Movies of the Week #3 (2021)

See You Yesterday (2019): We’re back in the Bronx, this time with a time-travel story that proves considerably more impactful than last week’s vampire saga. In a way it’s funny, because there are a lot of similarities between the movies – pop reinterpretations of popular concepts, starring teens from US minorities, using the fantasy/sci-fi stories as springboards for social commentary – yet one was tame and strictly oriented at a young cinema audience, while the other took some real chances, if a bit unsure as to the overall tone of its story. Needless to say, the darker movie is the more interesting one, even if you’ll just have to roll your eyes at some of its science-y moments. A strong entry in the very busy BLM themed cinemaverse. 7/10

Another Earth (2011): Mike Cahill and Britt Marling wrote the script for Another Earth, with the former directing and the latter playing the lead. While an interesting movie conceptually, the inexperience behind the camera is felt at times and the final result lacks sharpness. I was bothered by an awkward, unlikely drama being the focus of the story with the bigger questions (i.e. the sci-fi elements) as backdrop and would have wanted it to be the other way around. Alas, it is what it is, a rare movie that gives you the sense that it could do with a book treatment. 6/10

The Judge (2014): It’s a shame that this star-studded flick goes haywire in the final act, undermining the gripping set-up and story it established. Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Vera Farmiga are just some of the familiar and talented faces you’ll encounter in David Dobkin’s movie. Unfortunately, most of them end up having too little screen time to shine, while other inhabit generic characters. That being said, The Judge proved interesting and would have still warranted a firm recommendation, were it not for an over-the-top, melodramatic and corny last half-hour. Alas, it is what it is, not the harshly criticized movie you might have heard of, but neither the family opus it aspires to be. 6/10

Banana Split (2018): The best thing about Banana Split is, ultimately, its title. Two teenage girls work up a budding friendship, with the minor issue that one is dating the other’s ex. Hannah Marks (who also co-wrote) and Liana Liberato play the lead duo and they have good chemistry. There are (marginally) more important things at stake than just sharing a boyfriend in high-school, which is what the movie successfully plays to. While I may not be part of the target audience, I could still appreciate the moments of levity it provided, making for an ok-watch in the end. 6/10

Midnight Sky (2020): George Clooney struggles to keep this one afloat – both in front of the camera and behind it. As far as post-apocalyptic movies go, Midnight Sky starts off well, while obscuring the causes leading to mass extinction on earth. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much with the premise, or at least nothing particularly noteworthy, trudging along for almost two hours. The absurd twist towards the end managed to further irk me, but I won’t hold that against it – it’s the tediousness that got to me. 5/10

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