@shiftygism: the new one? Man that movie is an abomination. I don’t know how anyone could have written some of those conversations and thought “yah this is good and funny”
Man what a trainwreck.
Assault on Precinct 13
This was a gap in my Carpenter viewing, and it’s not my favorite. It’s good, and I’m sure it was more relevant a statement on gangs, guns, violence, and police at its time, but it doesn’t hold up in the same way as his other films.
I still love his music and how his characters can all stand out as opposed to being generic thugs. Carpenter’s style is unique and always a pleasure to watch.
It’s a good time, but this’ll probably be my only viewing.
Terminator: Dark Fate - 2 out of 5 stars
The old adage is that you can pick apart the logic of any time travel plot the second you start asking questions. For some reason, the Terminator series is so much more susceptible to this line of cross-examination. This is one of the dumbest, laziest, saddest attempts to restart the Terminator franchise, something I thought I'd never say again after the trainwreck that was Terminator Genisys. No choice the movie makes is coherent. Every setup and payoff feels unearned, or worse, something that was done more effectively in one of the three other post-T2 Terminator films.
If it weren't for some generally competent craftwork by the film's cinematography and special effects teams and a fine-but-not-really-all-that-interesting performance from Mackenzie Davis, I'd happily drop a one-star review on this dizzyingly inane imitation of a big budget blockbuster.
The Lighthouse - 5/5
Highly, highly recommended! I still haven't seen The Witch, but I doubt that'll be true much longer unless it falls off of Netflix while I'm not looking. Eggers has such a masterful hold on these characters and this setting, and what little story there is to latch on to rushes by like a gale force wind. Dafoe's Wake is a Shakespearean presence translated through a Melville fetish, and Pattinson perfectly balances his blustering poetry with a blunt, cold performance that cracks in all the right places at all the right times. The latter's rightfully been compared to Daniel Day-Lewis' performance in There Will Be Blood, and not just because he's got the moustache and the accent. He truly transforms, while Dafoe seems to be channeling his Norman Osborne into a freer, more human space.
Some could argue the Lovecraftian aspects are a bit tacked on, and those who've seen Annihilation (or actually read his most famous works, I guess) could probably see the ending coming as soon as the title card hits, but that just makes Eggers' insistence on ignoring the coherence of the story in favor of the, ahem, ever growing and expanding insight the characters build into each other and the insanity derived from their lonely, mismatched cohabitation all the better.
It's also hard to overstate how much the 4:3 aspect ratio suits this film; it'd be hard for widescreen home televisions to ruin anything about this particular movie, but there is something very intentional about that claustrophobic aspect ratio that'll be lost as the movie transitions to streaming services. Anybody with an interest in the phenomenal and the psychological owes it to themselves to get to a theater and see this masterpiece for themselves.
Last movie I watched all the way through without stopping (a bad habit of mine) was Fantastic Beasts, The Crimes of Grindlewald. Yeah, I‘m behind. For a supposed Potter fangirl it’s pretty shocking that it took me so long. Then again...not a great film? The poor reviews put me off. I really wanted to like the movie so I kept putting it off when I heard bad things.
So the effects were pretty good, and I like the score. But...that’s about it? It was like it was setting everything up for the rest of the series. It reminded me of the Matrix, in that the first film was amazing, and it’s like after that they thought, oh hey, we can make a sh**load of money off this franchise, let’s do more, only we have to f*** around with the universe a bit to make it work. It was a completely different vibe from the first film. Was it always supposed to be a series?
I like the fact there were lots of Potter characters, but if you’re not heavily into the series, you’d probably be left wondering what the hell is going on half the time.
I guess I’ll watch the next one when it comes out, but I won’t be front of the queue. I gave it 3/5 on my personal scoring scale. And most of that was for Zoe Kravitz 💕💕
We are the best (2013), the most recent Lukas Moodysson's movie. Despite being about a subject matter that I should connect more to than with his other movies - being set in 1982 Sweden with a group of kids starting a punk band without knowing how to play any instruments and with their lyrics mostly being about how much they despise sports - it fell a little flat.
Some great scenes in there, but many of them kinda seemed like remakes of scenes from his earlier movies. The structure and editing of his movies had kinda started getting a bit stale and predictible here too. Anyway, it was worth watching, but probably my least favorite of his movies so far. Had a great cover of the classic Swedish punk song Sex Noll Två (602) by KSMB in it though. 3/5
Shivers (1975), David Cronenberg's debut feature length movie. You could certainly spot a lot of themes that would return in his later works, and I enjoyed watching it, though aspects of it had aged a little and the special effects weren't always believable. Essentially a take on The Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Crazies but with a much more explicitly sexual bent, with a sexually transmitted infection causing mayhem in an isolated luxury apartment building on an island just outside of Montreal.
Anyway, it mostly had people reacting rationally to an increasingly absurd situation, and for the most part they attempted to do reasonable things, but with the movie giving logical reasons when they didn't work out, which is still a breath of fresh air when so many of these movies rely on people incredibly stupid things in order for the plot to move along. 3.5/5, bordering on a 4.
@giggmeister: It was a really odd viewing experience, wasn't it? I liked the first one a lot, it was charming and good-hearted, with a very sweet romantic sub-plot that only enhanced the magic and made for a nice contrast with Credence's chaos.
The sequel felt like a by-the-numbers darkening of everything and upping the stakes in a way it never quite earned. It's sort of slung at the audience very early on with the melodramatic escape, Newt's odd "I don't care" attitude when he's initially asked to help with the hunt, the injection of fake tension by twisting Jacob and Queenie into needy, selfish assholes just for the excuse of drama. I found a lot of it quite out of character, did you? These ham-fisted preludes made the rest of the journey get off to an uneven start before it even had a chance to let its characters and world breathe properly, something I'd argue the first one did well.
I think they wasted a massive opportunity to bring Grindelwald's true persona to the forefront. Turns out he was far more frightening disguised as somebody else, much like Crouch Jr within his Moody facade, because they overdo it. It becomes a pantomime when the writers and actors see how crrrrazy and evil they can make them once their identities are known.
It's poorly put together, simply. I think the elements of a brilliant sequel were there, but it was assembled with boxing gloves on.
Baby Driver 3/5
It was fine, but the only car chase worth seeing is the first one and the rest of the film is, while fairly light hearted, a typical crime drama.
It carries with it the tropes of crime dramas that i really don't like and has a weak happy ending, i like happy endings but this one feels needlessly protracted, like if i extended this sentence a bit longer, even though i don't need to, it just goes on a bit, and doesn't know when to stop.
If it wasn't for a couple decent scenes and some good supporting cast (not Jamie Foxx who i found very annoying), i'd give it a 2.
Rabid (1977), another Cronenberg movie, and I suppose on the surface a pretty standard zombie/vampire movie (though the method of how it's spread is pretty original), in some ways pretty similar to his previous Shivers (or The Crazies from the same era). Like with Shivers, I really appreciate how most characters are dealing rationally with a crazy situation, though the original setup is a little more far-fetched than in the previous movie (as well as having some pretty surreal moments every now and then), most fascinating is how the government and world health organization are depicted though, throughout the movie we get news reports that has them competently dealing with the situation, they're quick to realize the basics of what's going on an work throughout to work out vaccines and solutions and I think that part of the movie is really intriguing even though parts of the movie drag on a little. All in all, I think I liked Shivers more, but the unique takes this has on an even at the time fairly established zombie movie formula still makes it an enjoyable watch. 3/5
I had no idea what I was getting into - other than it was a horror movie related to different holidays. I didn't even realise it was going to be an anthology thing.
And given that it is an anthology movie, you can expect the quality's going to vary between segments; thankfully, I thought most of the segments were very good. Also, the Easter segment will haunt me forever.
If I were to rank them:
Tomb Raider (2018)
I really liked this movie. The whole vibe felt like a dumb fun popcorn 80s movie. The opening act presented Lara well, and the following scenes evolved well. It had a Uncharted 2 vibe of escalation. Once she would get out of one bad situation she would have to find her way out of a even worse situation. The story kind of gets wonky near the end and the big reveal is kind of obvious, but overall this movie wasn’t a terrible as people made it out to be. If this was the story for a Tomb Raider game it would be one of the best. As a side note, Walter Goggins stole the show, and his motivations were not typical for a movie villain. For a video game licensed film, this is one of the best. It’s not perfect, but it fills the void left by Indiana Jones.
The Jungle Book (2016)
In the age of “live action” Disney remakes, this one seems to be the cream of the crop. Neel Sethi does a fantastic job as Mowgli, and the rest of the cast brought a vibrant personality and warmth to the film. The film stays reasonably true to the original while providing its own flavor to the story. I have only seen the Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King remakes and compared to both this one easily stands above both.
Crazy Rich Asians
I had minor expectations going in, and feel like they were fulfilled. It is a romantic fantasy, supported by a generally fabulous cast, that is so far removed from everyday life it becomes more because of it. It feels like Romcom 101, and I'm no fan normally. But tacked on are some cultural eccentricities and a wonderful cast. The film knows its strengths, and embraces them--every veneered smile and perfect East Asian face.
I really enjoyed it. Well and truly. It balances the aspects of Asian culture very well to a Western eye, at least to mine. So you're not necessarily left out, but you can spot aspects of behaviour and culture that are both alien and reminiscent of something we know. The only exception is mahjong, which is fine because the actual game in that particular scene is still presented to the point where you instinctively know what a certain move signifies, because it's still standard romcom.
Really enjoyed it. The glamorous approach was excellent fantasy escapism for a 30-something guy like me.
TL;DR: It's Asian Entourage in terms of glamour, the good-looking people, and nothing else.
I rewatched Interstellar for this first time since release, this time with my nine year old daughter. She’s into science and interested in outer space, so I thought she might dig it.
Turns out, I liked this movie even more the second time, and she loved it. It was great pausing to explain some of the science to her (as best I could, science was never my strongest suit), and just watch her be absorbed by the planets, space travel, and family drama.
She got the movie with minimal explanation from me, and just really bought into the whole thing entirely. Apparently her new favorite movie.
Upon rewatch, it might be my personal favorite Nolan film (I need to watch Inception again, I think).
Videodrome (1982). Continuing with the Cronenberg train, with a recently restored 35mm print.
This surreal classic may just get better with age. I enjoyed it when I last watched it around 15-18 years ago, but mostly for the grotesque imagery and memorable lines. Its themes regarding broadcast personas, media consumption, addiction and manipulation didn't really stick with me at the time, but they come across as particularly striking today. The movie was of course wrong about the medium, but most of it is even more applicable to today's streaming video world than it ever was to underground tape trading and pirate broadcasting. When it comes to plot, I still probably think Shivers is his best, at least out of the movies I've revisited, but the ideas and themes of Videodrome are in another league. Also fun to think of the Spectacular Optical Corporation as a Google analogue with their "we make cheap glasses for the third world and guidance systems for NATO". 4/5
Also rewatched The Brood (1979) a few weeks ago, kind of a much more traditional horror/slasher movie, some body horror of course, and some very memorable scenes, but as a whole probably one of Cronenberg's weakest. The motivations of most characters felt either unclear or unrelatable throughout, I think, and I'm not sure that was the intention. 2.5/5
Frozen II: 2/5.
This is a musical, and there are a LOT of songs; it seems like about half the run-time is taken by singing. So it lives and dies by the strength of the music, and I don't think it was that great. Nothing as memorable as "Let it Go".
The story was also fairly weak. In particular, it seemed to lead up to a payoff that never came. Since the opening number was about how "some things never change", I was certain that there was going to be a big change. So it made sense to me that the castle was going to be destroyed in the end. But it was saved at the last minute instead, which makes that song pointless. Nothing much changes, so I guess the song can be interpreted literally as "yup, things pretty much just stay the same" - but that's a pretty boring theme to base a movie around. My guess is that the writers originally were going to actually destroy it, and some Disney bigwigs thought that was too dark and axed that idea. Really robs the movie of its punch.
The Star Wars Holiday Special 2/5
My second time seeing this - but this time, I managed to rope a group of people into watching with me.
It's dumb, it's nonsensical, it's basically all filler; but, at least to me, there is something kind of endearing about it.
If you're the kind of person who just can't stomach the thought of sitting through all 97 minutes of this movie, I recommend at least checking out the animated segment and the Bea Arthur part.
Like Hereditary, I didn’t think this was horror. About an hour in, my wife let me know that this was the Hereditary director, which settled my expectations.
Interesting film, plenty to think about in retrospect, and very well shot, but it was just filled with unlikable characters (I get why, but maybe try to make me NOT eagerly anticipate their deaths) and was overly long.
I can deal with a 3 hour Godfather, I get Sergio Leone movies REALLY taking their time, but as nicely shot as this was, there were a number of times where I wish the film would have been cut down a bit more.
Anyhow, it was okay. It’s not something I’d ever rewatch, nor was it particularly subtle in its themes and messages. I guess it had some very nice shots, a good setting, and something to say...so there’s that.
The Trip series - The Trip, The Trip to Italy, the Trip to Spain.
The conceit of these films is that a pair of British comedians, Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden, go on trips to review restaurants. They are actually episodes of a TV series, but they've been re-cut into films, and that's how I've seen them. I watched them in reverse order, seeing The Trip To Spain on my brother's recommendation and not knowing it was the third in a series, but the plot is totally inconsequential so it doesn't matter much what order you see them in.
They take a Curb Your Enthusiasm style to writing, which means the characters play themselves and (I think) that the broad strokes of scenes are outlined while most of the dialogue is improvised. This gives it a much more realistic feel that most series, with the sort of back-and-forth you might find having a leisurely beer with a friend that's rarely represented on TV or film.
They are all worth watching, but they become more enjoyable as they go on. This logically means The Trip is the worst of the three, mainly because Steve Coogan is such a downer throughout most of it. Steve is the more famous of the pair, but he's incredibly petty, vain and a bit homophobic. That's kind of the point of his character, but it's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the layers of irony - the first layer being that the character is being genuinely arrogant, the second being the character getting a laugh out of being arrogant, and the third being the actor having a laugh at himself. He's hopefully not so arrogant in the real world, but they intentionally blur these lines. Regardless, Steve is sometimes insufferable. He seems to pretend to dislike Rob, although they are clearly close friends. In the second and third movies/series Steve is more relaxed, and mostly drops the act of not liking Rob.
Rob Bryden is a more upbeat character, but Steve needles him, perhaps accurately, for being too afraid to have any genuine emotion, and always couching in the guise of one of his impressions, for which he is apparently famous. Your mileage with the comedy may vary depending on how familiar you are with British actors, but he does pretty funny impressions of Michael Kaine, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Ian McKellan, Richard Burton, Al Pacino, Woody Allen, and others. They are constantly coming from Rob, with rapid switching between them, and I sometimes wouldn't recognize the characters if it weren't for the closed captions telling me who they are supposed to be. This is Rob's big shtick, and he uses it continually to try to impress anyone and everyone around him, much to the annoyance of Steve.
It's all very slow-paced, with a "European" sensibility - taking time to enjoy food and drink and song - despite the impoverished state of the family lives of both men. If a series about two forty-something British guys eating fancy food, having goofy conversations and avoiding thinking about their mostly mangled home lives sounds appealing, definitely watch it! I like these quite a lot.
Just watch this clip, and if you find it as funny as I do, you will enjoy this series.
It: Chapter 2
I felt like it was highly ironic that I liked the movie but didn’t like the ending. I won’t spoil anything for anyone, but the best parts of the films are the characters. I definitely can feel the connection of the adults and their child counterparts, my favorite being Eddie. They even had the same mannerisms and ticks, so in that aspect the actors did fantastic. The story really falls of the rails near the end and the climax is well....very underwhelming. If you are a fan of the original Tim Curry miniseries or the books you will probably not care much for this film. It has so much stuff cut out and reshuffled it will definitely turn off OG fans. I spoke with people who never seen or read any of the IT stuff and enjoyed both films so take that as it is.
Entertaining and worth watching, but I consider it IT-life. It’s a lot thinner in the narrative department and a bit heavy handed on the reliance for cgi.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
The X-Men movies are very up and down for me. I really enjoyed 1,2, First Class, DotFP, and Logan, didn’t care for Wolverine 2, and X 3, and despised Wolverine Origins and X-Men: Apocalypse.
I know now I can put Dark Phoenix into the last camp of X-films I can’t stand.
I do not even know where to begin with this film. First thing I can immediately notice is the costumes for the film. The X-men look atrocious. The original X-men movie came out almost 20 years ago and looks light years better than this film. Comparing Rebecca Romyn’s Mystique and Jennifer Lawrence’s is the only comparison I need to show to make my point.
The plot is dreadful, the acting is lethargic, the “new” characters are boring and are either used as cannon fodder or scene dressing. I had to struggle to stay awake during this movie.
I was excited that Disney bought Fox just on the potential of rebooting this abysmal series of films. I would not recommend this movie to anyone.
Good Boys. I can't believe I'm saying 3/5. I want to give it a 4/5 and may be i'll see it again some other time and like it more. But I think my expectations were inflated because I absolutely love Super Bad and also my attitude was kinda off when I watched Good Boys.
But overall I was disappointed. It had some amazing scenes and stuff in it. I liked some of the ideas a lot (just like Super Bad) but it felt like they could have laid them out much nicer and grown in to the ideas but the movie didn't do that.
Spoiler?:: There are these 2 older girls. They kinda suck. They stand as this vision of the future. There is a quick nod to them being friends later in life even though they feel like they have known each other since really young. Really good stuff there. But for me personally the overall effect was weak. They just kinda came off as drug fiends and I couldn't respect that. They didn't show a good range of reasons why they came together, other than doing molly. I had a hard time relating to a lot of the movie in general too.
Some really funny moments. The end is decent.
Oh just now realizing I saw Ford vs Ferrari in theater (seeing a post where somebody brought it up).
5/5. Solid stuff.
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker 3/5
Even by Star Wars standards, this movie really leans heavily into the space magic BS nonsense (and sometimes just plain ol' regular BS nonsense). And there's no shortage of eye-roll-inducing moments.
Thankfully, I'm a sucker for spectacle, and this movie certainly has that. Not all of the humour hits, but there's definitely a couple of pretty good comedy moments.
Overall, an enjoyable enough Star Wars movie, but definitely very safe and seemingly meticulously focus-tested.
I watched Lake Mungo for the first time in about 10 years and it was a completely different experience. I haven't felt as disturbed after watching a horror movie as I did with this one. The ending scenes have been burned into my brain for years, but they never affected me in the way it did after this watch. It really resonated with me, maybe its the I'm more sympathetic/empathetic at this age, but its one of the saddest/tragic horror movies I've seen in years. I cant recommend it enough
Rise of Skywalker was disappointing as hell. I'm in the camp that liked TLJ, and this movie just undid everything to give the MOST predictable ending to the trilogy. I was guessing lines and scenes that I hoped they wouldn't go with, and they did of course. Would only recommend just to close out the mainline series.
Star Wars IX Rise of Skywalker - 3/5
I thought it was alright! I had a decent time watching it after all the awful reviews. It shouldn’t be surprising but it reminds me a lot of Force Awakens - great action sequences, lots of small vignettes, good humor and a constant forward momentum for the story. They definitely jammed a lot of stuff in here and the movie feels quite long because of it. After Last Jedi set the bar incredibly low for what a Star Wars movie could be this seems a lot better than it would otherwise be in a void. At first I thought they invalidated a lot of what Last Jedi setup but that movie didn’t really establish anything of its own and is largely a big stopgap in the trilogy.
This new set of Star Wars movies started out with the potential of becoming equally as fun as the originals but I think for the most part the new characters just didn’t stick. Poe is probably the only newcomer that feels like he belongs and that’s because you don’t really need to know that much about him to get him. The important three of Finn, Rey and Ren are severely underdeveloped - which once again is in big part a fault of Last Jedi - so by the third movie you have almost no investment in them on any sort of emotional level. This saga was supposed to be about Rey but they had to speed up her development so much that you’re left reeling at all the things she’s suddenly capable of from what felt like nothing just a movie ago.
You could talk about how this trilogy was so poorly handled for a while but the bottom line is this film is a decent action flick with some cool set pieces about characters you won’t really care about. It’s not awful but that’s only because you would have to care to have a strong opinion about it one way or the other.
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