3 Quick Takes / by B. Roche

I may not know this, but I have a blog.  I'm looking forward to a time when I can go long with various media thoughts.  For now, some quick takes:

Hush (Netflix)

I started Halloween viewing season with a bang. A deaf author has her home invaded by a masked murderer. They cat-and-mouse for 80 truly tense and terrifying minutes.  The great script (co-written by star Kate Siegel) piles reversal on top of reversal; fighting for one's life is exhausting.  The actor who plays the invader is supposed to be a surprise reveal, but he's excellent as a low-key, scarily pragmatic psycho.

The Greasy Strangler (VOD)

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On one hand, Greasy Strangler tries too hard to be the weirdest-ever cult movie; on the other hand, it succeeds. ("Damn you comedy, for making me laugh!," said no one.) 

There's nothing like this sad, disgusting story of a grease-obsessed older man and his adult son who give "disco tours" in pink short-shorts.  Basically, the most beautifully photographed YouTube zit-popping video.  

By the Sea (Redbox)

This was really good.  And very flawed.  There's an embarrassing bit when Pitt and Jolie are dancing and she pulls away from him and dances alone.  Her character used to be a dancer, their marriage is in crisis, Jolie has her own stuff going on, this dance is HER MOMENT OF CREATIVE EXPRESSION . . . and she just kinda shoulder-shuffles.  I'm amazed Jolie would allow this into a movie she herself directed. 

But that's why By the Sea was so compelling, despite missteps: Angelina Jolie is putting her emotional reality, her feelings about love and relationships, right up on to the screen.  And I love that it takes place at a picturesque seaside hotel in France, yet Jolie and Pitt mostly hide away in their hotel room.

Jolie's visuals are impeccable. Like Wes Anderson, she appreciates how things - clothes, cars, sunglasses - can be extensions of the people who use them.  

The script is really good; there's a hole in the wall of Pitt and Jolie's hotel room.  They become obsessed with watching the honeymooning couple in the next suite.  This new couple is their life raft in troubled waters.

Even though it's her showcase, Jolie cedes most (too much, really) of the spotlight to Pitt.  His performance is somewhat gruff and marked by a coiled silence. Not his nicest moment, but he feels very seen, in a way only one's spouse could see.  

By the Sea seems already doomed to live on as a fiasco.  It's worth a look.