John Seven | Viewer's Discretion: Documentary on bizarre filmmaker, British miniseries worth the look
Giuseppe Makes A Movie (Amazon, Apple, Fandor, Google Play, Sundance, Vudu)
Everybody has a different idea of what makes a community or a family, and though that's often a reason for conflict in the United States, it would be nice if more people could just let things be. The documentary film "Giuseppe Makes A Movie" requires people to do just that. It's a movie guaranteed to test some people's limits, exploring a real fringe community of marginalized people who, amazingly, found each other.
The film focuses on Giuseppe Andrews, a young guy who makes cheap movies on the fly by rounding up a cast of local ne'er do wells, junkies, homeless people, alcoholics and sex workers to act in them. He pays them in cash, in food, and sometimes in alcohol. He was previously homeless himself, along with his father, a former musician who played with the Bee Gees and now spends his time working as Giuseppe's assistant.
Giuseppe had a brief career in Hollywood when he was a kid, but didn't like it and left it behind. His passion is for making films as removed from Hollywood as any film can be, after binging on a steady diet of foreign films like those of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Imagine if John Waters had never sold out and spoke with frantic energy and you pretty much have Giuseppe.
This documentary covers Giuseppe's effort to film a movie in two days, a reason to quickly go through his working methods and meet some of his regulars. Your jaw will drop, make no mistake, as each moment of the filming tops the moment before it. You will be amazed at how far Giuseppe will go for his art, further than any of us. You will be struck that despite all surface indications, the dialogue he writes reveals some real wit and talent. And you will be touched by what the experience means to the misfits he wrangles into place to create his bizarre movies.
National Treasure (Hulu)
Though filmed and aired in England before the #metoo movement happened, this series starring Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters captures the essence of some of the higher profile cases that led to the movement and tackles some of the hard questions that are related.
Coltrane plays Paul Finchley, one half of a beloved British comedy team who finds himself accused of rape by two women. His wife Marie, played by Walters, stands by him, but over the course of the episodes, shifts partially from his story of being accused to her story of facing up to her life as she has lived it, grappling with her own shortcomings and what the accusations against her husband mean to her individual decision-making.
"National Treasure" navigates the channels of support that inevitably rise up in such situations, but also examines them in an insightful way. At a certain level of celebrity, everyone and everything is connected, and the series, written by the often impeccable Jack Thorne, takes great pain to point out that more than one person is affected by such accusations and that is going to guide the reactions to it. There are professional standards to be defended, business arrangements, even personal, emotional ones, creating a large circle of protectors with their own needs from the accused being proved innocent.
Coltrane and Walters are both remarkable in their roles. Coltrane is so affable, so charming, that he's the perfect choice to play someone whose dark side is hard to face up to. Meanwhile, Walters shows bravery and dignity and mixes them both with desperation in a way that she feels both sympathy and ire for her character.
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