Movies of the Week #23 (2021)

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Little Fish (2020): A sci-fi romance is usually a tasty treat and Little Fish is no exception. Starring Olivia Cooke and Jack O’Connell, it’s set in a world where a virus destroys people’s memories and their love story is a bit of a tragic mess. Playing around with the timeline, Tomlin’s adaptation of Aja Gabel’s short story is engaging and layered, just the way you’d expect it to be. Good chemistry and poignant moments make Little Fish memorable, but it also tries at times too hard to be clever and doesn’t take any big chances, which I did not appreciate. 7

Wrath of Man (2021): Guy Ritchie is at it again, with an unusually un-guy-ritchie-esque heist/revenge movie. It’s all down to the nitty-gritty, lacking the familiar flair Ritchie’s characters are usually hardwired with – which, to me, is a relief. I really enjoyed some of his earlier movies, but it’s been hit and miss since Snatch. Jason Statham is a compelling lead with a strong supporting cast alongside, but there are too many characters to give everyone the development they’d have needed. Thankfully, the action is exciting and the movie flows, making for a satisfyingly blunt genre piece. 7

The Dry (2020): A fairly slow burning, but engaging movie set in the Australian outback (or thereabouts), The Dry is a crime/mystery drama starring Eric Bana. It ties a present day murder-suicide with a suicide from way back in a small community that’s still reeling in the tragedy of it all. While themes cross over well, not both plots have the same heft or the same payout, which is where Robert Connelly’s movie falls a bit short. That being said, it looks great and captures some standout moments, including an inspired rendition of Under the Milky Way – which I’ve listed to incessantly in the last week. 7

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021): I didn’t much like the original JL cut (like any reasonable living, breathing bipedal being), complaining at the time of how poorly characters were introduced and the unimaginative villain. Thanks to ZSJL’s four hour runtime, everyone gets more of an intro now and there’s also more to Steppenwolf than was originally there. It’s actually quite impressive that you don’t feel the hours going by, with enough (light) action there to keep it all coming along smoothly. That being said, JL still resembles a rehashed Avengers movie, more than a remarkable parallel universe. It’s one of the limitations due to the plethora of superhero tales we’ve familiarized ourselves with, this lack of distinctiveness. So while a step up from the original cut, sadly not something I can rave about, in spite of my sympathies towards the bat and the super. 6

The Mermaid (2016): If you’re up for a bit of strange, Stephen Chow’s Mermaid is a valid option. Definitely not as well rounded or amusing as Shaolin Soccer (2001) or Kung Fu Hustle (2004), this “eco” comedy still finds some moments of fun in a sea of the bizarre. The humor has a particular flavour, of the physical kind, which is a bit hit and miss – and a matter of having taste buds for this thing. Its determination to play this mermaid-scenario fairly straight, however, makes it an almost worthwhile curiosity – with a message, if you will. 6