Movies of the Weeks #19 #20 #21 (2017)

To be honest, this isn’t really about weeks #19 and #20. The only movies seen in that petty time frame were Alien Covenant (which, as a true fan, I even revisited last week) and a rewatch of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Then again, given that Eternal Sunshine is one of my favourites, I guess it does matter. Anyway, I managed to get back into some groove during the last few days, so there’s something to talk about.

Movie of the Weeks

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

eternal-sunshine-of-the-spotless-mind

Some day

  • Alien: Covenant (2017): People imagining this would be fundamentally different or better than Prometheus just because it’s got ‘Alien’ in the title need to wake up to reality. Thing is, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Covenant being about as inspired as the prequel it sequels. Sure, Prometheus wasn’t a masterpiece and that crew, like almost any space crew in a Hollywood blockbuster, seemed dilettantish; but it took the Alien universe in a new direction, albeit one that’s hard to dig deep into without appearing superficial – the ‘why are we here’ direction. Covenant doubles down on this, which is why I deem it slightly inferior to Prometheus. There just isn’t any elegant way to avoid being pretentious when tackling high-brow stuff in a B-movie frame. Moreover, it goes for a twist ending that it doesn’t even bother to mask properly and then tries to use for shock value, while also being uneven in tone at times. Beyond this however, I enjoyed Covenant, the visuals, the creatures, even some of the crew, and it amounts to a competent addition to the Alien-verse. 7/10

Some other day

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004): God, is Eternal Sunshine a truly great movie or what? In Charlie Kaufman’s peak creative half-decade, when he wrote Being John Malkovich (1999), Adaptation (2003) and even the not-quite-as-great-but-still-decent Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), it felt impossible to pick a favourite between BJM, A and ESotSM. I guess it still does, because the three are movies are so different in style, thanks to the equally distinctive directors to have helmed them, that they stand on their own beautifully. What I love about Eternal Sunshine is its hopeless romanticism, the idea that falling out of love is not something you can engineer, as well as the equivalent thought that you would be willing to love someone even if you were certain it would fail. And, let’s be honest, that’s what we all do anyway. 9/10

Monday

  • The LEGO Batman Movie (2017): There was something so cool and breezy about the first LEGO movie that it was hard not to like. This spin-off works in the same spirit, but suffers for being more of the same and lightheartedly predictable. It’s basically a movie getting together most of the Batman do-gooders and evil-doers and then trying so hard to be ironic and self-deprecating, that it inevitably feels overdone. For whatever reason, I guess I took it all too seriously, probably because my bat-senses kicked in, but all-in-all I thought it was a run-of-the-mill affair. 6/10

Tuesday

  • Patriots Day (2016): If you’re into real-life re-enactments of modern day tragedies, Patriots Day is right up your alley. The movie about the Boston marathon bombings offers some perspective, by featuring both protagonists and villains, but it doesn’t dig very deep. Truth be told, if you’ve seen one Peter Berg – Mark Wahlberg movie, you’ve sort of seen them all; I personally preferred Deepwater Horzion (2016) and even Lone Survivor (2013) to this one, because I’m not all too big on the rather streamlined American cinematic dialogue about terror attacks, which inevitably revolves around inner strength in the face of absurd injustice and a dollop of patriotism. There’s nothing wrong with either, I have no idea how one could and/or should react to this kind of violence, but its filmic thematization is at best strong dramatically and superficial politically/socially/philosophically.  6/10

Thursday

  • Colossal (2017): This weird-ass movie by Nacho Vigalondo takes Anne Hathaway and places her in the skin of a thirty-ish woman forced into rethinking her party-going lifestyle. In doing so, she goes back home where she encounters her childhood friend, played by Jason Sudeikis. What unfolds between the two looks like the latter pining on the former, but then metamorphosizes into something completely different, when it turns out that Hathaway’s character has the ability to conjure a monster in Seoul if she walks across the local playground in the early morning. The twist of the movie is quite beautiful, even poetic, and I admire Vigalondo (of whom I had previously only seen Los cronocrímenes (2007)) for offering a deeply troubled negative character. Towards the end, Colossal flourishes into something of rich interpretative potentiality, even if it feels like it cuts some corners to make it happen. If you’re into quirky, well worth its time. 7/10

Friday

  • Mindhorn (2017): I’m quite big on spoofs and parodies, whether I understand them or not. So naturally a British production would attract my attention –  hey, I even liked Johnny English (2003)! Mindhorn presents a washed up actor, Richard Thorncroft, whose claim to fame came after starring as the character named Mindhorn in a successful TV series, eons ago. Back in present day, his services are required when a serial killer demands to speak to the brilliant detective character. There’s nothing inherently original or spectacular about the movie, just that its execution is excellent, which counts a lot when your subject matter is fairly rehashed. I’m certain there are some obscure references which I’ve missed, but even so, Mindhorn proved to be quite the enjoyable ride. 7/10

Sunday

  • Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008): I’ve had Anvil on my to-watch list for longer than I can remember. Well, no longer than nine years, I suppose. The documentary about Canadian heavy metal band Anvil, which influenced the likes of Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica (or so Wikipedia claims, I have no clout in the heavy metal world), is quite the rollercoaster feel-good story to replace one of those True Detective episodes you’ve been putting off for a few months now. With their hey-day far behind them, the band still enjoy concerting, but it feels like the world has forgotten them. The movie is carried by Steve “Lips” Kudlow’s energy and boundless optimism, as well as his relationship with band co-founder and best friend Rob Reiner, who is his polar opposite. It’s quite the tale about persistence, finding what makes you happy, the intricacies of doing that when your happiness is contingent on the well-being of others, and friendship. Highly recommended. 8/10