Movies of the Week #30-31 (2022)

Life of Brian (1979): Monty Python’s Life of Brian remains to this day one of the most memorable movies of its decade. Relying on the wit and charisma of its classic troupe of performers, the story is an inspired spoof about religion and politics that has stayed (mostly) fresh through the years. So in spite of a few dated scenes and references, there is still so much cleverness in LoB, so many iconic moments, that it is hard to not recommend. 8

Elvis (2022): The first half an hour of Baz Luhrman’s Elvis is electric – a fast-paced, exciting and engaging musical spectacle. Unfortunately, the movie tapers off after that, staying strong in its expression of Elvis’s music, but weak in the generic biographical bits. Impressive performances from Austin Butler and Tom Hanks will keep you hooked even through these moments, such that I can only say that the movie left me with a renewed appreciation for one of the greatest popular artists to have ever lived. 7

Pirates (2021): Reggie Yates makes his feature-length writer/director debut with a movie set in the most miraculous of cinematic years – 1999. It features three friends moving about London in an attempt to score tickets for “the big new year’s party”, while hashing out their own personal troubles. Everything is in tune here, starting with our three leading men, whose genuine performances make Pirates very relatable. It hasn’t received the love it deserves on IMDb, perhaps because it’s a bit challenging to follow, but trust me when I say that Yates shows great visual and musical flair in telling this story – and it deserves some of your time. 7

Jerry & Marge Go Large (2022): There’s not much to remember this quaint, little adaptation of a true story by. Thankfully, it’s not essential, because the feel good tale of Jerry and Marge is aptly brought to life by Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening, as the couple find a flaw in the lottery system and make a lot of money that’s reinvested in their community. The film does take some liberty with the facts, creating a conflict out of nothing between our protagonists and some really snooty ivy league dirtbags, which naturally resolves itself in a convenient fashion. Overall, a watchable affair. 6

The Gray Man (2022): If you want another perfectly generic Netflix movie after Spiderhead, go right ahead. TGM is of the action variety and stars some big names (Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Billy Bob Thornton, Ana de Armas among others) and it looks like at least some of these big names had fund shooting this. Others, though, appear to be miscast, with Regé-Jean Page making for the most tedious of villains. In addition, the plot and story are just obnoxiously daft, while the action never excels. This won’t leave you with much to enjoy if you have even the slightest expectations of TGM. 5