Lucky (2017)

Impression: At some point you get too old to care about what other people think of you or your opinions, and you start dispensing it without a care. At 90 years old, this is where Lucky is. He doesn’t care who he offends, and he doesn’t mind calling “bullshit” when he encounters it.  His days consists of  lots of smoking, 5 yoga exercises, walking the streets of his small dusty desert town (in same exact order), getting a cup of coffee at the same diner, solving a crossword puzzle, watching game shows and hanging out at his favorite bar drinking bloody mary’s.  He is a little bit rattled when he is faced with his mortality when he loses consciousness  while inadvertently hypnotizing himself by staring at the blinking unset time on his coffee maker. The only thing his doctor can diagnose him with, is old age. A whole host of strange characters inhabit the town and Lucky’s world (mostly played by fairly famous actors like Ron Livingston and Tom Skerritt), the most fun of which is played by David Lynch: another old guy whose tortoise has carefully timed its escape. The movie is quirky and funny. I was actually surprised at the number of laugh out loud moments a large portion of the audience took part in.  The pace of the film is slow, and in some ways it reminds me of Jim Jarmusch’s films, where you just have to accept the speed at which things happen to get any enjoyment out of it. But it’s closer to how life proceeds in reality, than how it does in Hollywood movies, so it requires some adjustment.  What I enjoyed the most was Lucky’s no nonsense perspective on life and death, and how the movie paints his world. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys slow moving, quirky movies.

Facts: A man in his 90s, living in a dusty Arizona town dispenses his wisdom to people he runs into whether they want to  hear it or not.

Extra: I saw this as a special presentation film at the 2017 Indy Film Fest.

The Bad Batch (2016)

Impression: I am not a huge fan of horror, and usually not a huge fan of ultra-violence in movies either. So there had to be a strong reason for me to get excited about a movie tagged a “dystopian cannibal love story”  and drive over an hour to go see it. And there was, it was directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, of  A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night fame. I loved her previous film, for its sensibility and just general sense of weirdness in an alternate universe she created. It was black and white and tagged as “the first Iranian vampire Western.” The Bad Batch turned out to not be a horror, but definitely a violent dystopia, produced on a much higher budget, with much higher profile actors (some credited, some not), and it’s own strange aesthetic and logic. I feel like her movies have to be taken the same way Baz Luhrman’s movies are consumed, not as a film, but an experience: there may be a plot, but it is secondary to the full world and atmosphere the director creates. Here the story follows a girl, who is literally broken and butchered, but does what she has to in order to survive, and find her place in a very brutal and strange world. Sure, the film can be read as a metaphor for life and surviving hardship, or choosing to build something new when faced with bad choices, but I think more than anything it is just a vision of an alternate world, and a chance to be transported into someone else’s vision. Keanu Reeves has never been creepier or better cast (and never worn a mustache in a movie before according to the director!) as a world creator and a cult leader of “The Dream.” And Jim Carey is completely unrecognizable in a silent role.  This is definitely NOT an action movie, it is slow moving and moody, much like her previous film. I think I still prefer her first film, just because I had never seen anything like it,  but this one is also very original and quirky, and full of creative energy.

Facts: A girl gets dropped off in a no-man’s land dystopian desert, where she is first faced with a brutal world run by bodybuilder cannibals. only to escape to a seemingly more  kind world of daily lazing about the desert and nightly rave parties. Soon, she discovers something nefarious is going on there too.

Extra: The fact that I got to see this film at a sneak preview, right after an hour and a half live interview with a very funny and entertaining Ana Lily Amirpour may  have made me like this movie more than, I otherwise would have. She was full of hilarious anecdotes, and very no-nonsense thoughts on life, and amazingly creative and badass.