Movie Reviews: I’m Your Man, Beasts Claw Straws, People Do Nothing: Fat in Japan

I am your man

ert 15A; IFI & cinemas selected now

4 stars

It’s hard enough to speak another language, acting in one must be quite a challenge. But it’s a challenge that English actor Dan Stevens absolutely succeeds in this German gem.

Maria Schrader, Netflix director Unorthodox, returns with a feature film that she co-wrote. A mix of The Women of Stepford, Ex Machina and traditional romantic comedies may not sound very promising, but it’s a sweet, funny, and intelligent film.

In exchange for research funding, academic Alma (Maren Eggert) agrees to participate in an experiment. For three weeks, she will live with an android who has been specially designed as a life partner for her. Tom (Stevens) is a lovely dream boat but Alma can’t forget he’s not human.

The film inevitably plays with ideas about love. It dances between who and what we want in a life partner, and why, and many of the answers will be personal to the audience. The film is sobering but has a light touch and a lot of humor. Stevens is just fantastic and Eggert is the perfect counterpoint, in a role that couldn’t have been easy to present. Don’t let the subtitles put you off, it’s a beautiful thing.

The beasts claw the straws

Certificate 15; Curzon Home Cinema now

3 stars

Video of the day

The Crime Caper Flick can be an event of style rather than substance. With so much emphasis on crime and hugging, character development is often overlooked.

This is the case with the first feature film by Korean director Kim Yong-hoon. There’s a lot going on with people we have no real idea about. However, this seems deliberate; these characters are the beasts of the title after all, and the movie is an entertaining Tarantino-style ride in Korean.

The story is told in six chapters. In the first, entitled Debt. we are presented with a bag of money and the four characters who need that money. The two women (Jeon Do-yeon, Shin Hyun-bin) and the two men (Jung Woo-sun, Bae Seong-wu) each have different reasons for wanting the loot and different attitudes to get their hands on it.

There’s a local crime boss with a silent tattooed hitman and a lot of murders, dark humor type. Kim Yong-hoon is a fan of the Coen brothers as well as Tarantino. Youn Yuh-jung, who won the Best Actress Oscar for Minari, also appears briefly. The action accelerates in the second half, delivering a few surprises along the way. Although it’s a bit silly, you have to be careful – and it’s a lot of fun.

People do nothing: big in Japan

15A certificate; in the cinema now

2 stars

Turning a TV series into a movie is an unpredictable endeavor. This is especially true for comedy because what works well for half an hour can wear out in 90 minutes. It’s like chocolate, it’s wonderful for a treat, but it doesn’t work like a dinner.

The award-winning British comedy People Just Do Nothing is one example. The series, about the Kurupt team of unknowingly and untalented garage musicians, is niche market good humor. They are all a little dark, very important, and weirdly likable.

The film sees a Kurupt single go Big in Japan. “Manager” Chabuddy G (Asim Chaudry), rappers MC Grindah (Allan Mustafa) and DJ Beats (Hugo Chegwin) and the rest of the team travel to Tokyo to embrace the glory. Of course, things don’t go as planned.

The essence of the series translates to the big screen and fans of the TV series will enjoy the film. However, the plot is so fragile that it is almost invisible. What the movie clings to, then, is how much you enjoy humor and for how long. I liked the humor and the characters, but for me the show looks better on TV.

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