Capsule Reviews: Week 36 / 2020


The Hoodlum

Sidney Franklin

1919 | USA | 78m

A spoilt bratty rich girl, Amy (Mary Pickford), turns down an offer to go to Europe with her grandfather and instead chooses to go stay with her father who, unbeknownst to her, lives in a poor neighbourhood and adapts to her new life as a street ‘hoodlum’. The story is nothing unique and the film does nothing interesting with it; it doesn’t explore Amy’s struggles in any depth, the ‘romance’ is a pointless subplot, and the attempts at comedy fall flat. Some of Pickford’s tantrums are mildly amusing and the foreign language intertitle gag was funny. It’s also difficult to understand what’s happening at times or whether something’s supposed to be funny or not, and impossible to read the cursive letters. It’s a light and easy watch and tolerable enough, but mostly forgettable.
guns akimbo

Guns Akimbo

Jason Lei Howden

2019 | New Zealand | 98m
Action, Comedy, Thriller

A programmer, who likes to troll trolls, angers the owner of an underground streaming death-match game and finds himself in a match with one of the game’s top killers. This is a surprisingly decent action-comedy that keeps up the energy all the way through and, despite a few unfunny missteps (a lot of the humour is obviously aimed towards the ‘streamer generation’ that either didn’t make any sense to me or were just too obvious and dumb), has a good sense of humour about itself and mixes the two genres well. Samara Weaving is usually a turn-off for any film but her last couple of efforts, including this one, are letting her prove herself as a capable genre actor. At first her character seems to be an eye-rollingly ‘edgy’ girl who likes violence, but instead the character feels genuine and her gender is not brought into it whatsoever (aside from some terrible one-liners about clits and so forth) which is refreshing. Daniel Radcliffe’s character is a little flat, but is likable and leads the film well. It could’ve been a little smarter, but overall it is a decently fun time.

Le mystère des roches de Kador

Léonce Perret

1912 | France | 45m
Crime, Drama, Mystery

After a rich Marquis leaves his entire estate to his orphaned niece, Suzanne, her cousin attempts to marry or kill her to take the inheritance for himself. The short runtime keeps it short and sweet, straight to the point with no fluff, but also doesn’t allow for any major plot/character/thematic developments. Everything also feels a little rushed at the beginning, solved a little too easily at the end, and for a ‘mystery’ it doesn’t spend nearly enough time building atmosphere or tension. However it is quite nice to look at, with some pleasant compositions and lighting choices, and the scenes reenacting the events and playing them back to Suzanne to help snap her out of her traumatic state are interesting.

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