Movies of the Week #18 (2022)

Petrovy v grippe (2021): If the source material was an American novel, the first thing they’d say is that it’s “unfilmable”. Well, Kirill Serebrennikov has put together an unusual film, that only wavers due to its length, but ultimately comes together into a memorable cinematic experience. It’s rare to come across these beautiful beasts, where someone’s vision and ambition strives so unashamedly towards the exceptional, that even if it only comes close, it’s still mighty satisfying. Hard to put into a micro-review what Petrov is about, but it’s a throwback to the “fonder” days of post-communist Russia, a frustrating mess born with ill-fated dreams of a different life. Should be experienced. 8

Bull Durham (1988): A classic sports movie, in no small part due to its impressive roster of actors (Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins), Bull Durham is a charming little thing. Robbins’ and Sarandon’s real life relationship started after this movie, so it’s funny to see it go the other way around here. If you’re into baseball, there might be more to BD than meets the eye, but having acquired all my baseball knowledge watching movies, it didn’t really feel like I was missing out on much. So a quaint, little story is to be had. 7

The Northman (2022): One of the highly anticipated movies of the season, The Northman proves high on style, but mundane on story. It’s got plenty of blood and visceral violence, as well as scenes with great intensity, in particular thanks to Alexander Skarsgard’s intimidating physicality – so there are definitely some things working in its favour. But in the end, The Northman doesn’t excite, it doesn’t tease the imagination, portraying yet another crazy man being all manly, regardless of the consequencesm making for less of an experience than what was expected. 7

As They Made Us (2022): Mayim Bialik of Big Bang Theory makes her feature film directorial debut with As They Made Us, an uneven movie with uneven characters, that somehow works thanks to a few key scenes. Dianna Agron plays Abigail, who has to take care of her ageing parents and cope with being a single mother, in a complicated familial situation. The movie succeeds in creating a perspective-driven insight into the genesis of the family’s problems, those which led to Abigail’s brother Nathan shutting himself off from his parents. All in all, it works well enough, but do yourself a favour and don’t trust the tagline (“If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry”), which is an untrue monstrosity of a platitude – you definitely won’t do the former and probably won’t to do latter either. 6

Copshop (2021): Director Joe Carnahan had some decent credentials going into this one, so it’s no surprise that parts of Copshop make for an entertaining movie. In particular, the first half of the story, the build-up shall we say, is taut and exciting, but the twists and turns of the second half and, in particular, the finale were a disappointment. You’re left with a movie featuring two (former?) A-listers in Frank Grillo and Gerald Butler, but it’s Alexis Louder who proves the be the most captivating presence on screen. Alas, not quite enough to justify the slackness at the end. 5

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