Movies of the Weeks #31 #32 (2017)

I knew the day would come for me to squeeze in two weeks in one without writing excessively. Well, here it is. The day.

Movie of the Weeks

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Sense and Sensibility

Tuesday, the week before

  • Dunkirk (2017): Nolan’s big war movie reintroduces that which set him apart in Memento (2000) – unusual time mechanics. Here, the three story layers unfold over different time frames, converging in the moments of the Dunkirk evacuation. It proved very effective to me and made the movie stand out beyond the sheer scale and competency with which it was produced. The sense of captivity, of hopelessness and despair, were reinforced by the clever timeline overlaps of the three layers. It’s silly, but I got a similar feeling watching Triangle (2009). The ultimately positive movie experience wears the blemish of a dollop of patriotism at the end, but it was expected from a venture striving for a bit of the mainstream. 8/10

Wednesday, the week before

  • Sense and Sensibility (1995): Full disclosure: I am a bit of a Jane Austen fan, or at least a fan of of Austen-movies/mini-series. I managed to dig deep into Pride & Prejudice, so deep I struck some zombies on the way to the bottom. Or perhaps that was the bottom. Anyway, S&S is a true classic, with a phenomenal cast, considerably more star-laden than the mini-series of Pride and Prejudice (1995) released the same year, which pretty much defined Colin Firth’s career for a long time. Emma Thompson’s sensibilities are key here and they manage to do modern day justice to Austen’s romantic ironies of two centuries ago. At times I do wonder whether this whole striving for a good marriage thing is too archaic to remain interesting, but it’s in the nuances where good adaptations set themselves apart from lesser ones. The nuances here are spot-on. 8/10

Thursday, the week before

  • The Bleeder (2016): As a big Rocky fan, once I read about the making of this movie – the story of Chuck Wepner, whose fight against Muhammad Ali supposedly inspired Stallone – I had to watch it. The quality execution of a so-so real life story makes it worth its time for those who have an interest in boxing/fights, but ultimately, the movie lacks punch (haha, I had to). 6/10

Monday

  • The Remains of the Day (1993): After watching S&S, I realized my grave shortcomings in Emma Thompson’s movie portfolio. Simply pouncing on the first thing at hand, the sensitive historical drama centering on a butler in the service of a pro-German lord around the war proved another positive experience. The picture got eight Academy Awards nominations, but no love in the shape of golden statues, although both Thompson and Anthony Hopkins were great. Perhaps it had something to do with another WW2 centric movie being released that year, a small thing entitled Schindler’s List (1993). The Remains is definitely more limited in scale, but with a wider chronological spread, which makes it both more intimate and providing historical perspective. 8/10

Wednesday 

  • Mamma Mia (2008): Rewatching Mamma Mia on a whim comes as naturally to me as opening a Youtube tab and putting on some ABBA – though the latter is definitely more effective. Gathering a bunch of stars of whom none can really sing is the one element that bothered me most when I first saw the musical. Now, I was fascinated by how easily all these popular ABBA songs could be woven into a coherent (sappy, overly sentimental, unlikely) story. Alas, unless you’re as big an ABBA fan as I am, it’s hard to recommend this stuff. 6/10

Saturday

  • Tootsie (1982): I had seen Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) as a child, so with that in mind, I gave Tootsie a go. The Oscar winning movie (Jessica Lange – Actress in a Supporting Role) posits some pertinent questions of the movie-making establishment without being too preachy about it. Out-of-work actor Michael (Dustin Hoffman) tempestuously decides to audition for a female role and actually gets it – by undermining the gender stereotypes for even the soapiest of TV show. It works exceptionally well both as a critique of structural misogyny, and a witty piece of comedy. Some suspension of disbelief is required, especially in regards to the ending, but in a sense the disbelief that a man could play a women for so long, unbeknown to so many, is just a funny jab at the lack of interest of who the woman really is – beyond an unassailable sexual conquest, of course. 8/10