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On the Rocks – 2020 Sofia Coppola
- On the Rocks starts out strongly with a Chet Baker song, a spiral staircase overhead shot and a young couple (Rashida Jones and Marlon Wayans) in an elegant little mini-montage flashing back to their marriage
- Despite it being Bill Murray’s best work personally since at least 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom (if not farther back to 2005’s Broken Flowers) it is a disappointment from the auteur/acting duel that created Lost in Translation. Having said that, if Lost in Translation sort of had an Antonioni-like affluent malaise and quarter-life crisis (from the Sofia-surrogate Scarlett character point of view) tinge to it—this is certainly a companion-piece to that– but here we’re at the mid-life crisis. Coppola’s films are being held captive in these invisible prisons and I think this holds true to that as we study her as an artist.
- Jones plays a lost (writer’s block) introvert (and her father, Murray- certainly gregarious vehicle for her escape) listening to people’s problems in a Beastie boys t-shirt for pajamas with Phoenix providing the soundtrack (they also worked with Sofia on Somewhere and her works have featured a song of theirs at least since The Virgin Suicide)
- Murray is in great form- talking sexist female evolution theories, philosophizing, Don Juan’ing women, teaching his granddaughters how to make a poker face—certainly charming
- The yellow drawings as wallpaper at the Carlyle’s Bemelmans bar makes for a superior frame set up (above pic)—beautiful, there’s another strong frame of a pink bed – a composition as Jones is sitting in their hotel room in Mexico— there are a few nice shots like this but this is not Almodovar’s Pain and Glory here even if Sofia has that kind of talent (look no further than companion piece Lost in Translation of course or the achinglybeautiful Marie Antoinette). And that is why the simple “recommend” here is a little painful. After her run from 1999-2010 she made Bling Ring in 2013 and that was by far her weakest effort to date. That felt like an aberration after how handsomely mounted The Beguiled is— but now, for the second time in three films, we’re left with a slighter accomplishment for Sofia
- Recommend but not a top 10 of the year quality work.