Movies of the Week #14-15

Les intranquilles (2021): Joachim Lafosse has put together a movie that’s not easy to endure – which is a compliment, in this case. Damien is an artist who lives together with his partner Leila and their young boy, Amin, a seemingly blissful family life. The problem – Damien is bipolar, suffering from overwhelming bouts of mania, followed by the lethargy of heavy medication. It’s fiercely uncomfortable to watch, thanks to the performances of Leila Bekhti and Damien Bonnard, and has such deep rooted compassion for its characters that it’s impossible to be left indifferent. There’s little lightness and not much hope for a reversal of fortunes in Les intranquilles, but Lafosse’s commitment to the film’s reality proves a winning formula. 8

Ambulance (2022): In one of the bigger twists of 2022, Michael Bay has directed a movie worth recommending. Sure, Ambulance isn’t perfect, for one it’s way too long and peaks too early, but I was enthralled and entertained by this over the top affair. A remake of a minor Danish movie, it stars a bunch of likable characters, led by Jake Gyllenhaal, who seems to be having a lot of fun with the performance. So I guess that’s the keyword here – fun. 7

The Last Boy Scout (1991): I’ve embarked on a bit of a Bruce Willis tour, after the very sad news about the actor’s diagnosis with aphasia. The Last Boy Scout is basically Bad Boys before BB, with Willis playing a downbeat ex Secret Service agent turned detective and Damon Wayans a former sports prodigy turned legally challenged citizen. They team up to sort a messy, over the top crime ring situation, with the usual Tony Scott flair and banking on the Willis charm. The movie doesn’t stand out, but it works for what it is, proving a pleasant diversion from the day-to-day traumas we’re coping with in this 2022. 6

Nightmare Alley (2021): I think I’m developing a problem with Del Toro’s style – it all looks swell, the stories are daring and complex, but just not engaging. Everything since Pacific Rim (I know, controversial opinion) has been underwhelming, a series of dark movies with supernatural tendencies that simply didn’t vibe with me. Nightmare Alley is more of the same, with a classic rags to riches story of unbound ambition that wraps up neatly in the best moral fashion. Although filled with A-listers who turn in solid performances, I find Del Toro might be better suited to cast lesser known actors, enhancing the mystery of his stories. As it stands, NA was not a memorable venture. 6

Moonshot (2022): In this rom-com set in space/Mars, Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor somehow managed to convince me to go beyond the absurdity of everything and enjoy the ride. There’s a bit of social commentary mixed into Moonshot to make it a bit more palatable, but ultimately it all comes down to opposites attracting and whatnot. Your typical no-brainer genre movie, stuffed with familiar themes, but also some zippy dialogue to keep it alive. 6