In Which I Review Movies Part II

909

909
Staff member


Wildlife (2018), directed by Paul Dano

Reason: I don't skip Jake Gyllenhaal's movies for an assortment of reasons. Particularly one with the sorts of reviews that this one has. I would pretty much guarantee this will be good. This is also Paul Dano's debut as a director and you guys already know how I feel about that. I usually find that when someone is directing their first film, you see the truest version of themselves and what they want to put on the screen. Sometimes that's good, and sometimes it's bad, but it's real and it's what those people are feeling before criticism takes hold and people shape their vision based on what they're told to do.

Wildlife is the story of Joe Brinson (Ed Oxenbould), which was a massive surprise when I turned this on. I was thinking this would follow the other two actors around, but I was wrong. The perspective of the movie is nearly entirely Joe's, which is a much appreciated look at this sort of material. Joe is 14 years old, I should note. Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) and Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) are his parents, and they've recently moved to Montana because Jerry had gotten a new job. Wildlife is also set in 1960. Jerry's new job was as a golf pro at a country club, it is one he is dismissed of at the start of the film. Jerry had been wagering with some of the members while golfing with them, so even though the members greatly appreciated him, that doesn't matter to the people running the club. Being fired in 1960, with the societal expectations to come from a man having a job, makes matters very difficult. Jerry is called back soon after and offered the job once more, but he refuses out of principle. How dare they admonish him, fire him, and offer him his job back? There are a lot of people who can surely relate to this.

After having lost his job, Jerry is in a huge funk. Instead of trying to find work, he sleeps in his car or on the couch. The Brinson's TV is broken, but Jerry still attempts to watch coverage of a fire in the mountains near their house. He is clearly fascinated with this whole thing. Meanwhile, Joe is having a good time at school even though he's quit football. Joe and Jeanette have also both had to seek work in order to keep the family afloat. Joe's job is at a photography studio, and Jeanette has to settle for a position at the YMCA as a swimming instructor. Jeanette has previously been a teacher, and made comments indicating her interest once more, but she was shut down rather quickly. One day, Jerry wakes up and decides to take a shitty job fighting the fire. It's a dangerous job, it pays like shit, and his two family members don't want him to do it. He does it anyway. This thing with the fire does two things. It further strains Jerry's marriage with Jeanette, and the side effect of Joe's dad being gone ruins his school life a fair bit as well. It sure doesn't help Joe that his mom is starting an affair with an old bastard.

What I said about first time directing efforts really seems to fit with Wildlife. This is a film where Paul Dano made the distinct decision to not have any voiceovers where the parents justify their behavior to the audience. The film is literally entirely from the perspective of Joe. The only thing I remember happening where Joe wasn't part of the events was when Jerry was talking about bets with the people he'd played a game with. I can't think of anything else. This kind of thing is what I mean about a director staying true to themselves. The most interesting thing to the filmmaker in the story of an affair? The kid who has to experience it as an unwilling participant. In addition I should note that this was adapted from a book that Dano really enjoyed, and he did a Q&A where he said that he thought the kid was relatable. In addition his parents separated and he aged the kid down to the age in which his parents separated. You see where I'm going with this? This is a debut film where critique of one's style does not exist. It is the unvarnished vision of the director, and his is a story where a kid is thrown to the wolves by two parents who fucked up, the kid being forced to learn some shit about the world all by himself. This isn't a completely unique perspective, but it's unconventional and there aren't a lot of movies like this one.

It's obvious that I liked this movie. I feel like I didn't even need to say that. Movie-wise, one of the best feelings someone can have is the feeling of being unable to wait for what's to come next. Wildlife has that. Some of that is certainly a feeling of dread, but there's also one of anticipation, needing to know when Jerry's going to come back. Is he going to come back while his wife is having sex with this dude? Will anyone tell him? Those kinds of questions are what good filmmakers are able to answer without the road to those answers being predictable. I also just now realized that I hadn't watched a good narrative feature in about two weeks, so when something hits, it really does. The thing that got to me the most, was that the kid knew his mother was wrong the whole time. He is powerless to do anything about them, and he's 14 years old. There's a moment of desperation where he tries to drive his mother home. It matters not. The performances here are very strong, particularly that of Carey Mulligan. It is upon her to carry the film. If her scenes aren't interesting, that's it. It's over.

Is this a great film though? That's something I can actually answer immediately for once. When it comes to Wildlife I can comfortably say there are numerous things in it that are great. Most importantly is that this is a story about an affair that is told without narration and without lengthy expository scenes. It also bears mentioning that this is a film that made me feel something. You can't just buy that with money and that isn't guaranteed when sitting down to watch something. There are a lot of good films out there that don't carry that kind of weight, they're good for other reasons. Maybe they scare you, maybe they make you laugh, maybe the action in them is awesome. This movie just went straight to my core. The things that were happening were things I really didn't want to happen. I cared about what I was watching.

8.5/10

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. Wildlife
18. Stan & Ollie
19. Green Book
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
21. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
22. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
23. Annihilation
24. Private Life
25. Climax
26. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
27. Mid90s
28. Lean on Pete
29. On My Skin
30. Eighth Grade
31. Sorry to Bother You
32. Suspiria
33. At Eternity's Gate
34. The Death of Stalin
35. A Quiet Place
36. Vice
37. The Old Man & the Gun
38. The Night Comes for Us
39. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
40. Vox Lux
41. Bad Times at the El Royale
42. The Other Side of the Wind
43. Searching
44. Calibre
45. A Simple Favor
46. The Hate U Give
47. Unsane
48. Disobedience
49. Destroyer
50. Boy Erased
51. Bumblebee
52. Mary Poppins Returns
53. Creed II
54. Hold the Dark
55. The Land of Steady Habits
56. Halloween
57. The 12th Man
58. Upgrade
59. Chappaquiddick
60. What They Had
61. Ant-Man and the Wasp
62. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
63. Blockers
64. Beirut
65. Black '47
66. Roxanne Roxanne
67. Solo: A Star Wars Story
68. Tully
69. Mary Queen of Scots
70. Aquaman
71. Ideal Home
72. Outlaw King
73. Overlord
74. Ready Player One
75. Ben Is Back
76. Monsters and Men
77. Colette
78. The Mule
79. On the Basis of Sex
80. Bohemian Rhapsody
81. White Boy Rick
82. Papillon
83. Gemini
84. Game Night
85. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
86. Ocean's Eight
87. Alpha
88. Come Sunday
89. Borg vs. McEnroe
90. Instant Family
91. The Front Runner
92. The Predator
93. Apostle
94. The Oath
95. Uncle Drew
96. The Cured
97. The Commuter
98. The Angel
99. Tag
100. Beautiful Boy
101. The Nun
102. Operation Finale
103. The Equalizer 2
104. The Spy Who Dumped Me
105. Cargo
106. Yardie
107. Boundaries
108. Bird Box
109. 12 Strong
110. Venom
111. Skyscraper
112. The Meg
113. Assassination Nation
114. Never Goin' Back
115. Adrift
116. Crazy Rich Asians
117. Backstabbing for Beginners
118. The Girl in the Spider's Web
119. Gringo
120. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
121. 22 July
122. Tomb Raider
123. Rampage
124. Hotel Artemis
125. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
126. The Little Stranger
127. 7 Days in Entebbe
128. Night School
129. The 15:17 To Paris
130. Den of Thieves
131. The Catcher Was a Spy
132. Peppermint
133. Mile 22
134. The First Purge
135. Hunter Killer
136. The Hurricane Heist
137. The Cloverfield Paradox
138. Breaking In
139. Extinction
140. Hot Summer Nights
141. Welcome to Marwen
142. Second Act
143. How It Ends
144. Mute
145. Kin
146. Hell Fest
147. Action Point
148. Proud Mary
149. Robin Hood
150. Traffik
151. Tau
152. Winchester
153. Woman Walks Ahead
154. The Happytime Murders
155. The Outsider
156. Slender Man
157. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


The Wife (2018), directed by Bjorn L. Runge

Reason for Watching: After watching The Wife, I will have watched every acting nomination from the 2019 Oscars. That's a lot of movies, let me tell you. Then, you can consider that I watched about 15 times more than that. There's no particular reason that I waited to watch this, I just had other things I needed to watch.

The Wife is a movie that a lot of people talked about a year and a half ago, but it quickly faded from the public consciousness soon after. There are a lot of movies that are initially claimed to be of the sort that will change the way people feel about cinema, but the only movies recently where that actually happened were Black Panther and Get Out. I think that's really it. I thought Parasite would be that kind of movie, but it wasn't. Before any other foreign language film could gain traction, the cinema shut down. Alright, so The Wife. As you probably know, this is a story featuring Glenn Close where she puts on an incredible acting job. This is the case, but I definitely do not think it was the best acting performance that year. This is a film with a classic case of flashback narrative. Where to start with a movie like that? After much internal thinking I finally decided.

Joan (Glenn Close) is the wife of Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce), a now elderly man who is a very celebrated author, this section being set in 1992. Joan (Annie Starke) was also once a student in college, full of bright ideas and not yet seeing the world for what it is. Her professor in college was Joe (Harry Lloyd), who we've already met. Joe was married while teaching, and he left his wife in order to pursue a relationship with Joan. Other stuff happened too. In 1992, Joe receives a call from those who award the Nobel Prize in Literature. After waiting for Joan to be on the call, he is told that he has won. This is something certainly to be proud of. We also learn that the Castleman's have two kids, David (Max Irons) and Susannah (Alix Wilton Regan). Susannah is pregnant and David is an aspiring writer who has not yet received his father's approval. David heads to Stockholm with his parents, and on the flight they are approached by Nathaniel (Christian Slater), a biographer particularly interested in Joe's story. This is a story that needs to be told, but it is not the one that you might think exists. Now that I've said that, I bet you know what the story is.

The Wife is a good movie, but it is definitely not a great one and that's why it wasn't nominated for Best Picture or anything of the sort. This film is entirely predictable. The script is, the direction is, but Pryce and Close are able to elevate that kind of predictable story. I have seen a review that absolutely savaged this movie and if I'm being completely honest I do not automatically disagree with someone who would say that this movie sucked. Predictability in film is often a major problem. I don't think it was here, but being able to predict the events certainly stomps on the dramatic weight of the movie a little bit. There's a way in which the film isn't hurt, though. When you see the flashback that reveals the extent of the way in which Joe authors these books, there's really nothing that prepared me for that view. In addition, the last twenty minutes are not quite so predictable. While this is a movie that doesn't really come to life the way I'd have liked, it's still good. The Wife could have used some ingenuity in direction, and the movie doesn't have that. It's also quite short.

I know that I've said a lot of things about why I don't like this movie that much, so here's some things to counter that. The storyline is rather timely even though it's predictable as a result of being timely. It's also hard to turn away from this story because it feels like the end result of the movie will be rather satisfying, and one of the things near the end is also fulfilling and surprising. This movie is also built around Glenn Close and the entire point is seemingly to showcase her talent. There's still one thing left in question as well, and that not being resolved is probably for the best. Did Joan love her husband or did she use him in order to get her books published for all those years?

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. Wildlife
18. Stan & Ollie
19. Green Book
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
21. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
22. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
23. Annihilation
24. Private Life
25. Climax
26. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
27. Mid90s
28. Lean on Pete
29. On My Skin
30. Eighth Grade
31. Sorry to Bother You
32. Suspiria
33. At Eternity's Gate
34. The Death of Stalin
35. A Quiet Place
36. Vice
37. The Old Man & the Gun
38. The Night Comes for Us
39. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
40. Vox Lux
41. Bad Times at the El Royale
42. The Other Side of the Wind
43. Searching
44. Calibre
45. A Simple Favor
46. The Hate U Give
47. Unsane
48. Disobedience
49. Destroyer
50. Boy Erased
51. Bumblebee
52. Mary Poppins Returns
53. Creed II
54. Hold the Dark
55. The Land of Steady Habits
56. Halloween
57. The 12th Man
58. Upgrade
59. The Wife
60. Chappaquiddick
61. What They Had
62. Ant-Man and the Wasp
63. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
64. Blockers
65. Beirut
66. Black '47
67. Roxanne Roxanne
68. Solo: A Star Wars Story
69. Tully
70. Mary Queen of Scots
71. Aquaman
72. Ideal Home
73. Outlaw King
74. Overlord
75. Ready Player One
76. Ben Is Back
77. Monsters and Men
78. Colette
79. The Mule
80. On the Basis of Sex
81. Bohemian Rhapsody
82. White Boy Rick
83. Papillon
84. Gemini
85. Game Night
86. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
87. Ocean's Eight
88. Alpha
89. Come Sunday
90. Borg vs. McEnroe
91. Instant Family
92. The Front Runner
93. The Predator
94. Apostle
95. The Oath
96. Uncle Drew
97. The Cured
98. The Commuter
99. The Angel
100. Tag
101. Beautiful Boy
102. The Nun
103. Operation Finale
104. The Equalizer 2
105. The Spy Who Dumped Me
106. Cargo
107. Yardie
108. Boundaries
109. Bird Box
110. 12 Strong
111. Venom
112. Skyscraper
113. The Meg
114. Assassination Nation
115. Never Goin' Back
116. Adrift
117. Crazy Rich Asians
118. Backstabbing for Beginners
119. The Girl in the Spider's Web
120. Gringo
121. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
122. 22 July
123. Tomb Raider
124. Rampage
125. Hotel Artemis
126. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
127. The Little Stranger
128. 7 Days in Entebbe
129. Night School
130. The 15:17 To Paris
131. Den of Thieves
132. The Catcher Was a Spy
133. Peppermint
134. Mile 22
135. The First Purge
136. Hunter Killer
137. The Hurricane Heist
138. The Cloverfield Paradox
139. Breaking In
140. Extinction
141. Hot Summer Nights
142. Welcome to Marwen
143. Second Act
144. How It Ends
145. Mute
146. Kin
147. Hell Fest
148. Action Point
149. Proud Mary
150. Robin Hood
151. Traffik
152. Tau
153. Winchester
154. Woman Walks Ahead
155. The Happytime Murders
156. The Outsider
157. Slender Man
158. Holmes & Watson
 

Hawk 34

Integral Poster
Honestly all I will remember from that movie is that despite being nominated for an Oscar, for quite a while, you couldn’t find it anywhere in the country except for a couple airline on demand channels.
 

909

909
Staff member


Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), directed by Stephen Herek

Reason for Watching: It's possible, although extremely unlikely, that the third movie in this series will be coming out near the end of next month. I have not seen the previous two. I've seen Pauly Shore trash but I haven't seen this. Indefensible.

As I said, I have not seen this movie before. I assume I'm in the minority of people on the internet my age. I'm gonna write this like nobody's seen it before. In the distant future, humanity is a utopia because of the music of two kids, Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves). The leaders of this society have hatched a plan in order to ensure that this future is preserved. Rufus (George Carlin) is to travel back to San Dimas, and help Bill and Ted so they can pass the history class they are currently flunking. Bill and Ted are exactly the kind of people from that era you'd think they are. This is a character we've seen a ton of times, but back in those days, only Spicoli was good enough to remain as memorable as these two clearly were. That is how a movie gets made about these characters nearly 30 years after the fact.

If Rufus is not able to accomplish his goal, Ted's father has planned to send his son to military school in Alaska. Failure is not an option, but these guys are too focused on creating music and trying to launch their band, the Wyld Stallyns. Ted's father is also a police officer and doesn't take kindly to his kid being this way. When Rufus finds Bill and Ted, the two are sitting outside of Circle K, struggling to finish their oral report they've been told they need to ace the following day. Rufus has also traveled through time in a phone booth to meet these guys. At first, Rufus has a difficult time convincing these two to come along with him in the time machine. During this conversation, another time machine arrives with versions of Bill and Ted inside of it. Their future selves convince them to go along this magic voyage. What are they to do? The idea Bill and Ted has, is to convince or capture historical figures to give their oral report the next day. They also have to get back to San Dimas in time to give said report. Time keeps on moving, after all.

When it comes to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, there are a few things that have to land in order for it to be a good movie in the lens of current times. This is a comedy, after all. Comedies are much less timeless than dramas are. Most importantly, to me anyway, is nostalgia. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure definitely has that. This is the kind of movie that could only have been made in the 80s. There's the unbridled sense of positivity and well meaning that could only come from entertainment that was made during that period. It is the only time, after all, where it was un-American to make much of anything that was critical of our society. People got mad about the smallest things. I also find that a comedy from the 80s needs to be very goofy, which this is. We're in the middle of a war, dude. The bit with the water park is also something that could only be in that kind of movie from years and years ago. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is also a movie targeted towards teenagers that has barely any inappropriate content in it. That wasn't common even a long time ago.

I do, however, feel like I should have watched this a long time ago. The thing is that I was more into comedies like this one about ten years ago. The movie is only funny to a point, and at about the hour mark this thing starts to run out of steam. The movie was great when they were building up to time travel and while they were in the middle of said time travel. When they get back to San Dimas and have to corral everyone all over again, it just isn't as good a movie. At the end, things pick up though. The oral report is funny, but I still feel like there's something preventing this movie from being more than just a cult classic. It could have been an actual one. The concept is something a person could only think of if they were extremely high. The concept is greater than the execution of said concept, of course. I don't want it to sound like I hate this movie or something. My last paragraph perfectly illustrated my feelings, and why I like this movie. I did feel like it could have been better though.

6.5/10
 
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SFH

Integral Poster
For as sophisticated of a reviewer and film consumer that you are, I feel you gave Bill and Ted a fair shake, better than I thought you would give. I didn't necessarily expect you to shit all over it, but I am happy to see you give it a 6.5. This movie is near and special to my heart and a lot of the people in my circle (one of our parties was 80s themed and my friend's wife was Ted). BUT I saw it in 1988/9 and have watched it at least once per year since, so I have a different lens than you as a reviewer. IF you decide to pursue the sequel, I'm mostly warm on it but I think if a person is lukewarm on the original (or less) then the sequel will NOT be appealing to a first time viewer in 2020. It was "okay" in the time it was made, and it does have some genuinely good moments, but as a whole it did not follow up the original as well as it could have. I think the cartoon might have even exceeded Bogus Journey.
 

909

909
Staff member


In the Fade (2017), directed by Fatih Akin

Reason for Watching: In the Fade was not on the Academy's list for nominations, but it was the winner of Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes. Unlike most of the countries where these movies originate from, I have seen a German movie before. I strongly recommend watching it too, it was Victoria. Even still that was one of the best movies I've seen in the last few years.

In the Fade is a strong effort, although not quite on that level. The movie begins with clips from prison, where Nuri Sekerci (Numan Acar) is to be married to Katja (Diane Kruger). The prisoners are very happy for him, although there's definitely a reason he was in prison to begin with. After leaving prison, Nuri has resumed a normal life. Living in Hamburg, he and Katja have had a son, who is six years old. One day, Katja drops their son Rocco off at Nuri's new workplace, an office in which he helps people with their taxes, translates Turkish to German, and sells plane tickets to Turkey. It is an office of his own, one which he had rented after studying business while in prison. You know, rehabilitation. It's some shit we don't have here. I should also point out that Nuri is a Turkish Kurd, so his office is in a Turkish neighborhood of Hamburg. Katja has intended to go to the bath with her friend, Brigit (Samia Chancrin). While heading to her car, she tells a young woman that if her bike doesn't get locked, it'll be stolen. Apparently that is of no concern to her.

Katja heads back later that night, because she and her husband only have that one car and she has to pick him and their son up. Unfortunately, it appears the woman wasn't worried about her bike for good reason. There has been an explosion in front of Nuri's office, he and his son are now missing. There's plenty more bad news. When a DNA test is done at Katja's house, it is found that the remains of Nuri and Rocco are those of the two dead found inside the office. Nuri and Rocco are both now beyond recognizable. Katja, of course, is absolutely destroyed. I'm going to cut out some parts not worth mentioning along my way here. This is the kind of case that's a straight up whodunit. There's hardly any leads whatsoever. Katja said that she saw a woman walking away from a bike. That's it. Katja also falls into drug use. Nuri's old lawyer Danilo (Denis Moschitto) says that Nuri wasn't in any trouble these days, but Katja asks for drugs that he's willing to supply. She's drowning in her own grief, can she possibly help with an investigation? Danilo said he took those drugs from other clients to throw in the trash. What's going to happen with the case, though?

A movie like In the Fade needs to weave a good web, and that's exactly what I felt it did. The ending is also stronger than I'd initially thought it would be. When it comes to a movie like that, I feel like it's more often than not when good movies are wrapped up in completely unsatisfying fashion. There's a fine line to take with something like this. The movie could have played out in court for the rest of the duration, instead it did not. As a result there are three phases of the movie that require good execution. This isn't a perfect movie, because it's rather narrow in scope. The journey is entirely focused on one person who has suffered great loss. In the Fade is also a film that focuses on problems that are affecting us more and more because the lines of society have been redrawn. There are people who recognize racist actions. There are people who participate in racist actions. There are people who are now unable to recognize racist actions because the racists have been successful in blurring the line and confusing otherwise well meaning people. Of course, this movie was inspired by true actions. There was a bomb detonated by Nazis in Cologne in 2004, in a Turkish neighborhood, with the placement of said bomb being much the same. This is a case of successfully borrowing from real life to create good art.

The suffering of Katja, of course, is something I am not able to fully comprehend because its never happened to me. Hopefully it never does. The performance of Kruger is necessary to make this worth watching. Because of the nature of such racist acts, the film lacks in warmth. Everything is cold. The people who committed the murder border on lifeless. The ending is not a happy one either, but this is a film that talks about things that need to be addressed. Nazism is an increasingly resurgent problem in some part because people have not forcefully denounced those who brought radical ideologies back into the world in recent times. Another problem is that there are relatively normal people who have had false expectations of life planted into their head. I think that's the case with the Nazis here. People have a difficult time overcoming their failed expectations, and those kinds of people turn to things that are really simplistic to understand, easy to blame on someone else. To some extent the resurgence of Nazi belief is the failing of our current society. This kind of movie really bothers me because I find myself thinking at times "what would I do if everything was taken away from me?" The ending presents one of the solutions many people find to such problems.

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 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. In the Fade
34. A Ghost Story
35. Detroit
36. Gook
37. Last Flag Flying
38. Hostiles
39. Colossal
40. All the Money in the World
41. Molly's Game
42. Darkest Hour
43. Spider-Man: Homecoming
44. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
45. Sweet Virginia
46. It
47. Battle of the Sexes
48. Stronger
49. Brad's Status
50. Okja
51. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
52. Kong: Skull Island
53. It Comes at Night
54. Happy End (foreign movie, did not write review)
55. Crown Heights
56. Split
57. 1922
58. Personal Shopper
59. Landline
60. Thank You for Your Service
61. Beatriz at Dinner
62. Chuck
63. Atomic Blonde
64. Shot Caller
65. Wheelman
66. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
67. Wonder
68. Brigsby Bear
69. The Lego Batman Movie
70. Megan Leavey
71. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
72. Wonderstruck
73. Only the Brave
74. Marshall
75. Menashe
76. Roman J. Israel, Esq.
77. Walking Out
78. American Made
79. Annabelle: Creation
80. Beauty and the Beast
81. Imperial Dreams
82. Gifted
83. Murder on the Orient Express
84. My Friend Dahmer
85. The Zookeeper's Wife
86. The Glass Castle
87. The Foreigner
88. Free Fire
89. Win It All
90. The Wall
91. Jungle
92. Life
93. My Cousin Rachel
94. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
95. The Ballad of Lefty Brown
96. The Fate of the Furious
97. Happy Death Day
98. Breathe
99. The Man Who Invented Christmas
100. Maudie
101. Patti Cake$
102. Sleight
103. Alone in Berlin
104. A United Kingdom
105. Trespass Against Us
106. The Mountain Between Us
107. War Machine
108. Lowriders
109. Justice League
110. To the Bone
111. Ghost in the Shell
112. Wakefield
113. Downsizing
114. Bright
115. Bushwick
116. The Tribes of Palos Verdes
117. The Hitman's Bodyguard
118. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
119. XXX: Return of Xander Cage
120. The Mummy
121. The Greatest Showman
122. Rough Night
123. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
124. Sand Castle
125. The Circle
126. American Assassin
127. CHiPs
128. Death Note
129. 47 Meters Down
130. The Belko Experiment
131. The Great Wall
132. The Bad Batch
133. Fist Fight
134. Baywatch
135. Snatched
136. Suburbicon
137. Wilson
138. The Dark Tower
139. Queen of the Desert
140. The House
141. Flatliners
142. Sleepless
143. Geostorm
144. All Eyez on Me
145. The Snowman
146. The Book of Henry
147. The Space Between Us
148. Daddy's Home 2
 

909

909
Staff member


Slice (2018), directed by Austin Vesely

Reason for Watching: A Halloween movie about a pizza delivery guy. Sounds great. This one also took a massive amount of IMDB downvoting for some reason. Who knows why, it's probably for the same reasons as everything else.

These are quite literally the hardest movies to review. The main reason? The film was fucking boring. Slice also only ran for about 75 minutes, so that makes it tough too. Slice centers around Perfect Pizza Place, a business in the made up town of Kingfisher. The setting is one where ghosts exist, and they've been thrown into their own neighborhood away from everyone else. One night, Sean (Austin Vesely) is delivering some pizza in the neighborhood of Ghost Town (very original), to a ghost who had ordered it apparently many hours earlier. During this delivery, his throat is slit by an assassin. The specifics of how people become ghosts are not made clear until much later in the movie. The mayor gives a press conference about the murder the next day, and the mayor is interrupted by Debbie (Kelli Simpkins) and Vera (Marilyn Dodds Frank), leaders of an activist group that wants a strip mall demolished. Said strip mall also just so happens to be where the pizza place is.

There are detectives looking into the murder, of course. Steve (Tim Decker) and Bradley (Will Brill) get this detail. Steve constantly wants to make fun of Bradley, for seemingly no reason at all. The main thing in this movie? Everyone wants to find out why people at the pizza place are getting killed. Perhaps I jumped ahead. Astrid (Zazie Beetz) is Sean's ex-girlfriend, and she wants her job delivering pizza back. Reason? She can find out how Sean got murdered. Said pizza place is managed by Jack (Paul Scheer), is also staffed by a ghost named Joe (Lakin Valdez), Heather (Katherine Cunningham), and Scooter (Rudy Galvan). You know what? I'm making too much of this. The main suspect is Dax Lycander (GET IT?) (Chance the Rapper), a well known werewolf who disappeared after this happened at a Chinese restaurant a few years ago. Said Chinese restaurant is where Perfect Pizza Place is now.

I have few positives for a movie that bores me as much as this one did. Slice is also a film that reminded me of the worst of True Blood. I could never get over that while I was watching this. I also didn't find basically anything in the movie to be even remotely funny, and I'd planned on watching this for two days. Why does that matter? It shows I wasn't predisposed to hating this movie as I was actually looking forward to it. I have a lot of movies to watch and shot this one up the list. Now I don't even know why. I don't want to say this movie was terrible, but I was so bored and disengaged. I felt like no effort was made to bring the viewer back should they have disliked any of the early portion of this movie, and that's nearly all I have to say about this. Obviously, this is a low budget movie so my expectations with effects and such weren't very high to begin with. That being said, the title sequence was the best part of Slice and I could have turned the whole thing off right after it.

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. Wildlife
18. Stan & Ollie
19. Green Book
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
21. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
22. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
23. Annihilation
24. Private Life
25. Climax
26. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
27. Mid90s
28. Lean on Pete
29. On My Skin
30. Eighth Grade
31. Sorry to Bother You
32. Suspiria
33. At Eternity's Gate
34. The Death of Stalin
35. A Quiet Place
36. Vice
37. The Old Man & the Gun
38. The Night Comes for Us
39. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
40. Vox Lux
41. Bad Times at the El Royale
42. The Other Side of the Wind
43. Searching
44. Calibre
45. A Simple Favor
46. The Hate U Give
47. Unsane
48. Disobedience
49. Destroyer
50. Boy Erased
51. Bumblebee
52. Mary Poppins Returns
53. Creed II
54. Hold the Dark
55. The Land of Steady Habits
56. Halloween
57. The 12th Man
58. Upgrade
59. The Wife
60. Chappaquiddick
61. What They Had
62. Ant-Man and the Wasp
63. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
64. Blockers
65. Beirut
66. Black '47
67. Roxanne Roxanne
68. Solo: A Star Wars Story
69. Tully
70. Mary Queen of Scots
71. Aquaman
72. Ideal Home
73. Outlaw King
74. Overlord
75. Ready Player One
76. Ben Is Back
77. Monsters and Men
78. Colette
79. The Mule
80. On the Basis of Sex
81. Bohemian Rhapsody
82. White Boy Rick
83. Papillon
84. Gemini
85. Game Night
86. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
87. Ocean's Eight
88. Alpha
89. Come Sunday
90. Borg vs. McEnroe
91. Instant Family
92. The Front Runner
93. The Predator
94. Apostle
95. The Oath
96. Uncle Drew
97. The Cured
98. The Commuter
99. The Angel
100. Tag
101. Beautiful Boy
102. The Nun
103. Operation Finale
104. The Equalizer 2
105. The Spy Who Dumped Me
106. Cargo
107. Yardie
108. Boundaries
109. Bird Box
110. 12 Strong
111. Venom
112. Skyscraper
113. The Meg
114. Assassination Nation
115. Never Goin' Back
116. Adrift
117. Crazy Rich Asians
118. Backstabbing for Beginners
119. The Girl in the Spider's Web
120. Gringo
121. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
122. 22 July
123. Tomb Raider
124. Rampage
125. Hotel Artemis
126. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
127. The Little Stranger
128. 7 Days in Entebbe
129. Night School
130. The 15:17 To Paris
131. Den of Thieves
132. The Catcher Was a Spy
133. Peppermint
134. Mile 22
135. The First Purge
136. Hunter Killer
137. The Hurricane Heist
138. The Cloverfield Paradox
139. Breaking In
140. Slice
141. Extinction
142. Hot Summer Nights
143. Welcome to Marwen
144. Second Act
145. How It Ends
146. Mute
147. Kin
148. Hell Fest
149. Action Point
150. Proud Mary
151. Robin Hood
152. Traffik
153. Tau
154. Winchester
155. Woman Walks Ahead
156. The Happytime Murders
157. The Outsider
158. Slender Man
159. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


The Hero (2017), directed by Brett Haley

Reason for Watching: This was recommended to me numerous times. Sam Elliott is in this movie. That's enough reason. I have barely anything left from 2017, so this will be wrapped up quite soon.

The Hero is a movie featuring Sam Elliott that is supposed to make you feel like it's about Sam Elliott. Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is an actor who was in Westerns, only truly in one big important one, and he now works doing voiceovers for commercials. You know, like Elliott actually did. In the world of The Hero, Lee's best performances are long in the rear view mirror. These days, he spends time smoking weed with his neighbor Jeremy (Nick Offerman). Once upon a time, Jeremy was in a short lived show with Lee. In said show, Jeremy was executed by hanging. Now, he deals drugs. While Lee is at his house one day, Lee encounters Charlotte (Laura Prepon), who is also there buying drugs. Best for Lee, she's into old dudes. Lee once had a different life, one where he isn't banging forty year old women. He had a wife, Valarie (Katharine Ross), but he has long left Valarie. They had a daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter), but Lee has long since abandoned her too. The worst thing about all that? He has pancreatic cancer.

This is, oddly enough, a one paragraph film. I mean that it only takes one paragraph for me to describe it. I can't possibly fill two. Unfortunately, I can't help but shake the feeling that this movie is something a person would write if they were dying and wanted to write themselves to have a good ending to their life. The Hero fails to capture me from the start in part because of that. The movie is also heavily reliant upon Elliott to just make everything work somehow, which he is able to do massively in the second half of the film. The improvement this movie makes halfway through was rather remarkable to my eye. Perhaps it's because the story has a true purpose at that point. Perhaps it's because the story is initially about cancer and I have a hard time with that now because of what happened to my mom. I don't think that's the case, but it's something I have to consider and present as a possibility. The ending of the movie isn't conclusive enough for me either, I should note.

Because the film only takes one paragraph to describe, it's hard for me to fill space in this review. I don't know how. It's interesting that its taken this long for Elliott to be a lead in a movie of any value though. There is some cinematic value here, although there are things in this movie I plain out don't like. If you love Elliott, like most decent people do, and you already saw this, you probably really liked this movie. The problem is that I don't think this material is truly good enough for him. There are a lot of cliches, lots of things I don't like seeing in any kind of movie. When someone doesn't tell someone else that they're dying, you really need to have a hell of a hook to pull that off and make a movie or show interesting. Like Breaking Bad. Also, because BB did that so well, now it's almost impossible to top and I may forever see similar work through that lens. It's not like I finished watching the show all that long ago, after all. The only really surprising scene here is the one where Charlotte does a comedy routine centered around how old Lee is. She does it right to his face. I guess I didn't see that coming.

6/10

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. In the Fade
34. A Ghost Story
35. Detroit
36. Gook
37. Last Flag Flying
38. Hostiles
39. Colossal
40. All the Money in the World
41. Molly's Game
42. Darkest Hour
43. Spider-Man: Homecoming
44. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
45. Sweet Virginia
46. It
47. Battle of the Sexes
48. Stronger
49. Brad's Status
50. Okja
51. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
52. Kong: Skull Island
53. It Comes at Night
54. Happy End (foreign movie, did not write review)
55. Crown Heights
56. Split
57. 1922
58. Personal Shopper
59. Landline
60. Thank You for Your Service
61. Beatriz at Dinner
62. Chuck
63. Atomic Blonde
64. Shot Caller
65. Wheelman
66. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
67. Wonder
68. Brigsby Bear
69. The Lego Batman Movie
70. Megan Leavey
71. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
72. Wonderstruck
73. Only the Brave
74. Marshall
75. Menashe
76. Roman J. Israel, Esq.
77. Walking Out
78. American Made
79. Annabelle: Creation
80. Beauty and the Beast
81. Imperial Dreams
82. Gifted
83. Murder on the Orient Express
84. My Friend Dahmer
85. The Zookeeper's Wife
86. The Glass Castle
87. The Foreigner
88. Free Fire
89. Win It All
90. The Wall
91. The Hero
92. Jungle
93. Life
94. My Cousin Rachel
95. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
96. The Ballad of Lefty Brown
97. The Fate of the Furious
98. Happy Death Day
99. Breathe
100. The Man Who Invented Christmas
101. Maudie
102. Patti Cake$
103. Sleight
104. Alone in Berlin
105. A United Kingdom
106. Trespass Against Us
107. The Mountain Between Us
108. War Machine
109. Lowriders
110. Justice League
111. To the Bone
112. Ghost in the Shell
113. Wakefield
114. Downsizing
115. Bright
116. Bushwick
117. The Tribes of Palos Verdes
118. The Hitman's Bodyguard
119. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
120. XXX: Return of Xander Cage
121. The Mummy
122. The Greatest Showman
123. Rough Night
124. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
125. Sand Castle
126. The Circle
127. American Assassin
128. CHiPs
129. Death Note
130. 47 Meters Down
131. The Belko Experiment
132. The Great Wall
133. The Bad Batch
134. Fist Fight
135. Baywatch
136. Snatched
137. Suburbicon
138. Wilson
139. The Dark Tower
140. Queen of the Desert
141. The House
142. Flatliners
143. Sleepless
144. Geostorm
145. All Eyez on Me
146. The Snowman
147. The Book of Henry
148. The Space Between Us
149. Daddy's Home 2
 

909

909
Staff member


American Woman (2019), directed by Jake Scott

Reason for Watching: Aaron Paul is in this movie. That usually does it. The thing I didn't know was that he didn't appear until 55 minutes into the movie. American Woman also has pretty good reviews.

American Woman is a movie set in much earlier times than I'd initially realized, which is usually a good thing. In 1998, Deb (Sienna Miller) is a quite young single mother who has just become a grandmother. Her daughter Bridget (Sky Ferreira) has had a son, Jesse. Jesse's father is not in the picture, but Bridget has a date with him shortly after we enter the film. When we enter the movie, Deb has a date with Brett, who it turns out is a married guy. Deb has been carrying on an affair with him for some time, and she wants to make sure she looks good for said affair. The next day, Bridget wants to go out with her son's father, Tyler (Alex Neustaedter). Tyler and Bridget don't really get along, and Deb generally complains about this quite a bit. She lives across the street from her sister, Katherine (Christina Hendricks), and Katherine's husband Terry (Will Sasso). Yes, Will Sasso is in this movie and it isn't a comedic role. Deb and Katherine have one of those sister relationships where one advises the other not to do shit, and they do it anyway. Deb is the one that does whatever she wants, and Katherine doesn't think that's such a good idea. Deb also has the same relationship with her mother, Peggy (Amy Madigan).

Anyway, that night, Bridget is supposed to go out as I've told you. Deb is going to watch her grandson. The problem is that Bridget doesn't come back the next morning. Or the next afternoon. Or even at all. Deb is really big mad about this shit at first. She busts into Tyler's house and questions him, which doesn't go well for her as he embarrasses her in front of all his friends. Tyler doesn't have answers in any case. Bridget supposedly went to another friend's house, and said friend tells Deb that Bridget walked home in the middle of the night. Certainly you can see the problem here. An investigation is launched, but no answers are received from that either. Deb, however, has had a complete mental break. She shows up at Brett's house to make a scene in front of his wife. When driving back home, Deb tries to kill herself by crashing her car into a ditch, but she emerges without any major injuries. After this, we jump forward many years. I didn't expect that. Deb's life is much different. Jesse is in elementary school. Deb has a new abusive boyfriend, Ray (Pat Healy), and she's just trying to make it through life. Most importantly, Bridget is still gone, answers not received. Will they come?

This movie is definitely not what I thought it was going to be, I tell you that. That isn't a bad thing, it's just different than what I thought I was getting into. American Woman is the kind of movie that sprawls through such a long period of time that the lead, in this case Sienna Miller, is able to fully showcase their range and ability as an actor. The script isn't as complex as I thought it would be, I thought this was going to be a movie where someone was searching for their daughter. It ain't that. What this movie is, is one where someone is solidly entrenched in the lower classes. The problems that come from being in that group are laid out throughout a rather compelling film. It wasn't compelling because I wanted to know what happened to Bridget. Any decent film, which this is, only has one conclusion. She was killed. It wasn't in question is what I'm saying. The filmmakers also pulled a really good trick on me towards the end of the movie. Didn't quite see that coming. When I see Aaron Paul in a movie, I can't unsee Jesse Pinkman. He will never be able to shake that role, that's part of being such a great actor and becoming one with the character.

I do think this is a good film and my enthusiasm to type out the last three paragraphs should certainly show that. The film isn't great or anything, it isn't complex enough for that. This is a story about the personal growth of a woman, through tragedy or hardship, with support of the people who love them. That's what matters here. A bad actress would have completely tanked American Woman, but that's not the case. The journey from immaturity to being a strong, self-reliant woman is one worth watching.

7/10

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. 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. American Woman
56. Hobbs & Shaw
57. Official Secrets
58. Always Be My Maybe
59. Cold Pursuit
60. The Laundromat
61. Where'd You Go, Bernadette
62. Shaft
63. Happy Death Day 2U
64. Ma
65. Terminator: Dark Fate
66. Greta
67. Annabelle Comes Home
68. Jumanji: The Next Level
69. Aladdin
70. Triple Frontier
71. Fighting with My Family
72. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
73. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
74. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
75. Brexit
76. The Dirt
77. Velvet Buzzsaw
78. Stuber
79. Little
80. Alita: Battle Angel
81. The Good Liar
82. The Current War: Director's Cut
83. The Kid
84. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
85. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
86. Good Boys
87. The Upside
88. The Lion King
89. Dumbo
90. The Hummingbird Project
91. Escape Room
92. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
93. Brian Banks
94. Tolkien
95. The Dead Don't Die
96. Captive State
97. The Highwaymen
98. Bombshell
99. Pet Sematary
100. The Intruder
101. Child's Play
102. 21 Bridges
103. Gemini Man
104. Brightburn
105. Never Grow Old
106. Rambo: Last Blood
107. Trial by Fire
108. Midway
109. Angel Has Fallen
110. Black and Blue
111. Yesterday
112. Anna
113. What Men Want
114. Them That Follow
115. Unicorn Store
116. The Curse of La Llorona
117. Miss Bala
118. Men in Black: International
119. The Red Sea Diving Resort
120. The Perfection
121. Hellboy
122. Glass
123. Dark Phoenix
124. Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral
125. The Kitchen
126. The Hustle
127. The Best of Enemies
128. The Prodigy
129. Polar
130. Serenity
 

909

909
Staff member


What Happened to Monday (2017), directed by Tommy Wirkola

Reason for Watching: This is one of those Netflix movies it seems a lot of people watched. However, more to the point, this is exactly one of those kinds of movies that Netflix specializes in. Checks the dystopian box quite well judging from the description.

Unfortunately, like most Netflix movies, What Happened to Monday is also kind of a hunk of crap. What Happened to Monday was released in countries other than this one, so the film made a fair amount at the box office. This is the story of septuplets named Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Noomi Rapace). Their mother Karen had given birth to them, but she died while doing so at a shady doctor who would not report her multiple pregnancy. Set in 2073, this movie takes place in a heavily overpopulated world, which has led to a one-child policy being adopted worldwide. This is forcibly done, to the extent where every person is monitored with an electronic bracelet. The things done in order to create food for all these people has caused a huge rise in multiple pregnancies, so the parent usually has to live with the knowledge their children are going away. Every sibling bar the oldest is put into cryosleep, to be awakened at an indeterminate time. This concept is actually full of plot holes, but I also feel like there is a good concept here that could have been adapted into a good movie of some kind.

It turns out that the septuplets were subsequently raised by Terrence (Willem Dafoe), who gave them their names. He had an idea for how to keep them alive, and it was to train them to pose as a single child named Karen. With technological advances, it's possible to use wigs and the same makeup in order to make the children look all the same. This was done as adults too. Before that point, it was made clear that two or more of the septuplets could not be outside at the same time. It's too easy to catch everyone and ruin the entire thing. The problem is, there was a day Thursday snuck out of the apartment to skateboard. When doing so, she had an accident, and severed her finger. The end result of this is not good. You can figure out what Terrence did to them. Eventually, it's time to focus on the year 2073. Monday is to prepare herself to go outside, she is giving a presentation in order to get a promotion at her job, at the bank. She becomes Karen like they all must do to go to this job, and she runs into Adrian (Marwan Kenzari), a child enforcement agent at a checkpoint. They seem to get along well. At the bank, she is threatened with blackmail by Jerry (Pal Sverre Hagen). Then, Monday never returns home. What are her sisters to do? If Monday has been killed, and one of them goes outside, then what?

The concept here is far better than the execution, I assure you. As I was typing all these things out, I was remembering how good these parts of the movie were even when they didn't make sense, and eventually I came to think of the last thirty minutes of the movie. The last thirty minutes of What Happened to Monday are absolutely terrible. Beyond that, there are absolutely no ethical questions posed here. I don't even know who some of the side characters are, who they're supposed to be, or how they came to have such influence and power. This is a poorly written movie that is interesting for much longer than it actually should be. There is literally no time given to the famine that caused people to take such methods in creating food, even knowing the side effects. At no point in this movie does anyone even complain about there being too many people. Even though the proper focus of the movie is completely sidelined, it's still compelling to some extent. The action scenes are good. Noomi Rapace is really convincing in this movie while playing seven different roles. They are only just different enough from each other, but even this is given superficial treatment.

What Happened to Monday is a film that is geared towards action and building to intriguing moments far more than it is any other kind of film. This isn't supposed to make the viewer think or anything of the sort. Characterizations are legitimately fucking nonsense. There's a scene where someone survives a bomb that blows up in their face. There isn't a scratch on them from that explosion. Ultimately this is a plain out stupid movie. The problem is that it has redeeming qualities, all in those glorious action scenes. I am no liar. These are really good, good enough to make the movie average. The ending of this movie is so fucking bad though. A movie with an interesting concept like this one shouldn't focus on the most shit aspects of it. We don't even know some of these characters before they start dying.

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 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. In the Fade
34. A Ghost Story
35. Detroit
36. Gook
37. Last Flag Flying
38. Hostiles
39. Colossal
40. All the Money in the World
41. Molly's Game
42. Darkest Hour
43. Spider-Man: Homecoming
44. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
45. Sweet Virginia
46. It
47. Battle of the Sexes
48. Stronger
49. Brad's Status
50. Okja
51. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
52. Kong: Skull Island
53. It Comes at Night
54. Happy End (foreign movie, did not write review)
55. Crown Heights
56. Split
57. 1922
58. Personal Shopper
59. Landline
60. Thank You for Your Service
61. Beatriz at Dinner
62. Chuck
63. Atomic Blonde
64. Shot Caller
65. Wheelman
66. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
67. Wonder
68. Brigsby Bear
69. The Lego Batman Movie
70. Megan Leavey
71. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
72. Wonderstruck
73. Only the Brave
74. Marshall
75. Menashe
76. Roman J. Israel, Esq.
77. Walking Out
78. American Made
79. Annabelle: Creation
80. Beauty and the Beast
81. Imperial Dreams
82. Gifted
83. Murder on the Orient Express
84. My Friend Dahmer
85. The Zookeeper's Wife
86. The Glass Castle
87. The Foreigner
88. Free Fire
89. Win It All
90. The Wall
91. The Hero
92. Jungle
93. Life
94. My Cousin Rachel
95. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
96. The Ballad of Lefty Brown
97. The Fate of the Furious
98. Happy Death Day
99. Breathe
100. The Man Who Invented Christmas
101. Maudie
102. Patti Cake$
103. Sleight
104. Alone in Berlin
105. A United Kingdom
106. Trespass Against Us
107. The Mountain Between Us
108. War Machine
109. Lowriders
110. Justice League
111. To the Bone
112. Ghost in the Shell
113. Wakefield
114. Downsizing
115. Bright
116. Bushwick
117. The Tribes of Palos Verdes
118. What Happened to Monday
119. The Hitman's Bodyguard
120. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
121. XXX: Return of Xander Cage
122. The Mummy
123. The Greatest Showman
124. Rough Night
125. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
126. Sand Castle
127. The Circle
128. American Assassin
129. CHiPs
130. Death Note
131. 47 Meters Down
132. The Belko Experiment
133. The Great Wall
134. The Bad Batch
135. Fist Fight
136. Baywatch
137. Snatched
138. Suburbicon
139. Wilson
140. The Dark Tower
141. Queen of the Desert
142. The House
143. Flatliners
144. Sleepless
145. Geostorm
146. All Eyez on Me
147. The Snowman
148. The Book of Henry
149. The Space Between Us
150. Daddy's Home 2
 

909

909
Staff member
French and Polish, subtitles



Cold War (2018), directed by Pawel Pawlikowski

Reason for Watching: I should have watched this a while ago. Thing is, I've been busy, felt a little burnt out on writing reviews as well, so I haven't watched much of anything that got great reviews. Until last night. It may also not surprise you that I rarely watch movies filmed in black and white, so this is a little different for me.

Cold War is set in post-World War II Poland, a country that was ravaged by combat and filled with issues. The main one is that the country is now a Soviet satellite state. In this country, Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Irena (Agata Kulesza) have gotten into a position where they can audition people for induction into a school where they will be taught how to perform folk music as part of an ensemble. In the beginning of the film, they go around the country recording peasants so they know which songs are to be used. Once it's time for these auditions, Wiktor becomes smitted with Zula (Joanna Kulig), a young woman with some secrets in her history. Firstly, they are looking for peasants to perform in Warsaw and around Eastern Europe. Zula is not a peasant. Zula also is on probation after attacking her abusive father and nearly killing him. Everyone says that there's something about Zula, and after all there certainly is. Wiktor soon becomes much more than smitten.

After a performance in Warsaw, Zula and Wiktor have sex in the bathroom. A short period later, Wiktor and Irena are pressured by communist party officials to include propaganda in their performances so they can be allowed to leave the country and perform elsewhere. Irena and to a lesser extent Wiktor are very opposed to this, because such changes interfere with the goal of their music and its artistic merit. The problem is they have a third man as part of the troupe, whom I've neglected to mention to this point. Kaczmarek (Borys Szyc) is seemingly attached to the communist party in some way, or at least he knows he can get ahead by appeasing those sorts, so he agrees to the additions. Irena quits very shortly after. We are then shown a scene where Zula says she has been forced to inform on Wiktor at the behest of Kaczmarek, who has a crush on Zula and would like to eliminate his competition. When the troupe travels to East Berlin, Wiktor and Zula make plans to leave to Paris. Zula does not come. Now what?

I might be in the minority or some shit here, but I feel like Cold War is almost a really great movie that doesn't quite get there. This is a film that has great music, that's for sure. Impossible to deny that. But, perhaps this is an unusual complaint for me, but this movie is too short. Cold War is a movie that makes you feel Wiktor and Zula's tempestuous love, makes you feel the director's vision towards what freedom actually is. In Poland the troupe was forced to sing songs about Stalin, when Wiktor heads to France he is forced to play at shitty jazz clubs he doesn't want to be at, work with lyrics he also doesn't believe in, you know the drill here. Pawlikowski also left communist Poland, his experience of what he found outside the Eastern bloc I would imagine to be quite similar. I could probably find out, but I don't need to. The point is that true freedom is very difficult to find. There is always something to keep a person from that.

Cold War is a movie that has a lot of fans in high places, or at least it did when it became time to nominate movies for awards. I found that there are also things intended to push people in that direction. Filming in black and white is an artistic decision, and at the same time it is one filmmakers know the audience will appreciate. The lack of widescreen is another one of those decisions, as are the political connotations of Cold War. Movies with a period setting also fill both goals. While I'm saying this, I'm also recalling my own emotions as I watched the film play out. I definitely had a visceral feeling of frustration when the characters did things I did not want them to do. Cold War is engaging in that way. The cinematography and music are fantastic. Kot and Kulig have palpable chemistry. Pawlikowski attempts to make a film that feels like it was made in the 1950s, and accomplishes that completely. I loved these aspects of the movie so much. Cold War, however, is disengaging in other ways. The characters do not talk very much to each other. The movie is so short as to be incredibly maddening. There aren't as many scenes as it feels like this story deserves, it feels like the movie is missing parts of the romance that I needed more of. Because of this, there's only so much one can care about Wiktor and Zula. It is a glaring mistake in an otherwise great feature.

Also, yeah, I just put this movie below blockbuster shit. There are some people out there who would get very mad about that, but man. I really wish there was more of this.

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. Wildlife
18. Stan & Ollie
19. Green Book
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
21. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
22. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
23. Annihilation
24. Private Life
25. Cold War
26. Climax
27. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
28. Mid90s
29. Lean on Pete
30. On My Skin
31. Eighth Grade
32. Sorry to Bother You
33. Suspiria
34. At Eternity's Gate
35. The Death of Stalin
36. A Quiet Place
37. Vice
38. The Old Man & the Gun
39. The Night Comes for Us
40. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
41. Vox Lux
42. Bad Times at the El Royale
43. The Other Side of the Wind
44. Searching
45. Calibre
46. A Simple Favor
47. The Hate U Give
48. Unsane
49. Disobedience
50. Destroyer
51. Boy Erased
52. Bumblebee
53. Mary Poppins Returns
54. Creed II
55. Hold the Dark
56. The Land of Steady Habits
57. Halloween
58. The 12th Man
59. Upgrade
60. The Wife
61. Chappaquiddick
62. What They Had
63. Ant-Man and the Wasp
64. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
65. Blockers
66. Beirut
67. Black '47
68. Roxanne Roxanne
69. Solo: A Star Wars Story
70. Tully
71. Mary Queen of Scots
72. Aquaman
73. Ideal Home
74. Outlaw King
75. Overlord
76. Ready Player One
77. Ben Is Back
78. Monsters and Men
79. Colette
80. The Mule
81. On the Basis of Sex
82. Bohemian Rhapsody
83. White Boy Rick
84. Papillon
85. Gemini
86. Game Night
87. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
88. Ocean's Eight
89. Alpha
90. Come Sunday
91. Borg vs. McEnroe
92. Instant Family
93. The Front Runner
94. The Predator
95. Apostle
96. The Oath
97. Uncle Drew
98. The Cured
99. The Commuter
100. The Angel
101. Tag
102. Beautiful Boy
103. The Nun
104. Operation Finale
105. The Equalizer 2
106. The Spy Who Dumped Me
107. Cargo
108. Yardie
109. Boundaries
110. Bird Box
111. 12 Strong
112. Venom
113. Skyscraper
114. The Meg
115. Assassination Nation
116. Never Goin' Back
117. Adrift
118. Crazy Rich Asians
119. Backstabbing for Beginners
120. The Girl in the Spider's Web
121. Gringo
122. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
123. 22 July
124. Tomb Raider
125. Rampage
126. Hotel Artemis
127. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
128. The Little Stranger
129. 7 Days in Entebbe
130. Night School
131. The 15:17 To Paris
132. Den of Thieves
133. The Catcher Was a Spy
134. Peppermint
135. Mile 22
136. The First Purge
137. Hunter Killer
138. The Hurricane Heist
139. The Cloverfield Paradox
140. Breaking In
141. Slice
142. Extinction
143. Hot Summer Nights
144. Welcome to Marwen
145. Second Act
146. How It Ends
147. Mute
148. Kin
149. Hell Fest
150. Action Point
151. Proud Mary
152. Robin Hood
153. Traffik
154. Tau
155. Winchester
156. Woman Walks Ahead
157. The Happytime Murders
158. The Outsider
159. Slender Man
160. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


Life Itself (2018), directed by Dan Fogelman

Reason for Watching: I found it extremely fitting to go from what I watched previously to watching this. One good romance movie to one that is supposed to be absolute shit. That just sounded right to me.

For starters, I can't believe Life Itself even exists as a movie. I don't really know where to start, I'll do my best. This is a movie with five chapters, four of which actually matter, but this format means that you know exactly where this movie is going after the first chapter. Seems to be a problem. The first part of that chapter is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, who introduces the hero of this story. He is talking to his therapist, Cait (Annette Bening). Nothing he has to say is of any value, not even worth mentioning that guy. While Cait is walking down the street, she wanders into traffic and is killed by a bus. It subsequently turns out this is part of a script being written by Will (Oscar Isaac), who has been in therapy. He has been going to therapy with the previously mentioned Dr. Cait ever since his wife Abby (Olivia Wilde) left him.

The second chapter picks up where the first one leaves off. Dylan (Olivia Cooke) is Will and Abby's daughter. Her grandfather Irwin (Mandy Patinkin) is very prominent in her life, the film goes through a montage and we meet Dylan when she turns 21. Dylan, it turns out, is the lead of a band called PB&J. Can I describe her music? No, I cannot.

After the second chapter, we head to the third. A man in Spain named Vincent Saccione (Antonio Banderas) owns some land and has many people under his employ. One day, he calls Javier (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) into his office. For whatever reason, Saccione decides that he wants to tell Javier his life story. To make a long story short, Saccione inherited money from his bastard of a father. After inheriting it, he decided to buy this land. Javier, however, does not respect the fact that Saccione actually took the man's money when he died. Regardless, Saccione wants Javier to be the foreman of the men working on said land, because he's the only one who picks olives correctly. Eventually, Javier comes to live in the house Saccione has provided. Javier is in love with Isabel (Laia Costa), and they have a son, Rodrigo. A lot of other stuff happens.

The fourth chapter, you might suspect, is about Rodrigo (Alex Monner). I have left out a lot of seemingly important things because you need to watch this movie if you want to know all of them. Or you can go to Wikipedia. That's up to you. Rodrigo comes to be a grown man, just like a whole lot of other people. He comes to NYU, and eventually has his first girlfriend, Shari (Isabel Durant). His mother is now terminally ill, she sent him off to university despite that. How does a young man become...a man?

The fifth chapter doesn't matter.

First things first. I need to talk about the start of the movie. The way this movie begun is too weird to believe. I told you about how the therapist was run over by a bus, but there are a few other funny things that weren't supposed to be funny at all. I have to admit that I laughed hard at the first killing via bus. Did I say first? I believe I did. The movie clearly is seeking to be serious in some kind or another, but the start just isn't. This was like a wacky television show of some kind. From the start I got the feeling this was going to be worse than expected, but in fairness I can't say that it was any worse than I'd thought. This movie is supposed to be serious and the start of it is so far out of tone compared to what you'd think it will be. I don't know what to say. After that, this turns into tragedy porn. There's just one insanely horrific thing after the other, the kind you'd think of as a joke if you were imagining creating an emotionally manipulative work. Some of the characters, like Shari for example, are nauseating. I couldn't handle even hearing them talk. You know, this is unlike most of the bad movies I review because everything done here is in good faith. It's just bad. The ending montage is absolutely surreal as well.

What I've been trying to say is that I don't understand what kind of movie this is supposed to be. Is Life Itself supposed to be like This Is Us? I've read some descriptions of the latter show and they sound terrible, but the show has great reviews and obviously a lot of people watch it too. I'm definitely never going to watch that show, even when I start this enormous television watching project. Of course, that show is why someone would be allowed to make this movie, and why they'd be able to attract a cast featuring such great actors. To say there are great actors in this movie is an understatment. A few of them even give really good performances. However, the editing and overall tone of the film seriously betrays their efforts. The third chapter is the best of them and feels the most like a real film, but this too has issues. the main problem with this movie is that it seems the writer/director does not actually understand human behavior. That's why events are funny when they aren't supposed to be, and why the characters do some of the things they do. He just doesn't understand. The ending of Life Itself is one of the most contrived pieces of bullshit I've seen in a while, too. After it, you have that montage I already mentioned. I also feel like this director has no respect for what people think about their own parents, or this guy wouldn't show countless amounts of people dying in crude fashion. Maybe he hates his own and has been imagining these things for some time.

2.5/10

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. Wildlife
18. Stan & Ollie
19. Green Book
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
21. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
22. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
23. Annihilation
24. Private Life
25. Cold War
26. Climax
27. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
28. Mid90s
29. Lean on Pete
30. On My Skin
31. Eighth Grade
32. Sorry to Bother You
33. Suspiria
34. At Eternity's Gate
35. The Death of Stalin
36. A Quiet Place
37. Vice
38. The Old Man & the Gun
39. The Night Comes for Us
40. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
41. Vox Lux
42. Bad Times at the El Royale
43. The Other Side of the Wind
44. Searching
45. Calibre
46. A Simple Favor
47. The Hate U Give
48. Unsane
49. Disobedience
50. Destroyer
51. Boy Erased
52. Bumblebee
53. Mary Poppins Returns
54. Creed II
55. Hold the Dark
56. The Land of Steady Habits
57. Halloween
58. The 12th Man
59. Upgrade
60. The Wife
61. Chappaquiddick
62. What They Had
63. Ant-Man and the Wasp
64. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
65. Blockers
66. Beirut
67. Black '47
68. Roxanne Roxanne
69. Solo: A Star Wars Story
70. Tully
71. Mary Queen of Scots
72. Aquaman
73. Ideal Home
74. Outlaw King
75. Overlord
76. Ready Player One
77. Ben Is Back
78. Monsters and Men
79. Colette
80. The Mule
81. On the Basis of Sex
82. Bohemian Rhapsody
83. White Boy Rick
84. Papillon
85. Gemini
86. Game Night
87. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
88. Ocean's Eight
89. Alpha
90. Come Sunday
91. Borg vs. McEnroe
92. Instant Family
93. The Front Runner
94. The Predator
95. Apostle
96. The Oath
97. Uncle Drew
98. The Cured
99. The Commuter
100. The Angel
101. Tag
102. Beautiful Boy
103. The Nun
104. Operation Finale
105. The Equalizer 2
106. The Spy Who Dumped Me
107. Cargo
108. Yardie
109. Boundaries
110. Bird Box
111. 12 Strong
112. Venom
113. Skyscraper
114. The Meg
115. Assassination Nation
116. Never Goin' Back
117. Adrift
118. Crazy Rich Asians
119. Backstabbing for Beginners
120. The Girl in the Spider's Web
121. Gringo
122. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
123. 22 July
124. Tomb Raider
125. Rampage
126. Hotel Artemis
127. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
128. The Little Stranger
129. 7 Days in Entebbe
130. Night School
131. The 15:17 To Paris
132. Den of Thieves
133. The Catcher Was a Spy
134. Peppermint
135. Mile 22
136. The First Purge
137. Hunter Killer
138. The Hurricane Heist
139. The Cloverfield Paradox
140. Breaking In
141. Slice
142. Extinction
143. Hot Summer Nights
144. Welcome to Marwen
145. Second Act
146. How It Ends
147. Mute
148. Kin
149. Hell Fest
150. Action Point
151. Proud Mary
152. Robin Hood
153. Traffik
154. Tau
155. Winchester
156. Woman Walks Ahead
157. The Happytime Murders
158. The Outsider
159. Life Itself
160. Slender Man
161. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


The Wedding Guest (2019), directed by Michael Winterbottom

Reason for Watching: The reason for this one is simple. Saw the preview when watching another movie last year. Thought it was interesting. Movie never came to my theater. The thing I found odd was that this was previewed during a showing of Hotel Mumbai. The thing with this, as with Hotel Mumbai, these two movies seem to largely feature, uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh brown guys doing things that people are often stereotyped for doing in movies. Hopefully in this case I'm wrong.

When it comes to The Wedding Guest, let's say that I was sort of wrong. Only sort of. Jay (Dev Patel) is a South Asian man of unmentioned origin who lives in Britain, it seems that he has been raised there if not born there. Jay is headed to Pakistan for a wedding, but his route there is a very questionable one, I can tell you that. Once he flies from London to Lahore, he goes to rent a car. Jay does not speak the local language, but fortunately the attendant does. He says that he'll return the car in two weeks. When he packed his luggage, he brought multiple passports and hid them underneath his clothes. With this car, he drives to the areas of Pakistan you may know as those popluated by tribal peoples. Many of those tribes were part of the Afghan War, as you know. Jay arrives at a gun store, where he purchases two. As you might follow, this point is when things started to get really weird. After this, he heads to Faisalabad, where he drops off the first car. He then goes to rent another. You see how weird this is?

I have to admit that I don't really remember what the preview for this movie entailed until I watched it just a bit ago, I just remember thinking it was interesting. After Jay rented that second car, he pulls up to a small village where it appears someone is to be married. At the wedding party, he says that he's a friend of the bride's brother, and he spends a lot of time looking around the area. He's also pulled his car off to a secluded area and placed some baggage in the back seat. This is when I started to get clued in a little bit. Later at night, Jay goes up to a guard and bums a light off him, then waits a little while until the guard is asleep. Then, it's time to do some kidnapping. He heads into the house and remains quiet, eventually coming across the bride, Samira (Radhika Apte). You see why I said this was why I was wrong to some extent? A guard sees Samira being kidnapped and tries to intervene, but that's not going to help. As I've already said, Jay only speaks English. His attempts to get through to the guard don't work, and he has to shoot the guard twice. After this, he makes his escape easily, even though people know the guard's been murdered. The thing is, Samira knows why she's been kidnapped. She's been wanting to be kidnapped. Her Indian boyfriend Deepesh (Jim Sarbh) appears to have paid for this to happen, and they are to meet him in India. Thing is, this guy Deepesh, he's really unreliable and can't be gotten a hold of.

Unfortunately, despite the start that showed so much promise in being a unique take on kidnappings, this isn't the strong feature that I was hoping for. This certainly is a unique take, though. Someone is being kidnapped willingly because they don't want to be part of an arranged marriage. Don't see movies like that one every day. Of course, Jay has to dress like a terrorist in order to do it, and you see why I said this is sort of the kind of stereotypical movie I have problems with. Didn't really turn out that way though. There are actually very few movies set in India and Pakistan where the people in those countries are treated as being normal human beings. To that degree there isn't any of the 'foreign country filter' effect going on here. The Wedding Guest is also the rare case of a film shot both in India and Pakistan. It's a good thing that I didn't remember the preview as well. It gives away almost the whole fucking film, which is inexcusable. It's 2020. The audience doesn't want that and studios have certainly received enough complaints at this point. Stop it.

I wanted to like this movie a lot more than I actually did, but the ending of The Wedding Guest is extremely frustrating. It's abrupt, comes out of nowhere, and doesn't give me the kind of closure a film should give. In addition, the film largely revolved around two people who I feel like I knew absolutely nothing about at the end of the movie. Their backstories aren't filled in, even though there's good reason for them not to be filled in. For me, this is a problem. The scenes with the shady characters they were referred to were pretty interesting, and I wanted to know what would happen with Samira and Deepesh, but that bit gets solved way earlier than I'd thought. Ultimately, because the characters were closed off to each other, they were closed off on the screen as well, so it is hard to relate to them. A movie about two people can't have those kinds of problems unless there are really bombastic events throughout the movie. Considering this wasn't a large budget film, and considering there was only the one event after the kidnapping, you can probably guess what I think about that issue.

5.5/10

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. 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. American Woman
56. Hobbs & Shaw
57. Official Secrets
58. Always Be My Maybe
59. Cold Pursuit
60. The Laundromat
61. Where'd You Go, Bernadette
62. Shaft
63. Happy Death Day 2U
64. Ma
65. Terminator: Dark Fate
66. Greta
67. Annabelle Comes Home
68. Jumanji: The Next Level
69. Aladdin
70. Triple Frontier
71. Fighting with My Family
72. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
73. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
74. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
75. Brexit
76. The Dirt
77. Velvet Buzzsaw
78. Stuber
79. Little
80. Alita: Battle Angel
81. The Good Liar
82. The Current War: Director's Cut
83. The Kid
84. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
85. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
86. Good Boys
87. The Upside
88. The Lion King
89. Dumbo
90. The Hummingbird Project
91. Escape Room
92. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
93. The Wedding Guest
94. Brian Banks
95. Tolkien
96. The Dead Don't Die
97. Captive State
98. The Highwaymen
99. Bombshell
100. Pet Sematary
101. The Intruder
102. Child's Play
103. 21 Bridges
104. Gemini Man
105. Brightburn
106. Never Grow Old
107. Rambo: Last Blood
108. Trial by Fire
109. Midway
110. Angel Has Fallen
111. Black and Blue
112. Yesterday
113. Anna
114. What Men Want
115. Them That Follow
116. Unicorn Store
117. The Curse of La Llorona
118. Miss Bala
119. Men in Black: International
120. The Red Sea Diving Resort
121. The Perfection
122. Hellboy
123. Glass
124. Dark Phoenix
125. Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral
126. The Kitchen
127. The Hustle
128. The Best of Enemies
129. The Prodigy
130. Polar
131. Serenity
 

909

909
Staff member


Lucky (2017), directed by John Carroll Lynch

Reason for Watching: I am almost done with 2017, except for some franchise shit. I mean, really almost. This movie was highly touted but did not see a wide release at the time, and I only just got Hulu a few months ago. I find this movie interesting in that it's the rare case of a film focusing on a 90 year old.

If you really liked Lucky, be warned. I don't think I did. Lucky is the story of Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton), a 90 year old man in seemingly great health even though he smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. The film begins when Lucky wakes up, smokes one of those cigarettes, and follows that by doing yoga for a while. Lucky lives alone in the desert, never having married or had children, and possibly never having loved someone either. We're given a glimpse into a life of a very old man here, and I found this to be the most poignant section of the movie. In his fridge, he has gallons of milk and nothing else, because he doesn't need it. Lucky only has a few sets of clothes as well. Who needs them? I can't really imagine living like this, but at some point I know it's coming for me too. It happens to everyone.

After this morning routine, Lucky heads to a diner, which he seemingly does every day. While there, he works on his crossword puzzle from the newspaper, he has some coffee, and bullshits with the owner, Joe (Barry Shabaka Henley). After that, he goes to a corner store where he buys another carton of milk and some cigarettes. Also, consistently throughout this routine, people are telling Lucky that he should quit smoking. The owner of the corner store is throwing a party for her son and wants Lucky to come, which is an interesting addition to his daily. He thinks he'll go. That night, after watching some shows in his underwear, he goes to a bar and has some Bloody Marys. To each his own, but those things are fucking disgusting. While he's sitting there, his friend Howard (David Lynch) complains about his tortoise having escaped. Complain is probably not the right word, though. He's depressed. That's all he had. The next morning, Lucky has a fall, and afterwards his outlook on life becomes quite bleak. Maybe it always was. Maybe it wasn't.

Did I already say that Bloody Marys are fucking vile shit? I think I did. Some of the shit that people put in them is beyond the pale. I don't care if anyone here likes them either, I'm sure you guys think I like nasty shit myself, and that's fine. As it relates to the film, I'm definitely in the extreme minority here. It's not that I think Lucky is a bad movie as much as I think it's one I don't relate to at all. It's made by someone who clearly loved their lead actor, and the film caters to fans of said actor. Thing is, I haven't seen that many of Harry Dean Stanton's movies, but even if I did, this movie meanders too much for my tastes. There is poignancy in some of the events, but at my age, this movie ruminates on a lot of things I'm not particularly concerned about. I am concerned with living and making the most of things. I don't know what's at the end of life, and I don't think I really care that much either. Maybe it's a big nothing. That's why there's more and more reason to do things with your time that make you feel alive. Maybe that's what the movie is telling me.

Another thing is that at Harry Dean Stanton's age, I don't find death to be such a sad thing. It's a milestone to have made it that long without something bad happening to you, so I identify much more with the doctor character in this movie. Now, all that being said. While dying at 90 years old isn't such a bad thing, perhaps dying in this manner with nothing to show for it is the real problem. Am I going to do that? I sure fucking hope not. Also, let me just say this. A movie where I'm so fixated on one aspect of it, and not particularly in a bad way, it can't be all that bad.

6.5/10

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 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. In the Fade
34. A Ghost Story
35. Detroit
36. Gook
37. Last Flag Flying
38. Hostiles
39. Colossal
40. All the Money in the World
41. Molly's Game
42. Darkest Hour
43. Spider-Man: Homecoming
44. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
45. Sweet Virginia
46. It
47. Battle of the Sexes
48. Stronger
49. Brad's Status
50. Okja
51. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
52. Kong: Skull Island
53. It Comes at Night
54. Happy End (foreign movie, did not write review)
55. Crown Heights
56. Split
57. 1922
58. Personal Shopper
59. Landline
60. Thank You for Your Service
61. Beatriz at Dinner
62. Chuck
63. Atomic Blonde
64. Shot Caller
65. Wheelman
66. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
67. Wonder
68. Brigsby Bear
69. The Lego Batman Movie
70. Megan Leavey
71. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
72. Wonderstruck
73. Only the Brave
74. Marshall
75. Menashe
76. Roman J. Israel, Esq.
77. Lucky
78. Walking Out
79. American Made
80. Annabelle: Creation
81. Beauty and the Beast
82. Imperial Dreams
83. Gifted
84. Murder on the Orient Express
85. My Friend Dahmer
86. The Zookeeper's Wife
87. The Glass Castle
88. The Foreigner
89. Free Fire
90. Win It All
91. The Wall
92. The Hero
93. Jungle
94. Life
95. My Cousin Rachel
96. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
97. The Ballad of Lefty Brown
98. The Fate of the Furious
99. Happy Death Day
100. Breathe
101. The Man Who Invented Christmas
102. Maudie
103. Patti Cake$
104. Sleight
105. Alone in Berlin
106. A United Kingdom
107. Trespass Against Us
108. The Mountain Between Us
109. War Machine
110. Lowriders
111. Justice League
112. To the Bone
113. Ghost in the Shell
114. Wakefield
115. Downsizing
116. Bright
117. Bushwick
118. The Tribes of Palos Verdes
119. What Happened to Monday
120. The Hitman's Bodyguard
121. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
122. XXX: Return of Xander Cage
123. The Mummy
124. The Greatest Showman
125. Rough Night
126. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
127. Sand Castle
128. The Circle
129. American Assassin
130. CHiPs
131. Death Note
132. 47 Meters Down
133. The Belko Experiment
134. The Great Wall
135. The Bad Batch
136. Fist Fight
137. Baywatch
138. Snatched
139. Suburbicon
140. Wilson
141. The Dark Tower
142. Queen of the Desert
143. The House
144. Flatliners
145. Sleepless
146. Geostorm
147. All Eyez on Me
148. The Snowman
149. The Book of Henry
150. The Space Between Us
151. Daddy's Home 2
 

909

909
Staff member


Dolemite Is My Name (2019), directed by Craig Brewer

Reason for Watching: I waited much too long to watch this, as well as some other movies. This is supposed to be Eddie Murphy's big return and I waited nearly a year. In fairness, I've had a lot of bad stuff happen to me in that time. I would also say that this movie was much too long in coming. There aren't enough period pieces about the right things.

When I'm talking about the right things, I'm of course talking about what makes people laugh. There are such a limited amount of period pieces focused on comedy, and I feel like everyone's really wanting that kind of thing. Of course, this film is set in 1970s Los Angeles. Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) works at a record store, trying to get his stuff played anywhere, including in the radio station operated at the store. Nobody wants to play his shit. At said store, he works with Theodore Toney (Tituss Burgess), a guy who comes to follow him throughout the whole film. Rudy also works at a club as an MC, for a band headed by his friend Ben Taylor (Craig Robinson). Rudy would like to have time to do his comedy, but the guy who owns the club just doesn't want to hear that shit either. See the theme here? One day, a homeless guy named Ricco (Ron Cephas Jones) heads into the record store. Nobody wants him there, but the thing is, the guy is appealing in a different kind of way. He's a street poet of sorts, everything he says rhymes, and he talks a lot about some guy named Dolemite. Through this, Rudy gets the idea to create his own character, also called Dolemite.

In order to do that, because Rudy's jokes aren't all that good, he has to bribe some homeless guys to tell stories while he records them. His friends I already mentioned, as well as Jimmy (Mike Epps), think this idea is some bullshit. Rudy has some ideas beyond just the recordings though. His best one is to dress up like a pimp, and go against what the club owner had told him. In doing his act when he wasn't supposed to, it turns out that Rudy has come up with something to finally change his boring life. He needs money to record a record, though. One record turns into another, and another, and another. After this, he heads out on tour throughout the South, and decides that he needs a sidekick for his act. Enter Lady Reed (Da'Vine Joy Randolph). Rudy saw her in the process of breaking up with her man earlier that night, and it turns out that Dolemite really did need a sidekick after all. She subsequently joins his tour and heads to Los Angeles after it. When Rudy returns, the long and short of it is, he really wants Dolemite to have a movie. He has some money now, and he's going to go for it.

I can't really speak to the veracity of this movie, and I don't think it's the point for it to be entirely accurate to begin with. Capturing the time, and capturing Rudy Ray Moore, is what this movie is all about. Literally immediately I knew I would like this movie. No exaggeration here. Eddie Murphy is someone who is greatly missed in the context of making great movies. I can't believe how many bad movies he's made, and in the process he's ruined his career while we've lost something by not seeing him make great work. It's always a bummer when this kind of thing happens. Anyone who says they didn't miss watching him, is kind of full of shit in my opinion. There's something to really be proud of in his performance here. He's capable of making people remember why they enjoyed watching his comedy so much. Wesley Snipes is great here too, in a far more comedic role than usual. He's another one in the Eddie Murphy category. I laughed constantly at his lines without exception.

You know when people talk about the American Dream, the events of this movie are what that's supposed to mean. This isn't an exceptional country of any sort, I'm only saying in the context of those hopes. I wish there was some kind of way to bottle up the energy of this film and transport it to other, similar projects. The film isn't perfect, but it's a really strong and good effort. I especially liked how this was a better version of The Disaster Artist. That's quite hard to pull off, too. It had seemed to me to be impossible to do so. It's not a lot better, but it's just better enough and hits all the right notes. This isn't the only comedic period piece that we need, though. Richard Pryor deserves one more than just about anyone else on the entire planet. There are a lot of ways in which this movie could have been fucked up really badly, like for example Eddie Murphy playing more than one character, but everything here lands in some kind of way for me. This isn't a deep dive into the anguish that someone would feel when they fail over and over again, Eddie Murphy's energy is relied upon to push Dolemite Is My Name more and more, and it just works.

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

King Kamala

Integral Poster
I'm a huge, huge fan of both Rudy Ray Moore and Eddie Murphy and I definitely enjoyed the movie. I felt though that somewhat miscast as Rudy Ray Moore. I think part may have been more accurately played by someone who is more manic/unpredictable like Martin Lawrence or Tracy Morgan. Eddie is too cool and poised to be super believable as a lovable weirdo underdog (despite his career downturn over past two decades). Although the other actors I mentioned probably wouldn't be able to pull off the dramatic scenes nearly as well as Eddie.

I think Wesley Snipes and Da'Vine Joy Randolph had best performances of the movie. I forgot how great Snipes is at comedy.
 

909

909
Staff member
Hungarian, subtitles



On Body and Soul (2017), directed by Ildiko Enyedi

Reason for Watching: On Body and Soul was nominated for an Oscar, which means I do have to watch the film. However, this is not a film I'm looking forward to very much. I've heard there's some really gruesome material in this film. Fast Food Nation had the same, and the end of that feature was very difficult to watch for the same reason. Bear in mind that I also have a personal rule where I'm not allowed to skip a scene for any reason.

So, now that I talked about gruesome scenes, I should talk about the film itself. Endre (Geza Morcsanyi) is a CFO at a slaughterhouse, and it is hinted at that he is the owner as well. Such a job comes with burdens, but the characters in this film don't have depth where we learn a lot about their past. What we do know is that Endre has a crippled left arm that is incapable of doing basically anything. The film begins with some scenes of cows getting killed, and we subsequently meet the new quality inspector at this abattoir, Maria (Alexandra Borbely). It turns out that Endre and Maria are tied together through a recurring dream they have. It doesn't take a genius to figure this out even though the film doesn't initally come out with the obvious. The two are not aware they share this dream with each other. Endre has some friends at work, the HR manager Jeno and his wife. Maria, however, does not have such friends. Not just because she's starting a new job either. The simple way of putting it is that Maria is on the spectrum. Her behavior is strange and offputting to the other people who work at the slaughterhouse, which is slap in the middle of Budapest.

Some specific examples of her strange behavior are as follows. Maria is entirely unapproachable and not socially skilled in the least. Everyone who talks to her gets a brusque answer. She doesn't like to be touched. Worst of all, as a quality inspector, she consistently gives the meat a less than exemplary grade. When confronted by Endre, she says exactly why, and he just has to deal with that. Endre tries to befriend her, but this doesn't work and she makes a fucked up comment about his arm. The thing is, then the film takes us to Maria's house, where she repeats the conversation at her coffee table and realizes where she messed up. Against Endre's wishes, a new butcher is hired the next day. Endre thinks that Sanyi (Ervin Nagy) will have a breakdown at some point because he feels nothing for the animals he'll be killing. Soon after this, the abattoir is put under investigation because mating powder is stolen from it. Endre has his own suspicions, but they must hire a psychologist to perform yearly mental evaluations. During these, it turns out that Endre and Maria have told the psychologist they have the same dream. The psychologist thinks they're fucking with her. What will they do when they learn about each other's dreams?

That was probably a bad summarization, but On Body and Soul is not a normal film. All the scenes sound disconnected when relaying them in this format, but they weren't disconnected as they played out. There's a lot of reasons why someone would take a job at a slaughterhouse, and there's a lot of reasons why someone would be damaged after having worked there for such a long time. These slaughterhouse scenes were even worse than I thought they would be. What's fucked is that I had already seen scenes to this extent a long time ago and they didn't bother me. Now they do. It's hard to steel one's self for scenes of animals being slaughtered because deep down, I know it's wrong to eat meat and I think almost everyone feels that way too. The problem is that it's impossible to stop eating meat because almost all the food I like has meat in it. I know for a fact I can't do it yet. Mass produced, affordable artificial meat needs to arrive soon, and an end can be put to this practice. There will still be some cunts who eat meat anyway, but it's a cuntish thing and I've come to that realization over a period of time. Of course, even though On Body and Soul isn't about the meat industry, when you see scenes like the ones in this movie, you either can't stop thinking about them or you skip them because it offends you to watch that while you have a McDonald's bag in the trash.

Alright, as for what the film is about, I don't think this is a great movie and I'm surprised this was nominated for an Academy Award. This is merely a good film. The movie doesn't hit as hard as it probably should because the character of Maria is too far gone to be realistic. There came a point where Maria was on screen more and more, and because she was on screen more frequently, I got frustrated with the lack of forward movement in the story. That's the thing about movies from some countries, you know. It's a cultural thing. In a lot of the movies I've watched that were from countries in Eastern Europe, there's a distinct lack of forward movement in the plot. Instead, the themes in these movies are more prevalent, and directors are heavily intent on getting the viewer to understand the time and place in which these things occur. That is why there are awards presented in this country for foreign films. Effectively that is our window to the rest of the world, and these are the movies that are lucky enough to get even the most minor of distribution deals. Unfortunately, the difference between a good film and a great one in this case, is that we have no context in how Maria came to be this way. We know how she is now, and how she is developing in order to become a better person, but I don't know enough. The plot that is here, is good though.

7/10

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. In the Fade
34. A Ghost Story
35. Detroit
36. Gook
37. Last Flag Flying
38. Hostiles
39. Colossal
40. All the Money in the World
41. Molly's Game
42. Darkest Hour
43. Spider-Man: Homecoming
44. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
45. Sweet Virginia
46. It
47. Battle of the Sexes
48. Stronger
49. Brad's Status
50. Okja
51. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
52. Kong: Skull Island
53. It Comes at Night
54. Happy End (foreign movie, did not write review)
55. Crown Heights
56. Split
57. 1922
58. Personal Shopper
59. On Body and Soul
60. Landline
61. Thank You for Your Service
62. Beatriz at Dinner
63. Chuck
64. Atomic Blonde
65. Shot Caller
66. Wheelman
67. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
68. Wonder
69. Brigsby Bear
70. The Lego Batman Movie
71. Megan Leavey
72. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
73. Wonderstruck
74. Only the Brave
75. Marshall
76. Menashe
77. Roman J. Israel, Esq.
78. Lucky
79. Walking Out
80. American Made
81. Annabelle: Creation
82. Beauty and the Beast
83. Imperial Dreams
84. Gifted
85. Murder on the Orient Express
86. My Friend Dahmer
87. The Zookeeper's Wife
88. The Glass Castle
89. The Foreigner
90. Free Fire
91. Win It All
92. The Wall
93. The Hero
94. Jungle
95. Life
96. My Cousin Rachel
97. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
98. The Ballad of Lefty Brown
99. The Fate of the Furious
100. Happy Death Day
101. Breathe
102. The Man Who Invented Christmas
103. Maudie
104. Patti Cake$
105. Sleight
106. Alone in Berlin
107. A United Kingdom
108. Trespass Against Us
109. The Mountain Between Us
110. War Machine
111. Lowriders
112. Justice League
113. To the Bone
114. Ghost in the Shell
115. Wakefield
116. Downsizing
117. Bright
118. Bushwick
119. The Tribes of Palos Verdes
120. What Happened to Monday
121. The Hitman's Bodyguard
122. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
123. XXX: Return of Xander Cage
124. The Mummy
125. The Greatest Showman
126. Rough Night
127. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
128. Sand Castle
129. The Circle
130. American Assassin
131. CHiPs
132. Death Note
133. 47 Meters Down
134. The Belko Experiment
135. The Great Wall
136. The Bad Batch
137. Fist Fight
138. Baywatch
139. Snatched
140. Suburbicon
141. Wilson
142. The Dark Tower
143. Queen of the Desert
144. The House
145. Flatliners
146. Sleepless
147. Geostorm
148. All Eyez on Me
149. The Snowman
150. The Book of Henry
151. The Space Between Us
152. Daddy's Home 2
 

909

909
Staff member


A Prayer Before Dawn (2018), directed by Jean-Stephane Sauvaire

Reason for Watching: If you know anything about me and what I like, you don't need to ask this question at all. If you don't, this is about a guy in prison who fights other prisoners. Say no more.

In fact, I should say more because the movie is about way more than that. Its been a while since I watched a film this tense. A Prayer Before Dawn is the story of Billy Moore (Joe Cole), a young British boxer who has moved to Thailand and become addicted to heroin. After a fight, he beat up a referee who had been rough with his chief second. The next day, Billy is raided by Thai police, where they find his drugs, some stolen goods, and a pistol. All of those are things one is not allowed to have in Thailand. Billy is subsequently hauled off and taken to prison in Bangkok, one of the worst things that can happen to a person in this world. There are tons of stories about Thai prisons, and A Prayer Before Dawn is a film that gladly plays off those stories in order to make a good movie out of it. The thing is, Billy Moore is a real guy who did this shit, a real guy who wound up in prison over there for being a fucking idiot. Could you imagine? You can't read the language. Can't understand the language. Then, you're thrown in prison with guys who have tattoos all over their faces. Of course, the accuracy of this story can only be filmed in one way. It must be done in a real prison.

Upon arrival, Billy is met with the lay of the land. He's a heroin addict, and it takes some things in order to get that. Lots of promises one may or may not be able to actually fulfill. In prison, he is thrown into a mass cell ruled by a man named Keng, but before that, he's forced to sleep in an intake area of sorts. In that area, he sleeps next to a corpse. After getting into Keng's cell, there are some other problems. Like, for example, when the first group of prisoners is initiated into this gang. Have you ever seen a movie where some guy gets thrown in a jail cell, gets ass raped the same night, and hangs himself the next morning? Well, these criminals made Billy watch that shit at knifepoint, probably to send a message that he better not do some shit against them. After this, Billy goes to where the prisoners receive medicine for whatever their problems are, and has a complete meltdown when he doesn't get pain pills. He bites a guard on the neck and is thrown into solitary, after which he becomes even more of a heroin addict. What is the man to do? Well, you should watch the movie.

A Prayer Before Dawn isn't an easy movie to watch by any standard. This movie takes you all the way into what it would be like to live this life. The camera shots are close and filled with intensity. The story is impossible to figure out and ends in a way I definitely was not expecting. It's possible for everyone to wind up in prison at some point, but it's not possible for everyone who winds up in this prison to make their way through it and remain alive. This movie feels extremely authentic in large part due to the decision to actually film in a Thai prison. There's no other way to do a movie like this one. The people in this movie are largely not given names, and it's your job to remember their faces or their tattoos so you can see how their behavior works from scene to scene. I thought this movie would be more about Muay Thai than it actually was, but in a lot of ways I'm glad it wasn't more about Muay Thai. The first half of the film is absolutely essential in order to understand what it is about Billy that makes him this way, and what about this prison would make someone do the things that he does in there.

Of course, in order to have a movie that is so centered one person, that actor's performance needs to be really good. When I first saw the cast list, I was wondering if Joe Cole had quit soccer to become an actor, but it's another Joe Cole that makes the movie what it is. This is not a film for the faint of heart, to say the least. The reason why I'm going to give this an 8 and not a 9, is because the parts of the film about Muay Thai simply aren't as good as the rest of the story. This can't have been an easy movie to make, but they go all the way with it. Does Billy fall in love with a transgendered female? Yes, he does. So, like I said, the movie really goes all the way into the story and setting to make something strong and affecting.

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. Wildlife
18. Stan & Ollie
19. Green Book
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
21. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
22. A Prayer Before Dawn
23. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
24. Annihilation
25. Private Life
26. Cold War
27. Climax
28. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
29. Mid90s
30. Lean on Pete
31. On My Skin
32. Eighth Grade
33. Sorry to Bother You
34. Suspiria
35. At Eternity's Gate
36. The Death of Stalin
37. A Quiet Place
38. Vice
39. The Old Man & the Gun
40. The Night Comes for Us
41. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
42. Vox Lux
43. Bad Times at the El Royale
44. The Other Side of the Wind
45. Searching
46. Calibre
47. A Simple Favor
48. The Hate U Give
49. Unsane
50. Disobedience
51. Destroyer
52. Boy Erased
53. Bumblebee
54. Mary Poppins Returns
55. Creed II
56. Hold the Dark
57. The Land of Steady Habits
58. Halloween
59. The 12th Man
60. Upgrade
61. The Wife
62. Chappaquiddick
63. What They Had
64. Ant-Man and the Wasp
65. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
66. Blockers
67. Beirut
68. Black '47
69. Roxanne Roxanne
70. Solo: A Star Wars Story
71. Tully
72. Mary Queen of Scots
73. Aquaman
74. Ideal Home
75. Outlaw King
76. Overlord
77. Ready Player One
78. Ben Is Back
79. Monsters and Men
80. Colette
81. The Mule
82. On the Basis of Sex
83. Bohemian Rhapsody
84. White Boy Rick
85. Papillon
86. Gemini
87. Game Night
88. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
89. Ocean's Eight
90. Alpha
91. Come Sunday
92. Borg vs. McEnroe
93. Instant Family
94. The Front Runner
95. The Predator
96. Apostle
97. The Oath
98. Uncle Drew
99. The Cured
100. The Commuter
101. The Angel
102. Tag
103. Beautiful Boy
104. The Nun
105. Operation Finale
106. The Equalizer 2
107. The Spy Who Dumped Me
108. Cargo
109. Yardie
110. Boundaries
111. Bird Box
112. 12 Strong
113. Venom
114. Skyscraper
115. The Meg
116. Assassination Nation
117. Never Goin' Back
118. Adrift
119. Crazy Rich Asians
120. Backstabbing for Beginners
121. The Girl in the Spider's Web
122. Gringo
123. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
124. 22 July
125. Tomb Raider
126. Rampage
127. Hotel Artemis
128. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
129. The Little Stranger
130. 7 Days in Entebbe
131. Night School
132. The 15:17 To Paris
133. Den of Thieves
134. The Catcher Was a Spy
135. Peppermint
136. Mile 22
137. The First Purge
138. Hunter Killer
139. The Hurricane Heist
140. The Cloverfield Paradox
141. Breaking In
142. Slice
143. Extinction
144. Hot Summer Nights
145. Welcome to Marwen
146. Second Act
147. How It Ends
148. Mute
149. Kin
150. Hell Fest
151. Action Point
152. Proud Mary
153. Robin Hood
154. Traffik
155. Tau
156. Winchester
157. Woman Walks Ahead
158. The Happytime Murders
159. The Outsider
160. Life Itself
161. Slender Man
162. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


The Endless (2018), directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

Reason for Watching: I just finished The X-Files. This is a movie about a UFO cult. Come on now. Clearly I've not quite had enough of that show. I also decided that I have to go through some of these extremely small budget indie movies that got good reviews.

The Endless is a movie about Justin (Justin Benson) and Aaron (Aaron Moorhead) are brothers who have escaped from a cult when they were much younger. The cult is called Camp Arcadia, and the two brothers became a part of that group after their mother had a deadly car accident near the cult. Aaron and Justin also have radically different experiences of their life as part of a cult. Aaron believes that the cult was more like a commune, where people were happy and nobody had to do any weird shit. Justin, however, remembers that Camp Arcadia was a UFO death cult. I did not entirely realize that this was going to be a movie about a group like Heaven's Gate. Didn't know it was supposed to be a DEATH CULT. Or was it? The Endless begins with the brothers having been sent a video by one of the members, Anna (Callie Hernandez). Anna says that they are near the end of their line, whatever that means. This feeds into Justin's perception of the group.

The main problem is that Aaron and Justin have had pretty shitty lives since leaving the cult. They work as cleaners, they do the same shit every day, they share a car they can't pay for, and they have terrible luck with women and in normal social situations they flounder. That is part of having been engaged in a lifestyle different to the rest of the world. Because their lives have been so shit, Aaron is able to convince Justin to return for just one day. The drive to Camp Arcadia is long, and when the two arrive they see that things are pretty much the exact same as when they left. The members have not aged. Anna is there, but she seems to give away nothing in terms of leading on that she sent them a video. She's interested in Aaron, though. Justin, on the other hand, is far more cautious. Hal (Tate Ellington) isn't the leader of this cult, but he talks much more than anyone else and Justin seems at least a bit comfortable talking to him. There's one looming question hanging over the film above all else. Will Aaron decide that he doesn't want to go back to the regular world?

There's far more than just that one question, but it is seemingly the most important of them. The Endless is a movie that is basically exactly what I wanted it to be. The cult aspect isn't as overboard as I was thinking it was going to be, and because of how different it was, I was prevented from comparing this film to Midsommar. Midsommar is a better film about a cult, but The Endless presents a lot of questions about the fantastical ideas the filmmakers had. The best way I can describe this is that it feels like a really good episode of The Twilight Zone. There's some obvious moral questions here as well. Is it wrong to want to live an easier lifestyle that reminds you of when you were a kid, in lieu of working a shitty job? What if there was a way to do that forever? The little scenarios presented in this movie are uniquely interesting in their own way. The Endless doesn't really pick up until after the hour mark, but once it does, it more than picks up. Is there a monster? That's something that doesn't really get answered.

I like when I see movies that don't answer questions of the universe, and instead throw out more questions that provoke thought. This movie isn't perfect or some shit, but the twists and turns in it land pretty hard. I didn't expect basically any of the things that I saw. Some of the special effects aren't so great, and you do notice that they aren't great, but that doesn't matter. At the end, I found myself still full of questions. I also found that I did not think this was a horror movie. Absolutely nothing in it was remotely scary, but the science-fiction concept here really resonates for whatever reason. I also appreciated that this wasn't truly a movie about Heaven's Gate. That kind of shit could get grating quickly.

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. Wildlife
18. Stan & Ollie
19. Green Book
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
21. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
22. A Prayer Before Dawn
23. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
24. Annihilation
25. Private Life
26. Cold War
27. Climax
28. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
29. Mid90s
30. Lean on Pete
31. On My Skin
32. Eighth Grade
33. Sorry to Bother You
34. Suspiria
35. The Endless
36. At Eternity's Gate
37. The Death of Stalin
38. A Quiet Place
39. Vice
40. The Old Man & the Gun
41. The Night Comes for Us
42. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
43. Vox Lux
44. Bad Times at the El Royale
45. The Other Side of the Wind
46. Searching
47. Calibre
48. A Simple Favor
49. The Hate U Give
50. Unsane
51. Disobedience
52. Destroyer
53. Boy Erased
54. Bumblebee
55. Mary Poppins Returns
56. Creed II
57. Hold the Dark
58. The Land of Steady Habits
59. Halloween
60. The 12th Man
61. Upgrade
62. The Wife
63. Chappaquiddick
64. What They Had
65. Ant-Man and the Wasp
66. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
67. Blockers
68. Beirut
69. Black '47
70. Roxanne Roxanne
71. Solo: A Star Wars Story
72. Tully
73. Mary Queen of Scots
74. Aquaman
75. Ideal Home
76. Outlaw King
77. Overlord
78. Ready Player One
79. Ben Is Back
80. Monsters and Men
81. Colette
82. The Mule
83. On the Basis of Sex
84. Bohemian Rhapsody
85. White Boy Rick
86. Papillon
87. Gemini
88. Game Night
89. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
90. Ocean's Eight
91. Alpha
92. Come Sunday
93. Borg vs. McEnroe
94. Instant Family
95. The Front Runner
96. The Predator
97. Apostle
98. The Oath
99. Uncle Drew
100. The Cured
101. The Commuter
102. The Angel
103. Tag
104. Beautiful Boy
105. The Nun
106. Operation Finale
107. The Equalizer 2
108. The Spy Who Dumped Me
109. Cargo
110. Yardie
111. Boundaries
112. Bird Box
113. 12 Strong
114. Venom
115. Skyscraper
116. The Meg
117. Assassination Nation
118. Never Goin' Back
119. Adrift
120. Crazy Rich Asians
121. Backstabbing for Beginners
122. The Girl in the Spider's Web
123. Gringo
124. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
125. 22 July
126. Tomb Raider
127. Rampage
128. Hotel Artemis
129. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
130. The Little Stranger
131. 7 Days in Entebbe
132. Night School
133. The 15:17 To Paris
134. Den of Thieves
135. The Catcher Was a Spy
136. Peppermint
137. Mile 22
138. The First Purge
139. Hunter Killer
140. The Hurricane Heist
141. The Cloverfield Paradox
142. Breaking In
143. Slice
144. Extinction
145. Hot Summer Nights
146. Welcome to Marwen
147. Second Act
148. How It Ends
149. Mute
150. Kin
151. Hell Fest
152. Action Point
153. Proud Mary
154. Robin Hood
155. Traffik
156. Tau
157. Winchester
158. Woman Walks Ahead
159. The Happytime Murders
160. The Outsider
161. Life Itself
162. Slender Man
163. Holmes & Watson
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
Hmm, I thought watching that movie without seeing their previous movie Resolution would make it hard to follow, but glad you liked it.
 

909

909
Staff member


Donnybrook (2019), directed by Tim Sutton

Reason for Watching: This movie sounds fucking stupid, but there's a UFC tomorrow and I need to hype myself up for it somehow. You can read the description below if you can't figure out what it's about. This has a pretty good cast though.

The description of Donnybrook that I saw was totally misleading. I'll describe it better. Earl (Jamie Bell) is a former soldier who lives with his drug addicted wife and two kids in a trailer park. At the very beginning of the film, Earl is shown robbing a gun store for reasons currently unbeknownst to the viewer. It doesn't take long to figure out why. The reason he's robbed the gun store is to get some money to enter the Donnybrook, a bare knuckle fight in a cage where many men enter and only one leaves, winning $100,000. Earl's life is really shitty, as I've already explained, and he wants to win this contest so that he can leave that life behind and get his wife some drug treatment. There are some issues, though. When Earl gets back home, he encounters Angus (Frank Grillo), an extremely violent drug dealer who was selling stuff to Earl's wife. Angus' sister Delia (Margaret Qualley) had tried to warn Earl not to go inside, but Earl does and takes the beating of a lifetime. It also turns out that Earl's wife owes Angus some money. After this fight, Earl leaves the trailer park and heads to a motel, where he can make plans for the Donnybrook. Angus and Delia, on the other hand, they leave to discover that their cook house has been on fire and is now destroyed. Angus does not respond to that so well. He kills the lone surviving cook, and now they're on the run as well.

I don't have a second description paragraph because this movie doesn't deserve one, nor is it so easy to provide one in this case. I eliminated a few characters, like a policeman, because their inclusion is utterly pointless. Donnybrook was going straight after the super gritty, hard-boiled feel. Not sure if I liked that or not when the film started. It turns out I did not. There's some appeal here in attempting to go straight towards a lower class story with genuinely fucked up people, but seeing someone get killed when they're busting a nut is too far for me. That's hardly the only thing in this movie that's a problem. There's very little context to anything in the movie, a lot of guess work for much too long. The filmmaker also admits to ripping off Malick and Scorsese, which is also much more easy to notice than it really should be. They just forgot that the film has to be good enough to support ripping off that material.

Donnybrook has an average Metascore but this is straight up a bad movie. Not completely dogshit, but you know, bad. I know I already complained and said that something was too far for me, but nothing was worse than the part where Angus kills Earl's son. That's so far beyond tasteless from my point of view. With that, I completely stopped caring about anything else that would happen in this movie, but there were plenty of things still to come. Angus kills his sister as well, choking her to death. We are subjected to watch this because who knows why. At some point, a villain in a story can become too heinous and that's the case here. The film also stops focusing on Earl for a decent sized portion of the third act in order for Angus to do these bad things, and this movie isn't all that long to begin with. There isn't the time in the film to do that. The Donnybrook isn't so bad, though. That's the only thing keeping me from saying this wasn't completely terrible. The fact someone decided to include a rendition of the national anthem prior to it really made me laugh. Unfortunately, this movie isn't very good and it's tasteless. I don't see the artistic merit in this movie that others do. Also, I just noticed that I skipped a lot of bad movies last year because I was so busy. That will probably be made up in some fashion.

4/10

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

909

909
Staff member


The Hole in the Ground (2019), directed by Lee Cronin

Reason for Watching: I got surprised with something and had to watch a movie that was much shorter than I'd planned. After all, I do want to watch two episodes of Oz tonight too. This appears to be another creepy kid horror movie. Is it though?

The answer is that it is, but this isn't some supernatural kind of shit where a kid can magically do things they shouldn't be able to do. The Hole in the Ground begins with Sarah (Seana Kerslake) and her son Chris (James Quinn Markey) leaving her husband and moving to a town in the Irish countryside. While driving there, she encounters an old woman in the road that she nearly runs over and kills. We later learn this woman is Noreen (Kati Outinen). Noreen stands in the road whispering about something, then she turns to look at Chris. How spooky, you might say? After they get to the house Sarah has rented, we are introduced to Chris and his personality. Chris is scared of spiders. Chris is a picky eater, and he doesn't like that his dad didn't come with them to live in the countryside. Obviously, there's a reason why. After Sarah catches the spider in a jar and releases it outside, Chris gets scared again and kills the spider, before running into the forest. When Sarah eventually catches up to Chris, she comes across a large sinkhole in the forest. Her son, for whatever reason, is standing behind her now.

It was clear something was up after that, because there's no way to hide that kind of plot development. So, instead of hiding it, we just move forward. Sarah has some friends, and they have a dinner party where we learn what happened to Noreen. Sarah's friend tells her that Noreen's son was in class with her when they both were kid. The friend says that one day Noreen ran into their classroom screaming, and had to be restrained by the principal and teachers. Afterwards, Noreen's son James was taken out of school. A few months later, he was then murdered by his own mother by her running him over. Do you see what's going on now? Eventually, Sarah has her own encounter with Noreen, who has been long released from prison at this point. This is Ireland after all. Noreen freaks out in the middle of the road, and she headbutts the car while saying that Chris is not...Chris. Something else happens after this that I'll leave in the air, but obviously Noreen is telling the truth.

I don't think this was a great movie or anything, but it scratched an itch. I've hardly watched any horror movies in the last few months, and while I do have some listed, actually watching them has been a different story. I appreciate that this wasn't a supernatural movie, and the kid attacking his mom was an unexpected touch. Did I think that the "kid" would completely beat her up at any point or try to kill her? Nope, I sure didn't. This was a neat little play on changelings, but I wouldn't say the film is anything more than that. It's a slightly above average time to spend watching a movie. The evil kid thing is massively played out too. I could go years without ever seeing another one of these evil kid movies get made. It would seem to me to be more original for a filmmaker to decide to have evil parents and a good kid at this point. Also, the sinkhole aspect of the film paid off in the way I wanted. To say this was a large sinkhole is an exaggeration. It was far more than that, and the sinkhole needed to have someone go inside of it so we could see what was down there. There sure was something down there.

I wasn't expecting a monster movie, but that's what we got and I feel satisfied enough by it.

6/10

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

909

909
Staff member
Italian, subtitles



Happy as Lazzaro (2018), directed by Alice Rohrwacher

Reason for Watching: Yep, I'm going to go through these foreign films that got high ratings from 2018 as well. Same for 2019 and eventually 2020. I think I'll also be caught up on shit by January and can start mixing in some other things.

Happy as Lazzaro is probably not the movie you thought this was, that is if you've heard of it before. You probably haven't. On an estate in an unmentioned year, there is a large group of people who work on a tobacco farm as sharecroppers. It seems they do not have technology or much of anything at all. I'm pretty sure this film is set in the 90s based on a few things that happen during this segment. The sharecropping agreement these people have is one where they are always in debt and never paid anything by the person who owns the land. Slave labor. The farm is run by Marchesa de Luna (Nicoletta Braschi), who has every intention of keeping things exactly how they are. She has a foreman, Nicola (Natalino Balasso), and he is tasked with ensuring things stay exactly as they are. He arrives on a motorcycle with an old truck that has some supplies, he takes the things that the sharecroppers have grown, and that's the status quo. They do not see any money, or for that matter anything of the outside world at all. At the start of the film, there is a young couple who would like to leave. They are persuaded not to do so.

I have not yet talked about Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo), but I'm not quite to that point yet. On the day of Nicola's arrival, he was preparing things for a visit from the Marchesa, as well as her son Tancredi (Luca Chikovani). Tancredi, it turns out, has a cell phone. So does Nicolo. However, there are no signal towers in the area, so these people don't need to know that cell phones exist. There are 54 of them, I should note. Antonia (Agnes Graziani) works in the Marchesa's house as a servant, but it seems that everyone is focused on one person in particular for one reason or another. Lazzaro. Lazzaro, to put it nicely, is basically their bitch. He does everything for these people and never complains about a single thing. When Tancredi visits, this is something he notices. Lazzaro is the most earnest person that you could find, basically ever. He's a simple guy, that's just how he is. Tancredi decides that he's sick of his mom and wants to befriend Lazzaro, who has a hideout in the badlands where someone can sleep without being seen. Tancredi's plan? Fake his own kidnapping, get some of his mom's money, and leave. With Lazzaro or without.

My initial reaction to this movie was that this is a rare case of one that actually focuses on the poor from a place of reality. Sharecropping was legal in Italy for a ridiculously long time. I believe it was only officially ended in 1982! This is a movie that has two acts, both of which are wildly different from one another even though they feature the same characters. The message of this film is two-fold. From one side, what would the world be like if everyone was like Lazzaro? The purity of the character is never sacrificed at any point of this story, even extending to the ending where he is beaten to death after a gesture only a simple man would make. The other questions posed are about the destruction of rural life, about whether or not our society is correct to begin with. Every aspect of our society relies on the exploitation of people like Lazzaro. In some respects, there were people who could have been like Lazzaro, who have had their viewpoint of the world warped as a result of things that have been inflicted upon them. Happy as Lazzaro isn't exactly subtle about this. The Marchesa literally tells someone how the chain of exploitation works.

Now, as for the second act, things are twisted around a little bit. Yes, these people's lives as slaves are over. Now what? They were all completely uneducated. They were dirt poor with no application in modern society. Brought to the city, where they could get no job, and have no home to go to. There is a story told between these acts where it's blatantly said that Lazzaro is supposed to be a saint. He helps the people he encounters, but their lives are stuck in the mud. There is no forward motion for any of them. When you live in a former water tank, or whatever that thing was, that's what happens to your life. It should be the responsibility of the government to make sure that things are right, but we don't live in such societies. The uprooting of these people's lives created an unhappiness that seems to be worse afterwards. The second act could best be described as a lateral shift across the lower echelons of the financial hierarchy. There are a lot of things that I found absolutely jarring that will no longer be so if you should watch this movie having read this review. Happy as Lazzaro is also excellently filmed and there's one particular part in which this would be clear to any viewer.

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. Wildlife
18. Stan & Ollie
19. Green Book
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
21. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
22. A Prayer Before Dawn
23. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
24. Annihilation
25. Private Life
26. Happy as Lazzaro
27. Cold War
28. Climax
29. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
30. Mid90s
31. Lean on Pete
32. On My Skin
33. Eighth Grade
34. Sorry to Bother You
35. Suspiria
36. The Endless
37. At Eternity's Gate
38. The Death of Stalin
39. A Quiet Place
40. Vice
41. The Old Man & the Gun
42. The Night Comes for Us
43. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
44. Vox Lux
45. Bad Times at the El Royale
46. The Other Side of the Wind
47. Searching
48. Calibre
49. A Simple Favor
50. The Hate U Give
51. Unsane
52. Disobedience
53. Destroyer
54. Boy Erased
55. Bumblebee
56. Mary Poppins Returns
57. Creed II
58. Hold the Dark
59. The Land of Steady Habits
60. Halloween
61. The 12th Man
62. Upgrade
63. The Wife
64. Chappaquiddick
65. What They Had
66. Ant-Man and the Wasp
67. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
68. Blockers
69. Beirut
70. Black '47
71. Roxanne Roxanne
72. Solo: A Star Wars Story
73. Tully
74. Mary Queen of Scots
75. Aquaman
76. Ideal Home
77. Outlaw King
78. Overlord
79. Ready Player One
80. Ben Is Back
81. Monsters and Men
82. Colette
83. The Mule
84. On the Basis of Sex
85. Bohemian Rhapsody
86. White Boy Rick
87. Papillon
88. Gemini
89. Game Night
90. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
91. Ocean's Eight
92. Alpha
93. Come Sunday
94. Borg vs. McEnroe
95. Instant Family
96. The Front Runner
97. The Predator
98. Apostle
99. The Oath
100. Uncle Drew
101. The Cured
102. The Commuter
103. The Angel
104. Tag
105. Beautiful Boy
106. The Nun
107. Operation Finale
108. The Equalizer 2
109. The Spy Who Dumped Me
110. Cargo
111. Yardie
112. Boundaries
113. Bird Box
114. 12 Strong
115. Venom
116. Skyscraper
117. The Meg
118. Assassination Nation
119. Never Goin' Back
120. Adrift
121. Crazy Rich Asians
122. Backstabbing for Beginners
123. The Girl in the Spider's Web
124. Gringo
125. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
126. 22 July
127. Tomb Raider
128. Rampage
129. Hotel Artemis
130. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
131. The Little Stranger
132. 7 Days in Entebbe
133. Night School
134. The 15:17 To Paris
135. Den of Thieves
136. The Catcher Was a Spy
137. Peppermint
138. Mile 22
139. The First Purge
140. Hunter Killer
141. The Hurricane Heist
142. The Cloverfield Paradox
143. Breaking In
144. Slice
145. Extinction
146. Hot Summer Nights
147. Welcome to Marwen
148. Second Act
149. How It Ends
150. Mute
151. Kin
152. Hell Fest
153. Action Point
154. Proud Mary
155. Robin Hood
156. Traffik
157. Tau
158. Winchester
159. Woman Walks Ahead
160. The Happytime Murders
161. The Outsider
162. Life Itself
163. Slender Man
164. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


Thoroughbreds (2018), directed by Cory Finley

Reason for Watching: I accidentally skipped this one a month or two ago. I was also told it was funny. Like I said, when the Lakers play, I need to keep it light more often than not. I also liked Bad Education, which was from this same director.

Thoroughbreds is the story of two girls in suburban Connecticut. The first is Amanda (Olivia Cooke), who we first meet before she euthanizes her crippled horse with a knife. I'm rather glad the euthanization itself was not shown. Amanda is a complete sociopath, as we learn quickly. Sometime after this incident, she arrives at Lily's (Anya Taylor-Joy) house. Lily was her best friend some years ago, but the two are not so close anymore. Not since Lily's father died, anyway. Lily is much more intelligent in an academic sense than Amanda is, and has taken a role as some kind of tutor. Amanda is keenly aware of this. Perceptive intelligence is more important than what you may learn in books. Prior to arriving at Lily's house, she knew that her mother had paid Lily to socialize and/or tutor Amanda. Lily denies it, but Amanda knows.

Sometime after this initial incident, Lily goes to a party where she and others encounter a scumbag, Tim (Anton Yelchin). Tim is a sex offender who now spends his time selling drugs to young adults. Delusions of grandeur occupy his mind. Lily wants nothing to do with this guy, though. Eventually, Amanda and Lily come to hang out once again. We learn that Lily's mother has remarried to Mark (Paul Sparks), who Lily absolutely despises. Seemingly with good reason though. The guy is a really strange human being. That being said, I don't know what it's like to spend literally all my time doing something athletic. We also learn that Lily's life isn't all that it seems to be cracked up to be. One night, after Amanda meets Mark and sees how much Lily hates him, she asks Lily if she's ever considered killing Mark. Did I tell you that Amanda is a sociopath? I think I did. It seems that something could potentially come of that.

This movie is funnier than I thought it would be. Thoroughbreds is a film that needs to establish a few things to the viewers and it does a reasonably good job of that. Amanda is so fascinated by death and so devoid of feeling that she can't help but speak her mind at all times. This isn't a particularly deep film and is rather short. In and out would be the best way to describe this. The performance by Olivia Cooke carries this movie to some extent. I just watched a movie with a surreal lead character, and followed that one up with...this. I don't think Thoroughbreds is a great movie, but it's one where I feel comfortable saying that I enjoyed the way in which the director approached his written material. Everything in Thoroughbreds is just strange. There's one part where it became apparent to me how much privilege played a part in forming two people that have the outright desire to do blatantly wrong things. When some people have everything, they still have the gall to believe they have nothing because one thing didn't go their way. The greatest example of this is the leader of this country.

I don't want to make too much of a rather short movie, but this was enjoyable. The dialogue throughout was quite entertaining and I wasn't expecting to laugh this much when the initial tone of the film was so dark. The movie could have really used the murder scene instead of focusing on Amanda while she was sitting on the couch, though. The impact of the act itself is dulled. A moment of creative genius that was not. Finley's next effort was better than this, I've already reviewed that movie and posted it. I wonder if there will be a feeling of continual growth with this new director.

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. Wildlife
18. Stan & Ollie
19. Green Book
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
21. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
22. A Prayer Before Dawn
23. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
24. Annihilation
25. Private Life
26. Happy as Lazzaro
27. Cold War
28. Climax
29. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
30. Mid90s
31. Lean on Pete
32. On My Skin
33. Eighth Grade
34. Sorry to Bother You
35. Suspiria
36. The Endless
37. At Eternity's Gate
38. The Death of Stalin
39. A Quiet Place
40. Vice
41. The Old Man & the Gun
42. The Night Comes for Us
43. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
44. Vox Lux
45. Bad Times at the El Royale
46. The Other Side of the Wind
47. Searching
48. Calibre
49. A Simple Favor
50. The Hate U Give
51. Unsane
52. Disobedience
53. Destroyer
54. Boy Erased
55. Bumblebee
56. Thoroughbreds
57. Mary Poppins Returns
58. Creed II
59. Hold the Dark
60. The Land of Steady Habits
61. Halloween
62. The 12th Man
63. Upgrade
64. The Wife
65. Chappaquiddick
66. What They Had
67. Ant-Man and the Wasp
68. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
69. Blockers
70. Beirut
71. Black '47
72. Roxanne Roxanne
73. Solo: A Star Wars Story
74. Tully
75. Mary Queen of Scots
76. Aquaman
77. Ideal Home
78. Outlaw King
79. Overlord
80. Ready Player One
81. Ben Is Back
82. Monsters and Men
83. Colette
84. The Mule
85. On the Basis of Sex
86. Bohemian Rhapsody
87. White Boy Rick
88. Papillon
89. Gemini
90. Game Night
91. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
92. Ocean's Eight
93. Alpha
94. Come Sunday
95. Borg vs. McEnroe
96. Instant Family
97. The Front Runner
98. The Predator
99. Apostle
100. The Oath
101. Uncle Drew
102. The Cured
103. The Commuter
104. The Angel
105. Tag
106. Beautiful Boy
107. The Nun
108. Operation Finale
109. The Equalizer 2
110. The Spy Who Dumped Me
111. Cargo
112. Yardie
113. Boundaries
114. Bird Box
115. 12 Strong
116. Venom
117. Skyscraper
118. The Meg
119. Assassination Nation
120. Never Goin' Back
121. Adrift
122. Crazy Rich Asians
123. Backstabbing for Beginners
124. The Girl in the Spider's Web
125. Gringo
126. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
127. 22 July
128. Tomb Raider
129. Rampage
130. Hotel Artemis
131. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
132. The Little Stranger
133. 7 Days in Entebbe
134. Night School
135. The 15:17 To Paris
136. Den of Thieves
137. The Catcher Was a Spy
138. Peppermint
139. Mile 22
140. The First Purge
141. Hunter Killer
142. The Hurricane Heist
143. The Cloverfield Paradox
144. Breaking In
145. Slice
146. Extinction
147. Hot Summer Nights
148. Welcome to Marwen
149. Second Act
150. How It Ends
151. Mute
152. Kin
153. Hell Fest
154. Action Point
155. Proud Mary
156. Robin Hood
157. Traffik
158. Tau
159. Winchester
160. Woman Walks Ahead
161. The Happytime Murders
162. The Outsider
163. Life Itself
164. Slender Man
165. Holmes & Watson
 

909

909
Staff member


Murder Mystery (2019), directed by Kyle Newacheck

Reason for Watching: Lately I've only been watching good or average movies, for the most part. Did I ever say that I was going to do that? No. I defniitely did not ever say that. Time to get back to my roots. I have to watch some Adam Sandler trash, and man, this looks like a real piece of shit.

You have to know how I was going to feel about this movie. Murder Mystery is a film that immediately drops you into the lives of the character with no build at all. Nick Spitz (Adam Sandler), it turns out, is an officer with NYPD. A shitty officer at that. The man has failed his detective's test three times and he can't shoot his gun. His wife Audrey (Jennifer Aniston) is a hairdresser. You see, like a lot of marriages, promises were made that have not been kept. Nick is a big promiser and he told his wife at their wedding that they would honeymoon in Europe. They never did. After their 15th anniversary dinner, at which has been thoroughly embarrassed, Audrey asks why Nick's never kept his promises. Because of that, Nick quickly lies that he's already booked the trip to Europe. I don't know how much money this guy has, either. I should also mention that he lies constantly to his wife and everyone else about having been promoted to detective. I hate people who do that kind of shit, so if I didn't already think this movie would suck, I sure did after that.

When Nick and Audrey head off to Europe, Audrey trails off into the first class cabin to get ear plugs while Nick sleeps. While there, she encounters Charles Cavendish (Luke Evans), a seemingly rich man. For whatever reason, he decides to invite Audrey and Nick to take part in a party on his family yacht. His uncle is to be married soon afterward, and I guess Cavendish was either happy or wanting to troll someone. Either way, Nick and Audrey had booked a bus tour, but they decide not to do that. They are told that the yacht will be heading to the Monaco Grand Prix, which sounds like something I'd want to go watch. Aboard the yacht, we meet the traveling party. There's Malcolm (Terence Stamp), the elderly billionaire who seems to fund this whole circus. He is to be married to Susi (Shiori Kutsuna), who was one going to marry Cavendish. Terence's son Tobey (David Walliams) is to be there, as is the actress Grace Ballard (Gemma Arterton), a Colonel in the Namibian Army (John Kani), the Colonel's bodyguard Sergei (Olafur Darri Olafsson), a Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar), and lastly Formula One driver Juan Carlos (Luis Gerardo Mendez). Someone gets murdered. Who did it?

The main takeaway I have from Murder Mystery is that I haven't seen Terence Stamp in quite a long time. The man had seemingly disappeared. He doesn't exactly have a lot of scenes in this movie either. I don't have a lot of good things to say about Murder Mystery other than that Jennifer Aniston made me laugh a few times. She was trying so much harder than this kind of trite material deserves. How could such a script come from the writer of Zodiac? That's incredible. The leads do have a surprising chemistry of some sort, but it's hard to suffer through movies like this one when I've seen so much other material. Also, I should say, when I haven't seen so much other material as well. I really just want to fill out my lists from the last two years and head in my own direction. I have a lot of good movies to watch, but there's something that draws me to trash like this. I cannot explain why. The supporting cast also doesn't do it for me like they should. Some roles hit and others miss.

Murder Mystery tried to be too hard to be a little bit of everything, and that's probably what's wrong with the movie. It isn't that it's bad because it's an Adam Sandler movie. He's not what's wrong with it. It's because this is a movie trying to showcase sites of Europe that American people aren't entirely familiar with, because they have a cheap car chase that doesn't matter set to an AC/DC song, because the comedy in the movie isn't prevalent enough to actually be funny, and lastly because there's no reason for anyone to care about who killed an evil old man. The movie is generic and doesn't matter, but a hell of a lot of people watched it. I'm surprised Netflix hasn't already paid Aniston and Sandler $25 million each to pump a sequel out there, because viewership is all they really care about.

4/10

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

909

909
Staff member


Kingpin (1996), directed by the Farrelly Brothers

Reason for Watching: Lost board bet. Also never seen this movie even though it has been recommended to me numerous times.

Alright, I don't know where to start with this one because I chatted during this movie. Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson) is a young bowler with flash, as pictured above. When he's young, he wins the 1979 Iowa state bowling championship and decides to turn professional. Roy leaves the state and goes on the tour, and in his debut, he beats Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray). Ernie is an established bowler who has long had a professional career. The two guys go to a bowling alley to try to hustle some geeks out of their money. The problem is that it isn't smart to try to hustle ten guys at one time. McCracken is smart enough to know that he needs to get Roy the hell out of his car, and that's where the revenge factor comes in. McCracken planned this all along. The guys then decide to beat Roy up and put his hand in the ball return, which mutilates it and obviously leads to amputation of said hand. Don't try to con people.

Kingpin kicks forward to 17 years later, where Roy has a gigantic prosthetic hand and lives in Pennsylvania selling bowling supplies. What a life that would be. Roy is an alcoholic behind on his rent, so he has to bang his disgusting landlady in order to deal with that problem. While at a bowling alley one day, Roy meets Ishmael (Randy Quaid). Ishmael is a good bowler, although not as good as Roy thinks he is. Roy wants him to turn pro so that he can siphon money away from him, with Roy as his manager. Ishmael rejects that offer because he's Amish and isn't supposed to be bowling in the first place. Roy knows that there's a tournament in Reno where the winner takes home $1,000,000, so he needs to find a way to get Ishmael to head there with him. Roy decides that the best way to do so is to fake being Amish and head to Ishmael's farm. While at Ishmael's farm, Roy learns that the family is nearly bankrupt and as a result he's able to convince Ishmael to come with him. The problem is, they have no money. Ishmael also isn't that great at bowling and is pretty much a child.

I found that a lot of the gags in this movie were things that were likely considered to use on Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber, but it was decided to use those in a different film instead. Maybe I'm wrong, but these feel like gags designed for Jim Carrey to use. A lot of people think this movie is great but I'm not one of them. I think it's alright. I also think that my problems with the movie are largely rooted in the fact that I didn't watch it when I was younger. That kind of thing isn't possible to overcome. There's some shit here that's really funny though. The constant gags with the hand killed me. So did the landlady's yellow teeth. The vomiting on the other hand, nah. I don't need that in my life. Bill Murray was great too, especially when bowling. That kind of behavior really fit the movie.

On the other hand, I think Randy Quaid's character was actually too stupid. I know that Jim Carrey was too stupid in Dumb & Dumber, but there's levels of comedic talent at play there. Everyone knows I like Woody Harrelson, but I think his ability to create funny scenes is actually underutilized throughout the movie. That's where problems with the fake hand come in. Just because you have a character with a fake hand doesn't mean you reduce all their gags to that hand. That's my opinion anyway. I laughed a lot while watching this movie and my rating reflects that. I also think that for better or worse, there's an earnestness to movies made in the 1990s that is lacking in movies made currently. You can just tell when you watch them. Sometimes that's bad and sometimes it's good, but it's really noticeable.

6.5/10
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
Like I get what you are saying, but I had it on a year ago and I can't really think of too many comedies from 2000 to 2020 that made me laugh more than Kingpin. I loved Quaid in it as much as Carey and Daniels in Dumb and Dumber. Stupid humor like the stupid squeak noise the hand makes when anyone shakes it or Woody spilling the coffee on the baby, or the random guy yelling THAT A BOY LUTHER just does it for me. I do think seeing any comedy when you are younger will make you hold it in higher esteem (I still have a fondness for High School High for some reason), but I think Kingpin is still a really funny and good movie.
 

909

909
Staff member


Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015), directed by Matthew Vaughn

Reason for Watching: I need to catch up on this before the third movie comes out. I was going to watch something else but I have idiots in the room with me so I can't. Always wanted to watch this anyway.

I'm sure practically everyone's seen this movie already. Does this mean I shouldn't recap the movie? You know, it probably does, but I'm not going to do that. Kingsman: The Secret Service is a movie that isn't too original, but it's a spin on some of the spy movies we have seen. Mix in a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and there you have the film. Kingsman: The Secret Service begins in the Middle East, with a not-quite special agent falling on top of a grenade in order to save his superior, Harry Hart (Colin Firth). Hart returns to London to give the man's son a medal with an emergency number, to be used when the son is in dire need of that. Kingsman: The Secret Service kicks forward 17 years, the son now being a man. Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a chav, and not necessarily an endearing one. He was to enter the Royal Marines, but he dropped out because his mother Michelle (Samantha Womack) didn't want him to get killed the way his father was. The bloke is genuinely lost at sea with this life. There's not much he can do, he is doomed to have a shitty one.

That is, until one day when Eggsy is caught doing very bad things. He knows he's not allowed to steal cars, but he did it anyway, knowing it would make his stepfather Dean (Geoff Bell) very angry. Of course, Eggsy gets busted for stealing that car, and is sent to the police station. While there, he looks at the medal he was once given, and decides to call the number. Afterwards, he is released from the police station, and he encounters Harry once more. Harry, obviously, is his benefactor. Hart subsequently explains to Eggsy the nature of his work, and the origin of his agency, the Kingsmen. I'll spare you from reading that, but the long and short of it is that an agent was killed in Argentina by Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) and his assistant Gazelle (Sofia Boutella). The agent is in need of replacing, and everyone in Hart's order is to present a candidate. Hart's, even though he knows nothing of the boy, is Eggsy. Eggsy, after all, is of good stock and there's the feeling of an owed favor here. How does one become a Kingsman?

What I meant earlier about the film not being original, is that we've seen the makings of someone becoming a spy so many times before. Kingsman: The Secret Service ultimately has to be a movie that sets out to challenge those expectations in some way. The person teaching the spy has to themselves do interesting things. This is not very common in these sorts of movies. Often this separates the wheat from the chaff. I'm sure everyone has their opinion of what kind of movie this is. I think it's in the former although I don't think this is absolutely great. The scene in the church is the closest Kingsman: The Secret Service gets to being great. It's really bold to think that an audience will sit there listening to that song while people get slaughtered like that. Well, "people." The cinematography also has to be up to the challenge, and the villain has to be doing things that are at least somewhat original. Which in this case, they do!

Vaughn has made good movies before. His script for The Debt was good. His stories for the two X-Men movies he participated in were good. Layer Cake was really strong. This isn't quite at the level of Layer Cake, but the movie is its own, really enjoyable thing. We also have yet another film where Michael Caine eats it. I done lost count of how many that makes. This movie is still weird though. The third act is outright bizarre. I get the point of the scene where Eggsy is supposed to shoot the dog and doesn't, but that part of the script sends the movie into a strange tailspin only recovered by the originality in the scene at the church. That kind of a thing in a movie can really bother me sometimes. The Swedish chick tallking about putting in her butt seemed like a really strange out of place addition the studio wanted. Even still, this is a movie to be enjoyed. I don't know if the second one is any good, and I also don't know when the WW1-set prequel will be premiering. Probably not anytime soon! I don't know a single person in my life who has any intention of going to a theater until there's a COVID vaccine. Well, until then, I guess we have to wait.

7/10
 

909

909
Staff member


Charlie's Angels (2019), directed by Elizabeth Banks

Reason for Watching: The last movie I watched was an action movie. While I usually prefer to change the tone from movie to movie, I thought I would watch Charlie's Angels as a contrast to a good action movie. The film got bad reviews, why is that? I think the people who decided to make this movie are now keenly aware that nobody asked for a reboot of this shit. Some shit shouldn't get reboots! The reboot of the original already served its purpose and they rebooted again.

2019's version of Charlie's Angels begins in Rio de Janeiro, with our group already in the middle of an operation. John Bosley (Patrick Stewart) is a leading a team composed of Sabina (Kristen Stewart), Jane (Ella Balinska), and a lot of people whose faces we never see. Of course, this being a spy movie, the first operation is going to go one of two ways. Either perfectly or very badly, and in this case the former. A year later, it is time for John Bosley to retire. At this point, we meet some of the other Bosley's who occupy the various agencies around the world. You know the deal. At this point, or maybe a scene later, we're kicked over to the story of the film itself. Elena (Naomi Scott) is a computer engineer working for a company based in Hamburg, which is run by Alexander Brok (Sam Claflin). Brok is a supposed computer genius who does basically nothing in determining the future of his company. Elena has been working on a project called Calisto, which is supposedly not ready for release and can be manipulated in order to kill people. Her boss Peter Fleming (Nat Faxon) does not even remotely care.

Of course, the Townsend Agency has a lot of reach. They have people who know when those who work for large corporations are ready to blow the whistle about something. It appears that our new Bosley (Djimon Hounsou) has taken over the team I've previously mentioned, and they're tasked with heading to Hamburg in order to meet with Elena. At this meeting, she explains exactly how Calisto can kill people and all of that. Problem is, they've been spied on by an assassin, Hodak (Jonathan Tucker). Hodak has every intention of killing Elena and retrieving whatever's in the USB drive that she brought to the meeting. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't kill Elena, but he does kill our new Bosley. I do not like when I watch a movie where the best actor eats it about seven minutes after they're introduced. There are some good actors in this movie though, that's not the problem. Anyway, calls are made, and one of the other Bosley's (Elizabeth Banks) we've already met heads to Hamburg to pick up the group, which includes Elena. Now what?

One thing I have to get out of the way before I forget, is that I was surprised there was no sequel bait in this movie. It's good that there wasn't because obviously now there never will be a sequel, but there never should have been in the first place. It seems that in making Charlie's Angels, the part of the movie where we're supposed to become invested in the characters is literally completely ignored. I know nothing about them, nothing about what they've done, nothing. This kind of thing is a problem if you're trying to launch a movie series. In fact it's a problem to the point that unless you have a massively built-in fanbase for the franchise, it just isn't going to happen. The simple fact is that Kristen Stewart is box office poison even though she's a great actress. Nothing will ever change this. She was in two big budget movies in the last year and neither of them made shit. American Ultra didn't make shit either. That kind of thing is an unsolvable problem, but ultimately the main issue here is that this movie isn't all that great.

When I'm saying it's not that great, I think I need to be extremely clear. Beyond the issues with the script, there was a deluge of action movies in theaters last fall. Zombieland: Double Tap, Gemini Man, Terminator: Dark Fate, Midway, I needn't go on. These movies didn't make all that much either. The action movie market completely cannibalized itself. John Wick 3 also killed that shit for a lot of people, you know. That is THE action movie of the last two years. Nothing with guns is going to come anywhere near this. That movie has also laid bare the problems with action movies like this one. The lack of originality in action movies has become an increasingly greater problem. The action scenes themselves in Charlie's Angels are also not always completely clear to see what's happening. Kristen Stewart is also not good in this movie. She is given the comedy lines and nearly all of them bombed. The other two Angels do a pretty good job, but there's no way to save this movie. The wrong person is given comedy lines. The script is bad. The movie is average and uncreative. This feels like the kind of girl power movie a conservative would make. There's no new technique here, no new idea, no style, no anything. It's too bad. Two of the three lead cast members really fit into the concept, and so did Elizabeth Banks as an actress if not as the director.

4.5/10

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

909

909
Staff member


Point Blank (2019), directed by Joe Lynch

Reason for Watching: I promise to go back to watching good movies soon, but I'm pissed off and need to turn my brain off by watching trash.

When I say that I wanted to watch trash, I knew full well what I was getting into when I watched a movie like this one. There's hardly anyone in the last few years whose been in more trash than Frank Grillo. Speaking of him, we start the movie with Abe (Frank Grillo) being caught in a shootout while running out of someone's house. In this shootout, the District Attorney of Cincinnati is killed. Or something. He is then chased on foot and tries to get his brother Mateo (Christian Cooke) to pick him up. This doesn't quite work. While running, Abe is destroyed by a moving car and knocked well down the street. In addition, Mateo isn't able to pick him at all, and Abe was shot before he was run over by the random person. Abe winds up in the hospital as a result of all that. Obviously.

Paul (Anthony Mackie) is a nurse at the hospital Abe winds up in, and Abe is in one of his rooms. There have been two detectives assigned to this case, Regina (Marcia Gay Harden) and Eric (Boris McGiver). They are there because they believe that Abe has killed the District Attorney. There is good reason to believe that. In addition, they are there because Mateo decided to sneak into the hospital and attack Paul. Mateo took a bag that contains a hard drive, which it appears Abe had stolen from the district attorney's office. Seemed that way, anyway. We learn that Paul has a pregnant wife, Taryn (Teyonah Parris), whose name I legitimately did not know until this moment. That's what kind of movie this is. Anyway, Paul and Taryn are attacked. The reason? Paul is to break Abe out of the hospital, because Taryn has been...KIDNAPPED BY MATEO.

This movie makes very little sense. I expected that all along. Thank you Netflix for making trash like this. You know what you're getting into when you watch the average Netflix movie. Regardless of the cast, if the creator is someone you haven't heard of, their movies won't be any good! The main problem with Point Blank is that the film feels like one where everyone is miscast, where everything is done quickly as possible regardless of whether or not it makes any sense. I don't really have words for a lot of these kinds of movies anymore. At minimum, when someone makes an action movie, they need to know how to make some memorable scenes. There's one here inside a car wash that only moderately memorable at best. Nobody gets dealt with in any kind of cool way either.

When I said that I wanted to watch trash, I wanted to watch something that had offensive jokes, or some ridiculous killing scenes. I didn't even get that! My expectations for watching trash weren't even met. The film is really short, there's a lot of things that don't make any sense to me, and I feel like I would have been well off if I'd never watched this. This is supposed to be one of those movies where two guys are forced to come together to do things before time runs out on them, and I just didn't care. There's also a character who comes into the movie later on, who feels like a shitty Kevin Hart gimmick type of deal. Short guy obsessed with movies who talks about movies that are way better than this one. Then, there's the soundtrack. The soundtrack had to be some kind of rib. Maybe it wasn't? I don't even know.

3/10

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