Movies of the Week #29 (2021)

No Sudden Move (2021): Soderbergh might not be at his ingenious best, but he’s still had his name on some inspired projects. NSM is an old-school crime/mob movie, with a solid script and an exceptional cast – Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, David Harbour or Amy Seimetz, to name just a few. What’s more, they do wonders with the material. You have to be rather focused on who’s who and who’s done what to whom and if you manage to keep track of everything, you’ll be rewarded with a surprising finale. Because for all of the to and fro, it takes a while to understand what the heck it is that everyone’s going crazy about – and that’s actually a lot of fun. 8

Stupeur et tremblements (2003): Based on a very popular book written by Amélie Nothomb in the late 90s, this French movie is a blunt portrayal of the culture clash a young Amélie encounters upon working in Japan. It must have all seemed fascinating twenty years ago, because quite a bit of it retains a sense of wonder and stupefaction. I would almost say it’s culturally insensitive, but for the most part it feels like an honest portrayal of what the workplace dynamics will have seemed like to Amelie. Amusing and jarring, the movie stands out as something particular, bordering on bizarre. 7

La gomera (2019): Corneliu Porumboiu followed up Fotbal Infinit with a very different kind of movie – one that’s been branded as “Coen-esque”, probably because there’s some mix of crime and comedy. I didn’t find it to be an accurate branding, with more crime than comedy in it and less sophisticated dialogues. Starring Vlad Ivanov and Catrinel Marlon, it tells of a corrupt detective, embroiled in the European criminal underworld. Porumboiu is a bit flashy in putting together the moive a-chronologically, but as the parts come together, so does a solid, if unspectacular story of love and money. 7

Nobody (2021): A visceral movie that works well thanks to Bob Odenkirk, Nobody tells of a father who seems like a real bore – shuffling through a mind-numbing routine, distant from his wife, disappointing to his son. This all comes even more to the fore after a robbery at their home, during which he simply lets the robbers leave without putting up any sort of opposition. But, guess what, the guy’s not at all what he seems like – and the whole thing quickly descends in a series of brutal showdowns you would expect from someone who has as much pent up frustration. It’s perfectly fun and unexpectedly wholesome (if you look beyond said blood and gore), making for a good Sunday afternoon movie. 7

Plan B (2021): This is a road trip movie with teenage girls and it somehow seems like the main adventure all teenage girls have is getting an abortion. Whereas guys will be doing the craziest, most irresponsible and probably completely sexist things imaginable, i.e. teenage things – or at least „were doing”, because this genre has become untenable. Thankfully, Plan B somehow meshes the two and survives irrelevance thanks to its excellent leads (in their mid-twenties) and finding earnestness when it matters. To be fair though, it’s not like I was the target audience. 6

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