Saturday, January 08, 2022



Lamb was not at all what I was expecting, though I’m not sure what I was expecting-- the trailer suggests it might be another Midsommar-esque horror tale, and like that movie, it's also brought to you by the good folks at A24-- but thankfully even after having seen the trailer I had no idea where it was going. (Bela Tarr is listed as a producer in the end credits, so that might give you a clue as to the movie’s tone, at least.) It’s certainly not a horror film though, nor is it exactly the sort of traumatic metaphor of parental loss I anticipated (though it is in the neighborhood).

lands more squarely in the realm of a very deliberate, foreboding folk tale-- if you're prepared to laugh you probably will, but it may also get under your skin. Despite my ill response to Noomi Rapaace, an actress whose appeal seems forbidden to me, I found it hypnotic (especially the way the director uses those gloomy, gorgeous Icelandic landscapes) and weirdly moving, right up to its creepy conclusion, for which I don't think the movie lays quite enough foundation. I think I liked it most, though, because it was a movie with its own quiet world of rhythms and pace which I could settle into on a Friday night after a relentless, pedal-to-the-metal week, and for the fact that that its impulses and sympathies were unlike what movies from any country feel compelled to serve up these days. (TRIGGER WARNING: There is a bit of animal death, though not graphic. The animal births, however, are not for the squeamish…)


Copshop is a hoot and a holler, and I certainly wouldn’t have guessed it. Both Gerard Butler as a professional hit man and Frank Grillo as his slimy mob con target hold the screen like, well, professionals. But the show is handily stolen by Alexis Louder as the bored Nevada cop who ends up in a standoff with the two of them in the titular, bullet-and-corpse-littered police station. She is the real deal— funny, sharp, believable and never quite in the zone you’d expect. Hers is, or should be, a star-making performance— we’ll see. And the movie gets a major assist from Toby Huss as the gregariously deranged contract murderer who wants to wipe them all out. In the post-Tarantino landscape, it’s unusual to see someone pull off an over-the-top piece of acting like this— genuinely creepy/funny/original and not catastrophically smug— but Huss figures out how to do it. Director Joe Carnahan makes the whole she-bang a visual hoot and a holler too. Between this and The Protege from earlier this year, that’s a lot of solid, clever, mean, female-centric action from a couple of low-flying, unexpected sources. Good show!

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