Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for a double-bill of Coco and Roman J. Israel, Esq. Talk about mood swings!
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First on my agenda was the wonderful animated feature Coco.
A young Mexican boy learns the importance of family, and of being true to yourself, on Dia de los Muertos.
Coco is preceded by a short called Olaf's Frozen Adventure. It runs about 20 minutes and feels like about 20 years. Outside of an amusing number about different holiday traditions, the songs are pedestrian and the story even more so. The animation is lovely, as you'd expect, but that's really about all this one has going for it. Do yourself a favor, dawdle an extra minute at concessions and turn up late.
Once you've survived this latest attempt to cash in on Ana and Elsa, your reward is sweet. Coco is a beautiful, heartfelt story featuring delightful characters, stunning artwork, and a magical score by Michael Giacchino. If the movie is a bit heavy-handed with its message, it's sincere enough that you probably won't mind. Myriad skulls and skeletons could seem a bit macabre to unfamiliar eyes, but bright colors and cheerful patterns keep the tone friendly enough for even very young children. The picture's climax drags just a hair, but it's a petty quibble with a pretty perfect movie.
Coco clocks in at 109 minutes and is rated PG for "thematic elements." Coco is a sweet story brought to life by glorious artwork and enjoyable characters. With just four weeks left in 2017, I’m inclined to call it the year's best animated feature. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Coco gets eight.
Next on my agenda, the perplexing legal thriller Roman J. Israel, Esq.
When his longtime partner passes away, a brilliant lawyer is thrust from the shadows into the spotlight.
Dear reader(s), Roman J. Israel, Esq. is one weird little movie. The titular attorney is a far cry from the cool tough guys Denzel Washington often portrays; instead he's an awkward loner whose odd mannerisms are portrayed by Washington with meticulous attention to detail. Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo are both solid in supporting roles, though I'd have liked them both to have a bit more to do. The story is never dull, but clunky pacing and a sense of moral ambiguity make the movie feel awkward and unsatisfying. Complicated characters are one thing, but this is poorly-fleshed-out enough that it's hard to grab onto anyone's real goals or motivations. I saw a headline over the weekend that called this film "one of the most confounding misfires of 2017," and that says it better than I ever could. There's really no excuse for this not being better than it is.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. runs 129 minutes and is rated PG13 for "language and some violence."
Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a terrific showcase for the acting tour de force that is Denzel Washington, but it doesn't have much else going for it.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Roman J. Israel, Esq. gets five.
Fangirl points: DAMN does Trouble Man sound awesome in that glorious surround sound!
Until next time...