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ᴡᴀʀɴɪɴɢs: mentions of sexually explicit content, cursing. this story is not appropriate for underage readers.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
They’re all waiting there by the time you arrive.
In perfect time, they all glance up with the sliding of the glass door and the oldest of the contestants, Seokjin, shuffles aside on the packed couch to make room for you.
It’s odd still; having cameramen spotted around the house and outdoor area, crouched in corners or tucked behind furniture, but you try to ignore them as best you can, sitting carefully between Seokjin and Taehyung.
Still hesitant with names, you mentally run through a roll call, working out who is who. You’d met each one of the seven Gentlemen only briefly before, an awkward staged introduction that had to be filmed multiple times due to Namjoon getting his directions mixed up, Taehyung breaking into laughter on several occasions, and Jungkook forgetting his lines.
Then, you’d been instructed to go get ‘dressed down’ a bit (aka the boys loosening their ties or removing their blazers, and you swapping some heels for house slippers) and get to know each other properly over dinner.
You feel some of your nervous tension ease away with deep breaths tinged with the meaty smell of the barbecue in the middle table. At least you’d be spending the next two months in relative luxury. “Who’s on duty?” you question to the group, willing your stomach not to growl.
Ah, shit… I thought I had posted this yesterday afternoon, but apparently just saved to my drafts. Oops. Anyway, instead of just waiting until next week, here’s a late edition of My Week in Reviews.
The Gentlemen (Guy Ritchie, 2020)
Sure, it suffers in the same way all of Ritchie’s films do, in favoring plot over character and style over substance, but that’s part of the charm of a Guy Ritchie film. They’re vulgar and quick and clever and chock-full of immensely entertaining performances. The Gentlemen takes its Ritchie-isms to the next level, for better and worse.
McConaughey is a blast, as is the scene-stealing Hugh Grant. Behind them are surprisingly strong turns by Charlie Hunnam and Henry Golding, the always welcome Colin Farrell in a surprisingly tame role for a film like this, and Succession’‘s Jeremy Strong having waaayy too much fun.
The writing is exactly what’s to be expected from a film like this. It’s vulgar and twisty and often far more impressed with itself than it has any right to be. But it’s fun, so who cares? - 7.5/10
Bloodshot (Dave S.W. Wilson, 2020)
We’ve already known it for a looong time now, but this is a painful reminder that Vin Diesel is the single worst actor of this generation.
entire film feels like disjointed video game cutscenes tossed together.
This makes sense, seeing as this is Dave S.F. Wilson’s feature
directorial debut after working in the video game industry for the past
16-years. It’s not always a problem, as Wilson does especially well on
the tunnel action sequence, delivering a visually interesting,
over-the-top moment that would go on to be the film’s single saving
Then there’s the writing, which feels as though it was
done in a single sitting by an insecure 14-year-old boy who was just
called gay by a classmate. It’s all so obvious, underdeveloped and
chock-full of extreme machismo that only someone so fragile would ever
mistake as being genuinely tough.
There are a very few, flickering
moments where this felt like it could’ve wandered into the territory of
a fun, mindless ‘90s action flick, but they were way too few and far
between to save this from it’s awful leading man, immature writing and
unfocused direction. - 2/10
Dolittle (Stephen Gaghan, 2020)
Did Robert Downey Jr. & Co. bomb this shit on purpose?!? There’s zero reason for nothing in this to work. It’s a Goddamn family film that’s completely devoid of any sense of fun or wonder, and the animals are, at their best, awkward and annoying. Plus, RDJ’s a great actor, but holy shit he’s atrocious, here. Was this all just some sort of insurance scam?? - 1.5/10
Reds (Warren Beatty, 1981)
Beatty’s direction is damn good, Vittorio Storaro’s
cinematography is beautiful, and much of the cast is stellar. The
problem is, I quickly formed a strong dislike for Jack Reed and was
therefore lost pretty early on. Plus, about an hour and a half here
could very, very easily be trimmed and you’d lose absolutely nothing that really matters. - 4.5/10
Downhill (Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, 2020)
An absolute misfire on all fronts. It rarely knows when to utilize its humor, and when it does, it’s never confident in what type of humor to utilize. Is it a pitch-black comedy? It wants to be. Or is it an awkward dramedy about the avalanche that broke a marriage’s back? The tone throughout would make you think so, but Faxon & Rash never commit to it, in fear of losing the edge of the former. Is it a complete waste of both your time and a promising cast? More than anything, absolutely. - 2/10
The Way Back (Gavin O’Connor, 2020)
While I began wanting more out of the underdog sports story, O’Connor sticks to the character study within. Ben Affleck is incredible as a grieving alcoholic who finds a path to recovery in coaching his high school basketball team. It feels as personal as it reads on paper for Affleck, and because of that it saves itself from becoming just another film about redemption and basketball. - 8/10
The Call of the Wild (Chris Sanders, 2020)
After I got over Buck being CGI, I was quickly able to be taken by the heart of the story. Sanders & Co. stay true to the heart of London’s book, and because of that and a solid cast, as well as solid CGI work that brings Buck to life with a ton of personality (still wish he was a real dog, though), this is a light success, but a success no less. - 6.5/10
I also revisited Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon in celebration of what would’ve been his 110th birthday. Then I revisited my second favorite film of 2019, Greta Gerwig’s wonderful adaptation of Little Women, as well as Clint Eastwood’s infuriating Richard Jewell and Nilson & Schwartz’s incredibly sweet The Peanut Butter Falcon. And finally, I spent my Sunday with Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom - a film that came damn close to breaking into my Top 10 of the 2010s - and Pixar’s Ratatouille - one of my favorite animated films of the 2000s.
Seriously, Guy Ritchie, Charlie Hunnam,
Matthew McConaughey, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant, Henry Golding?!
I have no problem with making Jews the bad guys in a gangster movie, but making it about them being Jewish is just lazy antisemitism. It is racist drivel.
The whole kitsch gangster movie comes across as just a way to say Jews are evil. It’s fanciful stupidity.
“Matthew is Jewish, which for the purposes of ‘The Gentlemen’ appears to
mean that he is good with money, is devious to the point of
unscrupulousness about his business affairs and hires giant bodyguards
he describes as his ‘Mossad crabs.’ ‘Trust this Jew about that Jew,’
Mickey’s wife, Rosalind (Michelle Dockery), warns him when the two men
commence talks, a scene that, given what comes after, seems to exist
mostly to inoculate ‘The Gentlemen’ against charges of anti-Semitism by
suggesting that there are Jews on both sides of the conflict.
Matthew is not merely a tough negotiator; in the grand tradition of
anti-Semitic tropes, he’s cheap and a cheat, working with Dry Eye to
drive down the value of Mickey’s business, with some of Coach’s trainees
as his cat’s paws. The result is a plot in which Jewish and Chinese
people are ganging up on white men who are working class in their
origins, using — among other people — young black men as their
instruments. ‘The Gentlemen’ ends with Mickey’s Chinese and Jewish
antagonists dead or maimed, and a consolidated alliance between the
black and white characters who began, or remain, lower down on the class
[E]ven if Ritchie wasn’t deliberately slapping crisp blazers and natty
sweaters on a nasty fantasy about model minorities trying to do white
men wrong, it’s amazing that ‘The Gentlemen’ made it through every stage
of development without anyone’s eyebrows shooting straight up off their
heads in response.
never truer than in the movie’s final scene. In Shakespeare’s ‘The
Merchant of Venice,’ the Jewish moneylender Shylock’s requirement of a
pound of flesh as payment for a debt is presented as macabre and
unreasonable. Shylock may have suffered from his debtor’s anti-Semitism
and anti-competitive business practices.
Gentlemen’ inverts Shylock’s demand when, as retribution for Dry Eye’s
attempted rape of Rosalind, Mickey insists that Matthew not only make
him whole for his business losses financially but that Matthew excise a
pound of his own flesh. Unlike Shylock’s pursuit of his payment, ‘The Gentlemen’ treats Mickey’s brutality as reasonable, even
chivalrous. This isn’t just a double standard: ‘The Gentlemen’ takes an
act that marks a Jewish character as monstrous in Shakespeare and flips
it around, suggesting that another Jewish character deserves to be
forced to mutilate himself. ‘The Gentlemen’ uses Rosalind both as an
excuse and a mask: Mickey is acting both in defense of, and on the
advice of, his Jewish wife, who counsels him to be ruthless. But sorting
people by whether they’re Good Jews or Bad Jews isn’t a refutation to
charges of anti-Semitism…
More than most people, even most of his fellow directors, Guy Ritchie’s
talent is for making things look cool. It’s too bad the thing that he’s
dressed up this time is anti-Semitism.
Have to disagree with her that this is amazing. This is the reality of the American media-it’s very Nazi.
Having a mini guy richie movie fest before I watch the gentlemen and im currently on snatch. I start screaming because Viggo!!!!! is in it and I totally forgot. Now I wanna watch John wick I did watch lock, shock, and two smoking barrels and rockenrolla.