11/17 Movie Trip
Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, chats with Meg Ryan and David Duchovny about their new movie “What Happens Later.”
WHAT HAPPENS LATER (in theaters)
We haven’t seen Meg Ryan on the big screen in eight years. She was the queen of rom-coms and makes a welcome return to the genre with What Happens Later. Meg Ryan is both in front of the camera and behind the camera with What Happens Later. She directed and co-wrote the film which is based on a play “Shooting Star” by Steven Dietz. Ryan’s character, Willa Davis is stuck at a small regional airport due to heavy storms. There she runs into William Davis. Both of them have the shared “W. Davis” name, but that’s not all. They were once lovers and haven’t seen each other in decades. Both find themselves stuck at the airport after flights are grounded due to the heavy storms. The film becomes a back and forth between two exes, as they drudge up the past, what went wrong, and all the what-ifs in between.
-Meg Ryan shares writing credits with playwright Steven Dietz and Kirk Lynn and they’ve kept the intimacy of the play in tact with keeping this a two-person story.
-Yes, there are other passengers we see fluttering about the airport, but the only other character is the voice of a gate agent whose treated more like a heavenly spirit or voice of conscience type presence telling them to “look up” “hustle” and other nudges like that unrelated to airport gate protocols.
-What Happens Later doesn’t try to reinvent the rom-com genre, per say, but there’s a different angle here with them being old flames reconnecting in that magical in between place like the airport.
-A film like this doesn’t need to do anything new as long as you have two leads that can sell the material, and Ryan and Duchovny do just that.
-David Duchovny and Meg Ryan’s chemistry together is very easy and believable as one-time lovers who were torn away. That history gets explored with big reveals in the second half. It escalates quickly into the negative spaces between them, but there’s plenty of levity in between the arguments.
-You can feel the easiness between the two actors, which makes the film work.
-Meg Ryan takes a gentle approach behind the camera but trusting herself and Duchovny to carry the film. You’ll notice some nice long takes where the camera sits on them without cutting away too much. There’s an intimacy and connection between them like you would expect in the play.
-Meg Ryan dedicates the film to her longtime friend and former collaborator Nora Ephron. If you’re looking for that a relatable rom-com about all those what-ifts we tell ourselves about past relationships, What Happens Later should fit the bill nicely.
RATING: 3 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
SALTBURN (in theaters)
Writer/director Emerald Fennell won an Oscar for her film Promising Young Woman. Her new film, Saltburn, has the same bite and is a wild ride. Barry Keoghan stars as Oliver, a new transplant to Oxford University who is quickly made to feel like an outcast. That is until he meets the handsome and charming Felix who everyone seems to have a crush on. He’s played by Jacob Elordi who is also currently starring in Priscilla. They strike up an unlikely friendship, and after Oliver receives some bad family news, Felix hints him to his family estate, Saltburn, for summer break. It’s a summer that Felix, Oliver, and the family will never forget.
-Starring: Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamun Pike, Richard E. Grant, Carey Mulligan
-I will say right now, the less you know about Saltburn better.
-Emerald Fennell knows her way into a good slow burn if you remember the trajectory of Promising Young Woman. She treats this beginning section of the film like a playful romance between the two even though we see them both making out with women. It keeps the audience questioning that what might be happening on the surface is very different than what’s in the unspoken realities.
-Fennell and her cast never rush a moment building the suspense and that sense the wild debauchery will spin this story on its head. It’s a twisted game of desire that will leave the audience’s jaws on the floor with happens. There are a few scenes that I have never seen depicted on film before.
-It’s a gorgeous film to look at as cinematographer Linus Sandgren and Emerald Fennell have clearly modeled this in the style of director Stanley Kubrick.
–Saltburn is cast to perfection. Both Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi are in-demand actors right now from Keoghan being nominated for an Oscar last season to Elordi also a part of Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, which is now in theaters. They have a youthful presence that draw you in from the beginning much as Felix draws in Oliver. Jacob Elordi is effortless in the confidence he exudes.
-Barry Keoghan should certainly get another Oscar nomination as he takes you on Oliver’s wild ride. He’s the kind of actor who never shows his full hand until it’s warranted for him to bare it all. A fine-tuned performance unlike anything else we’ve seen this year.
–Saltburn is a dizzying, wicked spell of lust, lies, and betrayal. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen all year, but I know it will be divisive for audiences.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS