Both the movie and its lead dude Cooper Hoffman move fast. He gets Alana Haim to be his chaperone on a promotional trip for his acting career, then things escalate, until he’s arrested for murder while selling waterbeds at a teenage fair, and flooding the house of Barbra Streisand’s boyfriend. She directs the ads for aspiring politician Benny Safdie, he opens a successful pinball palace. Haim gets to run a lot. The final scene, I dunno, but hey, why not.

Kid does not have a bike, and lives in a group home but keeps escaping to look for his dad, a sous chef who sold the bike and doesn’t want to be a dad anymore. Enter large-hearted hairdresser (and Haute Tension star) Cécile de France, who takes a liking to the boy (even though he’s a bit of an asshole) and buys his bike back. Gaining a new mother-figure is outweighed by Dad (Jérémie Renier, naturally) telling him not to come around anymore, so Kid immediately gets mixed up with a gang of criminal youths. He stabs Cécile when she tries to keep him from going out to conk a newsseller with a baseball bat. The newsseller takes revenge, but everyone is alive and intact in the end, and Cécile remains large-hearted despite having to pay back the money her shitty adopted son stole. The Kid would go on to play Jean Renoir’s little brother in a biopic.

Miller has made an interesting movie out of typical prestige drama material by not shooting this in a typically prestige-drama manner. It looks Little Shop sound-stagey, with big cartoon Lost Children close-ups and boss scene transitions.

DC family’s beloved son starts having violent outbursts, they’re told it’s a fatal degenerative brain disease with no treatment, so the dad goes from support groups to library research to medical conferences to hiring labs to make custom experimental drugs, earning his son twenty extra years of life through the resulting treatments. Intro scene in East Africa pays off when they invite L’s protective buddy Omouri to help out towards the end (Nolte balks: “We can not bring an African to this racist country”).

All the nominations went to Sarandon and the writers, but all the awards went to Emma Thompson and The Crying Game. No noms for Nolte, who can’t do much to elevate the movie while saddled with an Italian accent.

Celia’s beloved grandma just died, but she’s got the new neighbors next door to play with, and the eternal hope that she’ll get a pet rabbit. Unfortunately the neighbors are communists, and it’s Australia in the 1950’s during a myxomatosis outbreak (I’ve had the Radiohead song’s bassline in my head all week), so she’s constantly being warned against rabbits and commies.

Rabidly anti-commie dad (Nicholas Eadie of pre-fame Nicole Kidman miniseries Vietnam) chooses sides, and buys her a rabbit if she won’t play with the neighbors anymore, tells her they’re bad people. Cruelty abounds: the other kids hurt her rabbit, dad gets the neighbor fired. Her family’s cop friend John (Bill Zappa of The Road Warrior) straight-up kidnaps the rabbit, and after it dies in quarantine, Celia becomes the Joker. She shoots John to death while seeing visions of storybook monsters (major Heavenly Creatures parallels) and gets away with it, then fortunately doesn’t kill his daughter while staging mock gallows executions.

Harmless ritual:

Not so harmless:

Celia was Rebecca Smart, who debuted in Dusan Makavejev’s The Coca-Cola Kid. Turner later directed Sam Neill and pre-fame Russell Crowe, and remade Teorema starring Sandra Bernhard in the Stamp role(!!)

Treated myself to a new Gena Rowlands movie and… well, I didn’t hate it, but I have no desire to watch the Sharon Stone version. It relies on big acting moments, but instead of Peter Falk we’ve got this ten-year-old kid. I warmed up to the second half, but until then, practically every moment felt phony. Still, it’s Gena as a tough broad capering through 1980 NYC, and that’s a lot.

“I hate kids, especially yours.” Gena inherits the neighbor kid when his family is murdered by gangsters. She happens to know the people responsible, and tries to keep both of them safe long enough to broker a peace agreement, but the baddies insist the entire family must be killed to set an example, and Gena too, since she interfered, so she shoots her way outta there. My people online all liked this, but if I can’t get into a Cassavetes/Rowlands take on the ol’ mismatched adult-child caper movie then I should definitely avoid C’mon C’mon.

Buck Henry, I just saw him in To Die For, which I also complained about:

Among Those Present

Watching three Lloyd shorts from the same year, and this one opens with the best bit, wealthy-looking Harold exposed as a coat-check guy wearing a guest’s fancy clothes. A witness to the incident offers to get Harold some glad rags and take him partying with the swells, for obscure reasons, leading to riding and hunting antics and cute rich girl Mildred Davis. After this complicated setup, the second half is just Harold pantsless, running away from various animals. Mildred’s parents are very good – James Kelly had been in all of Chaplin’s Mutuals, and Aggie Herring was in the Jackie Coogan Oliver Twist and, uh, Suicide Squad.


Now or Never

Now Mildred is the maid of a neglected kid with rich parents, but it’s the day she’s supposed to meet the boy she knew years ago, and they are both having transportation issues. Harold has wrecked his car, rides underneath a train car, then Mildred gives him the kid and boards… a different train? Doesn’t matter, they end up together, most of the movie devoted to the stupid kid being naughty-cute.


I Do

Animated segments! Harold and Mildred are finally married in this one (and soon IRL), walking around with a baby carriage full of wine (aha, prohibition). Then the movie goes downhill, taking care of horrible kids that aren’t theirs again, and Harold’s fairly incompetent in this one.

Newmeyer and Roach made these, as would be expected.

Timid Sasha gets up, runs through a brutal hierarchy of shithead children, through all the mirrors and reflections on water that young Tarkovsky can muster, attends a disappointing violin lesson, then things are looking up when he befriends a steamroller driver from the courtyard.

I figure the kid’s gonna get beaten up at some point, and he does, so the real tension is from wondering what will happen to the violin. Will it survive, will the shithead kids destroy or deface it, or will they break Sasha’s spirit so he destroys it himself, a la young Jodorowsky in Endless Poetry? Well it’s the first one, but there’s a scene when he’s run off to watch buildings get demolished with his steamrolling buddy and the shitheads find the violin left behind, then it’s untouched when Sasha returns, so I’d like to think there’s more to that story and it got cut for time. Remarkable little movie, with beautiful color on the blu-ray.

This stupid year is trying to kill my blog, but it still lives.

Movie follows tantrummy four-year-old boy Kun, voiced very unconvincingly by an 18-year-old girl, as he gradually learns simple lessons. He resents his new sister Mirai until she visits from the future and shows him scenes from their family history. He becomes the family dog, goes on a motorcycle ride with his post-WWII grandpa, flies around with the swallows, and gets Christmas Caroled into being nicer to his baby sister. I never got over Kun’s voice – maybe the English version is better.

Now I’ve seen all of the 2018 animated feature oscar nominees – the worthy winner, an all-time fave, two disappointing sequels, and… this. We’re following Hosoda’s career but seeing diminishing returns.

Cool train station agent, tho: