Press "Enter" to skip to content

Movie Reviews: 10/31/2022 to 11/6/2022

Movies reviewed this week: Wendell & Wild, Emily the Criminal, Anna and the Apocalypse, Good Morning, Tom Jones, Interceptor, Barbarian, and Gomorrah.

11/3/2022: Wendell & Wild (2022): ***1/2

Imperfect but I am fundamentally charmed by that soundtrack. Fishbone is red hot and Henry Selick isn’t bad himself.

11/4/2022: Emily the Criminal (2022): ****

Super pointed movie that’s pissed off at all the right things. “How much interest are you adding each month?”

Aubrey Plaza really makes the whole thing hum. Gratifyingly, she’s not just doing Walter White here. She’s smart but she doesn’t take to crime naturally; she’s just angry enough to take risks. She plays it with her eyes and with a back-East accent that comes out when she’s stressed.

11/4/2022: Anna and the Apocalypse (2017): ***

Charming and at points quite good, but it needed more musical numbers: you gotta really commit to the bit.

11/4/2022: Good Morning (1959): ****

That’s a delightful little comedy. But it’s Ozu so of course there’s some depth to the surface simplicity. The funny gags about the kid soiling his pants are also a note about the consequences of failing to communicate. The rush to get a television is also a comment on the urge to modernize. My favorite shot in the whole film was late in the movie, when a pair of characters stand waiting for the train, positioned just as if they were another pair of steel pillars holding up the ceiling.

The color scheme is worth singling out, because it’s somehow rich despite being all earth tones. There’s this one moment early on when two women are talking in a hallway, and they’re framed by plaid curtains with another set of plaid curtains visible in the foreground, and a plaid bedspread on the right clashing with everything else, and it’s so perfect. Oh, and the woman facing us has a plaid scarf. Playful and elegant.

11/5/2022: Tom Jones (1963): ***

I was going to argue that this wasn’t really a British New Wave movie except insofar as it’s directed by Tony Richardson, written by John Osborne, and stars Albert Finney. But I was wrong: the flamboyant historical picaresque is draped on the frame of the story of a lower class guy who has ambitions to rise in station and marry an upper class woman. It’s got the same problems some of the other British New Wave movies do, too, insofar as it can’t quite let the protagonist get past those class boundaries.

Otherwise it’s fine. I liked the anarchic spirit and the somewhat shy assaults on the fourth wall. Albert Finney and Susannah York have enough charisma and chemistry to fill several movies. The totality is a bit disjointed; some of the random encounters tie back into the plot in the kind of clever way I enjoy, but some of them don’t, and the overall effect is scattered.

11/6/2022: Interceptor (2022): ***

Elsa Pataky is considerably better as a stoic ass-kicker than she ever was as Dominic Toretto’s temporary love interest. As DTV action goes, this is firmly in the fine category, lifted a bit above average by acknowledging the existence of sexual harassment. Decent action scenes, too, with a variety of excuses for the martial arts bits.

11/6/2022: Barbarian (2022): ***

Super clever and pretty innovative. I’m glad I went in fairly blind. The last fifteen minutes or so lets the rest of the movie down but it’s still worth the time.

11/6/2022: Gomorrah (2008): ****

Criterion Challenge 2022
Progress: 44/52
Prompt: watch one of Michael K. Williams’ Closet Picks (RIP)

This is one that’s been on my watchlist since the Criterion Channel launched so I took this challenge as an excuse to watch it. I was pretty sure it’d be up my alley, as a mosaic crime film without any sentimentality, and I was right. If you’re playing the double feature game, pair this one with Traffic — they’re counterparts rather than complements, hope vs. pessimism and global vs. local, but they go well together.

I was wondering if I’d see any echos of the poliziotteschi, the 70s Italian crime movies. Maybe? I can’t imagine Garrone was unaware of his own country’s cinematic history, although I’d guess he was more reacting to those even more nihilistic movies rather than trying to bring them into a new era.

If I had to choose one through line for the five stories contained within the movie, I’d say it was about how the established power structures drain the young to keep themselves strong. Grim movie, but an excellent one.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *