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Movie Review: The Perfection

June 24, 2019

mv5bmta3nzkzmduxodbeqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mdm0odc5odcz._v1_The Perfection is the latest original film from Netflix. I put it on after a one sentence recommendation and it was a wild ride that I never saw coming. I don’t wanna give too much away so that you can have a similar experience, but you should know that it’s a horror film that will really freak you out.

The acting is really something else. Allison Williams is perfect here, though I hope she’s okay with being typecast as horror actress because between this and Get Out the genre really seems to suit her. Logan Browning is also amazing here, though I expected as much after watching her in two seasons of Dear White People. The rest of the cast is also good, limited though their roles may be.

There are some interesting directorial choices here. I’ve never seen a Richard Shepard film before, but a quick glance at his filmography tells me that he works in a variety of genres so it’s impressive that he did horror so well. Some of his transitions though felt a tad goofy and out of place.

The story is pretty wild. I’m not gonna give away the twists, but I should mention that several viewers claimed to have thrown up while watching this. I was fine, I’ve seen a lot horror films that are far more gruesome then this but I suppose I can understand the reaction if this is your first taste of the genre.

This score is pretty amazing, which is really important in a horror film following two cello players. Paul Haslinger composed some amazing pieces, but there’s also some fitting pop songs thrown in as well.

Overall it’s original films like these that will make me hang onto my Netflix account in the face of Disney+. Check it out if you wanna be freaked. 8.5/10

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Movie Review: Vox Lux (2018)

June 14, 2019

Last year Natalie Portman played a pop star in the vein of Lady Gaga, and it was completely overshadowed by another film in which Lady Gaga played a pop star version of herself. Hollywood is really wild like that. Vox Lux is the Natalie Portman film and it deserves the shunning it received. A better ending could have warranted the grandiose narration from Willem Dafoe and general sense of awe the film wanted to invoke, but the ending felt pointless leaving the rest of the film feeling absurdly pretentious.

Acting is good at least. Natalie seems to be having a lot of fun laying on an extra thick New York accent, though it was really hard for me to buy the lip syncing during the concert scene. Jude Law makes a good sleazy manager, go figure. I was most impressed with Raffey Cassidy who carries the first half of the film as the teen aged version of Portman’s character.

Brady Corbet is the director and one of the writers, and I really don’t know what he was going for here. The film opens with a school shooting and that’s not the only bit of gun violence in the film. Not really sure what purpose it serves by the time the credits start rolling, these scenes almost feel like they’re from a different film. This stuff should have been cut or they should have done something more with it. As it stands the violence seems to be intruding from a completely different film.

The music is another positive element. Can’t really go wrong if you get Sia to do all the music for your film. But again, Natalie Portman is just not selling the idea that it’s her singing.

Overall it’s not the worst film ever, but highly skipable. 7/10

Movie Review – Godzilla: King of Monsters

June 10, 2019

godzilla-3dSo yeah, not many people liked this movie apparently. Sure there are only two interesting characters in this big sprawling cast and the screenwriter doesn’t seem to know how radiation works, but at the same time it feels like the Godzilla film I’ve always wanted. I listened to several reviews and many people seemed to want a serious high brow drama that happened to be a monster movie. Sucks for them though because the only thing this film wants to be is a kick ass monster fight movie in the tradition of the Godzilla films that came before it.

The acting here is all over the place mostly due to the fact that there are like twenty human characters that we’re following. It’s good for the most part, but there are a few minor characters that bothered me. It’s hard to blame the actors though because as it’s written they’re basically playing extras with lines.

The film has a nice sense of scale and some amazing cinematography. There are several shots that I would love to have poster versions of. The director is clearly a big fan of the Toho films as he makes great use of the other iconic monsters introduced here.

The plot is the worst part of the film, I’ll give that to the critics. Most choices that the human characters make are utterly nonsensical. It’s like the screenwriter’s only goal was to shoe horn in some Thanos-esque villain plot and they just kinda gave up after throwing in some line about half the population dying. Also there was a real dumb ass line about a fortune cookie that poor Ken Watanabe had to say dramatically.

The score and sound design is also amazing, making these monsters feel just as big as they looked. Also the use of the classic Godzilla theme here was perfect. The cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s Go Go Godzilla was eh, it was okay. Probably should have stuck with the original even though it only plays during the credits.

Probably goes without saying that the special effects are spectacular. I do have a minor gripe about all the big CGI set pieces taking place at night and in the rain. It looks like a ton of work was put into turning puppets and costumes into realistic animal monsters, I just wanted a better look.

Overall this is an awesome film for kaiju fans. Probably not winning over any new fans though. 8/10

Movie Review – John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum

May 26, 2019

john_wick_chapter_three_ver21_xlgThis film picks up seconds after the end of the previous one and gives you almost no context to what’s happening. There’s the briefest bit dialogue before a series of amazing action sequences pull you head first into the story, which here is somewhat thin. There is the main theme of consequences for both John and everyone that helped him last movie, but most of those consequences just involve even more people coming to kill him so yeah maybe a little thin plot wise.

Keanu Reeves brings the same mournful intensity that kicked this series off while putting his months of training to spectacular use. The rest of the returning cast is great as well, but it’s the new comers that steal the show. Hallie Berry is great as the manager of the Casablanca Continental with her own pair of attack dogs. Asia Kate Dillon is mesmerizing as the Adjudicator of the High Table, aka the character who’s here to ruin everyone’s good time and definitely enjoys doing so. Then there’s Mark Dacascos who gives the performance of his career as Zero, a ninja master assassin who’s hired to kill John Wick despite being the apparent leader of the John Wick fan club. I know that might sound dumb, but I promise it’s super awesome and I really hope to see him cast in more things after this.

The action directing on display here is top notch, really incomparable to the other grounded action movies out there. It’s visceral and bloody, but it doesn’t want you to take the violence too seriously so at points it becomes an extreme slapstick comedy. It’s no Jackie Chan film, but it’s a fair effort. Best of all though is your ability to follow all of the action without a bunch of shaky cam nonsense going on.

Overall this was an awesome action film that still has me sold on at least one more sequel. Not quite as good as the first, but I like it more then the second so yeah.  8.75/10

 

 

 

P.S. I should note that a friend of mine was made nauseous by one scene near the end that featured a neon green light that flashed a lot. Just a warning if you’re sensitive to that.

 

 

Movie Review: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

May 19, 2019

mv5bmme1owzjyjctyzzlni00ymeyltg4ywytzdc4nte2odzlyzhhxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynzc5mja3oa4040._v1_I saw this film for the first time about a week ago and it was a somewhat strange viewing experience. Many elements of it reminded me so much of my own story despite my having never seen it before. From the title that’s as long as it is goofy to the eclectic group of heroes and even the same basic plot of having to save the world from aliens. I honestly have no idea how I managed to avoid this for thirty years.

The plot follows the titular Mr. Banzai and his friends to save the world from a group of aliens from the eighth dimension, also there’s a completely random romantic subplot in here too. Why is this dangerous task left to Buckaroo and friends? Well he’s a physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, rock musician, god among men played by Peter Weller and they’re his band plus Jeff Goldblum dressed like a cowboy. The math checks out, especially after you meet the president in this film. John Lithgow is here as a one hundred percent mad scientist and he owns every scene he’s in. Christopher Lloyd is also really great despite being buried under a bunch of prosthetics.

This was the directorial debut of  W. D. Richter and I’m impressed with how well he made this work. It’s far from perfect, but I think it holds up far better then other sci-fi epics of the eighties. It’s beyond a shame that the promised sequel never left the dreaded development hell.

The score is pure eighties cheese. It’s mostly layered synthesizers with programmed beats with the occasional guitar sneaking in. Wikipedia says that Michael Boddicker composed the score, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you told me it was actually Beethoven from Bill and Ted.

Overall this is an amazing entry in the pulp tradition of scientist heroes, just filtered through the wacky heights of the eighties. It’s the type of film I’d love to see attempted today with our modern sensibilities. 9/10

Movie Review: Pokemon Detective Pikachu

May 17, 2019

detective-pikachu-reald-3dThis may not be the most original film I’ve ever seen, but it did fulfill my childhood wish of seeing these creatures in a live action movie and that’s almost enough for me all on it’s own. The story takes a fairly standard detective plot and just adds Pokemon into every facet of it. We follow Justice Smith’s character after the presumed death of his father, a detective whose partner is a talking Pikachu.

Justice Smith does a pretty good job handling all the heavy emotional lifting of the film while acting with a creature that isn’t there. Ryan Reynolds is fine, basically just doing his thing as his character is buried under an endless barrage of one liners. Bill Nighy and Ken Watanabe add some much appreciated gravitas. Kathryn Newton is probably the weakest link here; on one hand she feels like a character from the cartoon which I appreciate but since nobody else is bringing that energy her performance sticks out.

The movie moves along at a nice breezy pace, though not so fast that you don’t question certain confusing plot points. Henry Jackman made a pretty awesome score, maybe could have used a few more cues from the games but still pretty awesome. Also need to give a big hats off to the army of CGI artists who brought this world to life in a way that wasn’t horrifying to look at. Except for Mr. Mime, he was appropriate levels of horrifying.

Overall I highly recommend this for even casual Poke’fans, but the less invested in the franchise you are the less invested in the film you’ll be. That being said it does set a new bar for video game adaptions and I’d definitely check out a sequel or spin off. 7.5/10

Movie Review: The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot

May 4, 2019

mv5bmtg2nzi4njy1nl5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjuxotc3ntm40._v1_The title of this film promises a completely different experience then the one I received while watching it. I wanted to like it so much, but this film is just a mess. I mean you expect some kind of action film with that title but instead you’re confronted by long shots of Sam Elliot walking from one end of the screen to the other, almost like the director is trying to pad out the film to make sure it’s film length.

Speaking of Sam Elliot, he’s easily the best part of this film. The whole cast plays it bizarrely straight for what’s essentially the premise of an Adult Swim show, but it’s Sam that is giving a really outstanding performance in this film that doesn’t deserve him. Also gotta shout out Aiden Turner who plays a young Sam Elliot.

The story is somewhat engaging during the first half of the film, but it completely loses all sense of logic and pacing in the second half. Literally everything that has to do with the titular Bigfoot makes almost zero sense. It was the part of the film I was patiently waiting for and the ball was dropped in every way.

The score did nothing to help with the already disparate tones of this film. I’ve liked Joe Kraemer scores in the past, but this sounded phoned in. Imagine a cheesy Lifetime movie score and you’ll know what this one sounds like.

Aside from not making much sense Bigfoot is also a poorly designed monstrosity. Not in a scary sense, just in a ugly as fuck what were they thinking kind of way. The film started going down hill as soon as it introduced the Bigfoot stuff but it goes completely off the rails once the thing shows up. rearing it’s unbelievably ugly face.

Overall I probably wasn’t high enough for this film. Godspeed to anyone that wants to risk watching it. 5.75/10