Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Death of April

The DVD I was going to watch tonight stopped playing halfway through, so I found this indie horror film on Amazon streaming and watched it. It's the kind of film I tend to like, but, really, I've seen pretty much this same film several times over. There was nothing new at all about this film - if you've seen "Paranormal Activity" or anything like it, you've seen this film. The other big problem was the acting, which was really weak across the board. I do understand this was an IndieGogo funded project and thus made for barely any money, but these type of films almost entirely hinge on me believing the characters are believing what's happening to them, and I just didn't. I'm sorry, but this really didn't work for me, although I will give them points for trying. 2/5

Death of April on Netflix

Saturday, August 19, 2017

To Jennifer

Up front, I have to say it, the "twist" is so obvious it's kind of ridiculous. About ten minutes in, if you know anything about modern psychiatry, you know something is up, and it's not a big leap to figure out what it is. Having said that, for a movie that appears to be shot, acting in, produced and directed by four people for about $20, it's not a bad effort. I certainly give them points for trying, but, end of the day, this isn't a great movie. 2.5/5

To Jennifer on Netflix

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sleeping with Other People

The description of this movie on Netflix doesn't do it justice. This film is magical. I haven't felt like any film lived up to the tender mix of comedy and drama that "When Harry Met Sally" had until right now. Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie were so so so good in this. I honestly believed their chemistry, and their comic timing was truly excellent. The script was refreshingly honest as well. I really loved this - it's been a good week for romantic comedies for me! 5/5

Sleeping with Other People on Netflix

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Man Up

OMG, I loved loved loved this. Loved it so much. Simon Pegg and Lake Bell are both perfect in this. Their timing and chemistry were just divine. The script was really smart and funny, with these beautiful moments of tenderness and an utterly charming tone. I would watch this again right now I liked it so much. Highly recommended! 5/5

Man Up on Netflix

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Childhood of a Leader

I don't even know how this film ended up in my queue, but I'm so glad it did, because it just blew me away. This is the actor Brady Corbet's directorial debut, but it felt like the polished hand of Kubrick more than the the first work of a new director. It was lush and beautifully framed throughout in impressive fashion. But I have to talk about the score for this, because that was the real star. The moment the credits started and the overture began, I was captured. The music is bombastic and cacophonous and just perfect in every way. I was utterly entranced by it, so imagine how stunned I was when I saw that it was none other than Scott Walker who composed it. I only recently discovered Walker in a documentary called "Scoot Walker: 30th Century Man" about his life and career, and, when I saw it, I really disliked his work, rather immensely so in fact. Clearly I need to listen again, because this was amazing. This movie won't be for everyone. It's brash and intense and stylistic and nebulous, and I will say I didn't get the very very end at all, which is why I deducted a half star. But I loved it, really. Highly recommended. 4.5/5

The Childhood of a Leader on Netflix

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Tunnel

HOLY SNOT THIS WAS SCARY!!!! I get creeped out a lot, disturbed by some things, and grossed out only now and again, but I'm rarely actually scared watching a film. I'm such a avid watcher of thrillers and horror that there isn't much that actually affects me in that way. But, after watching this, I don't think I'm going to sleep well tonight. I really felt that this was the true inheritor of "The Blair Witch Project", which, as regular readers know, I feel is the scariest film I've ever seen. "The Tunnel" took all the lessons of "Blair Witch" and made a solid documentary style film that isn't just found-footage, but something far more, and reminiscent of the TV documentaries that preceded the release of "Blair Witch". If you are a fan of that type of horror, you have to see this. Loved it.  5/5

The Tunnel on Netflix

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Moana

Well, I think I'm in the minority with this film, because I wasn't really jazzed by it. I saw a lot of similarities between this film and "Kubo and the Two Strings" in terms of message and how the story unfolded. But I also felt that it was trying to be witty and clever and endearing ln the way that "Trolls" was. Unfortunately, because those two purposes were at odds with each other, I felt this film failed to really deliver on either front. I thought the message of the film came off as trite and actually played into some of the gender stereotypes it was trying to overcome. I also felt much of the humor felt stale and the songs weren't nearly as good as in other Disney films or in "Trolls". In the end, this didn't really do it for me I'm sorry to say. 3/5

Moana on Netflix

Monday, August 7, 2017

Partisan

Y'know, I'm all for films that require a bit of work from the audience. I love films that make me think or figure things out or see the subtext beneath the surface. What I'm not for is when films pretend that you will be able to figure things out if you try hard enough and then never give you anywhere near enough information to understand anything that's happening. I honestly have no freaking idea what I just watched. I don't know when this film took place (post apocalypse maybe?), where it took place, who the characters were, what their relation was to each other, or why they were doing anything they did. Literally none of that was clear at all. And then, it just ends. All of a sudden. With no warning or clue about what was happening or going to happen after the end. That was so annoying. I have to give it two stars because the acting was strong, as was the cinematography, but the plot? Non-existent. Bah humbug.  2/5

Partisan on Netflix

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Trolls

This and "Moana" arrived together, and I have the worst food poisoning of my life and needed something funny. All I knew about "Trolls" going in is that most said it was damn funny and I liked the theme song. I didn't know it was a musical, so that caught me off guard, as I'm kind of meh on many musicals. This was really really funny though - the script was both snappy and witty. I'm absolutely awful as placing voices, so I was really surprised to see everyone who voiced this in the credits - they were all great, with special nods to Zooey Deshenel and Russell Brand, and obviously the two leads were awesome.. It really did make me laugh out loud quite a bit, so I'm happy I went with this tonight, I will watch Moana in a day or so. 4/5

Trolls on Netflix

Before I Fall

I'm going to be honest at the start and say there's nothing original in this script. Nothing new or groundbreaking is being added to this "Groundhog Day" basic plot design, which I did find a tad disappointing. The acting is pretty solid all around, and I did like the fluidity of the direction. There's nothing wrong with this film, but it has all been done before, so this was just okay for me. 3/5

Before I Fall on Netflix

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Gardens of the Night

Wow, this movie will punch you right in the gut. It's harrowing and disturbing and extremely difficult to watch. There were some portions I honestly wanted to just turn off they were so dark. Gillian Jacobs was amazing in this and is far more accomplished an actress than I previously thought. There was an odd gap in the story I wish had been filled, but it was a great film nonetheless. If you can handle the darkness of this, I do highly recommend it. 4/5

Gardens of the Night on Netflix

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Separation

This Iranian drama is a perfect study of family dynamics and of how we treat one another. The story is captivating, lyrical, and beautifully executed. The acting is tremendous from all parties. And the ending was simply the most perfect ending to a film I think I've ever seen. It took real guts to end the film this way, and it was so very effective and bold to do it. I was increedibly impressed with this film, it's truly amazing. 5/5

A Separation on Netflix

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Free Fire

Frankly, I'm not sure what to make of this film. There really is no plot. There are barely characters, and certainly no real character development. I actually don't think there's a single likeable character in this. On the other hand, it's directed really well and I had a lot of fun watching it. It's witty action comedy, but little else. If you'd like a bit of fun, this might be for you, but if you're looking for any real depth, look elsewhere. 3/5

Free Fire on Netflix

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Triangle

I did not expect this movie to be this good. I'm pretty stunned right now with how this movie just got better and better with every passing moment. I have to agree with a lot of the reviewers on Netflix - it's impossible to discuss the plot without giving key things away. All I can say is that Melissa George, who I *LOVED* on "In Treatment" on HBO, was just fantastic in this. Give this film time to start to unfold. Trust me, it's worth it. 4/5

Triangle on Netflix

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Burning Sands

The more I learn about hazing and the more movies I see depicting it realistically, the less and less I understand it. Why on earth would you ever trust someone as your "brother" who spent a week physically, emotionally, and often sexually torturing you? It floors me. This film did a particularly excellent job of showing the horrors that are Hell Week. The acting was especially strong, as was the tight and controlled direction. I highly recommend this one if you don't mind strong physical violence. 4/5

Burning Sands on Netflix