Movies

Marjorie Prime (2017)

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I’ve been putting off writing this review for days now because Marjorie Prime is a movie I really thought I’d like. I waited for it for months before I finally got a chance to watch it and not surprisingly, I didn’t really like it. It’s basically about some version of our world where you can get holograms of someone who’s passed away. You talk to them about who they were, tell them stories about their lives and hopefully try to get some closure. Very interesting premise and I thought it’d be right up my alley, but it wasn’t and I’m not even sure why.

The first 15 or 20 minutes were just so boring and slow that I didn’t even want to finish the movie. I held out for a bit longer and then the movie took an unexpected turn that made it much more watchable. I figured I’d be following the first hologram’s progression through most of the movie, but you don’t… you end up following several. The first hologram you’re introduced to after it’s already learned who it is; it’s been “alive” for days or weeks at this point. You’re able to witness the ideal moment in the hologram’s existence where it feels like the person you knew. Then the second one is introduced much earlier in its life and you start to see how it has to learn things about itself before it can feel real. The third one is even more raw because it’s brand new. It has to be told who it is, how it died, what their relationships are like and so on. It’s in this last hologram that we really start to see the flaws in this system.

What I got out of this movie is that, while it’d be great to have your loved one back, it isn’t really them and can’t ever be them. All they are is who you imagine them to be in your head. If you loved them you might tell the hologram all of the happy memories you have, while if you have some deep resentments towards that person you might tell it stories that really hurt you. If that person wronged you, it could be very therapeutic to talk it out, but if they didn’t then to me it’s just a way for you to never let go and I don’t think that’s healthy.

This was an interesting review. I didn’t want to write it because I had nothing to say, but as I struggled to come up with something to write, I started realizing that, while the first 15 minutes were sort of boring, the movie as a whole had a lot to say. I guess it’s a movie you really need to think about. Would you ever use this service? Who would you use it on? Would you use it to hold on to the happy memories or try and resolve the unhappy ones? Can’t say if I’d recommend this because obviously I found it a little boring, but if any of these ideas or questions intrigued you then maybe give it a shot.

Verdict: 6.5/10 At least in the holographic AI revolution there’s no way they can murder us

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Movies

Weekend Binge #1

The Weekend Binge is a new series of blog posts I’ll be writing where I rattle off some reviews of the movies I binge watched on the weekend. Sometimes I just like chain watching movies and don’t really have the time to give them all a full post, but I’d still like to talk about them. So here we go!


Band Aid (2017)

This movie reminds me a lot of Patti Cake$ because of the way this couple creates their songs. It’s very organic and it all happens in the moment. Some of the songs were pretty funny and the leads had great chemistry. Writing songs about their fights is an interesting idea, and the movie was entertaining to watch. There were some extremely awkward moments though. Like so awkward that I didn’t even want to watch them. Most of the scenes with Fred Armisen just made me cringe. I think they played the awkward weird neighbour card a little too much. Also, the ending wrapped itself up a little too quickly and I think it would’ve been better served to take its time tying up all the loose ends.

Overall this is sort of a fun movie, but it deals with some heavy topics. I enjoyed it a lot and if you like Patti Cake$ I think you’ll like this one too.

Verdict: 8/10 A band aid for the heart


Frank & Lola (2016)

I really wanted to like this movie, and while I enjoyed the story, I felt like the acting just left a little too much to be desired. Most of the time I just wanted to slap Frank and make him say something. He barely says a word through most of the movie. He’ll take like 10 seconds to answer someone and when he does answer them, it’s in this low voice and it’s really slow. In his job interview, the conversation was something like, “Did you use a truffle?” – “…Yes.” – “That wasn’t in the basket.” – “…Ok.” – end of scene. All that aside, I was semi-invested in them as a couple and was rooting for them at the end of the movie.

This one isn’t terrible, but it’s not great. If you’re in the mood for something really… really… slow… you might like this.

Verdict: …6.7 …/ …10


Logan Lucky (2017)

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I did not expect to like this movie at all. I saw it and vaguely recall hearing that it was good, but I didn’t know what it was about. Turns out it’s a hillbilly bank robbery movie and a pretty funny one at that. The chemistry between the characters was very good and I actually laughed out loud. The heist was interesting and I didn’t expect what happened at the end. While not a huge change to the heist movie formula, it took me by surprise and I love surprises.

This is a very good movie. It’s a lot of fun, has Kylo Ren as a one armed bartender, some sexy car shots, and a great ending. Definitely worth a watch.

Verdict: 8.2/10 Logan Lucky to have been in the presence of a car as beautiful as that Mustang


November Criminals (2017)

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This movie didn’t really appeal to me, but I’m a fan of Ansel Elgort after seeing him in Baby Driver, a movie I loved so much that I watched it back to back. He tried so hard in this movie, but the script and plot just couldn’t be overcome. None of the character’s actions felt genuine. It was like the writers wanted certain things to happen so they forced the characters to do things they would never do and made no sense. Then the movie kept repeating its themes over and over again. I think the audience is smart enough to realize why he’s looking into his friend’s death, they don’t need to be beaten over the head with it. In the end, I just felt like this was a pointless movie with nothing new to offer to the solving a crime genre.

If you’ve never seen a crime solving drama before, maybe you’ll find this interesting. Personally, I didn’t really care why the kid died or who did it… I was just not invested through most of it. I hope both the leads can get out of the teen dramas and start doing some more adult movies because they’re both excellent actors and I want to see them in more excellent movies.

Verdict: 5/10 Maybe next time just call the police?


Crown Heights (2017)

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Last but not least, a movie that shows I don’t change. I’m still judging movies based on where they played. This one was also part of the Sundance film festival along with Patti Cake$ and was one of the only reasons why I decided to watch it. I didn’t have very high expectations, but this was actually pretty good. I’m a huge fan of these wrongful conviction, crime solving movies and this was one of the good ones. The biggest thing that sets this apart from other movies in this genre is the way the story is presented. You see almost nothing of the prosecution’s case in the beginning, it’s all from Colin’s perspective and you’re left wondering why all these stupid kids keep lying. Later on in the film, you start to see why they said the things they said. It’s one of the first movies I’ve seen that gives some insight into what the so called witnesses were thinking or feeling during the case. This is based on a true story so I guess the outcome really shouldn’t have surprised me, nonetheless I was a little surprised by how it ended. Usually these movies follow a specific formula: meet the main character, crime happens, character is arrested and convicted, friends/family/interested third party takes up the case, character is retried and wins the case. This movie hit all of those beats, but changes it ever so slightly at the end and it almost gives me hope for the US justice system.

If you like this type of movie, definitely give this one a watch. It’s near the top of the pile and will get you pretty fired up. There are lots of ups and downs and “how can this happen?!” moments.

Verdict: 8.3/10 If someone dies in your neighborhood, maybe just leave the country to be safe…

 

Movies

The Voices (2014)

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The Voices is a comedy horror about a man who talks to his dog and cat and ends up killing people. Based on the summary for this movie, I don’t think I would’ve ever watched it, but my boyfriend picked it randomly for us to watch and I have to say it wasn’t bad at all. I found myself actually laughing at some of the lines, especially the cat’s which I found especially funny because cats are evil. Case in point, “Oh, Jerry, change the fucking channel before I explode!”, says the cat as he watches lion’s having sex on TV, followed by him saying in wonder and awe, “Check it out, a crocodile killing a motherfucking antelope.” I don’t know, is there any more proof that cats are evil than this? Meanwhile, the dog is just chilling on the couch being a good pet.

Aside from the positive light this movie casts on dogs, there were some other good points. Namely, the way the movie shows the difference the drugs make for Jerry. When he’s off the drugs, everything is bright and cheery and his home is clean then when you get snapped back into reality everything literally turns to shit. His apartment is filthy, has animal shit on the floor and, oh yeah… decomposing dismembered body parts. The execution of this idea was done perfectly, and just when you got used to off the drugs Jerry, you’re quickly brought back into the real world and realize that he’s got some serious mental problems.

Overall, this was a fun horror movie that provides some good laughs. The plot is unusual, and is actually genuinely horrific with how disgusting it can be at times. Ryan Reynold’s does a fantastic job as Jerry and the voices of his pets.

Verdict: 7.4/10 Sing a happy song… sing a happy song

Movies

The Lobster (2015)

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The Lobster is a sci-fi movie set in a world where everyone must be paired up at all times. If you’re single you’re brought to a “Hotel” where you can meet a partner… or be turned into an animal if you don’t. Loners are the scum of the earth: police are constantly asking them for papers, they’re tranquilized and captured like wild animals, and they’re turned into wild animals if they don’t find partners.  In this extremely weird world, we follow a newly single man into the hotel where we learn about the rules and consequences of this society. Scene by scene we’re fed more information until, by the end of the movie, we finally feel like we have the whole picture. There are essentially 3 different sections of society: the Hotel, the City and the Woods. The Hotel is for loners looking for partners, the City is for partners, and the Woods is for loners who want to stay alone. This movie manages to take us through all 3 sections so we can see how each of them live and how each of them might feel about the society as a whole. It also allows the audience to form their own opinions about each of the sections.

While the structure of the story was the strongest part of the movie, I did have problems with some of its details. The first is that I don’t really understand why they had to be turned into animals. It brings up a lot of unanswered questions for me, like are all animals on earth former humans? If that’s the case, then whenever we eat a lobster or cow are we really eating people? Do the animals have memories of their past human lives? One scene in the movie suggests that they do retain some memories which makes the prospect of us eating people even more disturbing. How can a camel survive in the woods? Why would a person want to be a lobster when obviously it’d be cooler to be a bird since you can fly? I wish I knew the answers to these questions, but sadly I’ll never find out. Just like I’ll never find out what happens to the main characters because the movie just ends. I’m really getting tired of movies that end with ambiguity and unanswered questions. I can appreciate this in the right movie, but I don’t feel like this movie deserved that kind of ending. You don’t know for sure whether he’ll end up with her or not. For me it doesn’t work because the movie never played with the “will they, won’t they” story element. It’s sort of tacked on for a cheap ending. Sometimes I don’t always want to make up my own ending for movies, I want to watch the ending that the director envisioned. When the scene cut back to the woman sitting in the booth I had this feeling the movie might be ending and then I saw the black credit screen and I was just more upset than anything.

Aside from the ending and unanswered questions, my other problem with this movie is the fact that it’s supposed to be a dark comedy. I didn’t actually realize this until I finished the movie and was reading other reviews. All these reviews were harping on how funny it was and that’s when I looked back and realized that I didn’t laugh once. I legitimately thought it was a serious movie. I can see scenes that were probably supposed to be funny, but it didn’t hit the right notes for me. Granted, comedy is very subjective, but as a dark comedy this movie missed the mark which might be a problem since it’s supposed to provide some satirization of our own society and satire generally implies humor.

Lastly, in rapid fire, here are more things I just didn’t enjoy about this movie. I didn’t enjoy the way the lines were delivered, the bluntness of what they were saying, the narration, the fact that a near sighted person can only be with another near sighted person, the weird no masturbation rules at the hotel, and the weird grinding of the men to get them all excited. This movie has some interesting ideas, but nothing felt fleshed out enough for me to really get invested in it. I watched the entire thing but I don’t think I’d ever re-watch or recommend it.

Verdict: 6/10 Needs less bad omen dog killing and more Léa Seydoux being French

Movies

Paper Moon (1973)

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Paper Moon is the perfect example of a child actor stealing the show. Tatum O’Neal gave an incredible performance for her age. Her and her father, in both the movie and real life, is Ryan O’Neal and the chemistry between them on screen is so powerful. I really enjoyed this movie so I don’t have too much to say about it. There were a lot of little things that were great, like Addie seeing that one of the families they were going to con was struggling for money and gave them the bible for free. Then with the obviously very rich woman she charged twice the price. She was a smart little hustler like her father and real fun to watch. When Trixie is climbing the hill to talk to Addie and she trips and shouts “Ah, son of a bitch!” that was priceless. She even organized their whole police station escape… she was like an adult trapped inside a child’s body. I might be inclined to say it was somewhat unrealistic that a child would be able to do all the things she did, but she pulled it off and made it believable. Got to admit I was pretty shocked when she started smoking, thankfully she wasn’t smoking a real cigarette in those scenes. The 30s were crazy times…

This is a movie that might have just made it to my re-watch list. It’s fun and a little different, I definitely recommend this one.

Verdict: 8/10 Needs… nothing. Very good movie.

Movies

Evil Dead II (1987)

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Evil Dead II is one of those special movies where you need to shut off your brain to be able to enjoy it. The plot is completely nonsensical, the acting is horrendous and the screaming is a crime against humanity’s ears. I suppose that’s pretty harsh, so I’ll go through each of those points in detail so you can get a real sense of what this movie is all about.

Clearly this is a sequel to the Evil Dead, which I’ve seen before and enjoyed enough that I gave it an 8/10. This movie starts off with a recap to the first movie, but it is insanely confusing because Sam Raimi who directed it lost the rights to the first movie and couldn’t do a proper recap. The first 10 minutes is so confusing that there is an actual debate going on whether or not this movie is a sequel or a remake. After the “recap” is over, the movie starts to pick up and have a real plot. This is just a fake out though, there is no real plot in this movie. It’s basically lots of screaming and special effects shots based around some people stuck in a cabin.

The lack of plot could be acceptable if it weren’t for the unbelievably bad acting. This isn’t the kind of movie that’s trying to win an oscar for best actor, but… well I stopped the movie half way through to get some crackers. Can’t have cheese without crackers. It’s a b-movie comedy and part of the original charm was the cheesy acting, but it’s like the sequel decided to move past charm levels of cheese and move into eye-rolling, face-palming cheese territory. This applies to every actor in the movie, not just Ash, even though he was the worst offender.

This point will be short and sweet; the screaming was unbearable. At some point I forgot what real words sounded like. They replaced all dialogue in this movie with people screaming really loud for a really long time. My ears did not appreciate this.

Now I can’t write this review without mentioning the special effects. I’m actually legally obligated to give credit to the practical effects used in this movie. As laughable as it was at times, it brings me so much joy seeing real objects interacting with the actors. I loved seeing what they could do without the use of a green screen and CG. While I’m on the subject of loving things, I did love some of the shots in this movie.The two that come to mind is the one where the camera chases Ash through the house and is moving around the corners and going through the doorways. It’s seamless and perfect and must have taken a long time to get right. The second one I remember well is the one where Ash is on the floor and his hand is dragging him along. The camera switches to this first person view and you get that “I’m being dragged across the floor” feeling.

The bottom line is if you can manage to shut off your brain then you just might enjoy this movie. If you haven’t seen the first movie, then you’ll need to remove your brain entirely. As for me, I remodeled my brain and my brain shut off switch is forever lost in the walls, permanently in the on position.

Verdict: 6/10 Needs more plot and less cheese

Movies

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

The most difficult kinds of movies for me to review are the “classics” for the simple fact that they don’t play by the same rules as modern movies. If this movie was made today, I would’ve laughed it off my screen, so I’m going to take some of the jokes with a grain of salt. With all that being said, it was still very enjoyable and some parts really did make me laugh. The actors were so full of energy that the jokes I wouldn’t normally find funny became genuine laugh out loud moments. When Kathy starts laughing at Don for getting his coat stuck in the car door, I couldn’t help but laugh along with her. The same goes for the scene when they’re previewing the new movie in the theater and the audio goes out of sync with the video, the entire audience starts laughing and Cosmo and Kathy even make jokes about it later on. Everyone has such good on-screen chemistry that it brings the movie to life. Apart from the comedic elements, this movie is also known for the dancing and singing… in the rain. The singing I will get to later on, but the dancing was fantastic. Watching them tap dance brought a smile to my face during nearly every number in the movie. It’s even more impressive after learning that Kathy danced until her feet bled and still had that huge smile on her face the entire time. All the dancers really put their blood and sweat into getting it just right, and they very much succeeded.

But as much as I loved the dancing, I really didn’t like most of the songs. The lyrics and sound in general felt so dated that it was hard to enjoy. “Good Morning” and “Singin’ in the Rain” were my favourites of the entire move and probably two of the only songs people remember these days. I really didn’t like “Fit as a Fiddle” and “Make ’em Laugh” since these felt the most dated. There were other songs that were so unmemorable for me that I can’t even remember how they went which isn’t a good thing for a musical. Don was also kind of a jerk for a lot of the movie and was so full of himself. When he met Kathy for the first time, he was shocked that she wasn’t fawning over him for being a huge movie star. Oddly enough, a few scene later she says she’s seen all his movies and for some reason has a complete change in personality. They could have done a much better job creating the romance between Kathy and Don. The was they did it felt too forced.

Overall, if you can get past some of the dated jokes and music then you might really enjoy this movie. It’s full of life and energy, and has some fantastic scenes.

Verdict: 8/10 Needs less naughty-knotty and a hotcha-cha