Movies of the Week #21 #22 (2019)

American Animals (2018): Based on a true story, AA approaches its heist story in an unusual manner – not only by recreating it, but also offering a documentary perspective from its protagonists. I wasn’t completely taken by it, because a clean docu or a clean interpretive movie would have felt tighter and produced a more immersive experience. What stuck with me is how well it recreated the panic and amateurism of the attempt, i.e. what a heist would probably look like if a fellow off the street had his go. It’s a shame that it didn’t fully stick with its guns. 6/10

Booksmart (2019): Olivia Wilde’s highly acclaimed debut feature has been called ‘the Breakfast Club of a new generation’. I get the parallel, because the movie really doubles down on fighting stereotypes and providing redeeming traits to most of its characters. While certain moments felt a tad contrived, the dynamic energy between leads Kaytlin Dever and Beanie Feldstein makes for a whole lot of fun to watch, in a coming-of-age tale that feels both familiar and new. Like most good things in life. 8/10

The Wife (2018): In spite of its less than exciting story, Jonathan Pryce and, particularly, Glenn Close make a real meal out of this one. Pryce plays a writer who stands to win the Nobel Prize, whereas Close is, you guessed it, the wife – and there’s more to her than meets the eye, too. The story tries to strike a balance between duty, love and justice, which it often does, sometimes pedantically so. Close’s magical touch ensures said balance is struck, in a wonderful performance well worth its praise. 7/10

Miami Blues (1990): Stepping into the 90s is always an adventure, but not many mainstream movies have the level of quirkiness to their characters that Miami Blues does. Starring Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Fred Ward, the story goes about its evil-doing protagonist with a lot of flair, as the man tries to get a (crummy) foothold into post-prison life. It sometimes feels like the movie isn’t trying really hard to make sense and be serious, yet everything falls into place by the end, with plenty odd moments just stuck in your mind. Nothing too ambitious, but different enough to stand out. 7/10

Always be My Maybe (2019): Netflix romcoms have become a dime a dozen and they all share from the essence of what makes romcoms work, but never really manage to go beyond the ‘somewhat enjoyable’. AbMM is no exception, with a likable leading duo, childhood friends/lovers who reunite after a decade long break, with their lives in vastly different places. Yet, nothing seems to really matter, it’s all just a question of when specific things happen. Sure, there’s enough personality to fill your chuckles, with an excellent celebrity guest-scene making for a fun distraction. 6/10