“Ordinary Love” isn't really a movie about cancer, even though this tender and discreet portrait of a marriage on fire begins with a woman Lesley Manville asking her longtime husband Liam Neeson to feel the lump she finds under her left breast. It isn't even a movie about dying, even though Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn's direction casts a moribund pall over the drama from the moment it starts. On the contrary — and true to the title of Owen McCafferty's semi-autobiographical script — “Ordinary Love” is a story about all of the ways that even the strongest of couples can be separated before death does them part; a story about how different kinds of pain can trace the limits and boundlessness of sharing your life with someone.
Tom and Joan have been together for so long that the world outside of their marriage only seems to exist in soft focus. The two retirees live a quiet upper-middle-class existence in a seaside Irish town, and spend their afternoons power-walking along the water in order to satisfy the demands of their FitBits she always wears earbuds, but they still manage to make each other laugh along the way. They bicker a lot, but only to remind each other they're still alive. “I know what you're going to say” is the most honest part of every argument, and also the reason for having them. When someone asks after Joan's husband, she can only reply that “He's Tom all the time.”
The tumor is the first new test this couple has faced in a long time, even if it points towards a previous tragedy that may be holding their marriage together by centrifugal force. They react to the various test results and screenings in different but consistently inconsistent ways; Joan braces for the worst, while Tom is petrified of letting his wife know that he's scared. Strange pockets of distance begin to grow between them, as the film's Haneke-still compositions start to separate these characters in time and space sometimes it divides them across different floors, sometimes by different shots, and sometimes by nothing more than the crack between two panes of glass in a restaurant window. Joan's hair falls out in clumps as she sweats through a chemo-induced fever, while Tom drowns his sorrows with a beer in front of the television. To what extent is this happening to both of them? How feasible is it for two people to share in this kind of hardship?
The probing nature of these eternal questions — when asked with the seriousness they demand — is enough to make “Ordinary Love” feel like something of an ultra-sedate counterpoint to “Phantom Thread,” in which Manville was the bystander to a marriage sustained by the transference of pain from one partner to the other. Reynolds Woodcock would make Alma suffer,...
SPOILER ALERT: If you are among the few who haven’t actually watched Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries, this review contains a lot of details about what goes down in the sad big cat saga.
With Netflix poised in the coming days to cash in and crank the base up a notch with more Tiger King, it's time to come out and say it: I hate the Red State porn that is the crash and burn of Joe Exotic
The initial seven episodes of this septic and shallow patchwork of trademark infringement, sex, guns, labor exploitation, song, drugs, mullets, betrayal, animal activism, revenge, and a lot of big cats may be much binged over these weeks of coronavirus lockdown, but that doesn't mean it's actually worth watching.
Now, I get it, I sound like I'm just a dour critic who hates anything that isn't prestige premium cable or aspirational. C'mon man, you want to say, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is just so unbelievable, I can't look away.
I respectfully disagree, and in fact, propose Tiger King isn't just bad, but dangerous in a divided America persistently looking to reduce the other side to caricature.
In a presently ailing nation where TV is more voluminous and vital than ever, the truth is the March 20 launched Tiger King is a clawed white trash misery index. Gawking at some clearly fragile and damaged people like would-be reality TV star Exotic and their below the Mason-Dixon line antics, the series subsequently provides a cultural circus for those smug bicoastals under stay at home orders and screaming to rise up in moral superiority.
Essentially, the tale of big cat collector, self-styled Oklahoma zoo proprietor and 2016 Presidential candidate Exotic AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage and his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to have rival Carole Baskin knocked off by a hitman hired for $3,000, Tiger King is in that context more a zero-sum game, literally and figuratively, than hitting the zeitgeist.
Obviously, Netflix are pretty damn good at gauging and dragging the public mood over the years, as the likes of the then phenomenon of 2015's Making A Murderer or 2018’s Wild Wild Country prove. Yet, for all the attention it has drawn, this unfocused murder for hire exploration of sorts emerges as a bastard child of Cops, a million Dateline segments from the 1990s and Fox’s short-lived Murder in Small Town X reality show from 2001.
Not exactly the prestige product that the home of Roma, The Irishman and American Factory likes to brag about at award shows. Then again, with the knowledge that the Romans sold out the Colosseum every night feeding Christians to the lions, the bottom line based House of Hastings surely loves the subscription sign up that the currently incarcerated Maldonado-Passage and the accompanying motley gaggle of...