Spling reviews Sr., The Wolf of Snow Hollow and A Shot Through the Wall 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 documentary, a comedy mystery horror and a crime drama.
Starting off with a film now on Netflix…
A tender but irreverent chronicle of the life and career of Robert Downey Sr.
Director: Chris Smith
Features: Robert Downey Sr., Paul Thomas Anderson and Alan Arkin
– Robert Downey Jr has become one of the highest-paid talents across the globe, becoming the poster boy for Marvel with his role as Tony Stark and Iron Man.
– The most famous Robert Downey, he owes much of his passion for film to his namesake, a director whose countercultural comedy and experimental films have influenced many filmmakers including Paul Thomas Anderson.
– Creating the documentary in order to pay due respect to his father’s legacy and offer a glimpse of where it all began, this unconventional mostly black-and-white biographical documentary shapeshifts into something special.
– After introducing his father, the documentary captures candid moments shared between the two whether in person or over the phone.
– A warm, familiar father-son bond, Sr. is a touching retrospective that covers the late director’s film career with excerpts from his colourful filmography.
– Covering three generations, Robert Downey Sr decides to create a film within a film as a self-portrait, a tip of the hat to his creative ambition.
– Taking behind-the-scenes shots of the filmmaking process, Sr. has a curious perspective tempered with a good sense of humour.
– While entertaining, intimate and soulful, it’s also shaded by melancholy as Robert Downey Sr. struggles with Parkinson’s and covers some difficult drug-addled years.
– A meandering and soul-searching black-and-white documentary, it serves as a nostalgic throwback to the yesteryear of filmmaking as well as a sentimental memoir to a fiercely independent New Yorker and father.
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
Moving on to a movie now on Showmax…
A struggling officer tries to hold it all together as he heads up an investigation into a spate of wolf-related killings.
Writer-Director: Jim Cummings
Stars: Jim Cummings, Riki Lindhome and Robert Forster
– There’s something so alluring about a small town crime comedy, set against mountains in the dead of winter.
– Conjuring up a hybrid genre and uneasy Twin Peaks atmosphere, The Wolf of Snow Hollow tracks an investigation into what appears to be a series of grisly murders.
– As writer, director and lead actor, Cummings is in full command, delivering a snappy and entertaining performance, portraying the disintegration of a cop.
– A character portrait of an alcoholic deputy sheriff trying to cope with the rising pressures of a distant home life and ineffectual police force, the film title takes on a degree of ambiguity.
– Delivering lines as quickly as an episode of Gilmore Girls, this tightly-packed, quickfire crime drama moves at speed.
– While Fargo had its quirks, The Wolf of Snow Hollow is much more geared towards comedy, flexing its comic casting to good effect – achieving a tonal quality more in line with Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead.
– Brandishing indie spirit, there are some edgy and off-colour moments that set it apart, without becoming alienating or too experimental.
– Reminiscent of Blow the Man Down, this small town caper has substance, self-awareness and enough mystery and human interest to make for compelling viewing.
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
And finally a film now on Showmax…
A Chinese-American police officer’s life unravels after he accidentally shoots an innocent man.
Writer-Director: Aimee Long
Stars: Kenny Leu, Ciara Renée and Fiona Fu
– Based on a true story, A Shot Through the Wall dramatises the events following a cop’s fatal error, when his firearm is discharged by mistake in pursuit of a suspect.
– Taken from the perspective of an Asian-American, Shot Through the Wall is a fascinating chronicle of a case that came to centre on race politics.
– This crime drama escalates tension, as Mike Tan is tried in the media, struggles to get clear answers in terms of legal representation and attempts to go it alone in order to keep his family and fiancée out of the spotlight.
– Led by a fine performance from Kenny Leu, he carries the guilt, uncertainty and confusion in a nuanced and restrained performance.
– Steering away from sensation, A Shot Through the Wall tries to maintain a levelheaded and factual point-of-view, offering a window into Tan’s innocent-until-proven-guilty experience.
– This indie drama captures the social challenges around policing in the US, gun-happy America and the media’s bloodlust when it comes to digging for dirt.
– Aiming for a matter-of-fact sentiment, A Shot Through the Wall is best when it reaches for loftier artistic expression, ending on a poignant and heartbreaking note that is sure to linger.
– Choosing character and story integrity over excitement, this pensive drama has an earnest and dignified temperament, which does diminish entertainment value in pursuit of a powerful message.
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
So just to wrap up…
SR… an intimate, meandering, soul-searching and touching chronicle, tribute and father-son documentary… A solid 7!
THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW… an entertaining, quirky, smart, upbeat and sometimes hilarious comedy crime horror mystery… A solid 7!
A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL… a fine lead performance compels this matter-of-fact, powerful and timely dramatisation… A satisfactory 6!
For more movie reviews and features visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!