Undine, Get Santa, Woody Allen and More: My Films of the Week #12

As a lifelong cinephile, I have always consumed a copious amount of films. In this new feature, I keep track of the films I watch during the week. (Also, Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!)

 

Mister America
dir. Eric Notarnicola
2019, USA

From the mind of Tim Heidecker but strongly resembling vintage Ricky Gervais. A mockumentary about a delusional film critic who runs for D.A. to get back at the current D.A. who tried to arrest him. Not much bite or originality but oddly entertaining.

 

Ladies Should Listen
dir. Frank Tuttle
1934, USA

Little-known early Cary Grant vehicle. He shines. But the film itself is a nice little gem, filled with punchy one-liners and a witty screenplay that makes for a highly entertaining watch.

 

A Rainy Day in New York
dir. Woody Allen
2019, USA

Woody Allen is officially uninterested in making films that resemble anything but a world of his own creation. It’s weird to watch a movie where kids behave like people on the verge of a mid-life crisis and wander under the rain looking for Irving Berlin ballads.

 

Ivana the Terrible
dir. Ivana Mladenović
2019, Romania/Serbia

Interesting hybrid, where the director acts in a movie closely inspired by true events of her life, revolving around health issues she experienced. Enjoyable for facing complex issues through a semi-comedic lens. Inadvertently channels something of the spirit of the Czech New Wave, despite having been made in quite different countries.

 

Negative Numbers
dir. Uta Beria
2019, Georgia/France/Italy

A gripping drama about kids in a Georgian juvenile detention center and how their life changes when two rugby trainers enter their lives. A tried-and-tested formula it may be, using many tropes familiar in the prison movie format. However, it is quite gripping and the performances by the large cast ensemble are very good.

 

Nina
dir. Hristo Simeonov
2019, Bulgaria

Bulgarian short film about a young gipsy girl who robs people at a train station for an older guardian. Draws inevitable links with Oliver Twist but also the realist cinema of Petar Valchanov and Kristina Grozeva.

 

Get Santa
dir. Christopher Smith
2014, UK/USA

Probably my last attempt at willingly watching a film about Santa Claus. No matter what situation you put this character in, it always ends up a dead end. Quite frustrating and unfunny.

 

Undine
dir. Christian Petzold
2020, Germany/France

A reflection on love and fate with a stellar, leading performance by Paula Beer. A sad fairytale for grownups. Cinephiles will appreciate its links with L’Atalante and La Ronde.

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