So, how many movies are you going to watch this year? Last year was a bit of a disappointment, with less than 200 pics for me, ranking as one of my least prolific years since 2007. You say ‘give me more numbers’? I say get your own.
Here’s to more of the same!
Movie of the Week
Mary Poppins (1964)
Fearing the ‘sequel’
- Mary Poppins (1964): There’s no better way to starting the year than with a movie you love, just so it reminds you of how regardless of the passage of time, some things just stay the same. Unless they change, in which case it sucks and you have my commiseration. It’s funny, I never really thought of Mary Poppins as my favourite childhood movie, although I recall reading some of the books as well. Now, however, I feel it takes me away to a place filled with a mixture of happiness and despair at the end of which I always come back to reality behind a veil of tears. It’s hard to say exactly why it concludes that way for me, as I adore the glee of the songs, the eclectic visual style and the all-around performances. Bar a couple of scenes which I never really took to, Mary Poppins is a flawless children’s tale filled with the horrors of adulthood. Also, scary Mary. 9/10
- Marshall (2017): There’s little special about Marhsall, a competent, by the numbers, court drama portraying one of Thurgood Marshall’s pivotal cases in the NAACP’s fight for equality during the American 1930s. As the African American cause is tentatively conjoined with Jewish suffering due to Marshall teaming up with Sam Friedman in their attempt to defend a black servant of having raped his white, socialite mistress. The story of the case is unspectacular, as is the courtroom drama, but the odd moment of inspired rhetoric raises the movie above the average. Add to that the wasted talents of Dan Stevens and James Cromwell, pegged in a couple of steretoypical roles, and you’ve got an idea of the vaguely interesting, but not at all riveting tale that Marshall amounts to. 6/10
The re-quel that works
- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017): As a fan of the original, I was skeptical the new Jumanji could bring anything to the table. Robin Williams carried the original, a dark venture into the unknown which has etched a profound mistrust towards boardgames deep into my core. This reboot/remake moves a step up in the direction of video-games and focuses the story on high-school dynamics and stereotypes. As the four protagonists are absorbed into the world of Jumanji, they take on some really cool avatars, in the form of Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Tori Bl…erm, sorry, I meant Karen Gillan, and Kevin Hart. These guys carry the movie in what ends up being a thoroughly enjoyable run through the jungle, making it 2 for 3 in the Johnson catalog of jungle warfare. 7/10
The one that doesn’t
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017): Everything that worked well in the first Kingsman feels tired, overused and inferior in this second one – from the heroes, to the villains to the sub-villains. As Jeron0 lovingly put it on icheckmovies: “My least favorite movie starring Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and bowling balls.” I’ve already wiped it away from my mind and refuse to recall anything else about it. 4/10
Una noticia HUGE
- Nosotros los Nobles (2013): This silly little Mexican thing about a father wanting to teach his spoiled children a lesson by faking poverty on them is an enjoyable fare. It stars Karla Souza, who seems to have popped up fairly often in my viewing patterns over the last six months. With four protagonists to cover, Nosotros los Nobles does a surprisingly fine job in offering each of them a chance to feign character particularities, strewn along a thoroughly predictable and dubious storyline. I even chuckled at times. 6/10
A mustache away from greatness
- The Hero (2017): The last collaboration between director Brett Haley and actor Sam Elliott was the successful I’ll See You in My Dreams (2015). There’s a lot of dreaming in this one as well, as The Hero takes on the same life-departing themes, just from a different angle. Lee (Sam Elliott) is a 70+ years old actor and is faced with his own mortality after receiving a cancer diagnosis. The whole introspective/escapist gig that follows is at times emotional, at other times frivolously masculine, while generally suffering from a lack of definite purpose. That’s what makes The Hero less exciting than Haley’s previous movie, although it’s not all bad. 6/10