Movies of the Week #33 #34 (2018)

motw33

Games for mice and men

  • Tag (2018): All major movie themes of any given year come in twos – this time, it’s about adult people playing games. After the excellent Game Night (2018)it’s tag’s turn to make a resurgence. The movie, starring a bunch of high caliber actors like Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner, tells of a group of men whose friendship has survived thanks to their annual game of tag. It’s mostly a fun romp, but for me it failed in its tonal inconsistencies and the manner in which it completely underused most of the female cast in trite subplots. What’s the point of having Rashida Jones if all you want of her is to be an object of desire…erm, well, you know, with no personality and just as an excuse for male rivalry. Not that the part of Annabelle Wallis is any better. And that blatant effort to pander at the end by including the women in the game does nobody any favours. 6/10

Sometimes I think about not watching a movie if its title doesn’t fit on the weekly graphic 

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018): It’s not just a mouthful of a title, but also a mouthful of a movie. At over two hours, this (novel-based) story of how a tiny literary society came to be in Guernsey during the Nazi occupation is sometimes sweet, but often tiresome. Although Lily James is a good fit for her part, both her love interests are unconvincing, which isn’t where you want to be if you’re going for romance. Getting past this stumbling block proved difficult for me, and the lackluster story of Nazi resistance didn’t help much either. The historical context, though, caught my interest and got me through the movie, as it did a proper job of capturing the residual pain of loss even as WW2 had ended. Scrapes by with a small recommendation, although people in general seemed to have liked it. 6/10

Tomorrow is today

  • Upgrade (2018): From the mind of Leigh Whannell, creator of Saw, comes a movie set in a blue-tinted cyber future, that borrows heavily from all sorts of similarly themed films, yet manages to put forward an enjoyable ride that feels fresh enough to matter. If you just ignore the ultra-obvious plot (hey, at least it twists in the end), you’ll be sucked into the dim world of tomorrow, where computers can do almost everything, society is harshly segregated and the police are still terribly ineffectual at fighting crime. In this life-inspiring setting, an old-school mechanic will be transformed in an uber-mensch and will struggle to discover who the bad guys are. With the help of a microchip, he will be faster, smarter, better than most people, in a slight Deus-Ex scenario. So if that’s your thing, enjoy. 7/10

Plethora of size jokes incoming

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): If you thought the first Ant-Man was average, be ready to relive the same feelings as you go through its follow-up. Featuring the same cast, its comic relief and the occasional set-piece make the movie tolerable, but most of it just feels rehashed. Unlike with Upgrade, I don’t feel the need to sympathize with it, because it bears no ambitions. A good-bad-guy is cool enough once, but when he/she starts showing up in all your movies Marvel, then something’s wrong. The only truly exciting moment comes in the first after-credits scene, so judge that as you will. 6/10

For that rainy night when you feel lonesome

  • Columbus (2017): Talk about beautiful, lush and introspective cinema! Kogonada’s feature length debut is an ode to the marvels of design, small-town life and a-harmonious families. It’s a joy to watch and feel, even though its trailer seems uninspiring – perhaps because the narrative isn’t quite memorable, nor are the actors inhabiting the two leads, but there’s just enough there to hold the movie’s inner life together. It has a scent of Lost in Translation, thanks to its quiet admiration for people and places grown out of solitude, something that should feel familiar and blue in an instant. Delicious. 8/10