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Film Review: Tuesday – SLUG Magazine

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Film Review: Tuesday – SLUG Magazine

Film

Tuesday
Director: Daina O. Pusić
Wild Swim Films
In Theaters 06/14

Never having been a big fan of mortality but assuming that I’ll be obligated to take part in it anyway, I always go into movies about death with a mix of curiosity and trepidation. Tuesday isn’t your average film on the subject, and that suited me just fine.

Zora (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Seinfeld, You Hurt My Feelings) is a single mother with a terminally ill teenage daughter, Tuesday (Lola Petticrew, A Bump Along The Way, Dating Amber). Unable to cope with the thought of her daughter’s passing, Zora avoids her, spending as little time at home as possible and leaving Tuesday with a home care nurse named Billie (Leah Harvey, Foundation, A Gentleman in Moscow). One day, Death (voice by Arinzé Kene, I’m Your Woman, Love Again) shows up in the form of a macaw, as Tuesday’s time has come. Not knowing what else to do, the girl tells Death a joke about penguins, making him laugh. The two bond while spending the day together. Everything is going remarkably well, all things considered, until Tuesday tries to force her mother to talk about what’s happening, and things take a rather unexpected turn. Zora and Tuesday find themselves facing fate in ways that they never could have imagined.

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Writer/director Daina O. Pusić makes her big screen debut with Tuesday, and it may be the most intriguingly unique one I’ve seen in American cinema since Charlie Kaufman’s Being John Malkovich in 1999. That’s not to imply that Pusić is trying to be another Kaufman: in a strange way, Tuesday owes far more to both The Seventh Seal and even E.T. than it does to Malkovich, and yet none of these comparisons should be taken literally, because this a rare movie that feels like a wholly original vision. At times uncomfortably dark and morbidly surreal, and at others whimsical and hopeful, Tuesday is a work of art in the truest sense of the term. Pusić elegantly explores every facet of facing the end with someone you love, including fear, anger, denial, acceptance and selflessness. The eye-popping effect of the macaw is stunningly well done, and the cinematography by Alexis Zabé (The Florida Project) is atmospheric and bewitching, as is the musical score by Anna Meredith (Eighth Grade). Still, for all of these impressive elements, this divine treatise on the nature of life and death rests primarily on the richness of the story and characters.

Louis-Dreyfus is among my favorite actresses of all time, yet I could count the number of her movies that I’ve truly loved on one hand with digits left to spare. Tuesday is the big screen vehicle that has eluded her for decades, and her intricately crafted performance ranks among the finest work of an incredible career. Petticrew is enchanting and lovable as the resilient Tuesday, and Harvey gets some well earned laughs as Nurse Billie. Kene’s voice work as Death tops them all, however, mixing comedy and drama with equal aplomb and giving us the most oddly endearing grim reaper figure in film history.

Tuesday is certainly not going to be for everyone, and it’s a movie that leaves its audience with a lot to take in and ponder. Personally, I found myself leaving it feeling surprisingly happy and with a sense of comfort and peace. I also felt very glad that I have a dynamite penguin joke to keep at the ready until my time comes. —Patrick Gibbs 

Read more film reviews:
Film Review: In A Violent Nature
Film Review: I Used To Be Funny

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Movie Reviews

Movie Review: “Casablanca” – A Timeless Masterpiece –

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Movie Review: “Casablanca” – A Timeless Masterpiece –

A staff report

“Casablanca,” directed by Michael Curtiz and released in 1942, remains a cinematic gem cherished by audiences and critics alike. Set against the backdrop of World War II, this classic romance-drama unfolds in the exotic Moroccan city of Casablanca, a haven for refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe.

The film stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, a cynical American expatriate and nightclub owner, whose world-weary demeanor conceals a deep sense of morality. His life takes a dramatic turn when his former lover, Ilsa Lund (played by Ingrid Bergman), re-enters his life with her husband, resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). As political tensions rise and personal dilemmas intensify, Rick is faced with difficult choices that test his principles and define his destiny.

“Casablanca” is celebrated for its impeccable storytelling, memorable dialogue, and stellar performances. Bogart’s portrayal of Rick Blaine is iconic, capturing both the character’s toughness and vulnerability. Ingrid Bergman shines as the enigmatic Ilsa, torn between love and duty. The film’s supporting cast, including Claude Rains as the charmingly corrupt Captain Renault and Dooley Wilson as the soulful pianist Sam, adds depth and richness to the narrative.

The film’s cinematography, evocative of film noir with its shadowy interiors and smoky atmosphere, enhances the mood of intrigue and romance. Max Steiner’s haunting musical score, highlighted by the timeless melody of “As Time Goes By,” underscores the emotional depth of the story.

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Beyond its cinematic achievements, “Casablanca” resonates as a poignant exploration of love, sacrifice, and redemption amidst the turmoil of war. Its themes of honor, patriotism, and the power of personal integrity remain relevant and compelling to this day.

As a classic of American cinema, “Casablanca” continues to captivate audiences with its timeless charm and universal appeal. Whether revisiting it or experiencing it for the first time, this film promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of one of cinema’s greatest love stories and moral dilemmas.

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Short Film Review: Melt (2023) by Tomoto Jin'ei

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Short Film Review: Melt (2023) by Tomoto Jin'ei

‘I want to become a cicada’

Tomoto Jin’ei’s “Melt” is a short with two sides, much like the tennis ball on which the sister half of the sibling duo draws their parents’ faces. A short, poetic lament on a situation, this sees two young adults remain positive in a bleak situation.

A nameless brother and sister are approaching adulthood, yet seem to laze their days, while their parents are out for long hours, working or partying; only ever arguing when both are at home. This has become a house without love, as the parents’ stresses are deflected on to each other and their children. The siblings, therefore, spend the hot summer days lounging around, playing, but also enjoying each other’s company when out of the house. Home is where the hatred is.

With some beautiful cinematography, this is a film where the outside world is bright, colourful and eventful, while home is a dark and brooding place. Jin’ei portrays a home where smiles start immediately on leaving, with sadness returning to faces the minute they walk through the door.

Drawing her parents’ faces on either side of a tennis ball shows the children both playing favorites, but a couple no longer working as a single unit. Their father is often out drunk with much younger women – a known secret – and so their mother is tired from work, but unloved at home. From the children’s perspectives, they see two adults who are constantly behaving badly, drunk or angry, and taking out their frustrations on them. They want to run away from it all.

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From the parents’ side, however, they see their children at working age, but spending their days lounging around, contributing little but microwave meals. The mother particularly elicits some sympathy as her husband runs around with women less than half her age.

The theme of “Melt,” therefore, is escape, or melting away. The children want the freedom a transient life brings: live free and die young. The final scene sees them release a paper boat into the ocean. Laughing as they do, they want to just disappear. Laugh, as the world around you melts.

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Movie Reviews

I Am: Celine Dion Movie Review: A gut wrenching account of Celine Dion’s quest to find her voice

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I Am: Celine Dion Movie Review: A gut wrenching account of Celine Dion’s quest to find her voice
Story: This documentary provides a moving portrayal of a year in the life of superstar singer Celine Dion as she battles Stiff Person Syndrome, a neurological disorder that has silenced her voice.

Review: ‘I Am: Celine Dion’ follows a year in the life of singer Celine Dion as she deals with Stiff Person Syndrome. This documentary is a heart-wrenching view where we are exposed to the singer’s struggle with the neurological disorder that has taken away her voice, leaving her feeling helpless. By the end of the documentary, viewers can’t help but feel sympathy for the Canadian singer, who has 27 albums to her credit, selling over 250 million records. While the documentary is engaging, it could have benefited from more perspectives. Apart from Celine Dion, the only other voices heard are those of her sons, Eddy and Nelson, and her sports therapist. Including more voices would have added a richer dimension to the film.

The documentary celebrates Celine Dion’s illustrious career but focuses primarily on the aftermath of her diagnosis with Stiff Person Syndrome, a rare neurological condition. When she says, “Music, I miss a lot, but also people,” her sense of helplessness is palpable. Featuring never-before-seen footage of her stage performances, family albums, a tour of her mansion, and intimate moments with family and staff, ‘I Am: Celine Dion’ encapsulates everything a documentary should. The film also captures a poignant moment: her having a seizure and the subsequent treatment. It’s a ten-minute moving sequence that encapsulates what the singer is currently enduring. She speaks passionately about her extensive shoe collection, while the visuals of her various dresses and her children’s vast toy collection are truly eye-popping. Be sure to catch the hilarious moment when she imitates Australian singer Sia during her appearance on The Jimmy Fallon Show.

The documentary successfully highlights the humane side of Celine Dion when she emphasizes the importance of teamwork, saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” This sentiment is evident in the scene where she and her sons record a get-well-soon message for one of their household staff. Another touching moment shows Celine vacuuming her house, interspersed with a joint performance with Diana King, which is sure to bring tears to viewers’ eyes. The film evokes sadness over the cruel fate she has endured, yet it also showcases her indomitable spirit. She candidly admits that when her voice failed her, she sometimes blamed the microphone during concerts, revealing her vulnerability.

This documentary is a gut-wrenching account of a music superstar who became a shadow of her former self due to a neurological disorder. “My voice was always the conductor of my whole life,” she reflects, adding that she had to rely on multiple Valium pills just to get through her performances. A particularly poignant moment occurs when she visits the recording studio for the first time in three years and sings a song, channelling all her pain and ensuring it sounds perfect, showcasing her resilience. ‘I Am: Celine Dion’ is a moving documentary that will be tough for die-hard fans of the singer superstar to watch without tears. More than that, it tells the story of a woman who lives by the mantra, “If I can’t run, I will walk. If I can’t walk, I will crawl. But I won’t stop.”

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