The Non-English Movie of The Week
The Whistlers (2019)[IMDB: 6.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 83%, My Rating: 7.5]
This Romanian tale of corruption and romance does get too smart for its own sake at few key points but brings novelty in the form of a whistling language. I found this film a thoroughly enjoyable ride with great atmospherics in the form of dark humour and a sense of foreboding pervading the movie. With a little more thought in its screenplay, this movie could have been a classic but falls short when such high standards of judgement are to be employed. Nevertheless, ‘The Whistlers’ is a quirky piece of filmmaking that deserves a watch.
Movies I Saw This Week
A Quiet Place Part II (2021) [IMDB: 7.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 91%, My Rating: 7.5]
Starting with a scene to establish the antecedents of a prominent new character, this sequel is, I dare say, better than the original. The director-actor Krasinski at one point employs three parallel story threads to keep the viewer on the edge of the seat. There are copious scenes in which what sound means to us is manipulated to keep the viewer engaged. The acting is first rate with Emily Blunt stealing the show. There are some smart props including the scene when water is emplyed to disorient the predators. I have some beef with the climax though. I thought that it is similar to the climax of ‘Mars Attacks’. On second thought, maybe I am wrong to think so. I just hope that they do not make a third part for the sake of the adage ‘quit when you are at your peak’.
Plan B (2021)[IMDB: 6.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 96%, My Rating: 7.5]
An A level student and her buddy go on an adventure filled mission to secure a rare lifesaving invaluable thing which will change their lives forever. Translated as, a teenager desperately tries to get the after pill in the anti-abortion heartland of USA. Americans who pride themselves in their freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom to carry guns, freedom to go to war and so on, cannot engage with the idea that women are free to choose for themselves and not to be dictated to by men. Though ‘Plan B’ is a movie with a lot of fun, at its heart it speaks to bigotry. Bigotry is not the monopoly of right wing nuts but seem to permeate what the movie calls ‘the Indian mafia’. Come to think of it, the whole movie has existence because a Punjabi pharmacist uses a dubious defence to not allow teenagers access to birth control. Even when the movie aims for a laugh and in the most part does not take itself seriously, it does not bypass the angst and frustration of being pilloried by the devious lawmakers who pander to a vocal minority. As for the movie itself, it is a joy to watch. Highly recommended.
Luca (2021)[IMDB: 7.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 90%, My Rating: 7.0]
‘Luca’ has some very good animation and a lot of attention to detail. Fundamentally, it is a story of acceptance and willingness to engage with people who are alien. The Italian setting with a Vespa thrown in makes it all the more an easy ride. My major gripe with all this Disney stuff is that they seem to fit a carefully curated template which has helped Disney rake in the moolah without ever pushing the boundaries of storytelling in animation. If you are not bothered about such profound things, you can easily grab your popcorn and enjoy the ride. Afterall, you are being taken for a ride (in a Vespa, that too).
Till Death (2021)[IMDB: 5.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, My Rating: 7.0]
I have an admission to make. I have had only scorn for the acting prowess of Megan Fox. ‘Till Death’ has changed that wrong perception. Megan Fox looks the eye candy she has always been and I believe she likes it that way. Even in the first few scenes of the movie, she looks wooden without any acting chops. Then she embraces her character and churns out a career changing performance in this richly rewarding thriller. A wife finds herself handcuffed to her dead husband in a retreat in advanced winter. She also has some killers coming for her. She has to battle the odds to survive. The best thing with this movie is that once the stopwatch starts, it is a sprint to the end. Never boring even when there is no question on how the end will be.
Dinner in America (2021)[IMDB: 7.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, My Rating: 7.0]
‘Dinner in America’ is not your average movie. It is about people on the fringes of the society and who do not fit in, in the conventional sense. Eventhough the storytelling is linear, it never gives the feeling that a story is being told. The characters evolve as time passes. ‘Dinner in America’ is a movie that grows on you with time. It is quirky. It has some riotous comic scenes. It is absurd. Also, it is a good love story. The usual story of a boy meeting a girl and finding each other as a reason to get better.
French Exit (2021)[IMDB: 6.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 62%, My Rating: 6.0]
An heiress’ escapes to Paris to live the last leg of her life. She is accompanied by her wayward son and a cat who embodies her dead husband. Michelle Pfeiffer does the star turn with her elegant performance. Her whims and acerbic tongue are her able aides as she plays the denouement of her operatic life. ‘French Exit’ is unremarkable except for the protagonist. It is the moments when she decides to take on people that define her and bring out the eccentricity of her character. That eccentricity is her most endearing trait. Yet, I could not help myself from imagining Meryl Streep in the role. That would be unfair to Pfeiffer. That is because of the fact that there is not much in the movie and whatever good is in the movie is secure with Pfeiffer.
The Power (2021)[IMDB: 5.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 83%, My Rating: 6.0]
In the Thatcherite years, a new nurse finds herself on night duty in a hopital where power cut is not the only darkness she has to battle. ‘The Power’ refers to more sinister characters in its title and not just the lack of electricity. The superhuman elements are weaved in to a movie where the heart of darkness is within those living and not those who are dead. The viewer need not be a genius to figure out who the antagonist is. The real credit for the movie is in the way it is shot and the ability to create a sense of horror and doom with minimal resources. ‘The Power’ seldom hits the high notes but insures itself against plunging to the depths. Overall, a one time watch.
Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021)[IMDB: 6.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 62%, My Rating: 6.0]
This movie has a lot going for it. An A-list lead, an A-list director and a budget to do justice to the script. The problem is with the script. The end product is slightly better than B-grade. Not a fail but just pass. There isn’t enough narrative tension. I was a disengaged viewer to the proceedings which boast some impressive set pieces but the sum of the parts does not add up to anything tangible. At every instance the movie gives a feeling of going through the motions. Watch if it’s free and you do not have to pay.
Documentary of the Week
Framing Britney Spears (2021)[IMDB: 6.9, Rotten Tomatoes:NA , My Rating: 6.5]
The guardianship of Britney Spears is a contentious issue. A look at how Britney Spears ended up where she is and why she yearns for independence.
Eagerly waiting for: ‘Val’ the documentary on Van Kilmer
Did you know: Harvey Weinstein’s defence in court appealed in the name of movies his production house made and the art it created as mitigating circumstances for his behaviour. Clearly, it did not move the jury.