Autumn is upon us, and with it the long, often tedious publicity trail to the Oscars. The late-summer film festivals, from Venice through to London, have had their say, while nomination lists for some of the season’s earliest precursor prizes are being compiled. For Netflix, this now means the rollout of their shiniest awards hopefuls on a near-weekly basis: Martin Scorsese’s mob epic The Irishman and Mati Diop’s Cannes sensation Atlantics are among the streaming service’s November attractions.
This month, however, they’re kicking off with two of their lighter prestige offerings. Fresh from the Venice fest, Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat has been available to stream since Friday, while blaxploitation biopic Dolemite Is My Name, which prompted murmurs of Oscar buzz at Toronto for its star, Eddie Murphy, goes up on the platform on Friday. I have a hard time imagining either film scooping huge amounts of golden hardware in the next few months, but as springy, couch-based entertainment, both have a lot to offer.
Trailer - Laundromat
Watch a trailer for The Laundromat.
Back in February, I wrote about how Soderbergh’s spiky, iPhone-shot sports-business drama High Flying Bird announced him as pretty much the ideal Netflix auteur, given his long-standing resistance to big-screen tradition and his embrace of newer, scrappier film-making technologies. The Laundromat is a bigger production than that one, and a more old-school one too, with its unfussy film-making serving to flatter showy star turns from Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman. That makes it less interesting and less dynamic than Soderbergh’s Netflix debut, albeit easier to watch with a drink on a Friday night.
Modicum - Substance - Film - Breezy - Introduction
There’s a modicum of substance here, as the film essentially works as a breezy introduction to the 2016 Panama Papers scandal, filtering that complex tangle of offshore financial chaos through the smaller story of Ellen Martin (Streep), a dithery, bucket-hatted pensioner...
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