May 2019 in Films
May was a great month for cinema. It started with the New Beverly Cinema showcasing almost exclusively films directed by women. I guested on their podcast discussing the calendar (you can listen to it here) and went as often as I could (though I have been fighting off a bad cold and that impeding me seeing as much as I wanted). May was also filled with some great new rom-coms and I hope we keep seeing more! As always, you can see what I watched as well as some favorites after the cut.
- Long Shot
- Working Girls (1931)
- Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
- Wine Country
- Fuga (Fugue)
- Knock Down The House
- The Eyes of Orson Welles
- See You Yesterday
- John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
- First Comes Courage
- The Perfection
- Sarah and Son
- Waiting for Guffman
- The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
- The New Romantic
- Always Be My Maybe
Long Shot, 2019 (dir. Jonathan Levine)
I really enjoyed this delightful political rom-com starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen. The two leads had amazing chemistry, I dug the soundtrack, and you could feel the touch of co-writer Liz Hannah all over the film (in a very good way). Possibly my favorite theater-going experience of the year so far.
Fuga (Fugue), 2018 (dir. Agnieszka Smoczyńska)
I was a big fan of Smoczyńska’s previous film The Lure, so when I saw MUBI had this streaming and I had to watch it. I’m bummed it didn’t get a proper release in the US though. It’s a drama that takes a look at what happens to a family after a woman who had been missing is found, having lived several years in a fugue state of amnesia.
Knock Down The House, 2019 (dir. Rachel Lears)
This was a huge hit at Sundance and I was not disappointed. While most of the press about it focuses on AOC (and rightfully so, as she is the biggest story here), all four women profiled are so impressive and passionate and it really gives you hope for the future of our country and a peek at what it could be if we had more women in the government.
First Comes Courage, 1943 (dir. Dorothy Arzner)
One of the best parts about the New Bev’s May programming was a comprehensive retrospective of Dorothy Arzner’s sound films. This was her last film before retiring and one of the few of her’s I had not seen before. Merle Oberon stars as a member of the Dutch underground who is romancing a Nazi leader in order to help the British, becoming shunned by all the knew her in the process. Halfway through the film we realize that she is also the sweetheart of a British officer who is part of a bombing mission. What could have been very cliched, with the man as the hero, becomes subverted as he is unable to see the big picture over his feelings for the woman, while she is ready to sacrifice everything for the cause. A truly feminist war film.
Always Be My Maybe, 2019 (dir. Nahnatchka Khan)
Back on the rom-com train, this delightful friends who are really in love rom-com staring Ali Wong and Randall Park is a real treat. Anyone from the Bay Area will love the little tidbits sprinkled throughout like an Amoeba Berkeley shirt that Park wears or a cameo role from Lyrics Born. Wong and Randall have great chemistry and the supporting cast, including Michelle Buteau and Keanu Reeves all knock it out of the park. Viva the rom-con-aisance!
So that was May. I’m hoping I’ll finally get over this cold in June and get back on a more regular viewing schedule again but who knows! Also, Pose is back on FX in a few weeks, so don’t forget to check that out! And lastly, if you have some spare cash think about donating to So Yun Um’s Kickstarter for her feature length doc Liquor Store Dreams, a look at Korean American sons and daughters of Liquor Store Owners in Los Angeles.
Posted on June 1, 2019, in 2019 in Films and tagged Agnieszka Smoczyńska, Always Be My Maybe, Dorothy Arzner, First Comes Courage, Fuga, Fugue, Jonathan Levine, Knock Down The House, Long Shot, Nahnatchka Khan, Rachel Lears. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.