Commentary on Culture | Midrash Blog

Midrash-Recommended Films

We endured the cinematic desert of the summer of 2015 and are moving into the season of good film again.  Why are the studios convinced that everyone turns off their brains all summer and are content with non-stop explosions, CGI and rom-coms?  

With every rule there is an exception, and the exceptional film this summer was Me, Earl and the Dying Girl. Charming, poignant nws every possible chance to turn maudlin.  Midrash gives it a 7 out of 10.

The Martian. A film that makes smart cool, and science relevant and fascinating, is good.  This one could have been so much better if there was some meditation by our favorite martian on mortality and the meaning of his life; and if the “world is rooting for you” theme had actually been prepared and dramatized.  The concept of the whole world rooting for one guy left behind on Mars is compelling; what would and should we do or sacrifice for a mere life – or is any life “mere”?  Midrash gives it 6 out of 10.

Ever seen a good movie made in Spain?  Nor had I until I came across Living is Easy With Eyes Closed.   Interesting for its very Spanish setting, and its idiosyncratic and highly likable protagonist who is dead-set on fulfilling his dream of meeting John Lennon.  Mission accomplished?  We’re not saying.  This was Spain’s offering for last year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, and it’s worthy of your attention.

Last tip:  See A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.  The look, the feel, the incredible soundtrack; this is a film-lover’s film, and far from “just a vampire movie”.  Boasts one of the most romantic and ironic scenes in recent years.  If you missed it – and apparently most people did – see it.  You’re welcome.  

The St. Louis International Film Festival is coming soon, and you really need to look into that. Midrash believes in good film, and local film – enough to give the largest cash prize at SLIFF with our own jury of excellent film critics. This year go to some SLIFF films; take a chance on a film you’ve never heard of with actors and actresses you don’t recognize.  Think on plot and theme and feel and significance.  Go with some friends and discuss over a drink afterwards.  Movies are best, when shared. 

Bob Oesch