Spling reviews Terminator: Dark Fate, The King and The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, we’re talking about a sci-fi action adventure thriller, a historical war drama and a coming-of-age comedy drama.
Starting off with a film now on circuit…
TERMINATOR: DARK FATE
Sarah Connor and a hybrid cyborg human must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid Terminator from the future.
Director: Tim Miller
Stars: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mackenzie Davis
– “I’ll be back” has served as a promise for the franchise, which has been reinvented many times over the last 35 years.
– As a mascot for the series, Schwarzenegger is back with an amusing, tongue-in-cheek supporting role.
– The figureheads get some fun one-liners and there’s some good relational tension, but it’s ultimately a team effort.
– The wry tone makes the emphasis on entertainment over finesse and this helps keep the over-the-top action in check.
– It leans on classic trademarks of the Terminator series, revitalising it with a Mexican slant, but follows familiar stepping stones and typical patter.
– Terminator: Dark Fate may be weighed down by its CGI overload, but it’s got some curious reflections with its trio of female leads and socio-political edge.
– The screenplay lacks depth and has as many hits as misses when it comes to writing choices, some of which could have possibly been remedied by Miller or the ensemble in terms of delivery.
– It’s a welcome return for Hamilton, but it’s unsteady under the weight of trying to recapture the past and power forward into the future.
– Terminator: Dark Fate remains entertaining despite its flaws, but isn’t quite the reboot sequel the series needed.
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer
Moving on to a film now streaming on Netflix…
Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies in the midst of the Hundred Years’s War.
Director: David Michôd
Stars: Timothee Chalamet, Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris
– Chalamet made a name for himself in Call Me By Your Name, following it up with solid turns in Beautiful Boy, Little Women and now The King
– an Oscar nomination and a growing list of acclaimed films, he is without a doubt one of Hollywood’s hottest stars at the moment
– The King is an attempt to adapt the work of Shakespeare into an authentic period drama and gritty war epic
– using sweeping cinematography, there’s a gloomy grace and poetry to this medieval picture
– Chalamet delivers a restrained performance, possibly even a bit too internal, conveying the pensive and brilliant mind of Hal
– using natural lighting, the scenes are purposefully shadowy, underlit in an effort to be historically accurate
– running at almost 2 1/2 hours, it’s absorbing and detailed at its best, trudging through some surprisingly dull scenes
– it could be described as Joan of Arc meets the latest reimagining of MacBeth, as a young and unexpectedly brilliant tactician commands his troops in Agincourt
– appealing to Game of Thrones fans through its sprawling narrative with a Joffrey-type prince it attempts to realise England’s greatest victory over the French
– the gloomy atmosphere exudes the mood and yet while substantial and well-crafted, The King struggles to find its true alignment
– the sluggish pacing, intentional downplay and backroom politics make it drag in places, yet its strung together by intense performances and Gladiator-epic battle sequences
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
And finally another film now on Netflix…
THE AWAKENING OF MOTTI WOLKENBRUCH
Young orthodox Jew Mordechai Wolkenbruch, called Motti, meets a woman his mother doesn’t approve of…
Director: Michael Steiner
Stars: Joel Basman, Noémie Schmidt and Inge Maux
– set in Germany, this delightful coming-of-age comedy drama romance follows the misadventures of Motti
– a young orthodox Jewish man, destined to follow in the tradition of his forefathers, he’s pressured to marry a nice Jewish girl in order to honour his parents’s wishes
– filled with charismatic performances, bolstered by great casting and underlined by wide-eyed wonder, this fish-out-of-water comedy drama has got pluck, contrasting a devout Jewish boy’s heritage with the secular academic world he finds himself in
– enjoying good chemistry, our lead finds himself falling for a muse and bypassing the path as laid out by his doting mother
– adjusting his appearance, embracing more secular social activities and sowing his wild oats, this is a fascinating cross-cultural character study
– addressing the audience by breaking the fourth wall, it’s a quirky comedy drama with plenty of wink-wink humour
– while straying from his orthodox roots, the film makes an interesting commentary on what it’s like to live on both sides of the faith, which is both educational, insightful and funny
– it’s a cheeky, curious, smart and funny misadventure as a young man is led astray by a “shiksa”
A solid 7 on the splingometer
So just to wrap up…
TERMINATOR: DATE FATE… while light and overladen with CGI, it remains entertaining by virute of its hot pursuit action and star power… A satisfactory 6!
THE KING… whole-hearted performances, poetic framing and authentic battle sequences help alleviate shades of gloom and inertia… A satisfactory 6!
THE AWAKENING OF MOTTI WOLKENBRUCH… charming performances, good chemistry and sharp writing underpin this funny and insightful coming-of-age comedy drama… A solid 7
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And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!