“I Tonya”… a REALLY dark comedy that will probably change the way you feel about the notorious Tonya Harding, who was banned for life from figure skating after the knee-whacking of rival Nancy Kerrigan before the Olympics more than 20 years ago. Absolute award-winning performances by Margo Robbie, who we first saw in “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Allison Janney, playing her abusive mother-from-hell. Janney might be the villain of the year. The movie breaks through the wall with the audience with everyone talking to the camera, telling their own version of the story, based on real-life interviews. A line we hear from all them :”That never happened”. It’s funny & tragic. Because we learn Tonya Harding was abused. First by her mom, then by her husband. And in her mind, later, by us all. A must see. Gets 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Opening wide: “The Shape Of Water”, which is the biggest nominee this week by one of my critics groups: The Broadcast Film Critics Association. Set in the Cold War, it’s a fairy tale love story between a mute cleaning lady and a Mer-man creature. It’s unlike any fairy tale you’ve ever seen - complete with nudity, sex and masturbation – all very tasteful - and beginning not 5 minutes into the film. Sally Hawkins is the outstanding lead. EVERYONE is: from villain Michael Shannon to Richard Jenkins & Oscar winner Octavia Spencer. It’s visually spectacular and could bring Guillermo Del Toro his first Oscar. Gets 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Also opening wide: “The Disaster Artist”. It’s the story behind the cult film “The Room”, a film made 14 years ago- a film so bad it’s been called “The Citizen Kane of bad movies”. A film so bad, it’s hilariously good!!! A heads up: if you can, see “The Room” before “The Disaster Artist”, you’ll enjoy it more. James Franco stars and directed and is already getting acting awards. His little bro Dave stars his BFF. A who’s who of Hollywood lined up for teeny-tiny roles that will be missed if you blink: Sharon stone; Melanie Griffith & Judd Apatow, among them. I didn’t enjoy as much as those who’ve seen “The Room” but found it hilarious an hour in. The best scenes are the side-by-side scenes from both films at the movie’s end. Gets 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.