Movies of the Week #10 (2021)

Automated podcast here.

Nomadland (2020): Chloe Zhao’s The Rider was a revelation and I’m glad to write that Nomadland is an equally accomplished piece of filmmaking. Telling the story of people living on the periphery of what most of us consider society to be, often the tales of actual people, playing versions of themselves, it is an eye-opening portrayal of existential diversity. Add to that the fact that Frances McDormand makes you feel like you’ve got your finger on the pulse of this movie, as she delivers another exceptional performance, with her characteristic restraint. So, yes, a movie deserving of its universal acclaim. 9/10

Skate Kitchen (2018): One of those movies that were on my watch list for a while, Skate Kitchen proved a soulful coming-of-age story. Relying mostly on debutant actresses (and Jaden Smith), it tells of friendship, of passion, of love and of family. Oh, and skating as well. Girl-skaters somehow conjure up images of Avril Lavigne in my mind, but seeing less emo characters take up this passion of tears and bruises is refreshing. It’s not a surprising movie by any means, but it feels true in its predictability, comfortable and endearing – and in a classically escapist move, I’m almost inclined to explore the tv-series reboot starring the same cast, Betty. 7

The Mauritanian (2021): It already feels like a tale told and retold so many times – the abuses of the war against terror during the Bush jr. era. If it’s not about the debatable data used to invade Iraq, or about the collateral victims of the invasions, then it’s about Guantanamo. The Mauritatian is a case of the latter, telling of a suspect, M. Slahi, who was picked up back in the day for tentative connections to Bin Laden, only to end up in the infamous detention center and suffer abuses of all kinds. Unfortunately, in spite of the acting performances, particularly Tahar Rahim’s (although I did notice Jodie Foster got a dubious Golden Globe), Kevin Macdonald’s movie isn’t terribly exciting or revealing. 6

Love and Monsters (2020): The unusual case of a movie’s plot being succinctly summarized in its title, Love and Monsters provides exactly what the packaging says. While the concept is, erm, scientifically debatable, it all looks good and is even fun on occasion. What it lacks is sharper writing and a bit more wit to really stand out in the plethora of young adult survival fests. The less than subtle metaphor of action versus inaction has no weight in the overall scheme of things, ultimately leaving you with a light and slight movie-watching experience. 6

Eurotrip (2004): Sometimes you just miss the last ship, you know? Must have been the case with Eurotrip, which would probably have seemed considerably more amusing had I watched it at 17. As it stands now, there were very few chuckles to be had in the first hour, with the cameo appearance of Matt Damon and the classic song “Scotty doesn’t know” being the exception. Thankfully, samples of tastelessness aside, the last half hour of the movie takes some chances and proves funny in its ridicule. Even sexy, in a teenagery-horny-way. 5