Movies: The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Roman J. Israel, Esq., Coco

 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

It took a bit of research but apparently the much acclaimed Director Yorgos  Lanthimos (remember The Lobster, 2016?) is inspired by Iphigenia of Greek Mythology, daughter of King Agamemnon who offended the goddess Artemis.  Artemis commanded the the King to kill his daughter in retribution.  (There is a famous painting of this event by Francois Perrier from the 17th century where you will also see the Sacred Deer.)

While that is an interesting art history lesson, it does not explain the plot for this film.  That said, most critics loved this movie.  Descriptions include: “unsettling” we say bizarre, others said “disturbing” we say nuts, still another says “thought provoking” we say yeah, as in drug induced psycho nightmare.

Colin Farrell plays a skilled cardiovascular surgeon and father who speaks in a monotone voice.  Nicole Kidman plays the wife and mother.  Young actors Sunny Suljic and Raffey Cassidy are the son and daughter with skilled performances beyond their years.  A noteworthy performance was by Barry Keoghan, the young Irish actor, who in this film is the best bad boy around.

It is rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, some graphic nudity and language.  It is not suitable for children.  It is listed as a Drama with a run time of 2 hours, 1 minute.

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Roman J. Israel, Esq.

This is an intelligent and captivating role for Denzel Washington.  It takes place in Los Angeles’ overburdened criminal court system where his character is a life long activist when his mentor and partner suddenly dies and the firm goes bankrupt.

Enter Colin Ferrell as a slick, ambitious lawyer, a mover and shaker on defense cases.  He hires Mr. Isreal who struggles to adapt.

There are about 20 actors in the script but about 6 are core to the movie.  Mr. Washington transforms into Roman Isreal.  Colin Ferrell is brilliant as the high powered defense attorney.  (Compare that to his lackluster role in the Sacred Deer film reviewed above!)  Carmen Ejogo is stunning as the activist attorney who befriends Roman.  The talented Tony Plana also gives a riveting character life.  Shelley Hennig also delivers an impressive character.

The film is rated PG-13 for language and some violence.  It is listed as a Drama/Crime/Thriller genre.  It’s too early to comment on potential Oscar chatter.

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Coco

This Disney Pixar production is laser focused on detail, every frame, every scene, every aspect.  Disney decided to debut Coco in Mexico in advance of the US where it broke records as the #1 film of all time in local currency.

The story is a chronicle of Mexican Day of the Dead folklore, its traditions and history.  It is also a story about generational divides, latin culture and integrity.

Miguel is the animated 10 year old struggling to honor his family’s history while following his heart’s desire to be a musician.  The film was three years in production which meant finding the talent to bridge the character’s attributes.  The role of Miguel is played by Anthony Gongalez who was 10 when he started and 13 when the film was finished.

The all star cast also includes Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Pratt, Renee Victor, Edward James Olmos and a dozen other actors.  It is rated PG.  The genre is noted as Action & Adventure, Animation, Comedy.  It runs 1 hour, 49 minutes.

This is a must see film.  There is Oscar buzz everywhere especially for Feature Animated film and several technical categories.  Given the quantity and quality of animated releases to date, it ought to be an interesting awards season.

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