Friday, January 31, 2020

The Lighthouse


This is exactly what I was expecting with Midsommar, but I was digging in the wrong place. I knew this was going to be a trip, the studio A24 makes some wild movies, and I swear this film was practically created for individuals who love to analyze and dissect films to get to the core of the matter. It's not that I don't want to spoil anything, it's more I couldn't explain it in the simplest terms if I tried. So basic plot will have to do, two men played by Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe travel to a remote lighthouse as caretakers, and as time goes on they desperately try to hold onto their sanity as massive storms hit, liquor bottles are emptied, and a mysterious fascination with the dazzling light in the lighthouse emerges. That's it, but man does this film work so well. Now I will say if you're not a person who enjoys very slow, very methodical, atmospheric and moody, slow burn types of cinema this just isn't the film for you. Though it clocks in at less than 2 hours, it takes considerable time throughout building mood and tension, with not all that much talking but each talking scene is very important. I could almost see it as a silent film, for several reasons. Firstly it's shot in pristine black and white, but it goes deeper than that with it being shot on 35mm film and to be perfectly frank, it's shot like a 1920s film with a few modern touches thrown in of course. The camera movements are very basic, the blocking and lighting is minimal, and if you've seen enough cinema from the silent era into the 1930s you'll quickly pick up on the look and feel this movie has. Fritz Lang could have been attached to this production and I wouldn't be surprised. It has the tension, psychedelics, and mental horror I was expecting in Midsommar that really keeps you on your toes and invested. It sort of delves into a bit of cosmic Lovecraftian horror, you see some pretty shocking and unsettling things but you really have no idea what's causing it or why. This is something I greatly appreciate because well, you could really look at this film any way you want and it would still work. Are both these guys batshit insane? Maybe. Is one a mental criminal? Perhaps. Is there truly something otherwordly and disturbing fueling the events of the movie? Who knows. It works in any situation you think of in your mind, and not too many movies have accomplished such a feat. Do I even need to say I recommend the movie? If only just to see what you make of it, and come to your own conclusion I do suggest you see it. I personally give it 4 stars, solid 8/10, this movie is gonna keep me guessing for awhile.

And not a bad ending to this week I'd say. Well another month gone, but where to now? I hear there's some stuff going on in Gotham City next week, so meet you there.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

BONUS In Retrospect: The Addams Family (2019)

I'm very happy to see this movie again.

I will fully admit if you did match the 90s films to this, it does genuinely work better in the live action films, but to be honest those films are so loved and adored it's kind of an impossible task to surpass them. But I'm just happy this film didn't and went for their own style and story while keeping all the standard Addams tropes we adore. Is it perfect? No. But to be perfectly honest, I never have expectations for any film. I simply can't afford it if I'm going to be an unbiased reviewer, so I always take a movie for what it is and go from there. For instance, the satirizing view on modern culture doesn't delve too deeply and is handled just okay. I do kinda wish we got a bit deeper into that, but do you really watch an Addams Family movie for satire? Of course not, you watch it to see these wonderful characters, and the cast does do them justice with Oscar Isaac and Chloe Grace Moretz being the standout performances. I did take slight issue with Morticia being a bit more apprehensive to new things and people in the neighborhood, because to be honest the whole appeal of this family is their unilateral acceptance of others, they never look down or judge people in any way, they just like them regardless of who they are despite them not agreeing on everything. It's a wonderful trait to posses in human beings, but then again I can understand why Morticia feels that way, her family has constantly been chased around by hateful people with torches so I fully understand why she would be cautious and a bit untrusting of people, though Gomez is still the exact same character we love fully ready and able to meet new people and be very neighborly. I love especially the fact we actually get to see Wednesday go to school, we hear of it in the 60s show but never really saw it and it is everything I wanted it to be, and while I greatly enjoy the cute little girl of the 60s show I'm happy they brought back the mannerisms and characterization of the 90s movies. This is my favorite kind of Wednesday. One strange thing I noticed is while the main characters utilize the original Charles Addams designs, the rest of the characters in the town kind of radically shift. Margeaux looks like a Mike Judd Beavis And Butthead character with her beady eyes, ridiculously huge hair, and slender figure, while other characters like her daughter look like they come from any 3D animated film, some look like humans from The Lorax, some look like Despicable Me, it's kind of a mish-mash of animation styles. Is it bad though? No, but it is something I noticed. The film is good, nothing spectacular but certainly nothing bad either. I still give it a solid 3.5 stars, 7.5/10, This is a fun movie for any fan of this series, and will probably be on a watchlist for many people during October. We still need more Lurch though, I appreciate the wonderful music interludes we have but I could have lived without the song. But a few missteps is hardly worth a bad score and I still genuinely love this movie.

Next time, we finally watch it, so stay tuned for that review.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

In Retrospect: Toy Story 4

I think I take more issue with this movie now than back then.

Now really and truly I did not like how Toy Story 4 ended, but the rest of the movie was fine and dandy. It had no mistakes in filmmaking but the characters and the story itself were not done great. I'm just gonna say it and you can switch the review off, but this movie should not have existed. Toy Story has already ended, this movie truly does ruin the emotional impact and importance of the third movie. Now before I can fully dig into that, the characters must he addressed. More specifically the writing, I hate, hate, hate, how they handled the characters in this movie! The majority of the cast that we have seen film after film is not used hardly at all, Jessie has no input or importance, nor Rex, nor Slinky, nor the Potato Heads, not anybody. They are all just there because you can't have Toy Story without them. They make Buzz an absolute moron who doesn't even know what a conscience is, and completely betrays his character growth and personality which has been built up from a solid trilogy. They bring back Bo Peep and make her some strong independent action woman....? May I ask why? I didn't see much damsel in distress tropes from her in the first two movies, and I do know she has been on her own surviving for a good few years but I just can't accept her as this type of character. It seems wrong with her, if it was another new toy we met and got to know in this movie, kind of a antithesis of Lotso, an abandoned toy who dusted themselves off and started living for themselves instead of a kid and went on adventures and was kind of a seasoned badass, that would be cool. I would be fine with that. Now granted they do actually achieve this in a way with Gabby which leads to my next point. Every original character that we have grown to see in the first 3 movies is terribly written, however the new characters we meet (all 5 of them by the way) are handled way better and are actually my favorite characters of the film. Well...okay, screw the stuffed animals I was having Transformers 2 flashbacks, Keanu is fine, the tiny cop is fine, but with Forky and Gabby good lord that writing! Granted the idea of a child literally creating a Frankenstein mish-mash toy is a can of worms I'm never opening up, but to see it put in action works. Forky is beloved, his innocence, charm, and humor are spectacular and I really do like the analogy that Forky can be seen as a special needs kid, and they don't treat him badly or bully him, they just work with him in his own way. It's not flat out said, but you can see it that way. That is good character writing. Gabby is a very good character, she's only percieved as a villain but is actually a good toy who genuinely wants to love and be loved, again kind of an opposite of Lotso but she wasn't angry just very sad and wanted to be better. Like whoa, this movie actually has very emotionally complex writing. Nobody is just black or white, people can change and grow and adapt, sometimes hard decisions must be made but can benefit you as a person, don't be troubled by failures of the past but aspire to do better the next day, this can be huge stuff to a very young child! Which leads us to Woody. Ah, I can hear the crackling torches and sharpening pitchforks now. Woody is not a good character in this movie but, and here comes the big one: Woody has always been a horrible character. Does that I mean I hate him? No. But it is painfully transparent what his flaws are. Every single movie, every last one of them, has Woody reverting to how he originally was. He never grows, he never changes, he never betters himself. He is always the toy who puts himself first above others, the clingy, entitled, and let's be honest here jealous cowboy ragdoll who constantly wants his way first because he considers his decisions to make him right all the time. You see his dedication to Bonnie but he's not doing it for her, he's doing it to elevate himself, he has to keep Forky safe to be in good graces with the girl. So why do I hate so much that he decides to abandon his friends, abandon his kid, and decides to go on his own adventures because he wants to be selfish and do things his way? Oh wait. And that completely breaks the bittersweet ending of Toy Story 3, he hates seeing Andy go but he's happy to be with a kid anyways. Not anymore! See you later sucker, have fun with your spork! Now if you'll permit me, I just want to talk about Disney for a moment. What in the name of the seven dwarfs are you doing? With Star Wars, I get it. There are so many characters, and so so many stories you can tell with Star Wars or Marvel even, there's potential for countless stories to be told. Toy Story is not one of them. You cannot make a neverending movie series on Toy Story. Now maybe you're not, but what in the cinnamon toast f*** are you going to do next? Please, enlighten me. I'm almost stunned rigid I haven't seen a trailer or a rumor about "Bo Peep: A Toy Story" movie being made detailing the 9 years we haven't seen this character in continuity. Who are you going to follow? Is it gonna be Woody and Bo Peep on endless adventures meeting new toys and friends? Well if you do that you're completely neglecting and to be perfectly frank, throwing the other characters into an incinerator like garbage! And if you follow Buzz and the gang, you're not gonna see Woody anymore. And people will hate that. Are you just gonna retcon it in the next movie with the whole cast meeting up in like 3 months time and they all decide to be together again? Do you see my issue with this movie's existence? It is not a bad movie, I'd say it's a good movie with many flaws, but it shouldn't exist in the first place. We can imagine the after credits of Bonnie with the toys, and take comfort in that when we leave the theater. But now there is going to be Toy Story movies until I am a bitter old man (Too late.) and I am not looking forward to it. Toy Story 5 could be the movie to overthrow Citizen Kane and Vertigo, and I still would never watch it. Disney is in a rough patch right now, The Incredibles 2 was far too little far too late, Toy Story 4 is a betrayal of the first three movies and kickstarted a possible plethora of unnecesary bad sequels, Frozen 2 has gotten a very lukewarm reception and not all that loved, and the live action remake machine has not been dismantled and thrown into an active volcano. I'm genuinely scared Disney is going to tank, and tank real soon. I mean it did before but that was way before my time, and Disney has been making unbelievable films for over 80 years. It's been 84 years (almost), and they need to re-evaluate, cut the pandering demographic bullshit and just write good characters, leave the live action remakes at the point of impact of a nuclear bomb, and maybe focus a little less time appropriating other studios and just focus a little more on their own.

Monday, January 27, 2020

In Retrospect: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

I ain't gonna be mad if this wins Best Picture.

I'm just so happy to watch this movie again. It's a love letter to the late 60s but it really does go beyond that. I know Quentin Tarantino is a huge fan of old Hollywood and very nostalgic of filmmaking during that era between the 60s and 70s, and he captured the essence of it brilliantly. I actually was a bit surprised to read this was Leo's first film in 4 years time after he finally got his Oscar, and while I haven't seen The Revenant this is gonna be a hard performance to top for me. There's been stories about aging movie starts who are a bit washed up but I like the fact it's not the main focus of the picture, but when it has scenes dedicated to it they pull it off flawlessly. I still say the best scene in the whole film is when Rick talks to his young co-star, I can't fully explain it though. The age of both these actors (in the world of the film that is), and just the interactions they share are a true highlight for me and the writing quickly gets to the core of both these people. And you better believe I am here for this bromance with Brad Pitt, when the movie itself flat out says he's kind of Leo's wife I buy it, I love it, Cliff is a complete badass dude and every scene he has is memorable. Margot Robbie is still a total sweetie and I am riding that hype train mercilessly for Birds Of Prey (PS. Tune in for that next week.)! I love the atmosphere it has in California, I love the complete throwback in every concievable way possible of the production and cinematography,and I didn't catch many of the other Tarantino film references until this viewing. I challenge one asshole out there to say they didn't like the ending of this movie, you gotta be one heartless sum'bitch to complain about the ending. I kinda want to talk about it so if you're not game for it, 4 stars, 8.5/10, go rent it immediately and have a blast. Now let us begin. I'm gonna be strictly honest with everyone, I did not and still do not know much about the Manson family murders, I might have watched a Biography channel documentary on it in like 2007 but I don't remember much. I was game to see the movie from the start but had no idea the route it was going to take, I had no idea we were going to see a Hollywood ending of this gruesome and horrifying case. It goes the way you really and truly wish those events did, and it is a happy ending but it breaks my heart regardless that such a thing occured in 1969. These dirty hippie bastards get all kimds of f***ed up and it is glorious! *Disclaimer: I actually have fondness for the hippie generation and this is all for laughs* Though personally I've never heard a more nut aching, blood curdling, shrieking cacophony of screams in the history of my life. I mean sweet baby Yoda lady, damn! But I understand the meaning behind it all, the movie is very much about death, Rick's career is slowly going out, the 1960s are rapidly coming to an end, someone attempted to murder a group of young people one of whom was seriously pregnant, and in fact there was a certain quote that really hit that home for me. I can't remember the exact quote but it essentially said the Manson murders was the death of the flower child hippie generation and movement. It didn't really persist into the 1970s, and I think Hunter S. Thompson said it best, "San Francisco in the middle 60s was a very special time and place to be a part of, but no explanation, no mix of word or music or memory can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time in the world. Whatever it meant.....We had all the momentum, we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look west, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark, that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.". And that I think was the handle. It's kind of a bittersweet movie the more you think about it. I believe the ending right before the film truly ends, was nothing less than a tribute to Adam West as Batman even though the 60s TV show was over and done by the time this movie started, it's the last voice you hear and it's a last hurrah of this time capsule we can all own a piece of. Just press play. I sincerely hope it gathers more acclaim and awards as time goes on, so don't fail me again Academy.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Staus Report!

Alright guys it's time I level with you, I just got a new job and started this Monday and the financial side of the old Duder's life has been less than great. Nothing serious or show breaking or at least God I hope not, but it has put a dent in the schedule. I wanted to review The Gentlemen but my bank account and work schedule are very against that idea, so until I can scrounge up some loose cash I can't get a brand new theater movie review out for a bit. Maybe this weekend I can catch it but unfortunately there will be no opening day review. I'm thinking of installing a PayPal donate button so if people want to send me films to review or just spare change out of the goodness of their hearts it will keep the show running at a very healthy pace. Trust me, even two bucks can get a review done and I'd only use it for review purposes. It drives me up the wall that I can't see new movies whether good or bad because at the end of the day I love doing this. I would never ever get over the fact that if I had to even momentarily stop reviews before the 5th anniversary or any time at all period, and that tells you how much I love doing this. Almost 600 reviews have been done and all just for the sake of a bit of quick entertainment and informative decisions to spend your money and let's be honest even mine on something worth it. I'm not reviewing Cats, we all knew what was going to become of Cats. Some films can't be saved or salvaged, so it's important to see the films with potential even if they don't turn out too good. But it's also important not just to see the big blockbusters, films like Mother or The Dead Don't Die didn't exactly have spectacular budgets or even a lot of marketing but it caught my attention. If a day ever came where I could see every single new movie that came out in a year, I would do it! If I got a damn good paying job with even a smidge of down time, I'd try to review every new movie. Why? Because I love doing this. You don't exactly sit down and write nearly 600 reviews over the course of 5 years just for the hell of it. Though I will say I've just about reviewed every single movie that I physically own, and by the end of this year I'll probably have reviewed them all but thank the celestial beings for streaming services and the internet, cause it has saved my ass so much. I've been putting serious thought into making video reviews on my YouTube channel, if only just to broaden my original reviews and get all of my opinions out with nothing lost in translation from mind to screen (though if I could make a living just doing that I wouldn't complain just saying). I desperately wanted to review The Lighthouse because it hooked me on one trailer that didn't tell you a damn thing, and believe me we're finally doing it next week. I do truly apologize for not being able to get new movie reviews out until this financial situation gets settled and I'll try to keep up my 3 reviews a week. Though I did severely screw up this week, with only 2 reviews but if it means that much to me (Spoilers, it does.) I'll try to throw a third review your way before the day is out. February is looking good with three new theater movie reviews, and God dang it I'm gonna try to make it happen! I'll let you know when the situation changes but I just wanted to give an update on why there has been little movie going experiences so far and why it was only two reviews this week. Thankfully I have a tiny bit of pocket cash that will get me through next week and after that I suspect things will go a lot smoother. Stay tuned for more peoples. I will see you next time, and this is The Dude saying goodnight.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Red Dawn

Now that's...unexpected.

I'll be honest I'm shocked. Red Dawn could not be less of a dumb action movie if it tried, but my God is it engrained in pop culture as one of the most kick ass and action filled movies of the 80s. Like what the shit, it's really good, it has a lot of down time between the brief action segments, gives time to our characters, shows the dehumanizing effects of war, shows real human emotions on both sides of the conflict, and is steeped in realism. If this film got re-released today people would have a very, very different opinion of it than they did back in the day. Huge respect to the director John Milius that took a kind of absurd plot about communist soldiers invading the american midwest and a band of high school students take up arms and try to liberate their town, into a legit war film that has the heart as well as the explosions. The cast is pretty star studded with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen as brothers who lead the guerilla fighting force, and we got Lea Thompson and Jennifer Gray (this being done before Dirty Dancing), all of whom do very good work and do sell this premise. I was surprised to see this movie actually takes place over the course of about half a year, so you see these kids go from survivors to warriors and how much damage they are inflicting to this army as time goes on. This was the last movie I would ever expect to tell kind of a dark, real, and straight up war film. You just think it would be ridiculous premise, shoot outs galore, plenty of explosions for your money's worth, "Wolverines!!", hey we won, the end. Nope! No horseshit, this movie deserves a better rating than 6/10 on IMDB, it really pulled the persian rug right out from beneath me and gave me something much better. I kinda want to give it a 7.5/10, it's not a great movie but I'll be damned if I said it was even subpar. I dare not talk about it further cause I certainly don't want to spoil things or hype you up too much. Just go in and watch it with an open mind with zero preconceptions, and I think you'll very much like it. Again, it's not the 80s action movie with a heavy layer of cheese everyone makes it out to be so if that's what you want, I suggest you go rent First Blood Part 2 or Commando. Positively shocking but 4 stars, 7.5/10, very recommended from me!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Road House

Razzie nominated my ass!

Is there something I'm missing with this movie? Cause I skimmed through some reviews and I kind of felt personally attacked at the bashing this movie took. Yes, Road House is by no means cinematic gold or one of the finest movies ever, it's an action flick. And I got news for you sunshine, every action movie is a dumb movie, even the amazing ones. Granted there is a thin layer of cheese to this movie but it does nothing but enhance the enjoyability of this movie for me. So after Patrick Swayze won hearts over Dirty Dancing, he shifts gears to breaking knees as a bouncer called in to clean up the most trashy bar I've ever seen in movie history, and clashes with the most powerful and influential man in town. It is a very simple story but nevertheless highly enjoyable, I feel people kind of do a disservice to the movie by saying it's pure action. That's just not true, there's quite a bit of fighting in the movie but it doesn't go on for long and unlike say John Wick isn't the majority of the film. It takes a bit of time setting up this small town, getting to know a few people in it, there's downtime to the bar room bashing, and it never feels dull. The movie has a good sense of humor and the character interactions are half of the fun. I really like our cast, Patrick Swayze is kind of the ultimate dream goal for men as Dalton, he's intelligent, well read, can take pain without even flinching, good sense of humor, and of course some formidable training in hand to hand combat, plus he has some hardcore charm that even I was falling a bit for. Everyone crushes on Patrick Swayze, don't lie to yourself! Sam Elliot is the best side character as a mentor to Dalton and again his charm and personality are what makes him incredibly lovable and fun, he's just a great guy. Kelly Lynch is a nice romantic interest, and I do kinda like the fact they don't entirely hook up at the end, it's a nice relationship regardless and she does do good work. Though shock of all shocks, I crushed on the cutie pie bartender played by Kathleen Wilhoite waaaay more than the blonde babe, I'm a sucker for bangs and a southern accent so sue me. Ben Gazzara though man, f***ing Jackie Treehorn is an asshole in this movie, I mean he fits that 80s action movie villain like absurdly well but he is so easy to just hate. And don't tell me that is not Jackie Treehorn before he moved out to L.A., he has friggin' wild parties with half naked girls and treats objects like women man. I will say though the fights are well done, I mean Swayze just mops the floor with these fools though we do get a pretty damn good one on one fight near the end, it's not super flashy or highly choreographed it's just hard hitting, bloody, crude fistfighting 90% of the time but it works! I very much enjoyed this movie, though it was a box office disappointment and was shredded by critics, the video sales and cable showings made this a cult classic and I'm very much a fan of it. Yeah, it slips into those 80s tropes in the last 20 odd minutes but I can forgive it because of the fun characters, the really good action, and the decent story. If you're just looking for a fun and entertaining total dude flick, Road House is right up your alley. Don't let the naysayers assuage you, watch it for yourself and have a blast. Perfect movie for a watch party with friends, booze, and snacks. Warrants that R rating and it's cult status for sure.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2

I can scarcely believe it but it's done.

I can't even imagine what it was like reading The Deathly Hallows when it was first released, that anticipation and excitement must have been palpable beyond words, and the film was like the second wind of that sensation. Everyone went to see this movie and my God do the numbers not lie. Over 1 billion dollars, and countless people who went to see this time and again. It does still live up to that hype, I remembered bits of the movie so there were moments when I audibly gasped because I forgot it even happened after these many years. This is one hell of a conclusion to a story that's been built since 2001 and I don't think it can really be topped in terms of climatic finales to a series, even with my love for The Rise Of Skywalker I can admit this was better. I do like how the film is still paced, you'd think it'd be bodies hitting the floor for 2 hours with some absolutely mad spell casting but there's still a bit of that pacing from Part 1 before we go into the Battle Of Hogwarts which I appreciate and even when we do hit those heavy action parts the film still takes a breather and lets you have some of the best moments if not the best moments of the series. With over 4 Horcrux's destroyed, Harry must return to Hogwarts one last time to seek the last 3 and finally face off against the man who took his family away and has been plaguing him for these many years. It never fails to deliver and never falls short, so does it beat The Half-Blood Prince as best film? I don't know. This will take serious deliberation, because it has spectacular moments. The battles, the final interactions between these characters, the King's Cross Station scene, that little bit in the forbidden forest, the 19 years flashforward, and last but never least Snape's memories. It got me man. It really got me, it was one tear but even one tear can speak 1,000 volumes that words cannot. It broke me a bit, and then it killed me when I read that Alan Rickman has been gone now for 4 years, he passed away January 14th 2016. It hurts still. But I'll be damned if this wasn't the best acting out of him in the whole series, you've heard me praise him this whole time and it was all leading to this. I'm sure you understand why I felt the way I did. In terms of acting, directing, editing, and cinematography, it's the best scene ever. I doubt any could argue such a fact, but does it make it the best film as a whole?, but it will rank top 5 maybe even top 3, they played their cards just right through this entire series and the payoff and resolution was worth every wait between those years and films. But there were moments that I personally loved a great deal besides the big obvious ones, I noticed quite very recently actually that Narcissa Malfoy is kind of a gorgeous woman, like hey girl hey kind of gorgeous, and I don't know what it is about me and ahem.....mature witches (Oi, stop that. I refuse to call them older, that's rude.) but Molly Weasley may have just sweeped the leg under Luna and claimed best witch cause, ooooh boy did I enjoy that beautiful moment a great deal. Friggin' Neville is my boy, and I'm so proud of him and his growth, and the little fact that my ship has been recognized!! You get brownie points for that movie, I wanted it and you gave me it, I'm appreciative of such things. Okay we have to talk about the laugh, stuff of internet legend now, but I'm so damn happy it exists and I loved every bit of it. If I had one major complaint of the whole series, the romance elements were not handled optimally, many people point to Harry and Ginny but even with Ron and Hermione, that leap to a couple is so abrupt, I really wish they let them be a couple around the 5th movie and see them grow and change to this movie. Minor gripe, but something that has to be brought up. They ended the movie on the second best piece of music in the series though, and jeez did it cap off the ending, you couldn't count the nostalgic feels and tears shed in that moment if you had all the time in the world. It tugs on those heartstrings but even I didn't cry, just overwhelmed by happy memories of days gone by. I know I've said it last time, but this series has meant a great deal to many, myself included and I'm truly thankful it exists and that I had the chance to go back to Hogwarts one more time to review these movies. Harry Potter is a household name, for better or for worse we stand with it and continue to cherish it for perhaps all our lives. It has such wonderful characters, an interesting world that has much to offer still, a story that was crafted to it's best potential, and brought to life from the pages of a book by so many talented individuals. 4 stars, 8.5/10. It's no secret I love this series, after all this time. Always.

Ranking time!

8. Chamber Of Secrets

7. Deathly Hallows Part 1

6. Order Of The Phoenix

5. Goblet Of Fire

4. The Sorcerer's Stone

3. Prisoner Of Azkaban

2. Deathly Hallows Part 2

1. The Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Set up, yes. But very entertaining set up.

See this is how you split a book in half correctly! I was very engaged from the start until end credits with this movie, though in all honesty this is the simplest story we've had since the first movie. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are Horcrux hunting and all is not well during their trek, with attacks on Ron's family, greater numbers joining the Dark Lord, the Ministry is being changed into an oppressive almost natzi-esque political system with death eaters infiltrating the organization, and several friends being put through grave peril throughout the film. What really surprised me is though we do get a good portion of side characters, this film is carried solely on our three main leads all the way through. For two and a half hours we follow the gang Horcrux hunting, but it sets the tone a few notches darker than even the last film and is interesting throughout. As I said it is an engaging story, done in no small part to our lead actors who really do seem like they're being pushed to their limits in a hopeless situation and it's done really really well. This is some of the best acting from them throughout the series, in particular Daniel I mean that man is acting his heart out at times. I love the lore building, the tale of the three brothers is one of the best parts of the series and to learn more about this strange symbol that we have seen before is great stuff. There's just enough action, all shot wonderfully, to keep it from getting dull but honestly this film's pacing is spot on. I've met many a person who skip this movie and head to the last film because "Nothing happens in it and it's boring.", and I wanna smack the living hell out of those people. You need some buildup and it's not like a snoozefest from beginning to end, so it's not magical warfare on steroids, who cares? You can have slow pacing to a movie and it still be tremendously entertaining, but again the movie doesn't feel slow at all. I did find one scene just so out of place it's almost inexcusable. What in the flying dutchman was that dance scene? Now I get it, there are moments of humor and happiness to alleviate the serious nature of the story and to liven things up a bit. There is nothing wrong with that, I very much enjoyed the comedic relief in this movie, but this nonsense seems so un-Harry Potter both in tone with the story but also the production. Shock of all shocks it wasn't in the book, and for good reason, I was so perplexed by this choice. It felt like I was watching some rom-com bullshit, not Harry Potter. It was stupid, I hated it, and I want it Obliviated from my mind. Beyond that though, great movie! I loved Luna's dad, the gorgeous scenery in Godric's Hollow was a real treat, the climax in the Malfoy house was great if skin crawlingly disturbing at points, we needed more Ralph and Alan cause the one scene they did have was amazing. That ending though, bit rough to watch I must say. I really do appreciate the very real moments in this film, where it kind of becomes something more than just a movie and really isn't that what the Harry Potter series has meant for so many? It's not just films or books, it's something more that people grasped onto and forged memories worth remembering, and it changed their lives for the better and have a great love for the series, characters, story, and moments. I see the love and I know it is very much still alive today, and I am a fan. Happy to be one, in fact. So to see it end so soon, is a bittersweet thing. But something that must be done nevertheless. Until next time friends, 4 stars, 8/10, this is the beginning of the end.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

I think we found the new champion.

When a movies is so good that I watched it twice before writing the review, clearly there's something I loved. I do genuinely feel The Half-Blood Prince is the best of the Harry Potter series and it'll be tough to top with only two film left. There's simulatenously a lot that happens in this movie and yet very little that happens, I doubt it could properly be summarized but basically Harry is back at Hogwarts mainly helping Dumbledore learn more about Tom Riddle's past and a certain type of magic that keeps him for all intensive purposes immortal, and slowly working through this mystery while doing classes, doing the romance thing again (less gross this time I swear), and keeping an eye on Malfoy who has taken a strange turn. I loved every moment on screen, this definitely makes the ending to Goblet Of Fire look like a Disney film, it's the darkest of the series and not just in content. The whole film is very darkly lit, there's a lot of shadows, and muted colors that compliment the film incredibly so. Though I do highly recommend you watch it in a dark room. I heard tale that Daniel hated his performance in this movie but I think he did quite well, granted he puts up with a bit of stuff in this movie but the performance is strong and it's nice to see Harry one last time as a happy and fun student before the real adventure begins. But I have no issue saying this film is built on the supporting cast. We get so much Dumbledore in this particular movie, whereas in previous films he might have 2 or 3 small scenes but he's in this quite a lot, with Michael Gambon giving his best performance with humor, wisdom, and that unresistable likableness. Tom Felton same story, few scenes here and there but given more attention and puts in a strong performance as Draco, and I have to say I want to know what happens next for him. We get Jim Broadbent (still best dad, sorry Mando) as a Slytherin potions teacher who despite his house is a kind, considerate, and respectable wizard and Jim does great work like always. Alan Rickman, gahd bless it Snape finally gets to be the DATDA teacher and we don't even get one scene of him teaching. And that is the true tragedy of Severus Snape (it's a joke Potterheads relax), but every word that man speaks is like a magnetic force and I'm just sucked in even more with the story and characters. Though I must admit even after all this time, I always still can't believe that ending. Every time! Every time it gets me! But I know what happens, and it doesn't soften the impact! Could you imagine if it just went to credits after that cut to black? People would have lost their marbles in that theater, ohhh my God how earth shattering would that ending have been. But I know they couldn't have, we got to set up the next movie I know. But come on! You know what's really funny? If you asked me like...5 or even 10 years ago what happens in The Half-Blood Prince I couldn't tell you a damn thing. For some reason I just never remembered this movie as much as the others, the only things I remembered were, Ron gets a yandere girlfriend, something about an Unbreakable Vow, spooky scary skeletons in a cave, oh yeah the water trial thing, annnnnd....the shocking end. No Bridget's dad, no Quidditch, no cool Tom Riddle flashbacks, no Snape (HERESY!), no potions book, or that really screwed up shot of Malfoy just bleeding to death I mean Jesus God! Why? I. Don't. Know. I even saw it in theaters, in fact it was a tradition that my mom and me, regardless of whether it was a school day or not, we saw the Harry Potter movies from Chamber Of Secrets onward opening day. Every one of them, so apparently my memory was worse then than it was now. Somehow. Oh there I go again rhyming. I gotta wrap this up, bottom line best film of the series, 8.5/10, 4 stars would give 5 if I could on that scale, wonderful movie and I loved it! Until next time.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

How is it that one character has almost single-handedly ruined this movie?

I like this movie, I really like this movie, this and Goblet Of Fire were my absolute favorites of the series when I was younger. And again, it still held up tremendously and I know I will have to fully rank this series once I finish. So Harry returns to Hogwarts after a nasty run in with the Dementors, and things aren't exactly all that better at the school, with the main government body the Ministry Of Magic interfering severely with the inner workings of the school and is trying to usurp complete control with the assumption Dumbledore is making his own private army. A good story, and one that changes the game a bit. Something I've just now noticed is this series certainly isn't formulaic, each story is radically different than the last and to take a more political take on the wizarding world is fascinating if absolutely infuriating. I still heavily stand by what I said in my Fantastic Beasts review, the americans are 1,000 times worse than the british who are already absolute ****bags who could not be more potrayed as antagonistic or corrupt if they tried. Sweet Jesus, do I even need to talk about Dolores Umbridge? The woman is Satan. Wait no, that's an insult to Satan, Satan is a charming and pleasant person compared to that...witch. I offer my sincere and great apologies to Lucifer Morningstar, we'll have lunch as my treat. Just, she is so....

I'm sorry guys. I just need a moment. That...that was pure rage, and I'm just gonna take a break. Happy thoughts. She didn't survive, she was eviscerated by centaurs....and then burned. Now I feel better. And don't you come to me saying that was dark and hateful, EVERY Harry Potter fan wishes her death. I guess I really have to tip my hat to Imedla Staunton, she is absurdly good at being the person we adore to hate, screw Walter Peck this girl man. This girl. Anyway, let's talk about performances. I like what they were trying to do with Harry, expanding on the connection between him and Voldemort and suggesting Harry is turning a bit dark side, and that's all fine and good but we never get a big oh snap moment where he just loses his shit and almost kills somebody so the tension and suspense just isn't there. I appreciate it, but it doesn't amount to much. This is so much the reunion film cause just about every major and side character from past films are here, good and bad with of course new additions. I mean we get the whole Weasley family, Sirius, Lupin, Moody, my boy Jason Isaacs, Voldemort of course, it really does seem like the gang's all here. Biggest new additions we have are Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, who granted doesn't have a lot of screen time but the impact she has is heavily felt, and of course best witch Luna Lovegood played by Evanna Lynch who shock of all shocks I adore and I may or may not ship her with Neville, she's the unsung hero of this film she practically saves the day twice with giving advice to Harry and flying those rad skeletal horse things. Best witch, I have spoken. So characters and story get thumbs up from me, but how's the rest of the film? Quite good, I'd probably put it above Goblet Of Fire in terms of technicals, the new sets are very well done, the lighting and cinematography is kind of unreal at times how they pulled that off, and the direction is handled very well. There's some real standout moments for the whole series, I mean yeah the wizard's duel between Albus and Tom is great stuff to be sure, and honestly any shot with Snape, especially the little training segments with Harry is kind of a big deal which we'll talk about later on, is brillaint but what really struck me the most is when Harry really breaks these almost legendary exploits of his and admits that it sounds heroic but is really downright terrifying and that most of the time it was luck that could have went very badly. I don't know, just something about that acting and dialogue really struck me as something very real and brutally honest. I was kinda shocked how good that scene was. All in all, I would proabably put this slightly below the 4th movie but the stuff they get right is done really right, and there are plenty of moments to love and enjoy. 4 stars, 8/10, Prisoner Of Azkaban still top dog but we got three more movies to see which is truly greatest of all. I suspect the next potential candidate is the next film, so join me for The Half-Blood Prince.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Well that was kind of a depressing ending.

Honestly this movie is nothing but fun for the whole family and another great adventure into this world until we reach the bloody hedge maze. But overall, how was it? I think for the longest time this was my favorite of the entire series before it even properly ended, I think with all the action-y trials of the tournament and the certain bombshell that gets dropped near the end this was my favorite. Is it now? No, Prisoner Of Azkaban is still the superior film in my eyes but in terms of story and character moments, this is still pretty good. A momentous occasion has come to Hogwarts where two other magical schools are competing in a special competition known as the TriWizard Tournament, and for mysterious reasons our dear Harry is selected as one of the participants, where he has to face dragons, sea creatures, and a hedge maze that gives The Shining a run for it's money to become the champion. I'm honestly surprised it took 4 films for confirmation of other magical schools, it seems kind of obvious since Hogwarts is a British school but it is pretty awesome seeing French and Russian(?) schools as well thrown into the mix. This movie is a lot of fun but I'm gonna be honest the whole teen drama bullshit I can live without. Thankfully it's not too much but it's there enough to aggravate the holy hell out of me. Now I get it, they're teens and these story elements were bound to happen sooner rather than later, in fact the more I think about it this film is very....high school. Not bad tropey high school (which statistically comprises 99% of all high school films), but there certainly are elements to it, there's a bit of attention given to romance, finding someone to take to a dance, the tournament itself is treated like a damn sport despite the near fatal situations, and again there's nothing wrong with that. It sets the tone until it drops a ton of bricks on you with the ending which makes it more shocking and impactful. I can respect that, but it's just something I'm not a huge fan of. But there's plenty to like, the tournament is varied and filled with excitement, our new DATDA teacher is a lot of fun and one of the more interesting characters we want to know more about, and the finale is the best yet of the series. We got to talk about it because it quite literally changed the game, Voldemort is ressurected and in a pretty grim fashion. I was kind of getting Black Cauldron vibes, but everything about it is handled perfectly and Ralph Fiennes though a teeny tiny little bit broad certainly has that menace and power to him. I'm not gonna make any Twilight jokes, Robert Pattinson does fine here and even went on record saying he'd rather play Cedric again than Edward Cullen, I have some respect for the man and actually look forward to seeing him as the Batman. But is it coincidence that this is the movie with the most Doctor Who cast members and they introduce a small space that is bigger on the inside, twice? I'll let you be the judge. But the answer is no, the producers are cheeky bastards and I love them for it. The director did fine, though even I had to check it wasn't the same guy who did Battlefield Earth cause those dutch angles. Whoo boy. Not bad by any stretch but it did make me laugh a bit. I don't think I'm missing any other major points, it's all just small moments from here. Alan Rickman proves once again why he's the best thing to happen ever, and never fails to make me smile. Gambon I do have to say is the better Dumbledore, if only because he had the majority of movies, and I will conceed he is the best but Richard Harris is still my favorite despite Gambon's wonderful performance. Another just...weird thing I noticed is, I felt utterly unclean during this movie, like everyone is just horny as shit and it bothers me. I do not need to see Moaning Myrtle get all 'hey hey' with Harry Potter. Ugh. Like I know hormones are starting to set in with these teenagers but even the adults are pushing their luck with this rating. Just. Why?? I need bleach, steel wool, and a volcano to get this smut off my skin and out of my brain. And on that uncomfortable note, it is time to end. Thank you so much for reading, goodnight. 4 stars, 8/10.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

This is really when the movies start getting amazing.

Now do not get me wrong the first two Harry Potter movies are genuinely good films with expert worldbuilding, beloved characters, and good stories. However Prisoner Of Azkaban goes above and beyond the bar that was set last film. I attribute it a great deal to director Alfonso Cuaron one of the most critically acclaimed directors of our time, his style of direction allows not only excellent camera work with longer takes and flowing motion, but it highlights the relationships between characters. They banter, bicker, hang out, they feel so incredibly real and even more relatable than before. This is definitely one of the more interesting and personal stories, with Harry learning of an escaped prisoner that had very close ties with his parents and has been warned that he is seeking to kill Harry. Of course we still have classroom learning, Quidditch games, and more personal time between characters but this is when the films start taking a more dark turn. You got the slightest hint of it in the first movie, a tiny smidge more in the second, but this film balances the more creepy and adult moments very well with the lighthearted moments. There's more to love here than even I remembered. Professor Lupin is one of the most beloved characters of the entire series and easily has my vote for best DATDA teacher, David Thewlis did absolutely spectacular work in this role potraying a kind, thoughtful, and respectable teacher. I just adored his character in this movie. Got to say though, the Dementors are more terrifying than I remembered, I loved the designs as a kid but now even I'll admit I got a little uneasy when they were on screen. Michael Gambon does take the role of Dumbledore in the vein of Richard Harris, and I do truly love his subtleties and sense of humor, and it will be a real treat to see him in future films. More Severus this time around (Yay!), and just the little touches that Alan Rickman gives goes miles for me, whether humorous or not he does fine work. I really loved the pacing of this movie, if I honestly had one bad thing to say about the first two films it's that certain scenes cut a bit faster than I would have liked, like you think the shot will go on for just a bit longer but then abruptly cuts. It happened a few times for me in both films but here, they know when to hold on a moment and then move on. The sets are done yet again amazingly with more connected pieces between major sets and new locations which is always a plus. I do have 2 minor grumbles with this movie, nothing movie breaking (for the most part) but it just seemed off to me, mainly we have time travel now. Really? Why? It kind of breaks the entire narrative for me when I know Harry could go Back To The Future 2 and change pivotal moments of the series. Which is odd because I've never heard anyone complain about the time travel elements, you'd think it'd be a very split love it/hate it group but I've never heard anyone bring it up. Second, there's a bit, it's very brief and it happens during the time travel segment, why is Harry so upset? Like, he kind of had his resolution in the Shrieking Shack and made a firm decision on what to do with the villain of this film, yet he time warps and all of a sudden gets pissed and wants him...dead? It seems like a character slip to me. I don't know, maybe I read it wrong but it just seemed very off to me. Regardless, this is the strongest of the movies so far for me. I don't think Alfonso Cuaron directed any more of the films but I was very impressed with his style and attention in this one and this is easily my favorite of the series so far. Will it be topped? Difficult to say but we'll find out next time. 4 stars, 8.5/10 on this one, and next time we have the famed TriWizard Tournament.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets

I would definitely say this is better than the first.

Chamber Of Secrets does what every sequel should do, expand the story and characters while still introducing new elements into the world and overall having a better feel than the first. Granted the first story was a very basic story, more an introduction if nothing else but it turned out to be a pretty good film and was a massive hit at the box office. So now we have a better story with Harry returning to Hogwarts admist a rash of student endangerment after hearing tale of an illusive chamber built by one of Hogwart's original founders, leading Harry, Ron, and Hermione to find the location of the chamber and kill the beast within that is hunting down non-pure blood students before the school is closed. I know I give brief synopsis to every movie, but there's tons to talk about in every aspect for this film. Already the budget and effects have clearly been given a major upgrade, with more lavish sets, excellent animatronics, and better CG. I particularly like how we see familiar locations from the last movie but we get so many more new settings that we will see for movies to come. That's something I greatly appreciate about this series that I don't normally see, the continuity between films is probably the strongest I've ever seen in all my movie watching history. I like how the story goes a tiny bit dark and there's much more of a strong impending threat which permeates the entire film, as opposed to a threat that really only was near the end of the past film. It's great to hear the lore of Hogwart's and was something I loved even when I was a kid, and the aspects of the Chamber itself and the mysterious Heir of Slytherin are done brilliantly. The cast is even stronger in my opinion with all the returning students and teachers, a trend that will continue for many more movies to come. I think I'd mainly want to talk about story and character elements more than production and overall quality cause let's be honest these films are loved by almost everyone and each film is a standout movie in it's own way. You're not here for me to tell you to go see this movie, you're here to know my thoughts on the elements of each film. I don't think anyone has ever liked Gilderoy Lockhart and to be honest he's the worst DATDA (Defense Against The Dark Arts) teacher we have yet, but he did get a few laughs out of me near the end. I know J.K. Rowling didn't have everything planned out but the idea of a magic diary that holds part of someone and power over someone is a genius idea that evolves into something much greater as the films progress. I got to say that's pretty ballsy putting what is essentially a wizard slur word in a family film, I still kind of lose my shit when I hear Malfoy say that, talk about triggered! Not as much Severus this movie around but the bits he has knocking the hell out of Lockhart is cinematic gold in my eyes. I loooove the fact the Chamber Of Secrets is a full fledged set, and the fact we have a full on animatronic of a Basilisk is even more outstanding! Oh and we finally meet both Arthur and Molly Weasley, I adore them so much, I practically crush on Molly and Mark Williams is such a good actor and always will be Mr. Weasley in my eyes. Oh my God, I almost forgot to talk about Jason Isaacs, sweet mother of mercy that man is a fine actor and he is superb in this movie, we honestly needed so much more of him and I genuinely want to see more of him as The Grand Inquisitor. I'm sorry I'm just nerding the hell out over here but I just really had a grand time with this one and I cannot wait to see Prisoner Of Azkaban again. Another easy 4 stars, 8/10 again from me! Loved it, wonderful production values, great performances, deeper story, expanded characters, it's kind of hard not to like! I knew people though back in the day, who had um....issues. Major issues with the world of Harry Potter, and I just want to say I hope they don't exist anymore. Because they are the dumb and I for some reason gave them enough attention to argue with them. You just don't feed the trolls kids, take it from me. Just go watch the movie, it's wild, you'll love it!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone

It's been 84 years. What? It's only been 19? Well I still feel ancient!

I have not seen these movies in so damn long, we're talking almost a decade since I last watched every single Harry Potter movie. I will fully say I was born at the perfect time because I was 6 almost 7 years old when this movie came out but also Lord Of The Rings came out, high fantasy was everything I breathed for a good long while during this time in the early 2000s. I was very pleased this movie held up as good as I remembered it, I mean obviously there's something truly special here because look at the literal armies of Harry Potter fans in 2020. It's unreal what these movies did to the world at large and to cinema period. It's a spectacular start to one of the best and most beloved movie sagas of all time, and it really did get me in that mindset that I was seeing something magical even after all this time. I don't think I need to divulge heavily into plot because these movies are practically known from birth but for the uninitiated, a young boy discovers on his 11th birthday that he is in fact different from his truly horrible family and that he has magic in his blood before being taken to the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world where he meets friends, learns about the wizarding world, and comes across a threat from the past. I couldn't dream of better worldbuilding if I tried, every aspect of the magical world from wands, to broomsticks, the various details of Hogwarts, and so so much more is told damn near perfectly. It draws you in instantly from the first scene (I still want that Deluminator.) and you want to know more about the world, learn everything you can because it's so dang cool and so interesting. The characters are timeless with very good acting from such young kids and you grow to like them very quickly and get invested in their characters, but lest we forget true powerhouses of cinema as the instructors. Now I actually love Richard Harris as Professor Dumbledor just a smidge more than Michael Gambon (though of course I still adore Gambon's performance) and I was truly upset at his passing, I do see Dumbledore as a more sagely Merlin character with great wisdom and teachings though Gambon completely pulls off the most powerful wizard in the world edge. Maggie Smith is a joy as always and I'm so happy I get to see her all throughout the week. But best performance, the whole movie, hands down, maybe even the series, Alan Rickman. Hot buttery jam I love that man! No one knew what to make of his character for years in these films, least of all me, but there's no denying he has the best material to work with in the long run. I thought the effects were done very well, only using CG when absolutely necessary and while it's certainly not the best I've seen I'm gonna cut the film released in 2001 some slack for the computer graphics. But the sets, creature effects, optical effects, all done excellently. The music by John Williams is unbelievably good! Couldn't ask for a better score if I tried, and I will fight anybody on this but the best music in the whoooole series is the tiniest musical cue but sweet baby Yoda, the music that plays when Ollivander picks the right wand for Harry....aaahh! So good!! This is a great movie, I know the books were about halfway done when this movie began production so they had that foresight to implement exactly what they needed to tell in future stories. There is so many threads introduced in this movie that get paid off with each consecutive film, the MCU looks like f***ing omnishambles compared to this series, they had to make stuff up as they went along with only a rough roadmap and occasionally tie it in, this was carefully created so that each movie could build on the last and make a better experience. It really did change the culture of that time, my God you couldn't go anywhere without something Harry Potter related. I'll admit I was into it, I had dragons, owls, letter writing sets, and found my house on good ol' Internet Explorer (PS. I was a Gryffindor back then, but now I'm split between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.), though I never had a wand. I really, really wanted one but I never got one. We might need to fix that soon. Regardless, I was a huge fan then and I'm still a fan now, this is a great movie and I predict that each movie will only get better and better. 4 stars, 8/10! I'm sure this fandom will last for ages, and I am there for it man.

Friday, January 10, 2020


Well the first movie going experience of the new decade and the year. Shit.

I'm just gonna get this out of the way but, I totally jinxed myself today. I said not 6 hours before I walked into this movie, "I haven't had a bad theater experience in the 4 years of reviewing I've done.". Yeah the projection broke down twice. And it hurt the experience, the immersion, and the enjoyment of the film for me. I wasn't mad at the theater cause these things happen and very rarely too but with a film like 1917, you need that immersion. The whole movie is set up to be shot in one long take, very much like Birdman, but when the film stops and then literally has to rewind back a few minutes it does hurt the film. We had no hiccups after that and it started around the 30 minute mark but I couldn't fully enjoy the film afterwards because there was a nagging thought in the back of my head, the movie could break down again. That f***ing sucks man. My rating has been compromised because of the experience. Granted I very much liked the film, it was filmed absurdly well and I only counted a max of 5 cuts in this 2 hour movie. It has a strong story with two british soldiers tasked with crossing enemy territory to relay a message that will save 1,600 men. It does warrant the R rating with it's content, they don't shy away from anything, there's multiple instances of decomposed and grotesque corpses littered on the battlefield and environment. It does remind that war is worse than any hell ever created by a religion, but it has deeper themes of friendship, loyalty, comraderie, life, death, and beauty amongst ruins. The performances are all done very well with Dean Charles Chapman and more importantly George Mackay, they have to carry this film all the way through on their backs and they do succeed. But Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, and Benedict Cumberbatch though having bit parts do elevate the film. As I said Sam Mendes has done a great job with directing and each shot is excellent, never letting up that under the skin tension and anxiety for the audience. You just never know when someone is about to take a shot and you're as apprehensive and stressed as the main characters. It's a damn good film and if I saw it last year it would have made my top 10 list, probably would have put it at number 10 because while it is a technical marvel and a strong and powerful story, there was some stiff competition for last year that gave me a lot of enjoyment and love. So take my rating with a grain of salt, it could be way way better for you than it was for me. 1917 gets a solid 4 stars, 8.5/10. It does severely bum me out that the first movie experience of this year was less than spectacular but we must press on for better and new experiences.

Okay I've compiled a list of movies I own that I haven't done yet. It's a small list but there was one particular series that I'm all for revisiting, and I would like to do it 5 years in than much later. It's kind of a crime I haven't reviewed them before but that will be rectified starting next Sunday for a whole week. It will be a wild magical time for all.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

In Retrospect: Joker

I'll admit I only know one joke. No one gets it.

It still truly holds up for me, Joker is still the movie that could live in the regular world of movies and comic book movies. There's been tons of talk about the movie, implications, theories, studies, what have you and all from just a comic book movie with a realistic tone. It's really amazing to see this movie do so well and my boy Joaquin just got a Golden Globe for this movie now we take on the Oscars! Is there much more to say about it since last time? Partially, I did discover a crucial puzzle piece that countless individuals have not brought up before when they talk about the aspect of the film regarding the narration. People say Arthur is the unreliable narrator, he imagines things therefor the whole movie could just be in his head while he's banging his head on a door in Arkham. This is wrong. The truth is found in simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius, of each particular thing ask what is in itself? What do we see in these daydreams of Arthur Fleck? We see him happy. He's on Murray's show and goes up on stage to huge approval of the audience and Murray saying he wants a kid like him, we see him go on dates with a nice girl he meets who is there to comfort him in a dark and troubling time. We never see him unhappy, downtrodden, or a failure in these daydreams. Thusly, many aspects of the film's story happened. Meeting Thomas Wayne, finding his mother's file, his various crimes, all happened. We never once see a daydream turn into a nightmare. I always saw it as Arthur was once in Arkham but was released and lived with his adopted mother and the story plays out as it's told. No twists or misdirects. I know that may seem boring and uninteresting but I'm simply not one for fan theories or heavy speculation (which we'll talk about more when Episode 9 hits video). The film is simply there to simultaneously tell a new story and expand upon previous stories about how The Joker came to be and it does it incredibly well. Joaquin Phoenix does usurp the throne that Heath Ledger has ruled for over a decade for me, though of course I'm still in love with his performance in The Dark Knight. It doesn't feel like a comic book movie with it's tropes and peculiar ideas, but simply tells the story of a man who is beaten down by the city he lives in and starts taking action that plunges the city into chaos and makes him something more than just another person on the corner. It's a damn well made movie considering the script was practically being rewritten daily, and the direction by Todd Philips can be very funny at times, and down right heartbreaking and cruel at others. I'm still personally debating on how I feel about there being a good possibility of a sequel, on one hand I'd love to see Joaquin Phoenix broadening the role and see where the story goes next but on the other hand I'm incredibly happy how this film ended. The fact that the film ends on the Joker thinking about Bruce Wayne standing over his dead parents and having a good hard laugh is iconic in it's own right, and then proceeds to end Tom & Jerry style with a 'The End' title card is just about as great an ending as you can get. The film has broke many records and stands as the highest R-rated movie to date, put that in your pipe and overdose on it Deadpool, and has been making too many appearances on best films of 2019 lists to even count. I'm proud DC took a chance on something so different to the comic book movie engine of today but the results are speaking volumes to the public. Something different can be amazing, and maybe we shouldn't always have the same formula that Marvel has been cranking out for an ungodly period of time. In fact that's probably the only reason I liked Doctor Strange and Black Panther is because I'm not familiar with that style of movie, hell I'm pretty sure I could count all the Marvel movies I've seen on one hand (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Doctor Strange, Black Panther) so maybe my opinions will change if I ever intend to eviscerate, uh I mean dissect the Marvel movies. I really hope we see more movies like this one though, taking risks and changing the game a bit if only just to make movies more interesting again. Joker still gets a sterling 4 stars, 9/10 from me, and I'm sure this movie will be watched, talked about, evaluated, and enjoyed for years to come. So I guess I got to tell the joke right? Alright. There were these two guys in an insane asylum, and one night they decide they don't want to be in an asylum any more. They decide they're going to break out. So they bust out and make a run for the roof, and there just across the rooftops is the city. Freedom. The first guy jumps across no problem, but the second guy doesn't dare make the leap. He's afraid of falling. So the first guy says, "Hey I brought a flashlight with me, I'll shine it across the gap and you just walk across the beam of light and join me on the other side.", but the second guy says, "What do you think I am? Crazy?? You don't walk towards the light at the edge of a rooftop!". You didn't laugh.

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Mandalorian

It's not The Baby Yoda Show, it's The Mandadlorian because best dad ever. You know in your heart it is!

So I finally watched The Mandalorian over the winter break and I must say I was very entertained but not surprised. To take such a more ground level view of Star Wars that we sort of got in Solo and Rogue One was a wise choice and the fact that each episode marks around 30 minutes, it can focus more on characters and world building and not overblown series arcing situations and battles. This is the show Star Wars fans need, and it sets a good step forward for Disney to make future series of the same caliber. When I first heard of a show focusing on a Mandalorian bounty hunter making his way through the galaxy, I was on board for the idea. Granted we don't get an awful lot of bounty hunting but I don't see that as a bad thing, I was expecting a Cowboy Bebop/Firefly dynamic to the bounty hunting but it goes it's own path and crafts something new. So Mando (yes I know he has a name but I like Mando) is collecting on bounties when he is tasked by our good friend Carl Weathers to bring in a special individual to an Imperial client with ties to a Moff, but once he sees those big bright eyes of the entity that bears no name but a strong similarity to Force users of the past says screw you guys this is my kid now, and he spends the rest of the series making allies, facing problems, and raising a small child at the young age of 50. I have no problem saying best dad, because honestly that is his kid and I'll be damned if he doesn't raise him! I will admit for some reason I kept thinking this series to be during the original trilogy but it takes place 6 years after the battle of Endor and the defeat of The Empire, but it works and is our first gateway into the 30 year gap before The Force Awakens. I think why this show struck so much with casual and hardcore fans is because of the characters and the worldbuilding. It brings several elements of the Expanded Universe into play, thanks to our golden boy Dave Filoni, but the way they introduce and handle each character makes you get attached to them quickly. Something I noticed especially is you can tell so much from a character simply by how they carry themselves, now obviously this comes into play with Mando heavily since Pedro Pascal never takes the helmet off so he has to work with body language and it says a lot about his past and who he is now. The casting is great, I mean it's always super nice to see Carl Weathers in anything, but then you bring in Gina Carano as an ex-Shock Trooper who it took me forever to remember where I saw her but yeah she's the second best part of Deadpool (the first and last part being Colossus)  and she really has a knack for playing supreme asskickers and let's be honest she is a friggin' queen, and I hope to see more of her in the future. We also get a strange but really nice addition with director Werner Herzog in a small role which is odd because you just don't see many acclaimed directors in even a supporting roll, and another director comes into the fray with Taika Waititi taking up the role of an IG assassin droid and best nanny ever which is pretty spectacular to behold, Nick Nolte is great as Kuill and has already cemented a legacy for himself. Plus with episode 6, you get more cameos than you can shake a stick at, I mean seriously it's crazy how many actors they squeezed in that. The production values are high, the cinematography and visual style is all great with a much more old west feel to it which I can appreciate a great deal, and the fact they use practical effects more often than not gets you brownie points and even the CG is done really well. There's a lot to love and appreciate actually through the whole series, whether it be characters, settings, action sequences, bits of lore thrown in from The Clone Wars series to the friggin' Holiday Special, they knew how to craft a show and lay the foundation for a strong first season. In fact I could only really say superficial bad things about the show, like why is the flamethrower the most useless weapon in Star Wars since R2's little taser thing, why are the Death Troopers not a more imposing threat, I don't see people up in arms over the green Mogwai as much as they are Rey. Does it hurt the show? Not at all. Does it really matter? No. There's no such thing as a perfect show or film, but the positives practically outweigh the negatives by a metric ton, and I am very interested to see what's next not only in the next season but the next show. I greatly enjoy this first season, I give it a solid four stars and a 8.5/10. This is well worth watching at least twice, and since the show clocks in at a little over 5 hours in 8 episodes you can easily knock it out over a weekend. Check it out if you haven't already and don't let the memes fool you, it's worth your time. I really hope we get the Kenobi series soon, and I will raze Lucasfilm to the ground with an orbital bombardment from a Star Destroyer if we don't get that Darth Bane series. But I hear tale The Clone Wars is slated to return in a month's time and I am endlessly happy over that. So until next time my friends, this is the way.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Top 10 Films Of 2019

Goodbye last decade. So which films were the best in my eyes for this year? Well....

10. Toy Story 4. Now I know I had issues with the ending, but the entertainment value was high and was still a very well crafted movie, and if nothing else gave us Forky. It's not trash, but we love it like trash.

9. Alita Battle Angel. This was unexpected but I greatly enjoyed the manga series and am eagerly awaiting future sequels. I am all for this world and these characters, and the visual style looked amazing. A hidden gem for the year.

8. Detective Pikachu. I'm not a Ryan Reynolds fan, but even I admit he was surprisingly good in this movie and while it's a nostalgia trip for 90s kids like me it was totally awesome! And so far is one of the best video game movies ever made.

7. Glass. I know, I know. Looking past that though, Glass is a really good movie and one I enjoyed so much. I think it just goes to show how much people cared about this series and more importantly characters, to rage so much at the ending.

6. Shazam. One of the most fun and entertaining DC movies to date, this I do feel was better than Aquaman and I really digged Aquaman, but the fact they took such a simple template as a super hero movie and did something different with it must be appreciated.

5. The Dead Don't Die. Hilarious, odd, a footnote in other people's books but a big hit for me.

4. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Tarantino does it again, and I am loving it. This is a great film and well worth repeated viewings, is it his best? Time will tell.

3. Godzilla King Of The Monsters. Screw the critics, this movie rocks. I have spoken.

2. The Rise Of Skywalker. It's treason then, but I loved it. I got a fun space adventure that capped off the main series while still finishing it's own story, and I had a blast. Others though? I can feeeeel your anger....

1. Joker. Oh what a shock. I just M. Night Shyamalan'd your ass! So sue me, it was the best of the year. I loved it, and I hope it gets more love.

It does suck that I ran into financial situations near the end of the year, cause I know I missed a bit but new year new decade, come what may the show must go on, this is the way. And I will see you next week for the first review.