This Week in Geek (5-11/03/18)

Buys

Snagged a DVD copy of the Chinese film Cold War.

"Accomplishments"


In theaters: Game Night certainly starts very cleverly, and keeps the twists and turns coming, throwing real people into a thriller scenario, and sending up the genre's tropes as it does. It is most overtly a spoof of David Fincher's The Game, but even with that movie in mind, it still charmed and surprised me. All the characters get a chance to be funny, and even work out some of their issues, which kind of makes Game Night a close (but foul-mouthed) cousin to the latest Jumanji film. And that's not a bad place to start from. Even better, it knows how to shoot and cut for comedy, shades of Edgar Wright. The one thing I found unbelievable amid the crazy comedy-action is that these veteran gamers only every played mainstream Parker Brothers fare. I mean, come on. Not even Cataan?! Probably a product placement thing, but still one that feels antiquated. I'm not actually saying this is a problem. It's part of the fun. Just an observation.

At home: Silk Stockings, the musical remake of Ninotchka with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, is a product of its time insofar as gender politics go. Contemporary eyes will find Astaire's movie producer really kind of slimy and cheer on Charisse's Soviet robot resisting his aggressive advances. Having forgiven 1957 its attitudes, the movie is a very funny Cold War comedy, painting the Soviet regime in an amusing light, a parody of knowing parody of its brand of fascism. I've never laughed so hard or so long at systemic censorship, I swear. As a musical, it is uneven. It can go a little too long before a musical number, but then it has these wonderful dance numbers that express the characters' interior life. Its love themes are cheesy and old-fashioned, but the comedy songs are fun and memorable. You might just want to check it out for latter-day Peter Lorre in one of his weirdest roles (and that's saying something).

Wallander, the BBC series, presents three feature-length mysteries per season (à la Sherlock) for four seasons set across 8 years. Though a British production, it doesn't do away with the original novels' Swedish location, which is a nice surprise. It helps make the show stand out, and Sweden's bleak, wet landscapes are perfect for the tone of the story. Kurt Wallander's distinction, as a noir copper character, is that he feels things too intensely. Every murder weighs on him, he can't get the images of dead bodies out of his head, and it's already taken its toll on him in the very first story. Because we're so used to Kenneth Branagh playing period pieces/Shakespeare, his naturalistic performance here is all the more amazing. I'd say the first season is a little clunky and any mystery that smacks of a conspiracy less interesting that straight up murders, but overall, this is a strong, albeit depressing, drama about the end days of a veteran - but not hardened - investigator.

Doctor Who Titles: Before Hitchcock was Hitchcock, he made a number of silent films. Judging by The Lodger (1927), he was still Hitchcock. The story (remade a couple times) has a family start to wonder if the odd gentleman they've taken as a lodger is really the Ripper-like murderer roaming the foggy streets at night. And so is his interest in their daughter sincerely romantic or something more sinister? The techniques may be primitive, but Hitchcock still manages a number of inventive shots, and uses text cards in interesting ways. In contrast to the big budget affairs of Eisenstein and Lang, he's managing a lot of atmosphere and suspense with a restricted budget and very few sets. Great stuff, and for cinema buffs, it's prototypical Hitchcock in tone and subject matter. It's interesting to see how early his fascinations developed.
#The TARDIS lands in the film... The first Doctor and Susan star in the flipside of this story, showing just how the "Avenger" was brought to justice.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

My guess : they are keeping the other games for the sequel.

 

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