A big start to 2022, with 11 new films. A very mixed bag.
#FF22 The Protege is a fairly forgettable action film, with two very solid leads.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 6, 2022
Maggie Q and Michael Keaton both work well in their roles, but the story is underwritten and the wider character motivations basically unknown.
A few action sequences work well, but meh overall.
The Lost Daughter
#FF22 The Lost Daughter is a fascinating tapestry of moments and memory, emotions bubbling up and those held in, barely.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 6, 2022
Colman puts in a layered performance, always seeming moments away from a snapping point (Buckley does well here too). Well explored.
#FF22 Licorice Pizza is a bit of a shaggy dog story, capturing moments disparately of a love story with a big question mark.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 6, 2022
Funny in moments, and fun to watch, it's more about the mood than the story, and that's fine. A great film to sit and watch, and soak in.
#FF22 Swan Song is a Black Mirror-esque story about what it is that makes us who we were.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 6, 2022
Avoiding the plot itself, Mahershala Ali is excellent as always, bringing depth to a difficult role. The back third needs a little trimming but it's all beautifully shot and engaging.
#FF22 Mother/Android is a disappointingly flat take on a robot uprising story.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 8, 2022
The two leads are good individually but lack chemistry (and natural-sound dialogue) to help sell it. There are some tense set pieces (in the house), but it's all a bit predictable and derivative.
The Tender Bar
#FF22 The Tender Bar is what happens when the subtext becomes the text, narrated loudly and bluntly stated.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 23, 2022
There's no reason to care about the lead, a relatively quiet and charmless boy; his lack of goals; or to want his cliche-mandated conclusion.
Obvious, and dull.
Preparations To Be Together For An Unknown Period Of Time
#FF22 Preparations To Be Together For An Unknown Period Of Time seems like it'll delve into a delusional cliche, but instead doesn't really do anything.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 23, 2022
A tentative love story, creeps forward slowly, and lands... somewhere.
Fine, if unexciting.
#FF22 The Starling is a clunky movie, full of heavy-handed symbolism.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 23, 2022
A solid cast is entirely wasted on scene after scene of disconnected drama, with only the CGI titular character coming away as having done its job.
#FF22 Nightmare Alley left me feeling... indifferent.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 23, 2022
It held my interest for the run time, but so much seemed obvious: from the tealy-orange grading, through other visual choices. The twist and the ending were entirely predictable, but seemed held up as big surprises.
A Journal For Jordan
#FF22 A Journal For Jordan is the slow but surprisingly sweet tale of unexpected and ultimately doomed love.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) February 15, 2022
The end is very cheesey, but the rest works remarkably well. The two leads give solid performances, and have clear chemistry.
Friends And Strangers
#FF22 Friends And Strangers fails to engage much.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) February 15, 2022
Intentionally meandering and largely plotless, it has moments of conversation that are interesting and then discarded. A scene at a rich family's home approaches unsettling horror... and stops.
Unsatisfying and languid.
The January Winner
While Licorice Pizza is an excellent slice of life film, I think The Lost Daughter is the monthly winner. Several very strong performances, a compelling story, beautifully shot.