‘First Cow’, ‘Fear Street Part Two’, ‘BPM’
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Something of a week of contrasts, with novelties fear street part two and First cow offering respectively sadism and sensitivity, while Out of sight and BPM balancing their romances with pulp fiction and a documentary take on recent history.
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The Street of Fear, Part 2: 1978 – Netflix
The second chapter in this trilogy of adaptations of RL Stine’s horror franchise doubles the gore of his surprisingly gruesome debut installment, reminiscent of the sadistic streak of the slasher films he pays homage to.
This deference becomes frustrating at times, however, because – just like in the first – Fear street stacks the needle drops on top of each other to compensate for a somewhat unstable sense of place as well as tone. It’s slightly better than Part one due to its draw of a genre with a campy story and does well to replicate the average streak of trash slashers like Friday 13, but I still can’t help but feel like a pale imitation. Despite the blood and bloodshed, it somehow seems trivial.
BPM (beats per minute) – Netflix
Robin Campillo’s description of the organized action of ACT UP Paris seems truly revolutionary in the moment, engaged in an almost documentary observation and contextualization of the radical organization, placing it in a larger history of queer politics, of class politics and the history of AIDS victims, swept under the carpet by the French government and others around the world and combated by pharmaceutical companies.
Campillo was himself a part of ACT UP at that time, so his description of the details of the deliberations, arguments, and conversations leading up to their direct action is as engaging as it is genuine. His observation is not only documentary though, with its emotional but naturalistic sequences of romance and joy and simply living characters, shows exactly what was and what is still in play.
Also new on Netflix: Dora and the lost city of gold, Middle, Once upon a time in … Hollywood
First cow – MUBI
The latest film by Kelly Reichardt, one of America’s top filmmakers, First cow sends the director back to his favorite setting in the Pacific Northwest. It’s the heart-wrenching, accurately told tale of two friends who try to make a living baking candy with milk stolen in 19th-century Oregon, as a lone and skilled cook Cookie (John Magaro) knots a connection with a Chinese immigrant King-Lu (Orion Lee), who is also seeking fortune.
The two end up working together to start a business making “fatty cakes” (donuts, essentially), although this requires stealing the local governor’s cow’s milk. The relationship between the two is deeply moving and is reminiscent of his previous film Old Joy in its sensitive and intimate depiction of male friendships and the history of rural American working classes.
Another novelty on MUBI: Sparkle
American independent film icon Steven Soderbergh has returned to the genre of criminal capers several times since Out of sight, but the film starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez remains remarkable. This tale of overconfident thieves and weird couple romance follows Jack Foley (Clooney), a soft-spoken career criminal who escapes from prison to commit one final heist. Along the way, he meets Federal Marshal Karen Sisco (Lopez), and a weird, combative (and frankly, really hot) romance begins between these two people on opposite sides of the law.
Adapted from a story by Elmore Leonard (watch out for Michael Keaton playing the same character he did in Tarantino’s Jackie Brown), Soderbergh’s dialogue is as precise and funny as we’d expect from the filmmaker, with some simply legendary editing work from Anne V Coates to match. It’s also just a very good heist, laying the groundwork for Soderbergh’s vision for Ocean’s 11, which is very closely minded. Out of Sight is as charming and sexy as it is visually accomplished, and it shouldn’t be missed.
Also new to iPlayer: In the woods, Pride