Movies of the Week #33-34 (2022)

Herr Lehmann (2003): I’d have probably loved HL if I’d seen it on release – a movie set just before the fall of the Berlin wall, led by a young bloke with no aspirations, but a love thorn to spur him on. With a set of interesting characters, including a small part for pre-fame Christoph Waltz, HL recreates a world that’s ripe for romantic aspirations. Sometimes it doesn’t go about things effectively though, losing tempo and proving inconsistent, which is why I can’t love it as I once might have. But Lehmann remains a quaint story that you can let yourself sink into. 7

The Dresser (2015): Having Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins together in any movie is something that I’d expect to get a lot of hype. Yet, The Dresser flew under the radar, probably because it’s an adaptation of a play and a reinterpretation of the 1983 original. Hopkins plays an aging, unpredictable actor, while McKellen is his dresser/confidant, in a tense, unpleasant, but captivating set-up. As expected, seeing the cast play it all out is a joy to behold, even if the movie never asserts itself as a truly memorable piece of filmmaking, treading familiar terrain and topics. 7

Spin Me Round (2022): If you’re up for an unusual movie, this one should be right up your alley. A corporate trip to lush old Italy for the managers of a few chain restaurants proves to be mysterious and unpredictable. Alison Brie is a reliable lead, as always, and her character provides the seriousness that grounds a cast of awkward misfits. While the movie fails to click perfectly, it’s still an intriguing experience with an unexpected pay-off. 7

Bullet Train (2022): I had some hopes for BT after the inspired trailer that I’d seen more times than I can count over many months of aggressive marketing. Naturally, that meant it would be a bit of a letdown, but it’s not enough of one to stop you from having a good time. A fun cast ensures that even when jokes fall flat or feel rehashed, you’ll look past it, but there’s just too much self-aware coolness to make for a really cool movie. Plentiful action, a contrived plot, ludicrous set-pieces all add up to a certain kind of cinematic flexing, which doesn’t sit really well with pretentious snobs like me. 6

Beast (2022): There’s something just so off-putting about stupid, bratty teenagers used to make things happen in movies. Why is it so hard to just stay in the car? #oldmanrant Anyhow, Beast still works well enough for a familiar, but well executed man versus beast scenario. It’s interesting to see a lead (Idris Elba) who is not a hero, but a guy in need of luck and grit to survive, which is what makes Beast a little more than just a face off against an angry Scar. 6