THE COMMUTE: The Replacement, Search Party, Atomic Blonde

7:10:00 AM

What I watched this week on the train:


THE REPLACEMENT

Watching my first choice I thought: you know what I would really want to see? A movie were two men fight each other, by passive aggressive backstabbing, fueling rumors and spewing innuendo, using emotional manipulation and creepy 'well-meaning" put downs. It would be fun, I see Jon Hamm and George Clooney, having to compete for one job, with Jon undercutting George every which way, till poor George is a total mess.
Or: can I watch bad ass women fight it out Ronda Rousey style, as gladiators, with knives, guns, fists or sharp metallic prosthetics * more on that later, and really smart moves.

But my first choice The replacement (BBC watch it here) is neither. It's an Hitchcockian confrontation between two women, a gas-lighting nightmare, excruciating but also a bit tired.
It's about Ellen, an architect going on maternity leave, who isn't too happy with replacement, Paula.
Ellen, reluctant to let go of the job she loves, is irritated by how easy Paula takes over and fits in. The client loves her, her colleagues seem enamored. Ellen is the only one who thinks Paula is overbearing, and is trying to worm her way into her job permanently.
Whenever Ellen brings it up, people make her feel paranoid. Especially her husband, who once was her psychiatrist. ( rookie move, never ever marry one!)

 The replacement, is the kind of show that touches a nerve, and won't stop tugging at it till it snaps. Pregnancy, and motherhood being that very touchy subject. Loss of self, people telling you what kind of mother you should be, people touching you without your permission, breastfeeding, the guilt of the working mother, loss of respect in the workplace, even social services and custody, it doesn't leave any of these subjects unturned.
BP is 180, it is that kind of show, very aggravating. This week I saw the Homeland episode with Carrie and her Franny problem, and it was almost too much. The injustice of being judged as a parent by outsiders always gets me. Being misunderstood is even worse when children are involved, the fear of losing your child, or a child losing his parents, makes it unbearable. The replacement is for you if you like that kind of thing driving you up the wall.
If that is your kind of thriller, this one is quite addictive, well acted, and totally bonkers, moving to the climax.

SEARCH PARTY


A few years ago I stayed a for months in my friend's house in Amsterdam. I didn't known the neighborhood and found it a strange one. The only neighbor I knew was Winston, my Jamaican Rastafarian sun-ray, who always knocked on the window, waving and offering his huge smile. Apart from Winston, I felt alienated. Till one day my cat was missing. Immediately I put fliers up everywhere, (a tip if your dog or cat goes missing say it is sick and needs medicine, so people won't keep him/her) and started walking and biking around the neighborhood asking if somebody had seen Poppins. It was an amazing experience, most people took the time, took fliers, helped me look, called me when they thought they had spotted her, I had one guy going around on his bike calling her name for hours. In a week's time, I knew everybody. And I found Poppins.
That same year I saw the movie Chacun Cherche son chat, essentially my own story, only the girl lived in Paris. I love that movie, and if you never seen it, and you love Paris, go check it out.

Dory and Keith Search Party

This past week I finished watching Search Party. I started it last year, but forgot about it for a bit (peak TV troubles) till Amazon had the whole season on for a fiver.




Search Party reminds me of my Poppins quest and Chacun, a lot. Alia Shawkat plays Dory a Brooklyn millennial, who for reasons that are not entirely clear in the beginning, becomes obsessed with the disappearance of a former college mate, Chantal. She drags her reluctant boyfriend Drew (John Reynolds) and two wacky friends Portia (Meredith Hegner) and Elliott (John Early) along her quest, through Brooklyn, meeting a very cuckoo dissection of the hood.
A lot of reviews loved the satire of Search Party, relishing in putting millennial and their listless, entitlement and detachment on the spot.
The satire was initially the reason I stopped watching. Although entertaining, it didn't make me laugh out loud, and I found it not incisive enough. People said it is funnier than Girls, it's not in my opinion.
But, now I have seen it all, I think it is brilliant. Alia is amazing from the start. Where her friends are  abstract, and apart from Drew never become real people, she is utterly convincing. But the fun starts when Ron Livingston, who plays a detective hired by Chantal's parents arrives. Remember how Burger appeared in Sex and the city, and it was the best thing ever? Same here.  When Dory and Keith start investigating together, while her poor boyfriend gets send off on awkward solo missions, Search Party is on a roll.
What makes this an awesome show is the ending.
I won't reveal anything about it, but the last closeup on Alia's face is priceless, and turns the whole show inside out.
Here the satire returns with a vengeance. The one person who seemed to know what he or she was doing, who seemed to have a real goal, who seemed to be on to something, is in the end its he most lost of them all.
I couldn't shake it.
I wished I could write more about it, but I hate spoilers, but maybe I will write something soon.



ATOMIC BLONDE

To get back to the beginning: more kick ass women, please? My prayers were immediately answered.
I watched the trailer for Atomic Blonde a few times already.
After Monster, Young Adult and Mad Max, Charlize has become my favorite actress.
The male cast: John McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones.
Sofia Boutella, and her prosthetics were awesome in Kingsmen.
David Leitch is the director, a former stuntman, the uncredited director of John Wick and Deadpool 2.
Anyway, watch this, just to hear Charlize say fuck.





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