Friday, May 24, 2024

Furiosa

As if to rub salt in the wound, I liked it better than Fury Road.




That could either be a huge credit to this movie or just another rambling review from an old fool. But honestly it was a pretty solid movie all around, it's crazy to think a prequel took about 9 years to materialize in this day and age, but I will never complain about a series taking a hot ass minute to continue. Gives plenty of time at the drawing board to figure out the plot, the production, raise the funds, and fine tune the project just the way the filmmakers like it. Obviously George is back in the director's chair and this movie follows the same aesthetic and visual language as Fury Road, as we follow for quite awhile young Furiosa's turn of fortune from dwelling in the green place to the wasteland which I really appreciate! It's not just, they took Furiosa 5 minutes into the film and then time jump to her grown up they actually take the time to fill her backstory with as much as they could. Utilizing the 2½ runtime completely with nary a drop of filler and ties a nice bow on it when this movie ends Fury Road begins. Anya Taylor-Joy is a good lead and while I haven't seen her in much action-y fare she does admirably here and earns her wings. First also for seeing Chris Hemsworth be a villain, and kind of a right bastard as well I felt he did really well in this role and had that balance between a threat while also having bits of humor. Also props to Alyla Browne as young Furiosa, she got that drama and rage down very nicely. Strange it is to say but I felt the wide breadth and scope of the wasteland was more confined to the fortress hubs this film around, not that I minded because I wanted to know more about them other than Imortan Joe's territory yet it still looks quite good I must say! The action is more varied since it's not a constant moving convoy and though it's an R rated film the blood and viscera is more often than not subdued which is very much the same as the last movie. I liked seeing the story of Furiosa and it was indeed a tale worth telling, what lies for the future of Mad Max I cannot say but I'll be sure to brush up on the rest with any luck before the next new release. 3 stars, 8/10, worth a trip to the theater to feel that intense rumble from all the guzzoline machines.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Mad Max Fury Road

Okay here we go.



I don't think I have heard this much good word of mouth and undiluted praise for an action movie quite possibly in my entire life. I've never heard even a mediocre thing let alone a bad thing about Fury Road. So how do I break this gently that I thought it was just okay? Granted I haven't seen the previous Mad Max movies so I'm most likely missing some shit, but I know plenty of people have sat down to watch this movie alone and come out fairly pleased. I know bits about it, the story is set in a nuked out post apocalyptic Australia, so I guess 95% of what Australia is actually like (just jokes Aussie's) following previous cop now road warrior Max as he tries to stay alive amidst gangs, scavengers, and fuel grifters. He very quickly gets swept up in the storyline of Furiosa, a hardened woman transporting several young girls to a lush green patch of the world for their safety. Dirt simple plot, very easy to understand and empathize with. No doubt made so for the unhinged action to take front and center stage, this is unashamedly a leave your brain at the door, popcorn, summer extravaganza, action flick through and through. It is astoundingly impressive how much they just did in camera with stunt crew probably as insane as some of the characters, using as little CG as they could get away with to which I strongly commend and applaud. It's metal as hell, off the wall, subtle as a nitroglycerine brick to the head. I assume the previous movies had aspects of this, obviously not that extreme but certainly there and the worldbuilding while brief isn't necessary to enjoy the movie. Though I do want to know way more about it! This isn't a severe mark against the movie when I say this, the cast does just fine but there isn't a great deal for them to sink their teeth into character wise. I truthfully feel they could cast complete unknowns in this part and little would change, but hey they got some big names who obviously were game to do it and it got butts in seats because of it so I will never fault the filmmakers for doing that. This is simultaneously an easy film to talk about and yet a difficult film to talk about for me, it is without question or doubt the phrase "What you see is what you get" and if you've seen clips or trailers and it looks like your kind of bag then rock on my friend, you'll have a blast. And indeed you can see a lot of craftsmanship, dedication, and ultimately passion put into this project. You know they wanted to make the bestest damn movie they possibly could here. I don't hate it by any semblance of a stretch, I can respect the production side, enjoy the movie side, and am quite looking forward to Furiosa, but I don't immensely love it. I like it. The cinematography is proper damn good, the action makes this 2 hour film pass in the blink of an eye, and it's a good bottled movie where you don't need to know anything before or after and just enjoy the cataclysmic ride this movie takes you on. I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10! New release on Friday and more to talk about soon.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Shōgun

I suppose this is what I get for involving myself in politics.



Shōgun is a trip to say the least. An expansive, involved, big budget, notes worthy, 10 hour epic detailing the events leading up to the origins of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is an almost impossible task to sum everything up in one concise and non-rambling synopsis, so cliffnotes version: British ship pilot John Blackmore stumbles upon the isle of Japan and gets very quickly swept up in the political back and forth between the five ruling regents of the nation, as time passes and he cheats death on multiple occasions he takes on more of the culture and becomes a right hand to the disavowed rebel regent Toranaga. It gets complex quick and this is coming from someone who has familiarity with how the government system of Japan worked once upon a long time ago, the customs and traditions of the people, and a rough outline of how each period began, so it's a caveat but if you want to watch this show I severely recommend note taking to keep the family ties straight and to not spread out your watch schedule, rather try to marathon it so you don't forget any details. It took 3 days for me to get through it and what I found simply put, was a show that does not fuck around. It's more fiction than history granted but a true commitment was made to make this as historically accurate, intriguing, beautiful, and coldly violent. To truly make the best series they could. There is zero half assing found in the 10 episodes. And as I am writing this review tale of a second season is coming to which, I have two opinions clashing like mountain goats, on one hand the show ends with a pretty wide opening for more of this story to be told and YET the showrunners claimed it would be a one and done series with no intention for continuation. I'm personally kinda leaning towards never trusting a damn word any studio system creator has to say on any matter. So to keep this from running almost into a 500 word essay let's lightning round some aspects. I completely applaud the, for lack of a better term balls deep, commitment this series has keeping the dialogue heavy on the japanese side with subtitles galore. They do indeed have a dubbed option, I watched it on Hulu, but I love getting to see japanese actors get to speak just japanese, and in a big budget american production? Whaaaaat?? Did I just pull a Sliders and jump dimensions yet again? That's fine, I'll roll with it. Casting is pretty damn good from lead to ancillary characters, Hiroyuki Sanada along with Cosmo Jarvis and Anna Sawai are terrific leads and undoubtedly are the driving force of the whole dang story, you get invested with them quick. Top notch all around! Sweet lord, the costuming, the sets, the environments, as I said no half assing it's very detailed and has enough atmosphere to go around at times, I never thought I would see so. Many. Sets in a television show and very broad ones at that! There just isn't a damn thing on the telly like this right now. The story while a bit complex in terms of character and motivation, knows when to bump the pace up and also let you stew in this albeit foreign but nevertheless understandable political machine, I never go for political dramas or really anything politics heavy outside of The Thick Of It, I just can't stand the backstabbing and drama and overcomplex plans but here I could work with it. You don't really get the battle scope you imagine the story keeps pushing toward, if anything when the violence strikes it sucker punches you in the nose out of nowhere and it keeps you on your toes. Maybe it's more a syndrome of what Game Of Thrones has cast on television series but death strikes unexpectedly and it's appropriately grim. May be a turn off for a lot of folks who want to see samurai battle in large numbers and duel one on one, but it just isn't that kind of show and there are examples for you out there who love that particular kind of stuff. It's almost tailor made for a very specific crowd but that niche crowd has been lauding it with praise since it premiered and you never know if you'll like it if you don't try it. It's a sit, it's not a show you can have on in the background and keep up (unless you are fluent in the language and got a good memory), the ending may not do it for you but hey second season for those who want more, but there can easily be aspects you will enjoy. I can appreciate both sides of samurai media, your Ran's or Throne Of Blood's as opposed to stuff like Samurai Champloo or The Sword Of Doom. So I very much liked it and can recommend it for those select few. 3.5 stars, 8.5/10! Phew, that was a busy week. Next week will be easier as we traverse the arid wasteland and will be my first peek into the world of Mad Max.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Afro Samurai Ressurection

Hmm. Not what I thought it was gonna be.




For those who have seen the ending of Afro Samurai you'll know it actually left the door open for some continuation, so as we pick up on this feature film made 2 years after the mini-series I kinda figured it would follow in those steps. Not really. It ain't a bad thing but this movie does kinda fiddle fuck with the history of events and "canon" of the series, not in an insultingly stupid way it just adds more stuff that wasn't seen before and has a purpose for the movie. So the events follow Afro who after claiming the Number 1 headband is being hunted down by familiar faces from his past who desecrate his father's grave on top of that, and more so than the show in my opinion this really hammers the point home of revenge. It damn near walks hand in hand with Kill Bill, I just kept flashing back to that, if you seek revenge on others someone is eventually going to seek revenge on you. Hurt people hurt people. It is nothing but a vicious cycle with no end, and you already know how I feel about that. Revenge...the most worthless of causes. And that story is told super well here, spanning only 100 minutes the movie starts off very slap dash and a little confusing as to what the plot is shaping up to be, but it quickly focuses and gets going passing by in the blink of an eye and you get some visuals out of it. Obviously the animation style persists, but with a movie budget so you get a lot broader more involved fights with some damn good background scenery. It maybe took 3 shots until I saw something where I was like, "God. Damn!! That looks good!". You ever wonder why I champion animation so hard here? Because you get some atmospheric/environmental shots the likes of which even God has never seen! And I gotta admit seeing a lot more locales and pieces of this world were greatly interesting to me, making me wish it went on longer than it did because it's just cool! Is it necessary viewing? Not in my estimation but if you digged the hell out of the show you'll like the movie just fine. The plot moves at a good pace and has some solid moments, the animation still looks interesting, the music once again done by The RZA I truly need to listen to in full for both these installments, and I gotta admit the voice cast was in some cases better than the show. It's unequivocally different and doing it's own thing and for all I know we could get another addition to this series in the not too distant future, which I'm not completely against. So I give it 3 stars, 7/10, and it is time for a recent show to be discussed. Rare occurence on this site but I'm looking forward to it so see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Afro Samurai

Ah shit, here we go again. 




I've heard of the reputation of this show for quite awhile honestly waaaay back in my early teens, not fully knowing the plot just knowing a lot of people held it up as a kickass show and was a unique standout in the early millenium anime scene. The plot is simple enough told over the course of five roughly 30 minute episodes, of a young boy who after seeing his father's grisly demise commits to a life of revenge against a gunslinger assassin as he takes up his father's sword and becomes the Afro Samurai. There's bits and pieces beyond it including a healthy peppering of flashbacks, and a surprising but underplayed twist of the setting. Cause when we kick off it's very feudal Japan, in terms of weaponry, architecture, and geography but then by either the first or second episode you see someone spying on Afro with I shit you not electrobinoculars straight out of Star Wars, right out of the battle of Hoth and it only gets crazier from there. Now I know the setting isn't pivotal, this isn't a Trigun situation where the more you watch the more you come to realize why the world is the way it is, this show rather centers itself around the Rule Of Cool. You wanna see Afro battle against robot shinobi? You got it. Want to see a villain use basically a handheld ballista with grenade launcher attachment? No problem. But it never forgets it's roots in samurai cinema, and while the animation is....I'm trying to find the right word for it still. It's heavily stylized, jagged yet flowing lines, the color palette is not quite black & white but leans towards greyscale, the blood is a character in and of itself with how over the top it is reaching geiser levels, and at first I thought this was a western made almost tribute to anime but it does indeed hail from the land of the rising sun itself originally created by Takashi Okazaki. It's unlike anything I've seen before but has sheer moments of pure beauty in it. I did watch the dubbed version and it was so not what I was expecting because I did know Samuel L. Jackson was the main part but Afro is seriously the strong silent type and only really starts talking closer to the end and I barely recognized his voice it was so different, but what I didn't know was Sam voiced two roles. He also voices Afro's travelling companion Ninja Ninja (yes I'm serious) who is way more what you would expect from Sam's acting. Chatterbox, throwing lingo and slang to and fro, really is only two steps away from saying the N-word, he's a funny dude and is that levity we need in a very serious story. Ron Perlman is our main villain here, once again the vocal performance is not what you expect it's not as deep voiced, it's way more for lack of a better term reptilian. Fantastic character design by the way, you barely see him in the show but you can feel the threat and the creep factor get pushed near maximum. It's a conglomeration of top voice acting talent presented here, just go look at the cast list it's crazy how many big names in the voice actor community they got. And to think this show hit the States in 2007, my God you want to talk about another time another place? The world was different, anime was different, I was but a 12 year old nerd. Can we just get back to that for a while? Can we rewind the tape please? Fuck. Before I start just getting really depressed, let's wrap this up. It is a real damn good series, feature length just 2½ hours it's worth your time if you dig this kinda shit, I'm so happy I got to see it after 17 years (Oh dear God, make it stop, make it end.), so final scores! I give it 4 stars, 8/10, and the story ain't over yet so tune in tomorrow for the actual feature continuation.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

Phew, thank you God!



Good news! Kingdom is a very good follow up to War and is a strong movie on it's own. It actually crosses into the rare territory of a sequel where you don't need to have seen previous installments to get. Set many generation from the ending of War we see apes of a certain clan in particular Noa take up a quest to rescue his family from an invading much more hostile section of apes, along his travels he frequently has run ins with a human named Mae and a wise sage orangutan by the name of Raka who broadens Noa's mind of the before times, before facing off against the king of the coast Paximus Caesar. First and most crucial thing I gotta bring up is the worldbuilding set up here is so interesting and you may find yourself with more questions by the time end credits roll, but I do not see that as a negative. Because the movie is set most likely hundreds of years in the future that gives the filmmakers such a wide sandbox to play with, and the details you are given whether newcomer or experienced viewer is interesting stuff. The fact alone that it's been so long the events of Caesar's life is legend puts it all into perspective. Apes while still vocal in speech still use sign language and are not super fluent in english. Humans who can speak are practically a myth with most more resembling cavemen from the Paleolithic period. The biggest and most fascinating fact to me anyway was just a tidbit of information, that Paximus has been brought up on roman history and so many pieces click together from hearing that! That's worthy of a movie all on it's own, an intelligent ape who is well read in ancient roman history, that has no right to be as cool as it is! And the performances carry so much whether it's Owen Teague as Noa still young and learning but has an iron will, Kevin Durand as Paximus who doesn't fully slip into the tyrant role but clearly he's no good, Freya Allan as Mae has a lot more going on with her than just a slightly more intelligent human, and Peter Macon selling me once again on why the orangutans are my favorite of the subspecies carrying a lot of history and wisdom with good bits of humor as well. Obviously the visuals have not degraded since War, you get a lot more emphasis on environments both natural and dilapidated human structures and it all looks mighty good. I feel the emotional connection while it can't match the intensity of the last two films can easily be built upon for our new cast, I do want to see where this could go and I was wondering how was this movie going to end. I figured they would try for a continuation but also could have seen the movie end relatively contained. It's pretty good, I'd rank it between Rise and Dawn which is already damn good company to be within, and you can either catch it this weekend or pick it up on video in the future depending on how sold you are on this now continuing saga. I give it 3.5 stars, 7.5/10, and the work is coming along for next week with one show down and one to go.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Tales Of The Empire

Not what I expected!


I like not being right all the time and upon seeing the trailer for Tales Of The Empire it seemed simple enough, chronicling events of imperial engineer and former nightsister Morgan Elsbeth along with inquisitor in the making Barriss Offee. Now with Morgan it basically was what I was thinking, seeing her get from the massacre on Dathomir to being the magistrate on Corvus while tying in some elements from the Ahsoka series, but it was really nice to get some more backstory on her and any additional Diana in my Star Wars is highly welcome! From the small pool of other Star Wars fans I know, apparently I was the select few who just called Barriss turning into an inquisitor which I felt was obvious due to galactic history and her story thus far but I certainly didn't call anything after that event. There is more to her story than just hunt jedi and it kept me guessing where it was going to leave off. For a series clocking in less than 90 minutes it sure as hell made me want more but I was also satisfied with it, I liked gleaning more details from this galaxy and they were solid stories. Animators show offs as they are, give us another spectacular range of scenery and detail, first friggin' shot of the first friggin' episode made me huff in joyful disbelief it looked dat gud! Seeing familiar and new locales as well as characters in the Clone Wars style was great and I have no doubt this animation style will be with us for years yet. Performances while undoubtedly brief due to the structure of the show were regardless quite good, to get Meredith back for this and seeing her encapsulate the character of Barriss so well was lovely, of course some love must also be shared with Jason Isaacs and Lars Mikkelsen I mean those are my guys through and through and I adore them endlessly. I know these Tales series are just bite sized stories to tide us over for the next big project in the pipeline but the versatile range and freedom within can mean anything is next both for the next series focus and also individual stories for each season, I am once again asking Lucasfilm for a Tales Of The Sith series and I know I'm being greedy with The Acolyte mere weeks away but a boy can dream! Speaking of which, that's the next big series and the one I've been looking forward to most since the announcement. Hopefully I can catch up on the High Republic books more beforehand. As for this series big time 4 stars, 8/10!


Next week will be the slowest week so far of the year but I got some work to do so I can give you not one but two television series' reviews so hang tight and may the Force serve you well.

Friday, May 3, 2024

The Fall Guy

Thumbs up indeed.



Full upfront disclosure I was not even aware that this is based on a television show until a few days before seeing it, and I'm an old bastard I tune into MeTV regularly and for the most part is educated in television programmes of days gone by. So I can't speak on terms of adaptation or what have you, so let's just discuss the film. Set in a quite meta world from a filmmaking perspective we follow lovesick stunt guy Colt who after a terrible accident on set, has given up the profession but takes on one more job for the director Jody who he had previous ties to. Amidst all the car crashes, falls, and being set ablaze Colt gets wrapped up in trying to find the missing star when stuff starts getting very very real. It is by no means perfect, it's a tiny bit obvious who the baddie is, some meta elements didn't do it for me, and the metaphors are beat into your head...with a sledgehammer. But it has so much good stuff going for it, simultaneously crafting a love letter to stunt teams regardless of geography or time and making just a fun movie. Ryan and Emily are convincing and have solid chemistry together, they're such little shits but it's endearing and you get invested. The action clearly wears it's production on it's sleeve, very little is CGI and while not a technical marvel in choreography I'll be damned if I wasn't still impressed with those hits and falls. The comedy doesn't go non-stop but when a joke hits it hits like a brass knuckle, I was having a good time in that theater! The soundtrack I was a bit of a sucker for no lie. It certainly has no issue prodding the studio system on how movies are made and can be a eye opener for those not versed in how actual film productions go about their day. There was a clear vision to make this a popcorn movie with a good rind twist of substance, to which I feel they did very well. I can recommend it for a weekend watch at the cinemas or getting on video. I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10! And if all goes well tomorrow, new Star Wars show means new Star Wars review.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

The Bad Batch (Season 3)

Okay, I can roll with this.




Final season but likely not the end of the batch, how is it? Way way more story focused for all the people who harrumphed about the second season, centered squarely on two things: finding Mount Tantiss and rescuing Omega. Told over the course of 15 episodes I feel it did tell it's story super well, I still absolutely hold that standard that I did with Clone Wars in it's final season that you got one chance so you better make it as good as you can. Bad Batch season 3 does this far better. Obviously there is a lot I can't say but let's discuss some details. Animation style and quality is gorgeous, I'm not sure if it's gotten better since last time but ooh those backgrounds have never looked more picturesque and the detail on the character models and environments they interact with is clean! Like maaaaan these Star Wars kids got it so good today, I seriously can't even imagine how good life would be if the slate of new Star Wars stuff today came out when I was like 7 or 8. It would be like walking through the pearly gates of heaven itself, it almost brings a tear to my eye thinking about it. Characters are just as we like them, with Hunter and Wrecker giving Din Djarin a run for his money in the best dad in the galaxy category, they truly want to finally put the soldier mantle behind them and just be there for Omega. Hell you could easily argue more than ever this is Omega's season, she is the center in which the galaxy turns for this show and seeing them dig more into why the Empire hunts her and how she's kinda becoming the soldier her brothers have made is a good arc. Crosshair turns babyface and while not much is truly said you can read so much into his past decisions and how he's progressing now, it's proper good stuff truthfully. We get guest cast galore in these episodes, I almost want to say every major player we have seen in episodes past are here once again save for Cid but we make up for that with a new addition to The Bad Batch show of a force sensitive variety. It's pretty great if you ask me. The stakes do feel pretty definitive and high, each episode builds so well upon the last all the way to the finale. Now I do find it a shame we don't really get to peek into every nook and cranny of Mount Tantiss but it further sets the stage for Project Necromancer, as say it with me everybody, "All roads lead to Exegol". This is the way. I very much liked this season, it has plenty for Star Wars fans novice and experienced to enjoy, it caps off the series in a super nice way, and now that I've finally seen it all for myself I can't wait to hear what others have to say. But I don't think it's the last we'll see of Clone Force 99, and there are pockets of info that need to be filled from the flowing mind of Dave and Lucasfilm. This song is ending but the story never ends. 3.5 stars, 8/10, we'll take a quick break but get right back on that hyperspace lane so I'll see you soon.

Monday, April 29, 2024

In Retrospect: The Bad Batch (Season 2)

The end is almost upon us.



Absolutely wild to think The Bad Batch is wrapping up, granted I didn't think the show was going to go on for seasons upon seasons but it sure as hell hits different when it actually occurs. But has the opinion changed much since the initial review of this season? Not terribly I'll admit but a rewatch always helps consolidate your opinion and I enjoyed it just as much. I do say the second season is better but...more as a whole rather than a singular season, if you follow me. It is good but it's elevated because it builds upon the foundation of the first season, you get a continuation, you get to see events progress and characters have more time and material. Honestly I consider the first and second seasons to pretty much be equal in quality, not one having higher footing (Or should that be ground?) than the other. Still entirely steadfast in my opinions of best episodes, and while I am very excited for Tales Of The Empire I did want it more to be like The Solitary Clone episode, a more anthology take on different sections of the Empire but fuck it, I'm ready for those new stories all the way! And now with the grace of the passage of time we can talk spoilers at last. I'm not usually one to throw out predictions or theories for upcoming projects but seeing how Crosshair's story has evolved thus far I'm either thinking death by helping the squad or getting zombified into a Death Trooper shell, but regardless it is a very very good and compelling storyline for Star Wars. Admiral Rampart is a massive dick and his comeuppance along with hopefully his execution couldn't have come swifter, he is that microcosm of clone distrust and hate yet even though I am a supporter of clone troopers I also absolutely understand why they are getting phased out. One, to sever any last remaining ties of the clone war and the Republic. Two, you don't want to keep the guys around who killed their last generals I mean there are commands and orders to execute the Chancellor or now the Emperor. But it is pretty fucking sweet to see that initial Ralph McQuarrie concept art of stormtrooper armor be prevalent on screen, I'm just hoping we somehow see it go all the way and see stromtroopers wielding white lightsabers in some visual medium. I don't think it's any secret Hemlock is tinkering with cloning tech for our beloved Emperor Palpatine, I fully expect to see that come season 3 and have one more glorious excuse to extend my middle finger to all those sequel haters. There are better people out there fighting the good fight for that trilogy, and I'm just not taking the high road like them. The light was never my path. Speaking of tech, boy should have fully seen that coming! I knew something was up because Tech got a big upgrade in screen presence, one on one time, motivation and perspective, dude almost got a girlfriend for crying out loud, he got a tremendous push! Even with his last talk with Phee it felt more like a goodbye than anything, so seeing him take that dive for the team while not out of left field still had a punch to it. But until I see a body, I'm not saying he's gone. You cheeky buggers pulled that Darth Maul card once on me, a broken pair of goggles ain't cutting it. And by the way, I also ain't believing that horseshit about Omega having a sister, yeah she kinda has the New Zealand accent but what friggin' ever man, I'm betting she said it just to have a manipulation hold on poor Omega. Not buying it. Will season 3 remedy such reservations on my part and also subsequently be seen as an improvement by the fandom in terms of overarching story? I'll admit I would laugh my ass off if the majority of the last season was just Hunter and Wrecker fucking about on unrelated deadend jobs and only sometimes trying to find Mount Tantiss. I'm just giving you good grief Lucasfilm, I know you'll perform admirably. So tune in Wednesday for the whole last season review!

Friday, April 26, 2024

Lost Highway

You never fail me David.



Okay! Lost Highway. The fuck? Don't get me wrong, I liked it fine and well but this is a brainteaser of a movie. Two things you always can say about every David Lynch movie, it's never boring and it gets the gears in your mind turning. It's gonna be difficult to even synopsize the plot here because it really keeps changing tracks almost to the point where you could say the movie is just all over the place and has no sense of direction or cohesion but then links start cropping up and the farther you get the more the branching paths cross. It starts off akin to a home invasion thriller as this couple finds a tape on their doorstep of someone entering their home and filming them while they sleep which is a pants darkening thought as is, then we swap over to a young mechanic who is dabbling in a less than monogamous relationship which we primarily follow but then weird shit just keeps happening and connections that rightly would seem completely out of nowhere creep in, and by the end of the movie you're turning this Rubik's Cube any which way to try to figure it out. What conclusions you come to is half the fun. I feel certain people will hate this movie if they are individuals who don't like not knowing stuff, me on the other hand love when I come face to face with stuff I don't know or don't get because it can be a learning experience and I like to try to solve stuff. So this easily can be a splitting movie, but being as one trained in the Force I know only true coincidences are rare, and that David has a vision and always makes the movie he wants to make even if he's the only one to understand the movie. But in terms of production details it's real good even great at moments! The first 40 minutes centered on that home invasion thriller part was super effective and got me jumpy, sound design and soundtrack is fantastic throughout! We got some straight up unbelievable shots at times, I mean like too good looking to be anything short of a painting. Big time love to Patricia Arquette who while not the protagonist is the center of which the plot revolves around, this is my first time seeing her on David's filmography and I'm impressed. Bill Pullman is the real contention of questions I had in regard of the story, but it was nice seeing him post-presidency fighting aliens. Balthazar Getty as our secondary lead walks hand in hand with Bill as to the mystery of what is exactly going on, and I liked his more quiet mannered näive persona before he goes off the rails. Last but not least Robert Blake credited only as Mystery Man is likely the most memorable part of the film, and he's very much a wild card thrown in the deck with nothing short of unnatural abilities and with such a small amount of screentime gets under your skin effortlessly, absolutely fantastic acting. Regardless of what you make out of the plot this is an interesting movie and gave me 2 hours of entertainment to get me through the day. 3 stars, 7.5/10, and well that about does her. Wraps it all up. But we got some major time goodies coming up with both Star Wars series and a new release, so stay tuned and stay weird.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Fire Walk With Me

In the immortal words of David Lynch himself, "What the hell??".



Eraserhead I could get. I had even a small foothold when talking about that film, but Fire Walk With Me is absolutely what people think of the term "a David Lynch movie" is. Set as a prequel to the show Twin Peaks but made 2 years after the show at that point wrapped up, this more or less focuses on the final living days of Laura Palmer who from what I can discern the first season of the series delves into her murder investigation. And it almost seems that's what the beginning of the film is setting up, two FBI agents investigate a different case that has tentative links to Laura's future demise but unfortunately because of behind the scenes woes the film got reshuffled and is very different from the original script, so you're rolling with a brief investigation and then the movie shifts gears without a clutch right into the life and experiences of Laura Palmer. I didn't mind that a great deal because I knew this was essentially laying the groundwork for the series to build upon so the different actors for the same parts, the ultimate revelation of Laura's death, and the things that other fans would call inconsistencies I had no issue with because this is my first experience of the world of Twin Peaks. But yeah from the oh so very brief research I did into this apparently people were not too keen on this film when it came out but since has gotten a reappraisal. It's a fascinating experience watching this, because it really drops the pretense of a murder mystery and starts getting weeeeird and experimental, and is so not the movie you have just playing in the background while you file your taxes or cook breakfast. But I'll admit even when you're paying attention it still leaves you befuddled and wondering if someone slipped something in your beverage of choice. But I never ever claim weird and bizarre even to the point of confusion as "bad", even with shit like Killing Of A Sacred Deer that was mindwarping to the state of shellshock but not once did I categorize it as bad. I have seen some inept ignorant incompetent motherfuckers in my life who equate weird and different with bad and I got news for you champ, that's short for champion, this is a batshit movie where I'm swirling in a hurricane of unexplained moments and yet I still have interest and enjoyment with it. There is not one uncommitted individual in front of or behind the camera, everybody did such fantastic work. You couldn't say in a thousand generations this movie's star is not Sheryl Lee, I'm telling you right now man without witness or reward, without a shred of exaggeration or lie, this lady gives one of the most interesting, engrossing, and fantastic performances I have ever seen. I don't think there is an emotion she didn't potray as Laura, I mean a truly special actress. I don't know if I can fully sum up her character and probably never will but I can recommend this movie full force because of her acting alone. I have to say despite the super brief appearances in the long run of FBI investigators Chet, Sam, and Dale I really was digging their scenes and while I'm far from a super fan of crime shows/police procedural kind of stuff I easily got into the groove of their characters so well done on that. Ray Wise as Mr. Palmer did mighty good work even if the character just creeped me the hell out. Is that a stereotype these days of a suburban, straight laced, middle class dad who just seems that he stuffs bodies in a crawl space before having breakfast with the family? Just me? It might be. And like I said all the other aspects of production are great! The sets and the overall design are really damn nice, the cinematography is striking, the sound design has an edge to it, and because the film is so off the wall and experimental that means they really get to play. They get to play with what the camera can do, what kind of shot or effect do we want, what do we want the sound and ambiance to be, it's such a freeing experience when you can do that which is why certain shots and images are gonna stick with you and the strangeness of it all is what makes it stick all the more. I still got emotionally invested, I was shocked at times, puzzling over details, and even fighting back tears at a certain point. It's certainly never boring! I know it ain't for everybody so I can't recommend it to everybody, but if you feel brave enough one day to step into one of the strangest worlds you've ever known I say go for it. Not really too sure what to rate it, but I'd be talking out my ass Ace Ventura style if I said it didn't make me want to watch the show. I don't know when I'm ever gonna talk about Twin Peaks again, later rather than sooner, but I'm walking away from this in a positive mood. I give it 3 stars, 8/10! And we got one more before the day of the birth arrives for me.

Monday, April 22, 2024

The Art Life

I reckon it's about that time.



Mainly sprung on by the fact I grabbed David's autobiography, I wanted to talk some more about his films. He didn't direct this one, it was a true passion project and started as a Kickstarter film that took some time to get done from three directors briefly chronicling David's life. Now when I say brief I mean brief like the underwear on my hips now, it ends around Eraserhead so you could argue it's not a complete documentary but even I can't say I hated it. Shot in the Hollywood Hills at David's home/workshop the film is a wellspring of pictures, home movies, and a gallery of his art while he recounts bits and pieces of his life. It's interesting stuff to look at, to hear, to experience especially if you don't know much about the man himself. Hell you don't hear a peep out of anyone else besides David except his sweet little daughter from time to time, and to hear right from the horse's mouth on his childhood, what got him into art and how that transferred to filmmaking, to these vignettes he tells is just what I expected. I'll admit there were certain things that struck me but not in an overly bad way just things I took notes on, primarily this is pretty much the example I point to henceforth if you want to see the most arty, avant garde, bordering on pretentious and maybe slips it's baby toe across that line cinematography and shot placement, simply look no further. I can't decide if it was intentional or not but it is sure to make an art house critic rumble with delight or perhaps seething disgust from their diaphragm. The other thing which I take more slight issue with, is they showcase a lot of David's drawings and paintings and if you've ever seen them you know it's very stark and very blunt. It's almost a smokescreen effect because I've seen enough behind the scenes stuff of Mr. Lynch and not only is he candid but he's got a lot of appreciation for life in all it's unique and quaint beauties, not to mention he's got a lot of love and an open mind to boot. So you'll forgive me if I take the usage of straight up serial killer music, this distrubing shrill soundscape to convey the point that a person is not mentally or emotionally well, in bad taste. It's genuinely the only thing I did objectively hate in this documentary, and if you've been here long enough you know I just don't like being negative about things. But you feel the way you feel, and you gotta make peace with that. But if that's as bad as it gets I think this biographical picture can skate by on a pretty good score. 3.5 stars, 8/10! Very much an appetizer before we delve in proper tomorrow with hopefully my first step into the world of Twin Peaks. 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare

Mouthful of a title!



Good times be had at the newest Guy Ritchie film with his directorial style mixed with real world history of a sordid group trekking to neutral water in an attempt to sabotage a german U-boat blockade to bring relief to His Majesty's kingdom. It really is what the trailers says it is and more so, it's not balls to the wall action nonstop this is essentially a wartime thriller and is paced like so. It has some pretty damn good moments of suspense and I never thought a musical score of jazz/big swing band could get me on edge, it has moments of communicado with the leaders of the military government and the Prime Minister, and strategizing when the plan goes belly up. For a 2 hour movie with credits it's paced to where it flies by! Cast does proper good work and while the characters aren't deep three dimensional people you like them and get where they are coming from. Henry Cavill is having a blast here and I'm always game to see him in any role under the sun, Eiza Gonzalez more underplays it but at times you can see just this hellfire rage at the natzi army she's proper good, Babs Olusanmokun thankfully had such a bigger role than the last movie I saw him in which was Dune playing a more undercover part and touches base on the espionage part of the war, and I'll give a shoutout to Cary Elwes and Rory Kinnear it's a joy to see them as always. That was wild to know good old Bill Tanner himself plays Churchill and the Bond references don't stop there, we meet Ian Fleming and I'll be honest I greatly enjoyed and liked the way they handled Fleming here than probably any biopic made of him in the decades past, he's just there no fuss made about him or eye rolling quip about his literary creation. Well done. The action is not super flashy or choreographed but still packs the right punch with the squibs and explosions. The score is something awesome in and of itself combining two distinct genres, western music a là Ennio Morricone or something akin to the Kill Bill soundtrack and syncopated jazz music like you hear in Birdman, doesn't seem like it would work in a World War 2 movie but it's absolutely great, I just love it! It's always interesting to learn about another facet of history especially during wartime and while it undoubtedly is theatrical and played up even just a notch, it's neat to see. Especially since this came from a declassified file not even made public a decade ago so this is still relatively new information! I can recommend it, entertaining and fun showing the opposite side of the spectrum when it comes to war cinema. 3.5 stars, 8/10! Expect some odd stuff for my birthday week, and have fun at the movies this weekend!

Friday, April 19, 2024

Abigail

I was hearing some buzz before seeing this movie, which believe it or not is a rare thing in my profession and from people I knew and reputable sources in the horror fandom it was very highly rated. So what did I think?




It's different but thankfully so. I truthfully wish they kept the "twist" if we may call it out of the trailers entirely, just set up the kidnapping plot and then people start getting offed and sell it on that alone. Which is hilarious because for once in my life I called the movie before the trailer revealed itself just through the use of Swan Lake. So yeah sorry to have spoiled the movie for anybody who doesn't know, this is a vampire movie. But it is far from traditional or really predictable for that matter centering on a group of hired kidnappers who bite off more than they can chew (ha ha ha...) when oopsy daisy the target is a ballerina vampire. That's unique enough a story already but how the movie progresses from there throws interesting elements into the mix. Not really curveballs, it is the movie that is advertised but rather it goes off and does it's own thing beginning to end. Brilliant production wise, you only really got 2 sets and 8 actors to work with and despite the richly designed manor the majority of the plot takes place in is pure blooded low budget horror, even with the gnarly effects. Though it certainly sprinkles more than enough rubbish jumpscares which dings the score a notch, it's just never going away I can't escape it. Alisha Weir though quite precious in real life is striking, creepy, and acts her damn heart out in this movie! She gets a little Hannibal Lecter at a certain point and with the pliès and pirouettes, there can be no doubt how perfectly casted she is. As for the kidnappers Melissa Barrera as Joey is our main focal point and please do not take this next comment as negative, the rest kinda fit into more classical stereotypes but it's the actors that bring something to the table with it and makes it very enjoyable. Dan Stevens is the dickish leader, Kathryn Newton is semi-valley girl, Kevin Durand is the lovable dimwit, you've seen this before and yet it's still pretty good! You're not waiting for them to become the next meal in the buffet, because they have familiar but good character to them. I quite like the design for the vampire in this, it's more simplistic with just wild contacts and freaky ass teeth that's all you need. Hell horror cinema in decades past made it work with even less, and I like how it throws some big middle fingers at classic vampire repellants while still incorporating bits of lore. It's a quite good movie and while I was iffy on it Universal delivered yet again with another monster movie and I can firmly recommend it. Plus it gets points solely for using the Swan Lake music several times which clearly adds a layer of art and beauty to appease my cinema snob heart. 3.5 stars, 8/10! Henry Cavill blasting natzis tomorrow, ain't life grand.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Interview With The Vampire

Time to warm up for Abigail this Friday and I'll tell you now, never have I ever seen this movie all the way through.



Now I have seen bits, once upon a time as a youngin' channel surfing deep in the night and coming across some hey hey material which was...interesting to discover that's what is between a woman's legs but uhh, boy I put myself in a position just now. Movie sign!! Interview With The (not A) Vampire came out in a fairly popular decade for the genre in the 90s, recounting the life or erm, unlife of Louis who has been soaking up the nights from 1791 to the then present day of 1994 as he divulges major events of his existence. How he was made a vampire by a real sociopathic bloodsucker named Lestat, their differing opinions on hunting, a young girl named Claudia is thrown into the mix, and Louis seeks answers about his own kind. It's truly a novel story that does engage you and it was a bit of a shock to learn this was just the first book in a series of 12 novels by Anne Rice, and it seems she was quite pleased with the finished product. I have to agree, the sets and costumes alone are incredible wearing the period piece cinema style on it's sleeve for the vast majority of the runtime, the acting is good, the effects by Stan Winston though not in your face or bombastic are unique and pretty cool, you can tell this movie had a significant budget and used it wisely. I know people could make fun of Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Antonio Banderas as nosferatus but in all seriousness they treat the material seriously and do convey emotion. Yet even I will admit the movie gets melodramatic at points, Louis is a very broody vampire having an existential/morality crisis, he wishes to feed on animals rather than humans no doubt setting the precedent for Stephanie Meyers years down the road, it's a whole thing but Brad does decent work. I still hold true to the fact that the older he gets the better acting he gives. Now it is kinda weird seeing Tom as this regally dressed, morally bankrupt, beast of the night and the whole relationship between Lestat and Louis easily can be seen as straight up husbands especially when Claudia is in the fray, but if the author herself signs off on the performance I'll take it. Kirsten Dunst as the bloodlusting chomper Claudia is a solid performance from her at just 11 years of age, she has big moments to sell the horror and rage at what she has been transformed into and I bought it, she has an arc to her and changes up the dynamic while still being her own character. I will not speak badly of Antonio Banderas, firstly because he did fine work and second I don't want Guillermo to throw shade at me, but I was taken aback how little screen presence he has really not until the 3rd act so it was short but decent. Fair and due props for two elements: the first being I like how the movie balances both classic and modern, it really sells that old world feeling while coming back to more contemporary periods. Second it kinda put back the horror into vampirism, it is ridiculously easy to potray it as more romantic and sexy than scary but it confronts that yeah it seems like those ladies are riding the orgasmatron ride when bitten but then it turns to blood and screams and it's disturbing! It really is fucked up! It shows that lives are being taken, and I just haven't seen that barely at all in these types of films. Even just a smidge of introspection in a vampire movie? Practically unheard of. So I applaud the movie on those two fronts strongly. I know it's one of the corner stones of this dark and blood soaked phenom which even in and of itself has layers to the mythos and powers of vampires, and while it's no grand film it's certainly a very good one. I'd give it a solid 3 stars, 7/10! What new spore of monstrosity will the ballerina vampire unleash? I will let you know!

Friday, April 12, 2024

Civil War

A24 man. It messes with you.



This is going to be a loaded review no doubt, and lightyears from the reasons most people would associate ie. politics. The first thing I gotta get out there is pretty pivotal to almost everything I gotta say so allow me to quote a passage that I think sums this movie up, "A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.". Set in the alternate history of a not too distant future we follow a group of war photographers trekking to Washington D.C. to interview the president as, shock I know, a civil war has erupted with several states seceding from the US and it seems the combined forces of Texas and California are making the final push into the capital. The fact so many people I know who got hung up on this whole California×Texas alliance I feel is taking this too literal, and besides positions and politics evolve so it's not precisely in the realm of impossibility. I will admit I'm slightly upset they didn't give a backstory or reason as to why the war started, we're thrown literally at the tail end of this conflict with little information. How long has the war been raging? Why wage a war against the presidency? We certainly get no answers as to what could potentially happen after the end. Now maybe that wasn't truly the point, the film is wholly centered on the dehumanizing effects of war and almost a psychological study on war photographers which in and of itself is a pretty fucked profession. There's almost too much to talk about and I'd hate to forget everything so we may do a lightning round in a bit. First though, cast. I can easily see people criticize Kirsten Dunst as being very flat and monotone, but man if you've seen God knows how many battles and atrocities and war crimes trust me you get a bit friggin' desensitized and detached, she does fine work and it was nice seeing her in a new movie. Wagner Moura is her cohort and is the more aloof and passionate reporter on the matter, seeing it as just another day out in the field. Callie Spaeny plays a teenager who aspires to take up the same profession and tags along for the coverage, and I'll fully admit while I didn't hate it the execution and reasoning for her joining of the party isn't exactly smooth, I know it is to drive a point home but hey Callie killed it. Great as always to see Stephen McKinley Henderson again as the reasonable and cool headed news veteran who undoubtedly is the moral compass of this makeshift family unit essentially. Alright let's snap to and hit some bullet points. Speaking of bullets while far from spectacle or blood soaked this is a tense ass movie and if you see it in theaters I recommend earplugs because those gunshots are visceral and LOUD. You never quite know when the next attack will happen so you're always uneasy and nervous. Next up maybe it's because it's an A24 film but this film gets artsy, I mean black and white still photographs in the midst of gunfights, tranquil shots of nature, a rather mellow and contradictory soundtrack to the intense battlefield that is the States, it commits to that style. As you may know I am aware of next door to nothing about government or politics, so I can only see it as a war film and not some basis or platform to point at the other side in hate. Hell only yesterday did I read the Constitution, the Declaration, the Bill Of Rights, and pieces of the Federalist Papers not even really to get a grasp on this film but because I wanted to know. Could I easily see people point at this film as a massive what if and use it to fearmonger? Easily. But I view it as a cautionary tale, if it scares you it'll scare you to make a better future and world to avoid such an event. Conflict, battles, war, whatever damn name you have for it I find to be the most ineffectual and worthless gesture in the history of humanity. It does nothing and to give one more quote by my favorite Doctor Who, "Because it's always the same. When you fire the first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who's going to die. You don't know whose children are going to scream and burn. How many hearts will be broken. How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill before everybody does what they were always going to have to do from the very beginning! SIT DOWN AND TALK.". It's as simple as that. So view it as a tragedy, as a study into the mindset of people who document such heinous acts of cruelty, and not as some bullshit where a side is right or wrong. It's heavy, unapologetic, and does something no war film ever has that I've at least seen: it doesn't pick a side, it just shows what such a cataclysm does to people. Maybe more informed and knowledgable individuals on the sphere of politics can delve so much deeper into it, but perhaps the simple and unbiased lens is the right way to go. It's highly effective, well directed, maybe not as fleshed out as I would have liked, but a thought provoking and startling piece of cinema regardless. People will talk about it. That's all I really have to say about that. 3 stars, 7.5/10.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Inglorious Basterds

Got around to seeing it at last.



15 years later on I've heard strangely little about this movie beyond Christoph Waltz who we'll get to, so walking in I was blind but from years of seeing Quentin's films and recognizing that pansche that style he brings I knew it was worth watching. True to himself the movie is split into five chapters, connected in one way or another, of an operation in nazi occupied France to pretty much firebomb the high regime of the third reich as we follow a cinema owner, a group of americans behind enemy lines, and allied agents who all have pieces to the puzzle for ending the war. For a movie clocking in at two and a half hours it does not feel it's length able to build the mood, suspense, and story without rushing and while the characters don't ooze depth they all are immediately identifiable and engaging. Brad Pitt as the Tennesse bred leader of the american party Aldo Raine though not as much a focal point as you would believe is fun to watch and believable in the role. Melanie Laurent as the cinema owner Shosanna has her own agenda and story involving a german soldier, and because she's a theater owner we get to flex those movie muscles bringing up film around the mid 20s to late 30s so that's always great! And maybe this was just me, and I almost hate to say it but I think overhype is the keyword when it comes to Christoph Waltz as the SS officer Hans Landa, at least for me. Far from calling it bad, the dichotomy of how Waltz plays it so charming and nonchalant before seeing the cold dead stare and meticulous extermination of jewish people is indeed great, you almost get lost in the pleasantries before you remember oh yeah, nazi fuck! But somehow without spoilers I've heard people tout Landa as one of the greatest movie villains over the years and I just saw a solid performance. And I will give credit where it's due that Quentin Tarantino doesn't make light of the second world war, it does stand all on it's own as a war movie an alternate history war movie but regardless it takes itself seriously and doesn't shy away from the so called "Just War" when really it wasn't so black and white. It's no Django Unchained and just replace racist bigots with natzis, but nor is it a gritty as hell reality grounded war epic like All Quiet On The Western Front or Saving Private Ryan, there are some quirks of Tarantino but largely is it's own beast. That stated however the violence and blood is upped, the entirely practical production is outstanding with the period clothing and sets and the startling pyrotechnics. Soundtrack is pretty bitchin' too but that's to be expected! I'm so happy I got around to seeing it and talking about it, I do recommend it but the caveat here is Quentin Tarantino is a diverse filmmaker and you never know what project is next for him leading to different tastes and tones so don't walk into it expecting a Pulp Fiction or Once Upon A Time In Hollywood kinda vibe. It's something different but worthwhile and trying different stuff can be exciting. 3.5 stars, 8/10, and I guess Civil War is up next. Not the historical Civil War, no not the Marvel Civil War, the other Civil War. Yeah that one.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Monkey Man

Goddamn that was great.




In terms of action fare this year with so far the only competition being The Beekeeper, not only do I think this far outshines that movie but Monkey Man may be the best action film I'm going to see all year. Taking a typical revenge film and adding so much in terms of culture, cinematography, and even pathos the directorial debut of Dev Patel immerses you into this world and story almost immediately, showing the righteous fury of a young man seeking retribution for his mother's death at the hands of government and even spiritual leaders. Set at a solid 2 hours the film takes it's time in telling this story, in fact the trailer I saw only really shows the first act and has moments where it reigns back and gives breathing space even when the action is not audacious or break neck speed. The sheer basis of the fact that the movie is brimming with so many facets of India is what made me give this film a fair shake, the stark and wide berthing line between rich and poor, the clothes, the religious customs, the food, the music, the sad but unfortunately true continuing conflicts and tragedy that were not just confined to the partition. And for someone like me, I love this stuff! To even briefly experience a part of the world in all it's sights and sounds is a treat. It even brought up things I hadn't truly considered, there is a transgendered character named Alpha who aids our protagonist and shows how they are viewed in that country. In all seriousness I thought that character was handled beautifully, showing such an open helping hand with such care and warmth, I thought it was so lovely. Dev Patel both in front and behind the camera does not come up short, bringing a lot of passion and style, it's hard not to get invested. I can see people either loving or hating the style and editing of the action sequences for the same reasons, it's handheld and shakes a bit, the camera is doing barrel rolls and tricks, the editing could be considered disjointed and confusing, and even that the style obscures the substance. However! I saw an evolution of the editing where as the movie goes on the fighting scenes get cleaner, more focused, and frankly artsy at periods. The movie has shining moments of beauty even in the midst of fairly brutal fights. It's a visually striking film when it wants to be and I appreciate that immensely. It's far beyond what you would expect from a revenge film but it's highly entertaining in it's own right, and truthfully elevated my spirits because well that's the power of cinema. You can watch a movie and it completely changes your mood for gladness or sadness. All I'll say is, it is well worth your time and money to see regardless of in theaters or at home. A golden four stars, 9/10! Maybe even has potential for top 10 of the year, who knows. Until next time enjoy the weekend, have some fun, be safe and be well, I'll catch you later on.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Ten Commandments (1956)

I'm finally commiting to it.



Despite my numerous references to this film in the past, I've had the idea to cover it in recent years but just now have gotten around to it. And it was about time for a rewatch cause the last time I sat down for this almost 4 hour epic was when I was still in high school, so what do I think about a movie I've known since I was but a tall young boy? Though I am not a religious person, though I am not a practitioner in the Judeo-Christian belief, I very much like this film! While I'm about to burst everyone's collective bubble on the fact that the book of Exodus in the bible is entirely fictitious, no historical evidence of israelites has been found in Egypt thus far, it's still a good story that has been told many a time in a non-religious lens. To vastly summarize scripture, tale of a deliverer that will free the slaves of Egypt is foretold and amidst something the bible is quite keen on, infanticide, a baby is found by the royal family and is raised as one of their own with the name of Moses. We flash forward to see him as a strong, caring, and wise leader before the cat's out of the bag and he is cast down as another slave amongst thousands and the subsequent years of his life before his true call to action by the almighty, where he returns to Egypt, saves his people, and brings the laws of God to them. The beauty of having a film almost 4 hours long is the movie can take it's sweet time building the story as strongly as it does and engagingly as it does, it properly feels like an epic in terms of production alone. It could be a whole tome just discussing the production and shooting, the sets are grander than anything I have seen in recent years cause they just had to build it all or they just shot in Egypt and the surrounding areas, the number of extras is staggering to behold we will never see a plethora of people that many in cinemas maybe ever again, it has that old Hollywood shine and gravitas to it to sum it up. It's almost too big a picture to talk about, there's no way I can touch on everything let alone the cast. In terms of the major principal players that are seen throughout, Charlton Heston has that right presence and voice to be a messenger of God as Moses and displays qualities in a leader that I have rarely ever seen in man or woman, and it is so interesting to see all the phases of his life. In fact this film is free real estate for individuals who love doing character studies, it's actually written incredibly well with the character interactions and dynamics, yet another book sized avenue to go down. Yul Brynner as Rameses who I just always love seeing him in movies, is that kind of perfect bad guy where you hate him just enough but you're always interested to see where his story goes, it just works in this movie. Anne Baxter as the princess and soon queen of Egypt Nefretiri nearly takes on this almost Lady Macbeth persona in the story, and this is just an aside and a weird one at that but Anne plays the young version of Moses' adopted mother and Nefretiri but I didn't know that as a young kid so I was über weirded out and confused why his mom seemed to have the undying hots for him, but anyway she is the crux of the drama for the story and this isn't a slam I swear, but it gets just a teeny bit soap opera from time to time. Now I blame that more on the classical form on how the story is told and acted, and not so much the time period the movie was made in. Edward G. Robinson is a real devil of a slime as the governor Dathan, he plays it so beautifully but Dathan straight up sucks, lusting after a hebrew girl named Lilia, trying to get any advantage in power and office, and raises a rebellion during the mass exodus, he absolutely is the villain you hiss and boo at! Speaking more on the last part in a bit, but how the film goes about with all the old testament power and wrath of God stuff is frankly unforgettable visuals to me! I remember that as clearly as when I first saw it, the staff that transforms into a cobra, the Nile bleeding red, the fiery hail, the splitting of the Red Sea, the fiery columns of God, and most of all the death of the firstborn. Seeing that eerie green mist drift down in front of a sickly yellow moon has never left me, and if you metalheads needed an excuse it's the perfect day to listen to Creeping Death! My whole stance is if say I was one of the israelites, tormented for God knows how long as a slave, finally made it out and saw these marvels of the Lord, I think I'd just take Moses at his word and not listen to the guy who builds a golden idol out of a calf! Just saying, how does anybody go for that?? Still, it's mighty impressive special effects work for 1956 and I'll be damned if it wasn't still impressive today, especially with the Red Sea. I have no clue how they accomplished that! It really is well crafted in every way, it's not just the flashy or grand sweeping visuals that you're going to come away from at the end. And would you believe it's actually a remake? Cecil B. DeMille directed The Ten Commandments back in 1923, and I am fascinated to know how that movie looked. In fact this was the last movie he directed, passing away three years later in 1959 but talk about going out on top. This is the only religious film I actively will watch, not to say there aren't other good ones out there it's just something I don't seek out. But hey who knows, next Easter we could do something wild like Jesus Christ Superstar. Until then, 4 stars, 8/10! 

Friday, March 29, 2024

Godzilla × Kong The New Empire

Good shit Adam!




Yeah, this was one of the more anticipated movies this year for me! Though you'd be surprised that I actually didn't see that much promotional material besides an odd poster and one trailer in theaters, so when I say I had no clue what was going to transpire it couldn't be more true. And what transpires despite how ludicrous the trailers make it seem, it doesn't feel too out there. Hell it doesn't even seem slightly out of tune with all the Toho Godzilla movies! Basically Kong is on the lookout for other apes in the hollow earth, while Godzilla is grinding levels like a beast and fighting over kaiju like it's friggin' Highlander or some shit, as newer threats are unearthed and our unlikely duo take up arms together. Bottom line, it's exactly the movie you would expect. I feel it's balanced just right in terms of outlandishness, to sum it up in one scene the humans perform dentistry on Kong who has an infected tooth. And somehow that sentence isn't too weird, and also that's a good gauge for audiences! I feel they severely pulled back on human characters streamlining the human plot, it's a relatively tiny cast and the majority are returning actors from Godzilla Vs. Kong. They also put more emphasis on the monsters, going for stretches where you just have to read the body language and vocalizations to understand what's going on and combining that with good amounts of subtitles, and this is a film that will not hold your hand and translate for the peanut gallery. I applaud and greatly appreciate the movie for doing so! I like the personality they give to each monster, how Godzilla has taken a liking to sleeping in the Roman Colisseum like it's a cot, how Kong kinda takes on a Kratos figure axe in hand and accompanying a small ape, and speaking of which I swear the creative team just made an ape version of Minilla for the little fella. The effects are expanisve as all get out, but look good and even with my strong vocalization for practical effects I understand this is how they had to have made the movie. It just goes to show how further each movie goes in letting the kaiju do what they do, they're not even afraid to do these effects in dark or limited visibility anymore. I don't need it to look lifelike. I was highly entertained, thrilled to see where the next potential movie takes us, and gladly give a big thumbs. Though mind you I think I've gazed into the future just a smidge, cause how the whole ape subplot goes in this movie reminded me strongly of The Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes trailer I saw beforehand and that's a movie I have conflicting feelings about but we got a minute before that. All in all it's a fun time at the movies, I couldn't bash it hard if I tried, I give it 3.5 stars, 8.5/10! Objective and unbiased as always, though obviously I always recommend seeing it for yourself. It's fun though trust me!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Skull Island

Oh thank you God!! What a breath of fresh air!




Skull Island is actually pretty friggin' good. Entirely different production team, different animation style, maaaaybe is "canon" in the Monsterverse, and well worth the time. Following a group of seafarers who get shipwrecked on an uncharted isle with Gilligan and the Skipper too, oh wait. Different show. But they get stranded on monster ridden Skull Island and over the duration of a short and sweet 8 episode season make an attempt to survive and escape, it takes a little bit of the same story outline as the film Kong Skull Island but it does more than plenty in terms of originality and character. The thing that really took me by surprise and shows just how different the east and west do their shows, this almost becomes a comedy! There is a lot of for lack of a better term flippancy in the dialogue but not a bad kind, where the characters don't take anything seriously so you don't take anything seriously, there's some attitude and sarcasm but you like these characters, it was easy to get invested and how the storyline progresses is nothing like you would expect. Our crew of teenagers Charlie and Mark along with Charlie's dad Cap run into a band of mercenaries on the island and you think oh snap, not only do they have to evade the 100% carnivarous population of monsters (Seriously not a single leaf eater present??) but they also need to avoid the trigger happy hired help, but nope! They meet up rather quick and are like, screw this island let's GTFO, and that's exactly what they do. You keep expecting some human antagonist to pop up but they never do, the problem is the creatures inhabiting the island, so it's such a welcome change of pace! All the characters are solid, some have more backstory than others but at the end of the day you can't hate any of them. Charlie and Mark are stalwart friends who bitch more than an old married couple but they don't mean it, Annie is a fucking bonkers girl but she's pretty awesome, Cap and the leader of the mercs Irene have good chemistry and fully acknowledge they are so over their heads and are just trying to get out alive, it's surprisingly honest and candid how the characters voice their mind and feelings. Similar to Singular Point, Kong himself is not really the focal point of the show but when he does show up you see the scale and power of him and towards the end you get a lot more of him, they did good work with his personality and even sheds a bit of history from his past. Abundance of monsters throughout, and yeah they're not exactly as inventive as say the Skullcrawlers or that weird stick insect that looked like a log in the movie and is more typical jungle predators but hey it never gets dull. The animation style is anime-esque that you would see on Toonami in recent years akin to say Sword Art Online or something similar, lot of good color variety and fluid style. They really did cover all their bases in production terms and nor did they try to be grander or more complicated than needed, the director and series writer knew the tone he wanted and how to accomplish that and I feel he succeeded greatly. It's a 3-ish hour adventure romp with good humor, good characters, and an extra little something for us Monsterverse fans during the downtime between movies. The series just hit Netflix last year and no doubt season two is in pre-production, I'm all onboard to see what happens next and whether or not the new Godzilla & Kong movie has any influence on it. Because it's sorta a sequel to Kong Skull Island but at the exact same time does things of it's own and there's no surefire timetable as to when it takes place, you don't see smartphones or anything modern but it clearly is post 70s, so I wouldn't say it's pivotal viewing for the movie fans just take it more as a cherry on top of this rich dense sundae we've been getting since 2014. I greatly enjoyed it, it's a fun show, and put me in such high better spirits so Godzilla × Kong could be the zenith of this wave of happiness for me come Friday. Solid 3 stars, 8/10!

Monday, March 25, 2024

Godzilla Singular Point

Ohhhh! Oh my God! You'd think....you'd THINK after I was burned not once, not twice, but three times a lady by Netflix when it comes to Godzilla I'd have learned.




What?? How? Where? Why??? You know, I didn't walk into this series with the intent to hate it. I walked in about as blind as I usually am, and for the first maybe two episodes I was rolling with it, and then...it's kinda my own fault. Let me break this down for you and take a peek behind the curtain into my head and how I review television shows, unless it's a long ass season with long episodes I watch the entire thing in one sitting, specifically for the reason that I have all the information and points I want to address in my head and I can just write it to the end. With Singular Point I watched the 13 episodes over the course of three days, the latter half of the season in one day but I was still sick and trashed for those other two, and this is so not a show that you can put down and come back to at a later point in time. I have never dreamed that a Godzilla plot could be this, I don't even know what the fuck to call it! I'm not generally a person who gets lost in the details of plot and character motivations, I have 9 years of writing to prove that point now, but for the sheer life of me I have absolutely no goddamn clue what in the 23 flavors of Dr. Pepper happens in this show. I got nothing, I seriously can't write anything because I just don't know. All I know is I want those hours of my life back. The plot is split between really just two characters but there's so many third parties as well and it's so complicated to keep all the strands in the old Duder's head clear to know what the hell they are even doing. Best I could gather is this engineering guy named Yun is helping out this über genius student something or other gal named Mei as to why all of a sudden this mysterious red dust is bringing forth waves of kaiju to tear shit up real good, meanwhile all these suits are experimenting with said red dust for....I don't even got a clue. It doesn't help matters at all that this is the most overly written, confusing, inane, trying so hard to be mindblowing, pretentious horseshit I have ever heard in my entire life! You know how when The Matrix came out and people were just eating the dialogue up as the most revolutionary thing they've ever heard, it's like that times like 10,000. It's the only time in my existence that people have talked about transtemporal situations and I am completely lost. If this is what The Matrix movies are like, I'm gonna be taking it up the ass when I finally get around to seeing those movies. I'm absolutely speechless at this dialogue. If anybody wants to translate after telling me you just don't get it, okay fine. I'm an idiot. Now please make sense of this. It can't be done. Does even the plot synopsis on frakking Wikipedia make a lick of sense? And you know what, the rest of the details about the show I honestly don't mind! The animation is pretty good, it does that weird ass thing where the kaiju are that semi-2D but really 3D animation style which I really am not a fan of, but other than that it's a solid looking show. Voice cast (I viewed it in japanese) was just fine and dandy. Music, eh kinda here and there but I can live with it. The actual character designs for both humans and monsters are the epitome of hit or miss, more so in the monsters category to be transparent. Godzilla is passable, not my favorite design or least favorite, and it probably is zero surprise they take some leafs out of Shin Godzilla's book here. Anguirus actually looks metal as hell, favorite design of his ever! Rodan on the other hand, what even in the hell, just take a pteranodon and multiply by the number of pi, literally a gaggle, a swarm, a flock of freaking frauds! Surprisingly Gabara gets an appearance with a sorta neat look even if he dies more times than Sammael in Hellboy, seriously what?? And last but not least Jet Jaguar, who easily gets more time in this show than Godzilla so hey history repeats itself yet again, and I kinda dig the more robotically crafted body though it retains the iconography of the character. And the more I genuinely think about it, all the human characters I liked best had fuck all to do with this rambling, cracked out, nonsense of a storyline. Goro, he's a crazy old bastard who's off his rocker and literally made a mech suit and named it Jet Jaguar, awesome! Lina, simple sweet girl who gets dragged into the plot, I actually really love her design and would bash someone's kneecaps out to taste her cooking. Satomi, uh wow hello there, moving swiftly on! Makita, swell guy who seems like a handyman extraordinaire and we spent too brief a time with him. Everyone else, I could live without. I'm legitimately so pissed off that I'm pissed off, did I want to just waltz in here and eviscerate Singular Point? That would be a naw from me dawg, but good God it gave me nothing. I hate when I give something a bad review, and I'm sweating spinal fluid over here because I got the Skull Island animated show up next! Son of a bitch. I refuse to hope, hope is for rebel scum and kumquats (or something that rhymes with quats). 1.5 stars, 4/10, I'm moving on.

9 Down, 1 To Go

Alright, I'm back. Happy to be going to a semi-regular schedule, it was a nice little break just focusing on new movies but I'd like to be more consistent. Cause man there were multiple weeks of nothing new hitting the cinemas and that's not terribly fair to all the folks who come here to hear me ramble on like I do, so henceforth until madness strikes minimum of one review a week both old or new. I got a little something for you today to make this occasion all the merrier, giving you 3 reviews this week in preparation for Godzilla × Kong (How do you pronounce the ×, what does it mean??) so I hope you enjoy that. My God to think I've nearly kept this hobby up for a decade is almost inconcievable to me, because I was browsing the YouTubes as I often do, I've been an addict since 2007 it's never going away and I've embraced that, and I've seen videos that were uploaded in like 2013-2014 and I was like...it doesn't seem that long ago. It couldn't have been that long ago! But then it dawned on me I was 18-ish years old around that time, just on the cusp of being a unknown film critic, wrapping up high school, and shit man this whole life thing really does spirit you away in ways you'll never imagine. Did I ever think I was going to have written over 1100 reviews by now? That would be a naw. But I'm damn happy to have done it and hope it made a difference to somebody, even if just once. I mean it too, if you avoided a bad movie or gave something a shot just based on what I had to say about it, every single second of writing all those was worth it. No question. Couldn't tell you what's coming up this year but I think we can make it through and come out with more positive viewing experiences than negative ones. Free spoiler, yes this is breaking exclusive news just for you, this review coming up oh it's an angry one. I'll get that up later so enjoy and thanks for for joining as always!

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire

I'm sorry that I was late, it's never much fun when ectoplasmic residue seeps out of your nose and mouth (I got a bad cold) but let's boogie!




New Ghostbusters, yay! After the decent follow up of Afterlife I was game to see the series continue and I can safely say I like Frozen Empire even more. Picking up a wee bit after with the gang back at the good old HQ in New York, a powerful threat quite literally gets pawned at Ray's shop and slowly but surely manifests itself as Phoebe has some issues of her own and has to pull through as the next potential ice age sweeps in. This was more what I was looking for in Afterlife, it doesn't have a fanboy cookie for cookie's sake or really flex those nostalgia muscles for the audience, but rather expands and crafts more stuff for this wild wonderful world that has been entertaining generations since 1984. I love seeing the expansion of ghostbusting we see new tech, new concepts and questions, and adds a lot more to this world that really was only seen in the cartoons. In fact, though I am severely no fountain of knowledge on The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters I wouldn't be surprised if a good bit of material was represented here. So it checks the boxes of a good sequel, expands the world and concepts while also progressing the characters. Speaking of which the cast is just as good as in the last film, obviously I'm still championing Phoebe, and I'm happy she gets her own moments and hurdles she has to get past. Granted the movie doesn't get that deep with it but I appreciate it regardless even though I greatly feel they focused way more on certain characters than all the characters. Paul Rudd is still great and feels the most real if that makes any sense, you know his heart is in the right place even if he doesn't have the right words to say it like we so often see in cinema. The most prominent original member is Dan and I like seeing him take on a mentor role for Phoebe and helps out in the investigation. In fact I like the more low key participation of the original Ghostbusters, they don't scene steal, they have their place, it's done right, and they still throw down at the end. Buuuut then you have the others that get severely put in the sidelane, Callie and Trevor Spengler are the epitome of just there which sucks because I recall wanting to see Finn Wolfhard come into his own in this series so it's either not going to happen or be the slowest hero arc in motion picture history, poor Podcast despite a good few laughs has barely anything to contribute, hell even friggin' Walter Peck has two things going for him Jack and shit and Jack left town. I mean really? You bring him back and he doesn't even begin to be a worldly antagonist for the ghostbusters, it's nice to see him no question about it, William Atherton is a real swell guy in reality, but they could have done more with him. At least we get an original villain, neat backstory, great look, solid gimmick, big thumbs up from me personally. I don't truthfully have any major issues with the movie more I guess nitpicky things, even if it's a small pile of nitpicky things. But they did a good job regardless, I'm happy I saw it and it got a few laughs outta me and put a smile on my face, they had the courage to do their own thing and throw some things out there and even if not everything worked the vast majority did, and I can say it's a good time at the movies so I recommend it. It's at the same level as Afterlife for me, not better or worse so I give it 3.5 stars, 7.5/10, and oh how this is only just the first empire we are encountering in March. Yeah buddy, next week is gonna get nuts.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Jodorowsky's Dune

I get it now.



Not a lot of people talk about Dune, barely anyone talks about the version that never was. In the early 1970s a director born in Chile had a revolutionary idea after making just two feature films to adapt Frank Herbert's Dune in a way that was deemed impossible by the zeitgeist's standards and this documentary created in 2013 filled the world in on this artistic endeavour. Now I heard slight rumblings of this version in the hype train for the 2021 Dune from a YouTube channel dubbed Grizzled Wizard and hearing about this project with the help of Pink Floyd, H.R. Giger, and the presence of Orson Welles himself my attention was grabbed! But I didn't even know this documentary existed on the HBO Max until about 3 days ago, and watching the formative process and happy accidents occur that got some steam in this now phantom train does make me understand why certain individuals hold this what could have been story with such tragedy. Granted I have no clue what in the blue skies of Arrakis this would have been like but the unmitigated passion and dedication this one man had to garner so many artistic and popular figures to make a science fiction film when at the time George Lucas was still scribbling drafts of a space opera in his bedroom and the prospect of any fantastical space movie being made was a pot dream, I can respect. He didn't want to make it faithful to the book, he didn't want to make it for profit's sake, he wanted to do it because he had a vision and a drive to see it done. It ain't everybody's batch of magic Kool-Aid and even my ass saw the unrealistic qualities of fashioning this monolith of a story, but the documentary is told with a lot of the burgeoning minds who were coming up with designs for this flick and they still believe they were onto something special here and hold pride in their work. And for a special clocking in at 90 minutes with credits, you really got nothing to lose if you want to see how even unmade art can still have an effect on the world. Do I agree with everything Jodorowsky said? No. Do I think the movie would have had a more troubled production than The Island Of Doctor Moreau with Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer? I'm willing to hedge my bets there! But at the end of the day even if it focuses on a shoulda woulda coulda idea, it's still fascinating to see a piece of cinematic history that has influenced a lot of movies even if itself wasn't burned on celluloid. I enjoyed it, found it interesting, and can indeed recommend. 3 stars, 7/10, and we got some down time before the next new movie so stay safe and have fun.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Dune Part Two

Okay. I can dig it.



Obviously this isn't a case of is the sequel better because well it's just the second half of a movie, but a very good one regardless. The plot is a bit more streamlined in terms of synopsis with Paul and the Fremen waging guerilla warfare against the Harkonnens and pretty soon the Emperor himself, but the film does not rush let me tell you. Pushing 3 hours with credits it takes it's time in divulging all these plot pieces on the board, from expanding on the Harkonnens with a new adversary Feyd-Rautha, Paul's mom Jessica is pretty much starting a cult and raising the legend of the Kwisatz Haderach, the machinations of the Empire, and the romance between Paul and Chani. You know for a movie that was marketed heavily on the romance angle, even TV spots didn't excise it, it's about as rushed and did just as much for me like in the Lynch movie which was....not at all. Totally not bashing Timothèe or Zendaya, frankly the acting across the board is good yet nothing to write home about, but man the romance was just not built for me. I would be remiss not to shoutout Christopher Walken as the Emperor, which is quite possibly the strangest casting I've run across. But then again, Sting. Also Austin Butler, man have you got range cause you honestly weirded the shit outta me and beautifully so! Just to be upfront and honest I truthfully feel there is more subtitled dialogue than actual english dialogue here, which first and foremost round of applause for these actors to learn this dialect and be able to emote well on top of that and second that's not a turn off for me but some folks can't do subtitles so I get it. The film certainly hasn't lost a bit of it's cinematic edge, I dare say it even doubles down on it making it even bigger and grander than the first! Dune will probably never look better, at least in my lifetime. However I think people's biggest issue with the film will be the ending, yet once again I actually didn't mind it. It truthfully made me want to pick up Dune Messiah and I haven't even read the first damn book, and even if they didn't adapt any of the future novels I wouldn't give a rat's ass that's how open I am now to dive into these books. Because you have to remember this isn't just one novel this is a series so they absolutely can tease a continuation should they feel so inclined. I liked it just fine, more than willing to watch the full cut of the movie in the future and honestly rewatch the Lynch version again, not for everybody but I can recommend it if for nothing else than visual appeal. I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10 with room to grow in the future. And of course we'll wrap up this week tomorrow with a look at a doomed but fantastical sounding Dune iteration.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

In Retrospect: Dune

It sure doesn't feel like 3 years since I've seen this film.




Don't really know why but it feels longer. Time moves at it's own pace and we see only a fragment of it. But the conclusion will soon be upon us and I knew I needed to get reacquainted. Failed miserably however in my statement to finish the book before part two comes out so that's my bad! I don't feel the opinion has changed much since first viewing, it's practically pornographic in it's design and scope like this is a costumer's/set designer/cinematographer's wet dream from start to end, and I was surprised how well the film's visual grandeur still leaped from my modestly sized televison set! I had a good handful of moments where I was struck by the visuals and just went, holy hell. Grand slam pick for a director on this movie, I mean there is a stark reason why Denis Villeneuve was the correct choice to direct Dune. I don't know if he's going to step in on Dune Messiah or Hrist even if that movie is going to get greenlit for production, so come what may I'm happy we have this movie. Though it's gonna be a looooong sit if they do a double bill or stitch both movies together into one full film, but for us people who are made of sterner stuff and can do extended cuts of Lord Of The Rings I think we can handle it. I paid a lot more attention to how the movie extends information to the audience, a tidbit I just learned about the 80s Dune film is that in theaters audiences had a legit cheat sheet of planets, terminology, and family names to help them out, and while this film doesn't exactly handhold you through in explanations it's easy enough to break it down to basic elements. Atreides good, Harkonnens bad, spice important, Empire is in control, bizzare magicks are at play. This is gonna sound very strange coming from me but I do not read fantasy or science fiction novels regularly, and what I mean by that is I do NOT tread the waters of any ol' fantasy book series or science fiction one off that isn't immediately recognizable. Your Lord Of The Rings, Ender's Game, Star Wars, Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, those are all recognizable franchises. I cannot imagine being in 1965 and reading Dune for the first time, cause there is a lot of imagination and a lot of unique elements that comprise that book which still take inspiration from real world things. It's one in a million to be sure and is always interesting to learn about, in fact I just also learned of a documentary special detailing the creation of Jodorowsky's version of Dune that nevet got off the ground in the 70s so I'm throwing that in as a bonus this week. The acting still stands on solid ground and I'm wondering what all we'll see in the next installment given I've seen only a highly condensed cliffnotes version in the Lynch film. Dune is a bit of an anomaly regardless of medium and I really wish I knew if Part Two is considered an event film, a must see piece of cinema with a lot of buzz and attention swirling around it, I just don't know but I certainly hope it is because the visionary expanse and really and truly this passion project for the director deserves it. I'm not running out my front door to be the first in line for tickets but I'm walking with some optimism in my step and a intrigue to see how it is all potrayed and played out to the end. I love the visuals from the grandest of skies to the smallest detail of a costume, I love the score, I think the acting is good and serviceable to the story, the plot is actually rather easy to follow as long as you don't get bogged down by the jargon, and I'm really really looking forward to the conclusion! I'll bump it up to an 8.5/10 because I do feel I got more out of it this time. I still really want to hear that guitar riff when Paul conquers the worm, and because I'm a contrarian and do whatever I want I'm buying that damn popcorn bucket (I just think it's neat and different, don't make it weird). And I will see you on Friday on the dunes of Arrakis.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Bob Marley One Love

I got to tell you man, earlier today I was feeling totally not up to trekking out to the theater but you know what, I'm very glad I did.



Drumroll please. Turns out the whiter than sour cream Dude from the lone star state has barely heard a shred of reggae in his life and knew nada about Bob Marley. Shocking. However! I feel the true purpose of any biopic or documentary settled on an individual is to get you to want to learn more about them, a stepping stone to see the individual and not the star. And with such a unique and still iconic endearing figure like Bob Marley it did make me want to know more about him, to listen to his music, to expose myself further to the culture of Jamaica. So obviously this is not going to be a how accurate is this film kind of chit chat, but I will tell you it is a good movie worth seeing. The film jumps about in time from snippets of Bob's early life to his peace concerts and european tour around the late 70s, more to give a broad strokes tribute to his music and message than to be an intricate detailed study of the man himself. Speaking of which, I felt Kingsley Ben-Adir was quite good in this role and brought a spark to the screen, showing a lot of brightness but still able to get those dramatic parts across. By the by this is no doubt totally on me, but I am not super familiar with the jamaican dialect so it was tricky to get it at first but I blame that squarely on my fairly uncultured ass rather than the actors themselves. It was nice to see Lashana Lynch as Bob's wife Rita, she got some solid material to work with and was the stand out performer for me almost entirely due to the scene where she lays down the law and confronts Bob on his future. I bet she gives kickass hugs too. It's more of an ensemble cast production with a real sense of this tight knit group in Bob's entourage who are prevalent throughout the film with all the actors giving solid performances. The production quality is pretty grand too, with the 70s apparel and clever use of stock footage of legit Jamaica during that turbulent period of history. The film really doesn't shy away from the bad stuff but neither does it overemphasize it either. And to switch gears to a happier topic, I think I know how the phrase "We be jammin!" came about because I was digging the soundtrack something fierce, I would have zero issue tracking down this soundtrack and listening to all the tunes, it's just groovy good vibes all around so big thumbs up from me on that front! I like how the movie kinda has an artsy side to it, it's more downplayed but I appreciate the effort and because of it has my favorite shot in the movie and it's already a nice looking movie. It's not a great film but it is a good film and worth seeing if you like biopics on musicians or if you're just a fan of Bob Marley. I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10!