Saturday, January 28, 2023     Volume: 23, Issue: 48
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
A MAN CALLED OTTO
A QUIET PLACE PART II
AMSTERDAM
ANOTHER ROUND
BARBARIAN
BINGEABLE: 100 FOOT WAVE (2021)
BINGEABLE: 1923 (2022-present)
BINGEABLE: A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY (2022)
BINGEABLE: A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (2022)
BINGEABLE: ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL (2022)
BINGEABLE: ANDOR (2022-present)
BINGEABLE: BARRY (2018-present)
BINGEABLE: CASTLEVANIA (2017-2021)
BINGEABLE: CHEER (2020-present)
BINGEABLE: ECHO 3 (2022)
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG (2016-2019)
BINGEABLE: FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE (2022)
BINGEABLE: GOSSIP GIRL (2021-present)
BINGEABLE: HACKS (2021-present)
BINGEABLE: INSIDE MAN (2022)
BINGEABLE: JOE PICKETT (2021)
BINGEABLE: KUNG FU (2021)
BINGEABLE: LAST LIGHT (2022)
BINGEABLE: LIFE & BETH (2022)
BINGEABLE: MAID (2021)
BINGEABLE: MIDNIGHT MASS (2021)
BINGEABLE: ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING (SEASON 2) (2022)
BINGEABLE: SLOW HORSES (2022)
BINGEABLE: SQUID GAME (2021)
BINGEABLE: STATION ELEVEN (2021)
BINGEABLE: SWEET TOOTH
BINGEABLE: TELL ME YOUR SECRETS (2021)
BINGEABLE: THE BEAR (2022)
BINGEABLE: THE ENGLISH (2022)
BINGEABLE: THE GREAT (2020-present)
BINGEABLE: THE WHITE LOTUS (SEASON 2) (2022)
BINGEABLE: THREE PINES (2022-present)
BINGEABLE: TULSA KING (2022-2023)
BINGEABLE: WEDNESDAY (2022)
BINGEABLE: WELCOME TO WREXHAM (2022-present)
BINGEABLE: WILLOW (2022)
BINGEABLE: YELLOWJACKETS (2021-present)
BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER
BLAST FROM THE PAST: A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: COWBOY BEBOP (1998)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX (1999)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE SHOOTING (1966)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART (1990)
ENOLA HOLMES 2
GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY
GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO
GUILTY PLEASURES: GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE
GUILTY PLEASURES: JOLT
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM (1996)
I CARE A LOT
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
NEW FLICKS: ANTLERS
NEW FLICKS: BABYLON
NEW FLICKS: BEST SELLERS
NEW FLICKS: BULLET TRAIN
NEW FLICKS: CAUSEWAY
NEW FLICKS: CRUELLA
NEW FLICKS: DAY SHIFT
NEW FLICKS: DISENCHANTED
NEW FLICKS: FINCH
NEW FLICKS: FRESH
NEW FLICKS: GEORGE CARLIN’S AMERICAN DREAM (2022)
NEW FLICKS: HUSTLE
NEW FLICKS: I WANT YOU BACK
NEW FLICKS: KATE
NEW FLICKS: MONTANA STORY
NEW FLICKS: MY POLICEMAN
NEW FLICKS: PREY
NEW FLICKS: RED NOTICE
NEW FLICKS: SIGNIFICANT OTHER
NEW FLICKS: THE GOOD NURSE
NEW FLICKS: THE GRAY MAN
NEW FLICKS: THE NORTHMAN
NEW FLICKS: THE OUTFIT
NEW FLICKS: THIRTEEN LIVES
NEW FLICKS: WATERMAN (2021)
NINE PERFECT STRANGERS (2021)
PIG
THE BATMAN
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM (2019)
THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS
THE MENU
THE PAPER TIGERS
THE SUNLIT NIGHT
THE WHALE
THE WOMAN KING
THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING
TV REVIEW: BATES MOTEL
TV REVIEW: DEFENDING JACOB
TV REVIEW: HOMECOMING
TV REVIEW: HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON
TV REVIEW: LENOX HILL
TV REVIEW: LITTLE AMERICA
TV REVIEW: MRS. AMERICA
TV REVIEW: ONE MISSISSIPPI
TV REVIEW: PAINTING WITH JOHN (2021)
TV REVIEW: RAMY
TV REVIEW: RUN
TV REVIEW: SPACE FORCE
TV REVIEW: TED LASSO (2020-present)
TV REVIEW: THE BOYS
TV REVIEW: THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD
TV REVIEW: THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT
TV REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM
TV REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL
TV REVIEW: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
TV REVIEW: UNDONE
TV REVIEW: WARRIOR
TV REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TV REVIEW: ZEROZEROZERO
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS (2005)
UNDERRATED: ZOLA (2020)
WHITE NOISE

‘Amsterdam’ boasts an amazing cast and a nuanced, albeit bloated, plot

AMSTERDAM

PHOTO BY , COURTESY OF 20TH CENTURY STUDIOS

AMSTERDAM


Where is it playing?: HBO Max

What's it rated?: R

What's it worth?: $Full price (Anna Starkey)

What's it worth?: $Full price (Glen Starkey)

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Writer-director David O. Russell (The Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) presents Amsterdam, the story of three friends—Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale), Valerie Voze (Margot Robbie), and Harold Woodman (John David Washington)—who in 1933 are drawn into the mysterious murder of General Bill Meekins (Ed Begley Jr.) and its connection to a fascist plot to rule America. (134 min.)

Glen: A move toward authoritarianism, a plan to overturn an election, a greedy power grab orchestrated by the über rich, a nation in the grasp of economic uncertainty—there’s something familiar afoot in David O. Russell’s visually dazzling and monumentally complicated comedic thriller that’s based on the tiniest shred of historical truth that just so happens to mirror our situation today. What the film’s actually about, to me anyway, is friendship, freedom, and maintaining honor in dishonorable company. Burt and Harold meet during the Great War when General Meekins, looking for a nonracist white officer to lead a platoon of Black men into the Meuse-Argonne offensive, puts the men together, forging a life-long bond. Both wounded, they end up in the care of Valerie, a nurse who enjoys making art out of the shrapnel she removes from soldiers’ bodies. They’re an odd trio that enjoys a few blissful months in free-spirited Amsterdam before eventually returning to the U.S. and all its hang-ups, rules, and responsibilities. Their bond will serve them well as they’re drawn into political intrigue.

Anna: The friendship between the three is straight-up charming. While Harold seems to be the straight man of the group, Burt is quirky and strange, as is Valerie, but both are so easy to fall in love with. And fall in love they do: Harold and Valerie have an instant romantic spark, but instead of Burt becoming a third wheel, the couple makes a pact with him that wherever they go he goes. As dizzily romantic as it all sounds, life soon gets in the way, and while Harold and Burt still have each other, Valerie is lost in the wind. When the tragic death of Meekins’ daughter Liz (Taylor Swift) brings heat on the pair, they must hunt for a socialite to vouch for them. All the while a military veteran fundraiser event is being planned, and suddenly Valerie appears and joins up in an effort to clear their names. I thought this movie was so much fun. Bale and Robbie are especially brilliant. I can’t believe this isn’t rated higher with Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb. This is one I have no doubt I’ll watch again.

Glen: Most of the complaints seem to concern the convoluted plot (I’d call it “intricate” and “nuanced”) and the slow pace (I’d call it “patient”). Yes, there’s a lot going on—racism, misogyny, antisemitism—and a lot of characters, but this is an incredible ensemble cast delivering amazing performances and managing to cover all the ambitious ideas Russell has packed into the story. Robbie goes all in as Valerie, whose wildly free spirit is cruelly tamped down by her rich family and in particular her brother Tom (Rami Malek) and sister-in-law Libby (Anya Taylor-Joy). Bale’s Burt Berendsen is a complicated man—a doctor who seeks to help damaged vets by repairing their outsides with protheses and insides with a dizzying array of pharmaceuticals he tests on himself. Burt, like Harold, is a deeply moral man, but his white skin, unlike Harold, allows him to embrace his unconventionality. These are fascinating characters deftly brought to life. Ignore the bad reviews and judge this one for yourself.

Anna: It feels a little like the critics are crossing their arms and refusing to have fun. It’s supposed to be whimsical. Burt’s also trying to win back his wife, Beatrice (Andrea Riseborough), whose well-to-do family first sent Burt to war and now wants nothing to do with him. It may be that I have a soft spot for these actors. I find them all to be very good at what they do, and the supporting cast is also top notch. If the film suffers from a bit of silliness, I don’t mind it. For me, Amsterdam is just the right dose of good medicine that I need in a fun and funny film.

New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Sun Screen. Glen compiles listings. Comment at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.










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