February Blues

This has never been a great month for new releases but there are several films I would like to have seen but simply did not have time to get to. I hope that you have been visiting with the podcast that I co-host, because that has been where most of my movie activity has been in the last few weeks.

As a birthday gift, I was able to choose the films to be considered for MOTM on the Lambcast. The Community selected Tombstone, so I hosted that show and you can catch up with it here:

https://podomatic.com/embed/html5/episode/9008276?autoplay=false

We then embarked on an ambitious year long journey to cover all of the “official” James Bond films before the release next year of “Bond 25”. Loyal readers know of my obsession with 007 and you can hear it being indulged, along with proof that obsession can be genetic here:

https://podomatic.com/embed/html5/episode/9015745?autoplay=false

Frankly, I was so underwhelmed by the Academy Awards nominations this year, that for the first time ever since it began, we skipped out on the Best Picture Showcase. I did however provide some discussion on the awards on the Lambcast Oscar Prediction show. It’s sell by date is rapidly approaching so if you want to hear before the results are announced, you better hurry.

https://podomatic.com/embed/html5/episode/9023299?autoplay=false

Finally, I was the featured guest on the sister podcast on the Lamb, Acting School 101. Our subject for February {The Subjects celebrate a birthday in the month that they are discussed} was Laura Dern. My friend MovieRob hosts the show and we had a nice time talking about this fine actress, in a relatively short show [At least in comparison to the Lambcast].

https://podomatic.com/embed/html5/episode/9006571?autoplay=false

This should bring you up to speed with the rather lazy month’s work. There will be an upcoming podcast on the “How to Train Your Dragon” Franchise coming later this week. I will be hosting and I will put it up so i have one more entry in February at least.

Lemonade

So I had an opportunity to meet up with a Fellow member of the Lamb at the AFI Fest yesterday. Howard Casner and I are the two senior sheep in the flock so to speak. Most of the other lambs are half our ages. We were talking on a podcast a few weeks ago and he mentioned he would be attending the AFI Fest in Hollywood. Since Monday was a school holiday, I was able to accept his offer of a couple of tickets to screenings at the festival. We greeted each other and had a nice conversation at McDonalds before getting in line for the first of the two films.

“Lemonade” is a Romanian production filmed in the U.S. and featuring actress Mãlina Manovici. She plays Mara, an immigrant who has married an American that she took care of at a convalescent hospital. She is seeking a green card and has arranged for her son to join her in the States. This is a stark tale of immigrant struggles against bureaucracy,  culture clash and toxic male  hegemony. It is a well told story but bleak for a number of reasons.

It is easy to appreciate the desire to locate to the U.S. when your economic opportunities are limited. Mara seems to have lucked out by connecting with a kind man who seems to care for her and is trying to cope with some medical issues at the same time. There are a number of hoops she must jump through as a result of the marriage. The Immigration agent investigating her case asks pointed questions of her and it’s not long before some shocking unpleasantness rears its ugly head. The main issue I had with the film concerns the way in which the difficulties start stacking up. In addition to potential and real exploitation, she is swept up in a child neglect case, her husband is not very understanding about the abuse that has been directed at her, and the strategy her lawyer recommends is full of danger and potential humiliation.

Manovici is suitably hopeful and naive as she confronts a pretty dark vision of America. The emotional scenes are handled well and she is appropriately defiant and cowed in a long conversation in an automobile. As loathsome as this encounter is, another one is coming up that will make you equally sick. As is typical in the American system, justice cannot be had simply because a rule or law has been broken. Her attorney sums it up well when he explains that victims get the benefit of the doubt and the system protects them more than it punishes the guilty. There is a little bit of convoluted hope at the end of the story and the aphorism that gives the movie it’s title is revealed.