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No spoilers.

The Kitchen

Said it before, and just sayin’ again, anything with Melissa McCarthy and Margo Martindale, I will go see. On the other hand, I couldn’t help thinking as I watched that this is a movie seriously in want of a plot. OK, if you’re into crime flicks, this is a mild version compared to the over-the-top blood and gore in today’s films. It did have informative instructions on how to divest oneself of that pesky body recently made into a corpse.

By the time the movie was over, I had to wonder if all of these talented women signed on for this flick because it had a woman director, Andrea Berloff. And the directing was somewhat better than some of the stuff I’ve seen lately, but considering the female cast, what’s to direct? I liked Domhnall Gleeson’s Gabriel O’Malley, perhaps because Gabriel was the only guy character not a sexist jerk.

I’m all for empowerment themes but this one is forgettable. Unless you like the cast, I’d wait to see this when it comes out DVD.

Where’d You Go Bernadette

This has gotten some mixed reviews and I have to take a jab at one reviewer who complained that it was disappointing because the story couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be a drama or a comedy. Duh! That’s why it’s called a dramedy.

I really enjoyed this version of Maria Semple’s book and she was a coproducer . A lot of care went into the production work, especially the house in various stages of renovation, the tangle of invasive bushes, both representative of Bernadette’s fractured state. I found that fragile, broken part of her—and nothing else about Bernadette is fragile—a fitting metaphor for her inner struggle, the horror of recovering from having one’s art savaged, a vision torn to shreds. Where The Kitchen was supposed to be about empowerment, Bernadette was born empowered with the “e” in caps. It is also a cautionary tale about how we can get bumped off the tracks and what a tragedy it is when we can’t figure out how to get back on then stay off too long.

Must give points to Blanchett, who knows how to deliver a throwaway line and her complete insight into Bernadette, showing it quite simply when Bernadette is at her best with the grease under her nails. This was revealed at the appropriate time, when her creativity is set free from a mentally frozen world by geographic one.

Caveat: I’m not a cold weather lover but the grandeur of the icebergs in the pristine arctic seas broke my heart. All I could think about was how that majestic beauty is being ravaged by greedy, amoral politicians and businesses destroying our beautiful world—the opposite of Bernadette, who did her best to build green.

Stay for the credits to see the fascinating outcome of what applied genius is all about.

 

M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)

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