Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Life

Okay, I'm just going to address the very mixed reviews for this right away. I see both sides of the issue. Yes, the acting is very strong. The direction was engaging and excting, and I was incredibly intrigued by the life form. I was completely into the film from minute one. However, I see the point of the naysayers. This movie really was cliche after cliche after cliche. And, ultimately, given the parameters of the film, most of the choices made were idiotic and contradicted by the way the film draws to a close. Yes, I'm being really vague here to avoid spoilers, but I think readers will get my meaning regardless. I did have to give it an extra half star for the last two minutes of the film though, because WOW. That alone was worth the price of admission. I did like this. It was enjoyable and fun in every way it needed to be, but "Alien" it was not. 3.5/5

Life on Netflix

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Train to Busan

HOLY SNOT THIS IS THE BEST ZOMBIE FILM I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. Hell, it's the best action film I've ever seen, let alone the best zombie film. And how many zombie films have you seen that will make you cry from sheer tragic gutwreching emotion on multiple occasions? I swear, a film like this could only be made in Korea. Korean directors have a unique visual and visceral style that lent itself perfectly to this film. The direction was outstanding, and the script fleshed out and perfectly told. The acting was incredible, and so was the music. I can't say a single bad thing about this film. It's just amazing. OMG, rent this. 5/5

Train to Busan on Netflix

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Free World

This gritty drama is a complete gutwrencher. Boyd Holbrook and Elizabeth Moss are at the tops of their games in this. They were both absolutely genuine, down to the smallest little tics that give away chronic trauma. The connection between them was so intense I could almost feel it myself. The story is sparingly told, which was the right call in my book. I didn't want to know much more - it was far better to let me paint the details in my head. The direction was beautiful as well. This was a total home run on all fronts. Loved this. 4.5/5

The Free World on Netflix

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Ward

I wasn't really having this film until the last ten minutes, and then everything fell beautifully into place. I literally went "OHHHH!" out loud. I haven't seen a John Carpenter film in ages so it's good to see he still has a good directorial touch. I have been liking Amber Heard's work as of late - this, being several years ago, was still a bit shaky for me, but she was getting there. An interesting film. 3.5/5

The Ward on Netflix

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2

I loved the first John Wick film, and I loved this one even more. I haven't been a Keanu fan in some time, but his gun-handling in these films is a large part of why they work so well. He's so damn good at three-gun it's ridiculous. Now, granted, his acting is as sub-par as ever, but that hardly matters here. The action is fantastic, the direction is gorgeous, the music is great, and so are most of the performances. I can't wait for the third one now! 4/5

John Wick: Chapter 2 on Netflix

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Kubo and the Two Strings

This animated film was just gorgeous. I don't think I've ever seen stop-motion done quite like this - it was insanely beautiful. I really loved the story, the pacing was excellent, the comedy was witty and yet dark enough to convey the tragedy of the story. My one gripe? Maybe this is being a little hard, but I didn't understand why we heard Theron, Fiennes, Mara, and McConaughey voicing Japanese characters. It just seemed like a awfully strange choice to me. The movie tried so hard to ground this in Japan and Japanese culture that I really didn't get why I wasn't hearing Japanese accents and voices. But, that aside, this is a wonderful film. I normally don't watch much animation, so this is high praise from me. 4.5/5

Kubo and the Two Strings on Netflix

Monday, June 12, 2017

Time Lapse

It's so rare when a sci-fi time-travel movie gets it right, and this film gets it SO SO SO right. The script is very tight, original, and detail-oriented. The direction was simple and yet extremely effective. One of the three leads was truly great, another on their way to great, and the last solid and good. This film kept me on my toes - I spent the film trying to guess what was next and delightfully failing every time. I greatly enjoyed this. 4/5

Time Lapse on Netflix

Friday, June 9, 2017

Removal

The script for this thriller was really excellent. It kept me fully engaged and I was pleasantly surprised at the turns it took. I also have to give the film kudos for making this film work on what was clearly a very small budget. The only reason I'm not giving this a higher rating was the acting. The film hinges on me believing the struggle of the main characters, and, I'm sorry, I just didn't. If this film had stronger lead performances I would have been happy to score it higher, but, as it was, it had to be only three. 3/5

Removal on Netflix

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wild Oats

I loved the first half of this charming comedy. Lange and MacLaine are both splendid in it, and sexy as hell to boot. The second half, though, turned into more of a crime caper which I felt derailed the charm of the first half a bit too much. Still, a really fun movie with some great comedy moments. 4/5

Wild Oats on Netflix

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

#Horror

This film tries so hard to be edgy and cool and just misfires at every crucial point. The rapid edit style made this hazy and convoluted plot more confusing, and I was never clear about what "game" these girls were supposedly playing. To top it off, the dialogue is about as unrealistic as it gets. I will say that, when the film settles down at points, the visual composition is excellent. I think Tara Subkoff has real talent that was hidden in this - I will be interested to see new work from her. 2/5

#Horror on Netflix

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Gallows

I rented this film solely on the strength of the very simple yet utterly terrifying trailer I saw. Let's just make this simple. This is a short found-footage horror film very much in the style of "The Blair Witch Project" and "Paranormal Activity". If you didn't like either of those films, you won't like this. The acting is somewhat bland, the direction by-the-numbers for found-footage. The plot was fairly straightforward until the end, which I really loved - hence the extra half star. It's a solid film and I was very compelled by it. I enjoyed it - if you like found-footage horror you will as well. 3.5/5

The Gallows on Netflix

Friday, June 2, 2017

The River King

This looked and felt like a 80's made-for-TV movie, with all the mediocre trappings that go along with it. The plot was interesting but not fully developed. The characters were also only surface deep as well, which left me wondering about people's motivations for the things they did over the course of the film. This had the bones of an interesting thriller, but it just never really got there for me. 3/5

The River King on Netflix

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Blackcoat's Daughter

This movie is the very definition of ominous. It reminded me very much in tone and style to "The Witch", which is high praise coming from me. This psychological horror film is the latest from Oz Perkins, who also wrote and directed the wonderfully creepy "I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House", which I just loved. Both films are very atmospheric, driven by haunting and discordant scores, and feature strong performance from the female leads. Be warned that this is a very slow film that leaves very much to the viewer to unravel, so make sure you are paying attention while you watch it. But do watch it, it's a lovely thriller and very well made. 4/5

The Blackcoat's Daughter on Netflix

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Army of One

This is the best acting I've seen from Nicolas Cage in a long while. He was truly funny and captured the zany (and true) nature of Gery Faulkner perfectly. I adore Russell Brand and he was great as ever in this. However, the script was a bit spotty with enough holes to drive a dump truck through. With a touch more cohesion this would have been a four-star film, but it was good nonetheless. 3.5/5

Army of One on Netflix

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Scott Walker: 30 Century Man

I have to admit I'd never heard Scott Walker's music before watching this film. I'm a fan of nearly every genre and type of music, but, if I'm being truthful, Walker's work just isn't for me. I'm a Bartok fan, I like some discord in my harmony, but this was a little too much for me personally. Given that introducing new people to Walker's music was the main goal of this film, I deem it a success. The whole of Walker's career was sifted through and and I really got a sense of how he grew into the influential artist he is today. However, I do wish I could have understood more about Walker the man. I wanted to really know what made him tick, and in that regard the movie didn't work quite as well. This was just average for me. 3/5

Scott Walker: 30 Century Man on Netflix