Jump to content
DVDVR Message Board

2022 Movies Discussion Thread (v.2.0)


RIPPA
 Share

Recommended Posts

This is a little behind, but who cares?  I wasn't writing this up on my birthday.  It's Day 395 (and counting) of Whatever This Is: If You're Investigated for Stealing Nuclear Secrets, It Won't Be Because You're a Nerd, It's Because You're an Asshole Edition.

Your Baby's Dirty Diaper

Barefoot - Hey, what's worse than a movie that wastes Evan Rachel Wood's acting talents on a role that infantilizes her and makes light of mental issues?  Oh, right: Scott Speedman.  He's worse and also here.  If the characters were remotely likable; or if the writing around Wood's character was consistent or believable or just simply not insulting; or if it had actually done something with the many other recognizable people who tried (once again, J.K. Simmons, looking at you, but when am I not looking at you; stop being in everything, dude!), this might have at least not sucked so hard, but...yeah, we got none of that.  Yet another indie movie that makes me wonder what else could have been done with the money that would have actually helped people.  I guess employing the technical crew counts, though.  Ugh.

28 Days - Ugh, Sandra Bullock.  I want to like her, but then practically everything she's done for about 20 years has been awful.  Maybe this is roughly where that streak begins, because this is shitty, and boring, and predictable.  We get tied-with-a-bow closure on relationships we don't care about, and we get none at all on things that pop up and disrupt the norm in ways that might not have sucked so bad.  We get the world's millionth writer as protagonist, and we get basically no clever lines from her at any stage.  The only person who seems like he actually could exist in this world and feel authentic is Steve Buscemi, but when you have that face, it's pretty easy to look like you've been addicted to some drug or another some time in your life.  Why have I talked this much about this movie?  It's terrible.  Avoid.

AXE Body Spray Instead of Shower

The Lake House - Goddamnit Sandra!  I thought I had seen this before, but it turns out I hadn't.  I was kind of hoping it would take its gimmick as a bit more of a strange mystery and stretch out the details of it, but it does nothing of the sort, and, in fact, you can see everything coming a million miles away.  The only thing that salvages this is that this is one of Reeves' better roles in a serious movie from a period where he churned out a lot of garbage, and Bullock is more convincing than you would expect as someone too committed to her job to look up and appreciate life until it's too late, so you want to see them together.  And that's despite the stupid gimmick and the even stupider resolution.  Mostly, though, I wonder if someone's written a good SCP article about the Wormhole Mailbox.  That reminds me, I need to finish playing Control if I manage to find it less irritating somehow.

That'll Do, Pig

The Incredible Jessica James - I really wish someone had done a good Google search before naming this film.  Ah well.  It's...its own thing, that's for sure.  I had no idea who Jessica Williams was until I got a little bored 2/3s of the way through and looked her up, and then I realized why she was saying "dope" so much.  By the way, no adult human should have a fucking catchphrase.  This includes professional wrestlers, who do in fact have catchphrases but are very obviously not adults.  But you have to applaud this at least somewhat for the first 30 minutes or so, and that it sticks to its guns in terms of its humor and its sensibilities, even if they don't always work.  For a while, it's refreshing, but it's probably good this is so short, because it wears a little thin and eventually suffers a bit from Interstellar disease.  I started out thinking this would go higher, but it just doesn't sustain the laughs enough to be anything other than decent.

She's Funny That Way - Leave it to Peter Bogdanovich to out-Woody-Allen Woody Allen.  Plus, you can like his movies without thinking he's a massive creep, and even if he was a massive creep, the emphasis in Bogdonovich's case would be on 'was', so who fucking cares?  All the male casting is pretty good, since, other than Owen Wilson, they're all so schlubby that it's impossible to tell why any of these women would tolerate them, but instead of making it incredulous, it makes it absurd.  Austin Pendleton probably steals the show in that regard as the most pathetic excuse of a dirty old man imaginable.  If there's one really off-kilter thing with the movie, though, it's Jennifer Aniston's character, whose entire storyline feels shoved in with a speculum, like they had to have someone with a big enough name to get funding and this was the best they could do to make that work.  At times, though, this is pretty funny, and Imogen Poots has got to be one of the more quietly and oddly consistent performers in the last 10 years or so; she's never been great, but she's nearly always good, and this is no exception.

Inherent Vice - What is this movie trying to do?  Is it a noir?  Is it a stoner movie?  Is it a parody?  Is it a film adaptation of Poe's Law?  Is it possible to satirize a form so deeply and so completely by following its rules so strictly that you lose where the parody ends and the total adherence to a set style begins?  If you're Beck Hansen and you make a career of laughing at the earnestness of singer-songwriters, but then one of your albums makes people cry, are you just being *that* funny or did you become the thing you ridiculue?  Is it possible to cast Joaquin Phoenix and not stare at his cleft palate the entire movie?  Does Josh Brolin get his head de-blocked after roles like this?  Can you really decry police brutality when every moment of police brutality is played for laughs?  Is this actually a movie review?  I don't know the answers to any of those, and neither does Inherent Vice.

Wind River - I've mentioned the Vulture 2010s list a few times during these posts and my own jerk-face 2010s list, but this is one case where they got things a bit wrong.  It's weird they said this was godawful and Draft Day was the most meh film of the decade, because I'd probably switch that.  This has some genuinely touching moments, and it's beautifully shot most of the time, but I feel like a lot of the problems and criticisms of how women are portrayed in this are at least somewhat valid.  All of these tough women, either shown or discussed, are dead or traumatized, and it feels the need to 'go there' for things that don't say anything useful or make a point that isn't already understood.  At this stage, you can't really make a film with this kind of content and have some dude-bro out there say, "Wait, I didn't know guys could be that terrible! Wow, I'm enlightened!", because most of us already know this shit, and the rest of them probably aren't going to figure it out - or they'll be on the side of the scumbags.  I also kind of hoped the ending would loop back to the mountain lion, which was a bit disappointing when it didn't.  That said, the one big action moment in the movie is a pretty solid, rather unsettling piece of quick work, and for all the heroic and/or badass roles Jon Bernthal has had, this is easily his best of both of those qualities.  I guess I can see why some people like it, but I think this film has less to say than it thinks it does.

Ordinary World - Hey, let's throw a punk rocker who's also a dad in a movie about a punk rocker who's just a normal dad now: that'll work, right?  Actually, it's...not the worst?  I mean, Billie Joe Armstrong isn't *good*, but he isn't a wooden statue of himself, either.  And there are just enough genuine actors who know what they're doing here to keep things moving along when it needs to.  But it feels somewhat unresolved and shaky throughout; it's hard to say, though, whether that's the intent, because the message is that no one ever gets things figured out, or if it's just not as well-written as it could have been.  The last little chunk of the movie starts to change that with some shockingly insightful chatter, but then it's over, and you're left wondering why the remainder didn't try punching above its weight a little more, too.

One Maple-Frosted Donut

Hedwig and the Angry Inch - This has been on my to-watch list on Criterion for ages, but after seeing John Cameron Mitchell in The Sandman, I figured it was time.  Holy fucking shit.  The 2000s, as far as I'm concerned, are borderline unassailable for 'Best movie decade I've lived through'.  Add one more stick of wood to that enormous fire.  There are things about this I didn't care for, things that knocked it down a peg and would keep it out of the top 20 for its decade, such as the way the Tommy storyline is obviously a huge plot point but then drifts into nothing, but most of this is just fucking great.  The acting is great, the sets and locations are nutty and wonderful and so well planned, but the biggest reason this works is because the music is FUCKING AMAZING.  The weird thing is that I'd already been exposed to my share of things inspired by this, via the Baltimore Rock Opera Society (which I heartily recommend, assuming it survived the pandemic), so it's like I was primed to love this before knowing what I was loving.  Has there been a better musical since this?  I doubt it.  But now I kinda feel bad I never got to see Mason Park do this on Broadway.  Oh well: six inches forward, five inches back.

Why They Make 'Em, Why We Watch 'Em

Citizen Kane && - I hadn't watched this in probably 25 years, and barely remembered much from the first and only time I saw it.  But, then I bought the Criterion 4K.  I've dragged my feet a while on whether I should bother saying anything about this at all, because what the Hell could I possibly have to say about the most analyzed film in history?

And then I watched the first 45 seconds and thought, "Nah, I'm good."

Is this the greatest movie ever made?  Is it the most influential?  Is it 'perfect'?  All of those questions seem stupid when you realize that, relative to the events of the 20th century up to the present, what this movie is, is timeless.  If I went on Twitter and posted: "Seventy-year-old Florida man mutters about secrets in ostentatious palace once owned by a news tycoon", would you know if I was talking about this or today's news?  The only thing that changed wasn't the politics or the sleaziness or the corrupt nature of man; what's changed is our willingness to go along with all of it.  Half of us don't know what to think until we're told what to think, and labels lose their meaning today even faster than words like 'fascist', 'communist', 'American', and 'yellow journalism' are rendered meaningless here.  And hey, look, it's a story about a rich guy who thinks he's the One True Voice who can help the little guy while he also snaps up and cages everything!  How many of those useless pricks do we have floating around right this instant?  About ten?  And I wonder if any of them actually understood what this movie had to say.

And yet for how much it continues to mirror the times since it was made, this movie is utterly consumed with the notion of impermanence.  It hits you even before the movie proper begins, with that big fat RKO title that hasn't preceded a film for decades.  Whatever power William Randolph Hearst wielded through his newspapers - even in trying to get this very film suppressed - is long since smashed to pieces; Welles lost the battle but dominated the war.  One of the first titles on the screen mentions Xanadu, and more of us know that word from a Nintendo game or our recently-departed Olivia Newton-John than we do from this movie, or a history book, or from Coleridge (Hell, I had to look that up; I was going to say Shelley).  Welles' first big speech is about helping the Working Man, and then he sells that out to be the biggest newspaper, and then he sells that out for love, which he sells out to be governor, which he sells out for love again, only this time he's finally able to realize the only thing he loves is himself.  And the sole constant is money, which does him no good sitting around and vanishes to buy the thing that only makes him happy for a flickering instant.  Ain't capitalism grand?

There are certainly things that don't hold up.  Aside from Welles, the acting is hit-or-miss at best.  Ray Collins as his gubernatorial opponent has a brief scene that is probably the best moment of the otherwise flabby middle, and it's entirely unclear why Joseph Cotten played Jed Leland as a normal drunk guy in the 'younger' scenes while portraying a blind Black trombone player from Mississippi in the 'older' scenes.  But all the stuff that works...wow.  This is the rare movie that probably works far better in black & white than it ever would have in color, because it's swimming in pregnant shadows.  The moment of Kane towering over Susan, with her pupils reflecting just the tiniest light, is actually a perfect shot.  The rest of stuff that's relevant and has lasted is, I think, a fair bit more obvious than some let on.  There's this persistent myth with this movie that it's been around so long and its techniques are so ubiquitous that you can't tell how influential it is.  That's largely bogus.  Watch the ending: hi, Spielberg.  Watch the scene where Thompson enters the book room: hi, Denis Villeneuve.  Watch the nightclub scenes with Susan: hi, Marty and Truffaut.  The pilfering fingerprints of other directors are visible all over the place.

But still, it's a movie about how nothing lasts, which makes it all the more ironic that time has treated it the way it has.  It laughs at the futility of trying to have it all, and we as a society are still at the mercy of fools and clowns who think it's a how-to manual instead of a warning, but the art itself endures. 

Edited by Contentious C
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

It was on TCM the other day and I STILL didn't watch it. And I tried to record it, but my DVR told me it was already recorded, and I STILL hadn't watched it. 

Fuck. 

Anyway, spot on with the Inherent Vice review! 

There's always the app. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah gotcha. 

Back to Contentions point about the filmmaking, there was a lot of stuff pioneered in Kane, whether it's Welles, Gregg Toland, or others. Deep focus for one. It's hard to know what is "common knowledge" for film buffs and what's just known by Welles fan boys and scholars. ?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was just reading a review of this at Trailers from Hell and they mentioned the Mare of Steel. So I looked it up and... daaaaaaaaamn. That is about the most horrifying thing I've ever contemplated. How it got used in an ostensibly all-ages film is beyond me. Sidney Poitier is probably thinking "what did I get myself into here?"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes.  Me: Movies.  You: Not Caring.  It's DAY 400~!~! (though really, every day in a streak only happens once, so why celebrate arbitrary numbers?) (and counting) of Some Movie Bullshit, 'Chain Saw' Is Two Words and So Is 'All Right' Edition.

Unforgivable Instance of Film Malpractice

Forgiven - Hahah! I chose this category name well!  Normally this wouldn't even get watched, because why the crap would I watch God-bothering garbage, but Gail Simone said something on Twitter about blaming Kevin Sorbo for everything, so it felt appropriate to see just how awful this is.  It's REEEEEEEEEEEEEAAALLY fucking bad.  I mean, on some level, these things write themselves, since you know the clueless whackdoodles who write them have to work in the same 6 or 7 verses to try to make their 'point', and it's just a matter of getting themselves to those prompts.  But even then, WOW, this is SO badly written.  I might actually go so far as to say that, yes, this is the single worst-written 'film', if you can call it that since it's really just overblown propaganda, I have watched during this streak.  The Crow: Wicked Prayer, for all its faults, is not as much of a piece of shit in that one aspect as this is.  Granted, it's a far bigger piece of shit in plenty of others, so it's still the all-time worst.  It's one of those things where you could come up with the rules for a drinking game in about the first 3 minutes and be dead of alcohol poisoning 20 minutes later.  But, then again, you'd be dead and you wouldn't have to finish this, so...I guess that's a win? 

AXE Body Spray Instead of Shower

Steel Magnolias && - I hadn't watched this in decades, but since I now count myself among the crew with the 'beetus, I figured I should see how accurate this is.  Uh...it's not.  At all.  Maybe it was in, I don't know, the fucking 60s when this must have been originally written (it was a play first and you can tell), but I've literally never had low blood sugar so bad in 15 years that looked anything like that overdone crap in the beauty parlor.  Nor have I ever been stupid enough to NOT TELL PEOPLE IT'S HAPPENING.  Anyway.  This would probably go a rung lower if it weren't for the last real scene, which others have discussed here from time to time and is a legitimate tear-jerker, but the rest of this is insulting and not as funny as it thinks it is.  In a sense it's like The Women, in that it tries to show how women band together and make each other stronger, and yet everything in their lives revolves around men/babies/families because they drank society's Kool-Aid about how that was what would make them happy.  And of course the one person in the whole movie who actually has a fulfilling and happy personal life is the one who ends up dead.  None of the acting is really that good - if anyone deserved an Academy nomination, it might have been Olympia Dukakis, not Julia Roberts - and everyone who isn't one of the central 6 is about as dull as dishwater.  I dunno, maybe people like seeing babies slap Shirley Maclaine. 

The Land of Steady Habits - I didn't realize when I started watching this that it was yet another Nicole Holofcener movie, but at least her other ones had either a little more charm or a little more open disdain for their characters.  This is missing both of those things and is the poorer for it.  I guess maybe she should meet some people besides New Yorkers, or commuters to New York, or Angelenos?  Maybe then her movies wouldn't be so full of goddamned insufferable people who can't see how they're part of the problem?  This one is particularly egregious in that sense, since you've got two generations at work: a spate of spoiled older boomers who wonder why their kids are screw-ups, and a bunch of kids who don't notice that their parents' greed is a symptom of why they can't find jobs any better than 'delivery driver'.  No one comes off as likable or relatable; in fact, the one person you empathize with is the kid who offs himself with drugs, because if that were my life, I'd want a way out of it, too.  But hey, Edie Falco does have a scene or two where she reminds you she's better at this than, well, everyone, so there's that.

Hillbilly Elegy - I watched maybe 20 minutes of this the last time I had Netflix, so not a new viewing, just a completed one.  Wow, this is pretty bad!  It's strange that they cast the one non-Miles-Teller actor you'd want to punch in the face every bit as much as you'd want to punch J.D. Vance.  Of course, that ends up being the biggest problem with this: Vance is thoroughly, utterly, completely unlikable (and that's purely within the confines of this story, his odious politics and behavior since aside), and you want him to fail miserably.   And that is, naturally, the one thing we don't get.  And the thing is, I *should* sympathize with this.  This story is, on several levels, eerily similar to my own, aside from hobnobbing with Ivy Leaguers and publishing a fucking obnoxious book.  But I know this life because I lived it, too, and I understand the desire to get out and do better.  What I don't understand is how little introspection it truly engendered.  Next to something like, say, Dopesick, this does absolutely nothing to legitimately name and blame the real culprits for these situations.  Instead, this narrative makes it plainly obvious he was always the kind of piece of shit who would "make good", get his, and then pull the ladder up behind him.  Fuckwad.  The only reason this is here instead of in the garbage pile is an unusual one: Glenn Close, who got made fun of for this role, but let me tell you, that shit is ACCURATE.  Way too accurate.

Inside the Mind of a Cat - Yes, I watched a barely-over-an-hour-long documentary about cats today.  Yes, it was a good time and I'd probably do it again.  Is it a good film?  No, no, it's not good.  But I really needed something of a palate cleanser, and this hit the spot pretty well.  It's got its share of wacky cat videos and plenty of kittens and lots of things you want to pet.  It even has a few dog bloopers.  What it doesn't have, however, is any actual insight "inside the mind of a cat", unless you're 5, because this is otherwise all stuff you probably knew.  But, not the worst way to spend an hour with your kids, I guess.

That'll Do, Pig

Hello My Name Is Doris - The good Sally Field movie from this update; once in a while, you're reminded that someone who hasn't been in the spotlight in a while can still really go, and this was a good example of that from her.  I think some of the other people in the film are not so great or actively miscast, like Max Greenfield, but then again, if I never saw his fake-ass smile in anything ever again, it'd be too soon.  But the rest of this is often charming and endearing, although never quite over-the-top, because you know it's got to come crashing down eventually, since Field's character is sort of a creep at times and has it coming.  The whole hoarding narrative feels a bit undercooked, or at least needed to be grounded a bit better in the players who are involved - seems like a waste of Stephen Root to only have him in 3 scenes with just a perfunctory explanation for why he's the asshole brother who split.  It also feels like yet another samey-looking indie movie, so hey Michael Showalter: step up your game, maybe don't film shit on your iPhone. 

The Fundamentals of Caring - This doesn't have quite enough Bobby Cannavale or give enough time to Selena Gomez to make it to the not-quite-awesome category.  Why do I like Selena Gomez so much?  Is anyone else as confused by this as I am?  I haven't even watched Only Murders in the Building yet, either.  Yeesh.  Anyway, this is one of Paul Rudd's better movies in recent memory; he's typically Mr. Reliable, but I don't think he's been in anything non-Marvel that really made good use of his talents, although this comes close.  He's got the right blend of earnest and indignant and snarky and hangdog that makes this character work pretty well.  And the premise doesn't feel belittling or like it's picking low-hanging fruit with the jokes or with the emotional impact of the serious moments, either.  Just a good, solid, enjoyable little thing that doesn't pull punches and yet doesn't take cheap shots, either. 

Nothing better than that! I watched a bunch of crap this week! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Michelle Yeoh says she wasn't cast in Kill Bill because Quentin Tarantino told her "Who would believe that Uma Thurman could kick your ass?"

So at least QT knew what he was doing there

  • Like 2
  • Haha 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, RIPPA said:

Michelle Yeoh says she wasn't cast in Kill Bill because Quentin Tarantino told her "Who would believe that Uma Thurman could kick your ass?"

So at least QT knew what he was doing there

There's a similar story about not casting Pam Grier in Pulp Fiction. He initially wanted her for Jodie, but came to the conclusion that nobody would believe Pam Grier letting Eric Stoltz scream at her without kicking his ass

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Control said:

Though you might think of James Franco as an actor who dabbles in directing, he’s directed around 20 films.
 

That’s more films than:

Jane Campion (10)
Stanley Kubrick (13)
John Carpenter (18)

OK but how many of them are good and how many of them are like that aggravating adaptation of As I Lay Dying?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Contentious C said:

OK but how many of them are good and how many of them are like that aggravating adaptation of As I Lay Dying?

Oh, I imagine that the best is THE DISASTER ARTIST, which is like a 6/10. Most of them look like dog shit.

Even without Franco’s personal reputation, I’d have no interest in his filmography, even though I typically really appreciate a working, bad movie director.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/18/2022 at 8:35 PM, Contentious C said:

The Fundamentals of Caring - This doesn't have quite enough Bobby Cannavale or give enough time to Selena Gomez to make it to the not-quite-awesome category.  Why do I like Selena Gomez so much?  Is anyone else as confused by this as I am?  I haven't even watched Only Murders in the Building yet, either.  Yeesh.  Anyway, this is one of Paul Rudd's better movies in recent memory; he's typically Mr. Reliable, but I don't think he's been in anything non-Marvel that really made good use of his talents, although this comes close.  He's got the right blend of earnest and indignant and snarky and hangdog that makes this character work pretty well.  And the premise doesn't feel belittling or like it's picking low-hanging fruit with the jokes or with the emotional impact of the serious moments, either.  Just a good, solid, enjoyable little thing that doesn't pull punches and yet doesn't take cheap shots, either. 

Nothing better than that! I watched a bunch of crap this week! 

I enjoyed this movie for the most part.  It's a very obvious movie but it's funny and charming.  Honestly, the only part I didn't much care for in it was Selena Gomez.  She's doing some faux edgy thing here (oooh, she smokes and says f-words!) and that, combined with the clicheness of her character... blech.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, The Natural said:

1. Pulp Fiction.

2. Reservoir Dogs.

3. Kill Bill.

---

Still haven't seen Death Proof, The Hateful Eight and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Same first two for me, but it's really a toss up between Kill Bill & Django.  Honestly, both are probably better films than Reservoir Dogs, but Dogs is special to me for nostalgia reasons.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • RIPPA locked and unpinned this topic
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...