Julia Garner from The Assistant and Jessica Henwick run out of money on an Aussie cruise and find work at a rural bar to pay their way home, but none of the men turn out to be friendly. I thought this would be horrorish, maybe a bit, but the women hold their own and burn the fuckin’ place down after the men turn on each other.

Bad Dudes: Hugo Weaving is the drunk owner, Toby Wallace (The Bikeriders) takes them swimming, Daniel Henshall (The Babadook) is dangerous from the start, James “Teeth” Frecheville only saves them because he wants them for himself, and cruise shipper Herbert Nordrum basically turns out worse than Teeth. We like Carol the cook, anyway, and this will be more rewatchable than The Assistant.

Portrait of a hostile work environment. Full of small insults and ironies: she gets a papercut opening a dinner invitation from the White House. The two guys sharing her office space only pitch in to help when she has to write apology emails to the boss (“I won’t let you down again”). Interesting approach to never show the monster boss, and to follow someone who’s an indirect victim, not one of the casting-couch hotties or the girl from Idaho (the actress actually from Norway) who shows up to work with no experience and is being put up in a swanky hotel where the boss keeps visiting. For a while I thought the boss’s activities would remain a background buzz and never be directly addressed, but no, her conversation with a real wormy HR guy (the 2005 Mr. Darcy) is the movie’s centerpiece. The movie isn’t Akermanian exactly, but it’s more Akermanian than most films. Star Julia Garner is from Ozark and Sin City 2.

A.S. Hamrah in The Baffler: “The Assistant is the only film in which I’ve seen the shame-filled, eating-in-a-Manhattan-bodega aspect of life in New York City portrayed so acutely, or at all.”

Ukraine is Not a Brothel (2013)

“Kitty is filming this for some reason.” Fun, newsy doc about feminists in Ukraine who stage topless public actions and usually get arrested, traveling to other countries to protest in India, getting terrorized by cops in Belarus.

“We get money from charitable donations. We don’t know exactly where the money comes from.” The movie takes a turn upon the introduction of Victor, the man in the shadows who organizes all public appearances of this “feminist” group. “Girls are weak,” he says, then “My influence on the girls is the very same as the patriarchal influence against which we are protesting.”

Victor’s expression when asked if he started Femen to get chicks… which he did:

The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul (2015)

A bunch of girls audition to play Ukraine’s first olympic champ. Perfect stepping-stone film between the two features, too short to make much of an impact, though when all the girls are trying to cry it made me wanna cry.

Casting JonBenet (2017)

Casting sessions for each role in a theoretical JonBenet Ramsey movie, shot in Boulder where the murder took place, cutting between actor reactions. After some desperate attempts to connect themselves with the case or the family, some of them start going through their own family traumas.

The would-be policeman-actors run through the investigation, criticizing and analyzing the work of their real-life counterparts two decades earlier. Each family member gets scrutinized. We get numerology, and perverse conspiracy theories playing out like the final scenes of Top of the Lake. My birds got triggered when the JonBenets demonstrated their screaming abilities – I wonder if that’s where I stopped the movie the first time I tried to watch it. Music by Nathan Larson of Shudder to Think! This played True/False in 2017, and is one of the most perfectly True/Falsey movies I’ve seen.