Movies of the Week #50 (2022)

Plus que jamais (2022): If you’re up for heartbreak, then why not watch this beautiful and crushing tale of love and tragedy? Emily Atef might be showing European restraint, but adding the real life death of co-lead Gaspard Ulliel in a skiing accident at the beginning of this year really gives it an extra layer of crush. All these things aside, More Than Ever is a touching and captivating slow burner, led by the ever impressive Vicky Krieps, about facing death and redefining life. Its beautiful shots should leave some kind of mark on your soul, if nothing else reaches you. 8

She Said (2022): It sure feels very “fresh” a theme to tackle, the fall of Harvey Weinstein. Then again, it’s already been a few years and SS takes on a niche focus – the journalistic process. This means that the movie is mostly about talking to sources/victims, getting their trust, ensuring the integrity of the process, in order to bring the truth to light. With a solid leading duo in Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan, director Maria Schrader somehow manages to wring a modicum of tension out of a rather dry series of events. It’s not the most subtle of movies, highly emphasizing the (objectively) spectacular feat of conducting this complicated piece of investigative reporting while balancing demanding family lives, but that’s also about as far as it all goes in glorifying the leads. While not nearly as spectacular or hard hitting as Spotlight, SS does bring some context to a truly sordid tale. 7

Pearl (2022): It’s rare to get sequels/prequels in quickfire succession like this, but that is the case with Pearl and X. Ti West maintains the captivating visuals that set the first movie apart, while producing a more focused origin story, that allows Mia Goth to fully explore the titular character. It felt like an better movie overall, even if it adheres closer to formula, thanks to its build-up and Goth’s performance. 7

An American in Paris (1951): Upon the conclusion of this Best Picture winning movie, I was pretty much convinced it would be on a list of “top ten worst films to have won an Academy Award for Best Picture”. Surprisingly, it isn’t, but there seems to be a consensus that it shouldn’t have won the big prize (A Streetcart Named Desire released in the same year). AAiP sure feels dated, a product of its time, and it suffers as far as structure and plot go. Thankfully, it has some clever visual moments and enjoyable songs, but a lot of the good will it builds up is wasted on a twenty minute dance number at the end of the movie – doubled with a joyless happy ending tagged on as per expectation. 6

About Last Night… (1986): I’ve never been a big fan of Edward Zwick, ever since he insulted my sensibilities with The Last Samurai. Yet, here I am, watching this little romcom (thanks to a post from Thanks For Calling), based on a David Mamet play and starring youngies Demi Moore and Rob Lowe. By today’s standards, this is a very tame exploration of relationships, in spite of some steamy love-making, yet it kind of works thanks to its likable leads – not so sure about the supporting characters though, who make for a lot of cringe, especially Jim Belushi’s Bernie. Zwick makes montages do the heavy lifting, aided musically by an energetic soundtrack. So while not something special, I guess you can watch it, though I’d probably suggest the 2014 iteration to begin with. 6