Movies of the Week #9 (2020)

Emma. (2020): You know me by now, I’m a sucker for Jane Austen. Emma was the gap in my Austen cinematic resume, and thankfully I’ve waited until this latest re-imagining to enjoy it. It’s not the bravest adaptation you’ve ever seen, but it does everything exceptionally well. The lush visuals complement a strong cast, led by Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn, whose appeal and rapport make for a highly enjoyable popcorn feature. Emma is a captivating character, whose shortcomings are the result of her youthful folly, perhaps out of pride, but most certainly not malice, and Taylor-Joy does her justice with a measured performance. So yes, do indulge! 8/10

Untouchable (2019): And just so I balance out the pure romanticism, Emma was followed by the Harvey Weinstein documentary. It’s not a great piece of filmmaking, but the stories of abuse and terror that several victims provide hit hard. Weinstein appears to have been a criminally disfunctional individual, and while we do not get a lot of insight into the matter, the docu tries to balance his abuses with the “genius” that allowed him to garner of position from which to easily abuse. It’s a shame though that the movie works almost exclusively as a platform offering a voice to the victims, without digging deeper in what has since proven to be a systemic malaise plaguing the movie business. 7/10

Top End Wedding (2019): A slight Australian romantic comedy, TEW is just about sweet enough to be enjoyable. The relationship between its leads is strong and the movie manages to frame the usual wedding jitters in a personal story that actually makes sense. I find it fascinating to see how Australian cinema is often themed around the the aboriginal ancestry, an apparent sore point that the country is trying to readapt to, culturally and emotionally. This helps TEW to stand apart and covers for the more familiar tropes of the genre. 6/10

The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004): A study on the role of film editing, the documentary features thoughts from some big Hollywood names, like Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg or James Cameron, among others. But the meat of the film is brought by several film editors, e.g. three time Academy Award winner Walter Murch, or one time winner Zach Staenberg. It’s a wide treatment of the subject, that would perhaps be better served with a more detailed analysis looking at one particular movie, because the relationship between director and editor is intimate and complex. The Cutting Edge does offer a good idea of how film editing comes about, but it never fascinates. 7/10

Guns Akimbo (2019): If you’re looking for a discount Edgar Wright movie, look no further. GA is an over the top, hyperactive, gorey action romp, that recycles a bunch of ideas and visuals to produce a somewhat entertaining, if not altogether memorable movie. The plot: poor, grumpy Miles (Harry Potter, aka Dan Radcliffe) is forced to join a fight to the death after he behaves like an angry troll online. So that’s that. Unfortunately, the movie is campy to a fault and in spite of the odd amusing comment and its electric pace, director/writer Jason Lei Howden betrays his background as a visual effects artist, with a lack of narrative originality. If you look favorably upon the genre, as I do, GA will tickle your fancy, but not quite in the right spots. 6/10

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