Movies of the Week #5 (2021)

The Dig (2020): A good period piece is always enjoyable and, for the most part, The Dig is just that. Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan are fascinating to watch in the interbelic story of one of Britain’s greatest archeological finds and while the movie focuses on them and their intrepid exploration, it’s engrossing. Unfortunately, about halfway through the focus shifts to a less than exciting (failed) romance, featuring Lily James and Johnny Flynn. It’s not due to the actors, though, but due to the thin plot that pushes them together, with the WW2 backdrop providing the better engagement during the second half of the movie. Still, an above-average turn. 7/10

Cinderella (2015): The slick Disney treatment is so memorable, that it completely slipped my mind that I had seen this movie. Familiar scenes were treated as if I’d seen them in some featurette and, of course, knowing the story from my childhood didn’t help much in setting this adaptation apart. So yes, while entertaining and starring some big names, there’s just not a lot of magic in this modern Cinderella. Hard to feel anything for one-note characters and there’s a bunch of ’em here, while even the fair maiden herself is not exactly what I’d call riveting. Alas, maybe I’ve just outgrown the fairytales of old and I much prefer seeing the travails of Sin-Dee Rella. 6/10

Penguin Bloom (2020): A depressing story bordering on the melodramatic is elevated by strong performances from Naomi Watts and Andrew Lincoln, to make for an acceptable viewing. Sam Bloom, mother of three, suffers an accident while on vacation and becomes paralyzed at the waist, throwing her into the depths of despair. An injured magpie, brought in by one of the kids, proves to be the catalyst to her recovery. And that’s about it, because while there are moments when the movie is indeed touching, there are more when it’s heavy-handed, leaving for a lukewarm feeling by the end. 6/10

Hardcore Henry (2015): While probably as close as you’re going to get to a positive first-person-movie experience, Hardcore Henry is still an…acquired taste. If you’re a gamer, you’ll appreciate the viscerality of some of the scenes, the sense of progression along a set game path, making for a comfortably familiar watch. If you’re not, the hectic camerawork will prove hard to bear, as will the paper-thin story and characters. So it’s probably one of those love/hate situation. I, of course, am in the middle, leaning towards my gamer side, and appreciative of a better FPS showing than Doom’s. 6/10

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004): Having barely enjoyed the first Bridget Jones, I initially skipped this one completely, before indulging in the third (and best) of the series. Years after the fact, Netflix enticed me to revisit the missing link and I (regretfully) did so. Bridget Jones is not a likable character and in The Edge of Reason even my feminist taste buds were irked. Of course, the movie’s greatest sins are that it’s never funny or endearing, in spite of the impressive cast at its disposal. 4/10