Edition 112

The Non-English Movie of The Week

The Good Boss (Spain, 2022) [IMDB: 7.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, My Rating: 7.0]

This Spanish movie traces the life of the boss of a weighing machine company over a week. The company and the persona of the boss are interchangeable and so it becomes a personal mission for the owner-boss to win an award he deperately yearns. Javier Bardem uses his understated creepiness to great effect as the protagonist who will bend or break rules to get what he wants. He plays the terrifying boss with no insight into how hollow and self serving he looks in front of employees who could not be bothered to share his aspirations. A good corporate maxim to follow would be ‘the boss is always right’. Bardem’s character is a fine example of this in a rather twisted way, in this very well paced movie.

Movies I Saw This Week

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) [IMDB: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, My Rating: 8.5]

This is one of the greatest war movies ever made, and definitely the greatest anti-war movie ever. There is an old movie version of the same book and that was a classic movie. This updated version had a lot to live up to and it more than comes out in flying colours. Set during the First World War , the movie is about a bunch of Germans whose enthusisam to serve the failing war effort is doused by the bitter reality of war on the Westernt front. The movie is grim and barely watchable for the horrors that unfold on the screen with alarming regularity. This is not a movie about the glory of war but the humiliation and distress of the soldiers who are mere pawns in a game of destiny they have no control over. The scenes are too realistic that they hurt. There is no happy ending. In fact nothing in this movie will make you happy. It is soul destroying but it is true.The movie is both timeless and timely, when our present world is in a perilous state because of weak war mongering leaders littered across the landscape. This movie is definitely a major contender for the upcoming awards season. The direction, screenplay, visual effects and acting are absolutely spot on. Unforgettable and an instant classic.

The Good Nurse (2022) [IMDB: 6.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 79%, My Rating: 6.5]

Based on the true story of a murderer nurse, this low key thriller unveils the painstaking effort of law enforcement to bring to justice a murderer who kills his victims in the safety of a hospital without even touching them. My personal favourite Jessica Chastain is on the right side of law as she assists the police to nail her colleague.The good thing about the movie is that even when the conclusion is foregone, there is an element of suspense in how the plot will play out. Eddie Redmayne who is an Oscar winner himself was probably roped in to play the confession scene because there is nothing else for him to do in the movie.

The Quiet Girl (2022) [IMDB: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%, My Rating: 8.0]

This film in the Irish language is a breath of fresh air. It tells the simple tale of a girl sent to live with her childless relatives while her own mother is pregnant. The new found freedom and an absence of malaise makes her a better person. The impending and unavoidable return to her parents is the pressure point at which things could take a turn for the better or worse. The movie is sometimes about grief but at a deeper level it is about the yearning for a better life and the tangible benefits of the little joys that a good life can bring. Highly recommended viewing.

Emily the Criminal (2022) [IMDB: 6.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, My Rating: 7.0]

This is the type of movie Bollywood would like to make but fails every time it tries. This is also the type of movie Hollywood makes with relative ease. Aubrey Plaza plays the lead character who would like to do things the right way but would not mind doing things the wrong way when the first route does not work. There is a lot of social commentary in this movie ranging from unpaid internships to what really is women power. Besides that, there is a powerhouse performance from Plaza as she transforms from a rather naive girl to a consummate professional in the world of crime. A very well paced movie with small (really small) amounts of suspension of disbelief required.

Confess, Fletch (2022) [IMDB: 6.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 86%, My Rating: 7.5]

This is very good light entertainment in the form of a very light murder mystery. Jon Hamm is a man for all seasons in this movie. His enigmatic persona as a part time detective is tested in a whodunit where he is the prime suspect.There is some wild humour derived from outlandish scenes, notably one in a kitchen. The story is peppered with quirky characters with normal ones an endangered species. This movie is well worth your time.

Don’t Worry Darling (2022) [IMDB: 6.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 38%, My Rating: 5.0]

The fundamental problem besides the obviously ridiculous plot in this movie is that it takes up too much time to set up the story and when the plot twist is revealed, the considerate view would be that it is underwhelming. The story is about a young housewife getting suspicious of her reality when she idles away her time in a commune insulated from the rest of the world. Now, if you do watch this movie, ask yourself what most of the events meant when the truth is finally revealed. Does the movie mean anything when the truth is revealed? From a potential thriller with a dark tone the movie invites you to digest its transformation into sci-fi picture. It is a case of ‘if you can’t convince them, confuse them’.

The Cathedral (2022) [IMDB: 6.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, My Rating: 7.0]

The rapid rise and slow decline of a family told through the eyes of a child growing up into adulthood.The everyday struggles of existence are woven into an observational movie with no commentary. The viewer, once engaged with the thematic elements may find it easier to travel with the protagonist who is not overly critical or sympathetic to the fortunes of those around him. A good watch if you like movies which are not about song and dance.

Fall (2022) [IMDB: 6.4, Rotten Tomatoes: 79%, My Rating: 6.0]

Two idiots go to the top of a very very very tall tower and then lose their ladder for the trip down. They are also in the middle of nowhere. There is no mobile signal. Compensating for that there are enough vultures around. To top that, nights are cold and days are hot.Of course, there is no food to eat and hardly any water to drink. Also, they have not told anyone that they would be going on an insane trip. That’s the setting for the movie. Still, worth a watch.

The Forgiven (2022) [IMDB: 6.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 68%, My Rating: 6.5]

Morocco is the winner in this mini advert for Morocco Tourism. Ralph Fiennes has no luck with the desert again in his career as he deals with traditions and his own guilt in this pensive movie shot across Morocco. Thematically, it is a small clash of civilizations. The story involves an accidental death of a youth and the repercussions that come with it. The underutilised Chastain plays the wife of a drunkard played Fiennes. The moral vacuum and the preachiness does get to you at times. Also, you can guess the climax practically at the mid point of the movie. Watch for the beauty of Morocco.

Raksha Bandhan (2022) [IMDB: 5.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 18%, My Rating: 2.0]

Where do I start in this horribly outdated and misogynistic movie? Couched in progressive values, this is the most regressive film I have seen in recent times. Bollywood does not do progressive stuff well. ‘Raksha Bandhan’ makes the Barjatyas and Karan Johar look like paragons of social progress. The story is about a brother who lives with the sole aim of getting his sisters married (He has four of them). He body shames them, tells them to get fairer and (this really takes the cake) involves himself in a bidding war for his eldest sister’s prospective bridegroom. By profession, he runs a shop that promises to give a male child to women who are already pregnant. The tragedy is that there are lines of pregnant wome outside his shop who believe that eating his golgappas will make the gender identity of the child male. What has the society come to? Who finds this kind of stuff funny? Maybe director Aanand L Rai whose track record includes the dangeroulsy misogynistic ‘Raanjhanaa’ which is the biggest glorification of stalking in Indian cinema. Here also his protagonist, played by a rather sincere and yet tone deaf Akshay Kumar, is a hero for averting the collapse of a marriage on the wedding night itself by getting some random bloodsucker the car he wants on the wedding day as dowry. The litany of dowry glorifying scenes is truly sickening. The brother get his eldest sister married off to a family once the marriage broker tells him that she has found a groom for his sister. She then tells Akshay Kumar that get ready for the wedding. The great all star brother that he is, he does not ask even the name of the groom. He rushes off to tell his sister to get ready for her marriage because her loving brother has found somebody to do the honours. (Spoilers ahead) Later when this same sister commits suicide, the loving brother’s first comment is, “This is not my sister. My sister was fair but now she is blue.” Jesus wept.

God save us all if the brother’s first thought on seeing his dead sister was that his sister used to be fair and not dark. The cringey scenes don’t let up. Later this brother gives a sermon on the harmful effects of dowry. You got to be kidding. Then he has an epiphany that his other sisters can make a living for themselves and get married without dowry if he backs them to the hilt and educates them. If you are a cynical viewer, it is as if plan A did not work, so let us try plan B. Akshay Kumar appears earnest in his portrayal of this role which is all the more disturbing.There is a suggestion in the movie that the brother is all the more great because he is not their real brother. With brothers like this, who needs enemies? As if to rub in the misogyny, the brother will not marry his sweetheart till all his sisters are married off. It is a man’s world where the woman in question has to wait till this idiot brother is done with his sisters. To take matters to another level, the director decides that it would tug at the heart strings if the brother in question waits till the age of 60 (yeah, you read it right) before he marries his similare aged girlfriend. Yes, you read that right. The man who thinks about liberating women makes the one woman who truly loves him, wait till he is 60 years old to marry her. All for what? So that the brother could marry off his sisters. How pathetic Hindi mainstream movies have become. It is a shame.

Documentary of the Week

The Pez Outlaw (2022) [IMDB: 7.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%, My Rating: 7.5]

There are things you would not know if you did not watch this documentary. Very important things.Start with, what is a pez and who is a pez legend?

Eagerly waiting for: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’. My first impression is that it will disappear without a trace in water.

Did you know: Wrexham FC, a professional football club in Wales, UK was rescued from total collapse and is now owned by the actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.