Movies of the Week #16-17 (2022)

Les Olympiades, Paris 13e (2021): Jacques Audiard’s latest is three relationship stories that crisscross – sometimes to good effect, other times less convincingly. The movie has a very mellow, explorative vibe, in accordance with its lead characters, young people in search for love and contention. It may sound generic, but the details of each story renders it unique, relatable, and definitely easy to empathize with. I wasn’t completely taken by how everything comes together, but the movie still left me with a certain melancholy vibe, which is a sign of a couple of hours well spent at the cinema. 7

The Verdict (1982): With cameo appearances from Bruce Willis and Tobin Bell, Sidney Lumet’s The Verdict tells a convincing redemption story. Led by Paul Newman and co-starring James Mason and Charlotte Rampling (lots of name-dropping in this one), it frames a medical malpractice case that’s more of an indictment of the rich and powerful and the sharpest item in their toolbox – lawyers. The script is just a tad too safe to really stand out, but with so much starpower in front and behind the camera, The Verdict is all-around solid. 7

American Underdog (2021): The underdog recipe in American filmmaking provides one of the most reliable meals of emotional cinema food you can pick. AU tells Kurt Warner’s story, a Superbowl winning quarterback whose path to a professional career was filled with character-building setbacks. The story, while generic (pretty crazy that this can be said of a movie about an exceptional athlete), is satisfying, thanks to the solid performances of its leads, Zachary Levi and Anna Paquin. I don’t care for the NFL, but I’ll tolerate a little generic emotion-quencher regardless of the sport it features. 6

The Tinder Swindler (2022): The widely popular cautionary tale on the dangers of lending money to people you’ve barely gotten to know over Tinder is both traumatizing and underwhelming. Hearing the sad tale of three women who were tricked by a guy pretending to be rich, only to actually be running a ponzi scheme is a depressing experience, framed with tropes and lacking incisive depth. You get the gist of things rather quickly, too quickly for the almost two hour runtime TTS challenges you with, and are left with more questions than answers by the end. So many of the bigger questions about our desire to find a partner are brushed over to leave room for the jet-setting drama of an Israeli Harry Potter that it all feels like a missed opportunity in favour of a frill, if occasionally entertaining true-crime drama. 6

The Adam Project (2022): Another product from the creative labs over at Netflix tries to milk the Ryan Reynolds brand for a time-travelling sci-fi with nostalgic tendencies. I’ve never been a big fan of director Shawn Levy’s films (Night of the Museum series, The Internship, Free Guy, etc.), which tend to be functional, but flawed in some fundamental way. They have an assembly line feeling, if that makes any sense. Same thing here and the movie never managed to excite me or move me, in spite of boasting an impressive cast. 5