Film; or The Silver Screen


#194

Upgrade. A neat little genre film, but you’ve seen it all before. The tech that gives our hero a new lease of vengeance, the dead wife, the suspicious cop, the conspiracy. Good fight scenes, good visual design.

First Reformed. If I had known this was an A24 job, I would never have doubted @TannerHendrickson’s word. Hawke does a bang-up job as a dying priest, the direction makes me wonder why Schrader isn’t much more famous, and the film deals with some heavy themes without being pretentious, preachy, or grandiose.


#195

#196

Deadpool 2. Low brow? Yes. Did I know what I was getting in to? Yes. Did I laugh? Yes. I guess that’s all I could ask for from such a movie.


#197

#198

#199

Thor: Ragnarok. I’ve sworn off MCU films, but this is a Taika Waititi film, so I made an exception, and I’m glad I did. I congratulate myself on my excellent taste. A fun jaunt, never lacking a joke, and it really makes me crave an Edgar Wright Ant Man. I dunno what Cate Blanchett gets paid for playing icily evil women but presumably it’s a lot because she keeps doing it. Bringing in Hopkins only to fuck him off was a waste, but at least Hemsworth gets the chance to be funny.


#200

Nothing to say about The Goldblum?

I quite liked Thor: Ragnarok as well.


#201

One of the best small roles in it! And there’s a few.


#202

Hopkins was at least in the other Thor movies, so this was more of a send-off/contract-ending sort of deal. But yeah, it’s far and away my favorite MCU movie that isn’t Winter Soldier.


#203

Danny Glover’s Ever More Fabulous Outfits, or as the studio insisted it be titled, Predator 2. When not dressing in the dark, Glover is investigating a series of vicious drug war killings that turn out to be the work of our favourite alien hunter. Culminating in a quite frankly unlikely wine-coloured jacket and dirty panama hat combo,


the film involves Glover sweating his way through every scene, in a Los Angeles setting that looks like an armpit feels. Bill Paxton typecast as unlikeable dick, Gary Busey still a fucking nutter, with Glover’s fear of heights being the best bit of acting in the whole film. At its most interesting during the scenes which are more horror in style (the train massacre).


#204

The Predator. This is an awkward jumble of a film. On the one hand, you have a traditional Shane Black fix; plenty of jokes and quips, lots of chat, intricate action scenes, lots of mistakes, accidents, and humour. On the other, you have a major IP from a big studio that has made them a lot of money. The result is a lot of the Shane Black feel is gone. We have a lot of CGI, a lot of senseless shooting, a very generic lead (budget Dan Stevens), a lot of the smarter elements and the sharp speed I expect from Black is dulled, slowed down, or simply gone. Olivia Munn and Sterling Brown are good in their rather generic roles, and I dunno what Thomas Jane is doing here. I like everything Black is trying to do, but I doubt he got the kind of freedom he deserves and used to amazing effect in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Nice Guys.


#205

Brigsby Bear. A kidnapped man is returned to his family after years in seclusion with just his kidnappers for company. He sets about finishing off his favourite TV series, which was created for him by his captors. This is an odd film. It is good, and there are some laughs, but it never gets out of hand. The comedy is always low-key. Good roles for Hammill and Kinnear. Claire Danes is in two scenes for about two minutes total, why?


#206

Sicario: Day of the Dildo. A glum exercise in shooting people at close range. Brolin is a gruff American agent, Del Toro is a gruff Mexican killer. Together they’re working to get the cartels reclassified as terrorist organisations so they can really go to war, and like Iraq, it will be easier to fight them if they’re also fighting each other. They actually say this in the film.

Cue one half-arsed scheme and a government flip-flop later, and it’s all gone wrong. Now, the first film was cagily clever in a low, cunning sort of way, but this one is just stupid. In the first film, Blunt worked wonders as a viewpoint character and audience proxy. Here, we’ve got little of that apart from some smart scenes with Isabela Moner as the daughter of a narco kingpin. It’s a mostly empty, grim exercise in the back and forth of people with guns in the night.


#207

MANDY was everything I’d hoped it would be, and more.


#208

Oh God yes please.


#209
Mandy

Started very strong but ended up, from the point the “revenge” bit gets going, disposable ephemera very much in the (false) spirit of Kung Fury and Hobo with a Shotgun, if much more slickly produced than either. Can’t believe the director is 44, as it eventually revealed itself possessed of the sensibility of a self-proclaimed “edgy” 14-year old suburbanite, which makes it miss the “Conan meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre” mark it alllllmost hit. Wish neither I nor Cage had wasted the time. At least he (presumably) got paid for it.


#210

Maybe I was a bit harsh, but I’m just kind of angry that the film that showed so much promise in its first hour ended up shitting all that promise away in the second. In retrospect, Cheddar Goblin, which seemed like a bizarre intrusion at the time, is a signal that represents a decisive shift for the movie’s “train” from one tonal “track” to another, and it’s not a smooth or earned shift, I think. Cosmatos appears to have absorbed a pastiche of the 70s/80s rather than their actual essence, which is what made me compare it to Kung Fury. The difference between those filmmakers and him, though, is that he actually lived through the 80s, which makes this film all the more bizarre to me, because it bears all the hallmarks of someone who only knows of a culture rather than knowing it, at least in its second half. I did not get this impression from the parts I’ve seen of Beyond the Black Mirror, for what it’s worth, which makes what happened here all the more baffling and frustrating to me.


#211

Black Rainbow. Great mix-up though.


#212

Oh, yes, thank you. Anyway, first half of the movie is great, second half feels like it was made by someone who watches movie trailers rather than movies.


#213

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. An alternative history tale of Japan under fascist government repressing violent uprisings with paramilitary police, and the infighting between police departments. A slow, melancholy tragedy, combined with exceptional animation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4mA_IMODl4