Movies of the Week #31 #32 (2019)

Bumblebee (2018): After the experience of Shazam, I was cautious in approaching BB, a movie that gave a similar vibe. Sadly, it felt painfully PG-13, with a tired story and equally tired characters. Hailee Steinfeld is usually awesome and she does her part in making the whole thing bearable, but were it not for an excellent soundtrack, I’d be loathe to give it a passing grade. This is coming from someone who actually rated the first Transformers a solid six. Not much else to add, the movie just rubbed me the wrong way. 5/10

Skyscraper (2018): A good companion piece to Bumblebee, in all the wrong ways, Dwayne Johnson can’t save this lackluster blockbuster with strong Die Hard vibes from sucking. In spite of the odd impressive effects piece and some decent stunts, the movie has no spirit and, what’s even worse, is not as fun as this low-frills ride should be. Boo. 4/10

Kraftidioten (2014): A movie dipped into the Fargo jar, Kraftidioten aka In Order of Disappearance is a fun tale of revenge. Starring Stellan Skarsgard and Bruno Ganz, with both seemingly enjoying their roles, it tells the story of a bereaved father, whose son is killed after getting involved in a drug ring. In its triangle of death, the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, but do so in an intelligent way – not unlike In Bruges, whose influence is also palpable here. 7/10

The Souvenir (2019): If you’re up for an introspective piece of filmmaking, look no more. Joanna Hogg’s souvenir is a bittersweet story of first love, more bitter than sweet, as artistically inclined Julie meets bohemian bonhomme Anthony. Set in the glorious 80s, the movie does a phenomenal job in framing its story and its characters, which allows J&A to burn low, yet stay compelling at all times, with an unexplainable magnetism. It’s an endearing, frustrating, infuriating, despondent ride that deserves a quiet two hours as its tribute. 8/10

Photograph (2019): This low-burning and mostly tame Indian rom-com comes from the director of the more accomplished Lunchbox (2013). It’s a familiar tale of marriage pressures within Indian society, affecting two characters of different generations – a 40 something photographer and a 20ish student. There’s nothing glamorous about earning your living by taking random pictures of people around touristic landmarks, while flat-sharing with five guys in your forties, but Rafi just about captures Miloni’s essence in a picture he takes of her. It starts out as a farce, with Rafi using her likeness to convince his grandmother that he’s set romantically, but once the two actually come together, they…belong? I guess. It’s an understated love story, with a focus on care and appreciation, rather than romantic passion, so it may or may not rub you the right way. For me, it felt just a tad too safe, although I totally got behind the final romantic gesture. Yum. 6/10