It was a big week for me, movie-wise. I’m finally caught up on my movie screenings, which means you can expect another big week for the Sacred Wall. Not only have I finished my overdue review for Girls Trip (coming on Monday), but I’ve also seen for review Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Atomic Blonde. You can expect reviews sometime this week, but I’ll tell you now I was very mixed on Valerian, but Blonde is something special.
As with last week, I spent most of my time trying to pad my Worst Of list. This meant watching Fist Fight, Snatched, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and Unforgettable. Snatched was perhaps the most disappointing of the lot, because you could see Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn trying to make the material as funny as possible, only to be let down at every turn by a lackluster script and poor direction. Meanwhile, Unforgettable was surprisingly not terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t recommend it, but considering how many terrible 90s throwback sexy thrillers I’ve seen in recent years (hi, The Boy Next Door and The Girl on the Train!), I thought this one was passably entertaining, and demonstrates that Katherine Heigl should have been playing the psycho ex the entire time. She’s remarkably good at it. Fist Fight was remarkably boring and unfunny, something I never thought I’d say with such a talented cast. That film needed a whole lot more Tracy Morgan. And as for King Arthur…my god. That film is really something. It’s one of the best so-bad-it’s-good nightmares in recent history. This is one you’ll be hearing about for years to come, and most certainly in my end of year Worst Of list, although I will do so knowing full well I will buy this movie for whenever I need a pick-me-up.
On the positive side, I watched this year’s John Wick: Chapter 2, and I am a changed man because of it. I liked the original John Wick in terms of story, but found it a bit lagging at times, and wanted things to be a little more ridiculous (I mean, it is a noir where Keanu Reeves kills gangsters to avenge his dog). Thankfully, while the sequel is more convoluted on a story level, the ridiculousness is amped up to eleven, making for a much more entertaining (and much better shot) film. I also completed a month-old promise to another critic (Priscilla Page of birth.movies.death, check her out) to watch The Insider, and I was fairly impressed. Michael Mann is a sweeping director, and I’d argue that the film features Russell Crowe’s best performance. Looking for a late night movie to relax to Friday evening, I turned to My Life as a Courgette (Zucchini), a Swedish animated film that makes up for intentionally cheap animation with a gigantic heart. It’s incredibly sweet, and I highly enjoyed it. But as good as those films were, the best film I watched this entire week was Michael Moore’s Roger and Me. Moore was a good director who lost his talent around 2004, but if you watch his earlier films, you see a smart, passionate filmmaker take on issues he truly cares about. Truth be told, I’m not that interested in the anti-GM angle the film takes (although his anger is understandable). What fascinates me about the film is the way Moore tells the story of a young man from Michigan determined to get out of his hometown, only to come back and learn what it means to truly be a Flintian. As someone who has followed that path (albeit not Flint), the film had a special connection to me. It’s truly one of the best documentaries ever made.
This week in television was something of a dud. Despite the “drama” on The Bachelorette, it actually ended in a sort-of predictable manner. It was hard eliciting the excitement of, say, JoJo’s season. That being said, Rachel Lindsay was still the best Bachelorette ever, and I wish her happiness with (spoiler). Other than that, the only thing I really watched was a clip or two from Weekend Update Summer Edition. It was ok, with a lot of hit and miss jokes, as Michael Che and Colin Jost have been wont to do. Bill Hader’s Scaramucci was fairly predictable, which was disappointing (although I did like his variation on the “Hickory Dickory Dock” joke), but I will literally never get tired of Mikey Day and Alex Moffat as the Trump men. When I saw Moffat’s eyes get big as he watched the fidget spinner go ‘round, I couldn’t believe that almost a year ago, I predicted that he would be let go as an unnecessary weak link. He is essential.
Oh, and as I write this, I have xXx playing, and man, that film is insane. It’s so dumb, and so bad (Vin Diesel may have some talent for acting, with the right role, but Rob Cohen flat out cannot direct), but in the most entertaining way possible. I’m excited to finish it, and I hope the sequel is just as batsh*t.
What about you, dear readers? Watched anything terrible recently? Is there anything in theaters you are excited about, or want me to watch? Let me know in the comments!