Musings in the Dark: May 2020

5/27/2020

Midsommar

This is a folk horror movie that came out in 2019.  It’s about a
group of “friends” that travel to Sweden to attend a festival at the behest of one of the members of a pagan cult.  One of the “friends” is a young woman named Dani who is grieving the loss of her entire family.  Her sister, who was bipolar, murdered their parents and then committed suicide.  Dani is the girlfriend of Christian, one of four guys who make up the rest of the main cast.  

It is established early on that Christian and Dani’s relationship is on the rocks; in fact, Christian has been wanting out of the relationship for the past year (according to his friends).  The only reason he hasn’t broken up with her is because she’s grieving and has no one else to depend on.  Christian’s friends are assholes, and he has some asshole tendencies as well (birds of a feather and all that). Pelle is the friend that invites everyone to attend his family’s midsummer festival, and things get interesting shortly after they arrive.

The only thing that truly annoyed me is how Dani has no agency.  She goes along with what’s happening and doesn’t question anything (outside of the tea the pagans give her to drink).  She senses that Christian wants to break up with her because she’s so needy, but she never really confronts him about it.  I think that if she had, that would have made the movie’s ending a lot stronger.

Midsommar is about two and a half hours long and honestly, it could have used a bit more editing. There were a few scenes that could have been cut out or down to shorten the time but that does not mean the movie was boring.  Slow at first, yes, but not at all uninteresting.  You have to pay attention because the director, Ari Aster, packs a lot into certain scenes and in background images.  He is very good when it comes to the details.

Midsommar is worth a watch.  Grade: B.

5/19/2020

Parasite

I was finally able to catch Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar-winning film Parasite.  It is an excellent movie.  I’m going to keep this review as short as possible so not to ruin the experience.  Basically, the Kims, a devious poor family that lives in a semi-basement apartment, manage to finesse their way into four high-paying service positions for the wealthy and somewhat na├»ve Park family.  The Kims are some straight up hustlers and the way they slide into those service positions is nothing short of brilliant.  However, their actions have some serious consequences.

The way the film is shot is amazing.  Bong Joon Ho uses vertical cinematography (in this case, stairways and hills) to convey wealth.  It is very clear that the world that the Parks inhabit is worlds different from the world of the Kims.  There is a discussion among the Kims at the halfway mark of the film about how money fixes things.  Mrs. Kim says that “money is an iron,” and she is 100% correct.  Who the title of the film refers to seems obvious at first, but as the movie progresses, that descriptor becomes fluid and it is not so easy to brand just one family as parasitic. 

If you get the chance to watch Parasite, do it.  It is a movie that requires multiple viewings and it won’t be a waste of time to do so.  Grade: A.

5/04/2020

The Mighty Elements of the Universe

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of music while working from home.  YouTube is amazing in this regard.  I click on a song I like and the algorithm generates a relevant playlist.  Next thing I know, I’m down the YT rabbit hole listening to the soundtrack of my earlier years; songs that used to play on Saturdays when my Momma made me clean up the house.  I’m sure a whole lot of y’all know exactly what I’m talking about.  

Some of the songs that popped up included the GAP Band’s “I Don’t Believe You Wanna Get Up and Dance,” Con Funk Shun’s “Love’s Train,” Curtis Mayfield’s “Diamond in the Back,” Lakeside’s “Fantastic Voyage,” and the Brothers Johnson’s “Strawberry Letter 23” and “Stomp!”  I was bobbing my head so hard I lost track of what I was actually doing.