Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Best Film I Saw Recently/ The Worst Film I Saw Recently

The Best

I was taken by surprise by Wonder Woman.  I expected a film devoted to the crass and angry promotion of Girl Power.  I expected a big-budget spectacle bloated with CGI effects.  But Wonder Woman is different.  It is an imaginatively conceived, lovingly crafted film.  It is not a hateful, contrived or politically correct.  It is not a cynical cash grab.  It is a truly artistic effort on the part of its director, Patty Jenkins.

The Worst

The Big Sick, a comedy starring Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan, is based on a real-life crisis in which Nanjiani coped with a girlfriend contracting a rare life-threatening disease and then stood by desperately while the girlfriend was put into a medically induced coma to facilitate treatment.  The film could have been a profound personal story that examined real relationships and real situations.  Instead, it devolves into the standard shtick of producer Judd Apatow.  The story can only be effective if the audience empathizes with Nanjiani, but the filmmakers cannot resist turning Nanjiani into an off-putting boob to push forward Apatow's usual cringe comedy agenda.  Unnecessary plot contrivances abound.  Frequent efforts are made to let the audience know that Nanjiani, a Shia Muslim, is a good Muslim and he had nothing to do with the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.  Is that really relevant to the film?  Nothing is really relevant to the film, which is as unfocused and shallow as many of Apatow's other recent films.  Shallowness masquerading as profundity is the film's biggest joke.

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