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Joey’s Home Movies For the Week of August 16th – Make Room for ‘Small Axe’

Small Axe
Small Axe

Welcome back to my Home Movies! Today, Steve McQueen‘s Small Axe series is the top pick. The films making up this group are quite below, as you’ll see below, but this would lead most slates. This week? Even more so. Read on below to see what other movies are hitting shelves…

Joey’s Top Pick

“Small Axe: Lovers Rock” (2020) Cinematographer Image result for small axe cinematography by Shabier Kirchner

Small Axe

Small Axe is easily Steve McQueen at his most personal. While it may all seem smaller than McQueen would be tackling, it truly is a great depiction of all of his filmmaking tools. You can see pieces of my review of three segments (Lovers Rock, Mangrove, and Red, White and Blue) below, but each movie is more than worthwhile. If you didn’t get a chance to see what all the fuss was about last year, now is the time…

Lovers Rock is, perhaps surprisingly, a hangout movie, not too dissimilar from the style and world that Richard Linklater has returned to time and again over his career. The tone is different, but this flick is simply an evening spend with a group of people eager to let loose and have a good time. Filled with good music and tender observations about courtship, it’s further reaching than its small scale and short running time would lead you to initially believe.

Mangrove is an angry movie, though the anger is more than justified, considering the racism on display. McQueen is endeavoring to rile you up, using every arrow in his quiver to do so. The result is a film that’s similar to a lot of things he’s done before, but also with a bit of a new slant. What more can you ask from one of the most talented filmmakers out there?

Red, White and Blue happens to appear more generic than the other installments, at least on the surface, but it’s truly not. It’s a character study at its core, looking at one true story that still rings quite true today. Unfortunately, that’ll prove as frustrating and upsetting as any Small Axe scenario being depicted.

Also Available This Week

Riders of Justice/ Retfærdighedens Ryttere Directed by Anders Thomas Jensen Produced by Sisse Graum Jørgensen and Sidsel Hybschmann Zentropa Production2 Photo Credit:ROLF KONOW

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A Discovery of Witches: Season Two (TV)

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

NCIS: The Eighteenth Season (TV)

Riders of Justice (interview here with Mads Mikkelsen and Anders Thomas Jensen)

The Truffle Hunters

The Water Man

Criterion Corner

Criterion

Original Cast Album: “Company”

From The Criterion Collection: “This holy grail for both documentary and theater aficionados offers a tantalizingly rare glimpse behind the Broadway curtain. In 1970, right after the triumphant premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s groundbreaking concept musical Company, the renowned composer and lyricist, his director Harold Prince, the show’s stars, and a large pit orchestra all went into a Manhattan recording studio as part of a time-honored Broadway tradition: the making of the original cast album. What ensued was a marathon session in which, with the pressures of posterity and the coolly exacting Sondheim’s perfectionism hanging over them, all involved pushed themselves to the limit—including theater legend Elaine Stritch, who fought anxiety and exhaustion to record her iconic rendition of “The Ladies Who Lunch.” With thrilling immediacy, legendary filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker offers an up-close view of the larger-than-life personalities, frayed-nerve energy, and explosive creative intensity that go into capturing the magic of live performance.”

Stay tuned for more next week…

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Written by Joey Magidson

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