June’s Film Fight is back up to the nearly standard four films…
First up, Spy is, as the name suggests, a spy film. Melissa McCarthy gets to show off her comedy skills as an agent who is thrust into the field after years behind a desk, and does so admirably. The comedy works as a mixture of great lines, unexpected brutality, some slapstick, but never becoming a spoof. The extended cast are mostly good, but this is definitely McCarthy’s film. We feel sorry for her, but in a way that keeps us on-side. Very funny. (See my Spy Twitter review).
Jurassic World is an attempt to bring back the classic dinosaur franchise and, for the most part, uses that as a reason to coast on what we’ve seen before. Chris Pratt is as likeable as he usually is, but almost nothing else in this film works. The plot doesn’t hold together, seeming like an excuse to glue together a bunch of set-pieces. Most of those action sequences are done with CG that is bad enough to undermine them entirely, with the jungle bike ride being particularly awful. This is empty spectacle. A fairly mediocre waste. (See my Jurassic World Twitter review).
Michael Fassbender stars as a classic near-silent outlaw with a good heart in the Slow West. Following a young man’s journey across the American frontier to find his love, the story is enjoyable if obvious. Instead it’s the beautiful and simple cinematography, coupled with the lead performances, that make this something special. It gets enough right that its few faults become glaring (an unnecessary dream sequence and epilogue, an out of place song), but not overbearingly so. Well-acted, beautifully shot, and generally very good. (See my Slow West Twitter review).
Finally, The Overnight does a kind of comedy that you rarely see: building up an uncomfortable tension for over an hour before releasing it in a big moment. There are laughs along the way, but the focus is very much on the weirdness of the situation: a couple meeting new friends at their kid’s playdate, that gets a little out of hand. The whole (tiny) cast is great, and it’s extremely well-paced, save for an unnecessary epilogue. Very worth seeing. (See my The Overnight Twitter review).
There are three good films this month, but I think I’d probably revisit Slow West over the years to take in those performances and scenery.