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 lately. I will periodically move these titles down to the full A-Z list found HERE.
Home Again (2017) – This Rom-com-dram fluff piece feels like it would have been better suited as a direct to Hallmark release than an actually wide release. Witherspoon is great (of course), as are a few of the supporting characters, but otherwise there’s just no getting past the stink of all the fuzzy lighting and manufactured feels.
Beverly Hills Cop (1984) – Content-wise, this has aged quite a bit, but Murphy’s undeniable charisma effortlessly holds the whole thing together. Lots of fun, low-key set pieces that deliver exactly what you would expect, and the soundtrack is still rather brilliant.
Like Father (2018) – Grammar is quite charming in this tale of a workaholic reconnecting with her estranged father on a cruise ship. This is actually a cut above most other Netflix movies, and very nearly makes you think it could have had a theatrical release, even though it ends up feeling more like a cruise ship commercial than an actual piece of real Hollywood fluff.
Set it Up (2018) – The two leads in this are actually pretty great, unfortunately, the bosses they are implausibly trying to get together are just cartoonish caricatures. There is still a lot of good stuff here (including a great race to the airport gag) but don’t forget that there is a reason this went “straight to Netflix.”
Navajo Joe (1966) – Burt Reynolds apparently hated this, and I guess I can see why, and yet, there is a certain over-the-top charm to this that marks it right up there with Django for ridiculous Spaghetti Western spectacle. The story just pinballs from one Spaghetti Western trope to another, but the creative direction and big budget win out in the end.
White House Down (2013) – The list of ways this movie differs from Die Hard is basically just “set in the White House” and “worked in a scene where the president shoots a rocket launcher.” Despite this being a brazenly lazy facsimile of an earlier, better movie, it easily coasts to an enjoyable finish buoyed solely by the ridiculous charisma of Tatum and Fox (despite neither of them managing to land a quip as well as Bruce Willis).
The Thief of Bagdad (1940) – This might not have quite the zip of the silent original, but the breathtaking color and set design more than makes up for its moments of stalled momentum and inelegant storytelling. All the actors acquit themselves well (even prince Ahmad is fine, if a bit excitable), and there’s enough imagination and wonder on display here for at least three movies.
The Incredibles (2004) – This is supposed to be one of the better animated films of the last decade, but the slight story-line (even taking into consideration that this premise was not as played out in 2004 as it is today) feels better suited for a tv show than a prestige movie. However, the film makes up for it with plenty of inspired zany mayhem as it at least uses its superpowers to their fullest potential.
Step Up: All In (2014) – Non-Tatum series highlights Andie and Moose from Step Up 2 return with that fucking tool of a lead from Step Up Revolution (only slightly less douchy here) and manage to deliver yet another improbably entertaining film in the franchise. The dance sequences actually feel like they are a slight STEP DOWN from from Revolution, but that hardly matters with Moose and Andie back in the center of the stage again.
Lost Highway (1997) – This feels like Lynch discovered goth music and then had a dream about a guy telling you he was the person you were currently talking to inside your house and then tried to make a movie out of it. The result is undeniably compelling, but I call bullshit on anyone (possibly even Lynch) who claims to know exactly what it is about (part of Lynch’s charm in the first place)–and it also suffers from the fact that Mulholland Drive hits all these same beats to much more impressive effect.
The Great Souix Massacre (1965) – Bizarre Western that suggests that Custer was a great man who only killed all those Indians to…try to get elected president? It is hard enough finding a reason to watch this stinker WITHOUT trying to swallow the idea of Custer as a great protector of Indian rights.
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (2017) – I have a hazy recollection of rather enjoying the first xXx movie, but this was the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen. The game cast almost saves it, but I still couldn’t help but watch it with a pained cringe on my face at a 50 year old Vin Diesel tromping around dressed like a 1990’s middle schooler who just got a Thrasher Magazine subscription.