New Yorkers, PT Barnum and angry dogs: movies this week

PLEASE GIVE (2010) is a quirky film focusing on Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt as a couple who scavenge estate sales for valuable pieces they can resell, despite Keener’s liberal guilt at exploiting the grieving. Remarkably charming; with Amanda Peet as the self-obsessed daughter of the couple’s elderly neighbor. “Oh my god, there’s a homeless man with no head!”

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (2018) stars Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum who finds success as as the flamboyant proprietor of a freak show only to run into trouble when his desire to impress the upper classes estranges him not only from his freaks but from supportive wife Michelle Williams and buddy/partner Zac Efron. The musical numbers are pleasant, but not standout, and the handling of the freaks didn’t work for me; I’m fine with the anachronistic attitudes towards them but the film shows Barnum blowing them off when they inconvenience his social climbing, then ignores that for the happy ending. Not a waste of time, but B-list. “The world is better with a man who has too much imagination than one who has too little.”

Any story about abusing dogs is a long shot to win me, so it was probably inevitable I gave up WHITE GOD (2014) midway through. The Eastern European story of a young girl and how her pet gets mistreated by their caregiver is nasty, brutish and not short enough for me.

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