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FLICKS: Beatriz at Dinner & Baby Driver

Posted on 06 July 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


Previewed at the Sundance Film Festival and hailed as the film of the Trump era, Beatriz at Dinner is being promoted as a satirical dark comedy. Starring Salma Hayek (as the title character) and John Lithgow as (her antagonist) Doug Strutt, Beatriz at Dinner has more sadness than laughs.

Beatriz is a very likeable character. She raises her animals in her small studio apartment and performs massage for terminal Cancer patients and rich people like Kathy (Connie Britton) and Grant (David Warshofsky). When her car stalls, Kathy invites Beatriz to her prearranged dinner party with celebrity mogul, Doug Strutt, a man Beatriz senses that she met before.

Despite some funny one-liners and cultural humor, this film descends into a depressive darkness when one character says, “no matter what they do, everything is dying.” For fans of movies like Melancholia, or stories where dogs, goats and other animals die, then this film is for you.

Film Noir is a cinematic art form that has infiltrated the American Motion Picture industry since the 1940s with films like Double Indemnity and Touch of Evil. The influence of noir can be seen and felt in movies like Planet of the Apes, Blade Runner and Frank Miller’s Sin City.

Baby Driver is a musical comedy noir that is highly entertaining. Baby (Ansel Elgort) has a hearing disability, but is an excellent getaway driver for organized crime master mind Doc (Kevin Spacey). Despite working with multiple scumbags, criminals and sociopaths (played by Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez), Baby is basically a nice guy who cares for his foster father Joseph (CJ Jones), a deaf man in a wheelchair.

Baby develops a conscience when he meets a waitress named Debora (Lily James), who is intrigued by this young man, who constantly wears earphones and listens to music. While the two lovebirds develop a strong connection through music, Baby’s criminal connections threaten to destroy their happiness.

Writer/director Edgar Wright has crafted a fine motion picture that will be studied and analyzed for years. While some critics will say this writer/director is the next Quentin Tarantino, Wright’s influences go historically deeper. Baby Driver features homages to film noir classics like Detour, The Mechanic and Payback.

Like the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Baby Driver features a great soundtrack of good songs. Go see Baby Driver.

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