Archives for posts with tag: Courtney B. Vance

Learning about a Bayou romance from a generation ago, a pair of thirtysomething New York professionals uncover something about themselves in “The Photograph” (2020). Stylishly filmed, scored and acted, it’s like an African-American version of a Richard Gere film – but better, because Richard Gere isn’t in it. Instead, Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield are the leads atop a strong cast that checks all the romance-flick boxes – sassy girlfriend, wacky married couple, eager co-worker, gracious boss, etc. Yet, thanks to the story within the story and its long, slow (but not too slow) unwinding, this formula seems more elegant than usual.

Yeah, I know “Office Christmas Party” (2016) is stupid, but it’s appropriately stupid for the plot (epic gesture needed to save the company). It’s necessarily stupid for its genre (R-rated farce). Simply put, it’s just the right amount of stupid (although I saw the unrated version, so, technically, what I saw was extra stupid). Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman have made like 377 films in the past few years, so they seem to be homing in on a formula in which they’re both uptight and everyone else is crazy (although I do wish the formula involved my seeing fewer penises).

As I watched “Isle of Dogs” (2018), I was reminded how much I used to enjoy “Samurai Jack.” There’s a zen-like inner calmness at the center of these two pieces of Japanese-flavored animation that I savored. This film is loaded with metaphors for all kinds of stuff I didn’t have time to try to discern (it’s a dark story about the potential for a doggie holocaust, and there’s heavy – perhaps too heavy – political symbolism). I was too busy either trying to make out the tiny writing on my normal-human-sized television or I was simply enjoying the calm, deliberate, confident storytelling.