Movies of the Week #45 (2020)

During the last few days, I eked beyond the mark of 3,500 movies watched. That’s over 6,000 hours, but still some way to go until I round out a full year’s worth of movie watching. So by the time my consciousness will be uploaded to the cloud at the ripe old age of 104, odds are I will have spent close to three full years of my life watching movies.

And you know what? I’m loving that thought!

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (2019): Not being a huge fan of the cinematic 40s, I had no concept of Hedy Lamarr before watching this documentary. The famed actress dabbled in the art of inventions, patented a piece of technology that influences our lives to this day and suffered the ignominy of being “less than” most of her life. While Alexandra Dean’s movie tries too hard for a redemption story, it would probably have served her better to embrace the tragedy of it all. It is in those moments where Bombshell hits the right notes, but it goes to far in trying to paint Lamarr as foremost a victim of her times, not her own life’s choices. I’m never endeared by such efforts. Thankfully, the documentary is strong enough to surpass these shortcomings, making for an informative and emotional viewing. 7/10

Good Posture (2019): This underrated debut picture from Dolly Wells is a bit raw at times, but it won me over thanks to its askew characters, not so unlike Kajillionaire’s in their inadaptation to life. Grace van Patten plays the spoiled, unambitious Lilian, who drifts aimlessly during her early 20s, waiting for her father to find time to connect with her. Moving in with esteemed author Julia (Emily Mortimer) stirs her and the two drive each other out of their states of lethargy. With some surprising guest stars, the likes of Zadie Smith, the movie provides an understated commentary on the power of taking charge of your life. 7/10

The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020): An endearing, if over the top, romcom surfaced recently, which is a debut feature for Gossip Girl alum Natalie Krinsky. Starring Geraldine Viswanathan and Dacre Montgomery, the movie follows the heart-broken Lucy, a young woman who has trouble letting go of her memories. You can expect the script to lay it on heavily, but it’s all perfectly in tune – so all that’s required is you liking the tune. Lucy is endearing in her happy-go-lucky kind of way and she’s more balanced than the movie wants you to believe. The twisting and turning towards the end are formula-driven, but all in all TBHG is a good diversion from the craziness the real world has to offer. 7/10

Kajillionaire (2020): I enjoyed Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) and The Future (2011), but Kajillionaire took some getting used to. It’s an unusual movie, concept focused, with awkward and unlikable characters, particularly in the its first half. Thankfully, the slow build turns into something personal and sensitive, a different kind of story of self discovery. Served very well by its excellent cast (Evan Rachel Wood particularly finds the right notes for a character that’s way out there), Kajillionaire ultimately makes sense and triggers feels, overcoming its own awkwardness. 7/10

School Ties (1992): In what plays out as an unofficial prequel to Good Will Hunting (1997), School Ties gives us a first taste of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck being all studious and hating on a minority – in this case, Brendan Fraser. While the movie suffers from a blunt tale of discrimination, is overly obsessed with honor and fails to explore some of the nuances it vaguely hints at, it’s still an enjoyable underdog story. Filled to the brim with actors we’ve come to know better in the past thirty years, seeing them together so early in their careers is fun in itself. 7/10