Over four generations (and counting) of kids have been raised on “Sesame Street.” All of them know Big Bird. All of them know Oscar the Grouch. Few of them know the puppeteer and actor who has portrayed them both since the beginning. His name is Caroll Spinney, and when all is said and down he’ll go down as a legendary, iconic talent likely to have no comparable equal at any point in the foreseeable future.
What’s fascinating is just how many levels this ingenious bit of storytelling virtuosity works on. The youngest of minds will be mesmerized by the dazzling colors and the enchanting characters, while more seasoned viewers will be just as deeply engrossed by the complexity of the themes being examined.
When Marnie Was There doesn’t just live up to the high standards of the countless classics that proceeded it, in many ways it brings all of the themes and the ideas Ghibli has been interested in dissecting throughout their storied history to brilliant summation. It’s a masterpiece, and as final efforts go I cannot think of anything better than that.
While following a template that could hardly be considered original, the film is nonetheless a quirky, authentically emotional, structurally complex gem that builds its central relationships with a delightfully delicate touch. It refuses to bend or compromise, and while the picture wears its indie street cred like a badge of honor it doesn’t get so arch or artificial as to make any character’s growth or maturation feel fake or insincere.
I like the aggressive machismo fueling the film, a trait Dujardin isn’t afraid of embracing. He’s a tornado tearing through the proceedings with fearless ferocity, becoming some sort of carnivorous, chain-smoking combination of Humphrey Bogart, Gene Hackman and Jean-Paul Belmondo all rolled into one.
As perceptive as all of this might be it’s just as equally slight, Bujalski playing it somewhat safe as things reach their conclusion. But the movie is constantly entertaining nonetheless, Corrigan, Smulders and Pearce all working in sensational tandem allowing the filmmaker’s themes and ideas to come to life with delightful enthusiasm.
[This] is McCarthy’s showcase and she more than delivers. While no one would ever give her an Academy Award for this performance that doesn’t make her any less perfect. She gives Spy its reason to exist, McCarthy hitting the comedic bull’s-eye so frequently she doesn’t so much deserve an Oscar as she does an Olympic Gold Medal.
The new film is a revelation…All-in-all, it’s a completely different motion picture, and one definitely worth seeing.
As debuts go, Slow West is a stupendous one, the film an elegiac Western triumph both fans of the genre and newcomers alike will hopefully enjoy in equal measure.