Movies of the Week #25 #26 (2020)

Babyteeth (2019): Shannon Murphy’s debut feature is a heartbreaking ride in the realm of lost youth and boundless exuberance. You never quite know where it’s going to go, taking a familiar template and reinterpreting it. Milla (Eliza Scanlen) falling in love with a clueless drug dealer, aptly named Moses (Toby Wallace), is the least of her parents’ (Essie Davis, Ben Mendelsohn) worries, which makes for an invigorating dynamic. At every point where it begins to let on what it’s about, there’s a twist, usually not narrative, but in how the characters interpret reality. A well balanced ending will leave you with hope and melancholy, the most you could have hoped for going into this. 8/10

The King of Staten Island (2020): Pete Davidson’s semi-autobiographical movie, directed by Judd Apatow, is warm, angry, fuzzy, entitled, complicated, like the new world that’s opening behind us 30 somethings. It’s not groundbreaking stuff, all the drama and turmoil of a broken home, but it is delivered to good effect by both those behind the camera and those in front of it. Don’t expect a lot of stuff to happen, because TKoSI is about the existential journey towards a better self, it’s about the life and the choices that begin within us. Thankfully, it’s also amusing. 7/10

Z for Zacharia (2015): The slow burning, ponderous and minimalist sci-fi starring three big leads (Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pine) might test your patience and underdeliver, but it’s a piece of film-making that won’t leave you indifferent. We’re in a postapocalyptic world that we know little about, beyond the fact that most people are dead and everything’s radioactive. Everything bar Ann’s childhood home and the its surroundings, where John Loomis stumbles into and rather quickly begins contemplating how to repopulate earth with his teenage host (hard sell for Robbie, but she sells it). It’s not as vile as it could be, Z for Z’s restraint being one of its finer features. As I’ve said, it won’t rock your world, but at 2 AM it’ll just give you food for thought and forlorn dreams. 7/10

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020): If you’re looking for an utterly forgettable, feel-good Eurovision replacement for this year, The Story of Fire Saga might just do the trick. It’s silly as hell, but amusingly so for the most part, with over the top performances and a couple of inspired musical numbers. If this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then not even Rachel McAdams, Will Ferrell or a raunchy Dan Stevens will be able to get you into the mood. It’s a borderline positive rating, but let’s make it positive, for all those who remember I gave the same rating to The Joker. 6/10

Irresistible (2020): Jon Stewart’s movie on some of the issues of modern American politics is a serious disappointment. Its biggest fault, beyond being overly preachy and unexciting, is that it is frustratingly unlikable – both as a story and as far as its characters go. In spite of a great cast, there’s just no pay off in the end, just a lot of rhetoric that’s about as interesting as watching pain dry – even when it rings true. Which, I guess, is the problem of the political debate around the world and why we’re getting framed into submission by the media. So where does a satirical fairytale fit into this all? 5/10