Movies of the Weeks #36 #37 (2019)

Le grand bain (2019): There’s something endearing about a bunch of middle-aged men solving their mid-life-crises by forming a synchronized swimming team. The strong cast, starring familiar faces like Mathieu Amalric and Guillaume Canet, keeps the whole thing afloat, even in its drearier moments, as the movie sloppily spans over two hours. Its tone is not perfectly adjusted, with scenes worthy of sketch comedy, while others could well stem from traumatizing dramas, but overall the good intentions and positive vibes shine through. 7/10

Slice (2018): I went in expecting nothing of this 4.5 rated flick on IMDb and was pleasantly surprised by it. In a world of ghosts and werewolves, where no pizza boy (or girl) is safe, there’s social uproar to find the murdering slicer. Silly, yet played with a mostly straight face, the movie is a fresh enough allegory of prejudice that looks good and finds a balance between the ridiculous and the bizarre. I get it why some people have an aversion for this kind of story, unwilling to tolerate the serious treatment of a silly premise, but if you’re an open-minded geek, this can be worth your time. 6/10

Sense & Sensibility (2008): Following up Ang Lee’s 1995 adaptation of the Jane Austen novel seems like a daunting task. The 2008 take on the story tries to be structurally different, by proposing a mini-series, which is a mere half hour longer than the aforementioned movie. It works well, however, in terms of pacing. While without the likes of Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, this mini-series is not lacking in heavy hitters, such as Dan Stevens, David Morrissey and Dominic Cooper. I wasn’t fully taken in by Marianne and Elinor Dashwood’s characters, with Charity Wakefield’s interpretation of the former particularly tame. Yet, they all grow on you, the way only an episodic tale can allow its characters to really grow, so I would judge this adaptation a success, if not quite the remarkable achievement of more than twenty years ago. 7/10

Good Boys (2019): From the producing mind of Seth Rogen comes a movie about three tweenage friends whose bond is under the usual social pressures of 6th grade conformity. They end up doing some crazy stuff, handle drugs, shoot guns, everything you would expect from Rogen, but what carries the movie is the underlying innocence that doesn’t come across as trite – at times. It’s worth a few laughs, but never hits the highs of preposterousness that I’d have liked. 6/10

The Dead Don’t Die (2019): Coming from Jim Jarmusch, this zombie apocalypse is a serious let down. In spite of its stellar cast (Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton) and some familiar Jarmusch side-characters (Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi, RZA), the movie never takes off and never feels fresh. Some of its ideas have merit and the introspective, slow-paced approach to the zombie kerfuffle definitely had some potential, but in the end I got the distinct feeling that it’s the kind of ironic/meta zombie movie someone would do, if they hadn’t seen that many zombie movies of the last decade or so. 5/10