Movies of the Week #25 (2021)

The Kid Detective (2020): It’s hard not to relate with the ageing kid detective of yesteryear, the embodiment of endless potential turned into a husk of a human being. Director/writer Evan Morgan takes a simple idea that could easily have turned into something ridiculous and miraculously keeps finding the perfect nuance to allow the realness of its lead to shine. It is part of the irony that the movie has a 41 year old, play a 32 year old, in Adam Brody, an actor who had his potential-filled glory days in the early-mid 00s. To be fair, he is doing fine for himself and has seemingly cornered the “seemingly good guy, but actually a monster” stereotype, but it’s easy to get the vibe of someone not progressing through life. There are a bunch of little details that show how much attention has gone into making TKD and Brody’s existentially despairing Abe makes perfect sense in a world where public perception can turn on you at the flick of a tweet. 8

Shiva Baby (2020): “At a Jewish funeral service with her parents, a college student runs into her sugar daddy” – a succinct plot outline on IMDb that does not really do justice to what this movie is really about. Emma Seligman, who wrote and directed this feature, expanding on a short she created a few years ago, is only 26 years old, yet she show an exceptional ability of wielding rhythm and tone to foster a perfect sense of anxiety and existential dread. It’s a fierce ride, which turns a mundane event into a rollercoaster of emotions, revealing the rich inner life of Danielle (Rachel Sennott), the movie’s lead, rooted in the usual pressures that young twenty-somethings have to cope with – and some extra-ordinary ones. At 77 minutes, it’s a compact pill that proves an interesting swallow. 8

Godzilla (2014): I am going on a tour of the Zillas this week, which started by rewatching the 2014 reboot. The movie is thin in terms of plot, littered with cookie cutter characters that you couldn’t care less about, but it does two things right: establish the purpose of Godzilla and provide spectacular action sequences. Destruction and mayhem are the fortes of director Gareth Edwards, who manages to conjure a real sense of dread and terror. Certain scenes are almost beautiful at this – maybe because I’m quite a fan of crashing waves. So this is Zillla’s saving grace, in an otherwise bland retread. 6

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): After the invigorating, if narratively derivative 2014 Zilla, it took five years to muster a follow-up. There’s some continuity and characters are lugged around, but the movie only succeeds in proving there is definitely such a thing as too much of a good thing. The larger than life action and mayhem of its predecessor loses its lustre, while the backstory remains as unengaging as before – if not even worse, because a lot of time is dedicated to exploring some terrible characters. There was a moody darkness to the 2014 movie that this sequel fails to replicate and at 130 minutes runtime, it overstays its welcome. 4

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021): I gave the newest movie in the series a proper go, heading towards the recently reopened cinema and coughing up for an IMAX screen. The spectacle was agreeable, if a bit Alien vs. Predator-y, i.e. WWE style, while everything around it proved tedious. GvK has a very different feeling to the first movie, even if it succeeds in a similar way to be visually engaging, setting its protagonists up better than the unloved middle child of the franchise. 2014 Zilla is my favourite of the three, but this latest entry is just about fresh enough to enjoy. 6

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