Oct 10, 2015

Movie Reviews

Nightcrawler – Wow, I really liked this movie. It’s about an aimless dude who stumbles into a job where you go to accident/crime scenes and film stuff to send to local news. That escalates to perhaps over the top levels, but it’s still really good. It’s a horrendously creepy job and Jake Gyllenhaal plays a horrendously creepy dude. I love the look of the movie, it feels like the 80s, dark and kind of grimy and lit by street lights. It’s a wonder how the movie is so captivating when everything about it is so gross. I was disgusted but totally taken.

The Kingsmen – Pretty cool movie. It’s pretty violent. The action is for the most part slick and cool. They push it too far in more than one instance. The people stretch and move in clearly digital ways and it takes you out of the badassery. It’s mostly good, but there’s at least 5 instances of meh. The movie walks a weird line, it’s mostly trying to be badass and cool, but then occasionally, and especially toward the end, goes totally campy. It’s funny, for the most part, but is kind of weird. But it’s pretty cool overall.

Extracted – This is an indie-ish movie about a dude who invents a machine that can go into people’s memories. It’s used for a not so nice reason and gets him stuck in a not so good situation. The rest of the movie is figuring that out and trying to get out. It’s a neat idea, and I can’t say there’s anything in particular wrong with the movie. At the same time, I was kind of bored. Not sure why, maybe the pacing was off, maybe the main dude was just too bland. I did like the end, and just the discussion of what memory really is, that was a cool aspect.

Man with the Iron Fists 2 – Holy crap is this bad. I thought I remember liking the first, but I could be wrong and I can’t find a review. But this is terrible. No one expects the acting to be good, and it isn’t. Probably the writing will suck, and it does. You might hope that the story is decent, but no dice. But it’s a kung fu movie, all those things are forgivable if you serve up some proper ninja shit. They did not. At first I thought maybe just RZA was terrible, he’s not a ninja anyway. But then everyone else is bad too. The choreography is so boring. So simple, it’s like they are running through practices they just learned last week, you can see them thinking about the next move. Really bad.

Blackhat – Holy shit. So, basically, some one read the headline for a story on Stuxnet and was like “woah, someone should make a movie about that”. And then they read LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE ABOUT HACKING EVER. Well, that’s not fair, they did google “top 20 hacking buzzwords”, and then used half of them wrong. Like straight up, did you even google how RAT is usually used, wrong. And then that’s all just a flimsy excuse for an action movie. Dumb.

Seventh Son – Okay, first of all I thought this was based on the Orson Scott Card book. It’s not, it’s based on another book of a different name. Kinda shady to name your movie the same thing as another guy’s book. But, OSC is an asshole, so I don’t care. The movie is terrible, btw. The effects are actually good, a lot of the setup seems like it should be good. But only if no one moves. As soon as they start moving, and especially when they start talking, yikes. Not good.

Starman – This is an old 80s movie I never saw. Alien comes to earth, takes the shape of a widow’s dead husband, then they have to get off the Earth before the big bad military stops them. It’s pretty good, I’m not sure why Jeff Bridges got an oscar nomination, it’s good but it’s not amazing, he’s mostly just trying to act like he can’t speak very well. But still, it’s a good movie, dated in lots of ways, but good.

Jupiter Ascending – Yikes, not so good. For some reason I put this and Interstellar in the same bucket in my head. Interstellar was pretty great, minus the end. This was pretty terrible, including the end. It’s really a teenie bopper fantasy movie, except in space. Princesses and evil villains and quests. Except all the CG is bad, and the acting is bad. The story is pretty bad. The universe is okay, it could have worked, but it ends up being kind of forced. Not so good.

American Sniper – This movie is hard to watch. I found it pretty impossible to separate my reaction to the movie from America’s reaction to the movie. I’m very uncomfortable glorifying a professional killer. And that’s no comment on him. I don’t know if it’s true, but I can imagine that a person in that situation is only interested in making the choices that save as many of his friends as possible, and that seems pretty reasonable. But so much of the reaction to this movie is what a bad ass killer of ay-rabs he is, it’s very icky. To be fair, the movie itself shows conflict in that role, he does struggle with the reality of both war and life at home, and I think that’s really valuable. But my brain can’t ignore the jingoistic blind patriotism that surrounded this movie and this man, and that’s hard to except. Separate from all that, the movie is done pretty well. Well, except the baby, yeah, that was terrible.

Kill Me Three Times – I didn’t get this movie. It’s very quirky, not in a cute way, more like a british gangster movie. But it didn’t catch me at all. I can’t say what was wrong with it, just that I was sufficiently uninterested that I didn’t even want to disentangle the plot, which wasn’t that complicated. Oh well.

Ex Machina – I like this movie. It draws things out too much, because you can see what’s happening faster than the people in it. But as an outline it’s pretty good. I don’t enjoy the end, but I can’t say that it’s bad, they didn’t make an wrong choice, I just didn’t like it! But that’s focusing on 5 minutes I didn’t like when I liked all the rest of the minutes quite a bit.

Dumb and Dumber To - Nope.

Exodus: Gods and Kings – Meh. I’m not really sure what the point of this is. It’s not an earnest biblical movie, it’s far too shiny (literally, it’s grimey shine, but it’s still shine), too flashy (metaphorically). If it’s an action movie, well, I don’t know, just make an action movie. Although, probably should make a better one than this. If it’s a biblical movie, it should feel a lot more biblical, less like a straight to DVD 300 sequel. I feel like the whole point was just to see the plagues, and then the red sea, and those were somehow underwhelming. At first I hated the representation of god, but then the idea of a petulant foot stomping child kind of grew on me. It might be my favorite part of the movie.

Hector and the Search for Happiness – This is pretty good, but pretty weird. Like that Walter Mitty movie, the mixing of reality and fantasy is more frustrating than fun for me. I know I’m supposed to just enjoy the story, but I kept getting distracted by how it would be realistic for 20 minutes, then be a little nuts for a while. But still, it’s fun, I like it.

Wet Hot American Summer – I had never seen this, but watched it so I could see the netflix show. I wasn’t not impressed by either. The ads for the show were hilarious, but I guess that was all their hilariousness. It’s meant to be extremely wacky, I guess racey. But it just seemed stupid for the most part. You can only get so funny by being crazy and “oh my god no they didn’t”. I guess that used to work, I guess that’s Anchorman. But this didn’t work at all. I was so bored by the end of the show.

Taken 3 – I don’t know, it’s even less interesting that the 2nd one. Him being a badass was only awesome because it was so unexpected and therefore cool. Continuing to do that for 4 additional hours is super boring.

Jack the Giant Slayer – This started out pretty bad. It never got good, but it got better at least. But at first it’s objective terrible. The acting, the writing, the CG, oh man. About half way through it gets a little better, maybe I was just distracted by the plot, simple as it was. The second half is just kind of an average kid-friendly action movie. Nothing much to it.

It Follows – I guess I see why this was received well. It’s not like the writing or performances are particularly wonderful. And the hook is just as lame as any other hook, maybe even a little lamer, trying to exploit our love of seeing people doing it. But the pace of the movie is good. Though it has it’s moments, it is by no means relying on scares or gore to keep your attention. It is more thriller than horror often, so it gets points for that.

Woman in Gold – It’s hard for me to judge this movie, because I disagree with the lady. I think the movie is pretty well done. They have a simple job, just tell her admittedly remarkable story and don’t fuck it up. They don’t fuck it up. I have a problem with her not because I think she’s crazy or bad. Her story is tragic and representative of endless tragic stories to come out of that war. I just have a problem locking pieces of art away in private collections. Not a lot can trump the suffering of a victim of that war, but, to me, iconic elements of the cultural history of an entire people should be shared, not in your living room.

The Theory of Everything – Pretty good. I didn’t know much about his story, just the broadest outlines. This filled it in pretty well, and everyone does a good job. You have to wonder how much of it is smoothed over. I guess it’s mostly based on his first wife’s book, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all truth. But whatever, I don’t care about all the salacious stuff. He changed physics. Someone else would have if he hadn’t, but as it happens he did it, so that’s worth something. Cool to see the story of how it happened.

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