Busy, busy week, so I’m left a bit behind on my movie targets. Buuut, on the upside, I’ve finally gone below the 1960s, with a lovely little classic.
Movie of the Week:
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
- Sherlock Jr. (1924): I guess it’s more of a mental hassle to get used to the unfamiliar, than it actually is to watch silent movies. My experience in the matter is severely limited, with this the first Buster Keaton movie I’ve ever seen. As soon as I started watching it, I recalled a video someone sent me a while ago, which talks with fascination about The Art of the Gag in Keaton’s work. It’s pretty special and being attuned to certain details helped in easing me into this foreign terrain. The story of a wannabe detective who is also trying to prove a worthy suitor is complicated by the appearance of a good-for-nothing, mischievous ‘rival’. Although simple, Keaton manages to put an endearing twist in the tale, in turning reality and expectations on their head and letting the good guy off the hook for all his naiveté. At just 45 minutes, you only need to replace an episode of Lucifer to make room for it. 8/10
- War on Everyone (2016): For John McDonagh, this is a big let-down. After the excellently enjoyable The Guard (2011) and Calvary (2014), McDonagh has produced a movie too far into the bad of the American mainstream, on a theme that’s been covered so thoroughly along the years, that standing out is beyond difficult. Corrupt cops who don’t care much can be good for a bit of wit, but McDonagh’s trademark philosophical quips fall flat, in spite of decent chemistry between Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña. A lackluster villain (Theo Jones), doubled with an over-the-top villain sidekick (Caleb Landry Jones), don’t help either, so you’re left with…not much. The movie is just too light and doesn’t say anything, which is why I’m being harsh on it, although it’s not unwatchable. Maybe watch one of the works by McDonagh. 5/10
- The Girl with All the Gifts (2016): A zombie movie a month keeps the doctor away, doesn’t it? This one comes with a generational twist and in the fungi variant, and is just very, very well executed. With the lovely Gemma Arterton in the lead, alongside débutante Senia Nannua and veterans Glenn Close and Paddy Considine (as well as a short appearance by the star of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Anamaria Marinca), their struggle in the face of the apocalypse is tense, bloody and philosophical. As so many other Z-movies, it’s all about the road-trip, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for surprise or horror. What I liked less was its apprehension of evolutionary principles and how the conclusion comes about, but it remains a strong entry in the ever-growing zombie-verse. 7/10