Movies of the Week #25 (2022)

In the Loop (2009): Armando Iannucci achieved the perfect three-seasons-and-a-movie run with Malcolm Tucker & co. In the Loop takes the fundamentals that The Thick of It defined, twists some characters around and makes for, arguably, the most compelling political satire of this decade – nay, century! The writing is brilliantly sharp and made to work with the help of an equally brilliant cast – painfully funny and also plainly painful. Even if it’s set in the UK and US, the characters will be familiar to anyone with the slightest interest in politics and its often comical machinations. The movie’s success was rewarded with an extra season of TToI, as well as an American spin-off entitled Veep, which reaffirmed Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a serious point of reference for American comedy. So if this does tickle your fancy, you’re in luck – there’s a lot of quality TV to further explore. 9

La nuit des rois (2020): This Shakespearian prison drama set in Cote d’Ivoire takes unexpected fantastic proportions, in a surprisingly non-violet exploration of, I’d say, African history. There are many reasons why the African continent has suffered in the last couple of centuries, with clan-fighting/infighting and massive corruption just a couple of them. La nuit des rois finds the relation between these brutalities, traditions, superstitions and the struggle for survival, making for a distinctive movie that might not appeal to everyone. 7

I Served the King of England (2006): This Czech/Slovakian movie is an unusual tale about a man looking back upon his life and all that he’s done to survive through the difficult times that defined Europe in the middle of the 20th century. It feels distinctly like a man’s world, the world of ambition, sexual gratification and war, but seen from the perspective of a (lowly) restaurant worker. It provides an intriguing clash of values and culture, without judgement, in a story that doesn’t hit quite as hard as it could, but still proves worthwhile. 7

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022): Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormick make for two perfectly charming leads in this exploration of (good) sex. In a series of meetings confined by transactional circumstances, “Nancy” and “Leo” get to know each other, as Nancy, a retired Religious Education teacher (ugh, so on the nose), tries to find out what good sex feels like. It’s a fun and revelatory ride (when the writing is not forced), which even rewards the patient viewer with a steamy sex scene. 7

Spiderhead (2022): There’s always something vaguely fascinating about a proper Netflix mess. This movie feels like it was made because it had a couple of big stars attached (Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller) and Top Gun director Joseph Kosinski helming, but it just doesn’t work on many levels. Sure, the idea that the story pushes is intriguing, but it’s just not treated with enough discipline to make the most out of it, while treating the viewer like a complete idiot. If you can not be insulted, then maybe you’ll get more out of this than I did. 5