from the corner.  Their waiting might be familiar to anyone who has seen Waiting For Godot but the affect taps into a tension I feel sitting in restaurants, going to the theater, or buying groceries.  The tension that at any point someone who feels my life is theirs to do as they see fit can snuff out my existence on this planet.

20Apr/180

Proud Mary (2018)

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

Mary's been working for, and finding love in, one of Boston's most powerful crime families.  Danny was orphaned by Mary after she kills his father during a routine assassination.  Some time later their paths cross with Mary hoping to break the cycle of violence and take Danny with her.  Babak Najafi directs Proud Mary, with the screenplay written by John Stuart Newman, Christian Swegal, and Steve Antin, and stars Taraji P. Henson.

Taraji P. Henson has a spot on my personal list of performers who make everything better by simply appearing in their product.  From the big to small screen - Henson has squared off with the likes of Terrence Howard, William Shatner, and Janelle Monáe, stolen the spotlight from them, and made whatever product she's in feel more unpredictable because of her presence.  The only other performer I can say that about is Eva Greene, and should the two cross paths in a film somewhere down the line I may rip myself apart like a '90s superhero.

A star of her caliber should not have been forced to carry the entire promotional work of Proud Mary on her own and that's essentially what happened earlier this year.  Now that I've seen Proud Mary, I understand why but not to distributor Paramount's benefit.  Proud Mary isn't the slam-bang action film the trailer might have made it out to be.  Instead, Proud Mary is something weirder and more entertaining with Henson's unpredictable performance as Mary spreading to the rest of the cast, resulting in a once charming then menacing turn from Danny Glover and others.

18Apr/180

A Quiet Place (2018)

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

Humanity has been ravaged by deadly creatures who hunt via sound and whoever remains live their lives in quiet routine.  The Abbott family, reeling from the loss of their youngest child, prepares for the birth of the newest addition by taking as many sound-dampening precautions as possible.  God laughs, and the Abbotts must respond to the threat facing their home.  John Krasinski directs A Quiet Place, with the screenplay written by Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski, and stars Millicent Simmonds, John Krasinski, and Emily Blunt.

The power of diversity and representation in cinema doesn't come from hitting a quota or an excuse to use different aesthetics.  It comes from the ability to tell different stories, focus on unexplored dimensions of established tropes, and let those who haven't had the opportunity to play with the big toys show what they can do.

Director and star John Krasinski is not a deaf performer but filmed A Quiet Place with a big creative rule - if the deaf performers or mentors have an idea then figure out how to implement it.  Krasinski, following this guideline with costar Millicent Simmonds and backstage mentor Douglas Ridloff, crafts a horror film that is absolutely thrilling from start to finish with a world that feels more lived-in than dramas taking place in "real" cities.  I'm not a fan of talking about whether something is believable or not but I'm all about verisimilitude, and A Quiet Place has the appearance of truth even with its otherworldly skeletal microphone beasts.

13Apr/180

The Disaster Artist (2017)

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

Before The Room became a midnight sensation, Greg Sestero was one of many in an acting class dreaming of "making it".  Not all paths to the top are filled with inspired success, and Greg's journey meets its maker in the form of the perpetually greasy, eternally enthusiastic, and ethnically questionable Tommy Wiseau.  James Franco directs The Disaster Artist, with the screenplay written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, and stars Dave Franco and James Franco.

The first oddity of James Franco's The Disaster Artist comes right at the end.  In split-screen, we watch how James' recreation stacks up against the bizarre-to-the-point-of-untouchable moments in Tommy Wiseau's The Room.  The weirdness comes from James' technically accurate reflections, not perfectly accurate as the odd cadence of Wiseau's film can't be intentionally recreated.  What few synapses that had the urge to fire moved my fingers to write, "Why is this?" in my notes before realizing I had spent the better part of an hour and a half writing only one other note "Dave Franco's getting into this."

My lack of notes in preparation for writing this review of The Disaster Artist might strike some of you as inattention from my part but - let me assure you - aside from that one burst of passion from Dave there was not a single moment of note in The Disaster Artist.  I might be the perfectly wrong person for this film as I've seen The Room more than once (once was enough but friends gotta introduce it to friends and there I was) and read Greg Sestero's entertaining account of The Room's making.  The trick to enduring The Room more than once is not watching it and occupying yourself during the many go-nowhere moments until the staggeringly terrible bits come up.  Those moments ("You're tearing me apart", complimenting a dog, etc.) expose Wiseau's psyche so nakedly that we tend to gloss over how boring the rest of The Room is.