What's the most subversive thing about Sacha Baron Cohen's anarchic comedy sequel Borat Subsequent Moviefilm? Cohen's jackass journalist, in disguise as Donald Trump, interrupting a Mike Pence speech to offer the vice president Borat's 15-year-old daughter as a gift? Borat, this time in Texas disguised as a rotund country crooner, inspiring a group sing-along about the “Wuhan flu” and chopping up journalists “like the Saudis do”? Rudy Giuliani, in a widely discussed scene, caught on camera tucking in his shirt (or “tucking in his shirt”) while lying on a hotel bed in front of a young female reporter?

With the exceptions of 12 Angry Men and maybe the first two Godfather flicks, I literally can't think of another movie so abundant with exceptional ensemble acting in juicy character roles; you could expand the Oscars' Supporting Actor roster from five nominees to 10 and still pack it solely with deserving Chicago 7 performers.

I think I'm speaking literally when I say that, had The War with Grandpa been released in any other year, I'd probably have found it close to unbearable. But this isn't any other year. And beyond being grateful simply for cineplexes – some of them, at least – staying open these days, I find myself inordinately appreciating the movie-going experience, which turns out to include the sound of other patrons, for 100 minutes, howling with delight at a dopey little comedy.

Despite the bitchiness and anguish inherent in the material, Netflix's new streaming version of The Boys in the Band is one of the very few releases of the last six months that feels absolutely suffused with joy. You won't necessarily find it in the characters, and certainly not in most of the things they say and do. But as a filmed reunion for the cast and director of Broadway's 2018 Tony Award winner – a revival of playwright Matt Crowley's iconic examination of urban gay life in 1968 – there's so much love baked into the presentation that you might find yourself grinning even when situations are at their most dire, and they frequently are.

Although Andrew Cohn's indie dramedy takes a more intriguing turn than you may initially expect, his film is almost pure formula, and formula you're likely familiar with: it's Chico & the Man; it's Superior Donuts; it's every entertainment in which a cranky (white) senior and a sassy upstart (of color) bicker and banter their way to mutual acceptance. But it stars Richard Jenkins, and that alone makes it more worthwhile than this well-meaning diversion might've otherwise been.

The 72nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were presented last night in a relatively lively, primarily virtual ceremony featuring riotous highs (you are a national treasure, Mr. Letterman), only a few dismal lows (poor Anthony Anderson), some great surprises (thank you Jennifer, Courtney, and Lisa for the half-reunion of Friends), and, in a wonderful change of pace, loads of truly deserving victors. (My favorite comedy series, drama series, and limited series all won! Who woulda thunk it?!)

No matter how many Thin Red Lines or Person of Interests Jim Caviezel makes, he's always going to be identified as He Who Was Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ – which makes his casting in this political thriller so on-the-nose it may as well be a nostril.

Movie Mike chats with Zane Satre about the predictable but fun The Broken Hearts Gallery and the insane yet fasinating I'm Thinking of Ending Things, and the pair also preview the thriller Infidel and Netflix drama The Devil All the Time.

 

I should preface by saying that I'm terrible at predicting Emmy Award winners. Seriously: I'm terrible.

Screening as the final presentation in River Action's 2020 QC Environmental Film Series, the award-winning 2018 documentary Anthropocene: The Human Epoch plays at the Blue Grass Drive-in on September 27, an acclaimed work that Rotten Tomatoes' Critics Consensus described as “a sobering – and visually ravishing – look at the horrific ecological damage wrought by modern human civilization.”

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