Movies of the Weeks #37 #38 #39 (2017)

It constantly feels like I’m a million weeks behind, but then I check out how many movies I’ve seen and the numbers are dismayingly small. Fact: it’s been less than 0.5 movies/day this year, which is a record low. Fact: there’s no obvious reason for it. Fact: what am I doing writing this in the middle of the night? Perhaps the last one wasn’t a fact.

Movie of the Weeks

Good Time (2017)

goodtime

When I was in London:

  • Logan Lucky (2017): Marketed as a different take on the Ocean’s Eleven template, this Soderberghian adventure takes us on a neat and tidy heist ride. Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes,  et al., the star studded caliber of the joint already brings back some OE memories. I liked it, because of its smooth delivery, punctuated by some zippy humour and an all around tight bank job where everyone gets their fair share. But it’s probably not something you’d write home about, if you were hiding from Interpol, the CIA and whatnot.  7/10

The same day, in London, but on a couch:

  • Hacksaw Ridge (2016): Mel Gibson’s much lauded directorial return is a highly competent, somewhat engaging and mostly forgettable World War II picture. It has the merit of reminding the pagan world that not only the Nazi’s were killing machines, but the Japs were as well – if with fewer dark overtones. The lead of the story, Desmond Doss, is a bit of the antithetical absolute American, in that he doesn’t go out guns blazing – which is really the only un-American thing about him, as the rest of the guy just overflows with the familiar hues of red-white-and-blue patriotism. For what it’s worth, the man saved dozens of fellow soldiers on Hacksaw Ridge, in an act of selflessness that borders the pathological. I’m not sure why I wasn’t taken at all by the character, although if I had to wager a guess, it’s because he lacks any distinguishing inner conflicts beyond the drive to not shot a weapon. Still, the movie works as a whole, even if it’s littered with the predictable, so I am actually going to give it a soft recommendation, on condition that fuzzy heart war stories are your thing. 7/10

A swing to the Romanian:

  • Doua Lozuri (2016): The very highly rated Romanian comedy released last year has been on my to-watch-list ever since I first heard of it more than twelve months ago. Having missed it in the cinemas, it’s time finally came out of sheer boredom. Luckily, it turned out to be an amusing (not-laugh-out-loud) tale, drawing on inspiration from one of the plays penned by every high-schoolers favourite playwright, I.L. Caragiale. Plot in short: three guys buy a lottery ticket; it gets inadvertently stolen and then proves to have some winning numbers on it; quest on for its recovery. The palate of weird, yet not-out-of-place characters encountered on said quest makes the story worthwhile, with one particular scene involving a ‘white Dacia’ tearing me up with subdued laughter. 7/10

And then…

  • Rocco (2016): A Netflix recommendation (man, that account I share with my parents really knows what its doing), the slice of life documentary about pornographic actor Rocco Siffredi starts with a long close up shot of the man’s waist, naked of course, with a running shower pissing water over his legendary manhood in truly poetic fashion.  Unfortunately, it goes mostly downhill from there. With excessive self-characterization, the movie tracks what is supposed to be Rocco’s final porn shoot before dedicating himself to his family. Spreading over 105 minutes, of which it can only justify only about half, the docu offers some insight into the porn industry, but it only stands to attention when the man himself has some overly sexualized tale to tell. Somehow, it’s hard to take it all as seriously as it takes itself, especially since the film fails to dig deep into why Rocco suddenly feels it’s time to end his career (the familial motive provided is both uninteresting, dramatically, and only superficially discussed). So, yeah, not a great way to spend a Monday morning. 4/10

Back to the drawing board:

  • Good Time (2017): After Benny and Josh Safdie’s previous film, Heaven Knows What (2014), I was left pretty much shattered. The experience was immensely consuming. Good Time, in spite of its title, is anything but. Starring Robert Pattinson and Benny Safdie, it tells the story of two brothers, one of which is mentally impaired, who do a bank heist together that goes from bad, to worse, to wtf just happened. With a distinctive electronic/synth-wave score by Oneohtrix Point Never, it’s very much a trance like experience, seemingly headed from point A to point B to point C while disregarding common sense, yet offering a convincing vision of how and why it would happen. It’s somehow pleasing to see that both Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have come off their Twilight highs with the ability and the desire to just follow any passion project that comes their way and offer more low-key, but exciting performances (Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) is a Stewart must). It was my movie of the week, but do expect a rough ride if you go for it. Still…isn’t this great? 8/10