Drama films

Streaming: Another Round and other great alcohol films | Drama films

WWhen it comes to dealing with onscreen alcohol consumption, movies tend to fall into one of two categories: dark-faced portrayals of the dangers of alcoholism or gleefully drunk comedies. in which alcohol produces a chain of hijinks. It is by falling precisely halfway between these two bar stools that the wonderful and Oscar-winning Thomas Vinterberg Another round – now available in general VOD, and from Monday on DVD and Blu-ray – stands out. It’s that rare film that conveys both the joys and dangers of alcohol, and never feels flippant or judgmental in the process.

Much of this is due to a tremendous performance by Mads Mikkelsen as a restless high school teacher in his forties, attempting to reinvigorate his stagnant routine with an alcohol microdosing experiment – meticulously maintaining a moderate and consistent blood alcohol level. – and initially finding life a little brighter. and faster for that. Then, well, things change. Martin undertakes the project with a group of colleagues who manage it with varying degrees of control. As a study of the intimacies and limits of male friendship, it is in turn harsh and deeply moving. Vinterberg is the most insightful on how alcohol consumption binds people together and separates them; the film leaves both sober and a little dizzy.

It was the British, really, who cornered the market for good times drinking movies, starting with Ealing’s ever-cheerful comedy. Whiskey galore! (BFI player) in 1949. This caper involving, according to its title, a sudden windfall of the amber substance on a Scottish island dried up by rationing is only mirth and no guilt. It was remodeled immemorial a few years ago, but has a better modern spiritual counterpart in The part of the angels (2012; google play), one of Ken Loach’s rare lighter diversions, in which a trip to a whiskey distillery is the unlikely signal of a deadbeat dad to build a better life. Until his last drop of Proclaimers needles, it’s a broad and hopeful thing. Moving south and switching from whiskey to beer, Edgar Wright channeled the British culture of binge drinking into the jovial fantasy of the end of the world (2013; Amazon), in which an aggressive alien invasion collides with the equal determination of guys on pub crawls: what’s the biggest threat?

“A Kind of Hoppier Side”: Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson in Drinking Buddies. Photograph: Burn Later Prods / Kobal / Shutterstock

I have already written about Korean director Hong Sang-soo, who could be the great alcoholic columnist of modern cinema. Soju, drunk in large quantities, tends to play a vital role in his ironic human comedies. In his ingenious and dual-reinforcement boy-girl study Right now, wrong then (2015 ; Amazon), a soju frenzy is the climax that unlocks all of the movie’s cheats and reveals. In the mellowness of Joe Swanberg, winner of the American indie Drinking buddies (2013; Chili), for two co-workers in a hip craft brewery, the occasional beers are the motto by which friendships turn into romances and estrangements and vice versa. Tonally, it’s sort of a more hoppy response to Next to (Disney +), Alexander Payne’s portrayal of insecurity and camaraderie among middle-aged men, which was publicized in 2004 but is less fashionable these days. (Its diehard fans might be curious to investigate the 2010 Japanese remake, aptly titled Saiddoweizu and on Amazon.)

Ray Milland and Howard Da Silva in Billy Wilder's Lost Weekend (1945).
Ray Milland and Howard Da Silva in Billy Wilder’s Lost Weekend (1945). Photograph: Paramount / Kobal / Shutterstock

When it comes to the most serious consequences of alcoholism, Hollywood has a habit of hitting hard. Considered shocking in 1945, when he reigned over the Oscars, Billy Wilder’s The lost weekend (Amazon) plunged the viewer into the downward spiral of a dipsomaniac writer (Ray Milland). It is no longer stunning, but it remains incredibly grimy, at least until its unconvincing final redemption rating. Fifty years later, Nicolas Cage won a hard-earned Oscar as an alcoholic screenwriter – why we writers always come for this treatment, I can’t tell – in Mike Figgis’ brilliantly dark film. Leaving Las Vegas (Amazon), which did not leave us such a window of hope.

But there is perhaps no more elegiac film about alcohol consumption in American cinema than the recent semi-acted hybrid documentary by Bill and Turner Ross. Bloody nose, empty pockets (BFI player), which collects the worth of an entire Las Vegas dive bar, during the struggling establishment’s last night of activity. It pulls us through its fair share of sticky floor misery, but the alcohol-forged sense of community is what shines through.

Also new in streaming and DVD

In the heights
(Amazon / Apple TV +)
This playful cinematic take on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pre-releaseHamilton The Broadway hit was touted as one of the summer’s big movie comeback hopes, before box office weakness and heated debate over colorism deflated the ball. But it’s still lively, friendly, brilliantly performed entertainment: if only the songs were a little more memorable.

Corey Hawkins and Leslie Grace in In the Heights.
Corey Hawkins and Leslie Grace in In the Heights. Photograph: Macall Polay / AP

Now available on DVD / Blu-ray as well as major streaming sites, Harry Macqueen’s heartbreaking fall love story is another beautiful addition to the recent wave of dementia-focused narratives, beautifully performed by Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as a couple taking their last vacation together under the shadow of the condition.

You’d think any movie involving Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, and Kevin Kline could be an animated comedy, but alas: they inexplicably joined forces for a dripping mourning drama, laden with platitudes and rattling metaphors, in which McCarthy’s mourning for his lost child is shattered by his whimsical interactions with a courageous garden bird. Fly by.

Deer skin
(Amazon / Apple TV)
With the last of the strange French author Quentin Dupieux, Mandibles, in theaters, you can now catch his 2019 movie streaming. This disturbed and impassive story of a vagabond whose fixation with the acquisition of particular leather clothes leads him to murder is rendered by the madly committed turn of Jean Dujardin: the best thing he has done since winning this Oscar a decade ago for The artist.

The servant
The Restoration of Joseph Losey and Harold Pinter’s still creepy and phone-close psychodrama of 1963 about British class conflicts and queer social tensions had a theatrical release earlier this month and is now getting a Smart Blu-ray release. . Even without the recent surface polish, it has aged very well.

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