New 2 sentence reviews of the movies I have been watching recently.
Here are some quick reviews of all the random movies I’ve been watching. I will periodically move these titles down to the full A-Z list. Movie titles are clickable links
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) – Linklater might just be America’s best working director, and this effortless film in the Dazed and Confused mold mostly makes that title justified. I only really have two complaints: first, the structure is a little too obvious in its railroaded journey through the main trends of 1980, and second, unlike Dazed and Confused, the nostalgia for bro-ing it up is perhaps a bit too idealized.
Captain Fantastic (2016) – Fairly predictable, but at least it is in a “yes, this is the way things need to go in this movie” way. Aragorn is excellent, the cast of kids is mostly good, the moralizing is only slightly heavy-handed, and the anti-religious undercurrent is quite appreciated.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) – The film is perhaps a bit overstuffed, but the newcomers crush it (with the possible exception of Emo-Vader) in a very enjoyable franchise reboot. And, I know this is not exactly a groundbreaking complaint, but, seriously, can we make a Star Wars movie about something OTHER than destroying another Death Star?
Vampyr (1932) – Fantastic near-silent (aside from creepily muffled snatches of dialog) vampire film that is an absolute triumph of sinister, dreamlike atmosphere. The story is a bit slight, but it serves its purpose as the constantly moving camera masterfully follows the dream-walking protagonist.
Walk the Line (2005) – Phoenix and Witherspoon are as effortlessly brilliant as always, and the excellent music thankfully dominates the proceedings. It’s just too bad the in-between parts hew so closely the the usual biopic playbook–to the usual underwhelming effect.
David Brent: Life on the Road (2016) – I’m afraid to report that this is just as lackluster as the reviews have suggested–its combination of familiarity, and mean-spirited jabs at the pathetic is not exactly the greatest match. It’s not so much that the jokes bomb, it’s more that they kind of just sputter out, eliciting a few chuckles, but never approaching the creative and comedic heights of The Office even on its worst day.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) – Like the last one, this is a huge step up from the prequel years, both nailing the proper ratio of humor, and overall putting no major cinematic feet wrong. Still, I’m about fucking tired of screenwriters thinking that throwing 387 last second rescues into “the big operation” somehow makes it more epic instead of just killing suspension of disbelief.
The Hustler (1961) – Paul Newman is about as charismatically despicable as always in this dark and gritty movie that makes shooting pool as exciting as cinematically possible. Jackie Gleason is magnificent, and the film is a powerhouse–it’s just too bad everything is so damn depressing.
A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) – The kids and the production design are quite good in this dark children’s story of orphans. Unfortunately Jim Carrey uses this as another excuse to mug his way through yet another movie, shattering any kind of atmosphere the movie might create in the process.
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – Stunning animation, and, I suppose, the story is even fairly clever. Still, do they really have to start singing every 5 minutes?
Trolls (2016) – A few dark touches and interesting plot detours enliven what is otherwise a fairly uninspired animated film. At least I doubt you will hate it as much as the trailer suggests you will.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) – Jaw-droppingly problematic and jaw-droppingly impressive, this is one of the prime examples of the kind of ridiculous chutzpah one can find in classic Hollywood musicals. I won’t even touch the ideological implications of any of this, but as a riotous barn-storming musical, it’s hard to deny how immensely entertaining this is.
The Magnificent Seven (2016) – Quite good modern western that manages to avoid getting tiresome for a good 75% of the run time. Up until then it contains decent characterization (despite the implausible setup), and plenty of excellent gun-fighting–really, it is about on par with the middling original.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) – Disappointing addition to the Potter franchise that substitutes a string a poorly animated and paced set pieces for an actual plot. The main guy is good, but I audibly groaned when I found out Johnny Depp will apparently be mugging his way through the rest of the series.
Office Christmas Party (2016) – It’s a “one wild night” movie about people succumbing to their base instincts through chaos and crowd mentality, so, of course it is right down my alley. Look beyond the premise and the cracks start to show, but as long as you don’t do that, there are plenty of juvenile thrills to be found in this one.
To see the full list of all past reviews: CLICK HERE