Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry

I wasn’t really sure if I liked Billie Eilish or not. I mean I like some of her music, but I didn’t think that she’d be the kind of person I would like to see a biopic about. And yet she has just interesting enough a persona that I decided to watch this.

Now I do in fact like her. And I hope she keeps it together. Somehow, I think she will, because of the kind of family support that she has. They all seem really grounded, and while they might not be the people you would expect, based on Eilish’s public persona, they are the people you would hope for.

In particular, her relationship with her brother is, in a word, heartwarming. This is the beating heart of the movie, and of I think her career.

Made You Look: A True Story about Fake Art

Another cautionary tale about the value of art. And while the story is not about the forger, he is the unsung hero. He really should’ve gotten a cut of the proceeds from Knoedler & Company.

And so I ask you once again: Is it Art?

Free Solo

This should be a really boring movie. The outcome is a foregone conclusion: we know what’s going to happen; we know he’s going to survive the climb. It happened in the past, and it made big headlines. And yet, I was sweating bullets the entire time I watched him go up El Capitain, with no ropes, and no margin for error. My palms were basically dripping with sweat… it is so incredibly tense to watch this kind of feat, in full knowledge that it is in no way fake, and that his life is on the (lack of) line the entire time. Much of this stress is brought about by watching what his friends and fellow climbers, who were there to document the achievement on camera, lived through as they watched the drama unfold real-time.

As is discussed in scenes where Alex undergoes studies in an MRI machine, he basically has a tiny amygdala, leading to low levels of anxiety/stress in these situations. And a huge pair of balls.

Biggie & Tupac

This director has to be one of the worst documentarians on the planet. And definitely the worst narrator. And yet I managed to learn a few things from this movie. And strangely, the people that he approached for interviews and filming seemed oddly to allow him a level of access that I wouldn’t have expected. Why? How?

This is probably only for real fans of the title characters. Otherwise, just check out Notorious – much more entertaining.

Art and Craft

There was more than one person who suggested that, given his talents, Mark Landis should paint original works, and sign them with his own name. Which sort of misses the point.

What he does, and why he’s become famous, is copy works by famous painters. Or copy their style, at least. And then pass off the works to museums and galleries as originals. One key point though, is that he doesn’t try to sell the works, and therefore he is not committing any crime.

He may know that what he does is forgery, but he calls it “philanthropy.” For Landis, it is the act – the entire act, of painting and presenting a work, complete with paper and wood and frames and canvases all made to look age-appropriate, and then presenting it to a gallery as authentic – that is important.

Yes, his work is undeniably good. But if he had toiled for these same years producing originals, would he be a famous painter? Probably not. As someone in the film said, his schtick is as much performance art as it is painting. And what a performance.

Voyeur

1. Should the statute of limitations be allowed to run out on sick fucks like this guy?

2. If it was this easy way back then, how much simpler must it be today, with all of our miniaturized cameras and other electronics?

3. Is Gay Talese as guilty in his own way, a bit overly eager for the salacious tidbit, to the point where fact-checking becomes an afterthought?

Sour Grapes

How much is that bottle of wine? Where did you get it? Check the label, carefully. And the foil. And the glass. And also the contents…

Fascinating account of a wine savant gone rogue. It’s juicy, but something doesn’t smell right…

Gaga: Five Foot Two

Cameras follow her everywhere she goes – sounds like a typical, modern documentary, right? Meant to be intimate and give you an inside look. Which is fine, except with someone like Lady Gaga, there’s very little that is not scripted, or at the very least, not very un-guarded.

She’s a genuine talent, but I can’t say I like her any more after seeing this than before.

Minimalism

As someone who owns 18 chairs (paired down from 20), I might be considered the target audience for this film. There’s something to be said for rejecting consumer culture, and the constant lust for buying something new.

There was no mention of Marie Kondo, but her philosophy seems less extreme, more balanced, than that of the Minimalist guys, who seem to live out of backpacks, with 4 shirts and pants and socks, and little else. Yes, their goal is happiness, but might that not include things that bring joy to one’s life?

What about objects that have real meaning, or real utility. Art? A painting or a sculpture in my home… is that okay? Things that were handed down to me by my parents or grandparents, a ring or a book or a pocket knife – can I keep those?

As always, balance…