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Movie Reviews: 4/18/2022 to 4/24/2022

Movies reviewed this week: Take Me Somewhere Nice, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Closely Watched Trains, The Batman, Election, …And God Created Woman, and The Northman.

4/18/2022: Take Me Somewhere Nice (2019): ***1/2

Striking aesthetic, almost an Instagram story in aspect ratio and subject. Strong lead performance. Fascinating journey through an Eastern European homeland that the protagonist wasn’t ever from; I appreciated the exploration of, as her cousin says, patriotism vs. nationalism.

4/21/2022: Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959): *****

Criterion Challenge 2022
Progress: 17/52
Prompt: Watch a movie from Isabel Sandoval’s Top 10

Shattering.

At times, when building my challenge list, I used it as a way to drive myself to see classics. This was one of those. So far none of them have disappointed; in the end, the movies that everyone says are great… are great.

I can’t say anything new here. It’s an interwoven commentary on love, memory, tragedy, and death. Also a movie about movies, in part; given the history of the movie (originally a documentary about the bombing of Hiroshima, but Renais couldn’t make it work), the scenes in which Elle is discussing her movie must be seen as commentary on the movie we’re watching.

Remarkable editing, remarkable use of the medium. I’ve never seen anything like that first extended sequence.

4/22/2022: Closely Watched Trains (1966): ***

I think the natural charm can’t overcome the underdeveloped women characters for this viewer, but I did enjoy the bone-dry humor and anti-authoritarian cynicism.

4/23/2022: The Batman (2022): ***

Technically fulfilling but I kept imagining the same movie without the Batman mythos and I think it would have been better.

4/23/2022: Election (2005): ****1/2

What a finely tuned political movie! This is a total masterclass in producing tension with a minimum of violence and bombast, plus the soundtrack is really good. The juxtaposition of the ceremonial initiation followed by that final scene is a really tasty deconstruction of tradition.

4/24/2022: …And God Created Woman (1956): **1/2

Criterion Challenge 2022
Progress: 18/52
Prompt: Watch a movie from Ana Lily Amirpour’s Top 10

Well, I haven’t seen any Vadim movies except a dimly remembered Barbarella at a Boston SF con at like 2 AM, and I’d seen most of the other ones on Amirpour’s list, so…

No regrets, actually. It’s a beautiful movie even if it doesn’t have much of worth to say, and I feel like I’ve got a handle on both Vadim and Bardot now. I wouldn’t call the ending optimistic, but I do appreciate that Vadim didn’t take the obvious path.

4/24/2022: The Northman (2022): ***1/2

Adored this but I did want more grim psychedelia. It’s not a plot driven movie, it’s a journey driven movie, and I wanted to feel that journey in my gut. Which, to be fair, I did some of the time.

Really cool seeing Eggers open and expand his visual sense. Iceland was amazing.

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