Movies of the Week #30-32 (2021)

Pig (2021): I was under the false impression that Pig would be a John Wickian affair. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of that, even though a cherished animal is stolen by some nefarious people at the start of the movie. Starring Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff and Adam Arkin, it’s a movie about connection and coping with loss, beautifully shot to little fanfare. Discovering who our titular character Rob was is part of this surprising journey, that lets us marvel in most of the people it lays out in front of us. The hype is real, yo. 8

Cargo (2017): Another entry in the pantheon of zombie movies, Cargo takes a simple premise and makes the most out of it. It’s unfortunate that the whole story depends on some imbecilic decisions by the leads, but I guess you’d have to be used with such behaviour by now if you watch zombie dramas. Beyond this, Martin Freeman proves an excellent lead and the aboriginal backdrop provides a fresh(ish) twist to this reinterpretation of The Road (2009). Add to that some smooth cinematography and Cargo amounts to a satisfying addition to the genre. 7

Dream Horse (2020): I’ve generally enjoyed uplifting movies about champion-horses, of which there are way more than there should be. Dream Horse fits the bill to a T, retelling the fairytale rise to fame of Dream Alliance, a horse born on an allotment in Wales that went on to win big on the national stage. The story, naturally, is more about the sense of purpose this horse bestows on its 30-ish working class owners. It almost tricked me into an epiphanic state, but it’s just too honed for its own good to do exactly that. Put together in a manner to just pushes the narrative ahead, it’s just likable enough with the odd moment of exhilaration. 6

Dancer (2016): Ballet/dancing is not my forte, although I do remember watching ice dancing at some point and enjoying the physicality of it all. Sergei Polunin, the subject of “Dancer”, is a world (in)famous dancer, a ballet prodigy who by the age of 23 had had enough of the dancing life. The documentary isn’t willing to probe too deeply into the whys, focusing mostly on Sergei’s broken family – and doing so without much panache. Thankfully, Sergei’s artistry is easy on the eye, even mesmerizing, which makes up for his unfocused waywardness. The biggest question our protagonist seems to have is how to stay engaged with his job, which, for a top performer, is mysterious and frustrating. I just wish there was more to it, particularly seeing how much talk there’s been recently of mental wellness for athletes – as well as something there to show us a path from teen Polunin to Putin-tattooed-on-his-chest-Polunin. 6

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe (2021): Per chance, I ended up going to a cool little cinema that happened to be showing the latest G.I. Joe. My gut feeling is that I’ve seen at least the first movie in the series, but, alas, I have not rated it, so who knows? I doubt it matters. Snake Eyes is, as you would expect, light on plot and characters, ripe with action tropes, and somehow just entertaining enough to not be a complete throwaway. That’s thanks to some slick action scenes, a good score and a solid lead in Henry Golding. 5

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