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2022 Movies Discussion Thread (v.2.0)


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On 3/21/2022 at 10:59 AM, EVA said:

Lol I want to be clear that this is not a good movie before you do anything rash. Gloriously bizarre is the highest praise I can give it.

What was the other funny scene you're referring to? The ending was obviously one.

But this isn't even the most bizarre thing about the movie. There's a bartender who talks to Batfleck about 10 minutes into the film. The name of the guy they cast for the role? 

Sam Malone.

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On 4/28/2022 at 9:52 AM, The Comedian said:

Homey you don't need to concern yourself with the opinion of someone who didn't laugh uproariously throughout Dirty Work ..

Don't talk to me, or at me, fucker. You got no business here.

Edited by Curt McGirt
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Everything, Everywhere and All At Once was... weird, funny and utterly marvelous. It is a shame it came out first half of the year because I think it is strong enough for at least a few nominations for awards. Michelle Yeoh is damn treasure!

James

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Posted (edited)

Yeah.  Movies.  Monday.  Stuff.  We're here.  It's Day 293 (and counting) of Movie Nonsense, Enough with the Period Pieces Edition.

Hot Garbage

Deep Water - What EVA said, except Tracy Letts is not the least bit entertaining in this film, because almost no one is.  It's still only watchable when Ana de Armas seductively diddles herself, and even then, it's far more dull and dreary than it ought to be.  Something is very, very, very, very, very wrong with your movie when the mid-credits outtake of a 7-year-old singing the Bee Gees or whatever in the back of a car is far and away the highlight of your movie.  I haven't read Patricia Highsmith's books, so I wonder if this is a case of bad source material, bad adaptation, or the "aromatic" blend of both.  Adrian Lyne is still kind of the right guy to make this sort of movie, though, as you can see him sort of going through all the old highlights, if you're familiar with his stuff.  Otherwise, skip.

A Good Woman - I thought about putting this in Acceptable for a minute or two, but even Oscar Wilde can't save this.  It's just...ehhh, it's at best an overacted, uninteresting attempt at something Ivory/Merchant-ish without decent performances or noteworthy direction.  For the most part, it just feels like the characters are huddled around so they can riff on the best bits of the script, rather than inhabiting a world of their own.  Plus, I found myself wondering how much different this story might have been had Wilde been born in a more modern time; I think if he'd directed it himself, it'd still be funny, but it'd probably also be hilariously smutty and inappropriate, and I wonder when someone's going to have the good sense to lean into that for an adaptation of his.

Acceptable

Jack Goes Boating - I don't quite know what to think of this, except that I'm not going to watch it again to find out.  Hoffman directed this as well as starring in it, and while I've never been as over the moon about his acting as other people were, he's good here, bottled up and clearly a strange, twitchy bastard the entire time, and you just wait for the top to come off, which it eventually does.  The side drama of the two friends is believable and well-done and well-acted, but I think my problem with this is ultimately Amy Ryan.  Well, it's not her, because I love her and she's never anything less than excellent, but she's probably not the right casting for this role.  The character has some traumatic shit of her own to deal with, but you very much get the impression from the way she talks that, even without the events of the film, she was also just as strange and twitchy, and so it's hard to deconvolute the "new stuff that happened" from the "was always this way" parts of what you should take away from her.  And putting Amy Ryan in a role where you're expecting her to kind of be a bit small and lack presence at times is a bit of a fail, even if she's a Hell of an actor. 

Body Heat - I have a pile of movies in my life that exist like this one, on the edges of my memories, where I think I've seen them or was subjected to bits of them when I was younger, but I never sat down to watch them.  This feels a little rote as far as noirs go, and that's especially true having watched China Moon a few months ago.  The latter movie is in no way better than this - if anything, it's a pale copy - but of course, even this movie is a copy, so after the torrid initial phases of the film, it kind of slows down and feels like it's about 10 minutes too long because you've seen all this before.  But Lawrence Kasdan did have a couple of decent tricks up his sleeve that keep it a little unusual at times, like that totally oddball Ted Danson tapdance routine and the shots just before the big finale where everyone gets what's coming to them.  And plus, the ending is one of those, "This is the ending, take it or leave it" kind of things you don't really get anymore.  But it leans ultra-hard on Hurt & Turner and their chemistry, because it doesn't really have a ton else going for it.  That said, it is probably the one and only time Kathleen Turner was even 10% as hot as everyone made her out to be in the 80s.

Death on the Nile - I mostly want to punch Kenneth Branagh in the face for a multitude of reasons, but this is one of his less punch-worthy performances of late.  I didn't see the other adaptation they did; I'm frankly a little surprised this got made, even, after that flopped so hard.  But this isn't too bad.  It's not exactly great, either, as ensemble movies are either just enough of everything in the right place, like Tombstone, or sort of rushed and over-stuffed, like this.  And of course, if you've seen one Agatha Christie-inspired movie, you've seen them all, because they're all structured the same.  On some level, you kind of find yourself wanting to just skip past all that and get to what's different.  To the good is the beginning and the ending, which both give some detail and much-needed humanity to the characters.  To the bad is some of the CGI, which makes you wonder how much COVID impacted this.  Then again, one of the most egregious green-screens in the whole movie is one of our favorite cannibal, Armie Hammer, alone against the backdrop of a hotel, so you wonder, really, how fucking hard is it to get ONE SHOT on location?  So, overall, this is unsurprisingly in the middle.

Titane - *sigh* I know, I know.  Should be higher, right?  Well, it should, except for Vincent Lindon.  Maybe it's the wrestling, maybe it's my needle phobia, maybe it's my general distaste for almost anything hyper-masculine, but watching some gross old guy cling to his fucked-up notion of who he's supposed to be is something I can do without.  Plus, given the implications this movie makes about who he was and the choices he made, he's, well, he's not a good person, and it makes it that much harder to find a reason to support the redemption journey he takes.  Agathe Rousselle is great, the visuals are great, the messaging is great, the themes are great, but having half the movie tied up with someone I couldn't relate to, or like, or do less than loathe, really, made this hard to appreciate.  Maybe it will age better with subsequent viewings - whenever I actually work up the nerve for those, because YEEESH this is fucking intense.  No wonder Cronenberg came out of retirement.

Awesome

Pig - I think this just squeaks its way into Awesome because it runs contrary to so many expectations.  The first 20 or 30 minutes are more than a little ridiculous at times - "Hobo Anthony Bourdain Goes to Underground Waiter Fight Club to Track Down Prize Truffle Pig, Where People Pay a Month's Wages to Fight Him" has got to be the most ludicrous plot point ever in a movie played otherwise this straight.  I couldn't agree more that this is one of Cage's best roles, though it just makes me wonder, "Why now?"  How many of his other movies might have been improved with a little restraint from time to time?  Is the rest of the film really noteworthy enough for him to suddenly show up and hit one out of the park?  Maybe, but then again, maybe instead of playing up or down to the quality of the material so severely, he could, I don't know, do fewer fucking movies that are huge piles of shit.  But anyway, this!  This is just...not what you expect.  Both this and Titane are top of the heap with respect to, "The less you know going in, the better." Opening and closing on the river, and that strange, beautiful, terrible monologue in the middle about earthquakes are good perspectives to keep; this kind of washes over you, just like it does everyone in the film, and no one has the control they think they do, no matter how tightly they grasp it.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Putney Swope - This is one of those movies that makes me feel like an asshole for even talking about it.  What the Hell are you supposed to say about this that hasn't already been said, and probably in a handful of doctoral dissertations a year at that?  But I don't think I've laughed this hard at a movie in years.  I was a guy who loved Mad Men and still thinks it's a great TV show, but here was this, almost 40 years prior, being a million percent more honest and believable than that show ever was about what those fuckers were and are still doing.  It's a good reminder that D. Boon was right; let the products sell themselves.  So, I guess I don't really need to talk about this movie; it sells itself, too.

Edited by Contentious C
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On 5/2/2022 at 9:33 PM, Contentious C said:

Death on the Nile - I mostly want to punch Kenneth Branagh in the face for a multitude of reasons, but this is one of his less punch-worthy performances of late.  I didn't see the other adaptation they did; I'm frankly a little surprised this got made, even, after that flopped so hard.  But this isn't too bad.  It's not exactly great, either, as ensemble movies are either just enough of everything in the right place, like Tombstone, or sort of rushed and over-stuffed, like this.  And of course, if you've seen one Agatha Christie-inspired movie, you've seen them all, because they're all structured the same.  On some level, you kind of find yourself wanting to just skip past all that and get to what's different.  To the good is the beginning and the ending, which both give some detail and much-needed humanity to the characters.  To the bad is some of the CGI, which makes you wonder how much COVID impacted this.  Then again, one of the most egregious green-screens in the whole movie is one of our favorite cannibal, Armie Hammer, alone against the backdrop of a hotel, so you wonder, really, how fucking hard is it to get ONE SHOT on location?  So, overall, this is unsurprisingly in the middle.

Titane - *sigh* I know, I know.  Should be higher, right?  Well, it should, except for Vincent Lindon.  Maybe it's the wrestling, maybe it's my needle phobia, maybe it's my general distaste for almost anything hyper-masculine, but watching some gross old guy cling to his fucked-up notion of who he's supposed to be is something I can do without.  Plus, given the implications this movie makes about who he was and the choices he made, he's, well, he's not a good person, and it makes it that much harder to find a reason to support the redemption journey he takes.  Agathe Rousselle is great, the visuals are great, the messaging is great, the themes are great, but having half the movie tied up with someone I couldn't relate to, or like, or do less than loathe, really, made this hard to appreciate.  Maybe it will age better with subsequent viewings - whenever I actually work up the nerve for those, because YEEESH this is fucking intense.  No wonder Cronenberg came out of retirement.

I thought I would hate the backstory of Hercule Poirot's moustache, but it is a heartwarming way to bookend the acts in this movie.  I wasn't crazy about how they shoehorned a do-nothing character like Bouc into the plot, but no harm no foul.  

Titane is a pretty awesome movie, but I feel it is a step down for Ducournau.  Titane has all of the social commentary, symbolism, and shock of Raw without the humanity or style.

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Posted (edited)

Hey, it's Monday.  You know the drill.  It's DAY 300 (and counting) of Whatever the Hell It Is I'm Doing, Enough Already with the Invocation of Body Horror Concepts in Real Life Edition.

Hot Garbage

Be Cool - I knew this would be awful.  I knew it, and I didn't heed the many calls that pointed out how bad it was, and I watched anyway.  I hate myself.   How did this even get made, anyway?  Should it have been skipped because:

A) It's poorly acted, poorly directed, poorly scripted, and almost entirely unfunny,

B) it's pervasively racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and basically every other thing you can think of (I was going to say "at least it doesn't have pedophiles", but hey, James Woods),

C) nobody gave a shit about the characters because it was far too long since the original, or

D) all of the above?  What in the actual fuck.

Still not as bad as The Crow: Wicked Prayer or Seventh Son, though.

Acceptable

Lost Girls and Love Hotels - This...probably could have gone down a notch, but despite the scarcity of plot and characters who just drift in and out, there are some interesting shots here that make it a little more effective than your typical shitty indie movie.  A lot of the quieter and crazier moments of the film do a good job of taking advantage of small rooms and the generally claustrophobic feel of a city full of so many people, people who fail to connect with each other and abscond to hotels to wring some pathetic bit of satisfaction from their lives.  And so you're left (even moreso than usual) as the voyeur who peers into their weird, kinky bullshit and wonders if they'll ever get their collective shit together.  Alexandra Daddario is more effective than you might otherwise expect as a broken, sweaty, screwed-up beauty who is escaping about 14 things at once, and despite the many, many, many, many bad sexual decisions she makes, she still carries a certain amount of functional (or perhaps willing) naïvete that makes you wonder how long she's got before her choices catch up with her.  Strange movie to find on the back end of Hulu's catalog, and while it's not "good" in a lot of ways, the craft here is *just* good enough to overcome some of its other problems.

Hotel - Point/counterpoint to the last movie.  This was from 2013 and stars Alicia Vikander, and aside from the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes, I found it kind of insufferable.  The premise is fairly ludicrous, and I say this having just watched Pig.  But man, when Vikander wants to be a force of fucking nature, she is that and then some, and she is great in this, albeit in fits and starts.  David Dencik is also really great at times here, but most of the rest of the film is flat, unless you have some oddball reason to think the premise is somehow cute or relatable.  If you took the quality of acting here and added it to the quality of the cinematography from the last film, you could have had something really nice.  Instead, they're both kinda failures, and they're both kinda interesting.

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - Didn't like as much as the first one, but I appreciate the change of pace.  Said more in the spoiler thread, but this is very much an Acceptable Movie.

Tucker: The Man and His Dream && - Sort of a rewatch, as I know I've seen chunks of this several times over the years, but never the whole thing all the way through.  Mostly I remembered it via the Simpsons parody episode where Homer bankrupts his brother's car company.  And while I can do without Coppola's fucking nostalgia bullshit in general, at least the court case stuff at the end lifts this up a little.  Then again, if you fuck up court scenes, you have no business directing traffic, let alone a movie.  This has got to be the weirdest Dean Stockwell cameo I've seen, too; yes, significantly weirder than Blue Velvet, because at least he was *good* there.  Martin Landau is pretty good here, but otherwise, if the story were any less crazy, it wouldn't keep anyone's attention.

Rabid - Good to know we actually *did* do a Cronenberg planet for the last 2+ years.  This is a pretty clear step down from the stuff he'd do eventually, but it has its moments, and Marilyn Chambers of all people drags this to watchability.  The matter-of-factness to this is what really works compared to so many other zombie movies.  It's not panic and madness; no, instead it's "Well, let's just pay some snipers time-and-a-half and get some squeegee guys out there, too, and we'll, uh, we'll clear up these zombies as they arrive, I guess.  Never enough time to do it right but always enough time to do it again, eh?"  Even the undead can't break the gears of bureaucracy.

Hustlers - Pretty close to being an Awesome, but as ever, awfully tired of the movie-framed-as-news-story structure.  The performances are pretty damn good across the board, even Lopez, who, after all, is just playing a True Neutral version of herself, rather than her actual Chaotic Evil alignment.  And it's both damning and sympathetic to nearly everyone, since everyone is not just abused but also some kind of abuser as well.  The writing is funny, and Lorene Scafaria just doesn't seem to drop the ball, even if the way it plays out feels like a distaff nod to Goodfellas and I don't like this anywhere near as much as Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Awesome

The Audition - I watched this mostly because of Nina Hoss and some batshit crazy poster on Kanopy that suggested this was her "best performance".  I mean, c'mon, really? This, over Phoenix?  Nah.  Nope.  Uh-uh.  But she's still great; she spends a huge chunk of this movie perilously frozen between looks, just as liable to burst into a smile as into tears, and it isn't entirely clear why for quite a while.  Eventually, though, her story unspools itself, and you begin to understand why she's so self-destructive and so insufferable to her music student (think Whiplash minus wanting to punch everyone in the whole film, save Melissa Benoist, in the face).  But that understanding gets turned on its head, literally and metaphorically, by an absolutely nutso ending that leaves you wondering what the Hell you just watched.  It would probably feel too surprising or somehow unearned to some people, but the more I thought about it, the more it turned into an understandable through line for a whole family of screwed-up overachievers. 

Edited by Contentious C
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For some reason (not that I'm complaining) a bunch of Orson Welles' hot takes are appearing on my Twitter feed.  I needed to share with you his thoughts on Megatron 

 

Once again -- Orson is never wrong. 

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On 5/8/2022 at 2:03 PM, (BP) said:

Anybody got a favorite cartoon opening from an 80s or 90s movie?

 

I never realized that John K did the titles for Troop Beverly Hills.

My vote is for One Crazy Summer:

 

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Just wrapped up The Northman, fucking loved this one! This is what I thought The Green Knight was gonna be, except I hated the fuck out that one and enjoyed the hell out of this.

Getting to see this back to back with the new Dr. Strange flick was a nice way to spend my dad's birthday with him. Fucker turns 63 and is about to be a new dad (yup dad not granddad)

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Monday.  Movies.  You don't care.  It's Day 307 (and counting) of...this...whatever this is...you don't care anyway.  Let's call this one, Actresses Who Look Eerily Like Women I Dated Edition.

Hot Garbage

Kalifornia && - Counting this as a rewatch since I can't adequately recall if I'd seen it before.  It's possible I had, but that means somehow I forgot the most overdone, idiotic Brad Pitt role in the history of Brad Pitt & idiocy.  I have seen far too many of Dominic Sena's movies, and good God, they are all bad.  The scary thing is, this might be the best one of the bunch, as at least Juliette Lewis & Michelle Forbes are varying degrees of believable, if nothing else.  And there's probably an interesting premise for a movie here, but the execution for this is too far off the mark to give a shit.  Oh, and Tedious Narration, and when it's David fucking Duchovny's voice, it's only rendered more tedious.  But hey, Michelle Forbes, right?  There's actress # 1.

The Deep Blue Sea - I have to think this was better as a play.  It just doesn't work at all as a film.  And I don't know how you have Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston as your stars and have basically ZERO chemistry on-screen.  They must have fucking hated each other or something.  Some of the reviews online suggest the idea that she is an unreliable narrator, but I don't think that explains or defends the shoddy work here.  So much of the movie just feels unearned; there are so many slow moments that are painfully dragged out over and over, but they're occasionally broken up by these overblown rows that don't seem like they have any basis in the same reality as these people who languidly talk about their problems like they happen to someone else.  The most preposterous one of these happens in an art gallery, and it's punctuated with a meme-worthy, "Where are you going?" "TO THE IMPRESSIONISTS!" If I get up to take a shit from now on, there's a part of me that wants to shout that each and every time.  And then the ending...ugh.  It's the most unearned thing about the whole movie.  Just no.  No.

The Wolf of Snow Hollow - This is easily the most likable of these three films, even though it's still kind of obvious and derivative and lame in a lot of really basic ways that it didn't have to be.  The script is all right, and the development isn't *bad*, it's just, well, it's not enough.  It isn't consistently funny enough, and the ending is just some wannabe Silence of the Lambs nonsense that feels slapped on, rather than something really integrated into the rest of the film.  And there's just enough here with respect to the main character's mental breakdown that you could much more clearly connect the two tracks of events in a way that gives some more worthwhile amount of emotional impact.  But, of course, the guy who stars in it wrote and directed, too, and you wonder if this wouldn't have been a bit better - even good - if he'd found someone else to trust with the direction and storyboarding.  But, if you absolutely had to watch a movie I have deemed Hot Garbage, you could do a lot worse than this.

The Dead - This bored the crap out of me, except for the hard left turn it takes towards the end, when Angelica Huston finally gets to do something in the movie.  Before that, it's sort of a Granada-quality, not-terribly-interesting period puff piece, which is a weird way for John Huston to have gone out, I suppose.  And while the last 20 minutes really give you something to think about, it's just not enough to buoy something that isn't necessarily compelling or likable without the twist.  I get the level of detail and care that goes into movies like this, but that isn't near enough to make me care about them.  And that's where this falls especially flat. 

Acceptable

The Parallax View - This was decent, although I didn't think much of either Klute or All the President's Men when I was watching this; just never made the connection in my mind that Pakula directed all three.  No, instead, I immediately jumped to having seen The Anderson Tapes some months ago, as this had the same kind of itchy, discomfiting dread to it throughout.  I think compared to something more modern, it doesn't hold up particularly well, just because it's uncomplicated to the point of feeling like details are missing.  Aren't these guys trimming both sides of the lawn a little too hard, for example?  And the degree to which it tries to be an action movie seems a bit off, too.  But man, that ending is something else.

Words on Bathroom Walls - This probably could have ended up in Hot Garbage, but it's got a couple of legitimately screwed-up scenes to it that drag it to watchability at times, so good on Charlie Plummer for managing to salvage this.  It's got to be one of Molly Parker's worst performances, though, and Walton Goggins seems like he's wasted for a huge chunk of the film before his big swerve finally pays off.  The only thing that consistently works is the slow burn between the two main characters, who don't seem like they'd be much of a fit, because Charlie Plummer is a weird-looking kid, but somehow they make it work.  Though, this was also more than a little weird to watch, since Taylor Russell also resembles someone I used to know just a little too much (actress # 2). 

Playground - Whew, this was intense.  After I crapped all over Paranoid Park a while ago and the Dardenne Brothers got mentioned, this stood out a bit for name-dropping them on Kanopy.  And the comparisons are undeniable; the only issue with this is what I'll explain later.  But the nuts and bolts of this are really good, since if you have any familiarity at all with how thoroughly awful children can be to one another (and my memory is long enough to be all too familiar), then this can be almost too heavy, if anything.  I don't think this is as good as Girlhood, for example, which is also fairly similar not just with respect to subject matter but also the intensity of the camera work, but this is still a pretty strong first film that's very well-acted.  The big problem is...

Awesome

Rosetta - ...I watched this the very next day, and man, Playground lifted a TON from this movie, which is just loads better.  This made me start feeling a bit crazy at about the 15-second mark; that's how effective the pace and intensity and sheer noise of this movie can smack you about.  The acting is ridiculously great, but as often as not, I just found myself wondering how the Hell these guys pulled off some of this stuff.  How do you track fights that seem so chaotic?  I suppose I could Google an answer, because they've probably been asked that a thousand times in interviews, but even if it's something simple like, "Follow her left shoulder no matter what it does", there's a once-in-a-lifetime kind of quality to how this all works together that goes beyond whatever the techniques were. This will probably sound weird, since I'd bet large sums of money the Dardennes would cite Godard as an influence, but this is precisely why I can't fucking stand Godard's movies - because for all his farting about with the camera, it seemed like it hardly ever produced an emotional result like this.  And these guys did more in the first 15 seconds of their movie than he did in entire films.  I mean, what the Hell.  The ending is really something, too, but I think my favorite scene was the one where Rosetta tackles Riquet after he comes to visit her.  It's uncomfortable and crazy and violent and over-the-top like so much else, but it's such a great distillation of who she is, only ever meeting problems with the worst intentions and expectations on her mind.  Easy Top 100 Movies of the 90s pick.

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So, yeah, Everything Everywhere All At Once is the best film of the year already, right? I mean I knew I'd like it when I heard it was from the Swiss Army Man dudes but, holy fuck, it's a bagelling, talking racooning, dildoing, butt plugging, spanking, hotdog fingering, insane, beautiful, fucking great film. 

806 trillion stars. 

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I watched RRR (in the original Telugu language), and this thing was incredible. I'm not super well versed in Indian cinema, but this movie was put over by some outlets that I really trust, so I gave it a shot. I'm not sure if this is the film that makes me seek out Indian movies, but I will say that this delivered on the insanity that I expected, plus added a really damn good story in the midst of all of it. The Hindi language dub is currently on Netflix, and I can't recommend this flick enough.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah.  Monday.  You know what I'm doing, and I know what you're doing (not caring, that is).  It's Day 314 (and counting), More Than I Expected Edition.

Hot Garbage

Rock of Ages - Sure, Tom Cruise can almost maybe kinda sing.  And Catherine Zeta-Jones as a breathy, buttoned-up Tipper Gore type is sort of hilarious (the "We're Not Gonna Take It"/"We Built This City" duel is rather good for the brief moment it's there, too).  But, uh, we're done talking about things that work with this movie now.  The song choice is not only largely garbage (I imagine it's whatever bullshit Elektra or somesuch label could license?) but the way they're done for this is so overdone and auto-tuned that there's no resonance or grit to any of the performances until Mary J. Blige shows up, and even that hardly overcomes the bombastic nature of how this is handled.  Plus, I mean, why nostalgia for *this* 80s music?  Did you actually listen to some of the lyrics?  They're gibberish!  And when they're not gibberish, they're flaccid!  I think this especially suffers watching it out of order, in a sense, since even Bohemian Rhapsody is a better musical than this, yet this is probably one of those movies that gave someone the bright idea to make the latter film.

Die in a Gunfight - Motherfuck, it's Diego Boneta in two of these turkeys in a row.  I was hoping this would be something offbeat and zany like Free Fire, only with Alexandra Daddario instead of Brie Larson, but instead, it's just an incredibly shitty Romeo & Juliet retelling with Alexandra Daddario instead of Brie Larson.  In fact, I might go so far as to say this is the very worst version of R&J I've ever seen.   Just...just nothing works about this, except maybe Rome--errr, BEN's mom, who seems like the only three-dimensional, thinking, feeling, honest-to-FSM actual person in the whole movie.  Oh, and it's got a lame attempt at using animation to make it spiffier, and Tedious Narration all over the place, and they fuck with the ending just because they want to.  Ugh.  Just fuck ALLLLLLLLLL the way off with this.  If you want to make it different, make it DIFFERENT.

Alert Alert ALERT - STINKY BAD DUMPSTER FIRE OF RAINING SULFUROUS GARBAGE, 2020s EDITION

Artemis Fowl - Hooooooooooo boy.  I will, at the very least, be kind enough to say this is NOT - not QUITE - as bad as The Crow: Wicked Prayer or Seventh Son, but if this isn't the worst movie of the decade so far, I'd like to know what is.  I'm trying to think of what could be considered positive about it, and...nope, there just isn't anything.  Terribly uncool where it tries to be cool; a pathetically blatant (not to mention bland) Harry Potter ripoff, and when you're ripping off THAT and manage to be *even blander*, you have done something truly bad; a passel of characters who are basically just Smurfs or the Seven Dwarves (i.e., only one character trait allowed per person), but fairies instead; a bunch of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey bullshit that doesn't play by its own rules because rules apparently are for suckers; and then!  AND THEN!  It takes that shit burrito and tries to tack on an Original Italian Job ending!  Add another reason to punch Kenneth Branagh in the face.  I hope Disney lost millions on this.

Acceptable

The Lifeguard - This probably could have gone down to Hot Garbage, but it's got just enough surprises and authenticity to it to keep it out of the trash heap.  There are a couple of scenes that will make the room legitimately dusty.  I'll probably never watch it again, despite seeing a great deal more of Kristen Bell than I expected to, but it isn't a thoroughly complete waste of your time, either.  That said, if you're as sick of "Millennial tries to find themselves" movies as I am, you'll want to steer clear, because, well, there's a lot of that.  Apparently all Millennials have to do to find jobs is write, direct, and act in the same fucking movie about 20 times a year, and they'll keep themselves gainfully employed.

White Bird in a Blizzard - See above, except Gen Xer (the movie's set in the 80s/90s), and Eva Green is of course wonderfully batshit crazy 99% of the time in everything, and this is no exception.  The ending manages to be both terribly obvious but also a pleasant surprise.  The nuts and bolts of the plot aren't really enough to make you *care* about the ending, but it's the way Eva Green plays it that makes it not just work but fucking sing, compared to a lot of the rest of the film.  The weird thing about this is, as mediocre as it is, you can kind of tell there was probably a punchier, more interesting, more starkly biting version of the film that could have been made, and this director just blew it, bad.  It's like it's trying to be an Alexander Payne movie and just falls flat most of the time.  Saw a lot more of Shailene Woodley than I expected to, but that's also not a reason to ever revisit this.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall - I actually started watching this probably 3+ months ago, but I watched literally 3 minutes of it on Amazon Prime, got distracted, and by the time I wanted to watch it again, they'd taken it down.  Glad I stuck with it this time.  Not riotously funny throughout, but good enough.  I think my biggest gripe is that Jason fucking Segel, of all people, gets dumped by Kristen goddamn Bell and falls ass-backwards into true love with Mila motherfucking Kunis, and I'm supposed to feel SORRY for this guy???  What in the cream cheese fuck are you thinking?  Of course I don't sympathize with his pain!  I WANT HIS PAIN.  But it's probably something I would consider watching again (despite seeing WAY more of Segel than I EVER want to see again), just because the "Muppet Show theme song into inconsolable blubbering" scene and the "You need to see a psychiatrist!" "But I hate psychiatrists!" scene are two of the funniest moments of the last 15 years of film.  And hey, who else wants to see a full-length "A Taste of Love"?  It's not just me, right?

Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers - I was *thisclose* to putting this into Awesome.  I had no expectations for this at all and it's just...it's just really good.  I didn't actually recall much of anything from the TV show except the theme song, but you don't need to.  This is just 90 minutes straight of inside jokes, potshots at other animated franchises, making fun of Tentpole Movie Mania, and one big love letter to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  I think the only thing about this that doesn't work is that it's almost too geared toward an adult audience, despite being PG. Adults will get it because so much of the movie is being sly and riffing on the foolishness of nostalgia, but...eh, I don't see how it would really hold a young kid's attention.  Maybe I'm wrong, since it's not like I know any of them.  But you should watch this yesterday.

Awesome

Men - Alex Garland may be the only movie person I trust more than Denis Villeneuve, and for damn good reason.  You know what you're getting if you saw the trailer, and if you saw Ex Machina and Annihilation.  I daresay there are times here where the visuals are even more arresting - and certainly FAR more disturbing - than either of those movies.  The plot is pretty simplistic, but absolutely mesmerizing in the most unsettling kinds of ways.  The editing, especially with respect to how the sound and scoring are used, is as jarring and terrifying as anything you'll see for a long, long time.  And Jessie Buckley is sort of the perfect person for a movie like this.  And plus, there's just a heap of religious iconography and symbolism and generally crazy bullshit that will probably spawn any number of imitators and people coming up with Mullholland Dr.-levels of weird theory-making.  I don't want to spoil much, but I will say that, if they wanted an alternate title that didn't spawn a million shitty bathroom jokes on Twitter, they could have called the movie, See What You Made Me Do.  If you know people who think like that, if you know their pathology, then you have some idea of what an unrelenting horrorshow this is.  The worst thing I can say about this is that it's just not the best movie of the year, since Everything Everywhere All at Once had the good fortune of already blowing us all away.  But you need to see this, assuming you can stomach it.  And trust me, that is much, much, MUCH bigger "if" than you might think it is.  Oooof.

Edited by Contentious C
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Pleased to see the glowing review of Men.   I forgot it was released last Friday so I am going to see it over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

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On 5/23/2022 at 10:47 PM, Contentious C said:

 

Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers - I was *thisclose* to putting this into Awesome.  I had no expectations for this at all and it's just...it's just really good.  I didn't actually recall much of anything from the TV show except the theme song, but you don't need to.  This is just 90 minutes straight of inside jokes, potshots at other animated franchises, making fun of Tentpole Movie Mania, and one big love letter to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  I think the only thing about this that doesn't work is that it's almost too geared toward an adult audience, despite being PG. Adults will get it because so much of the movie is being sly and riffing on the foolishness of nostalgia, but...eh, I don't see how it would really hold a young kid's attention.  Maybe I'm wrong, since it's not like I know any of them.  But you should watch this yesterday.

 

My son (5) has watched this twice on his own and loves it.

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Decided to re-watch Top Gun (afer listening to the We Hate Movies podcast covering itfor the first time in like... geez... 2 decades?
It's a hitlist of great 80s actors and character actors. Ironside, Skerrit and Tolkan are always fuckin awesome and they cover for some of the weaker dialogue portions. Where the dialogue (and acting) fall short is made up for by Tony Scott nailing the action portions. This really was Tom Cruise first showing of his Tom Cruise star power and you forget shit like Tim Robbins was i nthis too in a minor role and he was like a year or two from blowing up himself.

It's still a fun wath and holds up and has me excited for Maverick

James

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12 minutes ago, J.H. said:

Decided to re-watch Top Gun (afer listening to the We Hate Movies podcast covering itfor the first time in like... geez... 2 decades?
It's a hitlist of great 80s actors and character actors. Ironside, Skerrit and Tolkan are always fuckin awesome and they cover for some of the weaker dialogue portions. Where the dialogue (and acting) fall short is made up for by Tony Scott nailing the action portions. This really was Tom Cruise first showing of his Tom Cruise star power and you forget shit like Tim Robbins was i nthis too in a minor role and he was like a year or two from blowing up himself.

It's still a fun wath and holds up and has me excited for Maverick

James

But Robbins had already been in Howard the Duck. 😉

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