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!

Friday, February 9, 2024

Lisa Frankenstein

Holy shit this movie!

I really only have one issue with this film and it's strangely the title. You'll see what I mean when I relay the plot and why waste time? Set in the glorious 1980s in the most unglamorized and natural way, we meet Lisa, who has one heck of a backstory to her, before through no real action of her own a corpse is reanimated and a slow burn romance ensues. This movie is a mix of Edward Scissorhands, Heathers, and the last legit Frankenstein movie I reviewed waaay back, Frankenhooker. It's...weird. Guaranteed cult movie status, and to be bluntly apparent I rather adored this movie. If I'm not mistaken this is the directorial debut of Zelda Williams and while it's not in your face this movie wiggles it's toes in the surreal and has a simple yet charming style to it. Kathryn Newton my dear God, not only does she do a really really good job with this script but the character of Lisa is maybe a little too perfect in my eyes. Cute as a button, has a good heart, clearly intelligent and well read, loves the Universal Monster movies, and transforms from quiet girl to goth icon. I'm kinda speechless. It's not all spooky vibes and superior tastes (though The Cure namedrop nearly made me spit my drink in joy), because as the movie progresses like I said it has some Heathers influence and she becomes quite self centered and sociopathic but never to the point she is unlikable. Cole Sprouse named only The Creature (Curse Of Frankenstein style I see) in the credits uhhh quite frankly has my heart. The man has to do physical acting and not speak a single word for 99% of the film and yet might be the best actor in it, the look is simple but effective, the romance feels earned, and he was just giving me hardcore Billy from Hocus Pocus vibes and if you know anything it's that Billy is my boy forever. I heard a LOT of people give Liza Soberano crazy amounts of praise before seeing the picture and I gotta admit as the step sister of Lisa, she's a fucking real one! Man if this is what siblings could be I almost regret being an only child. Almost. She's just this super sweet, caring, thoughtful yet kinda ditzy person and you think oh she's the popular girl and she's gonna be a bitch or get super jelly of Lisa, but no! She's that support that I think everybody deserves in their life. In a movie as kinda morbid and underground as this she is a dazzling ray of sunshine and I say bless her! The cast is relatively small in the major and suppprting characters but it knows when to focus on Lisa while giving the other actors moments to shine. I could damn well rave about the production design to infinity, you wanna know what the 80s were like without any embellishment or rose tinted glasses? Wha-bam! The fashion police would have a field day, the appliances and tech are beautiful in their retro-ness, the music is great, it's a work of art. The comedy was severely up my alley to where I'm pretty sure I was the only person laughing both consistently and strongly, from snickers to covering my mouth in shock laughs this was near tailor made for me. So yeah call me a fan, can't wait to see the cosplays at horror conventions, I do indeed recommend it. I mean hey it can't be a more awkward movie date than Silence Of The Lambs that came out on Valentine's Day, so shoot have fun with it. To quote my Nan who I got to watch Edward Scissorhands with me and made my tiny black heart grow, "I liked it. It was WEIRD, but I liked it.". 4 stars, 9/10!

Friday, February 2, 2024


Okay you got me. More different than you would expect.

I'll give credit where it's due, Matthew Vaughn knows the movies he is good at making and keeps doing them, even if he adds a lemon twist to some. Argylle couldn't be more of a twist if it tried. I'm not sure if the movie is a legit adaptation of a book or series of books but boy would I be interested to pick up one of those. Following the massive shift in lifestyle choice from quiet and simple book writer to full blown espionage agent, Elly Conway meets up with an unexpected ally named Aidan intent on keeping her safe as it appears that life is truly stranger than fiction when the pages of her recent novel are occuring in reality. I'll admit the trailer does a mighty good job making you want to see the film, because you're just wondering what in the flying pink pachyderms is going on here?? Pretty much the line, "You're a goddamn fortune teller Elly. Everything you wrote down has happened." and you wanna know why! You get your answers for sure, this ain't no bait and switch or come to your own conclusions, but maaaaan I really cannot talk about shit here. I am wandering amidst a minefield of spoilers! There are more twists than a contortionist at the circus, and granted I didn't call them from a mile away but I did call some a smidge before they happened. And while the film has flourishes of comedy, the actors commit full force and do mighty good work. Bryce Dallas Howard is truly the star of the picture, and my God does the woman act realistic in these batshit situations showcasing a lot of emotion and quick breathless line reads, she fully nails this performance to the max! Of course seeing Sam Rockwell is a treat and to know he is a legit spy but nowhere near as dashing I rather appreciate, him and Bryce have good chemistry and they are a duet through the vast majority of the film. Plus any excuse to see him bust a move is Kino. I actually expected Bryan Cranston to be the head of this government secret service but to see him as the villain was cool and while he doesn't quite get the material of espionage elite villains like Auric Goldfinger or Ernst Stavro Blofeld he works just fine. I kinda knew Henry Cavill was really just gonna be seen here and there and far from the focus but the way they incorporate his scenes in the world of the book was done rather uniquely. And I need to shoutout my gurl, the one and only, the lovely lady woman I have missed for literal years Sofia Boutella, it's been too damn long in my opinion and she's exactly how I remember her. I seriously need this damn movie to hit video quick because I need to break this down! The only thing that I could give away and that's if a very very select few individuals catch my drift here, if you are familiar with Star Wars games from the early to mid 2000s...they go there. Go see it. It's a weird movie that kinda flips the spy genre on it's head, but you have to make your own conclusion on it. The only real negative I could say and this is probably just me but this movie gets fuggin' silly. I mean ludicrous to the point of stupidity. I never thought in a trillion years I would use the words sappy or downright saccharine to explain a ffffffudge packing firefight, in fact it's probably the biggest action setpiece of the films and you know, as a lover of the lavishly went too far. Dare I say jumping the shark. But you know what? It commited to that vision, it didn't hold back or apologize, and it certainly didn't give a rat's ass what I thought about it either. And the movie has that more tongue in cheek Roger Moore style of James Bond movies with the crazy gadgets, lighter tone, and essentially is a sweet distraction for an hour or two. So hey man, just because that one detail threw me off my game doesn't mean somebody else can't love it. It isn't a bad film, it's got a solid foundation with a lot of good elements on top of it even if it has it's more hokey moments. I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10! New month already and we got a few more new releases before shifting gears back closer to normal.