These Movies are Too Cool for School

Two media darlings, each with its own flavor:

TANGERINEtangerine

Review by Justin Chang, NPR

Plot: About two transgender ladies-of-the-night, who are best friends. One tells the other that her boyfriend-pimp has cheated on her. They go on a rampage of revenge–doing some errands on the way. Takes place over one Christmas Eve. Sean Baker is the director.

Claims to fame: 1. It’s shot completely with an iphone. 2. The actresses who play the leads are transgender, like the characters they play. 3.They have never been onscreen before.

Spoilers skimmable? Yes, but only if you read the transcript! You can skip two of the paragraphs that give too much away. There is fair warning–the first of these two paragraphs reads, “The story begins with….”

Bottom line: Guess what? You can shoot a good movie with an iphone! It’s grainy, which gives the film an intimacy–you know what it is to be in the transgender minority. The cinematography is actually good too!

Reviewer Justin Chang opines that the movie “manages to be at once wildly funny and painfully honest about the everyday degradation and inhumanity that its characters experience.”

Amy

I have read a ton of reviews of Amy. They have so much in common that I am summarizing ALL of them. .

Topic: documentary about Amy Winehouse, from her childhood to death from alcohol poisoning at age 27. Asif Kapadia, the director, conducted tons of interviews and amassed a truck load of videos from both her family and friends.

Claim to fame: the movie indicts the media for its role in Winehouse’s death. It followed her everywhere, feeding off of her addictions and addictive behavior. Her father did not come off so well either. He’s suing for defamation.

Spoilers skimmable? NO. Like fleas on my beloved Lucy (my Westie), there are a RIDICULOUS number of spoilers! The critics are heartless!

Bottom line: “And the Academy Award for Best Documentary goes to….”

This movie is all the rage. Every review I have read has touted it to the heavens, but let me quote the alliterative version, care of Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers:

“What makes Asif Kapadia’s documentary a devastating don’t-miss dazzler — like the lady herself — is the way he lays out her story without editorializing.”

Here’s a video of Winehouse in concert. What a talent she was, Wow–

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