Windfall

Netflix
The pandemic proved to be quite a creative time for artists, who were forced to sit still for the first time in their lives. While the upside was the instant percolation of ideas and completion of projects and screenplays that would otherwise have taken months, if not years, the downside of the pandemic for filmmakers was the conundrum of, “I’ve got a great script…now what?” Because of production restrictions, full-blown movie sets have only recently come back, so, filmmakers who really wanted to work during the pandemic had to be creative. And thus a new genre was borne, loosely known as “pandemic cinema.” Although it is true that most of the films nominated for Best Picture were also shot during the pandemic (and some, like Belfast, even written during it, too) and could legitimately be called pandemic films, there’s a whole other breed of specialty, specifically unique to the pandemic genre of film that COVID hath spawned, that of the intimate story with just two or three actors, and shot in a single location. Films like Malcolm and Marie, Host and Songbird are just three examples of films that went from script-to-screen in record time, assisted by their minimal production needs. The latest example of this type of film is Windfall, written by Justin Lader and Andrew Kevin Walker, and directed by Charlie McDowell, debuting on Netflix on March 18.

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Deep Water

Hulu/20th Century Studios
For a director who has only made nine films in forty-two years, Adrian Lyne has mastered the art of choosing a lane and staying in it. With the exception of Jacob’s Ladder (1990), Lyne’s films have all centered on female sexuality in some way, shape or form, and often that sexuality is weaponized, sometimes with fatal consequences. Lyne’s most famous film, Fatal Attraction (1987), wrote the book on the modern sexual thriller, and his last film, Unfaithful (2002), continued familiar themes of infidelity and murderous female sexuality. Although Unfaithful was twenty years ago, Lyne hasn’t missed a beat in his latest film, Deep Water, as the eighty-one-year-old treads some very familiar ground in this film that is so reminiscent of his earlier films that it could be called nostalgic if it weren’t so horrifically cringe-inducing.

Written by Euphoria’s Sam Levinson and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium Zach Helm and based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, Deep Water stars Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas as married couple Vic and Melinda, who have an interesting arrangement. Apparently, in exchange for not agreeing to a divorce, Vic allows Melinda to have affairs with anyone she wants—and not discreetly. Even though he has seemingly allowed this, Vic is clearly upset with his wife’s behavior and he takes to threatening each one of his wife’s paramours. The couple is the subject of gossip among their group of friends, and, when one of Melinda’s former “friends” goes missing, the gossip intensifies. But no amount of gossip or missing and presumed dead lovers stops Vic and Melinda from playing their game, even though Vic’s timebomb of tolerance is clearly about to detonate.

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Santa Barbara Film Festival 2022

Last week, I covered the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for AwardsWatch.com. I had a great time, and thought it would be fun to share some of the pictures and videos I took from the red carpet and from inside the Arlington Theater, where I attended several tributes and panels, including one of me asking Penelope Cruz a question on the red carpet AND a clip of Oscar nominee Troy Kotsur (CODA) that has been viewed over 27,000 times on my Twitter page:

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

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