| Flicks

FLICKS: The Dinner opens & Gifted should stay open

Posted on 27 April 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

The Dinner opens tomorrow in our neighborhood. Starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Steve Coogan, this is a motion picture with an international pedigree. Based on the novel of the same name by Dutch author Herman Koch, The Dinner has been filmed in Dutch and Italian studios. This American adaptation features references to Obamacare and mental illness.

An annoyed Paul Lohman (Coogan) and his dutiful wife Claire (Linney) await his sister-in-law Katelyn (Rebecca Hall) and his brother Stan (Gere), an elected politician who plans to become governor. The plan is to eat at a really ritzy five star restaurant and eat a five course meal. Cell phones keep interrupting the dining experience as Paul and Stan’s sibling rivalry festers.

As the film opens, one expects to see another Coogan comedy about food. When Gere arrives, one expects another domestic drama like Arbitrage or Unfaithful. There is a mystery that is exposed midway through the movie, but the reddish cinematography, mixed with unremarkable dialogue, distracts from a realistic dramatic experience. As the film ends, one feels as if the producers ran out of money to create a satisfying conclusion. The Dinner is simply a bizarre flick.

Released three weeks ago, Gifted is an underrated family movie that is performing poorly at the box office. Captain America’s Chris Evans portrays Frank Adler, an unmarried uncle raising his intellectually gifted niece, Mary (McKenna Grace). Set in a small town in Pinellas County (but filmed in Georgia…grrrrrr), Frank enrolls Mary into public school.

On the first day of school, Mary outwits her teacher, Miss Bonnie Stevenson (Jenny Slate), who brings the girl to the principal’s office. After some testing, it is revealed that Mary is a mathematical genius akin to the minds of Einstein, Newton and Pythagoras. While school administrators would like to send Mary to the school for gifted youngsters, Frank has his reasons why he wants his niece to go to public school.

While the conflicts are realistic, Gifted is a sweet and charming movie. Both Evans and Grace have a real chemistry. Their scenes together are both heartbreaking and humorous. Having Oscar winner Octavia Spencer around adds some emotional gravitas. For two hours, I felt pure movie escapism.

The Dinner is a movie about rich people with problems. In contrast, presents everyday people who try to solve problems.

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