Meewella | Critic

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Tag: Taron Egerton

QuickView: Tetris (2023)

“I played Tetris for five minutes. I still see falling blocks in my dreams.”

Henk Rogers

Adapting the wrangling over licensing rights of the universally beloved Tetris into a (heavily embelished) cold war espionage thriller is an unexpected yet intriguing choice that still pays homage to designer Alexey Pajitnov and the beautiful simplicity of the game. Egerton leads the cast as the bombastic Henk, an endearing entrepreneurial Dutch-American hustler, determined but baffled by the Soviet Union and guileless to its danger, contrasted by Nikita Efremov’s understated Alexey, a thoughtful idealist (“Good ideas have no borders”). Director Jon S. Baird isn’t able to replicate the emotional resonance of Stan & Ollie in the friendship between Henk and Alexey (everything rattles along too swiftly for that), but he introduces some fun stylistic flourishes with pixel art transitions and a car chase where collisions billow a flurry of pixels — this is a rare occasion when greater use of the gimmick would have been welcome. Soviet bureaucracy provides plenty of fodder for farce (perfectly demonstrated in The Death of Stalin), with officials marching between simultaneous negotiations in separate rooms, whilst the Union’s imminent downfall split those who wanted the best for their country and those who prioritised personal profit before the collapse. Presenting all of this together leads to a tonal disonnance at times, coupled with pacing issues that drag. The performances (with ever reliable character actors like Toby Jones and Roger Allam) nevertheless keep in motion this exuberant tale of falling blocks in a falling bloc.


QuickView: Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

“We’ve kind of got a bit of a “save the world” situation here.”


A bloated sequel that tries to recapture its anarchic satire of the Bond franchise’s excesses with muted success and decidedly less charisma from its leads, I actually enjoyed this far more than I feared from its critical reception. Arguably the story’s chief sin is swiftly to sideline its female cast, leaving once again a field of exclusively male agents. It makes the film’s direct references to equality and loyalty feel somewhat crass. Seeing the British Kingsmen working alongside their US counterparts, The Statesmen, is perhaps tailored to me (pun intended) but the creative design throughout both the Statesman HQ and the villain’s lair is wonderful. Whilst nothing matches the first film’s church brawl, there is still substantial creativity to the action set pieces.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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