Movies of the Weeks #39 #40 (2018)


When the cinema screen wept

  • When Nietzsche Wept (2007): While reading Irving D. Yalom’s book, I have to admit, it grew on me. The more ponderous discussions between his doctor Breuer and professor Nietzsche have actual weight to them, true introspection. Some of that is retained in this terribly flimsy piece of film-making, crippled by bad screenwriting, poor editing and an unconvincing cast. Bar for Armand Assante, whose performance anchors all that is good about the movie, the remaining actors are somewhere between tolerable and appalling. That being said, I recommend a glance at the book and you can just skip the opening fifty to a hundred pages. 4/10

Father-daughter experience nr. 1

  • Hearts Beat Loud (2018): Do you want a High Fidelity with fewer neuroses and a father-daughter couple at its core? Then HBL is the movie for you. Within this fine little story about lost chances and recognizing what’s worth a bet in life and what isn’t, Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons make the movie work and matter. Single parent families have become a popular set-up in current day cinema and, most of the time, these movies capture the sentiment endearingly. Need I mention that this flick not a hetero-normative affair? Where HBL comes short is in its subplots and secondary characters, by not making the best out of its excellent character actors – Toni Collette, Blythe Danner, Ted Danson. 7/10

Bad couples

  • Permission (2018): Here’s another one carried mostly by its cast (Dan Stevens and Rebecca Hall), that just about survives with its unlikely premise – a couple decides to explore other sexual orifices before getting married, for…fear of missing out? Needless to say, things don’t go very well, and director/writer Brian Cano doesn’t quite manage to put it all together in an engaging manner. He does get the feeling right though, so expect an uncomfortable hour or so. I would argue that dividing our attention between two couples instead of focusing on one undermines what could have been an intimate, self-destructive experience to really stay with you for weeks, months, even years afterwards. Alas…6/10

When superhero movies fail

  • Venom (2018): The latest Tom Hardy super(anti)hero bonanza has been panned by critics for good reason. It might be easy on the eyes and go by quickly, but there’s not much there for the senses. You know something’s not right when your main takeaway after hours is that ‘it didn’t feel like two hours’. Neither does playing Candy Crush, which is not an endorsement. The sub-average plot isn’t saved by run-of-the-mill action sequences, the only redeeming aspect of the whole thing being some good banter between Hardy’s two-sided character. And you know what? It actually felt long, especially in the painstaking minutes before Venom first engulfs the screen. So no points for that, either! 4/10

Father-daughter experience nr. 2

  • Eighth Grade (2018): To say that Bo Burnham’s directorial debut has been showered with praise would almost be an understatement. Heart-felt, with a great lead in Elsie Fisher, the movie totally captures the sense of teenage angst it’s going for. Moreso, in spite of being steeped in American school culture, it goes beyond it and feels truly universal. Should I mention we’re going with another single parent family here? Once more, painted in the best way possible, as our father figure feels like an awkward, clueless mess at times, while really caring. I was left with the relief that I didn’t have a smartphone growing up and found my own spirals to be engulfed by. 8/10