Midnight Movies: The Statistical Strategy in Sport, Tense Historical Drama, and a Monster Movie Knock Out.

The festive season is upon us and, like many of us, I have every intention of indulging in all the Christmas classic flicks. However, in the last month, there were several films that both surprised me and delighted me with brilliant performances, insightful storytelling, and one ridiculous festive film.

The King

An understated historical feature that spotlights the brutality of war and court manipulation. Some may say the film lacks action, but this allows the spotlight to fall on our main protagonist, newly crowned King Henry V, a man so dismayed by the destruction of war that he emotionally distances himself from his father, Henry IV. As king, he seeks to unite England and bring peace between nations. Timothée Chalamet stole the show as Henry V, alongside Joel Edgerton’s Falstaff, his closest ally and former warrior. There is a subtle nuance in their performance that is incredibly effective as we get to visually and emotionally witness the exhausting toll war takes on a man’s mentality. As tensions mount between the French and English, we are treated to a suffocating battle culminating in a visually striking reminder of the brutality of war. The King is a period drama that finds its strength in performance and substance.

Daddy’s Home 2

Sometimes you just need a Saturday night film to be nothing but mindless entertainment. Daddy’s Home 2 reunites Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell in this ridiculously silly comedy on the co-parenting duo. This time, they are joined by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow who bring an additional air of chaos to their lives. If you’re looking for a Christmas film that features a talented cast working with a mediocre script and hilariously ridiculous concept, Daddy’s Home 2 is the one to watch.

Kong: Skull Island

The biggest surprise was Kong: Skull Island. Monster films too often have such a bizarre concept that I fail to see the purpose of such films. Skull Island proved me wrong. In a film that features an A-list cast, Skull Island was exhilarating and fast-paced and felt like a fresh take on the legendary monster, unburdened by the pressure of competing with previous iterations of the character. It was a fun film to watch and renewed interest in the monster movie franchise.

Moneyball

There’s something about sports films that are so compelling. Sports culture fascinates me, and I love watching films that delve into the nitty-gritty, behind the scene, day to day operations of sporting organisations. It is easy for fans to champion players that demonstrate a passion for the game, those who would give their all to see their dreams come true. However, it’s easy to forget that sporting organisations are also a business and a cutthroat business at that. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much you love the sport because, at the end of the day, it comes down to the game, and when you’re on the losing side, passion can’t factor into the future of a team. It’s the business side of the game that Moneyball spotlights, with Brad Pitt delivering a compelling performance as the general manager of the Oakland Athletics looking to assemble a competitive team on a limited budget and in the process, change the entire nature of how baseball is played. To do this, he enlists an economics graduate, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), whose analytical insight provides a controversial formula to asses a players value. It’s hard to imagine statistics having such a crucial role to the game, but the method implemented by Brand, while unconventional, proved to be the game-changer for the struggling Athletics. It was a fascinating concept, one made even more complex by the power play that ensued between the manager and disapproving coach and scouts, who turned their backs on this play. Moneyball is a brilliant film that spotlights the business of sports with plenty of heart and wit.

 Have you seen any of these films?
What have you been watching?

7 thoughts on “Midnight Movies: The Statistical Strategy in Sport, Tense Historical Drama, and a Monster Movie Knock Out.

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