Rewind Review- My One and Only

This is an absolute dream of a film that will likely be overlooked by moviegoers and the award season alike but is one of the best films of the year. Due to the fact that much of the film deals with Renée Zellweger’s character seeking a new husband it has been classified as a screwball comedy by many, however, this is but one aspect of this film.

This film is a story full of characters that are well-defined Zellweger who is sensational in this part has a very unique view of life. She in a Blanche DuBois kind of way relies on the kindness of strangers but seeks a certain standard of living for her and her boys. Finding a new father is how she thinks she can best mother them and drags them around the country in the 50s while seeking a new beau.

Being dragged along with her are her two sons Robbie and George. Robbie, the elder, is interested in theatre and fashion and played brilliantly by Mark Rendall. Robbie’s homosexuality is a prime example of the refreshing nature of this film. He just is and it’s like the white elephant in the room and is rarely mentioned which is accurate but he is totally accepted by his mother and half-brother. He also wields a gun without much drama and little stereotype in onepivotal scene.

George is less pleased to be along on the trip. He is more of a realist and frequently clashes with his mother. He is played with remarkable aplomb by Logan Lerman in a startling turn. Lerman will be a star for years to come based on his talent alone.

Renée Zellweger, as mentioned previously, is sensational in this film where she slowly but surely shows there’s more to her than meets the eye and yet realizes her imperfections. She completely immerses herself in this part and disappears into it.

This film has dialogue which is funny and effective. For every funny scene there is one of real emotion. Even though some events you know will happen but the how of it is the fun and what you don’t guess.

The score is also a unique signature and effective. It is jazzy and similar to that the band Dan, the boys’ estranged father played well by Kevin Bacon plays.

The entire supporting cast was extremely good. It’s the kind of movie you can try to fault but you won’t find much if anything. What a great find – go and see it.

10/10

61 Days of Halloween: Case 39

Case 39 is a film with tons of squandered potential that earns the rare distinction of Film Most Deserving of a Remake Due to Lack of Execution. Unlike others in the past like Captivity it does not, however, come even close to being good for a number of reasons. It should also be noted that this film was in the can for two years and likely to remain undistributed- not that something like that always matters (Blue Sky) but it should be taken into consideration.

To borrow a journalism term this film buries the lead, which is to say that it does not tell the most compelling story it has to offer. It decides to tell the tale of a well-meaning social worker who thinks she is doing this child a favor and saving her from abuse. As time goes by it turns out the girl is demonic. The more compelling tale would be to follow this girl’s life with her “parents” then the scene in which she is taken away has an added layer of emotion and becomes even more poignant, frightening and impactful. However, you cannot punish a film for what it should’ve done. What it did do wasn’t that great either.

It gets off on the wrong foot right away by trying to introduce too many things in the early going. There is Emily (Renée Zellweger) and her work, then we see a little about her personal life and meet Doug (Bradley Cooper); we see her working one of her other cases which comes into the mix later, Diego (Alexander Conti) and there are a few meetings with Lilith’s (Jodelle Ferland, who is rather good in this part) family when there could be fewer. Edward’s, Lilith’s father, tight-lipped attitude prompts Emily to contact Detective Barron (Ian McShane) to try and look into their history. All this before Lilith is taken out of their custody, which would not be an issue if the film had measured its pace.

Instead once Emily has custody of Lilith she starts to jump to the supernatural conclusion far too soon and the only reason that would happen is because there is a concern about running time. While strange things had occurred things hadn’t gotten to a supernatural state just yet. Either the build had to be more consistent while bringing these people in or there needs to be a slower escalation of the Emily-Lilith conflict.

So it all becomes a question of reaction, or rather overreaction. A similar thing happens when Doug, a psychologist, has a session with Lilith. It is a disconcerting and somewhat cloying standard horror scene. As an audience, we can read between the lines and see she’s messing with him but Doug walks out of the encounter saying he feels “shaken” but he looks like he saw her head spin around the reaction is far too big for the scene we just witnessed. The only function it serves is to fuel Emily’s fears.

Then Emily’s approach to the final confrontation is all wrong. She is told that Lilith can only be killed in her sleep, which she hardly does at all. What that factoid is based on is beyond me. Her first approach is very hands-off and then although we get some very good intercut flashbacks what finally does it ends up being too easy a solution especially after having seen examples of her strength not moments before.

The concept this film tries to prey upon is that you are never safe from this demon if you are on her radar as she doesn’t actually kill you but rather makes circumstances more conducive to your death. It doesn’t quite succeed in that regard either. There is the aftermath of a gruesome scene which isn’t shot to its potential. The most effective onscreen kill is likely the hornets, however, their CG-ness is rather apparent throughout.

Inconsistency abounds in this film from pace to logic to effectiveness and even the performances aren’t immune, most of the times they are victimized by the script though. Case 39 has promise in many areas but never comes close to realizing it in anyway shape or form and ends up being a wasteful disappointment.

4/10