Movies of the Week #26 (2021)

His House (2020): Most horrors movies have some kind of social theme to them, but the recent crop seems to be creating very convincing and hard-hitting allegories to the horrors of various social traumas. His House is about a refugee couple that is provided a home in the UK, but adapting to “normal life” and overcoming the human toll that allowed them to be in a position to reclaim their existence is a significant obstacle. An inspired execution from writer-director Remi Weeks makes for a movie that will quickly get under your skin, while also creating a sense of empathy for its troubled characters. 8

Undine (2020): Not quite as fascinating as Christian Petzold’s previous films (Transit, Phoenix, Barbara), Undine still shines through as a story about love and contrasts. It does exhibit the characteristics of a fairytale at times, as our leads temporarily escape the tentacles of our urban existence, diving and floating within murky waters. I know next to nothing about the source influences re: Undine, like the writings of Paracelsus, but in spite of some artificiality in its development, I found the movie to be satisfying – in particular because Paula Beer and Franz Rogowski are great to watch. 7

Robin’s Wish (2020): I had seen the previous Robin Williams documentary, which was a very polished HBO movie released in 2018. Robin’s Wish is narrower in scope, focusing on the revelation that the actor had been suffering from a degenerative brain disease, which was only diagnose after his death. This contextualizes his suicide and makes the realization of what he was going through even more heartbreaking. It feels like a small(ish) movie, but paints more of a picture of the life Robin Williams led in his last few years. 7

The Paper Tigers (2020): An old-school movie about a group of friends, once kung fu prodigies, now middle-aged and (mostly) out of shape, The Paper Tiger is endearing to watch, if not spectacular. Writer-director Quoc Bao Tran’s feature debut has the right sensitivity and finds a fair amount of levity to go with it. Three likable leads and entertainingly choregraphed fight scenes make it easy to recommend TPT. 7

The Amusement Park (1973): A long un-released movie by George Romero, The Amusement Park was ordered by the Lutheran Service Society of Western Pennsylvania and meant to be an educational film about elder abuse. Unsurprisingly, it was not quite what they expected, but it must have been just about what one could imagine coming from the director of Night of the Living Dead. Dark, scathing and very uncomfortable, Romero’s Amusement Park is a worthy rediscovery, as the movie only resurfaced a few years ago. And as a piece of trivia, Lincoln Maazel, who introduces the material, lived to the very ripe age of 106. 7

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