The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) (Charles Crichton)
Very entertaining UK classic with unpredictable developments. Not really a comedy as advertised but very good storytelling in the vein of a thriller which kept me glued to the screen until the end. It’s not a spoiler to say I kind of wanted the criminals to succeed.
The Ladykillers (1955) (Alexander Mackendrick)
My second Ealing Studios film this month. A British farce comedy which is funnier than The Lavender Hill Mob. The story is pretty silly and cartoonish, especially the ending. The aspect of wanting to kill an old lady reminded me of 1988’s A Fish Called Wanda
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) (Nicholas Meyer)
Considered the best of the 80s Star Trek movies and the closest in spirit to the 1966-69 TV series. In the key moments, there’s a threat of danger for the crew. Controlling minds with the ear worms makes no sense though. The Genesis project and the aspect of playing God is an interesting idea, and Khan is a memorable villain. The ending involving Spock in a radiation chamber is iconic.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) (Leonard Nimoy)
A sequel to Wrath of Khan (1982), with a weaker story. You know the crew will reach Spock eventually so the destination feels inevitable. I found it quite distracting that Christopher Lloyd is in full Klingon makeup, his character is evil yet without depth. The best action scene involves a rival spacecraft getting tricked which is a bit similar to the previous film. Bones in the restaurant reminded me of the cantina scene in Star Wars. I wasn’t sold on the logic of the ending, wouldn’t he keep aging rapidly because of his condition? Anyway, a movie which was okay but I doubt I’d watch again.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) (Leonard Nimoy)
Rewatch. The film with the most humor in the trilogy. Just as entertaining as Wrath of Khan. A tad overlong and could have been trimmed in the weaker opening 30 minutes. Refreshingly, the supporting cast are given a bit more to do, and not just the usual operations on the space ship. I like the humpback whale story and it’s interestingly not a human but an alien object that is the main villain. Though it is a far-fetched story and there isn’t an explanation as to the intentions of the probe. The story, which involves time travel, satirizes 20th Century behavior ”Nobody pays any attention to you unless you swear every other word” ”To hunt a species to extinction is not logical”.
Parents (2016) (Christian Tafdrup)
By the director of A Horrible Woman(arguably the best Danish film of 2017). Taftrup’s debut feature from 2016 is a weirder and less assured drama, as there is a massive tonal shift in the second half that could prove divisive to audiences. As the title suggests, about parents, and in this case how they deal with a son moving away from home. It causes them to reevaluate their own life. An interesting, original concept. The parents want to recapture their youth, but I felt the filmmakers didn’t have enough material for a film so added the fantasy elements to spice it up. If you are middle aged parents and have grown-up kids (or vice versa) you’ll likely identify. Worth a rent.
Hereditary (2018) (Ari Aster)
I saw a sneak preview. Gripping horror that held my attention throughout. The weakness is it feels a bit derivative, sort of a patchwork of other films from the genre. I heard audience members say on their way out that it wasn’t scary enough and they kind of had a point. The music score by Colin Stetson is the best thing about Hereditary and adds to the sense of unease. You don’t want to read anything beforehand as plot points can be easily spoiled. Based on the zoom-in during the opening scene, I’m wondering what was real. Toni Collette is a contender for awards recognition for her impressive lead performance.
The Guilty (2018) (Gustav Möller)
A new Danish thriller that won the Audience Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Takes place in a single location, at a police call center. Manages to build suspense, and captures the stress the alarm dispatch duty can involve. My only gripe is would a police officer under suspicion of misconduct still be on duty? I guess assigning him a different job (not on the streets) was deemed an appropriate move, but I don’t buy him still at work given the nature of his wrongdoing. A good movie despite this issue I had.
What do you think? As always, comments are welcome