Movies of the Week #23 #24 (2020)

The Sweet Hereafter (1997): Reading about Ian Holm’s passing instantly brought me back to one of my favourite films, Atom Egoyan’s Sweet Hereafter. With a powerful performance from Holm and an eerie score from Mychael Danna, The Sweet Hereafter is a cinematic testament to the anatomy of grief and loss. Adapted from Rusell Banks’s book, it tells many stories wrapped into one, dissecting our (in)ability to process the unfathomable and our constant struggle for purpose and redemption. Egoyan finds anguish, despair and the hope of the resolute in a movie that defies its emotional themes, rising above them to recite a timeless elegy to our humanity. 10/10

Return of the Living Dead (1985): Is this the movie that set me on the track of B-horror aficionado? It definitely is the one that gave me years of trauma and made me contemplate the distance to the nearest cemetery every single night. Since those fateful childhood days, I thoroughly enjoy watching Dan O’Bannon’s parody of sorts, a movie about zombies that feasts on tropes and has a lot of fun with it. Above all, it’s a movie that holds up well in spite of its age and some cheesy effects, chock full of iconic moments to take away from it. 8/10

The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019): I was more than a bit surprised to find out this adaptation of Dickens’ novel was co-written by Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell, of Death of Stalin and In The Loop fame. It’s not the same kind of satire, but they do deliver a compact, amusing and thoroughly entertaining rendition of one of the books that scarred my youth. The feisty Dev Patel is great to watch and the solid cast is one of the reasons why this David Copperfield is quite…magical. 8/10

VFW (2019): In a solid B-movie tale on the worth of camaraderie, a bunch of old-school veterans take on some crazed junkies and their overlord dealer. For VFW’s veteran characters, the movie is a sweet farewell song, as they find a ride out of their lives that reminds them of their better, younger days. I enjoyed the nostalgia trip, peppered with the odd moment of brutal, visceral violence, thanks to the solid cast director Joe Begos assembled, as well as some striking visuals. It’s just a flick with mojo, you know? 7/10

The Head Hunter (2018): So you like minimalistic movies, with less than 100 lines of dialogue, executed to great effect? Say no more, because The Head Hunter is here to soothe your cravings. It’s one of those rare genre treats that focuses on visual storytelling, as we follow a grieving father, professional monster hunter, looking to avenge his daughter’s death. With a few key set pieces and a real moody groove, director Jordan Downey makes the most out a simple concept. 7/10