In Which I Review Movies Part II

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


An American Pickle (2020), directed by Brandon Trost

Reason for Watching: It's about time that I add something to this list. After watching a Lakers game it is very difficult for me to watch something else unless it's both light and short. This movie seems to be both of those things. It actually doesn't matter to me whether or not this is any good. This is also the first Max Original I've watched. What that means? No idea.

An American Pickle is the story of Herschel Greenbaum (Seth Rogen), a Jewish ditch digger who at the start of An American Pickle lives in a shtetl in 1919. He marries his wife Sarah (Sarah Snook), and on the day of their marriage their village is destroyed by a pogrom done by Russian Cossacks. After this, Herschel and Sarah decide that they need to live their shitty Eastern European country, and they emigrate to America. In America, they have the life a lot of immigrants had. They want things they can't have, they decide to have a child, Herschel works a hard job. Herschel's hard job is at a pickle factory, where he smashes rats for a living. One day, there are a lot of them and he backs onto a rail, after which he falls into a vat of pickles. These pickles have a lot of brine in there and shit, and the film skips forward quite a long way after that.

After said 100 year jump, the vat of pickles is opened and suddenly Herschel is alive, preserved until this day. Imagine the things that could happen if that kind of shit was real? Would there be a lot of people who decided to pickle themselves in order to get away from their shitty lives? When Herschel wakes up, he is in Brooklyn and has learned that the entire world has changed. His wife is now dead, as is his child, as are a lot of people except for one. Ben (Seth Rogen) is Herschel's great grandson, and is also the same age as Herschel was when he was sealed up for 100 years. Ben is different than Herschel is. Herschel is very much a religious man of his times. There are things he expects of people and what he feels they should be doing. Ben on the other hand is an app developer. His idea is for one's phone to be able to scan a product through its camera to show the consumer whether or not the product they're buying is ethical. This is slightly amusing given where these phones come from. Herschel does not like that Ben doesn't have displays of his deceased family all over his apartment. Eventually, they go to a cemetery...and have it out not long afterwards.

I did actually laugh at the fake accent put on here. As a whole, this feels like the kind of movie that would have been made in the 90s. The music, look, and feel of An American Pickle are exactly that you would find in a 90s movie. This isn't a bad thing in some ways though. The movie is light and not all that serious. Something from a different era in that way. The problem is that An American Pickle isn't very good. The concept to make a funny, interesting film is here. The screenplay is not. I don't know why someone would make the choice to have Ben and Herschel start feuding with each other. I don't think anyone who watched this movie was asking for that, and now I know why Sony wanted to unload this picture. Due to that decision to make the two characters enemies, I felt that the humor that did exist in the story decreased massively. I also found myself thinking that I didn't like either of the characters very much. That isn't because of Seth Rogen, that's because the film had an interesting premise in the first thirty minutes and ruined it.

To be fair to Seth Rogen, it is nearly impossible to carry a movie where one person is playing the only two characters that have a role where they have more than four or five lines. I understand what this movie was trying to do, but it doesn't work for me. If you're making a movie about how much people have changed over the course of 100 years, this isn't the way to do it. At least An American Pickle was short, because the feud was really starting to grate on me as it progressed further and further. There are some bright spots here, usually focusing on Herschel, but the rest of the movie just isn't what it could have been.

5/10

2020 Films Ranked


1. Bad Education
2. The Invisible Man
3. Bad Boys for Life
4. The Banker
5. The Gentlemen
6. Birds of Prey
7. Uncorked
8. Extraction
9. Big Time Adolescence
10. Sergio
11. The Lovebirds
12. Sonic the Hedgehog
13. The Call of the Wild
14. Come to Daddy
15. An American Pickle
16. Lost Girls
17. Underwater
18. The Rhythm Section
19. The Last Full Measure
20. Spenser Confidential
21. Like a Boss
22. The Grudge
23. Dolittle
24. Fantasy Island
 

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
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
Joe Lynch is one of those edgy extreme directors stuck in 2003 I just don't like, so I'll pass on that.
 

909

909
Staff member


Hereditary (2018), directed by Ari Aster

Reason for Watching: This one speaks for itself. I should have watched it a while ago, and this guy's movies are in the must watch category.

Alright, this one's going to be more difficult for me to write than most. I should probably wait because I have questions, but I might always have those questions. Annie (Toni Collette) is a miniatures artist whose mother has just died. They live in Utah with her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), their son Peter (Alex Wolff), and their daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro). Sometimes near or even at the start of the film, which I can't remember, Annie makes a comment about having given Charlie to her mother. Annie's mother seemed to have intense problems with mental illness that permeated throughout her family. At a support group, Annie talks about how some of her relatives have killed themselves while claiming that her mother was putting people inside of them. At the eulogy prior to that, Annie explains that it's strange how many people are at the funeral because she had a really private life, and that her relationship with her own mother wasn't very good. The short version of all that I've just written is that Annie's mother was a significant factor in a lot of people having mental issues. Presumably Annie is one of those people.

About a week after her mother Ellen's funeral, the grave is desecrated for reasons unbeknownst to anyone. Steve receives this news and decides that he does not want to tell his wife about this. Annie, meanwhile, is seeing visions of her mother in her workshop. She does not want to tell anyone about this. At the same time I need to mention that Charlie is just a weird girl. There's no other way to explain it. In one of the scenes where we're introduced to her, a bird flies into a window at her school. Charlie goes outside and cuts the head off the bird. Yeah, strange kid. She also has a physical disability that isn't mentioned as being one. Anyway, one day, Peter is to go to a party. He lies and tells his mom that it's a school event so that he can actually go, and she forces Peter to take his sister with him. Nobody really wants to do that, but she goes. What could possibly happen at a party that would turn this into a horror movie?

First things first, I suppose. I actually jump scared at the end. Literally don't remember the last time that happened. In fact I'm not sure I even have. This isn't a perfect film but as far as a horror movie goes this is a hell of a film. My only real complaints lie in the fact that Charlie's parents didn't make her take an epi-pen to the party. That doesn't make any sense. I don't think it's a bad thing when someone watches a movie and they have questions when it's over. In many cases, that's the point! The end of this film is some straight up David Lynch shit. I didn't see any of that stuff coming, and I am left with a lot of questions that won't be answered. The main one is why? There are hardly any movies that actually leave me feeling this way when they're over. There was a hell of a lot happening at the end of this one. The scenes at the start of the movie that seem unimportant are also crucial towards building the story, the same way Midsommar did. I think that was a better movie, though.

While I do have a lot of questions about Hereditary, I'm not sure that I actually have a lot to say. Every shot is perfectly framed throughout, which plays into the ending just that much more. You have to actually be looking for something if you want to see it. The score is also excellent as is Toni Collette's performance. Very convincing. Someone's gonna have to tell me what all the beheadings are about, though. I don't really get that shit and that's one of those questions I absolutely need to have an answer to. Perhaps one of the worst things about our loss of cinema is that we can't watch new experiences like this one in a theater. Even if they release movies, the good ones are going to be held as a matter of necessity. There is something that you definitely miss when you're not watching a movie in the theater. The theater forces you to not be distracted because you literally can't be distracted without getting asked to fuck off by some security guard. At home, the traps that lead to distraction are so much easier. I can easily admit that it's easy to get distracted at the start of a movie when they've put in scenes that are building to an excellent conclusion. Hereditary did a better job of this than a lot of the movies I've watched at home, though. Also, I think I was supposed to, but there were a lot of times that I really hated Toni Collette's character.

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

Brocklock

Integral Poster
I took the ending to mean

Charlie who was apart of the satanic cult that her grandmother was apart of was dead and that the cult thought that a female host for their demonic entity wasn't working. So they wanted a male host and they got Peter to be possessed by King Paimon one of the kings of Hell. I think the decapitated heads and bodies of the family were there as part of the possession ritual.

On rewatches I've noticed a lot of stuff in the background of scenes related to the ending which is pretty cool. It's one of those movies where I'll notice new little details or realize something different every time I watch.

I prefer Hereditary to Midsommar by a smidge. I think Hereditary makes better use of the long runtime while I feel like Midsommar could've been snipped a little and dragged at times. I think the supporting players in Hereditary are better than Midsommar although the highlights of both are the lead performances from Toni Collette and Florence Pugh.
 

909

909
Staff member


The Kindergarten Teacher (2018), directed by Sara Colangelo

Reason for Watching: Film festival favorite that dipped onto Netflix, where nobody watched the movie ever again. What's not to like? They just bury shit on there with no promotion or anything to get people to watch this stuff.

Well, now I feel like the sentence I wrote above is too on-the-nose for this review. Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is the mother of two kids in high school, Josh (Sam Jules) and Lainie (Daisy Tahan). Lisa is also married to Grant (Michael Chernus), and she takes a weekly poetry class, which is led by Simon (Gael Garcia Bernal). Perhaps most importantly, she is a kindergarten teacher. Maybe that's not most important after all. Anyway, at kindergarten, she does things that any kindergarten teacher would do. For the first thirty minutes or so of The Kindergarten Teacher, I was thinking two things. One is that that I find it really attractive in a woman for them to care about children. Second is that Lisa seemed like a good teacher. With the help of her aide Meghan (Anna Baryshnikov), they take care of their class very well and things are going pretty well. So it seems.

When you peel underneath the surface of that, there's some greater issues. For one thing, Lisa doesn't respect her own children and their ability to make their own choices. Her marriage is also what I would call basically dead. There's no passion or anything resembling it. It would be hard for a lot of people to continue on with that. That's probably why her kindergarten class gets so much attention, probably why Lisa is taking the poetry class. Kids can also usually sense when their parents are disappointed. Maybe they have their own perceptions of their mother and what's wrong with her. In any case, at kindergarten, there's this kid Jimmy. Jimmy is often picked up late by his babysitter, Becca (Rosa Salazar). One day, when waiting for Becca to show up from an acting audition or something of the sort, Lisa hears Jimmy reciting a poem while waiting. She writes it down quickly, then goes to her poetry class and...passes the poem off as if it's her own. This isn't an innocuous thing either, in my book anyway. Her issue? She wants more of these poems. She is a poser.

One of the things I really like about this film is that there aren't any characters who tell Lisa that she's going crazy. That's a step a lot of people are afraid to take with those who are going crazy. She's like a lot of actually crazy people out there who know how to hide all their bullshit. Trust me, there are a lot of these kinds of people out there. This movie is disturbing and too fucked up to truly be an enjoyable experience, even knowing that the premise and performance is so strong. A lot of people who think they're disappointments or that their lives haven't lived up to what they want them to be, are more than capable of pushing a self destruct button on their life the way Lisa does. There aren't a lot of movies that delve so well into such an uncomfortable concept. Jimmy locking Lisa in the bathroom is a perfect way to accelerate the story to its conclusion. I understand that apparently this is a remake of a foreign film, so it isn't entirely original, but I still appreciate this story for how it was original to begin with. There's not a lot of ways left that a screenwriter can truly disturb their audience, but this is one of them!

It's not only that The Kindergarten Teacher is a disturbing film, it's that the turns in this movie are surprising throughout. That's another thing difficult to pull off. When you've watched a lot of the movies, specifically in the last few years, it feels like you've seen everything that someone has recently thought of. All the issues of the time have seemingly been turned into a film or a show, this film does that as well in one respect. I was still shocked by everything else. What I mean about one of the issues of our time being in this movie, is the need that people have for things to be going on in their life. I actually fall on the side of the insane character in this movie when it comes to this one thing. People need to be looking for passions. If you can't find it in your marriage, maybe you need to find another passion. Maybe it's just a lull in your marriage and you know it'll come back because it always does. Maybe, like in the case of this movie, it's just fucking over and you have a hard time admitting it to yourself. It's not wrong for people to need to feel something. It is wrong to pass someone's work off as your own and kidnap a child, though.

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

909

909
Staff member


Wounds (2019), directed by Babak Anvari

Reason for Watching: I'd seen a preview for this movie last year, and it was shuffled off to Hulu for some reason probably related to it being bad. I'll soon find out! A horror movie with this cast even existing is really strange.

Fair warning here. If you can't handle cockroaches, don't ever watch this movie. It isn't that good so you don't really have to watch it anyway. Will (Armie Hammer) is a bartender in New Orleans. The bar he works at is called Rosie's, and it is infested with cockroaches to the point it is possible for someone to bring one home from work with them. We begin the film with Will at work, waiting on Alicia (Zazie Beetz) and Jeffrey (Karl Glusman), his friends. Alicia and Jeffrey are a couple, and judging from the way Will stares at them when they kiss, Will is clearly jealous and triggered by this relationship. On the night we join the film, in walks a group of people, Eric (Brad William Henke) and his friends. Eric's friends are boorish, just as he is. One example is that Eric starts to harass Alicia and Jeffrey almost instantly. More Jeffrey though. Jeffrey walks out of the bathroom, tries to squeeze past him, and we get a full blown screaming thing where Jeffrey is subjected to some abuse. Great people at this bar, clearly.

Eventually, Eric makes up with Jeffrey, or at least he tries to, but a drunk guy who nearly got in one fight is destined to get in a real one. Some college kids walk in and it seems they aren't actually allowed to buy drinks, but Will lets them anyway because the bar is a dead zone and he doesn't really care. Anyway, Eric gets into a fight with one of his friends. It's a bad one, and Eric gets stabbed in the face with a fucked up bottle even though he's won the fight. At least there's that! Even still, his face is gouged and the college kids have bailed out. However, one of them left their phone, and Will picks it up. Eventually, Will goes home and we learn that despite his jealousy, he has a girlfriend, Carrie (Dakota Johnson). There seems to be an issue with this phone, though. One of the college kids? They sent some fucked up pictures to it. Badly fucked up. Will is also starting to feel weird. What to do?

Wounds is hard to watch when you get to a certain point because the lead character is detestable. That's why this was booted to Hulu. I also think there's a huge problem when I turn on a movie and it ends before answering even a single one of the questions presented. I've said before that I don't mind when a filmmaker decides that they aren't going to answer all of the questions they presented. That's still true. There's also an issue when Wounds is only interesting in the first series of scenes at the bar, and then it starts to get interesting again and the film abruptly ends. There's no three act structure here. There's the beginning of the film, then there's the middle and right before a third act would start, it's over. I straight up don't like that.

In addition to my problems with the story, I found that the actors weren't used properly. When you have a cast like this, where there are four pretty good actors, and you pigeonhole them into roles that feel one-dimensional? I don't know. Wounds is also a film that was shot and set in New Orleans and simultaneously it does not at all use the setting to the degree it could have. There also isn't enough information about the books that lead to this premise. Why do these books matter? What is the ritual? All of that shit is just left way too unanswered. There's degrees to which questions are or aren't answered and this film does a bad job of not providing completely necessary information. Maybe some of the scenes in this movie were cut? Again, the lead character being a complete dick doesn't help matters. The concept could be and at a few specific points is creepy, and some of these scenes are very effective, but this isn't a film that I particularly enjoyed.

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. 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. Wounds
120. Unicorn Store
121. The Curse of La Llorona
122. Miss Bala
123. Men in Black: International
124. Murder Mystery
125. Donnybrook
126. The Red Sea Diving Resort
127. The Perfection
128. Hellboy
129. Glass
130. Dark Phoenix
131. Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral
132. Point Blank
133. The Kitchen
134. The Hustle
135. The Best of Enemies
136. The Prodigy
137. Polar
138. Serenity
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
This is a weird ass movie cause I gave the film the same rating as you, but for some reason a few of the scenes have stayed with me and I don't know why. I kind of want to watch it again and see if it has a Climax type reaction to me where it ends up clicking much more on the second viewing and I end up really liking it. I do think Armie Hammer does a good job playing a complete piece of shit.

I have no clue why Dakota Johnson did the movie unless she's a huge fan of the director's previous much better film called Under The Shadow. Her character was so one note and forgettable for someone who's probably the biggest star in the movie. Zazie Beetz got a little more to work with, but it also feels like a role much beneath her.
 

909

909
Staff member
This is a weird ass movie cause I gave the film the same rating as you, but for some reason a few of the scenes have stayed with me and I don't know why. I kind of want to watch it again and see if it has a Climax type reaction to me where it ends up clicking much more on the second viewing and I end up really liking it. I do think Armie Hammer does a good job playing a complete piece of shit.

I have no clue why Dakota Johnson did the movie unless she's a huge fan of the director's previous much better film called Under The Shadow. Her character was so one note and forgettable for someone who's probably the biggest star in the movie. Zazie Beetz got a little more to work with, but it also feels like a role much beneath her.

The opening of the movie will probably stick with me because it was pretty good. It just ends way too fast.
 

HarleyQuinn

Laugh This Off... Puddin'!
Staff member
I have no clue why Dakota Johnson did the movie unless she's a huge fan of the director's previous much better film called Under The Shadow.

I've read/heard enough interviews that a large reason why actors take these kinds of roles are mostly to work with a particular director on a project or sometimes to work alongside specific actors if the project is a blockbuster. Never forget that Hollywood is about connections & who you know as much as actual on-screen talent.
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
I think it's more she loved the director's previous film. From some of the projects she picks like A Bigger Splash, Peanut Butter Falcon, and Suspiria, she does have ecclectic taste. Babak Anvari only directed Under The Shadow previously which was a Persian-Iranian indie horror movie so it's not like he had massive hollywood connections. Under The Shadow is a great movie, so I don't blame her.

It probably would've been a better movie if she played the lead scumbag character rather than have it be a guy. There's still not enough movies with female leads playing intentionally detestable characters.
 

HarleyQuinn

Laugh This Off... Puddin'!
Staff member
I think it's more she loved the director's previous film. From some of the projects she picks like A Bigger Splash, Peanut Butter Falcon, and Suspiria, she does have ecclectic taste. Babak Anvari only directed Under The Shadow previously which was a Persian-Iranian indie horror movie so it's not like he had massive hollywood connections. Under The Shadow is a great movie, so I don't blame her.

It probably would've been a better movie if she played the lead scumbag character rather than have it be a guy. There's still not enough movies with female leads playing intentionally detestable characters.

Yeah, it's clear she wanted to work with him due to his previous film but that's more what I meant. A lot of directors who have moderate success with a low budget film tend to draw actors for their next project who suddenly want to work with them (see what's his face after Donnie Darko when he got The Rock, SMG, Timberlake for his massive bomb film after). James Gunn is another who went from Slither, which was a well received low budget horror movie to Super (which had Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, and Kevin Bacon) to Guardians where he became a massive name.

The blockbuster thing was aimed more at actors jumping into say the MCU due to directors/other actors around them. The MCU is so big now that actors who ordinarily would've shunned any works are like, "Maybe I should ask for/audition for a role in this upcoming Y movie."
 

909

909
Staff member


Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019), directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo

Reason for Watching: I had a long day yesterday, a hard day, and need to watch something light and at worst mildly entertaining. Also, my brother told me to.

Brittany (Jillian Bell) is a 28 year old (the actress is older) living in New York City with a roommate, as so many people do. Her roommate is Gretchen (Alice Lee), a teacher's assistant to deaf children who also thinks she can be social media famous. I cannot think of a worse kind of person. Brittany is overweight, as you can tell if you've seen the trailer at all, and she works at an off-Broadway theater. Brittany also likes Adderall. So, she goes to a new doctor to get a new prescription, but this guy just ain't going to give her shit. He also tells her what she really needs to hear. She needs to lose weight and get healthy. When she goes to a gym, she finds out that it costs too much to go there, and she'd rather just go out at night with Gretchen anyway. After all, why not? That is, until one day when she tries running for the first time. She's invited to run in a group with her neighbor Catherine (Michaela Watkins), and she also meets Seth (Micah Stock), a new runner who struggles as much as she does. What does Brittany really want to do? Lose a lot of weight and run in the New York City Marathon.

Perhaps it's because I've watched so many movies, or because I'm jaded or some shit, but Brittany Runs a Marathon doesn't really ring with me the way it did with a lot of other people. The movie is funny most of the time, but it isn't inspirational to me the way that the filmmakers probably wanted it to be. However, in saying that, I am absolutely in the minority. My review isn't going to be very long because I'm simply not in the mood to do so. I also identify with the character to some extent, but I think the story doesn't do the character any favors. The movie seems to be in this space where Brittany's efforts are constantly sabotaged in ways that I personally find very unappealing, or through being a nasty person, and I could go on and on but I won't. At the end of the day, this is a decent movie about improving one's self, but the cruelty here actually bothered me to a point where I can only write this much about the film.

6.5/10

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. Brittany Runs a Marathon
69. Annabelle Comes Home
70. Jumanji: The Next Level
71. Aladdin
72. Triple Frontier
73. Fighting with My Family
74. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
75. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
76. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
77. Brexit
78. The Dirt
79. Velvet Buzzsaw
80. Stuber
81. Little
82. Alita: Battle Angel
83. The Hole in the Ground
84. The Good Liar
85. The Current War: Director's Cut
86. The Kid
87. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
88. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
89. Good Boys
90. The Upside
91. The Lion King
92. Dumbo
93. The Hummingbird Project
94. Escape Room
95. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
96. The Wedding Guest
97. Brian Banks
98. Tolkien
99. The Dead Don't Die
100. Captive State
101. The Highwaymen
102. Bombshell
103. Pet Sematary
104. The Intruder
105. Child's Play
106. 21 Bridges
107. Gemini Man
108. Brightburn
109. Never Grow Old
110. Rambo: Last Blood
111. Charlie's Angels
112. Trial by Fire
113. Midway
114. Angel Has Fallen
115. Black and Blue
116. Yesterday
117. Anna
118. What Men Want
119. Them That Follow
120. Wounds
121. Unicorn Store
122. The Curse of La Llorona
123. Miss Bala
124. Men in Black: International
125. Murder Mystery
126. Donnybrook
127. The Red Sea Diving Resort
128. The Perfection
129. Hellboy
130. Glass
131. Dark Phoenix
132. Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral
133. Point Blank
134. The Kitchen
135. The Hustle
136. The Best of Enemies
137. The Prodigy
138. Polar
139. Serenity
 

909

909
Staff member


Native Son (2019), directed by Rashid Johnson

Reason for Watching: There's no specific reason beyond that I want to complete a 2019 list and this is one of the movies that would have to be on that list. I also think the two people who seem to be lead actors are pretty good young actors who should have big careers. I do also know that this is an adaptation of a very old book.

It turns out that the book is much more severe in the way in which the events of the film change, but I haven't read it and I do not read. Bigger Thomas (Ashton Sanders) is a young Chicagoan who lives with his family. His father apparently dropped dead prior to the events of this film, so he lives with his mother Trudy (Sanaa Lathan) and her other children. On the day we enter the film, we learn about Bigger's life. His friend Jack (Jerod Haynes) wants Bigger to help him rob a liquor store, but this isn't something Bigger really seems to want to do. He has a girlfriend, Bessie (KiKi Layne), and he likes to smoke weed like a lot of people do. Good guy. So, that night, he is set to meet his mother's new boyfriend, Marty (David Alan Grier). Marty has a job idea for Bigger that he's heard about, as a driver for a very rich man. Bigger doesn't like Marty all that much, so he blows it off like a lot of people would, but Bessie gets him to take the interview.

At the interview, the state of Mr. Dalton's (Bill Camp) life is quite clear. He's extremely rich, and his job offer is quite clear. Should Bigger take this job for $1,000 a week, he will live in Dalton's house. He will drive around Mr. Dalton's blind wife (Elizabeth Marvel), Mr. Dalton himself, and his surprisingly radical daughter Mary (Margaret Qualley). You know, I don't know why that was so surprising to me all things considered. Very rich people often have kids who turn out like this. That night, under the guise of driving her to class, Bigger drives Mary to a political meeting led by Jan (Nick Robinson), her boyfriend. We don't see very much of this meeting, but the intended audience of this movie is supposed to agree with it and in some senses I very much do. After, he takes them to a club, and they become friends. At first, Bessie isn't too sure what to think of it. What is his friend going to think when he doesn't rob a store with him, after Bigger said that he would?

Modernizing old novels is often very difficult to do properly, and that's why you don't see it done very often. This has been adapted before, so this is not the first time the work has been adapted. It is the first time this was modernized. When you don't know the work beforehand, there is no possible way that you could see the last half of this movie coming. Having a likable lead character plays a huge part in the events of the film mattering to the viewer. I must reiterate I could not see this coming. Self-preservation is also a hell of a thing. The film also entirely revolves around Sanders' performance, every scene is centered around him and his reactions to what he sees, and essentially he has to carry the whole movie. At the end of the film I found that some of the film's spell over myself began to break a little bit. That isn't a damning criticism of the film though. The victory of the film is that it was able to do this to me in the first place.

From what I understand, the novelization of this character is even more controversial, and he does much worse things than in the film's version of the story. I mean, like, rape kind of things. The novel is literally unadaptable in that kind of literal sense, there absolutely had to be changes made to the subject material. Is that acceptable? Yes. Better to do that than to render the novel unable to be adapted at all. Controversial work lives on specifically for that reason, because it matters and because it's different, the point is to provoke you and Native Son is still a story that does that even in a modernized adaptation. This isn't a perfect film because as I've alluded to, the ending of the film is rather difficult in coming and I found some of those events a little hard to watch. At the end of the day this is a good story from 2019, a year in film that was full of them. It has been a very good thing for there to be no shortage of material to watch while forced inside my house for such a long time. Some of the scenes here whiff, but many of them are quite captivating.

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

909

909
Staff member
Korean, subtitles



Train to Busan (2016), directed by Yeon Sang-ho

Reason for Watching: I'd been meaning to watch this film for quite a while, but it's leaving Netflix today. If I was ever going to watch it, I damn sure better do it right now.

I'm sure glad that I actually cleared my slate to watch this movie. At the beginning of Train to Busan, we are treated to a scene where some guy runs over a deer and kills it. The thing is, this deer reanimates, and now we see why there was a quarantine blockade in the middle of the road to begin with. After this, we snap over to Seoul, where Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) is a fund manager who works way too much. He has been divorced and it turned out that his daughter Su-an (Kim Su-an) stayed with him in the aftermath. His mom watches her every day while he works until he comes home and goes to sleep. Great life that would be. Su-an wants to spend her birthday with her mother in Busan, and after Seok-woo buys her a birthday present that she already has, it is time for some personal reflection. He is given a video to watch of Su-an's singing recital, which she cannot finish because he is not there, and due to this he feels extreme guilt and decides to take his daughter to Busan. Is he a good dad because of that? Of course not.

On the way to the train station in the morning, Seok-woo and Su-an encounter tons of emergency vehicles on their way to a skyscraper blaze. First bad sign. When they get onto their train, we are introduced to some of the other riders. There is a selfish corporate executive, Yon-suk (Kim Eui-sung); a tough guy named Sang-hwa (Ma Dong-seok) and his pregnant wife Seong-kyeong (Jung Yu-mil); some high school baseball players, some train attendants, and a homeless man who runs onto the train as quickly as possible. I would consider this to be a bad sign. When the train departs, Su-an notices someone sprinting by for a seemingly unexplained reason, and at the same time the homeless guy runs into the bathroom. Thing is, someone else also ran on the train. They seem to be infected and they seem to have turned into a zombie. Only bad things can happen from here. The kicker is that the infection started at a factory tied to Seok-woo's business, and at the start of the film, it seems that he initially sold all stock when finding out about the infection to begin with. Did he tell anyone? Of course not.

Train to Busan is the kind of zombie movie that is actually properly layered by the person who wrote it, which isn't surprising given that this isn't an American trash film. There's a lot of people who get up in their feelings about whether or not zombies are supposed to run. I can see that this may have been a film where that debate was held. The characters are really what makes the film. The action is one thing and I've seen movies with better action, so even though this is good that isn't the main thing making the movie what it is. To write likable characters seems to be a difficult thing these days. Train to Busan has many of them and one very unlikable character who is deliberately written to be that way. More creators should take note of this. Even at the start of The Walking Dead, the material may not have been super adaptable to television because the group was carrying a lot of dead weight. Train to Busan has no such affliction. The homeless guy even serves his purpose properly.

There are so many zombies movies and TV shows and games and shit now that the genre has genuinely been overrun. Train to Busan does have something different though, and it's social commentary. This is a film that perfectly summarizes our world, not just South Korea. People almost solely only care about themselves. Another good example is in the way everyone freaks out at the homeless guy who ran into the train car for obviously good reasons. Also, we have the hedge fund guy only looking out for his own interests. In addition to those bits, we also have running zombies. I'm on the side of those who prefer running zombies. Their running opens up a lot of potential for quality action scenes, and those we have. The ending, after having seen all of those action scenes, is a big deal. The train derailment at the end is a little goofy, but overall I have a hard time imagining how someone could not have enjoyed this film. It's gory and we got to that shit extremely quickly. Who could be mad about that?

There is a sequel of sorts to Train to Busan, and it just came out a few weeks ago or so. The film is called Peninsula and it is frankly not getting good reviews, but I'm going to watch it. Why wouldn't I?

7.5/10
 
Top