The Round-Up #4 (June 22)
Sugar Daddy (2020)
Struggling musician/professional food thief signs up for a paid dating site to make ends meet, not prepared for the new world she will be thrust into. Not brimming with charisma or an apparent understanding of pace, the film both looks and feels like the grind it is. Some of the performances are solid enough, but really, the acting and the half-decent script are better edited elsewhere.
The Other Me (2022) - What we are on the receiving end of here is a pain to realise, because it is released so mundanely. This is a special kind of befuddled slowness, however, as our leads' deteriorating eyesight gives him some kind of alternate ability to understand other people's motives. We are led to believe that our other senses are heightened when we lack one of them, and this would seem central to this artistic endeavour, which struggles with a bit of a ropey script and performances that literally traverse the sublime and the ridiculous.
Seriously, I had to watch this three times, because I fell asleep the first two times out of sheer boredom. I love Soderbergh, I really do, but if this is the best he can come up with these days, he should rightly be mowing his lawn. Directionless non-event, partially saved by Kravitz, but despite everything looking pretty, this is poor from the great man.
Terror Trips (2022)
It can't be a coincidence that there exactly zero reviews on Letterboxd from my friends for this little diamond apart from this one? No budget, predictable premise, questionable acting. Off to Camp Crystal Lake we go, in the footsteps of Friday 13th, as this assembled group of victims-in-waiting are researching locations for their new extreme guided tour venture - Terror Trips! Been here, done this, and so much better and so often. Lacking imagination and originality, the whole thing feels cheap and nasty, Don't waste your time.
Can't Stand Losing You (2012)
Gravitational perspecting. The events of three men as viewed by only one of them, despite the effects of the two having a greater bearing on the view of the third.
The condensed view of the career of The Police, through the lens of Andy Summers, guitarist, collaborator, father, husband and photographer, all elements which are covered here. Take it with a pinch of salt as this is only one story of a possible three which would all be different. Valuable nonetheless for the archive footage.
Crimes of the Future (2022)
When Cronenberg suggested that members of the audience for the first viewing of this film would walk out within the first five minutes is not as insightful as it is inciteful. Chances are that someone would walk out, that's the law of averages and if no-one had, it would have been because he suggested that someone would. A good way then of herding your sheep, if a little obvious.
When your audience has evolved beyond your ability to engage with the skills you have, then what do you do? Well, the same thing that worked before, but even more of it. When someone says to you this is 'Classic Cronenberg' it is a little bit of a shame that you already know exactly what that means. But you do. And you're right. And it is.
Nowhere near as good as it demands you think it is.
We've learned a lot since the pandemic took over our collective existence, so this maybe doesn't resonate the same as it would have done if I had watched it at the time. There is plenty here that never ended up coming to pass as humanity is better than the one represented here, not to mention luckier. This virus was more virulent and cataclysmically more transmissible, but even so, one of the symptoms didn't appear to be better acting or direction. This is so-so at best and ultimately boredom fodder.
Man Vs Bee - Netflix (2022)
Described as 'Mr Bean but nicer.' No longer silent as such, but almost, Rowan Atkinson takes his very particular brand of physical comedy coupled with a dollop of OCD and creates what could be an entire movie of ten minutes shorts, involving the pursuit of an annoying bee whilst Trevor housesits to make some extra money. It's often very funny visually, at least as it is wincingly awful to watch this poor man become slowly unhinged by an insect nuisance. Only Atkinson could do this, the rubber-faced genius.
Father Of The Bride (2022)
At least the fourth version of this story that I know of, and there very well be more. This, however, is the most insipid and humourless of all of them. Warner Brothers clearly thought the time was right for a new version with under-researched cultural appropriation. If you must do it, do it properly, at least. Didn't get a single chuckle on the five laugh test, but the script was fine, even if it was unsure what direction it was going for the most part. Like I say, this isn't the first time, so they may have checked the previous incarnations when they got waylaid.
The Nanny's Night (2021)
Has better production design than you would expect from an estimated $350k budget. Aside from this and the sound, this is pretty much an undiluted horrible mess. The acting is dreadful as the actors are incapable of delivering their lines coherently. I would rather have watched this with Spanish subtitles, which would have raised the bar a little, allowing the talent to express themselves more freely. Overall, not worth your time as there is practically nothing of value here.