Thursday 15 July 2021

Rob's Movie Night Roundup - M (Molly's Game, Mortal Engines)

At the beginning of the year, my wife and I decided that we'd like to watch more movies. There are 52 weeks in a year, 2 of us, and 26 letters in the alphabet. What better way to choose some movies than to go alphabetically? The only rule: Where possible, it should be a movie that one or more of us had never seen before. Oh, and ideally it should be part of one of the copious online streaming services we're already subscribed to, because why bother paying for a rental when we're not short of options?

Incidentally, if anyone from the big online streaming service providers is reading this (your Notfluxes or your Prims, for example), please make it easier to search for/sort movies alphabetically. Thanks.

Also, fair warning: There may well be movies that appear on this list that you'll find hard to believe I haven't seen before. It happens.

Previous letters are here: A B C D E F G H I J K L


Director: Aaron Sorkin
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner

Synopsis via IMDB: The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.

Another edition of Movie Night Roundup, another movie "based on a true story/true events". There must be something about Netflix and their catalogue that makes those sorts of movies stand out when choosing.

In any case, this one is a belter. The cast is excellent, the story is fascinating (and from what I can gather follows the book on which it is based pretty closely) and it has some darkly comic moments.

The movie was well-shot, too, not spending too long on any one part of the story and taking time to flesh out each period of time through the narrative. The performances are strong, with Jessica Chastain in particular playing the title role really well and making Molly Bloom tough yet endearing in the right places.

That's all I've got. Good movie. I'd recommend it, unless you're a fan of Tobey Maguire. He's not in it, but apparently one of the characters in the movie is based on him, and is a bit of a git.

Director: Christian Rivers
Stars: Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving

Synopsis via IMDB: In a post-apocalyptic world where cities ride on wheels and consume each other to survive, two people meet in London and try to stop a conspiracy.

I could've sworn this one was *directed* by Peter Jackson, not just the screenplay. But I digress.

I can't remember who gave me this feedback, but I went into Mortal Engines with low expectations. I have no recollection of what it was that was pointed to as the primary reason for this, but I was informed that the movie was crap. I have to say, though the story was somewhat by the numbers, I really enjoyed this movie.

The execution on a visual level was spectacular, with a really impressive steampunk aesthetic that just made everything look incredible. The overall tone of the large London city, in particular, looked like it was genuinely cobbled together from some sort of world tragedy that left London wrecked.

The performances in the movie are pretty good too. I like me some Hugo Weaving, and it was nice to see him in this. I had one unanswered question, but I can't be sure I didn't just miss the explanation so I don't want to give it too hard a time. Good movie, worth a watch if you don't mind something by the numbers and somewhat formulaic in its execution.

M was probably one of my favourite letters in the whole exercise so far. I liked Molly's Game and Mortal Engines a lot more than I was expecting to like them, in part due to the feedback I'd had about the latter. For the former, it was just a well-executed movie about what could easily have been a somewhat tedious story in the wrong hands.

As an aside, as normal life begins to open back up (at the time of writing we're in Mid-July 2021, and Covid restrictions are gradually lifting) it seems inevitable that movie-watching time might become slightly more scarce as we start getting invited to things again. My wife might have plans, I might have plans, my wife and I might have plans... You get the idea. However, I am going to endeavour to still complete at least one movie from each letter by the end of the year. I have started, thus I will do my damndest to finish.

Did you enjoy the roundup? Let me know! If you have thoughts on the movies chosen and their respective writeups above, you know where to find me. Maybe you don't, but there are buttons everywhere to make that happen. Comments, Twitter, you name it. Moreover, if you want to make use of this movie night format, bearing in mind you're a few weeks in and might have to double up to get up to speed, feel free to do the same - I'd love to know what you chose too!

Rob Wade

Rob Wade blogs about stuff he likes. Whether it's video games or geek media for Emotionally14 or writing about speculative theories for future films on Talk Star Wars, the focus has always been on the stuff that brings the most pleasure to his life within media.

Rob is the editor of Emotionally14, and showrunner of the E14 podcasts "The Crazy Train", "The E14 Gamecast" and "Talk Star Wars", as well as the host and guest of a number of pieces on E14's Youtube channel over the years.

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