It’s the perfect weekend to stay in, stay warm, and watch a movie! Paul McGuire Grimes of Paul’s Trip to the Movies gives us suggestions on what ones are worth streaming at home.
LOVE, GILDA (home release)
Gilda Radner is known for her memorable characters on Saturday Night Live like Rosanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella, and Baba Wawa. In my opinion, she’s one of the greatest comediennes of all time. The new documentary Love, Gilda takes a look back at her life and career going back as early as her childhood, her early days in improv through Saturday Night Live, her marriage to Gene Wilder, and how she faced her diagnosis with ovarian cancer.
-From CNN films, now available to rent on iTunes or playing on CNN if you can DVR it when it airs
-Fairly traditional biographical structure goes back to her childhood. Considered herself a child of comedy latching on to styles of Charlie Chaplin and Lucille Ball. She would act out in the backyard.
-Substantial amount of archival footage of her childhood. She would use comedy to one up the bullies at school who made fun of her weight
-Progresses to her early days of improv with the likes of Martin Short, John Candy and Eugene Levy
-Majority of the film centers on her time as part of the first cast of Saturday Night Live. She was the first cast membered to be selected by Lorne Michaels and it provides a great insight into how she created so many of her characters. That all came with a price as she struggled with eating disorders, success, and celebritydom.
-It’s a beautiful transition to watch her come alive again when she met Gene Wilder. As she described it, “black and white to Technicolor”
-Inspiring and moving to see someone as funny and gifted as Gilda react to the news of bad reviews, miscarriages, and her diagnosis with ovarian cancer.
-Throughout the documentary we hear from various members of her SNL cast as well as her contemporaries like Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Melissa McCarthy reading her old journals. You can see how honored they are to be able to read from someone that inspired their road to comedy.
-The spirit and vitality of Gilda Radner is alive and present in this documentary as it’s a love letter back to her. She’s a comedy icon that left us far too soon.
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS (home release)
Robert Shafran, Eddie Galland, David Kellman were living the traditional college life when they learned a deep hidden secret about their past. Each of them knew that they were adopted, but what they didn’t know, is that they had brothers, let alone were actually triplets. The adoption agency purposefully separated them at birth with different adoptive parents as a social experiment placing them in homes with different backgrounds. The adoptive parents did not know they were adopting one part of a set of triplets. Robert, Eddie, David met up and instantly became best friends. Their story became nation-wide news making them go viral before that was a known concept. They opened a restaurant named Triplets, but soon the novelty and fame wore off making the guys question everything they new about their past.
-Airs Sunday, January 27th on CNN if you can DVR it or its available to rent OnDemand or on iTunes
-If you love documentaries, you definitely need to check out Three Identical Strangers. It’s a human interest piece about nature versus nurture.
-You grow increasingly mad, as it’s truly hard to believe that their story is true.
-There are interviews with two of the brothers and their family to get inside what their life has been like since their truth was revealed. The less you know about this story going in, the better, as there are twists and turns a plenty.
-As someone with knowledge of the adoption experience, it was insightful to learn more about the importance of children having a relationship with their birth parents.
-I wish it didn’t utilize as many dramatizations and repeated use of media footage. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine regarding documentaries.
-The documentary is completely fascinating and raises so many questions that they bring up without fully exploring.
FIRST MAN (home release)
Movies about space exploration will always fascinate audiences, especially when they are based on true stories. Neil Armstrong was the first man who touched down on the moon back on July 20, 1969. While many people remember that day, there are new generations who don’t know his story and what it took to get the Apollo 11 on the moon. Ryan Gosling stars as Armstrong. He’s a devoted family man and NASA engineer who is in a state of mourning after his daughter passed away. He heads full on into work mode in the aftermath applying for and then being selected as part of Project Gemini. Its mission was to create and perfect space travel techniques to send the Apollo space shuttle up to the Moon before the Soviets accomplished that feat. Armstrong worked alongside his team as they saw it go through many trials and tribulations leading up to the moon landing including many space shuttle malfunctions along the way resulting in the death of many of his friends and fellow crew members. Armstrong was ultimately selected to be a part of the Apollo 11 crew with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.
-Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll
-Directed by Damian Chazelle, the Oscar winning director of La La Land and Whiplash. Along with his cinematographer, they have taken a very intimate claustrophobic approach to some of the camera work taking you right inside the cockpit. The shaky camera may affect some audience members.
-Chazelle is clearly inspired by the masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. He’s always trying to create stunning visuals using practical effects instead of overly relying on CGI.
-As Neil Armstrong, Ryan Gosling is the strong silent type. He’s a very reserved kind of character. Gosling excels at this actor trait as he continues to play very internal characters.
-The film’s pace is a bit slower than expected reflecting the time period and quieter nature of who Neil Armstrong was. It takes its time to build up to the epic and majestic ending with the moon landing.
-You’ll want to see this one at the IMAX at the MN Zoo. The ending is shot with IMAX cameras and deserves to be seen on a massive screen.
-Loved the use of real audio, footage, and commercials from the time period. Don’t believe the fake news as this movie is very American showing our flag multiple times throughout and punctuates the movie with one of Kennedy’s memorable speeches.