Slim pickins at the movies thus far this season, but here’s my take on
two films just released beginning with one based on a young adult novel
by Julia Walton:
WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS.
I thought this was going to be just another doomed teen romance, of
little interest to me given how far from teen romance I have drifted,
and the more immediate doom posed by pandemic, economic pandemonium,
the plague of racial injustice, and the portent of hurricanes, wild
fires and climate change. But this film takes a deep dive into another
kind of problem, mental illness, which haunts many among us and remains
gravely stigmatized. The film overall is serious, sensitive and hopeful
with two very engaging lead performances.
"Words On Bathroom Walls" zeros in on.... read full review of Words On Bathroom Walls and get details here
Then there’s TESLA– not the car, the scientist for whom it is named.
This disjointed, ill-conceived, and almost incomprehensible film stars
Ethan Hawke as Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla. Tesla worked in
Thomas Edison’s lab and had an alternative suggestion about how to
conduct electricity: “alternating current” which Edison pooh-poohed in
favor of going “direct.” Kyle MacLachlan brings his frozen stare and
ironic inflection to his turn as a condescending Edison. Ultimately,
alternating current proved the better way, with Edison eventually seeing
the light and making all the profits. Tesla an eccentric visionary had a
million more ideas, involving x-rays, radio waves, electromagnetic
fields, and giant oscillators, but fluctuating luck and wobbly business
acumen led to his dying unsung and in debt.
Admittedly, making a film about the ins and outs of electric current
doesn’t immediately leap to mind as thrilling drama, and this biopic
wisely attempts to capture much more: the breadth and depth and soul of
Tesla’s incandescent genius. But, if you’ll forgive me, the result is
less than electrifying. Hawke plays him like a robot from another planet
who manages to be swindled by just about everyone who wants him to sign
something. The actor’s stilted performance doesn’t help us penetrate
Tesla’s persona or offer a through line into the surreal chronology. The
series of non sequiturs that erupt as dialogue is further hampered by
Hawke’s mumbling his lines monotone.....
Read full review of Tesla and get details here