THE FLORIDA PROJECT (R)
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valerie Cotto, Bria Vinaite. Christopher Rivera, Caleb Landry Jones, Macon Blair
Directed by: Sean Baker
The ironically-named Magic Castle and Futureland motels sit next to each other in Kissimee, Florida. This is close enough to Walt Disney World that Halley, the single mother of 6-year-old Moonee, can regularly shake down the tourists and steal food to survive. But prostitution is much more lucrative (especially when she steals cash and valuable park passes from her “clients”), so she begins servicing “tricks” after locking her daughter in the bathroom. The motel manager (Willem Dafoe) discovers what is going on and threatens Halley with eviction and a call to Child Protective Services. It sounds depressing, but since we see things through the eyes of the charming Moonee, everything is accepted as “normal.”
3-and-1/2 pieces of ‘would make a great compare-and-contrast double-bill with Lady Bird’ toast
LOVING VINCENT (PG-13)
Starring the voices of: Saoirise Ronan, Aidan Turner, Helen McCrory, Douglas Booth, Eleanor Tomlinson, Chris O’Dowd, Jerome Flynn
Directed by: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman
This lovingly constructed Polish film uses animation done in the style of Vincent Van Gogh to tell us about the mysterious last days of the famous painter’s life. Vincent’s portraits work the best for this technique, as the oils lend themselves to having narrators tell their stories. The plot involves the apocryphal tale of a postman’s son man tasked with delivering a letter from Van Gogh to his recently dead brother, Theo. Meeting many of the locals who posed for portraits, the man is pulled into investigating the painter’s mysterious death. As a technological experiment, there is nothing else like this - 150 artists hand-painted the 65,000 renderings that make up the film.
3 pieces of ‘the technique works 2/3 of the time’ toast
WAIT FOR YOUR LAUGH (NR)
Starring: Rose Marie, Dick Van Dyke, Peter Marshall, Don Harmon, Tim Conway, Georgina Guy Rodrigues
Directed by: Jason Wise
Since this is one of those personality retrospectives that usually appear on TV, I’m not sure why this is running in movie theaters (except for the $$$$ of course). The subject is the comic actress, singer and writer Rose Marie, who started her career in vaudeville at the age of 3, and claims to be the first celebrity to be known only by her first name. 91 years later, her comic timing is still perfect as she recounts a series of anecdotes about her life including meeting Al Capone. Most people remember Rose Marie for her TV work on the “Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Hollywood Squares,” and “Squares” host Peter Marshall is the film’s narrator, while Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner reminisce about the old days. A major detraction for me are the black-and-white reenactments of incidents in Rose Marie’s life. This lady is truly one-of-a-kind, so the replays detract from the film.
2 pieces of ‘see it for Rose Marie and go buy popcorn or use the restroom during the reenactments’ toast
(Contact Gil Mansergh at firstname.lastname@example.org)