Movies of the Week #49 (2016)

This turned out to be quite the indie week for me, although unpremeditated. Additionally, I’ve reembarked on my quest to watch some of the countless classic films I’m lagging on, but time will tell whether I’ll ever actually come around to doing it. The feeling that, somehow, it represents this great commitment, emotionally and intellectually, is goddamn daunting.

In the spirit of new things, this time around I have a bold choice for ‘movie’ of the week:

Black Mirror: San Junipero

Black Mirror

Monday

Tuesday

  • Slash (2016): Here we go, back to my home turf: a coming of age/high-school movie about a couple of kids who are deeply steeped in the fascination of slash (urban dictionary explains: “Genre of fanfiction involving pairing two male or female characters together; characters are commonly shown with a slash in between”). So there’s a bit of sex, or rather insinuations thereof, straight and gay, playfully integrated in the wider story of teenage angst and self-discovery. Slash might only be changing the angle, without covering a lot of new ground, but it does so with disarming honesty and an endearing lead. Might be a genre recommendation, but I’ll make it any way. 7/10

Wednesday

  • Blue Jay (2016)The other thing I’m quite the fan of, beyond high-school movies about comic book fanfiction exploring sexual fantasies, is movies about missed opportunities for ‘the big love’. While on the fence over its real world existence, I’m still philosophically inclined to ascribe to such aspirations. So in a very Mark Duplass movie (think The One I Love, Safety Not Guaranteed, Your Sister’s Sister), Mr. I’m-the-coolest-brooding-happy-sad-male-lover-you’ve-once-had returns to his hometown, where he meets a former romantic partner in a supermarket. They spend the day together, emotions happen. The End. But really, I liked it, a cup of unfulfilled love is what gets me up in the morning, seeing how I don’t partake in the caffeine rituals of this world. Hey, no judging, to each his/her vices! 7/10

Thursday

  • No movies #shame. but i was part of a mannequin challenge, that’s gotta count for something, right? Like, my list of capital sins when judgment will be upon us.

Friday

  • Black Mirror: San Junipero (Season 3, Episode 4)I know this doesn’t really count as a movie, but of all the Black Mirror episodes I’ve seen (all standalone experiences), this comes closes to being one. At a whiff over an hour long, it could have been great with more time to develop the characters and flesh out the concept – one of the best the creators have put forward. For the uninitiated, Black Mirror tackles not-that-futuristic applications of almost-current-day technologies, usually in a dark and nihilistic fashion. But what makes San Junipero stand out, is that it takes a different way in and tells a captivating story set in humanity’s golden age: the 80s. I don’t want to spoil it, so all I’ll add is that its lead characters (played by Mackenzie Davis and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) are beautifully fleshed out and the 80s soundtrack picks are spot on. Just jump into it! 8/10

Saturday

  • Snowden (2016): It’s a by the numbers movie, competent in most regards, so I’ll keep this brief: just watch Citizenfour (2014) instead. And I say it with a heavy heart, because Snowden includes a severely underused Timothy Olyphant. 6/10

Sunday

  • Frank & Lola (2016): I was about to write ‘it’s got Michael Shannon in it, so it’s a no brainer’. Then I realized that’s pretty much my favourite line of recommending anything I like – just replace Michael Shannon with ‘high-school’, ‘unrequited love’, ‘chickens and eggs’, etc. Beyond the always enjoyable Shannon, F&L is a pretty old-school movie about two guys fighting over a girl, with jealousy, violence, and good food included on the menu. Had there been more of a build up to certain scenes, it could have made for an excellent thriller. As it stands, it’s just a good one, which left me with the peculiar feeling of having under-committed to its theme and its characters, i.e. there’s just placeholders where the meat of the drama, the intensity should be. Then again, with my penchant for MS, how can I complain? 7/10