Movies of the Week #4 (2018)

The first fluttering of weakness this week, as I’ve barely covered four lukewarm movies. It makes it that much harder to pick a standout. But here we go:

Movie of the Week 

Only the Brave (2017)

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When fire was extinguished by my unrelenting tears

  • Only the Brave (2017): A true-story kind of affair, this movie centers on a fire-fighting squads handling wildfires. For the most part it’s (just) a well executed story, emphasizing the rigors, the passion and the dedication required for such a grueling job. Josh Brolin is cool, as always, and Jennifer Connelly shows her acting chops in a couple of difficult scenes, but for the most part, the characters are slimly developed. In spite of this, the latter part of the movie raises the stakes and proves to be a beautiful, if harrowing, emotional ride to the finish, making it worth recommending on its own. 7/10

Ben Stiller playing his favourite existential persona

  • Brad’s Status (2017): This movie behind this completely uninspired title is, for the most part, a bitter exploration of self-perceived, post-middle age averageness. A father accompanies his son for the latter’s college applications. He’s often obnoxious and in a constant search for self-validation, the father, which makes Ben Stiller’s character hard to really like. It’s not the easiest of rides, but the guy has some redeeming qualities to  make it worthwhile. The morality bits come across as heavy handed, yet in spite of all these shortcomings, I was left pondering at the end of it, which both shows my self-absorption and the sense that it wasn’t all time spent in vain. 7/10

Even bad guys need a break

  • He Never Died (2015): I’ve had this one for a while now, a small film with a bit of The Man from Earth (2007) and Taken (2008) in its DNA, as well as a protagonist not too different from John Wick. So this Jack fellow, a grumpy, asocial type, is inconvenienced by the daughter he didn’t know he had and she soon gets taken by a bunch of lower league mobsters with whom our Jack got inadvertently mixed up with. The man’s dry wits and no-crap kind of attitude has its charms, but overall HND just isn’t exciting enough. 6/10

Original title “Ten Little Niggers” a tad racially insensitive, is it?

  • And Then There Were None (2015): I have a vague recollection of reading Agatha Christie’s book, but that didn’t help me much in remembering the outcome of this adaptation. The three part mini-series sees ten individuals gather for a dinner party on an isolated island – which turns out to be a bit of a trap, as all of them are accused of various crimes they had supposedly committed. Duly, they start dropping like flies and people become understandably upset. I didn’t much enjoy the first two parts, which take their time to set-up a satisfying conclusion to the story. It’s never easy when all  the characters are borderline loathsome, but ATTWN finds enough nuance to keep the mystery building and viewers engaged. It’s somewhere between a six and seven, but I’m grumpy today so I’ll go for the former. 6/10