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


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.