Unfortunately, Westley Piddle doesn’t have a cinema, cineplex, or multiplex…only a Muttplex. But it’s showing some great movies…
🐾🐾🐾🐾= as good as it gets on the subject. Drop everything, , sniff out, scramble to catch up and ‘watch NOWS’!
🐾🐾🐾= entertaining or informative. Worth putting on your short-watch list.
🐾🐾= Average entertainment, will pass casual viewing time but does not exceed expectations – even modest ones. Ultimately forgettable.
🐾= Seriously! There are many far better movies out there on this subject. Don’t bother unless it’s a rainy afternoon with absolutely nothing better to do.
This week I am reviewing the best British film in the last five years, plus a double portrait of Trumpian America. Don’t ever say the Muttplex don’t cater to every taste…and then somes!
Bait (2019) directed by Mark Jenkin
Martin is a fisherman without a boat, his brother Steven having re-purposed it as a tourist tripper. With their childhood home now a get-away for London money, Martin is displaced to the estate above the harbour. As he struggles to restore the family to their traditional place creates increasing friction with tourists and locals alike. (courtesy IMDb)
My take: having received rave reviews for its unique production technique – photographed and hand-processed on rolls of Kodak 16mm B&W 16mm celluloid (a method dating back to the early 1930s); and shot silently, with all voice and sound effects dubbed at post-production – Bait was way way better than expected. In fact, I can honestly state (in my humble filmaholic opinion) that Bait is the most original British film I have watched since Ken Roach’s I, Daniel Blake. Do yourselves a BIG favor and watch this by any means possible – steal it if you have to! You won’t be disappointed.
A rich fruitcake of a film – surreal images, disturbing sound design, emotionally exhausting.
American Factory – directed by Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert (2019)
In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a factory in an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America. (courtesy IMDb)
My take: No other documentary highlights the total lack of American big corp understanding for the Chinese custom of doing business in the 21st century. At times hilarious – the visit by factory workers to a Chinese style knees-up office party is more side-splittingly brilliant than anything seen in Borat; and, at other times tragic – total incomprehension and dispair by local American shopfloor workers at the old Communist style do-or-die work ethic.
For a 90 minute crash course in modern America’s miscalculation and misunderstanding in China’s striving to be the world’s number one industrial power then take a crash course in American Factory.
As a complementary side serving to the above title, also try this:
Jasper Mall – directed by Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitcomb (2020)
A year in the life of a dying mid-Western shopping mall. (courtesy IMDb)My take: anyone who’s ever visited a shopping mall (or shopping centre as we call them in the UK) that has not been able to keep up with the point-and-click internet-shopping times of this century will know the disconcerting feeling of walking through a place that belongs more to Dawn of the Dead than real life. Jaspar Mall is a poignant portrait of one such Mall. The documentary is also a fitting companion piece to American Factory. Except, in this case, it is not a misunderstanding of Chinese enterprise, but for failing to keep up with the changing consumer habits of modern America. Worth watching – blackly comic and a bit of a downer. Best watched over a glass of something than includes malt, yeast, ice, and six plus years of fermentation.