Friday, April 21, 2017

Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth

I never knew that Tyson had done a one-man show, so I was surprised as all get out when I heard about this. I have always been a Tyson fan and supporter and, as such, I greatly enjoyed this. It's so nice to see him many years into recovery and able to talk about his early years and tough times with both clarity and wit. I wish Spike Lee had left the direction alone more - all we really needed was Tyson, his voice, and his story. Even if you aren't a Tyson person, give this a try - it might make you think twice. 4/5

Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth on Netflix

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Deepwater Horizon

Have the team of Berg and Wahlberg made a bad movie yet? I really don't think so, at least none that I've seen yet. This chronicle of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy was told well, with rounded characters, solid acting, and stunning direction that really throws the viewer into the midst of the story. It was well paced and not overly long, and I was happy not to see it turn into a political tirade, although it does make a powerful statement. Another great film, highly recommended. 4.5/5

Deepwater Horizon on Netflix

Monday, April 17, 2017

Patriots Day

This Peter Berg thriller about the bombings at the Boston marathon was exceptionally well done. I don't know what corner Mark Wahlberg turned in his acting, but he put in another solid performance here. All the supporting actors were excellent as well. The music was quite well done, which, given that I'm not a huge fan of Reznor/Ross scores, is a big compliment. There really wasn't a misstep in this film - I really enjoyed it. 4.5/5

Patriots Day on Netflix

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Fathers & Daughters

Maybe if I wasn't a mental health professional I would have liked this film, but I hated it. I hated it because the writers didn't have the common sense to even look up the basic facts and symptoms of the disorders they were describing. The inaccuracies were simply astounding. In what world is a seizure disorder a symptom of psychosis? And since when is psychosis "an inability to control one's impulses"? And no, the credentials "psychologist" and "social worker" are not interchangeable, thank you. Don't even get me started on the care and treatment of the young girl in the film. I nearly screamed at most of that. There were SO SO SO many things like this that I had to cringe or curse at the TV everyone five minutes or so. Nothing about this film was real or accurate in any possible way, and it was just painful to watch. I couldn't stand it, but, as I said, that could be my perspective, so take that as you will. 2/5

Fathers & Daughters on Netflix

Friday, April 14, 2017

Rampage

I never thought I would write these words in a review, but this is a Uwe Boll film that is actually really good. I've never been a Boll fan, but he really surprised me with this action thriller, which is so markedly different from the rest of his past catalog that it's unrecognizable as his work. I'm also stunned because he wrote this as well, and the plot is actually good, engaging, and interesting. The acting was solid, and I loved the ending. I'm stunned, but I highly recommend this for action fans who don't mind a bit of the ultra-violence. 4/5

Rampage on Netflix

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Collateral Beauty

It's interesting to watch this after seeing "Manchester by the Sea". Both films tackle the difficult subject of how a father grieves the loss of his child or children. I would argue that what we see from Will Smith in this film is the "typical" depiction of grief. Not that that's bad - Smith is excellent here. The way he allows grief to flow through his eyes without a word is tremendous and very heartbreaking. However, if one studies grief in men, one will find that, in fact, how Affleck portrayed grief is far closer to the truth for most fathers who have lost children. Knowing that, and having recently seen Affleck give that amazing performance, I had a hard time falling into this film. The plot was very banal - I saw nearly all the turns in it a mile away. The acting outside of Smith was only above average, and the dialogue forced. Maybe if Casey Affleck weren't still living in my head I would have reacted differently, but that's why Affleck won the Oscar and Smith wasn't even nominated I think. For me, this was just okay. 3/5

Collateral Beauty on Netflix

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jackie

Honestly, this was barely a 3-star movie. The plot was very scattered, the characters lacked depth, the direction felt canned and stale. In my mind, it was the acting that pushed it barely over to 3 stars. Portman was quite compelling - she looked and sounded as I remember Jackie Kennedy, albeit a bit colder. Billy Crudup and Peter Sarsgaard were both quite good as well. I just never felt pulled into the story or feeling deeply for the characters, which is why this fell flat for me. 3/5

Jackie on Netflix

Monday, April 10, 2017

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

I know I rented this movie when it was first released on DVD, and my review said I hated it. However, I couldn't remember why, so I thought I should rent it again and give it another chance. I'm glad I did. First, before I say anything further, I have to say there are moments in this film of utter brilliance, pieces that are so sublime in their execution that they are, quite simply, perfect. For a first time director, as Krasinski was, this is an incredible achievement. I think the first time I watched this film I allowed the surface layer of emotional shallowness and heartlessness to envelope my whole viewing. However, that's not what's really being said here. What is initially shown as disdain and contempt turns around to actually expose the real insecurity, fear, and self-doubt that men feel when confronted with strong women. I also think I read the lack of depth of the main character to be misogynistic, when it fact it was empowering to have her be the sole pillar of strength in the film. This is a complex film with a lot of layers, and I'm glad I went back to look at it again. I think this is a real triumph for Krasinski, and I hope that other who had similar first experiences like me will also give it another chance, because it really is worth it. 4/5

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men on Netflix

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Paterson

Straight off the bat, I must confess I am not a Jim Jarmusch fan. I actually doubt I would have rented this had it not been for the presence of Adam Driver, who I love. There's a strange rhythm to this film that I did find myself caught up in. It's a simple, very low-key affair, with strange and interesting characters. One could debate how to view Driver's character for days, which I liked a great deal. The problem, one that I habitually have with Jarmusch's films, was that everything moved at a glacial pace. I don't mind slow, but ten minutes felt more like twenty. Things picked up towards the end, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well everything wrapped up. All in all this wasn't bad - I liked it more than I expected to. 3/5

Paterson on Netflix

Friday, April 7, 2017

Tickled

For the first time, I'm reviewing a movie I didn't get from Netflix. I saw "Tickled" on HBOGo, and I was so utter taken by it that I had to write about it. I have never in my life seen a movie turn on it's head like this. The movie you think you will see is not at all the movie that you do see, and it's glorious. Don't let the oddness of the premise put you off - this is truly one of the best and most fascinating documentaries I've ever seen. I can't say anything else about it for fear of ruining the experience. Watch this, immediately. You will thank me for it. 5/5

Thursday, April 6, 2017

American Pastoral

I wanted to like this more than I did, but I really struggled with the acting. For such a fine cast everyone felt so wooden to me. McGregor's accent was really off, and the dialogue seemed so canned and fake. I realize that, as this is a book adaptation, the script might be largely composed of the words in the text, but even if that's so, it felt staged and not lived. The direction was lovely, and the plot interesting, but I wanted more from this. Just average for me. 3/5

American Pastoral on Netflix

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Eyes of My Mother

This is, by far, one of the most profoundly disturbing and deeply horrific movies I've ever seen. I'm honestly still stunned by what I just saw, and I can watch pretty much anything without flinching. This film had very minimal dialogue, which it really didn't need to convey it's message. I'm incredibly thankful it was also in black and white, as I really don't know if I could have watched it in color. I really can't stress how dark and troubling watching this was, I really can't. Yes, it's very violent, but it's not the gore that makes it so difficult to watch. It's everything you don't see, all that you mind has to fill in, that tipped it over the edge. It's a very powerful film, and if you like this kind of horror, I recommend it, but don't say I didn't warn you. 4/5

The Eyes of My Mother on Netflix

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Come and Find Me

This twisty thriller is smartly written. It's well-paced and gives you only as much information as the lead character, played quite well by Aaron Paul, would have. Yes, that does leave a lot of plot holes, but that would be the reality in this situation. The ending was perfect and very brave. I always admire filmmakers that go with the most honest ending, even if it might not the most comfortable. I was entranced by this thriller - I recommend it. 3.5/5

Come and Find Me on Netflix

Friday, March 31, 2017

Doctor Strange

While I have always been a Marvel girl, I was mostly an X-Man fan and never knew anything at all about Doctor Strange. Because of this, I have to say right at the start that I have no idea whatsoever if this film is true to the books, so I can't base any part of my review on that. What I can say is that this is a spectacular film with some of the best effects I've maybe ever seen. It's like an incredible update to things I remember from "Inception", only far better with the advances technology has made. The acting was mostly strong, and I was happy to see a superhero film coming in at only an hour and forty-five minutes. I really enjoyed this and am curious to see how this film and its characters will integrate with the rest of the Marvel Universe. 4/5

Doctor Strange on Netflix

Thursday, March 30, 2017

20th Century Women

I wasn't sure how I would feel about this film coming in, as I feared it might get preachy and forced. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was more of a celebration of life, coming of age, and what it means to be alive and free. The acting was very strong across the board, and the script was witty and clever whilst still being deep and meaningful. I found myself very drawn into the story and I loved the way it ended. Very moving, I recommend it. 4/5

20th Century Women on Netflix