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Movie Reviews: Brigsby Bear, Ingrid Goes West, Colossal

December 20, 2017

December is upon us and in preparation of my Best of the Year lists I’ve been on a big movie kick. Here is a trio of super indie films I had to buy on Youtube because they either didn’t play near me when they initially came out or they had super limited runs. These films might not make the lists, but they are all great films that you should check out if you’re so inclined. Also there is an unintentional theme to this list, obsession.

brigsby_bearBrigsby Bear is weird as fuck, but like in a good way. It’s like that Brie Larson movie Room, mixed with Bubble Boy and Be Kind Rewind. I don’t wanna give too much away, but you know a movie is nuts if you have to reference three completely different movies to cover the scope of it. Essentially it’s all about obsessive fan culture and exploring the good and bad aspects of being a hardcore fan of something. Kyle Mooney from SNL wrote and stars here alongside the great Mark Hamill, both of whom give great performances. Overall this is a fantastically quirky and heartfelt comedy, please go give it some money and watch it. 9.5/10

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ingrid_goes_westIngrid Goes West is not at all what I was expecting, but then again I never really looked into it beyond the cool colorful poster. I was expecting a fun comedy with Adurdy Plaza, but instead I got a dark story about an obsessive and lonely girl who just can’t handle the rigors of social media. A brief few moments made me laugh, but it overall felt more like a drama that thought it was a comedy thanks to some really baffling score choices. But all that aside, this is the best performance that Plaza has ever given, I mean I thought she was at the top of her game in Legion, but this here was a level further. 8.5/10

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colossal-new-poster-1Colossal is a strange movie all about metaphors made literal. Anne Hathaway plays an alcoholic who is forced to move back to her hometown. Soon afterward a giant monster starts attacking South Korea. I won’t say what happens next, but it’s quite the ride. I won’t say who, but there is an extremely obsessed character character in this film in case you were wondering how it fits the theme. I don’t know what else to say without giving something vital away, but if you like the idea of a quirky indie drama mixed with a kaiju movie then check this out. 9/10

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Movie Review- Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

December 17, 2017

mv5bmjq1mzcxnjg4n15bml5banbnxkftztgwnzgwmjy4mzi-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_I don’t want to get into a whole lot of spoilers here, but suffice to say this film was just about everything I wanted. I have nits to pick sure, but I liked it a lot better then Force Awakens and I really appreciate the left turns the story took. I’m still not excited for the Solo movie, but I have faith in the direction of the series even if J.J. is coming back for IX.

Acting here is just as good as Force Awakens if not better since Mark Hamill actually gets to do stuff in this movie and he gives the performance of a lifetime while he’s at it. The other new characters are well acted too, Kelly Marie Tran ties with Laura Dern for my favorite of the newcomers. Also shout out to Carrie Fisher for a truly amazing performance.

As for the directing, I wanna give Rian Johnson a high five. I’ve liked all of his films prior to this and he nailed this universe so much better then Abrams, an Empire Strikes Back retread this is not. I still had gripes, but he delivered the appropriate feeling of awe that Star Wars films promise.

The story isn’t what I expected and that was a nice surprise after Force Awakens. I liked the arcs all the characters had, and I liked seeing the chemistry of Rey and Luke. There was one sequence on a planet called Canto Bight that did derailed the film though. I appreciate wanting to explore war profiteering and animal cruelty in the Star Wars Universe, but Last Jedi introduces these ideas in the clunkiest way possible just for some lip service. These ideas are much better suited for Rebels, the films clearly don’t have time to do them justice.

The special effects were incredible. Sitting through the shoddy effects of Justice League may have skewed my perception in this regard, but this film looked spectacular with a wondrous blend of practical and digital effects.

Overall I’m very happy with it. As a lifelong Star Wars fan I can’t exactly be unbiased, except in the case of comparing it to other Star Wars films. So without further ado, my ranking for the saga thus far.

  1. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 10/10
  2. Episode IV: A New Hope 10/10
  3. Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi 9/10
  4. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi 8.75/10
  5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 8.5/10
  6. Episode VII: The Force Awakens 8/10
  7. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 7/10
  8. Episode I: The Phantom Menace 5.5/10
  9. Episode II: Attack of the Clones 5/10

Movie Review: What Happened To Monday?

December 5, 2017

mv5bmje4mdqxmdg3mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjq0mtcwmzi-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Netflix sure is on a roll this year. This isn’t an amazing film or anything, but it’s a solid dystopian concept with a fantastic lead in Noomi Rapace. Willem Dafoe is also in here as a kinda creepy support character. As good as these two are though the rest of the cast is just okay. Glenn Close feels like she’s seriously phoning it in.

Story was interesting as far as dystopian concepts go, but it kinda just seemed like an excuse to have multiple Noomi’s running around, none of which feel fully developed enough because we don’t spend enough time with any of them. Dialogue is thrown around about overpopulation and GMO’s, but that stops being touched on after the set up. It was definitely original, I just feel like they could have pushed the concepts a bit further.

Overall I say check it out if you’re bored, pretty good. 7.5/10

 

 

Movie Review: Carol (2015)

November 26, 2017

mv5bmtczntq4oteynv5bml5banbnxkftztgwndgymdi3nje-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Just saw this on Netflix and I’m really bummed I didn’t get to see this back when it initially came out. This is a small story about two women who fall in love with each other at some point in nineteen fifties New York. It’s a slow paced romance that’s fairly sad, and easily one of the best of theses types of films that I’ve ever seen. But if that doesn’t sound like your type of thing then I can’t imagine you’ll find much to like here.

Acting is by and far the best part of this film as it should be for this story. Rooney Mara plays the younger shy girl who’s discovering her sexuality, and she give a nice subtle performance. Cate Blanchett dominates every single scene as the title character, an older woman who tries to balance her family life with a prolonged seduction of Mara’s character. The few supporting characters are fine, but nothing compares to these two leads.

Overall I would say that this is an amazing film and if you want a good cry and suburb acting then Carol is the film for you. Maybe not the most original of plots, but it was executed so well. 9/10

Movie Review: Justice League

November 21, 2017

justice-league-poster-fandangoSo here we are, five years after the release of Avengers and DC has finally graced us with the Justice League. It’s the fifth film in their somewhat desperate attempt to catch up with Marvel, and it definitely suffers from the fact that only two of the members had movies before this team up. That being said it did like it being the huge nerd that I am.

I will definitely miss Affleck in this role if he really does leave, he really delivered here along with Gal Gadot and the newcomers. I always liked Henry Cavill’s performance as Superman, but here I feel like he finally got to be Superman. Ezra Miller is good but nerds be warned, his character might be named Barry Allen but he’s acting way more like Wally West. Ray Fisher is making his big screen debut here and he’s pretty amazing considering that we only get to see like half his face the whole time.

Directing here feels weird. You can definitely pick out a few scenes that feel more like something Snyder did and other scenes that feel a lot more like Whedon, but overall the film doesn’t feel like either director’s vision. I like to call this film the product of Joss Snyder. Has a better ring to it then Zack Whedon.

Story here was clunky and convoluted and it was really hurt by that two hour mandate. I mean if Aquaman and Cyborg had solo movies before this then maybe you can cut down Justice League to two hours, but as it stands they didn’t have near enough development.

Score had some enjoyable callbacks to the Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman themes that we know and love, but I did feel like I heard anything that I would call a Justice League theme. I hate to say it but Danny Elfman may have been phoning it in a bit.

Special effects were sadly one of the bigger issues with this film. I mean with as much as this thing cost to make you’d think the cgi would be fully rendered. I know everyone is talking about Superman’s upper lip, but that was barely noticeable to me compared to the ugly gray mass that was Steppenwolf. His design in general was boring and uninspired, but they kept giving that poorly animated mess a close up for nonsense dialogue. The Flash and Cyborg effects looked good though.

Overall this was enjoyable for me but I get the critics that still hate it. Comic nerds will certainly appreciate it. 7/10

Movie Review: Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

November 16, 2017

large_1rre3m7wsi2qavnzd4aua8lzzckSo I know I’m eighteen years late to party on this one, but I was eleven when this came out so cut me some slack. I was scrolling through Netflix and I stopped reading the synopsis when I saw Kubrick’s name. So I was completely unprepared for seeing that much of Nicole Kidman right up in the front of the film. The nudity only ramps up from there as the story explores the darker sides of human sexuality.

Acting is pretty amazing from the two leads of Kidman and Cruise, easily among the best performances I’ve seen from both of them. Kubrick is the real star here though as the close ups and pacing really drags you into Tom Cruise’s head.

Story plays out like a typical drama until it doesn’t. You feel like the story is building in one direction and then suddenly it becomes a different film with a different story to tell. I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending, but it’s a good sign that i’m still thinking about it.

Overall I can understand why none of my friends seemed to like it when asked, but personally I’m a fan of weird films that explore the slightly fucked aspects of humanity and this film does so expertly. This was Stanley Kubrick’s final film before passing and in my humble opinion he was at the height of his powers. 10/10

Movie Reviews: Raw, 1922

November 8, 2017

raw_28film29Raw is the first of two horror films I saw recently on Netflix. This film was viscerally disturbing. It starts off with a fucked hazing ritual and gets darker from there. The story doesn’t really work for me, just seems like a thin excuse for the horror to happen. The two sisters are good, but the supporting cast seemed a little stiff to me. Overall I can’t say I enjoyed the experience of watching it but I admire what they were going for. I imagine there are plenty of horror fans out there that’ll love this film and perhaps even have a laugh at the pitch black humor. Overall I give it an 8/10, just not for the faint of heart.

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mv5bytg0mmuynjityzjmni00ytcxltg4otqtnmi2zji0zdiznjq2xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyntm0mdc1ode-_v1_uy268_cr40182268_al_1922 is the third Stephen King adaption that I saw this year and it’s another win. Of the three this is the one that I did not read the source material for, but a lot of the familiar King tropes are here, jealous man, the twisting of religion and fucking rats. Thomas Jane is unrecognizable as Wilfred James in what I might have to say is his best performance to date. Score was also amazing, really kept the tension up through the otherwise quiet moments. No where near as disturbing as Raw, but I would say that the acting and story are better here. 8/10