Movies

TSPDT Double Feature

This week I gave myself a double dose of They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? with the movies Storm Over Asia and Das Boot. My desire to watch each of these movies couldn’t have been any more different, but without further ado let’s get into it.

Storm Over Asia (1928)

Starting off with #989, Storm Over Asia or Potomok Chingis-Khana if you prefer original titles. This is a silent, historical, 2+ hour long Russian movie about uhhh, trying to sell some furs, getting in a fight, then being mistaken for Genghis Khan. I judge books by their covers, and I thought this would bore the pants off of me. I psyched myself up and hit play. The first thing I noticed was the music which was so different from other silent movies I’ve seen. This one was Asian themed and I liked it a lot actually. I think it fit well with the movie and I didn’t get sick of it after the 2 hour runtime like I have with other silent movies I’ve watched. The effects were also pretty good for such an old movie. They actually showed blood that looked like blood which I found somewhat shocking for a movie from the 20s. It was also very impressive that they shot the movie in Mongolia and hired Mongolian actors to play many of the parts which added a lot authenticity to the movie.

Overall, this wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be, but I did zone out a little in the middle. Even so, this is in my personal top 5 silent movies… out of the 10 or so that I’ve seen…

Verdict: 7/10


Das Boot (1981)das_boot.png

Next let’s fast forward to 1981 with Das Boot, a movie about Germans on a U-boat in WWII. This would be #988 on the list and is my second time seeing it. I was so excited to re-watch it and it didn’t disappoint in the slightest. I think the first time I ended up watching the nearly 5 hour version, this time I watched the 3 and a half hour version but boy did it not feel that long… there wasn’t a single moment when I asked myself when this was going to be over.  This movie is so intense, it had my stomach in knots. I had the added bonus of not remembering how it ends and the ending just blew my mind. I loved it so much that I won’t dare spoil anything, even though that’s the tagline of my blog. As far as special effects go, they built scale models to do some of the outside sea shots which held up really well almost 40 years later. They even built a life sized U-boat set to use where you can see how insanely small those things were for the amount of people they carried. You can just imagine the filth and stench inside that boat after months on sea. I just can’t get over how well this movie was made. I loved every minute of it.

This movie is suspenseful, emotional, claustrophobic and beautifully made. I can’t stop praising it enough, and because of that I decided that it’s earned a place in my top 20 movies of all time. Don’t be scared of the runtime for this movie because it doesn’t feel long at all. But if you still can’t stomach watching such a long movie, there’s a shorter one at around 2 and a half hours that just might do it for you. So turn off the lights, turn up the volume and enjoy!

Verdict: 9.5/10

 

 

 

Oh, hi there, nice of you to still be reading… here’s a bonus movie just for you.

Miller’s Crossing (1990)millers_crossing.png

I had this one laying around for awhile and decided to finally give it a watch and it was just alright. It’s about this guy who keeps trying to play both sides of this mobster feud. The plot is interesting I guess, but personally I don’t find that Gabriel Byrne can really carry a movie. The movie just felt small and could’ve benefited from some bigger name actors in it. There were some great scenes, but I couldn’t help but feel like something was always missing. I really can’t say what it was though. This is a decent Sunday afternoon movie, but I wasn’t too blown away with it.

Verdict: 6.8/10

 

 

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Movies

Thumper (2017)

thumper.pngTo be completely honest, I’m not sure what made me want to watch this movie. I think it might have been the drugs and the fact that I heard someone say it felt “realistic”. Sounded like a winner to me, so I fired this movie up… and was very disappointed. This movie follows an undercover cop who infiltrates a group of drug dealers. There was something in this movie that just completely underwhelmed me.

There are 3 different types of scenes that revolve around the main character: undercover Kat, mom Meredith, and cop Meredith. This is where the movie falls apart because only 1 of those types actually works. Undercover Kat was pretty good with a few stand out scenes. The runner-up for best scene in the movie was when Wyatt the cook forces her to shoot up and she ODs. Everyone involved in this scene, from her taking the drugs to Beaver driving her to the hospital, did an amazing job. The best scene though, without question, is at the end when Wyatt tries to kill her after finding out she’s a narc. Pornstache from Orange is the New Black was so good as Wyatt, and I could tell he really tried his best to elevate this movie. For what it’s worth, he elevated all the scenes he was in… just a shame he wasn’t in all of them.

Rightfully so, he was not in any of the cop Meredith scenes where she has to report into her boss, Cersei. I think this was the worst type of scene in the movie because this was where they tried to build tension by putting an artificial time limit on busting these guys. Cersei was tough for no reason that I could see… she kept putting pressure on Meredith to bust these guys before more people died even if it meant they’d only be charged with small crimes like dealing pot. Case in point, here is an excerpt of one of their conversations and it goes a little something like:

Cersei: “You need to give me something.”

Meredith: “I know, I will…”

Cersei: “Get this shit off the streets.”

Meredith: “I need more time.”

Cersei: “You don’t have more time!”

Ah, the classic “You don’t have more time!” line. A line that’s usually tossed around to build up the tension and push the character into the climax of the movie. In this movie however, there is no reason for her to say that because we’re never told why she doesn’t have any time. More people will die from using drugs? Yeah fine, but getting the job done right to make sure that you A) Have the right guy and B) Can put him away for a long time is more important here than getting the job done fast. I think Cersei dropped the ball in this movie, granted her lines weren’t that great, but her delivery wasn’t any better.

The final type of scene in this movie was the most pointless time wasting type of all and was mom Meredith. We see how her son doesn’t care about her that much anymore now that he has a new mom. All of this for me was pointless filler and I don’t think the movie would suffer at all if it took out this entire subplot. I think her falling for one of the guys she’s trying to bust is enough of a head fuck to throw her off her game that they don’t need her also struggling with family issues.

All of this culminates in a movie that is very hot and cold. You’re treated to a scene that’s decently acted and well written, then made to suffer through a cliche ridden made for TV movie scene and back again. The ending doesn’t improve anything and is completely unsatisfying. You don’t learn about what happens to any of the characters. Does Beaver go to jail? If Beaver goes to jail, what happens to his brother? If they expect me to just guess what happens and come up with my own ending, fine I’ll do that… a lot of movies now are making me come up with my own ending anyways. But I think they didn’t show us what happened to the characters because they didn’t know how to end their movie. The one person we got a glimpse of was Kat/Meredith, who at the end gets to spend some time with her son. Aw that’s so sweet, she makes him breakfast… which he refuses to eat, then he keeps kicking his foot while she’s trying to put on his shoe, and then he runs out of the car without saying bye to her. So basically, her son still hates her… so what the hell is the point of this plot line? I’ll tell you the point, there wasn’t one. The writers didn’t feel like the shooting was a good enough way to end it, so they tried to tack on some resolution to the rest of the story lines and just failed.

As you might have been able to tell, I was not a huge fan of this movie. I think if you could find a version of it with just Kat being undercover it might be an alright movie. If you can’t then I don’t think I’d really waste my time on this one if I were you… there are a lot better movies out there about undercover cops.

Verdict: 5.8/10 Watching Cersei made me wish I OD’d…

Movies

Eden Lake (2008)

eden_lake

I found this movie on a list of modern horror movies you probably haven’t seen yet… which was pretty accurate at the time because I hadn’t seen this or even heard of it. This one has the Michael Fassbender in it! It’s basically about this couple who go on vacation to Eden Lake and are terrorized by a group of teenagers. It was a decent movie, but it didn’t do anything new or exciting to earn a re-watch badge with me.

I’ll start with the effects because I’m me and duh. There were 2 shots I remember that had great effects and made me really uncomfortable. One was the close up of Steve’s wounds because they looked pretty realistic and you could see the blood gushing out of them. The second one was when his wife, Jenny, gets the spike through her foot and she’s trying to pull it out. Both disgusting and painful to look at. Don’t believe me? Look at the image for this post and tell me that wouldn’t hurt!

As far as the acting goes, Fassbender was top notch and just like in The Mist, the A-lister steals the show. The kids were decent enough, but I found it extremely difficult to understand what they were saying, with the main kid being the worst offender. The British accent was so thick I could’ve benefited a lot from subtitles. Going back to the main kid, I thought he looked familiar and it turns out he starred in Starred Up a few years after this movie came out which I found very fitting. It’s almost like a sequel to this movie, where his stupid ass gets sent to jail for being a violent psychopath. It nearly makes up for the story which I’ll get into next.

The story itself isn’t too original; a couple goes away and the locals attack them. The execution was good, but it still had some annoyingly cliche scenes. One cliche being “woman hears noise outside tent and man goes to check it out”. Sure it scared me a little bit, but it was too cheap of a thrill for me to really appreciate. Another thing that annoyed me in this movie was that whenever they got into a car they would floor it through the woods. Hello, the guys you’re running from are on foot or, worst case, on bikes. You don’t need to floor it, just drive at a safe woods speed and you’ll get away without getting stuck or crashing.

Eden Lake is an alright one-watch horror film. It has good acting and gore effects, but the story has been done to death. Without Michael Fassbender, I think this would’ve been forgettable, but since he’s in it I’d say it’s worth a watch at least once in your life.

Verdict: 6.8/10 *mumbles something in a British accent*

Movies

Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

trick_r_treat.png

I heard about this one from a YouTube reviewer that I follow. I agree with a lot of his reviews and I thought maybe this will be a fun horror movie to watch on a Sunday afternoon. I can’t even count the number of times I fell asleep and had to rewind the movie. I know I fell asleep at least 3 times during the last 20 minutes. This was just so boring and I’m not sure what the point even was. For those that don’t know, this movie is, I guess, about some weird little jack-o-lantern faced thing that sort of kills people but also people kill people and it’s Halloween.

I couldn’t care any less about the characters and I found everyone just so boring. I love Helo from BSG, but even he couldn’t save this movie for me. There are several different plots that intertwine at different points in the movie and it sort of begins with the ending… or ends with the beginning. The only positive thing I can say about this movie is the twist with the girls being werewolves was very unexpected. That’s actually all I have to say.

I was pretty bored with this movie, but maybe if you watch it with a group of friends under the right conditions you could find it fun. As a solo movie, I wouldn’t really recommend to watch this. There isn’t anything remarkable about it and you aren’t going to be missing out.

Verdict: 5.9/10 *Goes back to sleep*

Movies

Wait Until Dark (1967)

wait_until_dark.png

Wait Until Dark is about a blind woman who comes into possession of a heroin filled doll that is being sought after by a trio of criminals and contains exactly zero spiders! I was intrigued by the idea of the main character being blind since, for some reason, I’m always drawn to horror movies with unconventional main characters. I loved watching the cat and mouse game between Susy and the bad guys. It was fun watching her try and come up with ways to survive. I was fist pumping when she threw gasoline on Roat, like good luck lighting a match now buddy. She kind of kicked ass at the end of the movie… she even stabbed the guy! Very cool character and I enjoyed watching her a lot.

There aren’t too many negatives I can come up with for this movie. The only thing that really sticks out in my mind was the plot which I felt was a little hard to follow at times. I think I missed something at the very beginning because it took me awhile to understand who had the doll and how they got it. Probably just my own fault and not really the movie’s though.

Overall, I had fun with this one and I think it’s a pretty good little thriller. Susy was a great character and the ending was as good as any I’d see in movies today. This is definitely worth a watch.

Verdict: 7.8/10 Tap so I know where you are!

Movies

The Mist (2007)

the_mist

As unbelievable as this sounds, The Mist is about a small town that’s terrorized by… a mist. That really took me by surprise, but once I got over the shock of it, I was left with an emotionally confusing movie. I just don’t know how to feel about it. There are a lot of moments I genuinely enjoyed and there are ones where I nearly broke my nose face-palming so hard.

I’ll go ahead and start off with the best part of the entire movie, and that’s, hands down, Thomas Jane’s performance. He is just amazing and completely carries this movie on his back. You see him go through a believable range of emotions as this mist starts to attack, and the last scene of the movie is so well acted that it rips your heart out of your chest and throws it on the ground. Then there are the characters in this movie that are just so annoying; Mrs. Carmody, the one dimensional religious freak; Brent Norton, the neighbor that for some reason believes the entire store is trying to trick him… like get over yourself buddy; and Carol from The Walking Dead’s character, who thinks someone is actually going to walk her home in this mist and gets mad when they don’t. Such unlikable people with unbelievable motives and actions. I also thought it was a little unfair of the movie to provide such spoilers for The Walking Dead. Killing Andrea and Dale? Not fair! Carol gets to survive? Come on! Boy am I glad I watched this after watching that show or I’d be pretty upset.

On top of all my issues with the characters, the special effects were pretty… 10 years old. I guess the movie tried its best, but those effects dated real fast. Thankfully they didn’t detract too much from the story because I still bought into what was happening. It was built up really well and the whole premise was interesting. The spider like creatures shooting acid webs just gave me another reason to murder any spider that enters my house. Try it spiders… bring it on!

This was an alright little horror movie with a fantastic final scene. I mostly watched it for the ending, which I think is pretty well known at this point and if you haven’t watched it yet I’d definitely recommend it. I think I might even go back for a rewatch on upcoming Halloweens.

Verdict: 7/10 If you’re gonna do a shout out to The Thing, do it with sweet effects not just its poster

Movies, TV

Catching Up

It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything here. I haven’t felt the desire to really put my thoughts about what I’m watching into words. Not to say I haven’t watched things lately that weren’t worth writing about. I’ve slowed down a lot on movies, but I’ve watched some great TV Shows. I’ll do another quick fire of things I’ve watched recently to get my juices flowing. Then the next movie I plan to watch, At Once, will hopefully have something worth writing a full post about.

The Newsroom (2012)

This is a TV Show that aired on HBO for 2.5 seasons. I watched the first episode and was hooked. I actually couldn’t make myself stop watching it. I watched the first season and a half in just 2 days. I thought the premise to try and run a news broadcast that focuses on the news and not ratings was interesting because I hate watching the news for that exact reason. I immediately fell in love with the ideas, the characters and the dialogue. I’m a fan of the fast talking sarcastic quips they do fairly often. I laughed a lot and ended up caring about almost every character on the show. Season 2 was brilliantly laid out and made it so I had no choice but to keep watching. They start off somewhere in the middle of the season’s plot and then fill in the pieces with each episode until you’re caught up. I watched the first episode and just had to know what could’ve possibly happened that was so bad. Season 3 took a little bit of a dive with the first 2 episodes feeling dull, and the series finale wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t that great. If they were able to do a full last season and finish it off stronger I would have given it a perfect score. It’s definitely worth a watch, just make sure you have a couple hours set aside cause you won’t be able to watch just one episode.

Verdict: 9(.5)/10 


carolCarol (2016)

I absolutely loved this movie, it’s now one of my favorites and is on my regular re-watch list. I’ve seen it twice and am probably going to go for a 3rd watch soon. Maybe tonight because writing about it makes me want to see it again. It was so beautiful and restrained, nothing felt forced or unrealistic. It was slow but it sucked me in completely. Carol is kind, sophisticated and knows what she wants. There is something about her that just draws you in and it’s easy to see how Therese felt drawn to her. The movie had ups and downs that kept me emotionally invested and I felt so much throughout the entire movie. That feeling of thinking you found something special and then having it ripped away from you is devastating. I don’t want to say too much on the plot cause I think not knowing how it turns out really amplifies every decision the characters make and leaves you in suspense. It’s one of my top favorite romance movies and 100% recommend it.

Verdict: 9/10


hushHush (2016)

This is a horror movie where the main protagonist is both deaf and mute. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. As far as thriller/horror movies go, this is one of the most suspenseful and thrilling ones I’ve seen. I really wanted the main character, Maddie, to succeed and get out of there alive. Every scene is straight out of all the other horror movies out there, but it’s elevated to a new level when we know she can’t hear anything. He could be coming up behind her and she would never know it. When she’s trying to be quiet walking on the roof, she doesn’t know if she’s making lots of noise or not. That unknown makes it all the more suspenseful. Not to mention the fact that they inject some realism into the story with her not being able to load the crossbow.  Great, she got a weapon, but she’s still just a regular person and didn’t immediately become some badass who can shoot a man with a crossbow from across the room. Not that I don’t love that, but when I don’t have to suspense my disbelief as much, I enjoy movies a lot more. This one is on Netflix and is definitely worth the time.

Verdict: 9/10


10_cloverfiled_lane.jpg10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

As I was writing my other reviews, I realized a common actor among them–John Gallagher Jr.. He was in the Newsroom, Hush and in this review’s movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane. This is a “sequel but not really” to Cloverfield which I liked a lot when it came out. I didn’t know much about the movie before I started watching it and felt myself getting frustrated wondering when the Cloverfield things were going to start happening. So much so, that I almost couldn’t finish the movie because I thought it was crap and a waste of time. So I paused it, went over to IMDb and realized that it’s a standalone movie that merely exists in the same universe as the other. Once I understood that, it became a lot better of a movie. It was suspenseful and mysterious. I kept going back and forth in my mind wondering if John Goodman was telling the truth or if he was lying to keep her imprisoned. If it were me in that situation, I wouldn’t want to believe him because all I could think is that I’d end up as some idiot who was tricked into living in a bunker for 10 years. Momma didn’t raise no fool, so I really felt her predicament. On the flip side,  I’m really crushing on John Gallagher Jr. now. He was so sweet in this movie as Emmett and in the Newsroom. Ok sure, he was like a serial killer in Hush… but he was also in Short Term 12 which was an equally amazing movie. It all balances out in the end and I loved his character in this movie. When Emmett, let’s just say, was no longer part of the movie my jaw hit the floor. I love when movies have balls and just shock me with a plot decision. Overall, this was a really cool standalone movie that I will definitely re-watch.

Verdict: 8/10


And lastly, one sentence verdicts on some of the other movies I feel deserve a shout out.

10.000 km (2014) – Another great romance movie, except the characters start out in love and the movie progresses from there. Verdict: 8/10

Victoria (2015) – A 2h 18m movie all done in 1 continuous shot with strong characters and plot. Verdict: 7/10

Moulin Rouge! (2001) – A loud, obnoxious, annoying movie with weak characters and plot. Verdict: 5/10

Ant-Man (2015) – Pretty boring super hero movie that was lacking something that I just can’t put my finger on. Verdict: 5/10

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – Great movie but needs a re-cut without the Mr. Yunioshi scenes… Verdict: 8/10