This week in Film — FIRST COW and THE LADY EVE

Two stories from the past, two stories that explore the messy world of capitalism. Funny how these things work out.

First up, the last movie I saw in theaters prior to the coronavirus shutdown is also my favorite of the year so far.

First Cow, the seventh feature from writer/director Kelly Reichardt, and her fifth collaboration with writer Jonathan Raymond. Working from Raymond’s novel, The Half-Life, Reichardt and Raymond spin something as delicate and delicious as Cookie’s oily cakes. And those oily cakes don’t even show up until 30-plus minutes in. But when they do, you realize the story Reichardt and Raymond are telling.
And it’s a funny one at that: From acquiring raw materials to the market of supply and demand, from the tyranny of growth to the promise of wealth. It’s the rise and fall of American capitalism, all contained in one little oily cake.

Boulder Weekly Vol. 27, No. 47, “Unexpected capitalism on the Oregon Trail

Speaking of funny, 1941’s The Lady Eve is one of the funniest movies ever made and Criterion has a sparkling new 4K restoration coming out on July 14:

When The Lady Eve was released in March 1941, audiences still felt the pangs of the Depression, but a new foe was on the horizon. War was building in the Pacific, and fascism was spreading over Europe like wildfire. Comedy was the escape, and once The Lady Eve got rolling, a dark and scary world slipped away into one of ocean liners, dinner parties and proper people acting like a bunch of damn fools.
It was a beautiful distraction then, and it’s a beautiful distraction now, and Criterion’s 4K restoration of The Lady Eve sparkles. In addition to the film, Criterion’s disc includes thoughts on the film from critics Cairns, Susan King and Kenneth Turan, and filmmakers Peter Bogdanovich, James L. Brooks and Ron Shelton. The booklet features an essay from Geoffrey O’Brien and 1946 LIFE profile of Preston Sturges, and the commentary track from former CU-Boulder film professor Marian Keane is a film class in itself.

Home viewing: The Lady Eve