In Which I Review Movies Part II

909

909
Staff member


Annihilation (2018), directed by Alex Garland

My new policy of posting reviews the day after watching the film is a good one, as Annihilation left me totally mindfucked and in a mood where I don't really want to discuss theories about the movie. I'm just not that kind of person anyway. I had been waiting to watch this movie for a while, because I knew that if I was going to watch Annihilation, I needed to be in some kind of mood where my thoughts would easily flow out of my head. That isn't working right now. I guess what I would say is that this movie is simple while it isn't, and I do understand why the film bombed at the box office. There's a lot going on here. Rather than get bogged down in the details, here is my rather simple look at things. This is what the world would look like if it got cancer. The world in Annihilation is one where cells replicate, the same way cancer grows and spreads through people's bodies. This is also a film that takes quite a while to get interesting, because entering that process is entirely necessary for anything in the film to actually matter. There's one thing that really creeped me out though, and it isn't an obvious thing. It's the way that the '8' tattoo spread from one person to another over and over again. Why? You know, well. Why?

Annihilation starts in a way that I've said many times over that I truly hate, but in this case I'm going to give it a pass. It's very easy to forget the details of this event. Lena (Natalie Portman) is being interrogated by Lomax (Benedict Wong). Why is this happening? We then jump back to the beginning of the film, or what should have been the beginning. Something comes down from space and hits a lighthouse, which starts glowing in a very strange manner. These scenes don't really matter though. Lena is a biology professor at Johns Hopkins. Her husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) has been away on a mission for a very long time, and at this point Lena thinks he's dead. While painting her bedroom one weekend, Kane arrives at their shared house, startling Lena. He doesn't remember where he was, then he takes a drink of water and starts bleeding into that water. They call an ambulance, but on the way they're pulled over by some government agents, sedated, and kidnapped. When Lena and Kane come to, it turns out that Kane is near dead with complete organ failure, and they're at a compound founded by a government organization called the Southern Reach.

The Southern Reach apparently conducts expeditions into this area where the meteor has crashed into the lighthouse. That happened three years prior to the events of Annihilation. The meteor created some kind of zone that is now called the Shimmer, based on how the area looks. The Shimmer is also regularly expanding through the southern United States, and eventually given time, will take over the whole country. This movie isn't really about that, though. Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a psychologist who is going to form an expedition to go out to the lighthouse and see what can be done about the situation. Kane's condition is specifically because he was on one of the previous expeditions. Lena wants to join up to go on this mission. She was previously in the Army, which is where she met Kane. Lena does however make the decision not to tell anyone that she knows Kane. The other three women going on this expedition are Josie (Tessa Thompson), a physicist; Anya (Gina Rodriguez), a medic; and Cass (Tuva Novotny), an anthropologist. They are all headed into this area with guns, not knowing what they may find. Except, Dr. Ventress and Lena know exactly what they're getting into. You see, Ventress has cancer. She knows she's not coming back. Lena also knows that her husband didn't really come back, but we know that she does come back. What do they find?

Annihilation is the kind of movie that starts off super slow, but because you know that Lena makes it out of the Shimmer, you know that you're going to get mind fucked. The mind fucking happens in the third act, which is indescribable. It is something that needs to be seen in order to be interpreted. There are things that I didn't like though, I'll get to that first. Annihilation does have a lack of fully fleshed out characters. This is the kind of film that has too much going on in the background or on screen to actually flesh these characters out. This film could easily have been ten minutes longer. This isn't as good as Ex Machina, which after having a lot of time to think about it was a film that I underrated. If you aren't paying attention, this is a film that will make very little sense. This is also an extremely loud movie. Perhaps that's a complaint for some, but not for this guy. I appreciated that, and there are too many films these days that are nearly impossible to hear.

When it comes to reviewing movies, I think what's most important is what a person feels after a movie rather than rationalizing and analysing the fun out of the subject. To this end, what I immediately thought after the movie were these two things. One was that the director really hit on this theme of self-destruction. You would have to be an idiot to not see the prevalence of this theme when it is literally spoken about during the events. Second is that this third act is utterly surreal and near perfect. Almost all of my complaints are related to things that happened in the previous acts. I have almost no complaints about the third act. How can I even describe this? The essence of someone else disintegrates, forms a glowing entity, and creates a clone. The scenes with the bear were awesome. The affair scenes perfectly illustrated why someone would sign themselves up for a suicide mission. In fact, why two people would sign themselves up for it. This isn't the best science-fiction movie ever, but it's pretty good. I guess the biggest problem with the movie, is that movies like this one are now proven to not make money. The only way we'll get movies like this is if some obscenely rich person who shouldn't have that much money decides to waste his money on those movies knowing they won't make money at all. I definitely see the problem with this. If Annihilation featured an alien that had to spell out every single thing to the audience, would this movie have been anywhere near as good? No.

8/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. The Death of Stalin
33. A Quiet Place
34. Vice
35. The Old Man & the Gun
36. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
37. Vox Lux
38. Bad Times at the El Royale
39. The Other Side of the Wind
40. Searching
41. Calibre
42. A Simple Favor
43. The Hate U Give
44. Unsane
45. Disobedience
46. Boy Erased
47. Bumblebee
48. Mary Poppins Returns
49. Creed II
50. Hold the Dark
51. The Land of Steady Habits
52. Halloween
53. The 12th Man
54. Upgrade
55. What They Had
56. Ant-Man and the Wasp
57. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
58. Blockers
59. Beirut
60. Roxanne Roxanne
61. Tully
62. Mary Queen of Scots
63. Aquaman
64. Ideal Home
65. Outlaw King
66. Overlord
67. Ready Player One
68. Ben Is Back
69. Monsters and Men
70. Colette
71. The Mule
72. On the Basis of Sex
73. Bohemian Rhapsody
74. White Boy Rick
75. Papillon
76. Game Night
77. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
78. Ocean's Eight
79. Alpha
80. Come Sunday
81. Instant Family
82. The Front Runner
83. The Predator
84. Apostle
85. The Oath
86. Uncle Drew
87. The Cured
88. The Commuter
89. The Angel
90. Tag
91. Beautiful Boy
92. The Nun
93. Operation Finale
94. The Equalizer 2
95. The Spy Who Dumped Me
96. Cargo
97. Yardie
98. Boundaries
99. Bird Box
100. 12 Strong
101. Venom
102. Skyscraper
103. The Meg
104. Assassination Nation
105. Adrift
106. Crazy Rich Asians
107. Backstabbing for Beginners
108. The Girl in the Spider's Web
109. Gringo
110. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
111. 22 July
112. Tomb Raider
113. Rampage
114. Hotel Artemis
115. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
116. The Little Stranger
117. 7 Days in Entebbe
118. Night School
119. The 15:17 To Paris
120. Den of Thieves
121. The Catcher Was a Spy
122. Peppermint
123. Mile 22
124. The First Purge
125. Hunter Killer
126. The Hurricane Heist
127. The Cloverfield Paradox
128. Breaking In
129. Welcome to Marwen
130. Second Act
131. Mute
132. Kin
133. Hell Fest
134. Action Point
135. Proud Mary
136. Robin Hood
137. Traffik
138. Tau
139. Winchester
140. Woman Walks Ahead
141. The Happytime Murders
142. The Outsider
143. Slender Man
 

909

909
Staff member


Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), directed by Rupert Wyatt

This isn't a rewatch or anything of the sort, I never got around to watching the reboot of this franchise. In fact, the only Planet of the Apes movie that I'd ever seen was the horrible film directed by Tim Burton. I remember going to see that in theaters on the first day. My dad really didn't like it. Fortunately, there were not more movies made during that effort to reboot the franchise, otherwise this series would probably not exist. It seems that everyone liked the three movies released last decade, so I thought I'd finally watch one of them. It seems to me that it would be hard to make one of these movies when some of the originals had such a good reception at the time. Also, much of the audience who saw those is now way too old to head out to the theater or they're dead. That's probably why it was decided to do this again. As for the movie itself, look. It's a franchise movie. I genuinely don't often have many things to say about movies like this one. I will say that if you're making a franchise, the way to start things is to make a movie like this one. You want it to be good, but you don't want to reveal all your cards the first time you get people in the theater. A lot of people running these failed franchises, of which there are countless tries, they don't really get that.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes decides to slow roll the viewers, a good decision if there ever was one. Will (James Franco) is a chemist at a biotech company called Gen-Sys. Gen-Sys is based in San Francisco, and at Gen-Sys they are testing a viral drug called ALZ-112 on chimpanzees. The reason? The company is attempting to find a cure from Alzheimer's disease, from which they would surely profit greatly. Will is to present the drug to his boss Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo), as well as the rest of the Gen-Sys board, but there's a problem. The chimpanzee that is to be presented has gone on a rampage, eventually crashing into the board meeting. This leads a security guard to shoot her to death, but after this happens, Will's assistant Robert (Tyler Labine) discovers that the chimpanzee was pregnant. Will is supposed to bring the newborn home for a few days, but that lasts much longer and the chimpanzee is named Caesar. Development of the drug is now dead. Will's father Charles (John Lithgow) particularly takes a liking to Caesar, so Will can't get rid of him.

We move forward a few years at a time, with some updates on Caesar's life. A few things of note happen. Charles, you see, he had dementia that was progressing towards Alzheimer's. Over the course of these events, we see that Caesar has had a heightened intelligence the same way his mother had. Not only does ALZ-112 help cure Alzheimer's, but it leads to a chimpanzee that is much smarter than human beings of comparable age. Caesar is also capable of communicating through sign language. Eventually, Caesar has an encounter with a human being that gets him a little hurt. Will takes him to Caroline (Frieda Pinto), a primatologist who gets him stitched up a little bit. Will and Caroline become a thing, and they take Caesar out to the redwoods to play and run around. While there, Caesar comes to wonder whether or not he's a pet. Not to spoil shit in case you haven't seen this, we'll move forward a little more. Will eventually presents his findings to Steven, and Steven is now receptive to creating a new, more powerful version of the drug. It is ALZ-113, but will this be safe? The chimpanzees they test this drug on will either make or break this cure. This is Planet of the Apes, though.

I said that I don't really like talking about franchise films, and this is certainly true as I struggled all day to finish this review. I thought the effects for the apes were very impressive, especially considering this was made nearly ten years ago. It is also interesting in that I was having a very hard time throughout the movie deciding which side was worse than the other. I landed on the side that thought humans were to blame for being pieces of shit. That aspect of the film is very interestingly framed. It is basically entirely up to the viewer. I also thought the humans in Rise of the Planet of the Apes were very boring and I didn't really feel anything for them at all. This movie is supposed to just be good fun, which I suppose that it is. Ultimately, if the apes in the movie aren't interesting beyond those effects, and if they don't have good characters, the movie is a big pile of nothing. Caesar is a really good character. He has heightened intelligence and actually acts like he does. Stupidity prevalent in complex characters is not part of the equation here. So, I liked this, but the other movies are probably quite a bit better. At least this wasn't Tim Burton's version.

7/10
 

909

909
Staff member


Blaze (2018), directed by Ethan Hawke

Alright, so Blaze is a movie that got some really good reviews, but I'll come straight out with it and say that this film didn't resonate with me at all. This is the proverbial portrait of a struggling artist, but in this case one that refuses to be successful and is consciously making the decision to be the way that they are. Part alcohol fueled and part stubbornness, or commitment to his art, what have you, Blaze Foley (Ben Dickey) was a man who was what he was. Blaze is not a film that asks the viewer to accept that. It is a film that asks the viewer to commit to watching two hours of a talented person pushing the self-destruct button on their own list. I must point out that I do not know anything about Foley's music, or about Townes Van Zandt (Charlie Sexton), or any of that stuff. Because of that, this was a difficult film to view. Niche is perhaps not even the correct term for a film like this one.

Ethan Hawke is clearly a believer in Blaze Foley, someone who clearly respects the man for what he was and is fully committed to the concept of this film. In Blaze, we are given a film that has three timelines. One is the distant past, where Blaze is a young musician living amongst other artists in Georgia. While at this place, Blaze meets Sybil (Alia Shawkat), the proverbial love of his life. Maybe it's not fair to say that Sybil was the love of Blaze's life. Considering Sybil had a part in writing this screenplay, it's fair to say that she thought she was not. The love of Blaze's life was one of two things, as this film portrays it. Love of the bottle, or the love of writing music and performing it in front of nobody. Another timeline takes place during an interview with the aforementioned Van Zandt, and their other friend Zee (Josh Hamilton). In this interview, Van Zandt tells the stories about Blaze that he loved the most. These are woven together rather thinly.

I don't want to shit on a movie when I don't know enough about the subject to have built in respect for them, nor do I particularly care all that much to know about this subject. I did have one reason for watching this though. My grandfather was a musician in the 1950s, after he got home from his Air Force duty during the Korean War. He has a song or two out there somewhere that I could link, but I would prefer not to leave identifying information. I have to assume at some point, he made the choice to decide that he was going to have kids and stay at home with them. He never talked about his music, at least until I was 17 years old. I didn't see him again after that, so I don't know if he talked about it more or anything of the sort. What I thought was that in seeing this film, I could see what an alternative future would have looked like for my grandfather. Not such a good one. He also put down the drink at some point after this.

So, as for the movie itself. This was a good movie, although my lack of engagement with the subject made watching the film a little difficult for me. The thing is, when it comes to movies like this one, I find that often if someone doesn't care very much about the subject, it's hard to watch a whole movie worth of shit about them. Blaze is a movie that is fully committed to the idea that loving your own art and being able to creatively express yourself is what matters in the world. This doesn't surprise me considering that's exactly the kind of guy Ethan Hawke is. So, in that respect, this is a film about someone who fits Hawke's own mindset about life and art. You see why he'd direct this film now? I hate saying that I don't have much to add about a subject, but that's the case here. I think the film is lacking in having a true narrative, but at the same time, not every film needs to have one. What I have also learned tonight is to not be talking to other people while trying to watch a movie. In that case, some of the details can be missed. Lesson learned. I am not going to rate this at all because of that.
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
Blaze I didn't see because it seemed like a great 90 to 100 minute indie biopic stretched stretched out to 130 minutes.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is probably objectively speaking the second best PotA behind the original 1968 movie. '70s sequels are mostly at least somewhat entertaining but usually in a ham fisted and/or trashy way. Battle for the Planet of the Apes is the only one I hate besides the Tim Burton remake but at least that has John Huston and Paul Williams in ape suits.

I haven't seen the newest one with Woody Harrelson. I remember the sequel to Rise being an OK popcorn movie.
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
I'm in the minority cause I love Dawn the most and think it's the best Apes movie. The ape villain is particularly great. Action scenes are phenomenal and I love what they did with Caesar. Andy Serkis is Oscar worthy in all three movies tbh. Only problem is the humans are pretty boring and featured a bit too much, but War improves that aspect by replacing a family with a psychotic Woody Harrelson.

War is great as well. I did a new trilogy rewatch about a year ago and I think it's one of my favorite franchises in the last 15 years. They told Caesars story pretty perfectly.
 

909

909
Staff member


How It Ends (2018), directed by David Rosenthal

As everyone here knows, I like to break up good entertainment with some bad entertainment. Tonight's adventure into the Netflix algorithm leads me to How It Ends, a movie that had horrible reviews and fit the bill for this showing. It seems to me that Netflix has a habit of producing a lot of movies that are basically the same thing. Throw in some post-apocalyptic stuff here, throw in a big name actor there, perhaps some cyberpunk influence rather than something out of Fallout, and there you have a typical Netflix movie. There are literally countless examples of these movies. I think I have one on my list for next month. In fairness, it would be nearly impossible to not have one of these movies on my list. The way I think of them is as such. The Road wasn't a particularly great movie, but it was good and brought something to the table that a lot of the movies in this genre have failed to bring in following efforts. The fact is, we don't need many more of these movies. They jumped the shark when Sandra Bullock had to blindfold herself.

I feel like copying from the Wikipedia page, but I'm not going to do that. Will (Theo James) and Sam (Kat Graham) are a young couple living in Seattle. Sam is pregnant, and the two are wanting to get married. In order to do that, Will must travel to Chicago alone and meet with her father Tom (Forest Whitaker) and mother Paula (Nicole Ari Parker). Reason is? Will has to ask Tom for his blessing. That blessing is not coming. Not now, not ever. Tom is a hard ass who was in the Marines, and for some reason he lives in a high rise building, but that's the kind of logic we're getting from this film. He doesn't respect Will because Will was unemployed when he moved to Seattle, and Paula had set Tom off with a comment about how they would help pay for Will and Sam's new house. Trust me, I was very confused by all of this. The lack of logic is astounding, but How It Ends gets much better...before becoming much worse than it started in the first place.

After the dinner went really poorly, Will retreated to his hotel in anticipation of flying home the next day. He doesn't wake up on time, eventually receiving a late wake up call from Sam and heading to the airport. During the call, Will is disconnected as Sam is now scared and had said "something's wrong" prior to said disconnection. Upon arrival at the airport, Will sees that all the flights are cancelled. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE HAPPENING?? The fact is, nobody knows. Whatever it was, it started on the West Coast and seems to have been seismic in nature. After the news report is read, the power cuts out and so do communications. Will has nothing else to do, so he decides that he should go back to Tom and Paula's. At their house, it is decided that Paula is going to stay at a neighbor's house, while Tom and Will decide to drive all the way from Chicago to Seattle. Will this go well? Probably not.

I do have a lot of complaints, but picking which one to start with is difficult. First of all, the pacing of How It Ends is all wrong. The movie starts badly, it gets better the more time we spend with Whitaker's character, and when his character goes away this movie just dies on the vine. We're talking about a 3/10 first act, 6/10 second act, 2/10 third act. Brutal stuff there. Averaging that out will be difficult for me, I imagine. As far as the pacing goes, the main problem with the first act is that there is literally nothing in the film to hook a person into it. The characters are not initially engaging at all. It wasn't so easy to come to care about them, and other than one, I never did. You know what I think these characters are decided by? Algorithms. I'm totally serious. I think Netflix has product tested dialogue and perhaps scenes as a whole. They have access to all the data on the movies that we've watched on there, and they have access to whether or not we hit the like button when rating those movies. For who knows what reason, I get the feeling that a lot of young women have bashed said button on movies like this one. Good looking guy with girlfriend hardly shown throughout the film has to make his way across the country to find her. Is this cynical? Yes. It's also likely true.

There are issues with How It Ends beyond just that complaint, of course. The wear and tear on the places depicted in this movie is totally unrealistic for three days after a bad event. There's graffiti all over amusement parks that people went to three or four days before the events in this story. A lot of the criminals in this movie organized in a way that made it look like the apocalypse had happened weeks before, it just doesn't make sense. Perhaps my view of the film in this respect is tainted by literally what has just happened right now. I went to the grocery store the week that locking down started. There were about 300 people in there, that part's true. I didn't see any organized groups fucking shit up though. We still haven't seen that. Lastly, the ending of the movie is totally illogical. You cannot outdrive a volcanic eruption! Movie with this title doesn't even show you how it fucking ends, which is blatantly disrespectful and spitting in the faces of the people who watched this. Again, this is also likely product tested, and they assumed that enough people would speak up in favor of the film. They did not.

3.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. The Death of Stalin
33. A Quiet Place
34. Vice
35. The Old Man & the Gun
36. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
37. Vox Lux
38. Bad Times at the El Royale
39. The Other Side of the Wind
40. Searching
41. Calibre
42. A Simple Favor
43. The Hate U Give
44. Unsane
45. Disobedience
46. Boy Erased
47. Bumblebee
48. Mary Poppins Returns
49. Creed II
50. Hold the Dark
51. The Land of Steady Habits
52. Halloween
53. The 12th Man
54. Upgrade
55. What They Had
56. Ant-Man and the Wasp
57. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
58. Blockers
59. Beirut
60. Roxanne Roxanne
61. Tully
62. Mary Queen of Scots
63. Aquaman
64. Ideal Home
65. Outlaw King
66. Overlord
67. Ready Player One
68. Ben Is Back
69. Monsters and Men
70. Colette
71. The Mule
72. On the Basis of Sex
73. Bohemian Rhapsody
74. White Boy Rick
75. Papillon
76. Game Night
77. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
78. Ocean's Eight
79. Alpha
80. Come Sunday
81. Instant Family
82. The Front Runner
83. The Predator
84. Apostle
85. The Oath
86. Uncle Drew
87. The Cured
88. The Commuter
89. The Angel
90. Tag
91. Beautiful Boy
92. The Nun
93. Operation Finale
94. The Equalizer 2
95. The Spy Who Dumped Me
96. Cargo
97. Yardie
98. Boundaries
99. Bird Box
100. 12 Strong
101. Venom
102. Skyscraper
103. The Meg
104. Assassination Nation
105. Adrift
106. Crazy Rich Asians
107. Backstabbing for Beginners
108. The Girl in the Spider's Web
109. Gringo
110. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
111. 22 July
112. Tomb Raider
113. Rampage
114. Hotel Artemis
115. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
116. The Little Stranger
117. 7 Days in Entebbe
118. Night School
119. The 15:17 To Paris
120. Den of Thieves
121. The Catcher Was a Spy
122. Peppermint
123. Mile 22
124. The First Purge
125. Hunter Killer
126. The Hurricane Heist
127. The Cloverfield Paradox
128. Breaking In
129. Welcome to Marwen
130. Second Act
131. How It Ends
132. Mute
133. Kin
134. Hell Fest
135. Action Point
136. Proud Mary
137. Robin Hood
138. Traffik
139. Tau
140. Winchester
141. Woman Walks Ahead
142. The Happytime Murders
143. The Outsider
144. Slender Man
 

909

909
Staff member


The Two Popes (2019), directed by Fernando Meirelles

A revamp to this process is needed so that I'm not sitting here so long writing these reviews. So, here's an experiment. I have more to say about this subject for a lot of reasons, but ordinarily I think this will reduce the time spent on these reviews, which will allow me to keep easily doing them.

Reason for Watching: The Two Popes was nominated for three Oscars, and both lead actors have been in a ton of good work prior to this film. How could this possibly have gone wrong? I had intended to watch this movie a long time ago, but my mom wound up in the hospital and I put a delay on it until I was in a better overall mood.

The Two Popes has one of the most simplistic plots you could possibly imagine, and as a result I thought this was the perfect film to experiment with. The Two Popes kicks off in 2005, with Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) being called to Vatican City after the death of Pope John Paul II. As basically everyone with a brain knows, when a Pope dies or decides to leave the position, a conclave is called into order, Cardinals fly in from all over the world, and the College of Cardinals is to decide the new Pope. There are some rules that I won't bore you with, but the film is not entirely what I thought it would be. At this conclave, Bergoglio and Joseph Ratzinger (Anthony Hopkins) have a little interaction. The vote is somewhat split between them, with Bergoglio as a candidate who is believed to want to reform the Catholic Church, and Ratzinger as the candidate of the conservative sect of the Church. So, most of them. Obviously, the vote goes Ratzinger's way, with Bergoglio finishing second. Ratzinger takes the name of Pope Benedict XVI, and Bergoglio's hopes for reform are left for another time.

Seven years later, we all know the state of the Catholic Church. Sex abuse scandals that were repressed have now come out. More damaging to the Vatican itself is a scandal of leaked information that was not supposed to be exposed. It shouldn't surprise anyone that of the two scandals, the more damaging one would be related to money and corruption. There was a book published in Italy that consisted of personal letters between Pope Benedict and his secretary. I've never read the book, but I don't want to get into detail. The information was leaked by Pope Benedict's butler, who is not seen in this film. Bergoglio has attempted to write the Pope numerous times, he is seeking his resignation from his position as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. The Vatican has as of yet not responded, so Bergoglio has decided to fly to Rome to discuss the matter in person. At the same time, the Pope has summoned Bergoglio to Rome so that he can speak with him. Why? It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Pope Benedict resigned from his post some time after the meeting in this film. The two have what are seemingly extreme differences. What could this film be about?

Netflix's release strategy in this case appears to have left a lot of money on the table. It seemed like this film had somewhat of a breakthrough upon release and was much discussed by people who seem to have the money to actually go to the theater. I don't understand why they do this. I watched one of their films last night and it was dog shit. This one was not. There is a huge disparity in the usual quality of Netflix's material. I am very surprised that Netflix sat on this film for so long, as well. Production occurred well in advance of the release. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of The Two Popes is in seeing how much society has changed since 2005. The general public seems to have much lesser interest in Catholicism and the Pope. This isn't really shown in the movie, but there are scenes that made me think about this. The Two Popes showed some news footage from 2005, and the coverage of that conclave was much larger than when Pope Francis was chosen. I also remember growing up that people used to hang on the words of Pope John Paul II. Those days are gone. Sexual abuse is only one of the reasons why. The Church continuing to reject the trajectory of society is probably the main reason. It has finally been decided after many centuries that conservative religious thought should not have such a large place in first world society.

The Two Popes itself is shot in an exquisite fashion and appropriately portrays the splendor that exists in the Vatican. The recreation is incredible. Is the extravagance of the Vatican hypocritical? Immediately that is brought up by a character before you'd even have the chance to think about it. The performances in the film are also excellent. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out, just look at the cast list. A dialogue heavy movie with these two is nearly certain to be good. However, that isn't all that the film brings to the table. The Two Popes is largely about Pope Francis, and in order to understand Pope Francis, you need to know about his life. Pope Francis moved through the Church in a different fashion than his predecessor, who took a much more traditional path. It is fair to say that making a good movie with Pope Benedict as the lead character is probably not possible. Of course, very much of the film is fictionalized. Considering that everything said in these fictional scenes is also a matter of public record, I don't see any problem with that. Oddly enough, the credits scene where both men are watching the World Cup Final probably does the best job of humanizing them in my eyes.

Perhaps the film's greatest technical achievement is in the portrayal of said splendor, particularly considering the crew was not allowed to shoot at the Vatican. The recreation of these things is so difficult. But, you know, when you have Netflix behind you, and they get less than a million dollars from box office receipts while still spending a lot of money on new material, you can do that. As it relates to the performances, I'll finish up with one thing. The fact that Hannibal Lecter of all people is able to be such a convincing Pope Benedict is entirely shocking. Hopkins looks and acts almost exactly like him.

8/10

2019 Films Ranked


1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
2. Parasite
3. 1917
4. Midsommar
5. Ad Astra
6. The Lighthouse
7. Waves
8. The Farewell
9. Knives Out
10. Uncut Gems
11. Atlantics
12. Booksmart
13. Avengers: Endgame
14. Queen & Slim
15. Toy Story 4
16. Joker
17. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
18. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
19. The Two Popes
20. Clemency (had some stuff happen, couldn't review)
21. Us
22. Ford v. Ferrari
23. Gloria Bell
24. The Beach Bum
25. Just Mercy
26. The Art of Self-Defense
27. Dark Waters
28. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
29. Arctic
30. Spider-Man: Far From Home
31. Rocketman
32. High Flying Bird
33. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
34. Paddleton
35. Richard Jewell
36. The Peanut Butter Falcon
37. Honey Boy
38. Doctor Sleep
39. Hustlers
40. Blinded by the Light
41. Captain Marvel
42. Jojo Rabbit
43. Long Shot
44. Shazam
45. Ready or Not
46. A Vigilante
47. Late Night
48. Crawl
49. It: Chapter Two
50. Hotel Mumbai
51. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
52. Zombieland: Double Tap
53. Harriet
54. Hobbs & Shaw
55. Official Secrets
56. Always Be My Maybe
57. Cold Pursuit
58. The Laundromat
59. Where'd You Go, Bernadette
60. Shaft
61. Happy Death Day 2U
62. Ma
63. Terminator: Dark Fate
64. Annabelle Comes Home
65. Greta
66. Jumanji: The Next Level
67. Aladdin
68. Triple Frontier
69. Fighting with My Family
70. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
71. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
72. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
73. Brexit
74. The Dirt
75. Velvet Buzzsaw
76. Stuber
77. Little
78. Alita: Battle Angel
79. The Good Liar
80. The Current War: Director's Cut
81. The Kid
82. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
83. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
84. Good Boys
85. The Upside
86. The Lion King
87. Dumbo
88. The Hummingbird Project
89. Escape Room
90. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
91. Brian Banks
92. Tolkien
93. The Dead Don't Die
94. Captive State
95. The Highwaymen
96. Bombshell
97. Pet Sematary
98. The Intruder
99. Child's Play
100. 21 Bridges
101. Gemini Man
102. Brightburn
103. Never Grow Old
104. Rambo: Last Blood
105. Midway
106. Angel Has Fallen
107. Black and Blue
108. Yesterday
109. Anna
110. What Men Want
111. Them That Follow
112. Unicorn Store
113. The Curse of La Llorona
114. Miss Bala
115. Men in Black: International
116. The Red Sea Diving Resort
117. The Perfection
118. Hellboy
119. Glass
120. Dark Phoenix
121. Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral
122. The Kitchen
123. The Hustle
124. The Best of Enemies
125. The Prodigy
126. Polar
127. Serenity
 

909

909
Staff member


I, Tonya (2017), directed by Craig Gillespie

Reason for Watching: I had been needing to watch this for quite a while, and I finally picked up Hulu a month or two ago. Obviously, when everyone was younger, they paid attention to the Tonya Harding story to great degree. The thing is, the details are lost on me because that was such a long time ago. It also seems that those details were lost on the general public, and as a result I, Tonya made a surprising amount of money at the box office.

A movie like I, Tonya has to hit a lot of plot points the general public knows about, while ensuring that new information is gleaned from the subject. So, in the case of I, Tonya, we must start in Tonya Harding's (Margot Robbie) childhood. Tonya was forced to skate from an early age, at the behest of her mother LaVona (Allison Janney). LaVona, as you may have learned when this movie was being highly praised, was a very abusive woman. I should note that this film does have its own narrative on the subject that everyone knows Tonya Harding for. That being said, Tonya's childhood was filled with problems. Her father left her with her terrible mother, with the abuse that came with doing that. Tonya was pushed to the brink regularly, her coach Diane Rawlinson (Julianne Nicholson) was no true safe haven from that. Eventually, like everyone else, Tonya grows up. Things change a fair bit from that point.

At 15 years old, Tonya has become one of the best American figure skaters of her age. She has a problem with recognition due to her background, one of being white trash. There is no other way to put it, Tonya and her mother are white trash. Tonya had to make her costumes at home, and her routines were to the sounds of music that a lot of white trash listen to. Eventually, Tonya comes to date Jeff Gilooly (Sebastian Stan), an 18 year old. Jeff has big plans for his life with Tonya. Unfortunately, much like LaVona, Jeff is physically abusive towards Tonya. Regardless of that, the two still get married, which leads to LaVona and Tonya's relationship fully fracturing. Of course, what everyone wants to know about, is how Jeff came to attack Nancy Kerrigan. You see, Jeff had a friend, Shawn (Paul Walter Hauser). Shawn was Tonya's bodyguard. If you want to know exactly what their plan was, you need to turn this on and watch it. I won't help you with that.

I, Tonya is the very rare case of a story where someone who is genuinely lower class becomes famous out of nowhere. Tonya's trip to not quite the top was rather unique at the time, you know. There weren't a lot of stories about poor white people breaking through to success. There were two kinds of people in American sports. There were white people who either were solidly entrenched in the middle class or spoiled. Then, there were black people who grew up as poor as Tonya Harding did. There are some exceptions to this, as there is to anything, but there weren't many. The media didn't really know how to treat someone like this. Was her treatment by the media correct? I don't think it was, but at the same time, there was a lot of information that people were not privy to. It seemed like a very obvious connection to assume that Tonya knew of the attack. Now, based on everything that has been said in the years following that, she did not. She knew that something was up, but she says she didn't know exactly what Jeff and Shawn were talking about. Whether or not you can believe that, is up to you.

As for the film itself, I liked I, Tonya quite a bit. There's a couple reasons why. First, the performances by Robbie and Stan really make this film work when it could have been a mess. The screenplay isn't that great, but the direction, editing and performances sure are. The style of the movie I, Tonya is very similar to Goodfellas. Tonya regularly breaks the fourth wall in order to talk to the audience. There are also scenes presented as if they were pre-taped documentary comments, which is alright too. This is one of the last projects I thought would directly rip from Goodfellas. Also, no matter what he does, the guy who played the juggalo in Always Sunny is always going to be that guy in my eyes. This film is no exception. His performance as Shawn is extremely funny, and his best lines were taken from a real interview. I'm not sure exactly how to categorize I, Tonya. Is it a sports movie? Is it a crime flick? I suppose it's both. I also think that the comedic moments in this movie really work, but I don't particularly care for how some of the more abusive scenes turn into comedy.

8/10

2017 Films Ranked


1. Dunkirk
2. Phantom Thread
3. The Shape of Water
4. Get Out
5. Good Time
6. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
7. The Florida Project
8. Mudbound
9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
10. Logan
11. Baby Driver
12. The Post
13. Wonder Woman
14. The Big Sick
15. Lady Bird
16. Wind River
17. Thor: Ragnarok
18. mother!
19. Logan Lucky
20. I, Tonya
21. The Beguiled
22. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
23. Ingrid Goes West
24. Foxtrot
25. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
26. Brawl in Cell Block 99
27. Loveless
28. John Wick: Chapter 2
29. The Disaster Artist
30. The Lost City of Z
31. First They Killed My Father
32. A Ghost Story
33. Gook
34. Last Flag Flying
35. Hostiles
36. Colossal
37. All the Money in the World
38. Molly's Game
39. Darkest Hour
40. Spider-Man: Homecoming
41. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
42. Sweet Virginia
43. It
44. Battle of the Sexes
45. Stronger
46. Brad's Status
47. Okja
48. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
49. Kong: Skull Island
50. It Comes at Night
51. Happy End (foreign movie, did not write review)
52. Crown Heights
53. Split
54. 1922
55. Personal Shopper
56. Landline
57. Thank You for Your Service
58. Beatriz at Dinner
59. Chuck
60. Atomic Blonde
61. Shot Caller
62. Wheelman
63. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
64. Wonder
65. Brigsby Bear
66. The Lego Batman Movie
67. Megan Leavey
68. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
69. Wonderstruck
70. Only the Brave
71. Marshall
72. Menashe
73. Roman J. Israel, Esq.
74. Walking Out
75. American Made
76. Annabelle: Creation
77. Beauty and the Beast
78. Imperial Dreams
79. Gifted
80. Murder on the Orient Express
81. My Friend Dahmer
82. The Zookeeper's Wife
83. The Glass Castle
84. The Foreigner
85. Free Fire
86. Win It All
87. The Wall
88. Jungle
89. Life
90. My Cousin Rachel
91. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
92. The Ballad of Lefty Brown
93. The Fate of the Furious
94. Happy Death Day
95. Breathe
96. The Man Who Invented Christmas
97. Maudie
98. Patti Cake$
99. Sleight
100. Alone in Berlin
101. A United Kingdom
102. Trespass Against Us
103. The Mountain Between Us
104. War Machine
105. Lowriders
106. Justice League
107. To the Bone
108. Ghost in the Shell
109. Wakefield
110. Downsizing
111. Bright
112. The Tribes of Palos Verdes
113. The Hitman's Bodyguard
114. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
115. XXX: Return of Xander Cage
116. The Mummy
117. The Greatest Showman
118. Rough Night
119. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
120. Sand Castle
121. The Circle
122. American Assassin
123. CHiPs
124. Death Note
125. 47 Meters Down
126. The Belko Experiment
127. The Great Wall
128. The Bad Batch
129. Fist Fight
130. Baywatch
131. Snatched
132. Suburbicon
133. Wilson
134. The Dark Tower
135. Queen of the Desert
136. The House
137. Flatliners
138. Sleepless
139. Geostorm
140. All Eyez on Me
141. The Snowman
142. The Book of Henry
143. The Space Between Us
144. Daddy's Home 2
 

909

909
Staff member


Bushwick (2017), directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion

Reason for Watching: BATISTA BABY I WALK ALONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEE

Alright, so what am I gonna do with a review of an extremely short action movie? Bushwick is a very simple film that introduces a concept it has no idea how to flesh out. Lucy (Brittany Snow) is a grad student leaving the subway in Brooklyn, accompanied by her boyfriend Jose (Arturo Castro). Obviously, given the title of the film, they are in Bushwick specifically. While leaving the station, they see that nobody's inside, but the worst thing they see is that a man on fire ran down into the station and onto the subway platform. Alarming, right? Jose leaves Lucy in the stairway while he takes a look outside, which leads to Jose dying in an explosion. Not so good. Lucy eventually runs out there herself, and is chased by two guys after seeing them murder someone. Lucy runs into a house, where the two corner her and threaten to rape and kill her. Very classy. Anyway, these guys are killed by Stupe (Batista), the owner of said house.

Stupe is a combat veteran, a medic in fact. He knows what to do to repair injuries, but his skill in combat remains in question. Stupe says that his wife and son are in Hoboken, so he'll take Lucy there if that's where she wants to go. On the way, they can stop at her grandmother's house. During this scene in his house, it becomes clear that there has been an invasion or occupation of some kind. Their mission is two-fold. One is to escape this occupation any way possible. The other is to scoop up the people they know along the way.

Bushwick doesn't even have enough meat on the bone for me to really dig in and write anything about the plot. This is a project that is heavily invested in the one take/one camera gimmick. A lot of time that is to the detriment of the story, the characters, and the action. The gimmick feels at its worst near the end of Bushwick when there's a big set piece that isn't easy to follow. The focus is far too much on the two lead characters, with no scene dedicated to the perspective of the bad guys/occupiers. There is plainly not enough information about this militant group until far too deep into the film, and it isn't like there's a lot of information given when that happens. The concept is also something that would have made more sense about two weeks ago. At this stage of society I can actually not see something like a secession of southern states happening. Particularly the ones that were chosen in this story. Those states are filled with people who have guns who would not tolerate that.

I usually don't notice fuck ups like this, but when Lucy's grandmother is shown dead, her grandmother is breathing rather obviously. The male character being a medic is an interesting wrinkle in these kinds of stories. There are a few good things in Bushwick though. One of the easiest to recall is a scene that features Orthodox Jews going buck wild on the militants. I very much enjoyed that. The visual really spoke volumes to me. The best scene, however, is one where Batista gives a full monologue about what happened to his family. This one scene is something that's far too good for the rest of this movie, as this is a movie that doesn't support scenes like this one. Overall, the script is bad, the concept is decent but improperly utilized, and there aren't enough good characters in the movie to make it worthwhile. The thing is, Batista is good in basically everything. He can carry a movie like this much further than you'd expect, but more humor is needed.

5/10

2017 Films Ranked


1. Dunkirk
2. Phantom Thread
3. The Shape of Water
4. Get Out
5. Good Time
6. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
7. The Florida Project
8. Mudbound
9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
10. Logan
11. Baby Driver
12. The Post
13. Wonder Woman
14. The Big Sick
15. Lady Bird
16. Wind River
17. Thor: Ragnarok
18. mother!
19. Logan Lucky
20. I, Tonya
21. The Beguiled
22. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
23. Ingrid Goes West
24. Foxtrot
25. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
26. Brawl in Cell Block 99
27. Loveless
28. John Wick: Chapter 2
29. The Disaster Artist
30. The Lost City of Z
31. First They Killed My Father
32. A Ghost Story
33. Gook
34. Last Flag Flying
35. Hostiles
36. Colossal
37. All the Money in the World
38. Molly's Game
39. Darkest Hour
40. Spider-Man: Homecoming
41. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
42. Sweet Virginia
43. It
44. Battle of the Sexes
45. Stronger
46. Brad's Status
47. Okja
48. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
49. Kong: Skull Island
50. It Comes at Night
51. Happy End (foreign movie, did not write review)
52. Crown Heights
53. Split
54. 1922
55. Personal Shopper
56. Landline
57. Thank You for Your Service
58. Beatriz at Dinner
59. Chuck
60. Atomic Blonde
61. Shot Caller
62. Wheelman
63. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
64. Wonder
65. Brigsby Bear
66. The Lego Batman Movie
67. Megan Leavey
68. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
69. Wonderstruck
70. Only the Brave
71. Marshall
72. Menashe
73. Roman J. Israel, Esq.
74. Walking Out
75. American Made
76. Annabelle: Creation
77. Beauty and the Beast
78. Imperial Dreams
79. Gifted
80. Murder on the Orient Express
81. My Friend Dahmer
82. The Zookeeper's Wife
83. The Glass Castle
84. The Foreigner
85. Free Fire
86. Win It All
87. The Wall
88. Jungle
89. Life
90. My Cousin Rachel
91. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
92. The Ballad of Lefty Brown
93. The Fate of the Furious
94. Happy Death Day
95. Breathe
96. The Man Who Invented Christmas
97. Maudie
98. Patti Cake$
99. Sleight
100. Alone in Berlin
101. A United Kingdom
102. Trespass Against Us
103. The Mountain Between Us
104. War Machine
105. Lowriders
106. Justice League
107. To the Bone
108. Ghost in the Shell
109. Wakefield
110. Downsizing
111. Bright
112. Bushwick
113. The Tribes of Palos Verdes
114. The Hitman's Bodyguard
115. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
116. XXX: Return of Xander Cage
117. The Mummy
118. The Greatest Showman
119. Rough Night
120. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
121. Sand Castle
122. The Circle
123. American Assassin
124. CHiPs
125. Death Note
126. 47 Meters Down
127. The Belko Experiment
128. The Great Wall
129. The Bad Batch
130. Fist Fight
131. Baywatch
132. Snatched
133. Suburbicon
134. Wilson
135. The Dark Tower
136. Queen of the Desert
137. The House
138. Flatliners
139. Sleepless
140. Geostorm
141. All Eyez on Me
142. The Snowman
143. The Book of Henry
144. The Space Between Us
145. Daddy's Home 2
 

909

909
Staff member


Detroit (2017), directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Reason for Watching: I am desperately trying to finish 2017 and put all relevant movies in my rear view mirror. Hopefully I can accomplish that soon. I also thought Detroit was the right film to watch at this time. At the time this was made, I remember reading a lot of people questioning whether or not a white person could actually make a movie about this subject. Well, I found out tonight.

Detroit is a rare case of a movie that absolutely expects the viewer to have some kind of knowledge of what was going on in this country. Sometimes that is to its own detriment. Detroit is the story of riots, specifically those in 1967. It is not as much a story of those riots as it is something that happens at the Algiers Motel later on. The film presents matters as such. On a warm summer night, the Detroit Police Department raids an unlicensed club for the purpose of harassing black people who were celebrating returnees from the Vietnam War. That raid leads to some police brutality, police brutality leads to stuff being thrown, and stuff being thrown leads to looting. We have seen some version of that in the last few weeks. Pigs are pigs. When pigs cause looting, that leads to the National Guard being called in, and eventually LBJ decided to send in the Army. A few days later, a group of cops go looking for trouble. Philip Krauss (Will Poulter) takes it upon himself to murder someone with his shotgun when the man was running away from him. Want to hear some crazy shit? The homicide investigator tells Krauss that he's probably going to be charged with murder, and they send Krauss back to work anyway. WHAT?

After that bit, it's time to pop over to another group of people. Detroit is a film that attempts to make something of grand scope. The Dramatics are a professional R&B group trying to make it big in Detroit. Before they're to go on at the Fox Theatre, their performance is called off due to rioting outside. At this point, the film then centers around one performer, Larry Reed (Algee Smith) and his bodyguard Fred (Jacob Latimore). Larry and Fred decide that they're going to go to the Algiers, a motel away from the rioting. The room sucks, but you expect that from an $11 a night motel. After leaving the room to see what's up, they run into Julie (Hannah Murray) and Karen (Kaitlyn Dever), two white girls in a hotel full of people who aren't white. The two girls take Larry and Fred to a room full of people, including Carl (Jason Mitchell), Aubrey (Nathan Davis), Michael (Malcolm David Kelley), and Lee (Peyton Alex Smith). In this room, Carl decides to stage a prank, pulls out a starter pistol, and shoots it at his friend. This freaks Larry and Fred out, so they leave, as Julie and Karen bail to the room of Karl Greene (Anthony Mackie), a Vietnam War vet. That is...not the only thing that happens with that starter pistol.

I did not cover all the characters and in fact I left some out. This is a movie that has a massive amount of characters. All of them are easily differentiated from one another. The problem is that because of this, Detroit is a bit too long. I actually have quite a bit of complaints. The recreations of violence at the Algiers Motel are absolutely brutal on all levels. This is extremely uncomfortable viewing, much like other movies where you have to watch people undergo atrocity. In some respect I'm not sure if these kinds of movies are a good idea. Is this the best way to tell a story about how racism exists and is never changed? Will Poulter's performance is also too good. That's a problem. Ralph Fiennes was too realistic in Schindler's List. I do not think I like this. I also said that the film was too long, and I also feel that it doesn't properly explain why people were put on trial for what they'd done. Maybe it doesn't need to be explained to most people, but there was a story behind that and it needed to be told. I also think that the movie is in some respects just too daunting. How do you tell someone they should sit down and watch this?

At the same time, this is a good movie. Is that in contradiction with what I said? No. This is a story that needed to be told even though I would have told it in a miniseries that more thoroughly introduced the characters. Detroit really pissed me off. I've been pissed off for weeks. This feels like a movie that is directly telling the story of what's happening right now. Not knowing what happens makes this film an extremely intense experience. Who dies? Does it matter who they kill, because killing anyone is way too far and disgusting on the part of police officers? There's one scene where two of the other officers are getting their partner to mock execute someone. Except, they tell him so convincingly, and have been leaving him out of the loop with what they're actually doing, that the fuck actually goes in a room and shoots someone to death. I don't know if I'll get over this scene for a while.

Detroit is a story that needs to be told, and while it needs to be told more thoroughly, and while the film is too long, and while the things displayed in this film are brutal, this is a good film. It isn't perfect, and there are some things about it that would have been changed if I was making them. Even still, I can't say that this wasn't a really good movie. I was compelled entirely. This isn't something I'll watch again, but there are countless strong performances here. This is a film that drives me to anger.

7.5/10

2017 Films Ranked


1. Dunkirk
2. Phantom Thread
3. The Shape of Water
4. Get Out
5. Good Time
6. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
7. The Florida Project
8. Mudbound
9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
10. Logan
11. Baby Driver
12. The Post
13. Wonder Woman
14. The Big Sick
15. Lady Bird
16. Wind River
17. Thor: Ragnarok
18. mother!
19. Logan Lucky
20. I, Tonya
21. The Beguiled
22. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
23. Ingrid Goes West
24. Foxtrot
25. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
26. Brawl in Cell Block 99
27. Loveless
28. John Wick: Chapter 2
29. The Disaster Artist
30. The Lost City of Z
31. First They Killed My Father
32. A Ghost Story
33. Detroit
34. Gook
35. Last Flag Flying
36. Hostiles
37. Colossal
38. All the Money in the World
39. Molly's Game
40. Darkest Hour
41. Spider-Man: Homecoming
42. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
43. Sweet Virginia
44. It
45. Battle of the Sexes
46. Stronger
47. Brad's Status
48. Okja
49. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
50. Kong: Skull Island
51. It Comes at Night
52. Happy End (foreign movie, did not write review)
53. Crown Heights
54. Split
55. 1922
56. Personal Shopper
57. Landline
58. Thank You for Your Service
59. Beatriz at Dinner
60. Chuck
61. Atomic Blonde
62. Shot Caller
63. Wheelman
64. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
65. Wonder
66. Brigsby Bear
67. The Lego Batman Movie
68. Megan Leavey
69. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
70. Wonderstruck
71. Only the Brave
72. Marshall
73. Menashe
74. Roman J. Israel, Esq.
75. Walking Out
76. American Made
77. Annabelle: Creation
78. Beauty and the Beast
79. Imperial Dreams
80. Gifted
81. Murder on the Orient Express
82. My Friend Dahmer
83. The Zookeeper's Wife
84. The Glass Castle
85. The Foreigner
86. Free Fire
87. Win It All
88. The Wall
89. Jungle
90. Life
91. My Cousin Rachel
92. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
93. The Ballad of Lefty Brown
94. The Fate of the Furious
95. Happy Death Day
96. Breathe
97. The Man Who Invented Christmas
98. Maudie
99. Patti Cake$
100. Sleight
101. Alone in Berlin
102. A United Kingdom
103. Trespass Against Us
104. The Mountain Between Us
105. War Machine
106. Lowriders
107. Justice League
108. To the Bone
109. Ghost in the Shell
110. Wakefield
111. Downsizing
112. Bright
113. Bushwick
114. The Tribes of Palos Verdes
115. The Hitman's Bodyguard
116. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
117. XXX: Return of Xander Cage
118. The Mummy
119. The Greatest Showman
120. Rough Night
121. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
122. Sand Castle
123. The Circle
124. American Assassin
125. CHiPs
126. Death Note
127. 47 Meters Down
128. The Belko Experiment
129. The Great Wall
130. The Bad Batch
131. Fist Fight
132. Baywatch
133. Snatched
134. Suburbicon
135. Wilson
136. The Dark Tower
137. Queen of the Desert
138. The House
139. Flatliners
140. Sleepless
141. Geostorm
142. All Eyez on Me
143. The Snowman
144. The Book of Henry
145. The Space Between Us
146. Daddy's Home 2
 

909

909
Staff member


Holmes & Watson (2018), directed by Etan Cohen

Reason for Watching: This is supposed to be one of the absolute worst movies from 2018. I have a few more, but I thought that after watching Detroit I should swing very hard in the other direction. This film and others like it are also a primary reason for shortening my reviews. These are easier to talk about now.

I've never been big on Sherlock Holmes stories, I don't know anything about how they're supposed to go or anything like that. Holmes & Watson is set in London, and has tons of things in the film that are supposed to remind you of the present. All that shit is terrible, by the way. Before that, we're shown some of Sherlock's childhood, where he is bullied and responds by doing goofy shit to get everyone expelled. Eventually, he befriends John Watson. Watson (John C. Reilly) and Holmes (Will Ferrell) grew up to be really stupid people who solve crimes and think they're smart. In this version, Holmes is a legendary bumbling detective. He and Watson are supposed to be at a trial for James Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes), but they barely arrive in time. At this trial, it is revealed that the person in the trial is not Moriarty, but rather an impersonator. Unfortunately for the people of London, people keep getting killed. That's really all I have to say about that.

I swung way too far in the other direction, so even though Holmes & Watson is a short movie, it was grueling and daunting just the same. I don't know why anyone would conceive a Step Brothers reunion based on this subject and with this script. This is like a shitty Chris Kattan movie from the early part of this millennium. The opening part with the kids is absolutely painful. Worst thing is that I didn't laugh until 47 minutes into this movie. Right after that, Bruce Buffer and Michael Buffer have terrible cameos. I've written reviews about other movies that are as bad as this one, and I say the same thing every time. I have no idea how people can debase themselves like this for a paycheck. This was an extremely painful experience I cannot recommend even for the purposes of simply watching a movie because it's bad. I laughed twice. TWO TIMES.

It's difficult to say there are any bright spots, because there genuinely are none. Holmes & Watson has a good cast too. A movie featuring Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Kelly Macdonald, Hugh Laurie, John C. Reilly, Rebecca Hall, and Ralph Fiennes should not be this bad. There's a serious lack of quality control here. Of course, there's one constant in extremely bad movies. I'm sure you know exactly who it is, too. Will Ferrell in any kind of movie is capable of dragging the whole thing down. The guy is not funny. He isn't a good actor either. I don't want to see him. He makes Adam Sandler look like Marlon Brando. Ferrell will never have any performance as good as Sandler's best performances. He isn't capable of it, and I can't see him as anything other than a fool. This is a movie for morons. Straight up. The stuff with red hats that say "Keep England Great" or some bullshit...man. Just, man. How could anyone have liked this?

1.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. The Death of Stalin
33. A Quiet Place
34. Vice
35. The Old Man & the Gun
36. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
37. Vox Lux
38. Bad Times at the El Royale
39. The Other Side of the Wind
40. Searching
41. Calibre
42. A Simple Favor
43. The Hate U Give
44. Unsane
45. Disobedience
46. Boy Erased
47. Bumblebee
48. Mary Poppins Returns
49. Creed II
50. Hold the Dark
51. The Land of Steady Habits
52. Halloween
53. The 12th Man
54. Upgrade
55. What They Had
56. Ant-Man and the Wasp
57. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
58. Blockers
59. Beirut
60. Roxanne Roxanne
61. Tully
62. Mary Queen of Scots
63. Aquaman
64. Ideal Home
65. Outlaw King
66. Overlord
67. Ready Player One
68. Ben Is Back
69. Monsters and Men
70. Colette
71. The Mule
72. On the Basis of Sex
73. Bohemian Rhapsody
74. White Boy Rick
75. Papillon
76. Game Night
77. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
78. Ocean's Eight
79. Alpha
80. Come Sunday
81. Instant Family
82. The Front Runner
83. The Predator
84. Apostle
85. The Oath
86. Uncle Drew
87. The Cured
88. The Commuter
89. The Angel
90. Tag
91. Beautiful Boy
92. The Nun
93. Operation Finale
94. The Equalizer 2
95. The Spy Who Dumped Me
96. Cargo
97. Yardie
98. Boundaries
99. Bird Box
100. 12 Strong
101. Venom
102. Skyscraper
103. The Meg
104. Assassination Nation
105. Adrift
106. Crazy Rich Asians
107. Backstabbing for Beginners
108. The Girl in the Spider's Web
109. Gringo
110. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
111. 22 July
112. Tomb Raider
113. Rampage
114. Hotel Artemis
115. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
116. The Little Stranger
117. 7 Days in Entebbe
118. Night School
119. The 15:17 To Paris
120. Den of Thieves
121. The Catcher Was a Spy
122. Peppermint
123. Mile 22
124. The First Purge
125. Hunter Killer
126. The Hurricane Heist
127. The Cloverfield Paradox
128. Breaking In
129. Welcome to Marwen
130. Second Act
131. How It Ends
132. Mute
133. Kin
134. Hell Fest
135. Action Point
136. Proud Mary
137. Robin Hood
138. Traffik
139. Tau
140. Winchester
141. Woman Walks Ahead
142. The Happytime Murders
143. The Outsider
144. Slender Man
145. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


Borg vs. McEnroe (2018), directed by Janus Metz

Reason for Watching: I'm almost done with 2017, and I'm going to finish that one up next month. It's time to finish 2018. I'm also interested to see if John McEnroe's outbursts are accurately portrayed here.

Borg vs. McEnroe is a film that may need introduction in this crowd, but to a hell of a lot of people this is a story they know pretty well. It's also a niche story at the same time. That's why I don't always understand how these movies get made. Borg vs. McEnroe is the story of Wimbledon 1980, which ended with Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) and John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf) facing off in a final of all finals. Throughout this movie, we see the story of how Borg came to be in this position in the first place. As a young, angry kid who could not control himself, Borg comes into contact with Lennart Bergelin (Stellan Skarsgard), the Swedish Davis Cup captain. Lennart sees that Borg has tons of untapped potential, and the main thing holding him back is his firey temper. The viewer comes to see how this process works, and we also see the happenings of the already mentioned Wimbledon tournament. The film caps off with the aforementioned final, and if you haven't seen the final before, this has some intrigue. The events are presented in a manner where it is reasonably in doubt who wins.

I realize that I'm cutting my usual review length by at least half here, but this is a rather simple sports film. There are things about this that are interesting, sure. McEnroe's outbursts have always been funny, and the perfect actor was chosen to have said outbursts. Borg's upbringing was interesting in that he was not a stereotypically spoiled tennis star. The way the film is directed, and the way the script is written, does not do the overall story any favors. We needed way more from McEnroe in this movie. Some of the tennis scenes could have been clipped for scenes explaining how he himself started. I found the scenes showing the sacrifices these athletes had to make to be quite intriguing. The problem is that there could have been so much more of them. Borg vs. McEnroe is just not as in depth as a movie about these subjects should really be.

The year before this, there was another tennis movie, Battle of the Sexes. That film digs much deeper than this one, in part due to longer run time. The story of Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs also had cultural relevance that Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe does not. The subjects are given the feeling of being more interesting even if they aren't. Let me tell you, none of these people is as interesting a subject as John McEnroe. They simply are not. Yet, he's a supporting character in this movie. That's how I feel, anyway. I feel like this movie is missing something. I can't put my finger on what, but there are scenes early in the film in Monaco that really resonated with me. There should have been more of this kind of thing to illustrate how alone athletes truly are. Athletes are not quite seen as real people, as we all know. There isn't enough of that in movies about athletes, though. These people are expected to sign shit for people until their hand falls off. Expected to take pictures until they fall down. When they don't do all that shit, they're an asshole and people out them in the media or on social media. Above all, they're expected to win all the time. Not so fun sounding to me.

6/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. The Death of Stalin
33. A Quiet Place
34. Vice
35. The Old Man & the Gun
36. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
37. Vox Lux
38. Bad Times at the El Royale
39. The Other Side of the Wind
40. Searching
41. Calibre
42. A Simple Favor
43. The Hate U Give
44. Unsane
45. Disobedience
46. Boy Erased
47. Bumblebee
48. Mary Poppins Returns
49. Creed II
50. Hold the Dark
51. The Land of Steady Habits
52. Halloween
53. The 12th Man
54. Upgrade
55. What They Had
56. Ant-Man and the Wasp
57. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
58. Blockers
59. Beirut
60. Roxanne Roxanne
61. Tully
62. Mary Queen of Scots
63. Aquaman
64. Ideal Home
65. Outlaw King
66. Overlord
67. Ready Player One
68. Ben Is Back
69. Monsters and Men
70. Colette
71. The Mule
72. On the Basis of Sex
73. Bohemian Rhapsody
74. White Boy Rick
75. Papillon
76. Game Night
77. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
78. Ocean's Eight
79. Alpha
80. Come Sunday
81. Borg vs. McEnroe
82. Instant Family
83. The Front Runner
84. The Predator
85. Apostle
86. The Oath
87. Uncle Drew
88. The Cured
89. The Commuter
90. The Angel
91. Tag
92. Beautiful Boy
93. The Nun
94. Operation Finale
95. The Equalizer 2
96. The Spy Who Dumped Me
97. Cargo
98. Yardie
99. Boundaries
100. Bird Box
101. 12 Strong
102. Venom
103. Skyscraper
104. The Meg
105. Assassination Nation
106. Adrift
107. Crazy Rich Asians
108. Backstabbing for Beginners
109. The Girl in the Spider's Web
110. Gringo
111. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
112. 22 July
113. Tomb Raider
114. Rampage
115. Hotel Artemis
116. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
117. The Little Stranger
118. 7 Days in Entebbe
119. Night School
120. The 15:17 To Paris
121. Den of Thieves
122. The Catcher Was a Spy
123. Peppermint
124. Mile 22
125. The First Purge
126. Hunter Killer
127. The Hurricane Heist
128. The Cloverfield Paradox
129. Breaking In
130. Welcome to Marwen
131. Second Act
132. How It Ends
133. Mute
134. Kin
135. Hell Fest
136. Action Point
137. Proud Mary
138. Robin Hood
139. Traffik
140. Tau
141. Winchester
142. Woman Walks Ahead
143. The Happytime Murders
144. The Outsider
145. Slender Man
146. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


Trial by Fire (2019), directed by Edward Zwick

Reason for Watching: Yet another death row movie. This is one that I wanted to check out in theaters, except it never made it to mine. There was a rush of death row movies in the last few years, many of them were very good. The thing is, because there were so many of them, there is now an expectation of quality that I have from these movies. If it is not met, I won't like the movie.

Trial by Fire is another death row flick, as already mentioned, but in this case my expectations of quality were not met. Specifically, this is the story of Cameron Todd Willingham (Jack O'Connell), a man convicted of murdering his three daughters via arson. The way the story is told seems to be rather accurate to the events as they happened. Todd was married to Stacy (Emily Meade), and their marriage was rather tumultuous and unpleasant. Their daughters were obviously the exception to that. The film begins in a manner where we don't know anything about them, but we are given a glimpse at a neighbor's yard. From her yard, we see the Willingham house go ablaze. Todd's behavior as this is going on is very strange. First, he stands there seemingly entirely confused. After that, he goes over to push his car out of the driveway. You can see how a witness would be very confused by these actions. I would be confused too if a parent was doing that while his daughters were burning to a crisp.

Initially, it appears as if Todd may go uncharged. The problem is that the state of Texas has or had arson investigators who strongly believed they knew what they were doing, and they were convinced that Todd walked through his house, pouring a gas can everywhere. After finishing that, they believe he set a fire that killed his daughters. Unfortunately, as we know, when you're poor like the Willingham family, and you have the problems that they had, it's very easy to hang a conviction on the accused. The prosecutor is able to bring up countless witnesses who either hate Todd, believe that Stacy has told them things which either may or may not have done, and to cap it all off they even found an inmate in the county jail who heard Todd confess. Basically, he's fucked. The only person to testify in his defense is Stacy, and that goes nowhere. Public defenders for the poor are what they are, and Todd is convicted of capital murder. He is sentenced to death. Of course, what if he didn't do it? You already know that part's coming.

I want to make a bunch of fire related puns, but because this is a true story I don't think that's appropriate. Trial by Fire is a movie that never really comes to life. You'd think a movie with this much white trash shit could easily ignite a spark (sorry) and make the movie more interesting, except it doesn't. There are nowhere near as many white trash scenes as you think there could be. There's also an entirely different way to make this movie, and the director decided that there was enough information on its own to support a two hour film. There was not. The information is told in the fashion of a made for TV movie. There absolutely should have been flashbacks during the trial scenes, but there were not. Why was Todd being accused by so many people of beating his wife? I understand that when it come to a movie like this one, the filmmaker feels obligated to stack the deck against the death penalty. That doesn't mean someone should make a boring, dry movie.

There are so many directions in which this could have gone, but this shouldn't have been a movie that relied on so many cliches. The prison guard befriending the innocent guy is something that should genuinely no longer exist. The fucking guy pushes the buttons to kill him for fuck's sake. There are other things in Trial by Fire that are not given the attention they deserve. Laura Dern plays a character who comes into the film halfway through, and this character is very interested in Todd's story to the point she completely ignores her kids while their father is dying. Her kids are in the movie for two or three minutes at most. Overall, I feel like while this isn't a terrible movie, it's still a poorly made film. I never got to review Clemency, but I did see that movie. That's another movie where the prisoner is sentenced to death despite not having committed the crime they're accused of Clemency had better acting, a better story, more interesting side characters, and a more developed view of what the director wanted the film to look like. This film has four characters and two of them are classic prison movie cliches. Pass.

Also, I should note that the lead performance by O'Connell is good, particularly considering he's playing a Texan and isn't even from this country. Thing is, if you can't put in a good performance in a prison flick, you straight up can't act. Nobody gets extra points for that.

5/10

2019 Films Ranked


1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
2. Parasite
3. 1917
4. Midsommar
5. Ad Astra
6. The Lighthouse
7. Waves
8. The Farewell
9. Knives Out
10. Uncut Gems
11. Atlantics
12. Booksmart
13. Avengers: Endgame
14. Queen & Slim
15. Toy Story 4
16. Joker
17. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
18. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
19. The Two Popes
20. Clemency (had some stuff happen, couldn't review)
21. Us
22. Ford v. Ferrari
23. Gloria Bell
24. The Beach Bum
25. Just Mercy
26. The Art of Self-Defense
27. Dark Waters
28. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
29. Arctic
30. Spider-Man: Far From Home
31. Rocketman
32. High Flying Bird
33. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
34. Paddleton
35. Richard Jewell
36. The Peanut Butter Falcon
37. Honey Boy
38. Doctor Sleep
39. Hustlers
40. Blinded by the Light
41. Captain Marvel
42. Jojo Rabbit
43. Long Shot
44. Shazam
45. Ready or Not
46. A Vigilante
47. Late Night
48. Crawl
49. It: Chapter Two
50. Hotel Mumbai
51. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
52. Zombieland: Double Tap
53. Harriet
54. Hobbs & Shaw
55. Official Secrets
56. Always Be My Maybe
57. Cold Pursuit
58. The Laundromat
59. Where'd You Go, Bernadette
60. Shaft
61. Happy Death Day 2U
62. Ma
63. Terminator: Dark Fate
64. Annabelle Comes Home
65. Greta
66. Jumanji: The Next Level
67. Aladdin
68. Triple Frontier
69. Fighting with My Family
70. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
71. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
72. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
73. Brexit
74. The Dirt
75. Velvet Buzzsaw
76. Stuber
77. Little
78. Alita: Battle Angel
79. The Good Liar
80. The Current War: Director's Cut
81. The Kid
82. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
83. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
84. Good Boys
85. The Upside
86. The Lion King
87. Dumbo
88. The Hummingbird Project
89. Escape Room
90. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
91. Brian Banks
92. Tolkien
93. The Dead Don't Die
94. Captive State
95. The Highwaymen
96. Bombshell
97. Pet Sematary
98. The Intruder
99. Child's Play
100. 21 Bridges
101. Gemini Man
102. Brightburn
103. Never Grow Old
104. Rambo: Last Blood
105. Trial by Fire
106. Midway
107. Angel Has Fallen
108. Black and Blue
109. Yesterday
110. Anna
111. What Men Want
112. Them That Follow
113. Unicorn Store
114. The Curse of La Llorona
115. Miss Bala
116. Men in Black: International
117. The Red Sea Diving Resort
118. The Perfection
119. Hellboy
120. Glass
121. Dark Phoenix
122. Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral
123. The Kitchen
124. The Hustle
125. The Best of Enemies
126. The Prodigy
127. Polar
128. Serenity
 

909

909
Staff member


At Eternity's Gate (2018), directed by Julian Schnabel

Reason for Watching: This is the last of the unseen movies where someone was nominated for Best Actor in 2018. I kind of have to watch this. Plus, it's van Gogh. I should mention that for films that were provoking me to think, I have lately been writing down thoughts. Sometimes I post them even though they're scattered. Other times they get edited.

At Eternity's Gate is the proverbial portrait of the troubled artist, but in this case the film's subject is THE troubled artist. At Eternity's Gate is not a film that entirely depicts the life of Vincent van Gogh (Willem Dafoe), this is a film that depicts certain things about his life. If you think you're gonna get a glimpse of him painting The Starry Night or some shit, this is not the movie for you. It's hard to describe this film because it is not the most accessible film in the world. The film begins with Vincent in Paris, in a room with a collection of artists including Paul Gauguin (Oscar Isaac). Vincent decides that he wants to leave Paris, and he tells Gauguin this. Gauguin recommends that van Gogh find a country town because that's better for him. With the help of his brother Theo (Rupert Friend), Vincent relocates to Arles, in the south of France. If you don't know, and there's good reason not to already know this, Theo funded Vincent's life for many years.

As already stated, At Eternity's Gate is not an extremely accessible film. There are scenes here I cannot quite describe, because they are very long and there are things that do not make sense unless you see them. There is a scene somewhat early on where van Gogh is sitting in a field for a long time, and while sitting there he picks up some dirt and throws it in his mouth. Then, after that, he starts painting and the movie completely pulls away from that to show him eating. This is obviously a glimpse into van Gogh's artistic process, but there's more to the film than this. Vincent is the kind of person who needs to be outside in order to paint. This is difficult for other people to accept. When you're a painter, people have expectations of you to do certain things. If you don't want to paint someone, they become cold to you. In the case of van Gogh, he is incredibly lonely. He needs his brother or another artist to be around, but nobody can be around him because of where he needs to be in order to paint. This is a dichotomy as I'm sure you're aware/

At Eternity's Gate is a film that decides at times to take us into the artist's eyes, to show his POV in certain situations where it seems more necessary than others. This can often by very disorienting. Van Gogh was plagued by vision problems throughout his life, there are many reasons as to why this could be. He may have been color blind. He may have been lead poisoned by the paint he was using. His alcoholism could have caused these problems or exacerbated them because of the aforementioned other issues. At Eternity's Gate is a film that challenges the idea van Gogh killed himself. There was a book written about this subject recently that did the same thing. If you care at all, the accepted story of van Gogh's death does not make sense. Of course, van Gogh was also insane. It is difficult to postulate based on things that he has said because his life is riddled with logical inconsistencies. Why would the man cut off his ear? His explanation of that is something inexplicable to anyone but him. Like, you know, the same as most people who draw or paint.

I think everyone knows of van Gogh from when they were in school and learned about art, but I would say that most people don't know a lot about his life. For me, its been so long since I learned any of those things, that I'd forgotten basically everything about him. How he lived and how he died are things that were but a footnote in my mind. I have to say I was not expecting to like this movie. I thought that this would be a boilerplate bio-pic, the likes of which I've seen many times before. There are not many movies that are released in this country that take this sort of approach. The things with his vision that I've already stated are portrayed through van Gogh's eyes at various times. If the man experienced it, so should the viewer. This logic is pervasive. When van Gogh had conversations that bothered him, they would repeat in his mind on loop before he'd have an impulsive reaction. There are a couple things I think the film needed, though. When van Gogh cut his ear off, that's something that can't be left out of the movie. You can't just cut to a scene with the doctor where they're talking about it. I think that's something they may have filmed and edited out.

Obviously, as you can tell, I liked this a lot. I understand why Dafoe was nominated for Best Actor, but there's no way I'd have nominated him. This was a strong performance in a year with stronger performances. The other thing is, I see that this movie got extremely good reviews from some ends, and middling ones on the other. I'm in the middle of that. Here's the deal, or the problem, I don't care about art. I am a typical American. The lack of dialogue is also an issue at times, but this is a nicely disorienting film. You could not just make a standard movie about van Gogh. There were people who have tried to do that with others, like J.R.R. Tolkien, of countless other authors, of artists, and of bands/musicians. You can't do that. The film has to have something more, and in this case the cinematography and use of first person viewpoint sell the whole thing.

7.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. At Eternity's Gate
33. The Death of Stalin
34. A Quiet Place
35. Vice
36. The Old Man & the Gun
37. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
38. Vox Lux
39. Bad Times at the El Royale
40. The Other Side of the Wind
41. Searching
42. Calibre
43. A Simple Favor
44. The Hate U Give
45. Unsane
46. Disobedience
47. Boy Erased
48. Bumblebee
49. Mary Poppins Returns
50. Creed II
51. Hold the Dark
52. The Land of Steady Habits
53. Halloween
54. The 12th Man
55. Upgrade
56. What They Had
57. Ant-Man and the Wasp
58. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
59. Blockers
60. Beirut
61. Roxanne Roxanne
62. Tully
63. Mary Queen of Scots
64. Aquaman
65. Ideal Home
66. Outlaw King
67. Overlord
68. Ready Player One
69. Ben Is Back
70. Monsters and Men
71. Colette
72. The Mule
73. On the Basis of Sex
74. Bohemian Rhapsody
75. White Boy Rick
76. Papillon
77. Game Night
78. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
79. Ocean's Eight
80. Alpha
81. Come Sunday
82. Borg vs. McEnroe
83. Instant Family
84. The Front Runner
85. The Predator
86. Apostle
87. The Oath
88. Uncle Drew
89. The Cured
90. The Commuter
91. The Angel
92. Tag
93. Beautiful Boy
94. The Nun
95. Operation Finale
96. The Equalizer 2
97. The Spy Who Dumped Me
98. Cargo
99. Yardie
100. Boundaries
101. Bird Box
102. 12 Strong
103. Venom
104. Skyscraper
105. The Meg
106. Assassination Nation
107. Adrift
108. Crazy Rich Asians
109. Backstabbing for Beginners
110. The Girl in the Spider's Web
111. Gringo
112. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
113. 22 July
114. Tomb Raider
115. Rampage
116. Hotel Artemis
117. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
118. The Little Stranger
119. 7 Days in Entebbe
120. Night School
121. The 15:17 To Paris
122. Den of Thieves
123. The Catcher Was a Spy
124. Peppermint
125. Mile 22
126. The First Purge
127. Hunter Killer
128. The Hurricane Heist
129. The Cloverfield Paradox
130. Breaking In
131. Welcome to Marwen
132. Second Act
133. How It Ends
134. Mute
135. Kin
136. Hell Fest
137. Action Point
138. Proud Mary
139. Robin Hood
140. Traffik
141. Tau
142. Winchester
143. Woman Walks Ahead
144. The Happytime Murders
145. The Outsider
146. Slender Man
147. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


Chappaquiddick (2018), directed by John Curran

Reason for Watching: Come on, do I really need to spell this out? It's a movie about a US Senator killing someone. I don't like to read books, so this is a much easier form of accessibility for me.

Chappaquiddick is a story that I think a lot of people are familiar with, but the details may be fuzzy or they may not know them at all. The overarching thing that people do remember, is the simple fact that Ted Kennedy (Jason Clarke) was in a car with Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara). Kennedy crashed the car and may or may not have attempted to save Kopechne's life. Ted may or may not have been drunk. The weekend in July of 1969 starts with Kennedy doing an interview talking about his two assassinated brothers. You know who they are. Ted subsequently phones his cousin Joe Gargan (Ed Helms), and asks him to book rooms on Martha's Vineyard for former staffers of Robert Kennedy. When Ted arrives on Martha's Vineyard, he meets Joe and his friend Paul Markham (Jim Gaffigan) for a sailboat race, which they lose badly. After that loss, they go back to a party, where these staffers are at with some other folks. Kopechne is one of these staffers. There's liquor involved and it appears that some of those people may have had too much, but Ted wants to leave the party to talk with Kopechne.

This, obviously, is where the events become very blurred. The only two people who now know are dead. Ted has had too much to drink, but he's driving anyway, without a care in the world. On the road, they see a police officer, but Ted quickly backs up and drives away very fast. The road is a dirt one, and he's driving much too fast for it. This leads to an accident, with Ted driving over the bridge, causing the car to land upside down in a pond. Somehow, Ted climbs out of the vehicle, though he cannot remember how he has done so. Kopechne does not. The film has two ways of looking at it. There's one version where he got out and walked back to the party. There's another where he tries to get Kopechne out of the vehicle and can't open the doors, which eventually leads to him going back to the party as well. Upon arriving at the party again, he tells Joe and Paul that they need to hurry up and drive out to the bridge. The two guys try to save Kopechne, or get her body, but they cannot. Ted is rather drunk and unable to move, he does not help them. The two men also tell Ted that he should report the incident immediately. They are both lawyers and know what they're talking about. Instead, they row Ted to another area, where there is a telephone he can use, but instead Ted goes inside for the night. Now what?

I don't even need to say this, although I guess I will. The story that Kennedy gives is beyond shady. He said they were driving, and the road they were supposed to be using was paved, while the one they were on was dirt. He said that he tried to get Kopechne out of the car, but he could not even though he was able to do so himself. The cause of death was disputed. An autopsy was not completed because things were arranged to take place in an accelerated timeframe. It was said that there may have been an air pocket in the car for two hours that Kopechke could use to breathe. There was a phone booth literally right there. Had Ted immediately reported the problem, it is possible that Kopechke would have lived. The Kennedy family also assembled an enormous team of people who would help Ted deal with this problem. Is this suspicious? You bet it is. The whole thing doesn't make a lot of sense. The film leaves you to feel however you feel. My opinion is that it seemed like Ted Kennedy did not make a full effort to save Kopechne, effectively letting her die. I'm not even sure he tried to open the car. After all, he was drunk.

I have mixed feelings about this movie. I just talked about this in a previous review, about good biographies tend to bring something else to the table that other movies do not have. Chappaquiddick does not have that. At the same time, this is a decent story about how power is such a corruptive, corrosive force. This is also the kind of movie that brought me to absolute confusion as to how Ted Kennedy continued to win elections. If this thing happened today, this dude would absolutely never win anything ever again. He would be shamed into disappearance regardless of his name or stature. This is something that I just don't get, I will never get it because I wasn't part of that era and don't understand. I'm also uncertain that this story is told in the best way possible, I feel like there were more salacious aspects that could have been leaned into. I think it's imperative to understand that this was a desperate attempt to allow Ted Kennedy to run for higher office in 1972. To that end, Joe Kennedy's (Bruce Dern) appearance in this film really works. Those moments are a bit surreal.

While I do have those mixed feelings, I think this is a good film. I think it's a bit out of place being released in these times though. The Kennedys have faded a fair bit in the mind of people these days, and even two years ago when this was released, that was the case. A lot of things have happened since Chappaquiddick. This was a crime, an absolute crime, there's no other way to look at things. At the time, and immediately afterward, people talked about this as if it was an unfortunate accident when it was not. The police couldn't prove that Ted Kennedy was drunk when driving, but that doesn't change that this was a crime. Someone died because this guy was driving like a fucking idiot, and he wasn't able to get her out of the car, nor was there any proof that he had even tried. This guy went back to his hotel room after that, and he only reported the crime once someone told him police had found his car. Ted Kennedy used his status as a Kennedy in order to evade being punished for that crime. You can't wash that kind of stain out. For a long time, and probably even still now, it was usually right wing conspiracists that would outright call him a criminal. If Ted Kennedy was a prominent figure these days, everyone would be calling him a criminal. Everyone would be right. All this fucking guy cared about, all his remaining family cared about, was if his career could be saved. That is a problem. I appreciate that Chappaquiddick is a film that doesn't try very hard to hit you with both sides of the story. There is only one side to this story.

7/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. At Eternity's Gate
33. The Death of Stalin
34. A Quiet Place
35. Vice
36. The Old Man & the Gun
37. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
38. Vox Lux
39. Bad Times at the El Royale
40. The Other Side of the Wind
41. Searching
42. Calibre
43. A Simple Favor
44. The Hate U Give
45. Unsane
46. Disobedience
47. Boy Erased
48. Bumblebee
49. Mary Poppins Returns
50. Creed II
51. Hold the Dark
52. The Land of Steady Habits
53. Halloween
54. The 12th Man
55. Upgrade
56. Chappaquiddick
57. What They Had
58. Ant-Man and the Wasp
59. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
60. Blockers
61. Beirut
62. Roxanne Roxanne
63. Tully
64. Mary Queen of Scots
65. Aquaman
66. Ideal Home
67. Outlaw King
68. Overlord
69. Ready Player One
70. Ben Is Back
71. Monsters and Men
72. Colette
73. The Mule
74. On the Basis of Sex
75. Bohemian Rhapsody
76. White Boy Rick
77. Papillon
78. Game Night
79. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
80. Ocean's Eight
81. Alpha
82. Come Sunday
83. Borg vs. McEnroe
84. Instant Family
85. The Front Runner
86. The Predator
87. Apostle
88. The Oath
89. Uncle Drew
90. The Cured
91. The Commuter
92. The Angel
93. Tag
94. Beautiful Boy
95. The Nun
96. Operation Finale
97. The Equalizer 2
98. The Spy Who Dumped Me
99. Cargo
100. Yardie
101. Boundaries
102. Bird Box
103. 12 Strong
104. Venom
105. Skyscraper
106. The Meg
107. Assassination Nation
108. Adrift
109. Crazy Rich Asians
110. Backstabbing for Beginners
111. The Girl in the Spider's Web
112. Gringo
113. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
114. 22 July
115. Tomb Raider
116. Rampage
117. Hotel Artemis
118. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
119. The Little Stranger
120. 7 Days in Entebbe
121. Night School
122. The 15:17 To Paris
123. Den of Thieves
124. The Catcher Was a Spy
125. Peppermint
126. Mile 22
127. The First Purge
128. Hunter Killer
129. The Hurricane Heist
130. The Cloverfield Paradox
131. Breaking In
132. Welcome to Marwen
133. Second Act
134. How It Ends
135. Mute
136. Kin
137. Hell Fest
138. Action Point
139. Proud Mary
140. Robin Hood
141. Traffik
142. Tau
143. Winchester
144. Woman Walks Ahead
145. The Happytime Murders
146. The Outsider
147. Slender Man
148. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


Hot Summer Nights (2018), directed by Elijah Bynum

Reason for Watching: I am trying to catch up on A24's movies. This one isn't supposed to be good, but I've watched too many good movies in a row.

Not looking forward to writing this one. Hot Summer Nights is the story of Daniel (Timothee Chalamet), a teenager whose father has recently passed away. Set in 1991, Daniel has been sent to Cape Cod by his mother, to live with his aunt for the summer. It has to be weird to do some shit like that, you know. When I was sent to Arkansas to live with my grandma for the summer, I got there before school had finished. So, I made some friends and shit and I was looking forward to things that I was doing with them. Daniel, on the other hand, he's sent there with nobody. Nobody and nothing. Hot Summer Nights is a film that is narrated by some young geek, and early on this provides some entertainment. Sometimes it does not. Daniel was not looking forward to this summer, and truthfully he didn't even want to go. He was made to get a job at a convenience station and all that, something he can do to get out of the house. Every once in a while he'll go to the beach too. Maybe he'll even hit up a party.

One day, while doing a shift at his convenience store, Daniel comes across Hunter (Alex Roe), who we have already been introduced to. Hunter tells Daniel that he better quickly hide some weed for him, as a cop is following him. Daniel complies, and the two hit it off as friends. As the narrator has told us, Hunter is a huge drug dealer. Everyone in the area knows they can go to him for their needs, regardless of their age. It's alright for old men to go see this guy, for teenagers, for anyone. The local cop, Frank Calhoun (Thomas Jane), he is really onto this shit. Eventually, the two both start selling weed together. First there's a little, then there's a lot. They come into contact with someone named Dex (Emory Cohen), who becomes their supplier. Dex will give them whatever it is they want. But there's what should be an interesting wrinkle here, pardon me if you've seen this shit before. Hunter has a sister, McKayla (Maika Monroe). You probably know how the actress looks. Daniel runs into her and is interested. Hunter doesn't know that she knows Daniel. McKayla doesn't know that Daniel knows Hunter. That, as they say, is that.

These fucking movies that spoil the plot with a teaser scene one minute in. I tell you, this shit is the bane of my existence. I don't want these, nobody wants these. The one in Hot Summer Nights shows Daniel getting t-boned while speeding away from something. This one scene entirely takes the tension out of the last 15 minutes of the film. Shitty movies have these scenes because the filmmakers don't believe people will stick with them otherwise. I will say that Hot Summer Nights has a very convincing display of geek going on here. This movie is full of style in a sense of ripping off from other directors, this is more derivative than most. There are funny things in this though. There's a part where this dude is looking at a hot chick and takes her chewed gum off the telephone booth she stuck it on. Really gross. Very funny. Unfortunately the film is short on this kind of thing. You'd think that the whole film would be like this, except it isn't, and things of this nature subside quite rapidly.

Hot Summer Nights is much more interested in taking Daniel into the drug dealing scene, which we've seen so many times before, and in this case many times done better as well. What we have here is a tonal issue. This also takes a turn going from that, to a romance movie. These changes didn't do it for me. As a result this is one of the longest 105 minute movies I've ever seen. There aren't good characters in this film at all, I'd say. There are good visuals, but that only matters so much. On a sustained level that's all the movie has at all. I don't give a fuck about any of these people, I felt nothing at really any point at all. I can't even say that I felt bad for someone. The shit sucked. This is a lame fucking movie, the narrator possibly being the worst part. A narrator should be in a movie when the movie is about important shit and needs someone to make sense of everything. The narrator is completely unnecessary here. It's some dweeb. Also, you know how I knew I wouldn't like this movie? When I heard yet another movie play "Space Oddity" completely out of context, that was it for me. I can't even tell you why this song is so overused in this medium. I genuinely don't know.

This movie is one of the worst of 2018, for a hell of a lot of reasons. There are so many things ripped off from so many good directors and placed into a film where it goesn't make sense for those things to exist.

3.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. At Eternity's Gate
33. The Death of Stalin
34. A Quiet Place
35. Vice
36. The Old Man & the Gun
37. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
38. Vox Lux
39. Bad Times at the El Royale
40. The Other Side of the Wind
41. Searching
42. Calibre
43. A Simple Favor
44. The Hate U Give
45. Unsane
46. Disobedience
47. Boy Erased
48. Bumblebee
49. Mary Poppins Returns
50. Creed II
51. Hold the Dark
52. The Land of Steady Habits
53. Halloween
54. The 12th Man
55. Upgrade
56. Chappaquiddick
57. What They Had
58. Ant-Man and the Wasp
59. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
60. Blockers
61. Beirut
62. Roxanne Roxanne
63. Tully
64. Mary Queen of Scots
65. Aquaman
66. Ideal Home
67. Outlaw King
68. Overlord
69. Ready Player One
70. Ben Is Back
71. Monsters and Men
72. Colette
73. The Mule
74. On the Basis of Sex
75. Bohemian Rhapsody
76. White Boy Rick
77. Papillon
78. Game Night
79. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
80. Ocean's Eight
81. Alpha
82. Come Sunday
83. Borg vs. McEnroe
84. Instant Family
85. The Front Runner
86. The Predator
87. Apostle
88. The Oath
89. Uncle Drew
90. The Cured
91. The Commuter
92. The Angel
93. Tag
94. Beautiful Boy
95. The Nun
96. Operation Finale
97. The Equalizer 2
98. The Spy Who Dumped Me
99. Cargo
100. Yardie
101. Boundaries
102. Bird Box
103. 12 Strong
104. Venom
105. Skyscraper
106. The Meg
107. Assassination Nation
108. Adrift
109. Crazy Rich Asians
110. Backstabbing for Beginners
111. The Girl in the Spider's Web
112. Gringo
113. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
114. 22 July
115. Tomb Raider
116. Rampage
117. Hotel Artemis
118. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
119. The Little Stranger
120. 7 Days in Entebbe
121. Night School
122. The 15:17 To Paris
123. Den of Thieves
124. The Catcher Was a Spy
125. Peppermint
126. Mile 22
127. The First Purge
128. Hunter Killer
129. The Hurricane Heist
130. The Cloverfield Paradox
131. Breaking In
132. Hot Summer Nights
133. Welcome to Marwen
134. Second Act
135. How It Ends
136. Mute
137. Kin
138. Hell Fest
139. Action Point
140. Proud Mary
141. Robin Hood
142. Traffik
143. Tau
144. Winchester
145. Woman Walks Ahead
146. The Happytime Murders
147. The Outsider
148. Slender Man
149. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


Destroyer (2018), directed by Karyn Kusama

Reason for Watching: I am doing my damndest to clear the last three years so that I can finally move backwards into the past. Destroyer is a movie I wanted to see at the time, but it did not make it into my theater. Wish I knew why, because I was pretty mad about that shit. Most of the movies I'm watching in the next few months are movies I thought I would be able to see at the time. I have to admit that I'm unsure about the role police movies play at this time. I don't know how I feel about it, and don't know how to talk about it right now. Maybe after I watch this, or some other movie, I'll know how I feel about this genre. Maybe I won't.

The answer after watching Destroyer was that I still don't. Anyway, let's move on. Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) is a detective with the LAPD. We can see immediately during her introduction that she is a drunk fuckup. This isn't exactly subtle, but in the first scene of the movie that's completely acceptable. Stumbling onto a crime scene is certainly an interesting way to go about ruining your career, but I guess that's her deal. The crime scene I'm talking about is one where a man has been shot and killed. Money stained by a dye pack has been left at the scene, the man left near the LA River. If you've seen any movie set in Los Angeles, you know where this is. After Bell leaves the scene, she heads to her desk and opens an envelope containing another stained $100. This sets her on the hunt.

You see, a long time ago, Bell was part of an undercover case focused on Silas. She and Chris (Sebastian Stan) had embedded themselves in a seedy desert group headed by Silas (Toby Kebbell). Silas has a group of decent size, all of them providing seemingly similar functions. They're robbers. They want to steal shit. Arturo (Zach Villa) is tormented in seemingly numerous ways by Silas. One of these ways is to make Arturo play Russian Roulette with three bullets in a revolver. Somehow, he does not die. I have a hard time remembering the exact order of these scenes, I must admit. Here's the short version. Bell is going to make her way through this gang, whichever ones are left, in order to find Silas. Nothing else matters to her. She has a daughter, Shelby (Jade Pettyjohn). Even that doesn't matter too much. Former husband Ethan (Scoot McNairy) doesn't either. Get the point? She'll even jerk someone off if she has to in order to find Silas. The thing is, she also has a deep sense of shame and a terrible disposition. You don't find out why until much later in the film.

First things first, the ending of this movie was big lame and I didn't find that to be particularly satisfying in the least. The rest of the story is pretty strong, even though there comes a point where you can predict some of the things that may have happened. I could not predict all of them. This is a great performance from Kidman and you may not be surprised because she was nominated for a Golden Globe just a short time ago for this specific performance. The previously mentioned jerking off scene is really scummy and uncomfortable to watch, too. This isn't sugarcoated in a magical way or some shit. A lot of the things in this movie feel like a race to the bottom. I don't have a problem with that, though. Look at all the other stuff I like. I guess this kind of movie is an acquired taste. A lot of people seem to have specifically disliked Destroyer for this reason. Almost all of my problems with the film are based on things that happen in the last three or four minutes. I feel like that kind of ending is way too fucking easy. There are twists and turns in this shit, and all of them are good. Except for those very last minutes.

When making a movie like Destroyer, the lead character has to be believably authentic. For that to happen, the actor has to have incredible range, and Nicole Kidman has that. I'm not telling you anything surprising though. This is someone who can play every role, but probably hasn't played one quite like this. That's the whole sell of the movie, too. It's too bad the distributor thought that nobody would watch this. This is a movie that I will remember for a while, but because of the ending, I'm actually not going to be able to consider this as being a great film. I'm still mad about it. I sat on this review for a few days before posting it and nothing has changed. This was an interesting twist on the lone wolf detective movie, though. The movie really kicks up in the last hour or so, and it's worth watching even if you don't like the ending. After all, it's just a few bad minutes. It's a few too many bad minutes though, and as a result I feel like this is only a good movie. It's too bad because this could have been something more.

7/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. At Eternity's Gate
33. The Death of Stalin
34. A Quiet Place
35. Vice
36. The Old Man & the Gun
37. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
38. Vox Lux
39. Bad Times at the El Royale
40. The Other Side of the Wind
41. Searching
42. Calibre
43. A Simple Favor
44. The Hate U Give
45. Unsane
46. Disobedience
47. Destroyer
48. Boy Erased
49. Bumblebee
50. Mary Poppins Returns
51. Creed II
52. Hold the Dark
53. The Land of Steady Habits
54. Halloween
55. The 12th Man
56. Upgrade
57. Chappaquiddick
58. What They Had
59. Ant-Man and the Wasp
60. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
61. Blockers
62. Beirut
63. Roxanne Roxanne
64. Tully
65. Mary Queen of Scots
66. Aquaman
67. Ideal Home
68. Outlaw King
69. Overlord
70. Ready Player One
71. Ben Is Back
72. Monsters and Men
73. Colette
74. The Mule
75. On the Basis of Sex
76. Bohemian Rhapsody
77. White Boy Rick
78. Papillon
79. Game Night
80. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
81. Ocean's Eight
82. Alpha
83. Come Sunday
84. Borg vs. McEnroe
85. Instant Family
86. The Front Runner
87. The Predator
88. Apostle
89. The Oath
90. Uncle Drew
91. The Cured
92. The Commuter
93. The Angel
94. Tag
95. Beautiful Boy
96. The Nun
97. Operation Finale
98. The Equalizer 2
99. The Spy Who Dumped Me
100. Cargo
101. Yardie
102. Boundaries
103. Bird Box
104. 12 Strong
105. Venom
106. Skyscraper
107. The Meg
108. Assassination Nation
109. Adrift
110. Crazy Rich Asians
111. Backstabbing for Beginners
112. The Girl in the Spider's Web
113. Gringo
114. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
115. 22 July
116. Tomb Raider
117. Rampage
118. Hotel Artemis
119. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
120. The Little Stranger
121. 7 Days in Entebbe
122. Night School
123. The 15:17 To Paris
124. Den of Thieves
125. The Catcher Was a Spy
126. Peppermint
127. Mile 22
128. The First Purge
129. Hunter Killer
130. The Hurricane Heist
131. The Cloverfield Paradox
132. Breaking In
133. Hot Summer Nights
134. Welcome to Marwen
135. Second Act
136. How It Ends
137. Mute
138. Kin
139. Hell Fest
140. Action Point
141. Proud Mary
142. Robin Hood
143. Traffik
144. Tau
145. Winchester
146. Woman Walks Ahead
147. The Happytime Murders
148. The Outsider
149. Slender Man
150. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


Extinction (2018), directed by Ben Young

Reason for Watching: I feel like I need to watch ALL these similar movies on Netflix now that I've seen so many of them. Netflix has this weird formula, and they bought this movie from Universal because it fits into that formula. I'm surprised they didn't make it to begin with.

I'm going to be straight up, like I always am. I did not like Extinction and I didn't think this was a good movie. Peter (Michael Pena) is an engineer who has nightmares every night. Those nightmares largely consist of violent, alien invasion type of shit. When he has these nightmares, they vary in length and content, but the main detail is that everyone he knows is in these nightmares. His wife Alice (Lizzy Caplan) and their daughters Hanna (Amelia Crouch) and Lucy (Erica Tremblay) are in them as well, but they also have problems with how often Peter is at work. Eventually, they're all fed up with this shit. At Alice's behest, Peter is told that he needs to see the psychiatrist. When he gets to the office, Peter is told by another patient that he is also seeing these recurring nightmares. This is a problem, and Peter decides that because someone is seeing the same things as him, he should not be spending his time seeing a shrink.

That night, Alice is hosting a party. At this party, some spaceships come down from the sky and start shooting. You see? Some nightmares are of things that have the potential of actually happening. Almost all the time they're bullshit, though. These spaceships came down firing much more than just a few shots, this is apparently a full out invasion. Everyone runs and shit, and if I bother to talk about anything else, I'm talking about at least an hour of a movie that only lasts for 87 minutes. I should continue though. Extinction is a movie that's full of twists, regardless of whether or not they make sense. Some of them send this movie straight down the shitter.

It's interesting that in the end, this movie would turn out to be related to androids when I've been playing Detroit: Become Human. That's a good game, by the way. The android twist here is so surprising and unexpected, and I don't like it at all. I was thinking this was a perfectly average movie until that point. When they bring in androids, and you find out that all the characters in this movie were androids who kicked humans off the planet when the humans attacked them for no good reason, I don't really know how to make sense of something like that. The characters in this movie aren't exactly interesting or anything. As already stated, this is a Netflix movie. You know the deal, this is their formula. There's an apocalypse or some shit, and sometimes there's some alien shit, and maybe some space shit with people in uniforms, and there's your average Netflix movie. They have literally countless movies like this one.

I think the main problem with this, is that the movie is so focused on Michael Pena when I'm not entirely certain that he's capable of playing a lead character. I've never seen him as a convincing lead and probably never will. There's a lot going on in this movie and not very much of it is good. I can't even explain why I'm going to give this movie a 4. Extinction isn't offensively bad, that's the main reason. I actually can't think of any reason to say I fucking hate this movie. It just sucked and wasn't very pleasant to watch. It wasn't unpleasant either, the twists were more laughable than anything else.

4/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. At Eternity's Gate
33. The Death of Stalin
34. A Quiet Place
35. Vice
36. The Old Man & the Gun
37. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
38. Vox Lux
39. Bad Times at the El Royale
40. The Other Side of the Wind
41. Searching
42. Calibre
43. A Simple Favor
44. The Hate U Give
45. Unsane
46. Disobedience
47. Destroyer
48. Boy Erased
49. Bumblebee
50. Mary Poppins Returns
51. Creed II
52. Hold the Dark
53. The Land of Steady Habits
54. Halloween
55. The 12th Man
56. Upgrade
57. Chappaquiddick
58. What They Had
59. Ant-Man and the Wasp
60. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
61. Blockers
62. Beirut
63. Roxanne Roxanne
64. Tully
65. Mary Queen of Scots
66. Aquaman
67. Ideal Home
68. Outlaw King
69. Overlord
70. Ready Player One
71. Ben Is Back
72. Monsters and Men
73. Colette
74. The Mule
75. On the Basis of Sex
76. Bohemian Rhapsody
77. White Boy Rick
78. Papillon
79. Game Night
80. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
81. Ocean's Eight
82. Alpha
83. Come Sunday
84. Borg vs. McEnroe
85. Instant Family
86. The Front Runner
87. The Predator
88. Apostle
89. The Oath
90. Uncle Drew
91. The Cured
92. The Commuter
93. The Angel
94. Tag
95. Beautiful Boy
96. The Nun
97. Operation Finale
98. The Equalizer 2
99. The Spy Who Dumped Me
100. Cargo
101. Yardie
102. Boundaries
103. Bird Box
104. 12 Strong
105. Venom
106. Skyscraper
107. The Meg
108. Assassination Nation
109. Adrift
110. Crazy Rich Asians
111. Backstabbing for Beginners
112. The Girl in the Spider's Web
113. Gringo
114. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
115. 22 July
116. Tomb Raider
117. Rampage
118. Hotel Artemis
119. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
120. The Little Stranger
121. 7 Days in Entebbe
122. Night School
123. The 15:17 To Paris
124. Den of Thieves
125. The Catcher Was a Spy
126. Peppermint
127. Mile 22
128. The First Purge
129. Hunter Killer
130. The Hurricane Heist
131. The Cloverfield Paradox
132. Breaking In
133. Extinction
134. Hot Summer Nights
135. Welcome to Marwen
136. Second Act
137. How It Ends
138. Mute
139. Kin
140. Hell Fest
141. Action Point
142. Proud Mary
143. Robin Hood
144. Traffik
145. Tau
146. Winchester
147. Woman Walks Ahead
148. The Happytime Murders
149. The Outsider
150. Slender Man
151. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


Black '47 (2018), directed by Lancy Daly

Reason for Watching: I had seen a preview for Black '47 quite a long time ago now. Look, the thing is, when it comes to Ireland and things related to fighting in that country, I'm interested. Obviously I don't know how good this movie is, and only watching it will help me to find out. I've also read that this is like a Western even though it's set in Ireland and not the West.

Black '47 refers to the Great Famine of Ireland, which peaked in 1847, the worst year of the lot. Food was almost non existent. Feeney (James Frecheville) is a former British Ranger who has served in Afghanistan, he is now returning home from his service to the west of Ireland. Specifically, Feeney served in Kabul, which I know is bunk because his division was not deployed during the Anglo-Afghan Wars. Of course, I said that Feeney is returning home to Ireland, which brings up another obvious point. This is a man who had to serve with the British in order to make his way. The Irish did not want to do such things, they felt that they had to, and were met with bigotry from the British while doing so. When Feeney arrives home, he learns some news that is very disturbing. There have been laws passed that have led to evictions. Feeney learns that his mother has died of starvation and his brother was hung after stabbing someone during their eviction. Feeney has some family left, but not so much. Ellie (Sarah Greene) is his brother's widow, and she has three children. Feeney has suggested that they all need to go to America and should plan to do so.

You know how I talked about evictions? Well, Ellie is squatting in someone's house because they have no choice. It is bitterly cold and everyone needs a roof, so even though they may not have food they can stay alive. Before it's time to leave, Ellie is to be evicted. The way that the British police forces would do this in those days is to remove the roof from the house. This would in theory effectively force people to leave. While this is happening, Feeney is arrested for disobedience, and his nephew is killed after stabbing another evictor. Just like that kid's dad. When Feeney is arrested, he is extremely angry. After all, this guy served. But, he has also deserted from his post. The man is able to kill an entire barracks worth of police, but when he arrives back at the roofless house, his sister and one of her children is now dead. He doesn't know where the youngest went. While this is going on, Hannah (Hugo Weaving) is a veteran of the British army who works as an investigator for these police. One night, he freaks out and kills someone. He is released from jail with the task of finding Feeney and bringing him to justice. Accompanying him is an officer, Pope (Freddie Fox); a private, Hobson (Barry Keoghan); and an interpreter/scoundrel, Conneely (Stephen Rea).

I thought this was a good film overall, but one thing early on really struck me. There's one interesting bit of filmmaking at the start of the movie, where a man is riding his horse towards a very obviously painted background. I'm surprised I haven't seen that more from films set in this era. It's unique and I bet it doesn't cost all that much to do. Of course, what really hits me here is the idea of living in an era where you went to fight in the army and found out that your family died while you were gone. No notice, no awareness, nothing. On top of that, you know everyone died because they couldn't eat. That's the root cause of pretty much everything that happens in Black '47, after all. The killing in this movie is gruesome as a result of the experience given to the lead character. You would expect someone like this to be able to mow through people, and this man sure does. I was surprised that souperism was displayed in this movie. I thought that was more perceived as a conspiracy theory, but it did happen on some scale and is worth mention. If you don't know what souperism is, read about it.

Now, back to the start of this review. Is this a Western? Kind of. Lots of revenge going on here. People seeking the vengeful man, going around the west of Ireland trying to find him. The guy is ultimately on a huge mission of rage and determination. West Ireland is a frontier of its own, and in this case nobody has food due to the Great Famine. So, you know, yeah. There aren't many movies that cover this period. This isn't a perfect film, because after all the characters aren't extremely developed. This is a good cast, but the movie isn't all that long either. There isn't much in the way of exposition because character roles are to be assumed. The private is naive, the officer is too because he's young and has no foreign experience. These are the people tasked with hunting down a soldier. It is assumed that an Irishman cannot do anything of value. Wrong. It is also strange that this would be one of the few movies about Irish hunger and dedicate little time to that subject. Instead, Black '47 is about someone killing the people who helped contribute to that system. It's a good film, but you know, it's weird.

7/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. At Eternity's Gate
33. The Death of Stalin
34. A Quiet Place
35. Vice
36. The Old Man & the Gun
37. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
38. Vox Lux
39. Bad Times at the El Royale
40. The Other Side of the Wind
41. Searching
42. Calibre
43. A Simple Favor
44. The Hate U Give
45. Unsane
46. Disobedience
47. Destroyer
48. Boy Erased
49. Bumblebee
50. Mary Poppins Returns
51. Creed II
52. Hold the Dark
53. The Land of Steady Habits
54. Halloween
55. The 12th Man
56. Upgrade
57. Chappaquiddick
58. What They Had
59. Ant-Man and the Wasp
60. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
61. Blockers
62. Beirut
63. Black '47
64. Roxanne Roxanne
65. Tully
66. Mary Queen of Scots
67. Aquaman
68. Ideal Home
69. Outlaw King
70. Overlord
71. Ready Player One
72. Ben Is Back
73. Monsters and Men
74. Colette
75. The Mule
76. On the Basis of Sex
77. Bohemian Rhapsody
78. White Boy Rick
79. Papillon
80. Game Night
81. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
82. Ocean's Eight
83. Alpha
84. Come Sunday
85. Borg vs. McEnroe
86. Instant Family
87. The Front Runner
88. The Predator
89. Apostle
90. The Oath
91. Uncle Drew
92. The Cured
93. The Commuter
94. The Angel
95. Tag
96. Beautiful Boy
97. The Nun
98. Operation Finale
99. The Equalizer 2
100. The Spy Who Dumped Me
101. Cargo
102. Yardie
103. Boundaries
104. Bird Box
105. 12 Strong
106. Venom
107. Skyscraper
108. The Meg
109. Assassination Nation
110. Adrift
111. Crazy Rich Asians
112. Backstabbing for Beginners
113. The Girl in the Spider's Web
114. Gringo
115. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
116. 22 July
117. Tomb Raider
118. Rampage
119. Hotel Artemis
120. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
121. The Little Stranger
122. 7 Days in Entebbe
123. Night School
124. The 15:17 To Paris
125. Den of Thieves
126. The Catcher Was a Spy
127. Peppermint
128. Mile 22
129. The First Purge
130. Hunter Killer
131. The Hurricane Heist
132. The Cloverfield Paradox
133. Breaking In
134. Extinction
135. Hot Summer Nights
136. Welcome to Marwen
137. Second Act
138. How It Ends
139. Mute
140. Kin
141. Hell Fest
142. Action Point
143. Proud Mary
144. Robin Hood
145. Traffik
146. Tau
147. Winchester
148. Woman Walks Ahead
149. The Happytime Murders
150. The Outsider
151. Slender Man
152. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member
Arabic, subtitles



The Insult (2017), directed by Ziad Doueiri

Reason for Watching: I'm trying to go through the last few years of Oscar nominations and Golden Globes nominations and watch some of the categories full of movies I have previously not seen. This one's first.

It's not every day I watch Lebanese movies, but I do have two racked up for the next few months. Like I said, I'm trying to watch these movies that got nominated. Anyway, The Insult is about Tony (Adel Karam) and Yasser (Kamel El Basha), two men who live in Beirut. Let's do some stage setting. Tony is a Lebansese Christian and he's a member of the Christian Party. He owns a garage that he and his pregnant wife Shirine (Rita Hayek) work in, and things seem to be going well for them. Yasser is a Palestinian construction foreman tasked with repairing problem sites in Beirut at the behest of their city government. Tony does not want anyone fucking with his house. Yasser has to fix the gutter of Tony's house, though. Tony decides that he's going to smash the gutter. When he breaks it, Yasser calls him a fucking prick, and Tony recognizes that Yasser is a Palestinian refugee because of his accent. It may not surprise you that a member of the Christian Party is all in on anti-Palestinian propaganda. The issue of Palestinians in Lebanon is a very complex one that I am not educated enough to talk to you about. It is an issue that requires a lot of nuance, and I don't have that. There have been wars. There have been massacres. Israel is not the only country to have conflict with Palestinians. You should know this.

When I said that Tony liked anti-Palestinian propaganda, I meant that he plays speeches on the TV in his garage. This is what the guy likes. I've come to the conclusion over many years that a lot of the problem with Lebanese and Palestinians, or whatever faction these groups are in, is that people are fucking pricks. Some people are right in feeling that they are owed something. Honestly, everyone's owed something in life. That's how I feel. The issue is that nobody wants to give a little bit on any end. A lot of this kind of shit won't end until the people who were alive when these bad things happened are dead. We're still quite a while away from that. The character of Tony is only 47 years old, and bad shit happened after that too. Tony would play these speeches in his garage, which incited him to hate people more, or maybe he felt this way already. Tony decides to tell the construction company that Yasser to apologize to him. Eventually, Yasser's boss Talal (Talal Jurdi) is able to convince Yasser to go down to Tony's garage and apologize. When Yasser arrives, Tony is playing another one of these hate speeches in his garage. Yasser cannot bring himself to apologize, which leads Tony to state that he wishes Ariel Sharon had exterminated all Palestinians. Yasser subsequently punches Tony, breaking two of his ribs. I don't want to tell you the rest.

The official Lebanese government disclaimer prior to this film is interesting, I tell you that. There's a lot of reasons why that's there and I don't really want to talk about them. Even though these was Lebanon's submission for an Academy Award, and even though it was nominated for one, I get the feeling that there's hardly any regular person who has actually watched this. I already said a lot of things about hatred and divisions, but what I'm thinking about right now is whether or not this will also pertain to the current situation in our country. Can we really make that huge progress before the people who were on the wrong side of Jim Crow are dead? With Lebanese and Palestinians it isn't so cut and dry. There is one distinctly right side in our country, but not in Lebanon. Lebanon is a country that fractured numerous ways and not merely one that was split in two. The film makes that clear as the events play out. Of course, there are some scenes here that really call a lot of things into question. At what point is it justified to attack someone? How can baked in viewpoints be overcome when they're because of things that happened when people were young?

I don't think The Insult is a perfect film, but it's one that's highly political. It doesn't handle that subject with very much care either. You are sent straight into it. I was at first unconvinced that this concept could last for nearly two hours at the rate things happened at the beginning of the film. I do think that the film would have been better had Tony's initial comment been less loaded. There are also some scenes that are straight out of an American court movie, but the thing that differentiates it from those movies is that the events are handled in a way that is not boilerplate. A lot of American court movies have issues that don't make sense in the context of our court system itself. There are movies that tell far too much of their tale through flashbacks. That is not the case in The Insult. The testimonies given here are not boring. There aren't a lot of good court movies of late, but Just Mercy was one of them. It was a film that did a lot of the same things that were done here, and it had heart. People who usually nominate movies for awards usually do so because the events of a film put a historical issue into context. While The Insult does do that, which makes the award nomination a bit of a trope, some of the things you hear about here are appalling.

In a strange twist, I will have to rent A Fantastic Woman if I'm actually going to watch the winner from this category at the 2018 Oscars, but I have too many good movies to watch to go ahead and spend money on one right at this moment. I will rent it later this year.

8/10

2017 Films Ranked


1. Dunkirk
2. Phantom Thread
3. The Shape of Water
4. Get Out
5. Good Time
6. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
7. The Florida Project
8. Mudbound
9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
10. Logan
11. Baby Driver
12. The Post
13. Wonder Woman
14. The Big Sick
15. Lady Bird
16. Wind River
17. Thor: Ragnarok
18. mother!
19. Logan Lucky
20. I, Tonya
21. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
22. The Insult
23. The Beguiled
24. Ingrid Goes West
25. Foxtrot
26. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
27. Brawl in Cell Block 99
28. Loveless
29. John Wick: Chapter 2
30. The Disaster Artist
31. The Lost City of Z
32. First They Killed My Father
33. A Ghost Story
34. Detroit
35. Gook
36. Last Flag Flying
37. Hostiles
38. Colossal
39. All the Money in the World
40. Molly's Game
41. Darkest Hour
42. Spider-Man: Homecoming
43. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
44. Sweet Virginia
45. It
46. Battle of the Sexes
47. Stronger
48. Brad's Status
49. Okja
50. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
51. Kong: Skull Island
52. It Comes at Night
53. Happy End (foreign movie, did not write review)
54. Crown Heights
55. Split
56. 1922
57. Personal Shopper
58. Landline
59. Thank You for Your Service
60. Beatriz at Dinner
61. Chuck
62. Atomic Blonde
63. Shot Caller
64. Wheelman
65. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
66. Wonder
67. Brigsby Bear
68. The Lego Batman Movie
69. Megan Leavey
70. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
71. Wonderstruck
72. Only the Brave
73. Marshall
74. Menashe
75. Roman J. Israel, Esq.
76. Walking Out
77. American Made
78. Annabelle: Creation
79. Beauty and the Beast
80. Imperial Dreams
81. Gifted
82. Murder on the Orient Express
83. My Friend Dahmer
84. The Zookeeper's Wife
85. The Glass Castle
86. The Foreigner
87. Free Fire
88. Win It All
89. The Wall
90. Jungle
91. Life
92. My Cousin Rachel
93. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
94. The Ballad of Lefty Brown
95. The Fate of the Furious
96. Happy Death Day
97. Breathe
98. The Man Who Invented Christmas
99. Maudie
100. Patti Cake$
101. Sleight
102. Alone in Berlin
103. A United Kingdom
104. Trespass Against Us
105. The Mountain Between Us
106. War Machine
107. Lowriders
108. Justice League
109. To the Bone
110. Ghost in the Shell
111. Wakefield
112. Downsizing
113. Bright
114. Bushwick
115. The Tribes of Palos Verdes
116. The Hitman's Bodyguard
117. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
118. XXX: Return of Xander Cage
119. The Mummy
120. The Greatest Showman
121. Rough Night
122. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
123. Sand Castle
124. The Circle
125. American Assassin
126. CHiPs
127. Death Note
128. 47 Meters Down
129. The Belko Experiment
130. The Great Wall
131. The Bad Batch
132. Fist Fight
133. Baywatch
134. Snatched
135. Suburbicon
136. Wilson
137. The Dark Tower
138. Queen of the Desert
139. The House
140. Flatliners
141. Sleepless
142. Geostorm
143. All Eyez on Me
144. The Snowman
145. The Book of Henry
146. The Space Between Us
147. Daddy's Home 2
 

909

909
Staff member


The Night Comes for Us (2018), directed by Timo Tjahjanto

Reason for Watching: I think this is an Indonesian martial arts movie? That's self explanatory enough. I had accidentally skipped this a year and a half ago. The Night Comes for Us also has a reputation for being extremely gory.

I usually put down what language these movies are in, but in this case this movie is in so many languages I didn't see the point. The Night Comes for Us is a martial arts movie in the vein of many, many similar works. Brothers betrayed, best friends put at odds, you know the deal with that kind of thing. The Night Comes for Us sets the stage for this film early on, explaining how the Triads have six enforcers that are not to be fucked with. They are the Six Seas, and Ito (Joe Taslim) is one of these guys. Ito has been tasked with exterminating a village because a few of the people in it stole drugs from the Triad. After much killing, Ito sees a young girl on the beach. He walks over to her to kill her, but he cannot do that and instead turns his gun on the lower ranking people he'd brought to help him with the initial job. After doing so, Ito heads back into Jakarta, to the house of his ex-girlfriend Shinta (Salvita Decorte). He has brought the girl with him, her name is Reina. Shinta is very surprised to see Ito, who collapses in her bathroom.

Ito betraying the Six Seas is a very big deal, as any betrayal in any gang movie would be. Chien Wu (Sunny Pang) is one of the Six Seas, and he's looking for someone to take Ito's spot. Of course, he needs Ito to be killed in order for that to happen. Arian (Iko Uwais) is a member of Ito's old gang in Jakarta, the one they both left in order to make something of themselves. He was sent to Macau by the Triads, and he runs a club there. We're introduced to him with a scene where he takes care of a group of guys who had harassed his waitress. Arian and Ito have history, a lot of it. He is tasked with killing his former friend. Meanwhile, Ito has taken Reina to a house occupied by three of the former members of his crew. Fatih (Abimana Aryasatya) is currently in a relationship with the previously mentioned Shinta, Bobby (Zack Lee) is a big guy who is heavily into drugs, and Wisnu (Dimas Anggara) is Fatih's cousin. They have what amounts to the whole city of Jakarta coming at them trying to kill Ito. These guys aren't just trying to come kill Ito though. The little girl has to go too. A message needs to be sent, but is Arian really down for this job?

Alright, so as far as The Night Comes for Us goes, this is a movie that has a couple things really going for it. One is not, and we'll start with that. The plot is the kind of thing that you've probably seen a lot, because if I have you sure have. I found that most of the scenes focusing on the plot dragged a fair bit. The thing is, there aren't a ton of those scenes in the movie overall. The film is primarly focused on people kicking ass and killing each other. The use of blood in this film is probably overboard all things considered, but all things considered it's also awesome. There's too much violence in this film to actually go into detail in any kind of way. Where would I even start. There are also good side characters beyond just the ones I mentioned. They have their own uniquely violent traits that aren't shared by any of the other characters. It's pretty cool. The final battle in The Night Comes for Us is also awesome. It goes on as long as I hoped that it would, and ultimately I felt satisfied with the film as a whole. I don't know why I didn't watch this sooner.

There's not a lot of depth to anything, this is a straight up action movie where people get fucked up. Nothing more needs to be said.

7.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. At Eternity's Gate
33. The Death of Stalin
34. A Quiet Place
35. Vice
36. The Old Man & the Gun
37. The Night Comes for Us
38. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
39. Vox Lux
40. Bad Times at the El Royale
41. The Other Side of the Wind
42. Searching
43. Calibre
44. A Simple Favor
45. The Hate U Give
46. Unsane
47. Disobedience
48. Destroyer
49. Boy Erased
50. Bumblebee
51. Mary Poppins Returns
52. Creed II
53. Hold the Dark
54. The Land of Steady Habits
55. Halloween
56. The 12th Man
57. Upgrade
58. Chappaquiddick
59. What They Had
60. Ant-Man and the Wasp
61. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
62. Blockers
63. Beirut
64. Black '47
65. Roxanne Roxanne
66. Tully
67. Mary Queen of Scots
68. Aquaman
69. Ideal Home
70. Outlaw King
71. Overlord
72. Ready Player One
73. Ben Is Back
74. Monsters and Men
75. Colette
76. The Mule
77. On the Basis of Sex
78. Bohemian Rhapsody
79. White Boy Rick
80. Papillon
81. Game Night
82. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
83. Ocean's Eight
84. Alpha
85. Come Sunday
86. Borg vs. McEnroe
87. Instant Family
88. The Front Runner
89. The Predator
90. Apostle
91. The Oath
92. Uncle Drew
93. The Cured
94. The Commuter
95. The Angel
96. Tag
97. Beautiful Boy
98. The Nun
99. Operation Finale
100. The Equalizer 2
101. The Spy Who Dumped Me
102. Cargo
103. Yardie
104. Boundaries
105. Bird Box
106. 12 Strong
107. Venom
108. Skyscraper
109. The Meg
110. Assassination Nation
111. Adrift
112. Crazy Rich Asians
113. Backstabbing for Beginners
114. The Girl in the Spider's Web
115. Gringo
116. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
117. 22 July
118. Tomb Raider
119. Rampage
120. Hotel Artemis
121. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
122. The Little Stranger
123. 7 Days in Entebbe
124. Night School
125. The 15:17 To Paris
126. Den of Thieves
127. The Catcher Was a Spy
128. Peppermint
129. Mile 22
130. The First Purge
131. Hunter Killer
132. The Hurricane Heist
133. The Cloverfield Paradox
134. Breaking In
135. Extinction
136. Hot Summer Nights
137. Welcome to Marwen
138. Second Act
139. How It Ends
140. Mute
141. Kin
142. Hell Fest
143. Action Point
144. Proud Mary
145. Robin Hood
146. Traffik
147. Tau
148. Winchester
149. Woman Walks Ahead
150. The Happytime Murders
151. The Outsider
152. Slender Man
153. Holmes & Watson
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
That movie was exhausting in a good way. I thought 2 hours was a little too long, but there's at least 3 fight scenes I would say are some of the best fight scenes of the last 25 years. I also loved how it took the gritty realistic violence of The Raid and took it to almost an absurd Riki Oh: The Story of Ricky or Dead Alive level. Great movie.

Also they need to make a movie where Julie Estelle is lead cause she kicks ass and has been fantastic in this, Headshot, and The Raid 2.
 
Last edited:

909

909
Staff member


Never Goin' Back (2018), directed by Augustine Frizzell

Reason for Watching: This is another movie from 2018 that I'd seen a preview for, but it didn't come to my theater and as a result I didn't watch it. Never Goin' Back is also extremely short by film standards.

What we have in Never Goin' Back is yet another debut film, this one being many minutes shorter than almost any film I've watched in the last few years. Never Goin' Back was only about 80 minutes, so stage setting could prove difficult. Set outside of Dallas, Never Goin' Back is the story of Angela (Maia Mitchell) and Jessie (Camila Morrone), two best friends who dropped out of high school and may or may not be lesbians. They probably are. They work as a waitress at a shitty diner, they've done nothing with their lives and they aren't even adults yet. Things could get measurably worse. These two also don't live at home with their parents anymore. Angela has surprised Jessie with a trip to Galveston for Jessie's birthday, and in doing so she has spent their rent money and ensured they have signed up for more hours at their shitty job. After all, they have to pay their rent somehow and the money for it is now gone. Unfortunately, because Jessie's brother Dustin (Joel Allen) has spent his part of the rent in a drug buy gone bad, they're fucked. The next morning, Dustin's friend Tony (Kendal Smith) goes to their house and steals their television because Dustin has lost the drug money. When someone calls the police, the police discover Angela and Jessie's weed and coke, so off to juvi they go. I'll spare you the rest.

Short movies get really short reviews, that's just how it goes. Everyone in this movie is really stupid, and the movie is just not funny enough to make it worthwhile. At the same time, I feel like the representation of teenage life is accurate enough. Or, at least it was accurate to how things were when I was a teenager. I don't know about now. There's definitely not enough social media in the film if we're taking into account current times. The accuracy of being poor and on your own with some roommates is solid. Arizona iced tea's are definitely part of that life. They're only a dollar or some shit. Sometimes they cost half that. While the film is funny I think it's only mildly so. Perhaps my judgment is clouded because I watched a much better movie when I saw Booksmart last year. I don't think I'm wrong though. The story for a movie like this one has to have far more jokes. This is a movie that wanted to be a comedy but doesn't have anything to back that up. The gags at the end of the film also kind of ruined this for me. I don't need to see people shitting in buckets and I don't need to see them throwing up on perverted old men.

Maybe this movie is inspired by things that the director did, but if that was the craziest thing they did, they didn't have much of an exciting teenage life. I'm just being honest here. I could list a lot of the stuff I did, but I'm not sure if one of those stories is totally kosher to tell. I think this is a misfire, or the movie wasn't what I thought it would be and as a result I'm sour about it, something like that. At least there's some payoff and the girls do get the rent money they needed.

5/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. At Eternity's Gate
33. The Death of Stalin
34. A Quiet Place
35. Vice
36. The Old Man & the Gun
37. The Night Comes for Us
38. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
39. Vox Lux
40. Bad Times at the El Royale
41. The Other Side of the Wind
42. Searching
43. Calibre
44. A Simple Favor
45. The Hate U Give
46. Unsane
47. Disobedience
48. Destroyer
49. Boy Erased
50. Bumblebee
51. Mary Poppins Returns
52. Creed II
53. Hold the Dark
54. The Land of Steady Habits
55. Halloween
56. The 12th Man
57. Upgrade
58. Chappaquiddick
59. What They Had
60. Ant-Man and the Wasp
61. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
62. Blockers
63. Beirut
64. Black '47
65. Roxanne Roxanne
66. Tully
67. Mary Queen of Scots
68. Aquaman
69. Ideal Home
70. Outlaw King
71. Overlord
72. Ready Player One
73. Ben Is Back
74. Monsters and Men
75. Colette
76. The Mule
77. On the Basis of Sex
78. Bohemian Rhapsody
79. White Boy Rick
80. Papillon
81. Game Night
82. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
83. Ocean's Eight
84. Alpha
85. Come Sunday
86. Borg vs. McEnroe
87. Instant Family
88. The Front Runner
89. The Predator
90. Apostle
91. The Oath
92. Uncle Drew
93. The Cured
94. The Commuter
95. The Angel
96. Tag
97. Beautiful Boy
98. The Nun
99. Operation Finale
100. The Equalizer 2
101. The Spy Who Dumped Me
102. Cargo
103. Yardie
104. Boundaries
105. Bird Box
106. 12 Strong
107. Venom
108. Skyscraper
109. The Meg
110. Assassination Nation
111. Never Goin' Back
112. Adrift
113. Crazy Rich Asians
114. Backstabbing for Beginners
115. The Girl in the Spider's Web
116. Gringo
117. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
118. 22 July
119. Tomb Raider
120. Rampage
121. Hotel Artemis
122. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
123. The Little Stranger
124. 7 Days in Entebbe
125. Night School
126. The 15:17 To Paris
127. Den of Thieves
128. The Catcher Was a Spy
129. Peppermint
130. Mile 22
131. The First Purge
132. Hunter Killer
133. The Hurricane Heist
134. The Cloverfield Paradox
135. Breaking In
136. Extinction
137. Hot Summer Nights
138. Welcome to Marwen
139. Second Act
140. How It Ends
141. Mute
142. Kin
143. Hell Fest
144. Action Point
145. Proud Mary
146. Robin Hood
147. Traffik
148. Tau
149. Winchester
150. Woman Walks Ahead
151. The Happytime Murders
152. The Outsider
153. Slender Man
154. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


See You Yesterday (2019), directed by Stefon Bristol

Reason for Watching: Another accidental Netflix skip is what we have here. This movie also seems to be extremely timely based on its description. I also saw that See You Yesterday is a short that became a film, so it isn't very long for that reason.

See You Yesterday isn't a movie for kids, despite what the picture I posted may show you. This is also not a movie for older adults, it's in a category of movies that don't really have an audience based on age. See You Yesterday is the story of CJ (Eden Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian (Dante Crichlow), two tech oriented teenagers from Brooklyn who have a fascination with using that technology and pushing things to another level. They have been trying to do a time travel experiment. I appreciate that See You Yesterday is a movie that does not get bogged down in the science of time travel. The story is far more important and it would be better if sometimes sci-fi films knew that. Their ultimate goal is simply to do this during the summer. Before doing so, they encounter Jared (Rayshawn Richardson) at a bodega. He is CJ's ex-boyfriend, and she can't handle listening to this stupid guy talk his shit. Sebastian is also a really small guy. She gets to slapping him, and outside the store her brother Calvin (Brian Bradley) is waiting, so Jared can't get the revenge he wanted to get.

Calvin walks CJ home, and in the process of that they encounter a police officer who wants to talk to them. You know how this kind of thing goes. It turns out that this specific officer was being investigated for having shot an unarmed black person. When Calvin and CJ get home, we learn that their father served in the military and died, leaving Calvin as the man in the house. The next day, it's time for a time travel experiment, which is able to last for about ten minutes. During this experiment, CJ and Sebastian go back to the bodega, but they didn't realize they would run into the versions of themselves from the day before. CJ throws some cherry slushie at Jared, then the previous versions walk into the store and Jared harasses them, and that ends with Calvin showing up like the day before. After that, CJ and Sebastian's time traveled ones cause Jared to get ran over, which sets off a chain of events that carries throughout the whole film. What's that chain of events? You go figure that out by watching the movie.

The movie hits hard knowing there is no true resolution to the story, that ultimately she may have to go back hundreds of times in order to fix things, and will probably fail in every attempt. It could have hit harder if the audience had received that resolution I was personally seeking. What I like about See You Yesterday is both that this film is timely and that the way this film is timely is woven into a story that feels like it has importance. It's an interesting way to look at things. If there was a way to reverse police brutality after the fact, most people would do it, but ultimately that requires solutions in some cases that people are powerless to achieve. This was one of those cases. It's easy for me to recommend this movie because of how short it is, and it's likely that people haven't seen it to begin with. In doing so I cannot describe the movie too much. I do feel like this kind of story really plays out in a way where if the film is longer than this one actually is, it becomes a little more grueling and difficult for people to watch.

It should be clear that even though this is a movie featuring people in high school, again, this is not a kids movie. I'm glad about that too. I don't usually watch kids movies nor do I want to. Anyway, I felt like this was a fresh take on time travel, and those movies usually have the same patterns that I don't like. I laughed at seeing Michael J. Fox in this too, if anyone had to be in a movie like this one, he sure did.

7/10

2019 Film Rankings


1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
2. Parasite
3. 1917
4. Midsommar
5. Ad Astra
6. The Lighthouse
7. Waves
8. The Farewell
9. Knives Out
10. Uncut Gems
11. Atlantics
12. Booksmart
13. Avengers: Endgame
14. Queen & Slim
15. Toy Story 4
16. Joker
17. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
18. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
19. The Two Popes
20. Clemency (had some stuff happen, couldn't review)
21. Us
22. Ford v. Ferrari
23. Gloria Bell
24. The Beach Bum
25. Just Mercy
26. The Art of Self-Defense
27. Dark Waters
28. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
29. Arctic
30. Spider-Man: Far From Home
31. Rocketman
32. High Flying Bird
33. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
34. Paddleton
35. Richard Jewell
36. The Peanut Butter Falcon
37. Honey Boy
38. Doctor Sleep
39. Hustlers
40. Blinded by the Light
41. Captain Marvel
42. Jojo Rabbit
43. Long Shot
44. Shazam
45. Ready or Not
46. See You Yesterday
47. A Vigilante
48. Late Night
49. Crawl
50. It: Chapter Two
51. Hotel Mumbai
52. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
53. Zombieland: Double Tap
54. Harriet
55. Hobbs & Shaw
56. Official Secrets
57. Always Be My Maybe
58. Cold Pursuit
59. The Laundromat
60. Where'd You Go, Bernadette
61. Shaft
62. Happy Death Day 2U
63. Ma
64. Terminator: Dark Fate
65. Greta
66. Annabelle Comes Home
67. Jumanji: The Next Level
68. Aladdin
69. Triple Frontier
70. Fighting with My Family
71. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
72. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
73. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
74. Brexit
75. The Dirt
76. Velvet Buzzsaw
77. Stuber
78. Little
79. Alita: Battle Angel
80. The Good Liar
81. The Current War: Director's Cut
82. The Kid
83. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
84. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
85. Good Boys
86. The Upside
87. The Lion King
88. Dumbo
89. The Hummingbird Project
90. Escape Room
91. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
92. Brian Banks
93. Tolkien
94. The Dead Don't Die
95. Captive State
96. The Highwaymen
97. Bombshell
98. Pet Sematary
99. The Intruder
100. Child's Play
101. 21 Bridges
102. Gemini Man
103. Brightburn
104. Never Grow Old
105. Rambo: Last Blood
106. Trial by Fire
107. Midway
108. Angel Has Fallen
109. Black and Blue
110. Yesterday
111. Anna
112. What Men Want
113. Them That Follow
114. Unicorn Store
115. The Curse of La Llorona
116. Miss Bala
117. Men in Black: International
118. The Red Sea Diving Resort
119. The Perfection
120. Hellboy
121. Glass
122. Dark Phoenix
123. Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral
124. The Kitchen
125. The Hustle
126. The Best of Enemies
127. The Prodigy
128. Polar
129. Serenity
 

909

909
Staff member
I watched two documentaries that I didn't feel compelled to write long reviews of, but I do need to write something. It's very difficult for me to fill space over a documentary.

Free Solo

As you may know, Free Solo is the story of Alex Honnold, a rock climber who specializes in climbing huge cliffs like El Capitan. After climbing these with ropes and planning a route he's comfortable with trying, he progresses on to doing them without ropes. Like so:



So yeah, this guy is batshit insane. The real craft in this movie isn't just in the climb, it's because of what the crew does to capture Honnold's efforts. Every aspect of this film is seemingly a herculean task. Of course, because this documentary was released, you know how it ends. That doesn't change things. This is a once in human history kind of achievement, and I appreciated that the audience wasn't treated like dummies. It was explained exactly how Honnold would go over the most difficult parts of his route. In training, he fell off of some of them. I'm not sure how he was able to bring himself to do this.

9/10

Hale County This Morning, This Evening


Whew, talk about a huge shift in documentaries. Hale County is something that Jean-Luc Godard would make, which means either you'd really like this or you really wouldn't, and I fall more to the side of the latter than the former. The film is something I would describe as a collection of separate, often disconnected scenes following people around the predominantly black Hale County in Alabama. One group of those scenes is not disconnected, however. The film is best when it focuses on the couple of Boosie and Quincy, who have a young son and are expecting twins. The viewer is shown scenes of Boosie as a pregnant woman, as their twins are born, after they're born, and most unfortunately after one of their twins dies of SIDS. The death was very difficult for me to accept, and I'm saying that in the context of the current moment where people are dying en masse. I do not accept that as being a fact of life. The rest of the film was nothing special, even though everything is viewed from the abstract. I do not think I am capable of liking these kinds of movies.

The thing is, my inability to accept a death from SIDS as being part of life, is something that is going to stick with me for a very long time. I don't know when I'll stop thinking about it because of how wrong it is. I feel like this film could have greatly benefited from a storyline or explanations to connect all the other scenes. I also would not have nominated this for an Oscar, but what do I know? The series of scenes I keep talking about do definitely merit such consideration, though.

6/10
 

909

909
Staff member


Gemini (2018), directed by Aaron Katz

Reason for Watching: When the geeks at IMDB massively downvote a movie that has a good Metascore, I know something's up. That kind of thing is alluring enough on its own. That doesn't automatically mean something will be a good movie, but it probably will be when that's the case.

I haven't written anything for a while as I've been busy, perhaps I also needed to be busy and to do something different for a few days. Gemini is a story set in Los Angeles, this is a film that was released and made basically nothing at all for an assortment of reasons. Jill (Lola Kirke) is Heather's (Zoe Kravitz) personal assistant and best friend. Heather is an movie star, she is very popular and needed for projects around town. Thing is, she is also kind of a diva. The first few scenes of this movie center around a movie that Heather is supposed to be doing with a director, Greg (Nelson Franklin). Heather and Jill are sitting in a car outside of a restaurant, and Heather wants Jill to go inside to tell Greg that she's dropping out of Greg's movie. This will effectively kill the project, so Heather and Jill are rather nervous about this, but it's done and the project is dead. Greg is rightly furious and leaves the restaurant in a huff, and after that Heather's agent Jamie (Michelle Forbes) calls and tells Heather they done fucked up. That's one way to start a movie.

While still in the restaurant, Heather appears to have a super fan, Sierra (Jessica Parker Kennedy). Sierra badly wants to have a picture and Heather really doesn't, but it's hard to tell people no. So, that's done. After that, Sierra asks some fucked up questions about Heather's life, and they tell her to go away. Sierra also posted the picture on social media, which leads to paparazzi at the diner as Heather is leaving. One of them is Stan (James Ransone), and I laughed hard at this choice of name. Because, you know, Sierra is a stan. Stan asks Heather about Devin (Reeve Carney), her ex-boyfriend, and then he asks about Tracy (Greta Lee), Heather's new rumored girlfriend. Heather and Jill don't respond to either of those questions. The thing is, Tracy really is Heather's new girlfriend. Heather also feels unsafe as a result of her relationships with the previously mentioned Stan and Devin, and having an actual stan seem to be following her makes that even worse. Jill has a gun, and she's going to loan it to Heather. I wonder what could happen when a famous person gets a gun in a movie that makes it clear she is paranoid for justified reasons.

I thought Gemini would be more amusing than it actually was, but the seriousness of the film is welcome. I was just surprised that the film ended in such a flat fashion. John Cho's introduction to the film is rather welcome, but his character wasn't what I had expected. You know, come to think of it, there were way too many generic characters in a movie that really shouldn't have been played that way. This is a film that has a strong lead acting performance, which is what it deserves. This is a normal chick who wanted to find out what happened to her friend. I also found the events of the film to be slightly predictable, but overall this is a pleasant movie to watch. The film needs a better ending, but I like what Gemini brings to the table. As a 90 minute movie, I find that 30 minutes of build and 60 minutes of mystery is rather appropriate. Mysteries that go longer tend to have scenes that pad them out, sometimes they're superfluous and sometimes they're great, but with this being an indie film odds are the former is much more likely.

I do find there to be some issues I've not yet mentioned, though. The main one is that it is very hard to care about one of these characters and what happened to them. Why would I care? I mean, sure. They're dead. The strange thing about this movie is that in setting up reasons that Heather could have cause to feel unsafe, the film does so by having her do something really bad to one of the people in the film beforehand. Leading someone along and dropping out of a project is objectively wrong, and she didn't even have the guts to do it herself. On top of that, Heather sends Jill to go tell a bunch of people she's not going to do reshoots for another film. I don't know. It feels like that could have been handled a little better. When I say that the ending should have been better, if you've seen this, I'm talking about everything that happens once the mystery has been revolved. I don't understand that scene at all.

6.5/10

1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. At Eternity's Gate
33. The Death of Stalin
34. A Quiet Place
35. Vice
36. The Old Man & the Gun
37. The Night Comes for Us
38. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
39. Vox Lux
40. Bad Times at the El Royale
41. The Other Side of the Wind
42. Searching
43. Calibre
44. A Simple Favor
45. The Hate U Give
46. Unsane
47. Disobedience
48. Destroyer
49. Boy Erased
50. Bumblebee
51. Mary Poppins Returns
52. Creed II
53. Hold the Dark
54. The Land of Steady Habits
55. Halloween
56. The 12th Man
57. Upgrade
58. Chappaquiddick
59. What They Had
60. Ant-Man and the Wasp
61. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
62. Blockers
63. Beirut
64. Black '47
65. Roxanne Roxanne
66. Tully
67. Mary Queen of Scots
68. Aquaman
69. Ideal Home
70. Outlaw King
71. Overlord
72. Ready Player One
73. Ben Is Back
74. Monsters and Men
75. Colette
76. The Mule
77. On the Basis of Sex
78. Bohemian Rhapsody
79. White Boy Rick
80. Papillon
81. Gemini
82. Game Night
83. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
84. Ocean's Eight
85. Alpha
86. Come Sunday
87. Borg vs. McEnroe
88. Instant Family
89. The Front Runner
90. The Predator
91. Apostle
92. The Oath
93. Uncle Drew
94. The Cured
95. The Commuter
96. The Angel
97. Tag
98. Beautiful Boy
99. The Nun
100. Operation Finale
101. The Equalizer 2
102. The Spy Who Dumped Me
103. Cargo
104. Yardie
105. Boundaries
106. Bird Box
107. 12 Strong
108. Venom
109. Skyscraper
110. The Meg
111. Assassination Nation
112. Never Goin' Back
113. Adrift
114. Crazy Rich Asians
115. Backstabbing for Beginners
116. The Girl in the Spider's Web
117. Gringo
118. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
119. 22 July
120. Tomb Raider
121. Rampage
122. Hotel Artemis
123. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
124. The Little Stranger
125. 7 Days in Entebbe
126. Night School
127. The 15:17 To Paris
128. Den of Thieves
129. The Catcher Was a Spy
130. Peppermint
131. Mile 22
132. The First Purge
133. Hunter Killer
134. The Hurricane Heist
135. The Cloverfield Paradox
136. Breaking In
137. Extinction
138. Hot Summer Nights
139. Welcome to Marwen
140. Second Act
141. How It Ends
142. Mute
143. Kin
144. Hell Fest
145. Action Point
146. Proud Mary
147. Robin Hood
148. Traffik
149. Tau
150. Winchester
151. Woman Walks Ahead
152. The Happytime Murders
153. The Outsider
154. Slender Man
155. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), directed by Ron Howard

Reason for Watching: This was one of the few movies I didn't watch that was in the theater the summer of 2018. Plus, it's Star Wars. Even if it sucks.

It should be said from the start that I have no idea why it was decided to make this a movie. Didn't they know people wouldn't go see a Han Solo movie without Harrison Ford? Solo: A Star Wars Story starts on the planet Corellia, where a younger Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) are orphans looking to make their way towards a better life. They bribe an Imperial officer with stolen fuel, but Qi'ra is captured in the process and Han is not. Han promises to return to Corellia, and he has to join the Imperial Navy with the hope of flying ships. Three years later, that did not go so well for Han. Han is now an infantry soldier, he was expelled from the Imperial Flight Academy for being insubordinate. While in the midst of a battle, Han encounters some soldiers who are very obviously not soldiers. They are criminals of course, and they are led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). Tobias has a wife, Val (Thandie Newton), and Rio (Jon Favreau) is the third member of their criminal trio. Their intention is to get off this rock after whatever it is they've found. Han wants to join Beckett's gang, but instead he is thrown down into a pit, where he is to be fed to...Chewbacca.

Han is able to understand Chewbacca well enough to convince him to cooperate with his escape attempt, and the two have to make their break from the Imperial camp. Once they do, they arrive at Beckett's ship and this finally leads to Beckett allowing the crafty Han Solo to join his crew. The reason? A Wookiee is very strong. Their intention is to steal some of the same fuel Han once stole, a shipment of coaxium on a snowy planet. It is being shipped via train, but the attempt to steal this stuff does not go so well. They are stopped by seemingly fellow outlaws attempting to get the coaxium themselves, and those outlaws do better than the outlaws we're following. In the process, Rio and Val die, none of the other outlaws eat it, and the coaxium is destroyed. After this, Beckett tells Han that he was ordered to steal the shipment for Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), a big timer in a crime syndicate. Han volunteers to help Beckett make up for his mistake. One reason? Qi'ra has joined this crime syndicate.

I had some weird feelings about this movie, I don't know how to properly place them in order. A Star Wars film should never start without the fanfare. You know the one. I was genuinely very mad about this. After that, I had a hard time getting into the movie. Once I finally did, I feel like I actually liked it. Sort of. I know it isn't a great movie, but I liked it more than Episode IX. The main reason is that this film isn't trying to beat you over the head with corny nostalgia. The nostalgia here is rather reserved even though we are seeing younger versions of beloved characters. This film shouldn't have been made because it was obvious it would never draw anything, but actually enjoying a Star Wars movie made in the last 20 years has proven very inconsistent and difficult for me. There are things about the movie that aren't so good, they are also mainly related to the way that in a lot of Star Wars movies the characters magically come up with answers to a seemingly impossible program. I never like that, you know. The twists and turns are also a little bit less predictable than the majority of Star Wars flicks.

Again, I find myself coming back to a Han Solo movie without Harrison Ford. This guy playing Han Solo is very difficult for me to see as Han Solo in any context. I do not want to see it. I feel like this is a movie that doesn't matter in the sense of being part of the Star Wars saga. Nothing is really resolved, and the appearance from Darth Maul ultimately means nothing because this movie will never have any follow up. There's still way more here that I like, enough that I can call this a decent movie anyway. Donald Glover makes a good Lando. The point where he enters the film is when the events become more and more enjoyable even though Solo takes too long to get to that point. In a lot of ways this isn't much of a Star Wars movie. There's no fanfare as I already stated. No Jedi stuff. All space Western heist movie stuff. Do I like it? I think I do. Everything before Dryden Vos appears kind of sucks though. Take that for what it's worth. I also think after having watched Episode VII a few more times, I like this movie better than that too. Re-orienting my ratings is something I need to make a primary goal for a lot of reasons, by the way. I should also note that 6.5 should not be an indicator of a bad movie. It's aight.

6.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


1. Roma
2. The Rider
3. A Star Is Born
4. First Reformed
5. The Favourite
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Widows
8. First Man
9. BlacKkKlansman
10. Blindspotting
11. Leave No Trace
12. Black Panther
13. If Beale Street Could Talk
14. The Sisters Brothers
15. A Private War
16. Avengers: Infinity War
17. Stan & Ollie
18. Green Book
19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
20. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
21. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
22. Annihilation
23. Private Life
24. Climax
25. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
26. Mid90s
27. Lean on Pete
28. On My Skin
29. Eighth Grade
30. Sorry to Bother You
31. Suspiria
32. At Eternity's Gate
33. The Death of Stalin
34. A Quiet Place
35. Vice
36. The Old Man & the Gun
37. The Night Comes for Us
38. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
39. Vox Lux
40. Bad Times at the El Royale
41. The Other Side of the Wind
42. Searching
43. Calibre
44. A Simple Favor
45. The Hate U Give
46. Unsane
47. Disobedience
48. Destroyer
49. Boy Erased
50. Bumblebee
51. Mary Poppins Returns
52. Creed II
53. Hold the Dark
54. The Land of Steady Habits
55. Halloween
56. The 12th Man
57. Upgrade
58. Chappaquiddick
59. What They Had
60. Ant-Man and the Wasp
61. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
62. Blockers
63. Beirut
64. Black '47
65. Roxanne Roxanne
66. Solo: A Star Wars Story
67. Tully
68. Mary Queen of Scots
69. Aquaman
70. Ideal Home
71. Outlaw King
72. Overlord
73. Ready Player One
74. Ben Is Back
75. Monsters and Men
76. Colette
77. The Mule
78. On the Basis of Sex
79. Bohemian Rhapsody
80. White Boy Rick
81. Papillon
82. Gemini
83. Game Night
84. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
85. Ocean's Eight
86. Alpha
87. Come Sunday
88. Borg vs. McEnroe
89. Instant Family
90. The Front Runner
91. The Predator
92. Apostle
93. The Oath
94. Uncle Drew
95. The Cured
96. The Commuter
97. The Angel
98. Tag
99. Beautiful Boy
100. The Nun
101. Operation Finale
102. The Equalizer 2
103. The Spy Who Dumped Me
104. Cargo
105. Yardie
106. Boundaries
107. Bird Box
108. 12 Strong
109. Venom
110. Skyscraper
111. The Meg
112. Assassination Nation
113. Never Goin' Back
114. Adrift
115. Crazy Rich Asians
116. Backstabbing for Beginners
117. The Girl in the Spider's Web
118. Gringo
119. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
120. 22 July
121. Tomb Raider
122. Rampage
123. Hotel Artemis
124. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
125. The Little Stranger
126. 7 Days in Entebbe
127. Night School
128. The 15:17 To Paris
129. Den of Thieves
130. The Catcher Was a Spy
131. Peppermint
132. Mile 22
133. The First Purge
134. Hunter Killer
135. The Hurricane Heist
136. The Cloverfield Paradox
137. Breaking In
138. Extinction
139. Hot Summer Nights
140. Welcome to Marwen
141. Second Act
142. How It Ends
143. Mute
144. Kin
145. Hell Fest
146. Action Point
147. Proud Mary
148. Robin Hood
149. Traffik
150. Tau
151. Winchester
152. Woman Walks Ahead
153. The Happytime Murders
154. The Outsider
155. Slender Man
156. Holmes & Watson
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
I missed your Hale County review. Glad you were kind of lukewarm on it, because I thought I was the only one that was missing something. The Godard comparison is perfect. I do like a lot of avant garde cinema, but this one really didn't land with me as much as it should've. If a baby running back and forth for five minutes (And that's the best moment of the doc) seems like it's your jam as a viewer I recommend it, otherwise steer clear.
 
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