Few Movies of Many Weeks #41-45 (2018)

I come forth from the abyss and present to you the meager scrapings from the netherworld.

MotW46

Alternative sci-fi:

  • Sorry to Bother You (2018): The trailer to StBY is intriguing, but it’s greatest achievement lies in saying something while withholding the movie’s essence. What starts out as a corporate ladder climb dipped in racial observations, becomes a full blown social dissection by the end. It’s a no holds barred kind of experience – nothing’s off limits. Which also means that it might not be everyone’s cup of hot tea, but it felt pretty good to me. So as not to spoil anything, just go ahead and give it a try. 8/10

When your dreams turn into romcom nightmares:

  • Juliet, Naked (2018): This is one of the lighter movies of the week, starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Chris O’Dowd, in a story about relationships and obsession that doesn’t pan out exactly how you’d expect. I won’t go any deeper into the plot, because that would already be saying too much about it. In a way, it’s a movie about love by proxy, life opening doors you never thought existed and then taking you somewhere completely different. Well, maybe I’m overhyping all this unexpectedness, thirty minutes in you’ll probably guess how this ends, but I’m ruminating on the wider implications of the scenario within. Just take it as it is. 7/10

Parenthood part x+1

  • Thunder Road (2018): The similarities to 2015’s Krisha are stark – writer/director (plus lead in this case) takes on family themes in a short movie, before expanding it to a full fledged story about a functionally dysfunctional parent. It doesn’t carry the dramatic heft of Krisha, but TR provides several twists and turns while balancing a difficult central character. I’m not sure who would rate this as a comedy, unless awkwardness is what triggers your giggles (hah!), but if you get over this misleading set-up, you might just end up surprised and weirdly fascinated by what’s going on. Not that it’s an easy, relaxing watch, yet it proves rewarding by the end. So that’s me not telling you anything about what’s really unfolding in Thunder Road. Deal with it. 8/10

Parenthood part x+2

  • Leave No Trace (2018): From the visionary director of Winter’s Bone (2010), wherein Jennifer Lawrence had her breakthrough performance, comes another tale of surviving in the wilderness. A father-daughter couple (didn’t we leave on this note all those weeks back?) survive together in a wildlife park near Portland in a rugged woman’s take on Captain Fantastic (2016). But this is no Captain Fantastic – no lush fairytale of happy hippies. It’s the story of a troubled war veteran who cannot adapt to society any more and now faces his daughter’s longing for a community. Thomasin McKenzie’s piercing glare will stay with you long after the movie is over, in a narratively austere, yet emotionally rich adventure into anti-modern America. Unlike Captain Fantastic’s bohemian pandering, Leave No Trace is a testament both for and against modern society, a taut and uncompromising coming of age story like few others. Have I used all the right buzzwords? 9/10

Snacking

  • The Night Eats the World (2018): I so want to tell you next to nothing about this, but chances are you already know what the gist of it is. We’re going postapocalyptic in a quiet, slow-paced zombie flick. By far the most remarkable thing about TNEtW is that it stars three actors who have played in some memorable movies: Anders Danielsen Lie (Reprise, 2006), Golshifteh Farahani (About Elly, 2009) and Denis Lavant (Holy Motors, 2012). Beyond this, the thing takes a contemplative route about zombies and solitude, with its lack of urgency troubling me at times. You’ll come across some debatable narrative choices, but beyond it, TNEtW amounts to a slightly reheated, yet pleasant meal of rotting brains. 6/10