Welcome back to my Home Movies! Today, two films of wildly different scale are duking it out for top honors. In one corner, we have Marvel and their behemoth Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. In the other corner, there’s the tiny independent character study Pleasure. Which flick emerged victorious this week? Read on to find out…
One of my favorite movies from the Sundance Film Festival last year, Pleasure is a tough watch, to be sure. At the same time, this tale of a determined young woman trying to make it in the world of pornography is impossible to turn away from. It’s incredibly compelling stuff, from start to finish. You can find my interviews with filmmaker Ninja Thyberg here and star Sofia Kappel here, both of whom do tremendous work in the film, with Kappel in particular shining. As for my Sundance review, this here is some of what I said at the time:
The world of pornography is not for the faint of heart. To make it, you need to compartmentalize, have real inner strength, and a skillset that truly makes one a performer. All of that is fully realized in the extreme and unflinching Pleasure, currently shocking at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. As much as the content will prove far too graphic for most, it’s a bracing character study that captivates more than you might expect. It’s sexually explicit, sure, but it’s honest, raw, real, and even a little sweet. Somehow, it manages to find a balance, even if it’s unlikely to be a movie you’d ever want to watch a second time.
Pleasure goes there, that’s for sure. Co-writer/director Ninja Thyberg shows you more than you’d ever expect to see in a non erotic feature. Of course, there’s no eroticism to be found here, as this is far more a clinical depiction of making it (or not making it) in the business. The film never wants to titillate, only to educate. Without question, had this played in person at Park City, there would have been walkouts. At the same time, those individuals would have missed a hell of a movie, graphic as it is.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
This big MCU sequel is a lot of fun, especially when it lets director Sam Raimi go horror with it. Aside from that, it’s a good Doctor Strange movie, with some real delights. For good and bad, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sums up the state of Marvel currently. My positive review here on the site included this bit:
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is probably as close as Marvel will ever get to making a horror movie, courtesy of Raimi. There’s a few jump scares, some disturbing imagery, and even a bit of gnarly gore. Essentially, it’s starter horror, filtered through the MCU and this particular world of sorcery. Not everything works, but there’s a relentless feel that Raimi and company keep you invested with. Plus, the film actually does a really good job of leaving you wanting more.
The 4400 (2021): The Complete Series (TV)
The Gilded Age: The Complete First Season (TV)
The Lost City
*No Criterion Releases this time around, but check back soon!*
Stay tuned for more next week…