Bardo, or Unforeseen Consequences of a Medical Intervention

A half-post while the Watch List recuperates.

Bardo, or Unforeseen Consequences of a Medical Intervention

To faithful readers and to new subscribers: The Watch List will continue on hiatus into next week only because I underestimated what having half your pancreas and all of your spleen removed does to a fellow. Apparently, it’s quite serious! I’m well on the road to full recovery, however, and should be posting by mid-week — thank you for all your kind thoughts. Before I went in for surgery, I had most of an essay written on the Tao of Keanu Reeves that that is now up at the Washington Post and can be read here if you have a Post subscription. (Once it hits print on Sunday, I may repost it in full here.)

All that said, if you’re jonesing for a film in theaters this weekend, I can recommend “The Lost King” (⭐⭐⭐), a sweet-hearted valentine for all those who love Sally Hawkins (as who does not). It’s from the team that made “Philomena” ten years back — producer/co-writer/actor Steve Coogan, director Stephen Frears — and is a similar tale of small British lives suddenly backing onto something big, in this case the true story of Philippa Langley, an Edinburgh woman who got a bee in her bonnet about rehabilitating Richard III’s reputation by finding his burial site. (Wikipedia has more details if you want spoilers.) It’s comfort-food cinema but also appreciably more, since Hawkins invests Langley with deep reserves of doubt, dreaming, and resolve.

If you’re stuck at home, I wish I could recommend “Boston Strangler” (⭐⭐) on Hulu, but, alas, I cannot, despite my interest in filmed representations of my hometown’s history and despite the teaming of Keira Knightley (as patrician as a Wellesley matriarch) and Carrie Coon as the Boston Record American reporters who broke the story. The movie’s “Zodiac” running on fewer cylinders, with many pointed things to say about the difficulties faced by working women in the early 1960s but a lugubrious narrative structure that sprawls and wanders and eventually sputters out. And dark! I was a kid in during the Strangler’s reign of terror, and I can attest: We had lightbulbs that went higher than 25 watts. Decent accents, though, and Chris Cooper’s here, which is never not a good thing.

That’s it for now. Back to my own comfort-food cinema — Buster Keaton and Japanese noir on the Criterion Channel — and I expect to be back fully charged next week. See you then.

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