Being productive while gaping away at the ripples of the Mediteranean is not that easy. Well, it’s easy, it just isn’t right, in a fundamentally existential way. That’s probably what Villeneuve and co. thought while making this movie of the weeks.
Movie of the Weeks
Blade Runner 2049
Some manic Monday
- Gerald’s Game (2017): This was the first Stephen King book I ever read, funnily enough. I remember not quite understanding what it was all about, all the way back in my early teenage years. In this adaption, all the skin-crawlies are well retained, adding to a thoroughly thrilling and engaging movie about trauma and obsessions. Both sexual. It fared better in my mind than the higher caliber It (2017), thanks to a couple of convincing performances by Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood. What’s more, unlike It, which has its scares, GG just felt way more unsettling in a way more palpable way. Just it’s conclusion is a bit whack, although I get the symbolic gesture of horror being in the eye of the beholder. 8/10
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017): Never having been a big SM fan, I didn’t rush to see the latest, Avengers imbued iteration. It turns out, I was wrong to avoid it, as the new and improved Tom Holland version of the boy in red tights is both fun and not at all too serious. For all it’s derision of the all-knowing super-hero model, I did feel that Michael Keaton’s villain was unsurprising and, implicitly, underwhelming. If you dig this whole universe building exercise by Marvel (and DC, for that matter), there’s no reason to shy away from SMH. Otherwise, your life will be about as fulfilling without it. 7/10
When the Girls come into Town
- Girls Trip (2017): For whatever reason, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this well reviewed, female African American version of the Hangover. I had seen Malcolm D. Lee’s The Best Man (1999) and its sequel, both of which I thought enjoyable. GT aligns itself well with Lee’s previous efforts. There isn’t much to these genre flicks: if you have a competent writer and actors with good chemistry, odds are something agreeable will come together. Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish provide just that. 7/10
Another sequel to our favourite vampire hunter?
- Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049: In preparation for the latter, I took the time to enjoy the former once again. Truth be told, I’ve never been fanatical about BR, although I love something like Deus Ex. Upon revisiting it, the original felt a bit sluggish, but definitely memorable. It’s hard to deny the movie’s legacy and influence, with matters of AI and robotics becoming more topical with each passing decade. The sequel achieves the unlikely, in successfully building on the dire, depressing world of Ridley Scott’s initial foray into the matter. One would expect success of director Denis Villeneuve, given his glowing track record. As far as the atmosphere goes, there is nothing to be indicted. As for the pacing, the movie suffers from an unimaginative plot, making the first half feel like it’s dragging some. Fortunately, it builds up to a satisfying face-off, before offering a less than exciting and predictable final sequence. The fact that I didn’t consider it mattered that much is a solid argument towards the compelling vision Villneuve provided for a similar, yet distinctive exploration of the age-old question: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 8/10
Days come and go
- Megan Leavey (2017): This fluffy, if not quite light story of a US army person and her attachment to a US army dog feels like it’s stretching something to make it film-worthy. This isn’t to say it’s not at least a bit engaging, just that the stakes aren’t convincing: sure, an attachment between a person and an animal is something to be taken seriously, but ML failed to build the emotional heft to make me shed my cynicism. Cowperthwaite’s previous effort, the documentary Blackfish (2013), simply worked better because it didn’t require the same emotional argument acceptance in the case of ML does. 6/10
- Daphne (2017): Critics’ darling Daphne is a movie about solitude and alienation in the digitally enhanced fiefdoms of modern day London. If that sounds like something for you, do not waver. I could definitely emote with the themes of the story, if not the particular sufferings of its titular character, an attachment-fobe treating her social anxieties with the usual drug infused flavours of life. But while Emily Beecham is great in the lead role, you would be well advised to arm yourselves with patience, because even at it’s mere 88 minutes runtime, Daphne proves an acquired, slow burning taste. 7/10