Thursday, June 30, 2016

Broken Horses

This is one of those rare movies that dares to take chances that could spell disaster, but instead rises to the challenge in amazing ways. The style of this film could only be described as magical realism. It's almost the real world, but just a bit beyond, hyper-realistic in a glorious way. The direction is inspired and very different from any other film I can think of. The likely reason for this is the movie was written and directed by Indian filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and his style veers far away from American tropes. The acting was awe-inspiring, particularly Chris Marquette, who was utterly mesmerizing. Anton Yelchin is, as always, breathtakingly real, and he serves to ground this film in a very human and touching way. I really loved this, it's like nothing else I've seen in recent memory. Take a chance with this one, you will not regret it. 5/5

Broken Horses on Netflix

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Pain & Gain

I almost didn't rent this, as I gave up on Mark Wahlberg a lot of years ago. However, I do love The Rock, so I took a chance and rented this. I was not sorry. This was a smart, stylish, well directed action thriller with really standout performances from all the leads, including Wahlberg. The Rock was, as usual, hilarious, and the script was tight and well written. I really enjoyed this, a I recommend it. 4/5

Pain & Gain on Netflix

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Driftless Area

This was one of Yelchin's last films, so obviously required viewing. The direction is lush with an organic palette, and the shot composition is just gorgeous. The script is interesting, but lacks some needed character direction and enhancement. However, my biggest problem was the very unnatural way the director seemed to have all the actor speaking. It was deliberate and punctuated in strange ways, and it really threw me out of the film. Had the director matches his luscious direction with matching soft and layered acting, this would have been a home run. As such, a noble failure. 3/5

The Driftless Area on Netflix

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Tale of Two Sisters

This Korean horror film confused the hell out of me. I didn't understand the relationships of the characters for most of the movie, and thus the huge plot twists throughout the end left me feeling uncertain as to what I was watching. I'm still really confused by the very end. From reading other reviews it seems I need to see it multiple times to really understand it, but I don't know that I care enough to, quite honestly. I was totally gripped by it throughout, and the direction was very strong, and the acting was also superb. So... I'm mixed. 3/5

A Tale of Two Sisters on Netflix

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Rudderless

Long time readers of this blog will know well that, for the last several years, I've been singing the praises of Anton Yelchin and have repeatedly stated he was one of the brightest young stars I've seen lately. When he died so tragically recently I was gutted, as we'd never get to see the fullness of his true potential. I rented this because because of Yelchin, and, as always, he shined brightly in in. I had no idea he could play guitar and sing like this, which made the pain of watching it doubly bad. But, without a doubt, the star of this picture is Billy Crudup, who I often overlook when thinking of truly talented actors. This was William H. Macy's directorial debut, and he picked a challenging and difficult script for it. It's impossible to discuss what transpires without spoilers, so I'll just say I was floored by the turn of events, and thought a lot about all the different responses to that turn. I will also say that I plan to hunt down the soundtrack to this film as it was truly amazing. I loved this film - it was beautifully told and acted throughout. A real gem. 4.5/5

Rudderless on Netflix

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Better Than Chocolate

This lovely film is truly a celebration of love in all its forms and has characters all over the sexuality spectrum. It's funny and sweet and tender and brave, but I do have to say I wished the acting and direction were stronger so they could better match the script, which I quite enjoyed. 3/5

Better Than Chocolate on Netflix

Found.

I got this title from a list of indie horror films that were worth watching. I must respectfully disagree. I don't care about the gore and violence of it. I barely flinched at "Martyrs" so this wasn't enough to make me cringe. First of all, the acting was atrociously bad. I feel like everyone in this film was someone the filmmakers knew and not an actual actor at all. It threw me out of the film time and time again - it was quite bad. But perhaps more egregious was the real lack of substance in the script. We never know why anything is happening, how we got here, or where this is going at the end. The writers seemed to think that the presence of the gore made up for the lack of story, which really didn't work for me. The very last scene was the only moment in the film I really loved. Just not good enough for me. 2/5

Found. on Netflix

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Wave

This Norwegian disaster film was far better than most American ones are. Strong direction, great acting throughout, well paced, and extremely suspenseful. Well done! 4/5

The Wave on Netflix

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hello, My Name Is Doris

Wow, what a lovely, sweet, and heartwarming movie this is! I was utterly charmed by it, and I really disagree with the Netflix reviews claiming it was creepy. Sally Fields was lovely, and Max Greenfield is, as always, pretty ridiculously sexy. Wonderful. 4/5

Hello, My Name Is Doris on Netflix

Friday, June 17, 2016

And Soon the Darkness

This is one of those horror flicks where, if anyone made one single rational and responsible decision, none of this hell would have happened. A very average fright fest. 2.5/5

And Soon the Darkness on Netflix

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Nightmare

This was a fascinating look into real cases of sleep paralysis. I was intrigued by the stories of the people who live with this terrifying disorder, but I do wish there had been more facts about the condition so that it would have been easier to understand from a medical point of view. 3/5

The Nightmare on Netflix

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Marine 4: Moving Target

Oh wow, what a disappointment this was! This script was absolute garbage - monkeys banging on keyboards could have written something better. There are no characters, there is not plot, and the direction is lousy. No one in this movie could act, but given that no one even had much dialogue, it mostly didn't matter. I felt terrible for The Miz, who worked so hard in "Marine 3", because all his character work was gone here. However, his excellent gun and fight work helped make this somewhat palatable, which is why it gets half a star. I was so sad for Summer Rae, as she had virtually no lines and nothing to do except run awkwardly with a large gun. She had a really cool fight scene with The Miz, but it was over in about twenty seconds. Such a waste! I sure hope "Marine 5" is better than this! 1.5/5

The Marine 4: Moving Target on Netflix

45 Years

When reading the reviews of this film on Netflix, one can tell almost immediately who has been in a relationship for a very long time and who hasn't. My husband and I have been together for over twenty years, and I recognize the give-and-take of a long term commitment in this fine film. It is a feat of nuance, subtlety, and grace, and it is a beautiful thing to watch. I was reminded of "Amour" more than once, and that is high praise from me. But Charlotte Rampling, she was the absolute star of this. She delivered such a performance that I honestly have no words. It was a feat of tremendous restraint, of deep nuance, of a thousand emotions washing over her in subtle waves. The final ten minutes of this film contained some of the best acting I've seen from an actress in years. She well deserved her nomination, and I wonder why the film itself didn't get a Best Picture nod, as it well deserved it. I will likely wonder that for a long time. This is a beautiful film, I urge you to watch it and allow it to take you where it will. 5/5

45 Years on Netflix

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Green Prince

This documentary was shot in the manner of "The Imposter" and was very compelling, excellently told. 4/5

The Green Prince on Netflix

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Learning to Drive

This is a sweet film with a nice moral compass to it. I liked how the racial differences were explored without jamming lessons down the viewer's throat, which was refreshing. Clarkson was lovely as always. Very charming. 3.5/5

Learning to Drive on Netflix