Mom and Dad: I went in hoping for a good bad crazy Nic Cage movie and got a genuinely decent horror comedy. Yeah you got your crazy Cage performance but it works in a movie where something mysterious has happened to all the parents where they feel an instinctual need to kill their children. Selma Blair plays the titular mom to Cage's titular dad and she's also very entertaining if a bit more understated then full crazy Cage.
Saw Isle of Dogs yesterday. It was enjoyable, but I can't help feeling that it's slightly less than the sum of its parts. It's beautiful, obviously, and incredibly detailed. The voice cast all bring something fun to the film. It's full of good jokes - I particularly enjoyed a sort of running gag where plot sequences would play out in very broad strokes while all of the dialogue explaining it was in Japanese. It felt like he was poking fun a bit at the normal hollywood thing of having long bits of exposition that boil down to "VIRUS CURED" or similar.
However, I just felt that the plot was a little bit too thin. The flipside to that gag I mentioned is that by boiling the narrative down to it's broadest strokes, it is really difficult to fully engage the audience's emotions. This in turn meant that there is a lack of emotional engagement in the middle of the film, which deals with Bryan Cranston's character learning to trust the little pilot. That's a really big problem for the film because it's kind of the heart of the plot, and it also means that the film begins to drag in the middle after a really zippy first third or so.
It's a shame, because there's a lot of wonderful detail in the animation, but I found myself appreciating these mostly from a kind of external, technical perspective, without ever really getting lost in it and luxuriating in it.
I'd give it a 3/5 with the caveat that it's a 3/5 that's worth seeing just for the stuff it does do really well, but I do think it's a bit of a dip for Anderson after a pretty excellent run of films from Fantastic Mr Fox onwards.
Found Footage 3D - 3/5
Found footage movies are super easy to satirize. 3D movies are even easier. But mixing the two together is a stroke of minor genius in its absurdity, and I had to see what they went for with that gem of an idea. Unfortunately, large swathes of this movie end up playing it weirdly straight, and not doing so particularly well. When it's funny, it's quite funny, but I can count those moments on one hand. The rest of the time, you're just watching a bad 3D found footage movie that acts more clever than it is. Scream pulled it off because the comedy was supporting a solid slasher film. When you don't have a solid film to back up the humor, it doesn't work. Also, having a character just rant at the camera about how much he hates found footage for a couple of minutes is way too on-the-nose and "oh so meta". And man, do they love their meta in this...
I give it a 3 because there's one aspect I loved: Super clever usage of the actual 3D. Now, I watched it in anaglyph 3D, so the effect was muted quite a bit, but throughout the movie, they toy around with mixing 3D and 2D in some really interesting ways. For example, a character's film editing software being in 2D, while they document themselves in 3D in a corner window, and scrubbing through the 3D footage they shot earlier in the opposite corner of the screen. Later on, a splitscreen 3D effect that's way less headachey than you'd think, but is disorienting in a fun way. For that stuff alone, it's worth watching, and like I said earlier, the laughs don't come often, but when they do, they're genuine belly laughs.
Meet John Doe (1941) - I was surprised by how funny I found this film. I don't usually find straight played comedy like in this to be funny but there were some great comedic moments. Kind of wish there was more of it because the more dramatic moments don't quite hit home, partly because of the cheesy acting but they also end up feeling a bit preachy and long-winded.
Okay so Moscow International Film Festival is on again. First two films I have seen are
Foxtrot: This film's plot is irritating, its characters unlikable and yet somehow it made it onto David Ehrlich's countdown for 2017 https://vimeo.com/245670075 and for the life of me aside from that part featured in the video (an Israeli soldier dancing with his gun) I can't fathom why. It also seems to be a film about toxic masculinity and not, like, the war or religion or whatever. There are parts to like, sure, but as a whole I was underwhelmed. Also the ending made me want to shout Really? That's the way you'll end this? 1/5.
First Reformed: Hoo boy now watching this after Foxtrot was a palette cleanser. Writer and director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver) sure as shit goes places with this one, but the religious references are a bit too much on the nose (character names, literal bible quotes inscribed on the wall for instance, and hamfisted line delivery like "You're always in the garden!"). It's a film about a lot of things (all the good ones: faith, loss, love - even throwing in environmentalism and race for good measure), and it manages to deliver them with enough nuance so as not to come off nauseating. Where I think it fails is that Ethan Hawke is somewhat unbelievable to me as a reverend. I know what ministers are like, they're not always that depressed, but it's apparent to me they did do their research as it explores the everyday mundanity of a man of the cloth's chores. In contrast to Foxtrot, this film also made me go "really? I guess there is no other way to end this film." A robust 4/5
The Shape of Water, gave it a 4/5.
Visually Del Toro delivered as usual and Michael Shannon really nailed his performance as a villain with some good character development. It felt like a really good fantasy film, it surprises me that the Academy went for it as best picture, just doesn't seem like the sort of thing that would win.
Den of Thieves - 4/5. First I thought it would be average action/crime movie, but twist ending made me glad. It was treat to see.
Don't forget to be awesome. Welcome to movie streaming website, link in the bio.
Downrange - 4/5
A sniper randomly targets a group of photogenic twentysomethings on a roadtrip across the Southwest, pinning them down and toying with/torturing/outright killing them. This movie is a fantastic example of the natural, gradual shift from shock to comedy, especially when unintentional(?). The first half of this movie is, despite some weak acting, extremely intense and gory to the point of being legitimately uncomfortable to watch even for seasoned splatter vets. The gore never dials down, but there's a certain point in the film in which the action just suddenly amps up to 11, and the sheer onslaught of horrible misfortune goes from deeply unpleasant to hilarious, like evil slapstick. It really feels like a different movie out of the blue. Maybe part of it is a budget thing, as the first two kills are nauseatingly detailed and realistic, and then the rest quickly become more obviously prosthetic and slasheresque, and therefore easier to enjoy as unrealistic entertainment (yet still extremely well done... Savini would be proud). Anyway, long story short, by the time the over-the-top finale and ridiculous twist of fate at the end concluded, I was laughing my head off, but vaguely disgusted with myself for doing so.
So although it loses the plot tonally, it's still a damned effective little thriller with the sensibilities of a particularly mean slasher, and I can't recommend it enough if you can stomach it. A pleasantly unpleasant surprise.
Infinity War was a frantic 150 minute panic attack. They rammed so much shit in there it's exhausting trying to keep up, but in quite a satisfying way; everyone gets their moment, even if that moment only lasts a few minutes. The plot was a little straightforward (kinda had to be) but it orchestrated enough scenarios where you got to see a random selection of cool heroes combining their powers and fighting together, which was exactly what I wanted. It also packs an unexpected emotional punch which, incidentally, is the name of my new band. Potentially big ramifications for the MCU.
Glad I saw it at the cinema. Stoked for the next one. 4/5
Hard Boiled (1992) - I know this is a very hot take, but I did not enjoy this movie very much. That is not to say it is not an impressive piece of work. The way it is shot, it's a good looking movie. I could just not get into it very much, and by the end I was fairly bored with it. Still glad I saw it, by no means is it terrible.
The Abyss - 5/5
Holy crap this movie is incredible.
Always kinda leaned away from watching it cause I'm not that big into water stuff (till lately anyways). It stuck around in my mind as a big sci-fi blindspot though. I never heard that many talk about this movie with reverence, but the few that did always did make it sound like something special, and boy is it. I think Drew used to mention it on occassion, at least I hope so, cause part of the reason I watched it is because I remembered that he enjoyed it (so it'd be strange if I was misremembering there).
The other reason is I saw Kodachrome the other day and remembered that Ed Harris is consistently one hell of a compelling actor, and realized that I never gave him enough credit in my mental ranking of actors. Dude's absolutely fantastic.
Didn't know it was a James Cameron movie. I think it's about time I checked out that old Avatar movie from way back when :P.
I saw Infinity War with the wife and kids last night. I dug it. The directors did a great job of tying a bunch of stories into one, even if some folks encountering each other was a bit convenient.
I won’t go into details, as it’s a new movie, but it was fun and the runtime went by super quick.
Avatar (Extended) - 4/5
It's pretty good! Way less of a sci-fi movie and way more an adventure movie with sci-fi wrapping. In the early goings I was hoping they'd spend more time exploring what it means to occupy another race's body (I like the part where he says he needed to trust his body, but that's as much "human mind in a na'vi body" reflection as we get), or get into space rules and politics a la Star Trek, but it became pretty clear that this movie was suuuuuper not having any of that. By the end it felt like I was watching some Final Fantasy shit to be honest (which is a good thing, as it happens). Veered real close to boring during the whole first hour and a half where it's all set up, but never got boring enough for me to check out, thankfully. You need that time and set up though, so when things start blowing up and that one shot of a character reacting appears it actually has that desired oomph.
If I remember correctly, the next one's starring a bunch of... children? Ehh, I dunno about that. Didn't dude say there was gonna be like an Avatar 3, 4, 5, and 6 as well? I'm all for turning this universe into a grander epic, but that one picture that comes to mind of a buncha tykes doesn't really instill much confidence that it'll be something I'm interested in. But! That's waaaay too minuscule a detail to judge from, and it's waaaaay too early to tell, so we'll see. I will say that I'm interested in at least seeing just what the hell it turns into, if not actually giving it the benefit of the doubt and giving it a chance (i.e. a watch), so there's that.
Ingrid Goes West -
I've never cringed so hard during a movie in my life. And I say that with the utmost praise. Everyone nails the roles and the situations that are supposed to be uncomfortable are almost unbearably uncomfortable. O'Shea Jackson and Elizabeth Olsen are the two most pleasant surprises of the movie. I knew both could act, but again, they really nail their characters in a way I wasn't expecting. Like I expected Aubrey Plaza to just steal every scene since it's pretty much her movie, but everyone gives her a run for her money when they show up. These mofos came to act and act they did.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. 4/5
The Handmaiden -
I knew nothing of this film going in other than a vague idea of the premise. I feel that's the best way to experience it, so I will say nothing. This film was on some top tier shit all the way through.
A Separation-Morally complex, thought-provoking film about an Iranian woman who seeks a divorce from her husband. She wants to leave Iran and take their daughter as well, but the husband wants to stay to care for his Alzheimer's-ridden father.
The film was not what I expected, but still great. 5/5
Brad's Status - 4/5
Very cute and sweet. Honest to an uncomfortable degree (which is good).
Toc Toc - 5/5
If you have OCD, or know someone who does, you may enjoy this a whole bunch. Loved it.
Bill Nye: The Science Guy - 4/5
If you've followed the Ken Ham stuff then a good chunk of this won't be new to you. The insight into the old show, Nye's family, and other topics that all come together in a reflection of the man's life decisions, objectives, and legacy, make it all worthwhile though.
I've been watching all the MCU movies again so I'm gonna rate the ones I've seen. Skipped Hulk because even though I like it I've seen that movie at least 100 times and I don't ever want to see it again
Captain America 1/5
Iron man 2-3/5
Iron man 3-1/5
Age of Ultron-1/5
Watched the most recent Bourne movie. Released in...2016? I enjoyed it, but it just didn't feel necessary at all.
Remember Jason Bourne? Still really good at what he does. Remember the government? Still filled with shitheads.
Was impressed at how much work they put into that Greek riot scene early on in the film, as well as Tommy Lee Jones taking a fall at his age (think he was 69 or 70 when that filmed). A few other things stood out as well, but I won't list them. Like I said at the top, it just seemed superfluous.
I give it 7/10 shuttered black-ops training programs.
The Florida Project - 9/10
Would watch children terrorize William Dafoe for several more hours.
That and Ingrid Goes West were my favorite movies from last year and shocked neither got a nomination for Best Picture
Tragedy Girls - Another one of those post-Heather high school dark comedies that is trying to take a hard stance against social media and the culture that surrounds it. That said it was enjoyable schlock and pretty gruesome if that's your thing. Basic plot is two high school girls track and capture a local serial killer but realize their crime vlog and twitter is going to suffer without more killings so they fix that. If you're looking for a dumb dark comedy you can turn your brain off for you could do much worse. 3 out of 5
Right so I neglected to follow up on the other things I saw at MIFF on top of Foxtrot and First Reformed. Here are the others from best to worst:
Profile: A little hammy in spots but this is a fantastic film that pushes the genre of "how to use text on screen in films" forward by a country mile. Despite some AAA duds, Bekmambetov has really experimented in a bunch of cinematic storytelling methods lately such as Hardcore Henry and I am super curious as to his supposed VR film in the works. 5/5 for a whole bunch of reasons I won't get in to, just go and see it.
The Apparition: A French film about a girl who supposedly sees an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the French Alps and a journalist is asked by the Vatican to join an investigation into the phenomenon to see if it's legit. It's like if you took a Raymond Chandler novel, had him drink far less, throw in some base level theology and have everyone be a bit more miserable than usual. The "twist" at the end is okay but it's a bit tedious getting there and the metaphors are all somewhat on the nose. It's basically a story about love, okay? A solid 3/5 movie if you're on an intercontinental flight and need a vaguely interesting mystery to ruminate over.
Game of Death: I have never seen this film before, nor knew its background (short version: Bruce Lee stopped production halfway through to go to America to shoot Enter the Dragon, then returned only to promptly die after having only filmed about about 100 minutes worth of footage in total of which about 10 get used, principally in the "pagoda" fight) but everyone got told by a film critic going in what had happened, which colored the perception of the film somewhat (it kinda turns the whole thing into a comedy). Fun fact is that only until recently did they find out officially who the Bruce Lee double was, which turned out to be a Korean actor. Also Sammo Hung is in it. I guess 2/5? It's a bit dull but a miracle it even got made given what happened, and the story is mostly coherent.
My Brother's Name is Robert and he is an idiot: A twin brother and sister literally screech at each other about philosophy in a field before having incestuous sex FOR THREE HOURS. Everyone involved is a horrible unlikable pastiche of a person and there is no empathy to be had. I walked out halfway through before it even "got good". It is profoundly bad in multiple regards and probably the only time I've ever walked out on a film. I do not regret doing so. No stars ever.
I've watched a lot of stuff since my last post.. 2 months ago?
..but I just finished Pacific Rim 2 a min ago and ugh that was kinda god awful. Enough that I felt compelled to make note of it here. The CG quality saves this from being a 1. 2/5
To counter that, I watched Downsizing some weeks or months ago; I can't remember. Went in with low expectations, not really hearing anything about it, and I actually really enjoyed it. One of my favorite movies of recent years. 5/5
Too lazy to write notes but I'll throw down some scores:
- Sicario - 5/5 (Again, something I hadn't really heard of.. turned out awesomely suspenseful.)
- Game Night - 4/5
- Air Force One - 4/5
- 13 Assassins - 4/5 (Recommended by someone here. I think I had actually seen this already. Man that scene towards the beginning with the woman is.. seriously horrifying.)
- Dealt - 4/5
- The Equalizer - 4/5
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri - 4/5
- Silicon Valley [Season 5] - 4/5 (Binged watched the whole thing the other night.)
- Bill & Teds Excellent Adventure - 4/5
- The Beguiling - 4/5
- Rambo: Part Two - 4/5
- Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team - 3/5
- Everything Must Go - 3/5
- Clear & Present Danger - 3/5
- Avengers: Infinity War - 3/5
- The Post - 3/5
- Coco - 3/5
- Red Sparrow - 3/5
- Fifty Shades Freed - 2/5
- Black Panther - 2/5 (Cannot comment on this without sounding like some kind of culturally insensitive white guy)
I need to rant about Deadpool 2. Its depiction of Indian people is racist and is guilty of the same stereotype The Big Bang Theory perpetuates as well as most films and TV.
This stereotype is summed up by Steve Rose writing a review for The Guardian, the only review (through a Google search) to mention this:
Worst of all is Karan Soni’s taxi driver Dopinder, a weedy, emasculated Indian stereotype whose superhero aspirations make him the beta-male butt of the joke. Looks as if the writers haven’t got up to speed with The Simpsons’ Apu controversy.
Ash Tyler in Star Trek: Discovery as well as roles depicted by Riz Ahmed break the stereotype and therefore this is something that is getting better.
In a time when we're especially cognizant of female stereotypes, human instinctual self-interest is highlighted once again when obvious stereotypes fly under the radar. Especially that of Polygon on whom the irony was completely lost when extolling the progressiveness of Deadpool 2 (and what prompted me write this), the same Polygon that is mostly good at championing women's rights.
I can't write this on Polygon because I have to wait a day after registration before I can post comments
Deadpool 2 is basically the movie you would have expected the original to be (at best). It has a few jokes that land, it has plenty that don't, Deadpool himself is mostly annoying and really only works when he has a straight character to play off. The biggest problem it has is that we are meant to care about two plot-critical deaths in a movie that uses death as a punchline and the film doesn't come close to pulling it off. Even still there are worse ways to spend your time. 2/5 Hugh Jackman References
@godzillasbrain Yeah, Dopinder has some not great stuff going on.
Dragonball Z: Tree of Might
Been watching through the DBZ movies when there's a week without an all systems Goku.
It was entertaining enough, the usual problem with these movies in that being non-canon there's no sense of permanence to anything.
Was nice to see some Yamcha/Tien screen time as I'd forgotten how little they get in Kai.
Actual story and villains weren't that interesting and the climactic fight was pretty much the same as the last movie and the Vegeta fight (Kaio Ken isn't enough so Spirit Bomb to finish it).
Overall 3/5 Entertaining enough as an extended episode of the show, not especially memorable.
Also I'd forgotten how bad some of the old Funimation voice acting was compared to the Kai dub, Bulma especially.
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