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Joey’s Home Movies For the Week of May 16th – Another Delicious Slice of ‘Licorice Pizza’

MGM

Welcome back to my Home Movies! Today, the latest Paul Thomas Anderson flick in Licorice Pizza leads the charge, easily lapping the rest of the field. What else is hitting shelves this week, including a new Criterion Collection release and some indie options? Read on to find out…

Joey’s Top Pick

MGM

Licorice Pizza

What an enjoyable movie Licorice Pizza is. Anderson going back somewhat to his earlier, more ensemble style of filmmaking just delighted me. It’s funny, moving, and absolutely impeccably made, with Alana Haim doing extraordinary work with her breakthrough leading role. When it comes to PTA, you should expect nothing less, after all. I spoke to co-cinematographer Michael Bauman here and costume designer Mark Bridges here, so be sure to check those conversations out about Licorice Pizza‘s look. This here is some of my rave review of the film:

Depending on who you are, you probably have a different type of Paul Thomas Anderson film that you gravitate towards. Those in one camp love his earlier work, evocative of the likes of Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese. Then, we have folks in another camp, who prefer the more recent and more formal offerings, where he’s experimenting with an almost Stanley Kubrick-like way of making movies. Of course, there’s also the camp that just loves anything Anderson does. Personally, I’m partial to the PTA who made arguably the greatest one-two-three punch in Boogie NightsMagnolia, and Punch Drunk Love. For anyone who’s like me, Licorice Pizza is coming along like mana from cinematic heaven. Again set in California like those flicks, it’s also probably his most romantic and even silly work. Anderson is having fun here, with the result being one of the year’s most interesting and actually enjoyable movies.

Licorice Pizza might not quite be on the level of his early genius, but it shows PTA getting back to a shaggier style of storytelling. While not as epic in scope as Boogie Nights or especially Magnolia, Anderson seems to be strolling through his protagonists’ lives. He’s clearly enjoying himself, telling a story of young love that’s full of optimism and a belief in better things to come. Somehow, this oftentimes peculiar auteur has crafted a first rate crowdpleaser. Plus, he’s also made one hell of an acting discovery with Alana Haim.

Also Available This Week

Bleecker Street

Belle

Beverly Hills Cop II (4K)

A Day to Die

Infinite

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time

The Last Kingdom: Season Five (TV)

The Last Kingdom: The Complete Series (TV)

Sundown (interview with Tim Roth here)

Criterion Corner

Criterion

The Funeral

From The Criterion Collection: “It’s death, Japanese style, in the rollicking and wistful first feature from maverick writer-director Juzo Itami. In the wake of her father’s sudden passing, a successful actor (Itami’s wife and frequent collaborator, Nobuko Miyamoto) and her lascivious husband (Tsutomu Yamazaki) leave Tokyo and return to her family home to oversee a traditional funeral. Over the course of three days of mourning that bring illicit escapades in the woods, a surprisingly materialistic priest (Chishu Ryu), and cinema’s most epic sandwich handoff, the tensions between public propriety and private hypocrisy are laid bare. Deftly weaving dark comedy with poignant family drama, The Funeral is a fearless satire of the clash between old and new in Japanese society in which nothing, not even the finality of death, is off-limits.”

Stay tuned for more next week…

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Written by Joey Magidson

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