A former child prodigy cellist returns to her music school after a decade away. An excellent horror movie that plays with audience expectations in interesting ways, going into some deep dark places. To say more would be to ruin it. It feels most like Get Out, though is very different.
Month: May 2019
End of Watch (2012, dir. David Ayer)
Two LA patrol cops cross the paths of a street gang keen to make their mark. Excellent contemporary crime drama focusing on cop camaraderie. A semi-improvised approach and use of found footage give the movie texture, as does the rapport between the lead actors. Recommended.
Men in Black II [AKA MIIB] (2002, dir. Barry Sonnenfeld)
Agent J has to tea up again with Agent K to fight a new alien menace. Passable SF/comedy sequel. As with its predecessor, there’s more interest in its showy make-up effects and throwaway gags than either worldbuilding or story, tho Lara Flynn Boyle has fun as a vampish villain.
Identity Thief (2013, dir. Seth Gordon)
A mild-mannered accountant and a con artist go on a cross-country trip to prove the former’s innocence. Patchy road movie comedy that apes Midnight Run, but which – despite game playing by its leads – invariably resorts to cheap laughs and stock situations.
Game of Thrones: The Last Watch (2019, dir. Jeanie Findlay)
A behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the final series of HBO ratings juggernaut Game of Thrones. Excellent making-of doc, focusing both on the logistical challenges of big-budget TV, and of the relationships between the production and Belfast.
Young Frankenstein (1974, dir. Mel Brooks)
A distant relative inherits both Frankenstein’s castle and interest in reviving the dead. Splendid homage/spoof of the 1930s Universal movies, this is a broad comedy made with respect for the originals while still ticking off every gag in the undead book. Recommended.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019, dir. Chad Stahelski)
Wick, now excommunicado, seeks a way back. Part 3 expands on the series mythology and develops both the character’s backstory and the action choreography. Not all of the plot makes sense, but for the main part, this is exhilarating physical entertainment with some dark humour.
Avengers: Endgame (2019, dir. Anthony Russo & Joe Russo)
The remaining Avengers plan an elaborate time heist to recover the infinity stones and undo the events of the recent war. Crowd-pleasing sequel/series endpoint that succeeds in narrative closure and fanservice terms. It’s TV by this stage, but impeccably done.
Casablanca (1942, dir. Michael Curtiz)
A US expat nightclub owner has his neutrality threatened in wartime Morocco when confronted by his ex-lover. Splendid wartime romance/film noir/political allegory balancing cynicism, comedy and menace in equal measure. Loads of fun.
Street Kings (2008, dir. David Ayer)
An alcoholic LA detective with a reputation for violence comes under scrutiny from internal affairs. Generally solid double-cross-tastic bad cop-worse cop rough-and tumble that teeters on the brink of melodrama, but just about holds it together.