Last Week’s Films 26/02 – 04/03

Before I quickly run through the films I watched last week I’ll have a look at how I did with my Oscar picks last night. 14/16! I got Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay wrong and am probably happier with what they chose for each than what I had predicted, especially with Get Out winning the writing award. Pretty nice.  Quite a few films to go through this week, given that it’s been snowing a lot and work was cancelled. Here’s a wee glimpse out my back window from Wednesday:

Onto the films!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Shane Black, 2005)

A kind of “buddy cop” Shane Black crime mystery film here, with Val Kilmer as a private detective and Robert Downey Jr. as a petty criminal who end up joining together to solve a murder mystery. I enjoyed this quite a bit, the pair have really good chemistry together and the story, while a wee bit convoluted, wasn’t too hard to follow. The repeated breaking of the 4th wall got a little grating however, but it was funny and sparingly enough that it wasn’t too off-putting. 7/10

Best in Show (Christopher Guest, 2000)

A mockumentary about a dog show featuring a large cast of colourful characters. It has its moments and is fairly short so a very easy watch. Fred Willard’s commentator character gets the most consistent laughs and was probably my favourite, but overall it was an enjoyable film. 6/10

Duel (Steven Spielberg, 1971)

Since Steven Spielberg is one of my favourite directors and I hadn’t yet seen his debut film, I thought I’d rectify that. Duel is basically just about an unseen truck driver terrorising a man driving a smaller car. It was well shot and had one or two nice sequences but the story is far too insubstantial to carry the film for the full 90 minutes. 5/10

Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

A touching and quite sad story of first love, set in 1980s Italy between 17 year old Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and the older Oliver (Armie Hammer). Oliver is a doctoral student working with Elio’s father for the summer, staying at the family’s Italian villa, and we watch as the two interact and eventually grow close. It was a believable and beautifully portrayed romance, but my favourite thing about the film may just be Elio’s parent’s reaction to the affair: that of understanding and sympathy. 7/10

Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

Maybe the most well-known silent film of all time, this one had been in my collection for a while but I hadn’t been in the mood to watch it, until now. The easiest thing to say about this film is how great it looks, the art direction and set design are incredible and it’s fairly hard to believe this was made 90 years ago now. It can drag a little given that it is 2 and a half hours long but I was suitably engaged throughout and enjoyed the sights. 7/10

Key Largo (John Huston, 1948)

Humphrey Bogart is great, and it was nice to see him a little more restrained in this film than I’m generally used to. Bogart plays a World War 2 veteran who visits is late war comrade’s family hotel in the Florida Keys to pay respects. When he gets there he finds that the hotel has been taken over by mobsters, and the film follows the conflict that arises from that. Edward G. Robinson as the villainous Johnny Rocco was probably the best thing in the film, and Bogart was excellent as usual too. 6/10

Gomorra (Matteo Garrone, 2008)

I had high hopes for this one and was disappointed. I expected some sort of Italian Goodfellas but instead found the story incredibly slow and dull, and didn’t really care about any of the characters. 4.5/10

Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck, 2006)

Ryan Gosling plays a teacher with drug problems in an inner-city public school who develops a close bond with one of his students. Gosling was nominated for an Oscar for this performance and it’s not really hard to see why. It’s believable and engaging, and you can feel the loneliness of the two main characters. 6.5/10

So it seems I had much better luck last week than the week before, managed to watch some very good films. The snow is clearing up now though, so there’s no ready-made excuse to stay inside all day anymore. Oh well, I doubt I’ll let that stop me anyway!

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