Friday, February 26, 2021

Let Him Go

Yeah I've sorta seen it before, but I still liked it.

I don't think any groundbreaking storytelling occured in this movie, but I'd be lying through my damn teeth if I said I didn't get very invested and very much enjoyed the movie. The basic story of loving family member trying to rescue loved one from psycho family is nothing new, you've no doubt seen something akin to it. But man, it took 12 minutes for me to get into this film and I was with it till end credits. Which I mostly attribute to the powerhouse royalty that is Diane Lane (my love and admiration for her knows no bounds), and Kevin Costner who I think has set himself up pretty good acting career wise. Okay so, basic gist. Two grandparents are trying to retrieve their grandson after witnessing both him and his mother be abused, as it sort of becomes a hell bent scenario with them travelling abroad to find the boy's whereabouts before meeting an albeit stereotypical but nevertheless serviceable brutish family led by the matriarch, and tensions rise before it kind of goes home invasion/revenge flick. Now despite a forseeable plot, the film does not do a bad job setting up the emotions, the tension, and the payoff. In fact it does a pretty good job, I could have clocked out at any moment and not lost a bit of plot but it just goes to show how well they really wanted to make this movie and it does pay off. I wasn't expecting Hitchcockian suspense and immense bloodshed (though full honesty I was shrieking for blood after seeing that boy and his momma get hit), but the elements presented are done pretty damn good. I believe Diane and Kevin as a couple, a real couple even, you know they don't always agree but their love and dedication to one another even in an extreme situation as this, is felt. They try to bring a touch of depth and give them character, and I say good show. Lesley Mannville really got this part and brought her A-game, again going for more than just a cookie cutter villain which I can appreciate fully but it really is exactly what you imagine. Best character was Peter though, that boy was grand and I really love the actor, Booboo Stevens after seeing just this performance. The film has gorgeous scenery in it, fully utilizing the nature of Montana and North Dakota to make some impressive shots. The genre though is hard to pin, it isn't really a suspense movie or a thriller, there's tension yes but nowhere near the slow burn or anticipation building of staples of those genres, you might even be led to believe it goes full shootout near the end as it becomes a war for this young boy, but again not very true. You get some blood for sure, but not neccesarily a body count. I guess the umbrella term would be a drama, and when you see the film you certainly will agree. Hell I'm probably not even the first person to make the joke of, plot twist this was a prequel to Man Of Steel the whole time! But what a wild shift that would have been, they bugger off to Kansas, change their names to Martha and Jonathan Kent, and raise the last son of Krypton when he crash lands on Earth. I would have been upset not seeing this in the theater if that occured. But anyway, enough of my geeky ramblings. 3 stars, 7.5/10, admirable work for a recognizable story.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Hail To The King: 60 Years Of Destruction

After watching that new trailer so many times and rewatching some Godzilla films lately, this popped into my head and I really wanted to spread the word about it.

I think, and this seems pretty definitive, this is my favorite documentary ever. And I've seen my fair share, I've seen Woodstock, 101 Biography Channel presentations, many making of film documentaries but this one really hit a chord with me. It's told from the perspective of a podcaster Kyle Yount, hardcore kaiju fan and Godzilla connoisseur as he treks to Tokyo to see how the japanese population is celebrating the then 60th anniversary of Godzilla. 65 years now and still going damn strong. And I think the reason why this is my favorite documentary like ever is the fact that, it doesn't just state facts for the record. It isn't a seminar on how the 1954 movie came to be and the subsequent impact on culture throughout the decades this series has made. It has passion to it, it's done in a loose but still highly professional manner and showcases both fans and creators in nothing short of a loving, respectful, and engaging fashion. It's not trying to be anything else than what it is and show the dedication and immense love held by the fans of this genre, tokusatsu. And the amazing part is not only does he interview and spend time with fans in a restaurant, or talk with an independent film director, he somehow...I don't know how got to sit with Godzilla acting alumni and talk with them about their involvement and appreciation for the films. That, is incredible. I was seriously shocked when I first saw it and are still just stunned watching it now. And this was not an official documentary. This was fan funded, independent, limited number of cameras, but because of the participation of fans in the production it grew into more. It's such a strange example because you have so much Toho material here, on YouTube 100% free, and yet it isn't officialy made by a television or news company, though I'm sure Toho gave it a stamp of approval. That just never happens. But they do it admirably and shine a light on various bits of culture peppered throughout, and not just focus on the monsters. Hell it could be argued it's as much a love letter to super sentai as well as kaiju, there's some love to your Ultraman's and Kamen Rider's. It really is a celebration of the whole genre as much as this film series. It's very genuine, you can tell there's a lot of passion, a lot of commitment, a lot of enjoyment, and man you just can't beat that. I know documentaries have as much production as movies, Christ even more than movies but it still feels real and free of bullshit. Big thumbs up from me, 4 stars, 9/10! Whether you just like Godzilla or have more than just your toes dipped in the water, give this a watch. At just a smidge over an hour, you can't lose much.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Talking Trailers

I do not recall ever really talking about trailers and it is good to have your opinion on record to compare when you actually see a movie, plus I wanted to do something new so I might as well. We got 3 trailers to talk about that I have seen recently, each having a strong impact on me so let's discuss.

Mortal Kombat (2020): I hated it. Which is so dang weird because when I heard they were doing a new live action Mortal Kombat film I was interested. A hard R rating? Cool looking production stills? A chance to talk about the 90s films? Far out man. And then the trailer happened. Shite. It lost me very early on when the narration stated they were hunting a fugitive and then Sub-Zero popped up and I was just like, huh?? How is he a fugitive? Then they said superhuman abailities and I lost a lot of hope, because the trailer seems like it's trying to do this semi-realistic take on Mortal Kombat which I find to be unforgivable. Just go mental with it, don't try to pin some superhero-esque bullshit like you're expecting Superman to appear, they tried that shit before and it was not pretty. Not to say that the character designs weren't cool, they look pretty grand, and the gore looks legit, but it's the actual elements of the plot that have me seriously dreading this movie. I think they're even gonna pull some nonsense with this Tom Dick nobody being the main character and not an actual person from the video games, which I am praying with all of my might is not true. I don't want to hate it but this trailer has inspired little hope.

Cruella: God I am gonna get so much shit for this. I'd rather watch this than Mortal Kombat. I really am very interested in seeing this. First of all, Emma Stone you have the biggest balls in Hollywood today to say that you are taking up this role after Glenn Close, I mean you have all of my respect for taking it on. Second I heard a lot of people say the trailer had Birds Of Prey/Joker vibes and while I can slightly see it, I feel it's an unjust and ultimately naive label to put on this movie. This looks like such a different beast, because it's not a live action remake. It's a character piece on a Disney villain, which I know they did with Maleficent but even then this looks so different. I don't need to know why Cruella DeVille is the way she is, but she's entertaining regardless. And I for real for real have zero idea what they are going to do with it. That's why I'm so genuinely intrigued to see it. It looks actually kinda cool! So yeah, sign me up for this!

Godzilla Vs. Kong: Ooh. Ooh momma, hold on now. Gotta take a minute. Whew....holy f***!! It's happening, footage has been released! So much to talk about. Great effects, good buildup, I wasn't gaga for the soundtrack but truthfully the Monsterverse has always had such interesting musical choices. 2014 Godzilla had the 2001 A Space Odyssey theme, Godzilla KOTM had frickin' Claire De Lune, Kong Skull Island had Bad Moon Rising, so it has variety if nothing else and we'll probably get some more brilliant music choices for another trailer. It was very Kong centered, I like the relationship with this little girl, we see some other new monsters he fights, but come on man. Godzilla man. Yo, I changed my computer desktop to that neon filled city shot with Godzilla in it, I'm such a damn nerd but how could I ignore such a gorgeous shot? The action looks stellar, Godzilla may be a bad guy which I really love, the reprise of the 2001 theme brought me back to 2016 when I was constantly watching Godzilla, I seriously cannot stop watching this trailer. And to hell with all of you who side with Kong. "Kong bows to no one.", bitch please he gon' learn today! Last movie wasn't called Godzilla KING Of The Monsters for no reason, thank you very much. One shall stand, one shall fall. I trust you'll make the right decision.

Hopefully I can keep doing this, just a sort of trailer roundup of the stuff I've seen and my initial reactions. I had some hot takes for sure but I speak my mind truthfully as always. So I'll see you for a new review later this week.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Dazed And Confused

Alright, let's do it.

I need to express my apologies first and foremost, for not seeing this movie until I was either a junior or senior in high school. And my opinion has not changed at all, I loved it the first time and love it just as much now. Which is odd because in terms of story there's hardly any. It's the characters or more accurately the performances and overall experience of the film is why people hold it so highly and with a lot of adoration. The story is just about teens in high school and junior high enjoying the last day of school and the subsequent evening in 1976. That's it. It's not even a, well we finished high school so what the hell do we do with our lives, kinda vibe. It's just following various groups of kids as they meander around the real town of Austin, Texas. No sets, no bullshit, just the real deal. And I think that's the perfect way to describe the film, it's the real deal. How the teens talk and act, what they do after finally getting out of school, for all intents and purposes in my head this might as well be fact. But that's what is to be expected, Richard Linklater produced, wrote, and directed this movie so it is 100% his baby and he does such good work with it all. It's such a fun, easily watchable, and highly quotable movie. Most everyone's favorite character is McConaughey, and he is brilliant but the rest of the cast do such great work it's hard not to give them credit. My personal favorite of the bunch is Slater, he just cracks me up and was my favorite long before the George Washington monologue he gives. Christ, it even has the best damn history teacher ever potrayed in cinematic history who flat out explains and gloriously so, the reasons why America even exists. I almost applauded. The soundtrack is also a slam dunk, with a perfect storm of late 60s/70s tracks, from Black Sabbath to ZZ Top to Bob Dylan. It's a soundtrack totally worth buying. I know this is just an unimaginable rainstorm of praise for this movie in all it's facets, but did anything happen that I hated? Yes, actually. Very severely if I can speak plainly. Not about the production but just the, for lack of a better word mentality of this town. It really struck me as a vicious cycle, seeing kids get brutally beat with paddles and sophomores be completely and quite honestly repulsively subjugated. And hardly anyone bats an eye at it. I'm serious man, watching those girls go through so much shit just left a scar on my heart that enrages me to this day and very truthfully makes me feel horrendous. It's f***ed up and there's no reason for it. I detest it with every last vestige of my soul and particle of my body. Which is the only reason why it doesn't get a 10/10! It's a solid 9/10 from me, 4 stars check it out! You're in for a trip man. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

I know, I can't believe I haven't reviewed this either.

It only took...about 6 years to review this movie but I've watched it for probably about a decade now. And I know why there is a fanbase for this movie and why so many gravitate toward it and say it's right up there with The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. Now obviously John Hughes directed them all but it just goes to show how in tune he was with kids at that time in the world. Okay so the plot is so well known I shouldn't have to recap but what the hell. Ferris is trying to weasel his way out of attending a day at school, for seemingly no reason though there actually is an occasion that would warrant it later in the film, as the film chronicles his adventures in trying not to get caught and enjoy his day. I think I know now why my mom was never fooled by my attempts to stay home "sick", cause no doubt she pulled the same tricks Ferris did even before the movie came out. That's why everyone holds it so highly, it could be argued this is the most relatable character from a John Hughes film and that's really amazing considering his catalogue. Casting could not have been better, it's one of those films where you just couldn't imagine anyone else in the roles of say Cameron, or Rooney, or Jeanie. It's that tightly knit! I know a lot of people say this is Broderick's best performance still and I am in that camp, he just pulls it off without even seeming like acting. And of course there's tons of location shots in Chicago, giving the city a lot of love and I would totally get my ass up there just to experience it on my own. The comedy might also be the most prevalent in any John Hughes movie with the only competition in my mind being Weird Science which is still my absolute favorite of all his movies. It's one of the most simultaneously laid back stories yet incredibly engaging at the same time, and there's no doubt I'll be watching it from time to time until my dying day. It's a classic for a reason, 4 stars, 7.5/10 from me. But I'm saving the greatest for last this week.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Donnie Darko

Is it bad to say I've seen weirder?

I've heard very few, like count on one hand few, opinions on this film and I really just caught it on television and decided to watch it. I very much liked it, and from the few views I have heard all accounts point to a very strange, very weird movie. However, I wasn't that phased by it. I've seen films that disturb me more, I've seen films that make me question a lot more, I've certainly seen films that befuddle the ever living shit out of me, but this isn't one. The story follows a young teen named Donnie who has psychological issues and is told very bluntly by his imaginary friend that the world will end in 28 days, and we mainly follow his regular day to day activities with time jumps and even a countdown timer. He doesn't necessarily believe it but things keep happening that are more than just coincidences. I got to say this is the most laid back and enjoyable armageddon movie I've ever seen. The cast very much is what centers the film, I know some people give Jake Gyllenhall good grief but he was mighty damn good in this movie and is the best performance I've seen him in. Jena Malone does very good work though the romance could be said to be rushed, in this movie I really couldn't complain. Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze pop up in supporting roles which is great, and you know without Drew this film would not have hit theaters at all so my thanks goes to her for helping fund this movie. This might be sort of an odd comparison but I got Blue Velvet vibes from time to time throughout the film, mainly the opening but it felt sort of David Lynch which by the by is no bad thing in my book. The comedy is sparse but very distinct and actually did get a laugh out of me, the more dramatic parts are executed well enough, the proper odd stuff doesn't feel slapped on but incorporated throughout, it's a decently made movie. Now I'm not one to delve deep into meanings of movies, there are far more intelligent people who can voice their opinions superbly, so most of the time I look at it on face value. The ending was certainly different, and had great mood to it thanks to the soundtrack (PS. The soundtrack is actually amazing.), but even I couldn't help but think something still lingered in the character's minds right before the credits roll. You'll know what I mean when you see it. So I didn't try to divulge some deeper meaning behind it all, I can appreciate that kind of work but that doesn't necessarily mean I do it a lot. If I feel there is something there, I dig. But I still had a good time with it regardless, I'd very easily give it 4 stars, a solid 8/10, you should see it at least once before the end just to have your own opinion.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Joe Pera Talks With You

No, my name isn't Joe Pera but I wouldn't mind being more like him.

I was going to review a movie but to heck with it, this show has had it's day coming since last year. I can't fully remember how this show came to my attention, I was flipping through YouTube and happened across an episode of the show that was called "Joe Pera Talks You Back To Sleep". Now me, I need noise to sleep and have found myself emerged in the ocean sized culture of ASMR, so I wanted to see what it was like. What I found was the tip of an iceberg of a show that I can easily say objectively, is the best show I have ever seen and is one of the best shows ever made. I'm being real with you. But what is 1000 times harder to do is explain why. It is crucial to have the right mindset for this show, the subject material is different from episode to episode but the basic premise is, choir teacher Joe Pera talks about a myriad of topics from iron, grocery stores, and breakfast. It's one of the most relaxing, stress melting, wholesome, and vastly entertaining pieces of media I have ever witnessed. It's an introspective show with odd touches of humor and endless rewatchability. And most shocking of all it comes from Adult Swim, one of the greatest platforms for televised independent shows with shoestring budgets and bizzare comedic material. You just would not expect such a show from that platform. But man Adult Swim when you get right down to it, has an incredible fanbase that sticks through it and they repay that love with shows like this. But the quality here is pretty good, and the comedy is more of an after thought yet never fails to make me laugh every episode. There's tons of clips and two proper episodes on YouTube so you can gauge it for yourself, but this show could not possibly get better. It's just that good! We're talking 5 stars out of 4, 12/10, I simply cannot love it more.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Wolf Of Wall Street

Don't do drugs kids.

This is a fascinating yet greatly fun movie to watch, and I'm genuinely surprised I haven't touched it yet. The first time I saw it a friend showed it to me in college and I could hardly believe what I was seeing. It was such an outrageous comedy but what I find infinitely more interesting is it's true. It chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of Jordan Belfort, a man who slowly works his way into Wall Street and completely loses his mind. It was the 80s after all so the excess was real, and the tales of copious amounts of sex, drugs, and sans rock and roll are nearly impossible to believe but if you were alive during that time and perhaps even in such a line of work no doubt you have tales to be told as well. It's odd thinking of this as a Scorsese film because of it's steep comedic material but he did a great job with this. Leo I feel really has only gotten better and more entertaining roles as time went on, and I'm very happy he really shed that romance stuff off and did tons more than just that. But I feel Jonah Hill was the star for me, and I can't even explain why he was just wonderfully cast and attributed good comedy. Friggin' Matthew McConaughey, I feel he was almost criminally underused but really I can never complain when he is in a movie, even if it is garbage. Of course I can't forget the presence of beauty that is Margot Robbie, hey girl, always happy to see her and not just because of the more obvious reason you filthy animal. But the film doesn't shy away from more intense stuff, I mean proper uncomfortable upsetting shit. I mean any time I see parents fight over kids, that's hard to watch. There's so much absurd and downright extraordinary stuff that happens yet it never loses that edge in reality and the downer of it all. It's a very good film, maybe not so much on a technical or storytelling aspect but through sheer entertainment, and I can respect that. I give it 4 stars, 8/10! This and next week will be short of reviews but we'll get back to normal I promise.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

This Is Spinal Tap

Alright, that was Spinal Tap.

I get the fanbase, I get the love, consider me a fan. I knew for a long time I was going to sit down and watch this and it really didn't disappoint, I mean I've heard quote after quote from this movie and if I have learned anything is that, good comedic writing is easily quotable. I've heard many people unsure of whether or not this was a real band or a real documemtary about the formation and history of a rock band, and it no doubt has a foot firmly in real stuff that has happened but it's too funny to be real. Art imitates life that's facts, but I have to say regarding the fact a lot of this movie was ad-libbed and such striking and memorable mishaps occur, and not even to mention the fact I knew it was a mockumentary waaay beforehand makes it obvious to me. But think back in 1982 when this hit, you'd really have no clue if they were on the level or not. And I like the fact the movie takes it's time before getting funny, it starts out like many a footage of backstage and band interviews to gauge you for the stuff coming ahead which lends to the reality of it all. I have to give an immeasurable amount of credits to our leads, not only did Michael, Chris, and Harry contribute so much to the script (or lack thereof), but that's really them thrumming out riffs and singing away. You just wouldn't see that level of skill, and I throw zero shade at modern fictional or non music stories whether it be Bohemian Rhapsody or A Star Is Born, but Spinal Tap man. What a different metaphysical beast this is. This week went the perfect way, each subsequent movie improving on the laughs, and I know there's a 1001 other music movies out there, God knows how many during that surge after Walk The Line came out, but I searched for more traditional rock and metal stuff and couldn't find a lot. These were just some of the most prevalent I've heard of. But I'm thoroughly happy with what I saw and can accept I probably won't get a major motion picture biopic about say Tony Iommi or Ronnie James Dio or even Dave Mustaine, some things are just better in books than on screen. Regardless, damn good movie. 4 stars, 8/10,  I should probably go to 11 but IMDB beat me to the punch already. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny

Full disclosure, if you're not ready for Jack Black to swear wait on this.

Yet another movie fully worthy of the R rating and also coincidentally from New Line Cinema, Tenacious D a band I never even heard of until well into my teens tried their hand at movies and I thought it was good. It's no masterpiece but it certainly ain't garbage, if you're a fan of movies stewed in ridiculousness and humble production this is a movie for you. Our story follows two rockers KG and Lee who meet up and start to form their own band, before hearing of a mythic legendary guitar pick that will place them at the pinnacle of other rock gods and the journey begins to become the best like no one ever was. I liked the loose story, and the performances of Jack Black and Kyle Gass is what makes you stick around, they just have good personalities and in other actor's hands this movie wouldn't be much. It takes about 30 minutes before the journey for the POD begins but the movie never feels slow, if anything it gets faster and wilder as it goes on like any blistering metal track, culminating in Dave Grohl former drummer of Nirvana and current lead singer for Foo Fighters, playing Satan himself who is challenged to a rock off. It's pretty great and showcases his skills, and is probably one of the best devil's in all of media. It's a strange movie from a distance, but if you give it a watch you may get swept away in it. I know I did and found it to be entertaining and pretty funny. 3.5 stars, 7/10 from me, and I will catch you tomorrow for the ultimate in rock comedy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Detroit Rock City

This brought back a few memories.

The first and only rock concert I have ever been to was Kiss, I was still in middle school and absolutely wanted to go, I got the t-shirt and everything to show off the next day at school, it was grand. I've been in a rock mood for a good long while now digesting new bands and I wanted to take two of my passions and put them together for this week, so how was Detroit Rock City? Pretty damn good, not gonna lie. I've seen adverts for this since I was proper young on VHS tapes so I figured it would work and I got a very unique, very fun, highly enjoyable film. The film had me before the opening credits even started, and the opening credits set the time period extremely well. So the story goes that 4 high school friends who are massive Kiss-aholics get tickets to a concert in Detroit but they lose them and it's a mad rush to try and see the concert. It's a very basic synopsis but the movie is so much better. The first thing that struck me was the camera movements and editing, it is like Evil Dead quality but done on an even more enthusiastic level. Always zooming, and rushing about, over the top levels of movement to ecentuate moments, I just loved it. I really haven't seen a movie like this and I just compared it to Evil Dead, that's how good it is on having it's own identity. Our main cast is great, they feel like real kids cuss words and all, and not every movie can really pull that off. This is a movie that warrants the R rating and I couldn't see it another way. Edward Furlong gets my special mention, he just nailed this part and really was my favorite of the entire cast. I've been doing some reading on the history of heavy metal and the background and thoughts that the book potrays are identical to this movie, you can tell the director and writer knew of that time and place in the world and really got it. Disco sucks, metal and rock is the way, parent groups are forming, it's not just a costume this is a way of life, that sort of thing. But what struck me and really brought me full force to give this a great rating was, it doesn't demonize teens who like hard rock. Our main cast are not bad kids I mean yes they are teenagers, but they don't start shit, they're not dickheads to other people, they push back when forced to, they're not disrespectful to adults, they just want the liberty to express themselves and enjoy the music they like which a lot of kids and teens were doing at that moment in music history. Some wild stuff happens throughout the plot, stuff even I couldn't fully grasp seeing, but it's fiction, it's outlandish to a point and I can roll with that. I think it's a movie I've seen at the right time and with the right mindset. So I give it a full 4 stars, 7.5 pushing friggin' close to an 8, big recommendation. Even if you're not a Kiss fan you can still appreciate that mindset that our characters are in. A very, very strong start to February and next time we look at the...more unheard of Jack Black rock movie.