Movies of the Weeks #25 #26 (2019)

This is Where I Leave You (2016): Star-studded family reunions rarely work well and, unfortunately, neither does TiWILY. Lead by Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Adam Driver, the movie tries to create the familiar tension of reunions, with secrets unfolding and comatose passions reigniting. At times, it does a decent job, with some of the subplots proving worthwhile diversions. However, it rarely feels fresh, which is why my recommendation comes with an asterisk. 6/10

Dick (1999): I thought little of Dick as it started unfolding – another run of the mill spoof that feels too much of a caricature to really be enjoyable. But as the movie went on, its quirkiness became endearing, and it left me with the feeling that everyone was having a lot of fun with it – no clue if that’s factual, not that it matters. Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst are pretty amazing in roles that could easily have played out as I initially thought they would. So even if you’re not familiar with the topic of Nixon/Watergate, this re-envisioning of events can prove more fun than you think. 7/10

The Mustang (2019): A poor man’s The Rider, The Mustang is still a solid movie, starring Matthias Schoenaerts and Bruce Dern. It’s partly a tale about the fate of wild mustangs, partly a tale o redemption, with an angry, imprisoned man who finds an unexpected outlet in breaking said mustangs – a rather unimaginative allegory. However, Schoenaerts’s and Dern’s energy, alongside some visually striking scenes, make up for the film’s weak script and if we consider this is the first feature by director/writer Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, then there are reasons to keep the faith. 7/10

Shazam (2019): Not quite sure what I expected of Shazam, one of the more appreciated DC movie adaptations. As far as origin stories go, this isn’t a bad one, with bad-boy-foster-boy Billy Batson appropriately grunge for his age. It’s a tame effort overall though, with some decent touches to make it likable, but the stakes rarely appear high enough to matter. The movie feels distinctly PG, even if it doesn’t always look it, targeted at a teenage demographic, with little to offer to the more pretentious viewer like myself. 6/10

Child’s Play (2019): I couldn’t say whether I ever saw the original from beginning to end. In my mind, it’s a gruesome affair, less campy than this re-envisioned, modernistic take. That being said, this new Child’s Play tries to be a cautionary tale about IOT (haha), which makes it a seem ridiculous at times. Rarely does the movie find a voice and tone, with some scenes juvenile and silly, whereas others are brutally violent. At no time, though, was it really scary, which is a shame. I did like bits of it, but it’s a missed opportunity overall. 6/10