Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Wife, along with Short Takes on Operation Finale and Juliet, Naked

                                  Variations of Dysfunctionality

                                                            Reviews by Ken Burke

                                       The Wife (Björn Runge)

“Executive Summary” (no spoilers): A famous author is overjoyed to learn he’s won the Nobel Prize in Literature after a long, distinguished career; his wife’s equally joyful for him, but as this story progresses we see there are tensions between them, which begin to be explained by flashbacks showing she was his student in college decades ago, ended up married to him after they started an affair which ended his first marriage, then helped considerably with rewrites that resulted in the publication of his first novel (how he got a teaching position at prestigious Smith College without a decent publication record already is beyond me, but let’s not shoot down the whole premise of the film right away, especially given it’s based on its own successful novel [of the same name] by Meg Wolitzer [2003]); however, all beyond that premise will have to remain unclear to those of you who haven’t read this book or seen this film as to what happens next (although I can solve your dilemma right below if you want to dive into the deep end of a spoiler-filled-review); even if you’d rather wait until you’ve seen The Wife for yourself, though, please note my support for Glenn Close for yet-another-Oscar-nomination for Best Actress unless many superior contenders emerge before nominations come out later.  At times she’s effectively fiery, but it’s her smoldering responses to crap dished out in her direction that show her command of the screen.  Her only limitation is the severely-limited-number of places where you can currently see this film, so keep your video options open because this one’s well worth your time and money to watch it as you can.

Here’s the trailer:  (Use the full screen button in the image’s lower right to enlarge it; activate that same button on the full screen’s lower right or your “esc” keyboard key to return to normal size.)

If you can abide plot spoilers read on, but as this blog’s intended for those who’ve seen the film—or want to save some bucks—to help any of you who want to learn more details yet avoid important plot-reveals I’ll identify any give-away sentences/sentence-clusters like this: 
⇒The first and last words will be noted with arrows and red.⇐ OK, now continue on if you prefer.

What Happens: We begin in 1992 as literature professor/celebrated author Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce) restlessly awaits the phone call he’s wanted all his professional life for (to ease his anxiety he finally convinces wife Joan [Glenn Close] to have sex with him [as obligatory as it is, I wouldn’t call it making love, although the dynamics around that supposedly-intimate-encounter tell us much of what we need to know going forward in this film, even if we weren’t aware of the above trailer or any other reviews]), which comes in the early morning hours: acknowledgment he’s won the Nobel Prize for Literature.  At the hastily-prepared-reception later that morning Joan’s all smiles and encouragement (although as these early scenes go on she constantly comes across as a combination mother-hen/nurse, reminding Joe to curb his hedonistic desires for food or drink for the overall benefit of his health, even as he’s the one who frowns on smoking by any member of his family), just like Joe’s pregnant daughter, Susannah (Alix Wilton Regan), but we can already sense tension with the Castlemans' son, David (Max Irons), another aspiring writer who gets little help, advice, or engagement from Dad, even as Mom tries her best to be supportive, positive toward his latest work.  Soon parents and son are flying off to Stockholm (an appropriately cold, snowy environment for this story) for the awards ceremony but with some emotional turbulence on the flight from Nathaniel Bone (Christian Slater) who desperately wants to be Joe’s official biographer although with no acceptance from his intended subject.  Once at their posh hotel, tensions continue within the family, especially between father and son (Joe calls David’s story about a “blowhard husband and repressed wife” a cliché), although Joan’s spiteful concern over Joe’s apparent interest in young Linnea (Karin Franz Körlof), assigned to be Joe’s personal photographer during this trip (oddly enough, the only one for all these Laureates)—despite his denials of such—lead to her taking leave of her husband at times leading up to awards night, just as David also heads out on his own.  In both cases, they meet up with Bone, trying to get whatever info he can about Joe, in hopes his upcoming study of the literary giant will likewise be a winner, cooperative subject or not.

 In the process of all this, Joe nearly succumbs to his temptation toward Linnea but manages to pull back (so to speak), but only because what might have gone further that afternoon gets interrupted by his concern for where Joan might have wandered off to.  Back at the hotel, in final preparation for the big event, though, David confronts Dad with what he’s learned from Nathaniel, which could easily be reason to negate Joe’s participation in the ceremony, even as Joan’s still willing to go along with the increasing problems, pleasantly gritting her teeth when he tells groups of reporters he’s lucky his wife’s not also a writer, given the potential he saw in her when he was a young lit prof at Smith College (an all-women’s undergrad school, like Mills College in Oakland CA where I spent much of my academic career), she was one of his students. ⇒Through flashbacks beginning in 1958 intermingled with the ongoing present scenes, we see young Joe (Harry Lloyd) impressed with young Joan’s (Annie StarkeClose’s daughter) blossoming potential (although at an alumna reception she’s warned away from pursuing a literary career by cynical Elaine Mozell [Elizabeth McGovern] who shows her how any random selection from an alumnae shelf of novels hasn’t even been opened due to male dominance of the profession, just as we later see Joan in a lowly publishing-house-job, subject to sexist expectations, or only men in charge in Sweden, with wives assumed to devote their spare time to shopping expeditions), then attracted to her romantically, despite his wife and baby at home.  A short time later they’re living in NYC (their affair’s bounced him from an Ivy League career) where he’s trying to get his novel, The Walnut (he’s always carrying around a few of these, munching them or inscribing one to his latest love), published but to no avail.  After she’s offered many improvements he’s off on a successful career but only because she’s, in agreement with him, moved from editor to primary author, leaving him to the housework and childcare, much to David’s painful annoyance as a young boy wailing for more time with Mom.  

 In the present—a call from Susannah with the good news of the baby’s birth calms the troubled waters for a bit—acrimony returns, so after the ceremony Joan tells Joe she’s had enough of being the ghost writer, plans to file for divorce when they’re back in Connecticut, but that becomes unnecessary when Joe—distraught at losing Joan after their decades together—suddenly dies of a heart attack.  On the plane back to the U.S., Joan has one last talk with Nathaniel, promising she’ll sue him for libel if his book even implies the reality of the Castlemans’ literary process, then quietly tells David she’s explain all the truth of her life to him and his sister after they’ve returned home.⇐

So What? While all 3 cinematic-subjects under review in this posting feature some aspects of dysfunctionality—either in many versions of relationships as well as an artist’s denial of his own fans in Juliet, Naked or the grotesque situation of government-authorized-murder in Operation Finale (with the almost-worse-aspect of a major overseer of this genocide program offering his flimsy rationale of “national security”) or here in The Wife where we’re once again in the midst of abysmal family interactions (husband vs. wife, parents vs. adult son) coupled with artistic malfeasance—they also all have varied connections to aspects of reality beyond the screen, even in the first and last ones which are purely fictional but bear some resemblances to actualities, in the case of Juliet … it's the similarities between the reclusive musician of the movie and the true story of Sixto Rodriquez (noted in both reviews below) while with The Wife this fictional tale has some overlaps with the case of 1960s celebrity “painter” Walter Keane, whose sentimental works with puppy-dog-faces were actually done by his wife, Margaret, until such time as she demanded recognition as the actual artist (a story put into movie form by Tim Burton in Big Eyes [2014; review in our January 9, 2015 posting]).  As with the Keanes in real life, fictional Joan in The Wife finally reaches a point of intense frustration with pouring herself into a life of public literary success, combined with worldwide admiration for the work, only to see it all attributed to her husband who, at best, is responsible for their novels’ various ideas but not the wordsmithing nuances making them so celebrated.  This depiction of a woman sacrificing her entire life to her husband’s fame, tolerating his multiple affairs, quietly watching how his professional neglect burdens their aspiring-author-son, results in an emotional implosion devastating to watch, even as Joan to the end refuses to acknowledge her husband’s failures to anyone but her children, despite the truth of his deceptions.

Bottom Line Final Comments: Although The Wife’s seemingly been damned with faint praise by a good many of my critical brethren, most of whom say the rest of the film can’t fully compare with the powerful presence Close brings to her character (especially in a series of searing "close"ups conveying a wealth of emotions even as her face maintains a sense of rigid composure)—although Pryce rightly likewise gets some kudos for his presence as egotistical Professor Joe (as an academician much of my life, I can’t imagine such a person, I just can’t), whose withering dismissals of his son’s attempts as an author come from a highly-hypocritical-“legend in his own mind”-stance—the critical consensus for The Wife is the best of the 3 I’m exploring this week, with 85% positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, a 76% average score at Metacritic (quite good for them; details in Related Links far below), leading to early talk of Close as a Best Actress Oscar contender (well-deserved after a long career in which she’s gotten considerably more nominations than wins from various organizations, including 6 Oscar noms [3 for Actress in a Leading Role, 3 for Actress in a Supporting Role]), although now’s probably way too early for such talk, especially given the film’s been out for 3 weeks but earned only about $1.2 million in box-office-receipts (easily due to playing so far in only 78 domestic [U.S.-Canada] venues), so we’ll just have to see where this goes if the solid critical support leads to increased viewership, wider distribution; if not, The Wife will likely just become another arthouse treasure largely forgotten when something of similar aesthetic quality but considerably better financial impact comes along in winter’s heavy-hitter-contenders.  Until such a situation might develop, though, I’ll note The Wife as one of 2018’s best releases with hopes it’s properly remembered, rewarded when celebration-season comes about this winter into early 2019.

 For now, though, I’ll just wrap up my review, as I always do, by offering to you a Musical Metaphor to explore (accompanying the minor poetry flow just emerged in this sentence), a last look at the subject at hand from the perspective of the aural arts, this one chosen from an actual winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (2016), Bob Dylan, whose song “You’re a Big Girl Now” (from 1975's Blood on the Tracks album, seemingly about discord with ex-wife Sarah yet he’s claimed those songs are inspired by the short stories of Anton Chehkov [?]) at 4iI&frags=pl%2Cwn (a longer version than on the album, seemingly recorded during the 1975-’76 Rolling Thunder Review tour [a mammoth, multi-hour production which I saw at the Houston Astrodome in January, 1976]; lyrics below the YouTube screen if you’d like to follow/sing along) speaks both to how Joan’s finally come in from the sea storm that’s been building all her life to now be “on dry land [… where she may end up] In somebody’s room [not Joe’s, which is] a price [he’d] have to pay [had he survived], while Joe tragically realizes before his demise “what a shame if all we’ve shared can’t last [… as he tries desperately to convince her] what’s the sense of changing horses in midstream? [Yet the] pain that stops and starts Like a corkscrew to my heart” comes too late to do anything but free Joan to explore where her life will go now, whether she’ll write more, fully on her own, allowing the rest of the world to see what Nathaniel Bone’s already discovered about how her distinctive style emerges in “Joe’s” novels, or will she let his legacy rest in peace even if that means still denying what's been rightfully hers from the start of their fateful literary pact. 
SHORT TAKES (in glorious theory, if not so much in actual practice)
(please note that spoilers also appear here)
                              Operation Finale (Chris Weitz)
Based on the true tale of planning/executing the capture of horrific Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1960 Argentina, this docudrama's effective at building tension about the details of this operation by the Israeli Mossad, even for those who already know the outcome of the events; although, less about the capture, more about the trial might have been more fruitful overall. 

Here’s the trailer:  

       Before reading any further, I’ll ask you to refer to the plot spoilers warning far above.

 While this film emerges from the same “based on true events” situation as have many of recent release, it doesn’t make such a statement at its beginning,* rather gives us historical-summary-graphics about how the Nazis killed 10 million people between 1939-1945 with some of the executioners fleeing to other countries after the war, especially Argentina.  We then meet Israeli Mossad (intelligence agency) operative Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) in 1954 Austria where his team mistakenly kills a man who’s not the Nazi-escapee they were looking for but the error’s tolerated because their victim was also a Nazi.  We move on to 1960 Buenos Aires where young Sylvia Hermann (Haley Lu Richardson) strikes up a relationship with Klaus Eichmann (Joe Alwyn), with her blind father, Lothar (Peter Strauss), seemingly in sympathy with the anti-Semitic-sentiments of Klaus and the cabal of German ex-pats and Argentine sympathizers still hoping to revive the Third Reich; however, Lothar is actually half-Jewish, suffered Nazi brutality (hence, his blindness) in 1935-’36 before relocating to Argentina, works with the Mossad, informing them Klaus’ “uncle” (that’s the story anyway)—going by the name of Ricardo Klement—is actually notorious Adolf Eichmann, the “architect of the Final Solution,” one of the most prominent members of Hitler’s regime yet to be brought to justice (or cowardly-dead from suicide).  A Mossad team including Peter is given fake identities, settles into Buenos Aires, determines Klement is actually Eichmann, makes an elaborate scheme to kidnap, then take him to Israel for trial (despite their fervent desire to kill him in custody).

*This site shows how generally accurate (despite some creative license) this script is compared to the actual facts, along with a New Yorker article giving some additional perspective on Eichmann.

 The capture occurs as planned, although they drop Adolf’s glasses in the rural area where he’s taken after his shift at a local Mercedes-Benz plant, so Klaus (actually Adolf’s son) and wife Vera (Greta Scacchi) realize something’s amiss; the hunt’s now on for the kidnappers who’ve moved Eichmann to a safe house awaiting their escape.  Difficulties arise when the planned return of an El Al airline crew (that brought various Israeli diplomats to Argentina for its 150th independence celebration as part of this plot)—actually the kidnappers with a new set of assumed identities—is delayed by the airline until Eichmann willingly signs a document accepting his transfer.  The Mossad team tries desperately to force his signature, but he resists, insisting his actions were a necessary defense of his nation, that he was “just a cog in a machine.”  Peter, however, finally convinces him to sign, in order to make his case to the world (successfully stroking this eloquent-butcher’s ego).⇐

 ⇒The actual escape is fraught with tension, although it’s finally accomplished,⇐  but the capture process plus its aftermath takes up most of the running time of the film so we see little of the 1961 trial (broadcast to the world, allowing survivors of the Holocaust their first opportunity for widespread testimony of the horrors they endured)—although you can get a summary of it here—followed by ending graphics telling us of Eichmann’s hanging in 1962 (he was allowed one last visit from Vera, as promised by Peter).  While it’s never too often to remind a global audience of the atrocities engineered by Eichmann and those who worked with him (especially with neo-Nazi/Ku Klux Klan/White Nationalist sentiments/adherents on the rise again worldwide)—flashbacks make the executions personal with Peter as a child secretly witnessing the execution of his sister Fruma (Rita Pauls) and her children in a forest where a large contingent of Jews are shot by German soldiers under Eichmann’s direct command—but I do wish the filmmakers here had taken a different direction with this story (the script’s partially based on Malkin’s book, Eichmann in My Hands [1990], so I’m not sure how much leeway they had with plot decisions), focusing less on the tensions of a last-minute-departure from an airport full of hostile forces (we’ve already had plenty of that, from Casablanca [Michael Curtiz, 1942] to Argo [Ben Affleck, 2012; review in our October 19, 2012 posting]—both Best Picture winners), more on Eichmann’s failed strategy at his trial (where he attempted the old “I was only following orders” defense) to show definitively how such cruelty is completely unjustifiable even within the supposed-pragmatic-worldview of saving national interests.

 I always hesitate to offer my opinion of how a film should have been constructed, not knowing what all went into the filmmakers’ decisions (despite what they say when promoting their products), as well as not presuming to have better insights on the topic under review, but in this case the story itself sets us up with Eichmann making his crafty arguments to his captors while days drag by in the safe house, so I think we’d benefit from seeing more of that rationale exposed and rejected in the trial, rather than just allowing us to assume at the end the atrocities speak for themselves, that such defenses are merely worthless from the start (we do get some grainy footage from the actual trial during the final credits, though).  However, despite knowing the outcome, I’ll admit Operation Finale works as an exercise in tension-building-toward-triumph, yet my concerns resonate with the critical community—even as I end up being more generous in allotting stars to this film—as RT offers only 60% positive reviews, MC a close 58% average score.  Audiences have been hesitant in the debut weekend as well, yielding only about $9.5 million domestically even as ... Finale's in 1,818 theaters.

 My initial thought for a Musical Metaphor for Operation Finale was Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” (from his 1963 album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan), due to Eichmann’s involvement with the WW II grotesque extermination crimes against many innocent victims, mainly European Jews.  However, that song’s more appropriately directed toward warmongers of the later 1960s era—“You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build the big bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks […] A world war can be won You want me to believe […] And I hope that you die […] And I’ll watch while you’re lowered Down to your deathbed And I’ll stand o’er your grave ‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead”—rather than how “the Germans […] murdered six million In the ovens they fried” (from “With God On Our Side” [Dylan's 1964 album The Times They Are A-Changin’]), so I was inspired to go in another direction (although if you still want “Masters …” here’s a version with lyrics and appropriate visuals, or you might be interested in this live performance from the 2016 Desert Trip festival, October 7 [Indio, CA], with multi-screen-video-accompaniment, a week before my wife, Nina, and I saw him on October 14, just after winning that Lit. Noble Prize).  

 So, given my initial interest in using a Dylan song with Operation Finale would have ended up being a bit of an extension of the Nobel Laureate-focus from my previous review of The Wife, I decided to instead extend into the next review you'll find just below—where the focus is on a notable pop musician fading into obscurity for decades—to take my … Finale Metaphor from just such a one-time-wonder, Detroit’s Sixto Rodriquez, who had a quick appearance in the early 1970s then disappeared from view until the ongoing popularity of his early albums in South Africa led documentary director Malik Bendjelloul to track him down for the Oscar-winning-feature-doc, Searching for Sugar Man (2012), which not only revived Rodriquez’s career (allowing Nina and me to see him in San Francisco, in 2013, occasional-concert-goers that we are) but also encouraged me to choose his “Like Janis” (from the 1970 Cold Fact album) at (at the 2012 Newport Folk Festival; lyrics if you need them here) to metaphorically address the monstrous Eichmann with lines such as these: “And you live in the past or a dream that you’re in And your selfishness is your cardinal sin […] So measure for measure reflect on my said And when I won’t see you then measure it dead.”  Adolf Eichmann, long may you and your ilk remain dead to any sense of human decency, despite your rumbling-resurrection-attempts throughout Europe, the Americas, Australia in these dark days we now face, decades after such inhumanity as Nazis embodied should've been completely eliminated from human existence.
                                  Juliet, Naked (Jesse Peretz)
A video blogger in England’s obsessed with a reclusive American musician to the point of his longtime live-in girlfriend’s getting bored with this situation until the mystery man sends them an unreleased CD she’s not impressed with, followed by ongoing correspondence between the woman and the recluse (not known to the boyfriend), leading to various complications.

Here’s the trailer:

        Before reading any further, I’ll ask you to refer to the plot spoilers warning far above.

 A good number of mainstream movies just follow genre conventions, such as romantic comedies with a complication the lover-pair must overcome (Crazy Rich Asians [Jon M. Chu; review in our August 30, 2018 posting]) or monsters wrecking havoc against overwhelmed humans (The Meg [Jon Turteltaub; no review, just couldn’t do it]), but others are more “high concept,” requiring audiences to buy into/follow the flow of a more-complex-situation not seen as so easily-organic as the expected-tropes of more-conventional-repetitions we expect from seeing many variations of recognizable stories, such as the high-concept of Disney’s Christopher Robin (Marc Forster), where the miserable grownup man (photographed actor Ewan McGregor) from the Winnie the Pooh tales is suddenly visited by animated versions of his childhood chums.  Juliet, Naked falls into this work-with-it-a-bit-category, with the rom-com-structure seemingly-familiar but then complicated as some forced-but-acceptable-plot-situations help us appreciate where the story ultimately goes even though we might have to generously accept how it all resolves on screen.  In this case, we have an English couple who’ve been together for years, even though their relationship’s fading (example: when he desperately wants to listen to a CD on a private player with headphones but needs new batteries she angrily gives him some from her vibrator [yet YouTube notes this movie has “No mature content”]) so Annie Platt (Rose Byrne), working in an English maritime museum (in fictional Sandcliff) begun long ago by her father, is tiring of her mate, Duncan Thomson (Chris O’Dowd), who puts most of his energy into a video blogsite devoted to an obscure U.S. musician, Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke)—in seclusion for 20 years; Duncan's especially drawn to the well-loved Juliet album.

 Suddenly, a CD arrives for him, from Tucker, of an unreleased-follow-up, Juliet, Naked, which Duncan’s enthralled with even as it’s “dreary” to Annie who posts an anonymous negative reaction on Duncan’s website.  To her shock, Tucker replies via direct email, agreeing with her response.  Frequent correspondence (without Duncan’s knowledge) follows between them, leading to Tucker’s invitation for them to meet when he comes to London for the birth of his daughter, Lizzie’s (Ayoola Smart), baby (by aspiring musician, Zak [Thomas Gray]).  She takes him up on it, but he doesn’t show, due to a heart attack soon after deplaning (with young son, Jackson [Azhy Robertson]—by his fourth serious relationship [maybe some were marriages; I didn’t pay that much attention]).  Tucker contacts Annie by phone, she visits him in the hospital but gets overwhelmed by a couple of his previous lovers, 4 kids by the various women, and a lot of arguing among them, so she leaves.

 Soon thereafter Tucker contacts Annie again, convinces her to let him and his son stay at her seashore town home while he convalesces (she’s previously thrown Duncan out after a big argument over his affair with his local-college-teacher-colleague, Gina [Denise Gough]), but in the process Duncan comes upon Annie and Tucker at the beach, finally accepts this mystery guy really is his idol, then gets into another hassle when Crowe tells him both Juliet albums are basically crap.  Tucker finally admits to Annie he feels this way because the inspiration for this music, Julie (Georgina Bevin), had broken up with him long ago, confronted him at a club date with her baby, Grace, whom he didn’t even know about, leaving him feeling hollow for making music about a breakup with her given her even-less-desirable-circumstances, so he never performed again, became a recluse/legend (depending on whether you knew his circumstances from within—Tucker—or without—Duncan).  Attraction grows between Annie and Tucker, but when they start making love one night only to be interrupted by Jackson having a minor vomiting spell followed by him wanting to see his mother again (he lives with her while she’s taken pity on Tucker by letting him live in her garage), Annie rejects the possibility of a new relationship because there are just too many difficult logistics to overcome.  After the Americans fly back home—first, Tucker has a brief visit with Lizzie, who’s been abandoned by Zak, unable to accept the responsibility of fatherhood—Annie also rejects Duncan’s overtures (now split from Gina, saying he’s finally ready to have children with Annie), decides to move to London where a year later she meets again with Tucker, in town to visit his grandchild.⇐  Duncan appears on his video blog again during the final credits to note Tucker’s finally released a new album, inspired by his new romance (Annie, we’re sure), which the former acolyte bluntly dismisses as sentimental hogwash (you might have to dismiss those British accents at times as well, authentic as they may be [well, O’Dowd’s is his native Irish, although Byrne’s a shift from her native Australian], given how elusive they may sound at times to American ears).  But, however they might sound to you, the conversations are marvelously delivered, much more viable as authentic human speech than the standard well-crafted dialogue of film’s articulate interchanges.

 All of this is quite amusing, nicely played when Duncan comes to dinner with Annie and Tucker only to find his long-admired-musician has little to offer in appreciation to this enormously-devoted-fan, but easily forgotten after you’ve left the theater.  Critical response has been reasonably-supportive with a hearty 81% collection of positive reviews at RT, a more-usual-OK-but-don’t-get-too-excited-about-it 67% average score from MC (as always, more details for everything reviewed here in Related Links, just below), although audience response has been tepid (about 1.5 million in domestic dollars over the previous 3 weeks of release; however, just now expanding to a mere 318 domestic theaters after being in only 43 before), with studio hopes, I’m sure, it might finally ignite some interest before fading into obscurity (I was intrigued by this wacky premise, wondering what might become of a fictional version of the Sixto Rodriguez story noted above, but the concept basically wore itself out for me after the first half’s setup, easily falling into a standard romantic-comedy-resolution [with no mention of what becomes of Annie’s concern about the cross-Atlantic-pull for young Jackson]) so I’ll just wrap it up with the Musical Metaphor of Buddy Holly’s “It Doesn’t Matter Any More” (written by Paul Anka, a hit for Holly after he died in a plane crash in 1959, on his 1959 album The Buddy Holly Story) at pl%2Cwn because whatever had evolved between Annie and Duncan in the 15 years they were together, whatever might have sparked between Duncan and Gina (before he tried to reconnect with Annie), whatever connection Tucker might have had with the various mothers of his diverse children before he synched up with Annie, whatever career Tucker might have had that could have inspired such devotion from Duncan and his 200 invested followers, whatever interest I had in seeing this movie based on some encouraging reviews, “Well, I guess it doesn’t matter anymore [… or, as these various one-time-lovers might now say] There’s no use in me a-cryin’ I’ve done everything and I’m sick of tryin’ I’ve thrown away my nights And wasted all my days over you […] And you won’t matter anymore.”  But you do, marvelous readers, so come visit Two Guys whenever you can.

 One final thing to note before you go is a glitch I’ve tried to correct when I recently discovered about 2 dozen comments on various Two Guys postings were unpublished/unreplied to because somehow Google Blogspot didn’t notify me they’d been submitted.  All of these comments are now with their respective postings (with my apology replies); hopefully this problem won’t happen again.
Related Links Which You Might Find Interesting:
We encourage you to visit the summary of Two Guys reviews for our past posts.*  Overall notations for this blog—including Internet formatting craziness beyond our control—may be found at our Two Guys in the Dark homepage If you’d like to Like us on Facebook please visit our Facebook page. We appreciate your support whenever and however you can offer it!

*A Google software glitch causes every Two Guys posting prior to August 26, 2016 to have an inaccurate (dead) link to this Summary page; from then forward, though, this link is accurate.

Here’s more information about The Wife: (27:15 interview with director Björn Runge and actors Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater, Annie Starke [begins as these BUILD conversations do with the trailer used in the review far above])

Here’s more information about Operation Finale: (may mostly focus on where to find it in a theater near you) (56:42 interview with director Chris Weitz and actors Sir Ben Kingsley, Joe Alwyn [audio’s just a bit low but easy enough to bring up to a reasonably-hearable-level])

Here’s more information about Juliet, Naked: (33:24 interview with director Jesse Peretz and actors Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd [we’re back to BUILD again—they provide a lot of useful interview options, sometimes the only extensive ones I can find—so this video begins with the trailer used above in the review])

Please note that to Post a Comment below about our reviews you need to have either a Google account (which you can easily get at if you need to sign up) or other sign-in identification from the pull-down menu below before you preview or post.

If you’d rather contact Ken directly rather than leaving a comment here please use my email address of if you truly have too much time on your hands you might want to explore some even-longer-and-more-obtuse-than-my-film-reviews—if that even seems possible—academic articles about various cinematic topics at my website,, which could really give you something to talk to me about.)

By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile. Ken

P.S.  Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.  But wherever the rest of my body may be my heart’s always with my longtime-companion, lover, and wife, Nina Kindblad, so here’s our favorite shared song—Neil Young’s "Harvest Moon"
—from the performance we saw at the Desert Trip concerts in Indio, CA on October 15, 2016 (as a full moon was rising over the stadium) because “I’m still in love with you,” my dearest, a never-changing-reality even as the moon waxes and wanes over the months/years to come.
Finally, for the data-oriented among you, Google stats say over the past month (which they seem to measure from right now back 30 days) the total unique hits at this site were 4,662 (as always, we thank all of you for your support with our hopes you’ll continue to be regular readers, especially those from the mysterious Unknown Region, given your numbers continue to increase; also, welcome Moldova, we haven’t seen you too often, same with Singapore but I have a feeling last week’s review of Crazy Rich Asians had a lot to do with that); below is a snapshot of where and by what means those responses have come from within the previous week:

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