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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Not every movie challenge is worth accepting


I try to avoid running negative movie reviews on this blog for a number of reasons. The main one is that even though I work as a "critic," I would rather point out what is worth watching than wasting time describing movies that should be avoided.

Yet I've already written below how at least two of the movies that are available for streaming through the Magic Lantern website offer difficult viewing experiences, especially during this time of pandemic quarantine. To be frank, "Deerskin" and "Bacurau" could both be included in what I would call a WTF? film series.

Let's add a third: the French-made "Liberté."

Now, let me up front admit that I didn't finish the film. In all my years as a movie-watcher, I can count the fingers of one hand the number of movies I've walked out on. The last one I can even recall was a special preview screening of 2004's "Christmas With the Kranks." (I left when they started smashing a Christmas tree, which didn't amuse me one bit.)

My wife and I made it though exactly 40 minutes and 29 seconds of "Liberté." And, yes, something could have happened in the remaining 90-odd minutes that might have salvaged things. But what we'd seen up to then was so slow, so seemingly pointless, not to mention perverse, that we just couldn't continue.

I wanted to screen "Toy Story" for the umpteenth time just to reclaim my sense of normality.

Which isn't what other critics feel the need to do. Carson Lund, writing for Slant.com, had this to say: "Though betraying the markings of its original form in its small revolving ensemble, single location, and frequent tableau staging, 'Liberté' conjures a sustained ambiance and eroticism that’s unique to the language of cinema."

And there is this from Erik Kohn, writing for IndieWire: "The movie is a visual investigation into the roots of sexual liberation in societies steeped in repression. Watching it from start to finish is a means of engaging with the inquiry at its center."

So, as I thought the other night when I heard two friends saying how much they loathed Alfonso Cuaron's masterful 2018 film "Roma," an opinion I find confounding:

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

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