Raise your hand if you think the winter doldrums can eat a family-sized bag of dicks. The January and February haze of short, cold days with no time off in sight until Memorial Day way out on the late-May horizon is enough to depress the happiest of asses during a normal year, and we've got the Covid overlay to boot. Fuck me.
With theaters still empty of new movies worth seeing, we gots to find what solace we can in the streams. Amazon Prime video just added a worthy contender to take your mind of the mid-winter blues for a couple of hours, Brick, a neo-noir detective story from the simpler time known as the Aughts. '05, to be exact.
In spite of The Last Jedi, the epic failure of which I chalk up to the impossible demands of a studio system that knows as much about making a good Star Wars movie as a platypus knows about calculus, Rian "Big" Johnson is a great director. Brick was his first feature film, and it's built like an it shit house (forgive me). Johnson then gave the world the underrated The Brothers Bloom and the somewhat overrated but still pretty fucking awesome Looper before getting his Agatha Christie on with one of the best films of 2019, Knives Out.
Filter The Maltese Falcon through the lens of an early 21st Century California high school, and you get Brick. Brendan (Joseph "Commissioner" Gordon-Levitt) is the pint-sized Bogart trying to solve the case of his missing ex-girlfriend, Emily (Emilie "Nevermore" de Ravin). The poster gives this away, so it's not really a SPOILER, but the missing person case turns into a murder investigation when Brendan finds Em's beautiful but very dead body.
Could the murderer be the junior varsity drug kingpin (Lukas "Ha!" Haas)? The Pin's hothead muscle, Tugger (Noah "Heidi" Fleiss)? Em's current boyfriend and Peter Lorre anaolog, Dode (Noah "Kind Of Wyle" Segan)? Brendan's other ex with a torch and a 'tude, Kara (Meagan "But" Good)? The upper crust femme fatale of the pep rally set, Laura (Nora "Jones" Zehetner)? Or maybe the Archer to Brendan's Spade, The Brain (Matt "Father" O'Leary)?
Johnson wrote as well as directed Brick, and he goes all in on the Dashiell Hammett style tough guy patois, which works like a doxie with the rent due.
January 29, 2021