Month: August 2019

Movie Review – Ready or Not

Category : Movie Review

Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Starring: Samara Weaving, Mark O’Brien, Adam Brody

Year: 2019

Ready or Not owes a lot to both Cabin in the Woods and Happy Death Day, filling those shoes so nicely that you may even start to believe that we’ve just seen the creation of a brand new genre.  That’s fun to pretend, even if it’s not true, but this film is wacky and original enough to warrant such fantasies, and Samara Weaving’s emergence as a literal Scream Queen only adds to the magic that is this movie.  It’s horror, it’s comedy, it’s wrong, it’s wonderful; Ready or Not may very well be the shock of the season that you need to let shake you.  Even Stephen King is singing the film’s praises, and when that dude recommends we all need to listen.  He knows scares, but he also knows balance, and that’s what we experience from this feature, a special blend of laughs and lacerations that compliments the plot perfectly and leads audiences to one of the best times we’ll have in a theatre this year.

Grace is the lucky bride at a fabulously lavish wedding; the only problem is her new family.  Alex is great; sweet, kind, funny, cute, the perfect husband, although he was a little hesitant to get married.  But marriage is important to Grace; she never had a family of her own, and wants to be a part of something bigger than herself just as much as she wants to spend her life with the man she loves.  And everyone adopts a few weird in-laws, right?  Well, not quite as weird as the Le Domases, which Grace will soon find out.  On their wedding night, Alex takes her down to meet all the members of the close-knit family and to play a game; a tradition unlike any other.  Grace has to pull a card and the family has to play, which sounds simple, unless you pull Hide And Seek, which is anything but the basic romp we played as kids.  This time it’s to the death, and the reason why is about as crazy as this night is about to become.

Samara Weaving is a revelation, and there were only a few times I could tell that she was hiding an Aussie accent; the rest was a clinic is comedic timing and lines that could become instant Americana from a film that is destined to be a cult classic.  Grace is lovely, normal, relatable, cool, someone you want to be around, and a young woman you immediately root for, since she’s the only sane person in a house full of loons, and you just hope to God that she can get away in one piece.  The film has that sort of transportative power, it sucks you right in, and you flee alongside Grace the entire time, Weaving playing her so beautiful that the two women merge and become one hero.  This movie is going to launch her career skyward, so get ready to hear her name a lot in the coming years, and what’s more is she deserves it.

Ready or Not is a spectacularly entertaining mix of violence and humor, making shooting people in the mouth with arrows somehow hilarious.  Car chases, crossbows, creepy kids, even the Devil himself; it all somehow reads funny, while also totally terrifying, which is the main reason this cool comedy deserves a standing ovation.  And what I was most impressed about throughout was the ability of the filmmakers to keep the action ramping up, to never let off the gas, to keep audiences on their toes, until the shocking finale that will have you covering your eyes and laughing your ass off at the same time.  It’s not easy teetering on the edge of so many genres, styles, and moods, but this movie made it look effortless, and that’s what we’ll remember all year; that a film came out of the blue and blew us away, and that we loved every minute of it.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆



Movie Trailer – The Aeronauts

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Tom Harper

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Himesh Patel

Release: December 6th, 2019

Really?  Balloons?  Really?  This doesn’t look interesting, and these actors are being misused, because they’ll only end up looking stupid and that’s not what they deserve.  Hard pass.

Movie Trailer – The Laundromat

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas

Release: October 18th, 2019

The Laundromat, mirroring the vast majority of Soderbergh’s films, is going to be bad.  He’s not a good director, that fact is painfully obvious to me, and I don’t know how more critics don’t understand that.  His films are goofy and gimmicky, but he persuades stars to jump on board and we get excited, but we really shouldn’t, because the typical result is crap.  This movie isn’t going to be an Oscar contender, nor will it be a Meryl Streep award vehicle; it simply won’t be good enough, despite what you might hear to the contrary.

Thought – 2020 Oscar Preview

Category : Thought

Of course it’s too early to make Oscar predictions; the nominees are months away from being announced.  Some of what may be the best films of the year haven’t even come out yet.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it anyway and make guesses based on almost nothing.  At the very least, here is a list of movies that deserve a watch, as they might be in the Oscar conversation soon.

This is the

ranking of top possible Academy Award contenders:

  1. 1917
  2. The Irishman
  3. Marriage Story
  4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  5. Harriet
  6. Parasite
  7. The Report
  8. The Farewell
  9. Jojo Rabbit
  10. Ford v Ferrari
  11. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  12. A Hidden Life
  13. Motherless Brooklyn
  14. Little Women
  15. Ad Astra
  16. The Two Popes
  17. The Goldfinch
  18. Queen & Slim
  19. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  20. Honey Boy
  21. Knives Out
  22. Booksmart
  23. Pain & Glory
  24. Just Mercy
  25. Ordinary Love
  26. Avengers: Endgame
  27. Us
  28. Cats
  29. Clemency
  30. The Peanut Butter Falcon

Snubbed: Midsommar, Light of My Life, Downton Abbey, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Uncut Gems, Ready or Not, Joker, The LighthouseThe Invisibles, The Art of Self-Defense, Lady J, Arctic, American Factory, The King, High Life, I Am Mother, Rocketman, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Shazam!, The Nightingale, Long Shot, Toy Story 4, Good Boys, Frozen II, Abominable.


Movie Review – Lost and Delirious

Category : Movie Review

Director: Lea Pool

Starring: Mischa Barton, Piper Parabo, Jessica Paré

Year: 2001

Lost and Delirious is a rating roller coaster if ever there was one; up one minute, down the next, anywhere from 2/10 to 9/10 at any given moment, and you’ll have to wait until the final over-dramatic scene to make you decision on just how much you hate this movie.  Really, there were spots when I caught myself thinking, “Wait, is this actually good?!”, only to reassure myself after with, “Oh no, right, worst film ever.”  Written by a Canadian, directed by the Swiss, brought to American audiences, with music from Ani Difranco; perhaps it was a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, and not enough smart decisions by anyone involved, as the plot reached the top of the track, headed down, and promptly derailed.

Mary, nicknamed Mouse for her shy nature, has just been enrolled in a boarding school, following the death of her kind mother.  She feels alone and unwanted, but luckily rooms with two other girls who are both full of life, and have similarly difficult back stories.  Tori’s family is far too perfect, she constantly feels pressured to stay on the “right path”, and Paulie is adopted, desperate to reconnect with her birth mother and find her true self.  But both girls have a secret that Mary soon finds out; they are sleeping together.  It’s not just a crush, not experimentation, they are in love, and Paulie is passionate about staying together forever.  Tori isn’t so sure, she knows what’s expected from her next; marriage, kids, tradition.  And so begins a school year full of heartbreak and betrayal, with Mary caught in the middle of it all, and witness to what comes next.

A mix of Dead Poets Society, Cruel Intentions, and …lesbians? …, Lost and Delirious is a snapshot of the times, but through a very odd lens, one that was in perfect focus at rare moments and completely covered in fog the rest of the time.  The story is sometimes poignant but mostly silly, as if it was in the wrong hands from the beginning and was constantly being dropped, only to be picked up by someone with a completely different vision.  The music was terrible, just awful, and not even 90s nostalgia will keep you from noticing all that’s going wrong in any given scene.  The acting wasn’t too horrendous; Barton was sweet, Perabo was intense, and my god was Paré hot.  But no one was good enough to carry things when they got kooky, and boy did they get kooky.  I liked the struggle-against-the-taboo angle, there were some solid seconds, but mostly the quality trended downward, and only got worse & worse the more you sat through.

My rating: ☆ ☆



Movie Trailer – The King

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: David Michod

Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris

Robert Pattinson, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily-Rose Depp, Thomasin McKenzie

Release: 2019

Michod and Edgerton wrote The Rover together, they have now written The King together, Chalamet is a great young actor, the supporting cast of the movie is spectacular, and we might get to see a depiction of Agincourt; I can’t wait to watch this the first day, the first hour, that it’s launched on Netflix.  I hope it’s good enough to be considered for Best Picture; last year I thought Outlaw King was, but no one listened to me.  Let’s have a makeup call now and get this film some awards.

Movie Review – Hesher

Category : Movie Review

Director: Spencer Susser

Starring: Devin Brochu, JGL, Rainn Wilson, Natalie Portman

Year: 2010

Hesher is the only real movie Spencer Susser has ever created, and you can see why he didn’t continue.  Not that I hated it, but there are people who consider this film an instant cult classic, an anti-establishment piece of cinematic art, and that’s just silly.  It’s a rough attempt to convey complicated emotions, which is the best that can be said about it; the worst is that it’s simply a random middle finger in a direction no one is standing, and in that case it’s best to walk away, because you shouldn’t stare at people who are obviously having issues and are probably on drugs.  Hesher is messy if a movie ever was, and its unfocused angst goes here, there, and everywhere until you have to start wiping it away before it starts to smell, which can’t be a good sign for a feature that features so many stars and is supposed to be something special.

TJ is a troubled boy who has just lost his mother, along with any direction his life possessed.  Now, he and his father are falling and moving apart, as neither of them can accept what has happened, and neither know how to keep on the path that once seemed so sure.  But someone shows up who will both throw everything into more chaos than before and also start to force TJ to see the true complexity of his feelings, and that’s dude’s name is Hesher.  He’s mean, he’s dirty, he could not possible give a damn about anything, and he’s perhaps exactly what two grieving guys need in their lives.  Problem is, he’s in their house too, and he’s hard to get rid of, this destructive force that can’t be contained, predicted, or diverted, at least until he’s done the job that he’s come to do.

The first mistake was making Devin Brochu a leading (young) man; whatever they might have seen during casting didn’t come through the camera, and there’s a reason you’ve not heard from him since.  The second mistake was fumbling Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s role, because he’s an incredible actor, but he’s not exactly Hesher.  He doesn’t quite work, while Portman & Wilson flounder too, the entire cast failing to come together in the right way.  Also, If you want to make Hesher a fantasy, an imaginary friend, whatever, go all the way, don’t play around with the idea that he’s not really there but also make him fully there, like he’s kinda what the kid needs on the inside but he’s also setting fires on the outside; just stop being weird.  This movie isn’t original, isn’t cool, isn’t edgy, it’s just trying too hard, and it doesn’t work the way you might have heard.

My rating: ☆ ☆



Movie Trailer – Parasite

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Joon Ho Bong

Starring: Kang-ho Song, Yeo-jeong Jo, Woo-sik Choi

Release: October 11th, 2019

I liked both Snowpiercer and Okja, but I don’t know about Bong’s latest.  It looks like a cross between The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Burning, but I can’t decide which way it’ll lean more, and I enjoyed the former much, much more than the latter.  Parasite really does look like a Lanthimos project; why wouldn’t I just wait for another one of those to come out?

Movie Trailer – Harriet

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Kasi Lemmons

Starring: Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr, Janelle Monae

Release: November 1st, 2019

I don’t dispute that this movie looks powerful, I just don’t think it’ll be that good, and especially not Oscar-worthy.  People have it in the Top Ten for Best Picture, and I just don’t see that, unless they’re going off of pure emotion, not apparent quality.  Lemmons is an unproven director, Erivo is a beginning film actress, Odom & Monae are performers more than anything else; why are we trusting this team with this much drama?  I hope I’m wrong, I’m gonna watch with an open heart, but if we’re predicting things I’m predicting some disappointment.

Movie Review – 3:10 to Yuma

Category : Movie Review

Director: James Mangold

Starring: Christian Bale, Russell Crowe

Year: 2007

As far as modern Westerns go, 3:10 to Yuma is near the top of the list, and the fact that it’s a remake doesn’t bother me; at least it had a good base to build off of and launch up from.  The original story was written by Elmore Leonard, and the original film came out in 1957, so a 50 Year Anniversary edition was in order and should be respected, especially when it’s done this well.  A classic Western is a thing of beauty, and so is a modern one that holds the same charm, that honors the past by moving the genre into the future, which is what this film was able to do quite nicely.  The cast helped, they played their characters wonderfully, and 3:10 to Yuma saunters in as an instant hit, a Western gem that can be enjoyed any year.

Dan Evans is about to lose his Arizona farm to the railway company; he’s got a bunch of dry land, too many debts, a shot off leg, a family to feed, and no where else to turn.  But a stroke of bad luck might turn good, if he’s willing to put his life in danger.  Dan and his boys happen across the dreaded outlaw Ben Wade, having just robbed a coach.  Wade isn’t completely cold-blooded, and lets the Evans’ go, but is in turn captured when he overstays his welcome at the next town.  Dan then volunteers to take Ben to justice, escorting him onboard the 3:10 pm train to Yuma Prison, with a reward of $200 waiting.  But he’ll have to get him there first, with Wade’s gang thundering down to rescue their boss, and with a prisoner who is so much more than meets the eye.

Bale might be the greatest actor of our generation, with the exception of Daniel Day-Lewis perhaps, and he’s on his game again, playing an American in the Wild West, while of course hiding his accent, which gives him away as a Brit from the seaside South.  Why are all the best Hollywood actors English, you ask?  I have no idea, but it just makes that country even cooler.  Actually, Bale was born in Wales, and Crowe was born in New Zealand, so go figure, but it doesn’t matter; they’re here in a Western together and it’s terrific.  Yuma carries a classic feel because of its origins, but it also views as new, with a gritty, realistic take on the ancient good v. evil battle, and with enough skill throughout the production to make audiences fall deeply into the narrative.  And the cast is chock-full of stars: Bale, Crowe, Ben Foster, Logan Lerman, Dallas Roberts, Peter Fonda, Alan Tudyk, Vinessa Shaw, Gretchen Mol.  Foster & Lerman specifically are pretty special, two younger talents that would go on to be legitimate leading men, and they elevate this film a great deal.  A nice blend of action, heart, guns, and high noon drama, 3:10 to Yuma checks all the boxes and boasts all the names; you’d be missing out if you continued to let this movie go unwatched.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆