Movies

They Live (1988)

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Next up in TSPDT is #993, They Live. I read the summary, saw the poster and thought it’d be right up my alley, but I was wrong… like painfully wrong. From what I understand, this movie’s on the list because it’s a real cult classic. Like with any cult classic, it wasn’t popular when it was released but gained a following in later years. These tend to be hit or miss… this time, obviously, it was a miss.

This movie is so cheesy and ridiculous that I couldn’t take it seriously or enjoy it. When I watch these kinds of movies, I find it hard to write anything because I don’t have defendable reasons why I didn’t like the movie, I just didn’t like it. Rowdy Roddy Piper’s acting left a lot to be desired and made it impossible for me to relate to his character. Now I’m going to be superficial: his mullet was too intense and distracting; and his clothes… well the 80s is strong with this one. I try to tell myself that they’re just products of their time, but it doesn’t help me enjoy it any more. Aside from the looks and acting, the most distracting element in the entire movie was the music. It was so dramatic and goofy that it took away from every scene and made it into a joke. I guess the scene that was actually meant to be a joke was the extremely long fight scene… like 5 minutes long. I just wanted it to end, but it kept going on and on. He doesn’t want to put on the damn glasses already!

After bashing almost everything about this movie I’ll be nice and give it points for 3 things that I enjoyed. The first being the alien practical effects which I really dug. The aliens are so creepy and cool without their skin. Seeing them in the posters was one of the reasons I was excited to watch the movie in the first place. The second thing I liked were the TV speeches. The song “House on a Hill” by The Pretty Reckless starts with an excerpt from this speech and I had no idea it came from this movie. I actually kind of like the speech and now I’ll think of this movie whenever I hear that song. The final thing that stood out for me were Holly’s eyes. I’ve never seen eyes so blue in my life; they’re this pale icy blue that pierces into your soul. With eyes like those I think she could do better than the poorly acted, mullet haired, flannel wearing character of Nada.

Well that’s all I have to say about They Live. I don’t think I’d personally put it down as one of the greatest 1000 movies ever made. It’s one of those movies you have to try for yourself and see if you like it. Hopefully it’ll be your cup of tea.

Verdict: 6.5/10 I brought the bubble gum, but I’m all out of ass

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Movies

Husbands and Wives (1992)

Next up is another TSPDT movie, but I’m skipping ahead a few here since I watched Oasis and L’Humanité before I started blogging about TSPDT. For completion sake, I may one day reach back into my memory and try to post about them, but for now, I’m moving on to #997, Husbands and Wives, which is a Woody Allen movie about marriage.

I’ll start off by saying that this definitely isn’t my favorite Woody Allen movie out there. I’m starting to realize that his movies where he’s one of the leads are kind of all the same. I enjoyed the first one I watched, which I believe was Annie Hall, but now I’m just getting bored with him. In Annie Hall, I at least remember laughing a little, but this one I didn’t find very funny for a “comedy”. On top of not finding it very funny, I really disliked most of the characters. In fact, the only two characters I didn’t dislike were Sally and Michael. To me, the rest of them were pretty despisable. You have Woody Allen’s character going after a 21 year old when he’s over twice her age, and Jack who I thought was going to murder his new girlfriend after the party where she embarrassed him. I watch a lot of those true crime documentaries and that’s exactly how it starts. Some dumb fight blows up and suddenly you’re dead in a ditch. I mean how am I supposed to watch these characters when they’re doing such awful things and just being gross human beings? I need someone to like and be able to relate to, and I just wasn’t getting that.

I’m just not feeling this movie at all. There are better Woody Allen movies out there like Annie Hall or Midnight in Paris that I’d rather watch. This isn’t a bad movie exactly, I just don’t think it was great enough to make it on to this list. I won’t draw this one out anymore.

Verdict: 6.8/10 Don’t get in the car!

PS: I’m also skipping the next one, Dead Poets Society, because I watched that pre-blog as well. Next post will be a long one about In Praise of Love… see you then!

Movies

Weekend Binge #2

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)war_for_the_planet_of_the_apes

I like the Planet of the Apes franchise, in particular I enjoyed the originals a lot, but I couldn’t really get into the new trilogy. This was an ok movie, but I only watched it for completion’s sake so I wasn’t expecting too much. See I find it extremely difficult to follow the plot in movies that are live action but mostly CGI because my brain just zones out.  I thought it was almost interesting trying to come full circle by introducing Nova, but it didn’t really work for me because if you watched the first Planet of the Apes right after this, it wouldn’t make any sense. In that movie she’s put in a cage like another animal, so if she was originally like a pet to them or someone they cared about how come they treated her like any other human? It felt like a quick last minute tie in and not something that was very thought out. The effects are pretty great obviously, and they did a good job trying to evoke emotion from the audience. I couldn’t really empathize too much with CGI though, so it was sort of lost on me. Now try and stay with me here… what I’m about to say in no way reflects the quality of this movie, I’m merely trying to compare the ideas. This was sort of like the Star Wars prequels in that it tries to explain things that I never really wanted to know. Personally, I never cared why humans couldn’t talk or how apes took over the world so this just didn’t appeal to me in any way (just like how I don’t care about Midi-chlorians!).

However, this is a well done movie with some emotional moments and I can understand how it was so highly praised. If you liked the first 2 movies in this trilogy I’m sure this won’t disappoint you.

 Verdict: 7/10 Don’t forget the subtitles or you’ll end up listening to monkey grunts for 20 minutes and have to rewind


Stronger (2017)stronger.png

I looked at this movie and thought it was some tear jerking Oscar bait movie and didn’t want to waste my time on it, but then I noticed that Jake Gyllenhaal was in it and I pretty much had no choice. He hasn’t disappointed me in a long time so any movie he’s in, I’m there. Thankfully this ended up being so much better than I thought it’d be. I thought it was really respectful of the event and the survivors and it didn’t feel like it was just trying to cash in. One of my favorite scenes is when Jeff is in the hospital and he’s getting his bandages changed. The focus of the camera is on his face and his pain, while his legs are out of focus in the background. The point of the scene is to show what he had to endure, not to show the gore for shock value or flaunt off the special effects. It was unexpected, but I liked how they handled that a lot. They did something similar when he goes to wave the flag at the hockey game. That whole scene was incredible with the way they handled his PTSD and the emotion between him and his girlfriend, Erin.

Overall this is a pretty good movie. The acting, effects and handling of the tough subject matter was all done exceptionally well and this is well worth checking out.

Verdict: 8.1/10 Bring some Kleenex


mother! (2017)

The only thing I knew about this movie going in was that it was really weird and you’ll either love it or hate it. For some reason, I thought Jennifer Lawrence was supposed to be a robot and I spent the whole movie waiting for her to plug herself in to charge or something. Maybe if she was a robot I would’ve liked it more than I did. The first half wasn’t bad, but the second half was just too WTF for me. There was too much going on and none of it really made sense. I don’t even have a favorite image to screengrab here so all you get is text!

As a fan of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, I thought I might enjoy this but oh well… you win some you lose some. Maybe if you liked The Fountain you might like this.

Verdict: 6.4/10 She’s definitely NOT a robot…


Sing Street (2016)

sing_street.pngThis is another musical with another great soundtrack. This one takes place in the 80s and stars a 15 year old boy who starts a band to impress a girl he likes. I was a little skeptical at first after hearing the boy’s voice, but he started to get into it and I thought he sounded great. Some of the songs were catchy and they were a lot of fun to listen to. The brother was really great in this movie; his character was so deep and well written, and the actor who played him gave a fantastic performance.

If you like musicals then I’m sure you’ll like this. If you grew up in the 80s, I’m even more sure you’ll like this.

Verdict: 7.8/10 Get ready for a good time!


Lovesong (2016)lovesong.png

I’m not totally sure where I heard of this movie but it somehow made it on to my “To Watch” list, so when I saw it on Netflix I thought I’d give it a go. This movie is about 2 friends who sleep with each other once then don’t see each other again until one of them gets married. It’s a little awkward, but also kind of sweet, but also kind of sad. This movie was a child size roller coaster of emotion. That kid was so adorable I thought I was going to die whenever she said something and there were some really good laughs, namely “Anal Saturdays”… man was that a great scene. I liked the movie up until the ending then I got sort of annoyed. Watching people being stupid just makes me mad. I wish I could’ve reached into the movie and slapped them. Look at that image! Don’t they look happy? I think so. Ok… well out of context that doesn’t look too happy, but in context it was really sweet and I liked it.

Overall, this is a slow, mediocre “romance” type movie and I’d say it probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have nothing else to do on a Sunday afternoon, maybe give it a whirl.

Verdict: 7/10 Anal Saturdays


45 Years (2015)

I heard good things about this movie and I had it queued to watch on Netflix for months despite it not looking too interesting to me. My instinct happened to be right in this case, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. It’s about this couple who are just about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary when they receive some news that will change their lives in a big way. I won’t give away what the big news is because I think learning about it as the characters do helps you feel the emotions right alongside them. As far as how it made me feel, well I can understand the heartbreak and how it’d feel to have your entire life put into question, but maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to really have it hit me emotionally.

I found myself really bored through long stretches of this movie. Perhaps if you’ve been married for 44 years and 11 months you might be able to relate a little more and will enjoy this… otherwise I can’t really say I’d recommend it.

Verdict: 6.4/10 Ehhhhhhh

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

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