Hello hello! I have returned intact from the ~Bomb Cyclone~ that is the northern NJ/NYC area, and I’m here to yap about some damn movies from 2017. Spoilers ahoy, so don’t bunch your undies. AND NOW, in no particular order..
- The Shape of Water. WOW. Wow. This movie is the epitome of gorgeous, and it rattled me to my core. Real chuffed that Del Toro went out of his way to ensure the creature was both beautiful and mysterious, and specifically had a great ass to boot. Michael Shannon is the ultimate creeper, Sally Hawkins is incredible, Octavia Spencer is wonderful, the Dan Clowes character neighbour and his cats, the colours and the music and the vibe.. it’s all gangbusters. Intensely romantic, this movie elevates all of those warm feelings of falling for someone and feeling close. I had an existential crisis all day after seeing it. Am I really close with anyone? Fuck, movie. Doctor fucking shitbird. Did I stutter?
- Atomic Blonde. The marketing for this flick did it real dirty, it’s a fun stylish romp and Charlize Theron and James McAvoy rule. Killer music, great action scenes, and just enough depth to be gripping. Aces.
- Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. YUP, I fucking loved this movie. It’s polarising, but I love that Rian Johnson took the story and turned it on its head. Star Wars is such a vast universe, it’s time to branch out, and there’s nothing I love more than subverting fanboy expectations. Kylo Ren is the most intriguing character in this franchise, and Adam Driver knocks it outta the park (that hysterical legoman shirtless scene.. some drunk bro next to me said WHY HE NUDE out loud in the theatre and I lost all of my shit). Force Skyping, Luke all outta fucks to give, Yoda burning it all down.. that said, the movie is far from perfect, and that Monte Carlo planet scene could’ve been axed in half easily, but the character moments are on point; I was legit weeping into my soda cup of booze during that scene with Luke and Leia. Hope the next installment is a little cleaner plot-wise, with no vaguely goofy Mary Poppins shit. Fuck lump-ass Snoke. And hey, there’s some weird-ass titties in this movie. And 19 seconds of Justin Theroux..
- Blade Runner 2049. Hardboiled noir retro future. Visually incredible, with so much more feeling than the original. Real chuffed there wasn’t a shred of fanservicey garbage, and how wonderfully it turns that Chosen One trope on its head. Wowie. Fantastic performances, great music, excellent worldbuilding. Tick them boxes.
- Logan Lucky. Oh now THIS is a delight. Daniel Craig steals the show. Fun heist flick with just enough backstory to make the characters believable and genuine. Snappy and fun.
- War for the Planet of the Apes. Good lord, this is a great movie. An incredible capstone to a solid trilogy, heartbreaking and enthralling all at once. The ape characters are so relatable and sympathetic, I cried a whoooole lot. I did laugh out loud when Woody Harrelson actually says “THIS WILL TRULY BE A PLANET.. OF APES” because it’s just so damned awkward.
- Lemon. This movie is an intensely bizarre, awkward, mystical journey. It’s very enjoyable, though sad and darkly hilarious. Watching a grown-ass human man drink milk from a glass will never not be upsetting.. and why so many matzoh balls? That song alone was worth the price of admission.
- Wonder Woman. FUUUUUUUCK YEAH.
- American Made. Too much money problems.
- Ingrid Goes West. Absolutely fucking frightening. This movie highlights everything I find to be both insidious and exhausting about Social Media Influencer Culture(TM), and Aubrey Plaza just knocks it outta the park. Fantastic caricature of everything that’s fucking ridiculous about LA.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming. MY WIG HAS BEEN SNATCHED. What a delight! Queens actually looks like Queens! Kids who look and act like high schoolers! A Birdman that wasn’t a pretentious intolerable nightmare! Consequences for past actions! Spidey outside of a city! Aces all around. Tom Holland can get it.
- Girlfriend’s Day. Bob Odenkirk is just the best. This movie escalates quickly, gets real weird. I dig it.
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I love that the core mystery is left ambiguous, and the characters are left swimming in its wake. Excellent performances. Sam Rockwell does not dance, but he enthusiastically listens to headphones. That final scene with McDormand and Rockwell is so nuanced and unexpected, it’s just perfect; I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Loved this movie.
- Get Out. Genuinely creepy, darkly funny, a ton of depth, exceedingly well written. Easily one of the best of the year.
- Lady Bird. I liked this movie a whole lot, though I don’t necessarily feel as strongly about it as everyone else. It’s a solid flick about the fraught relationship between a mother and daughter, super tricky senior year of high school shit, first time ~having sex~, etc etc. I never knew I needed a period piece set in 2002/2003, but here we are. Very nostalgic for my own recent history.
- Split. Oh man, now that M Night is just having fun with his ideas (i.e. The Visit) his movies are a WHOLE lot of fun. McAvoy is so damned great in this role, it’s a wild fucking ride.
- John Wick: Chapter 2. Ballistic and ridiculous, this movie is a whole lot of fucking fun. Great followup to the first, engaging and crazy. Keanu Reeves is just the bee’s knees.
- The Fate of the Furious. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.. these fucking movies are America’s Bollywood. #FAMILY
- Baby Driver. That lead kid has the charisma of a potato, but this movie works otherwise. Might be the movie that made me finally dig Edgar Wright. Fantastic thoughtful editing, killer soundtrack, great cast. Rugged dickbag neck tattoo Jon Hamm is a plus.
- Thor: Ragnarok. Man, this humour just does not work for me. Want a really effective way to hose any real character moments that could lend some much needed levity to a story? Tack weird flighty mumbled jokes on the end of every fucking sentence. It’s enough already. But hey, Goldblum is fantastic and entertaining, and the soundtrack is a total banger.. and at least they finally made a Thor movie that isn’t a snooze. Mad points for Mark Ruffalo Hulk too.
- The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Look, this movie is entertaining as shit; everyone knows what movie they’re in which is what makes it work; Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds are great together. It’ll be fun to watch on cable down the line I think. Plot’s a damn mess, there’s some fucking awful CGI, yet it remains charming.
- Fist Fight. Pretty funny, not great. Charlie Day is wonderful to watch as always, jokes didn’t always land but it was entertaining at the very least. Eh! Good to catch on cable. Ice Cube plays Ice Cube and Charlie Day plays Charlie Day, shit goes down. End movie.
- Suburbicon. Yikes on bikes, was THIS mismarketed. I was actually very #blessed to attend the LA premiere of this flick in my neighbourhood, and .. it was Not Great. I love the Coens, I like the style of the movie and the cast was wonderful, but the story is very flat and not at all in tune with how it was advertised. Needed way more Oscar Isaac than we were granted.
- Logan. You know, generally I really dug this movie. It’s devastating and gritty. The third act sort of shits the bed, but overall it’s pretty solid. More road trip adventures with Logan and Xavier, please. And the Soul Glo guy is in it!
- Kong: Skull Island. Speaking of third act issues, this movie finally gets its shit together around the third act. Kong himself looks boss, but the movie is a mess that takes itself too seriously. Brie Larson’s hair kept fucking changing colours, Hiddleston has a dope-ass swordfighting scene but is otherwise kind of a non-character, and John C Reilly is the only guy who knows what movie he’s in. Eh.
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Mm, just sort of a mess. No terrible buttsex joke at the end but there’s some pretty awful fingerblasting. It’s still a fun movie and I was entertained, but Channing Tatum really needed more to do– I feel like he was wasted. There’s a whole lot of Elton John in there too for god knows what reason. I went to a dope event at San Diego Comic Con over the summer with a pile of free booze and burgers, so it gets some points for good marketing there.. and speaking of which, this movie really made me want some bourbon.
- The Mummy. This is a Very Bad Movie, yet it hits that sweet spot of being equal parts bafflingly atrocious and incredibly entertaining. Universal is really trying to make their monster movies happen. You ever want to see Russell Crowe play drunk Bob Hoskins dialled up to 11? This is your movie. Worth streaming after a couple of cocktails. It’s some real dumb shit.
- Life. Love me some Jake Gyllenhaal, but killing Ryan Reynolds so soon into the flick was a terrible choice. This movie is like a dollar store version of Alien.
- Battle of the Sexes. Meh, sort of very Movie(TM). Great performances from Emma Stone and Steve Carrell, but the movie itself is pretty bland. Shut up, men.
- The Founder. Not great. Keaton is wonderful, but the lady characters are all essentially decor. Weirdly paced, though it did make me want to eat a Quarter Pounder pretty much immediately.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Fun, though the first half of the movie isn’t great. I feel like it would’ve really benefitted from an R rating, the script badly needed a kick in the pants. I’m tired of the whole ‘humour undercutting actual serious moments’ thing that’s trendy, though the first of this series literally invented that shit. Again, the only franchise in which I don’t find Chris Pratt intolerable. Good music!
- Alien: Covenant. Aside from a real great 80s-esque horror shower scene, this movie is just sorta .. eh. It’s pretty classically creepy, and at least an improvement on the forgettable Prometheus. Daddy issues on steroids.. Fassbender is hot as hell, though. Genuinely OK overall.
- Molly’s Game. Sorkin seemed a little off his usual in this one, and you can tell it’s a directorial debut; it’s pretty heavy handed and clunky at times. Good flick, not great, kind of a by-the-numbers story that was missing that something deeper to make me give more of a fuck.
- The House. This is.. fine? Pretty OK, decent amount of laughs. Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler have great comedic chemistry which helps the movie significantly, and Jason Mantzoukas is completely bizarre and very funny. Best watched with a couple of drinks, or on an airplane which is where I watched it.
THE CONFUSINGLY HORRENDOUS;
- Collateral Beauty. Now, I know this technically came out Christmastime 2016, but i watched it at the start of 2017. JESUS CHRIST THIS IS A BAD FUCKING MOVIE. It’s mean, it’s manipulative warmly lit Manhattan trash marketed as a Feelgood Christmas Movie, AND it’s complete fucking nonsense. Why the fuck are so many great actors in this shitswamp? Some of the dialogue is so badly written I felt like I had brain damage. BAD, MOVIE. BAD.
- The Circle. This movie could’ve been something more poignant, but the book ain’t great either so I guess it was always destined for mediocrity. Sorry this is the last movie you were in, Bill Paxton. And that kid from Boyhood sure is a shit actor, huh? Needed way more of Boyega’s light. At least it didn’t pull from the intensely uncomfortable sex scenes in the book where the word PENIS was used in an actual sexual context. N O P E.
- The Dark Tower. Fuck me, this is an awful movie. Not even Matthew McConaughey nor Idris Elba can save this steaming pile. McConaughey was covered in some sort of film, dewy and super moist; he also needed to be dialled up to 11 in order to give this movie even a slight touch of intrigue, but he’s weirdly subdued with a bad dyejob. What the fuck is his deal, anyway? He wants to further his aesthetic? Idris, why? What? MAGICKS
- Gifted. I watched this on an airplane and barely made it an hour in before falling asleep. In a nutshell, it’s a Generic Chris Evans with Precocious Child and Tragic Backstory vehicle. But hey, there’s a one-eyed cat! Besides Evans’ jawline, that cat is the best part of this bland-ass movie.
- Wilson. JESUS, come on. It could have been so good! Ticks the boxes– based on one of my favourite Dan Clowes graphic novels, Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern are great together, and yet it’s just SO SO SO AWFUL and borderline unwatchable, such a missed opportunity. Almost a feat with how bad it is, this flick is uncomfortable and tryhard AND just a fucking dumb mess. This movie is a quietly roaring dumpster fire sprinkled with a few funny, human moments that really work.. and the rest of it just burns out of control, long into the winter night. Fuck. They did you dirty, Wilson.
And that’s that. Thanks for reading! Here’s to more good shit in 2018.
Hello hello! I am back in LA after a cold jaunt to New Jersey for my annual xxxmas pilgrimage. Believe it or not, another year has gone by, and I saw a ton of fucking movies. Here’s my favourites, the ones I thought were sort of “eh”, and the absolute piping hot messes of 2016.
Spoilers ahoy, so no bitching.
In no particular order..
- Nocturnal Animals. This movie is absolutely HAUNTING, my god. Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon deliver incredible performances in Tom Ford’s second foray into film, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I saw it a couple of months back. There’s this uneasy tension throughout that winds tighter and tighter and tighter.. it’s a movie I won’t ever forget, it’s so intense and bonkers. Just, wow. See it. And if you haven’t seen A Single Man, see that too.
- La La Land. Oh my god, this movie is so fucking charming. It filled a void and a yearning I didn’t even know I had, it was just the right movie to close out the shit year of 2016. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are wonderful together, the music is super fun, and that montage at the end is nothing short of imaginative and wonderful. The perils of ambition and dizzying love colliding with the truths of reality, it’s all good good great. This movie is lovely.
- Captain America: Civil War. I dig most of the Marvel movies, and I never tire of Chris Evans’ Cap. I dig the way this movie is structured, and Tony Stark with a bonus Spider-Man and Ant Man are never bad.
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I was feeling lukewarm about this movie until I saw it; I actually saw it the day Carrie Fisher died, and the theatre was absolutely rammed and filled with this understandably sad energy. That first act is a damned disaster, but the rest of the movie is solid.. though I really want to see the original cut pre-reshoots. Not sure what the point of Forest Whitaker’s character was.. and CGI Tarkin was pretty unsettling. Should’ve just gone with actors and makeup/a little enhancement rather than full on creepy BFG CGI.
- Moonlight. This movie is fantastically written, well acted, and a complete triumph of storytelling. See this movie.
- Arrival. Emotional science fiction? Yes please. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner are great, the story is mesmerising, and the ‘twist’ is really fucking well done.
- Dr. Strange. Enjoyable! Benedict Cumberbatch’s American accent needs some work, but I really dug this movie a lot more than I thought I would. I mainly like that this is a character Stan Lee invented to shut the hippies up. He’s got a dope cape, and uses the power of being an infuriating dick paired with a time loop to save the day. Prettay, prettay.. prettay good.
- Everybody Wants Some! I love Linklater (except for Boyhood..), Dazed and Confused is one of my faves. This flick is just the right dose of nontoxic masculinity and fun rowdy dude shit set over the course of the first weekend at a Texas college. Linklater excels at capturing the feeling and energy of a particular time in your life, it’s totally magic.
- Sing Street. This soundtrack hasn’t left my regular rotation since this movie came out, oh my god. It’s an absolutely delightful movie! Positive and hopeful amidst the backdrop of early 1980s Ireland which was anything but. Sing Street is the type of movie you didn’t know you needed until you see it. Watch it right the fuck now, it’s on Netflix.
- High Rise. I’ve never been so intensely attracted to Tom Hiddleston until I saw this movie. High Rise is a surreal, expertly stylised, darkly funny, dystopian jaunt that I’m still thinking about. It’s intense.
- Complete Unknown. Michael Shannon again! This movie is slow and subtle, a woman shapeshifting and running from her life and coming back to the man she once loved. Equal parts fascinating and gripping, but very true to life. They have a lost night together in New York City, as he tries to change his life while she wants to stop changing hers.
- The Nice Guys. Shane Black can do no wrong in my book, I’m a huge fan of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are great together as washed up PIs in 1970s Los Angeles.. this movie is a whole lot of fun, a cool take on noir like his other flicks. So well written.
- Cafe Society. I never thought I’d see Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart fall in love in a movie (ah fuck, forgot about Adventureland), but here we are. I love the world this movie creates; it’s vintage gorgeous and feels real, along with their ~romance~. And hey, Steve Carell is a complete delight. Well worth watching.
- Star Trek Beyond. This movie is such a fucking joy to watch! It feels like Trek, the action and story are on point, and you really align with the characters. I watched this again the other night and was completely charmed.
- Midnight Special. Man, remember when we all thought that Tomorrowland was going to be the second coming of Christ? And it turned out to be a wet fart? Whole lotta big ideas that turned into nothing. Well, Midnight Special is the right kind of sci-fi for me; it’s serious, striking, and grips you with wonder. Michael Shannon gives a stellar performance amidst a sea of fanatical cultists dressed in the earth’s dumpiest dresses made of couch fabric.
- OJ: Made in America. Holy shit, you guys.. this nearly 8-hour long documentary was on ESPN over the summer and it’s INCREDIBLE. I was 10 when the OJ Simpson trial was going on, and besides being both a literal child and someone who knows fuckall about sports, it was fascinating and horrifying to see what a beloved figure OJ once was, and the darkness.. the cultural background for the fever pitch of race relations in 1990s Los Angeles, all these pieces coming into play.. truly fascinating and shattering, heartbreakingly sad. Check this one out.
- Elvis & Nixon. I never knew I needed Michael Shannon as 1970s Elvis before, and once I saw this flick, frankly I don’t know how I survived without it. Spacey plays a great Nixon, too. Well worth a spin.
- War Dogs. This movie was incorrectly billed as a comedy. Overall it was pretty fucking dark and enjoyable, but also sort of unpleasant. Todd Phillips has a knack for writing these man friend BRAH characters with a whole lotta mean streak coursing through their veins. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller have real chemistry as bros, even if the latter distractingly resembles a boiled potato. *[editor’s note; my dear husband thinks that comparing Teller’s face to a potato is “harsh”, but I implore you to locate the lie.]
- Hail, Caesar! I adore the Coen Bros, but this movie felt like it was missing something. The cast is fantastic, the look and feel of everything is incredible, Brolin’s Mannix is fucking magical, we got Alden Ehrenreich’s delightful Aw Shucks character, but the story was .. not great? It seems like it’s going to take a bizarre, surreal left turn when Clooney’s Whitlock is kidnapped by a group claiming to be ~The Future~.. but it’s just a group of Commies. I’ll have to give it another whirl.
- 10 Cloverfield Lane. John Goodman is fucking incredible in this movie, but it didn’t really hit the mark for me overall. I don’t know. Maybe it’s good?
- Keanu. Man, there’s a really tiny kitten in this movie. Most of it is pretty funny, but a lot of the humour fell flat for me. Eh.
- Independence Day: Resurgence. This shit heap of a “movie” is only on the Bland list because of the presence of Jeff Goldblum. There’s SO MUCH fucking wrong with this flick.. AND THEY HAD 20 GODDAMNED YEARS TO GET IT RIGHT. Now. I adore the original ID4, it’s one of my favourite movies in life. This trash sequel from hell has an overabundance of dull undeveloped characters, a blatant franchise setup, Judd Hirsch riding out the apocalypse in a goddamned tugboat.. and they did Vivica Fox real dirty by killing her almost immediately. No. It does, however, have Bill Pullman as a complete crazy person which was sorta cool, and he Randy Quaids it to save humanity all over again. It’s the worst kind of bad movie; there’s so much going on that it actually manages to be fucking boring.
- Central Intelligence. I love The Rock and Kevin Hart together, but this movie didn’t really land. It was close! Got some laughs.
- Ghostbusters (Ladybusters). I waffled on this flick. Hated the trailer, liked it when I saw it, and have not thought of it once since. Meh.
- Why Him? About 80% of this movie works, I’ll be honest; it’s just not entirely all there. Bryan Cranston is fantastic against James Franco, but there was a toilet gag that went on for too long, shit like that.. some of it was a little on the dumb side. I saw this movie at a test screening on the Fox Lot months back, so I’m sure some things were tweaked for the final release.
- Snowden. Well, that was a movie.. I think I don’t like Oliver Stone.
THE CONFUSINGLY HORRENDOUS;
- Girl On The Train. Man, this book sucked. It was so predictable and boring. I was hoping the movie would be better and a little Gone Girl-esque, but it was ultimately forgettable and tedious. It did make me crave a dirty martini or 10 from the Grand Central Oyster Bar, though.
- Sausage Party. This movie tried so fucking hard to be ~edgy~ and Rated R. Granted I’m not the biggest fan of Seth Rogen’s brand of stoner humour, but I’d heard a ton of positive stuff about this flick so I checked it out. Though the beginning is promising and creative, and there are flickers of actual funny gags, this movie was bogged down with SO MUCH SHIT that seemed to exist purely for shock value alone. It was mind-boggling. And that massive food orgy at the end? WHY did that even need to exist? What the fuck?? Maybe I’m an old person, but what the FUCK??
- Anomalisa. I found this movie so fucking repellant I dedicated a whole blog post to yelling about it. Apparently this is such an uncommon opinion for this flick that it’s one of my most read and Googled posts.. so I’ve got that going for me, I guess. Seriously! I get a couple of hits on that post per week for the past YEAR. Goddamn.
- X-Men: Apocalypse. What a fucking dumpster fire this thing was, my god. I absolutely loved Days of Future Past, so I had high hopes for this flick.. NOPE. It was at least 7 kinds of dumb, the worst kind of camp, and Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse character touching a television and crooning “LEAAAAARRRNINGGG” was so fucking hokey I laughed out loud for about a minute. What a complete disaster.. not even James McAvoy and flawfree Fassbender could save this mess.
- Jason Bourne. I adore the Bourne movies (not that Jeremy Renner garbage filler flick), and this movie was super disappointing. It was not good. Lots of noise, killing off Julia Stiles WAY too soon, and it’s overall super forgettable. Honest to god I don’t even fucking know what happened in this movie.
- Now You See Me 2. What the fuck? Why is this a movie? The first Now You See Me was one of those extraordinary movies where it all just clicked; it’s an outrageous fun romp that bends reality and is all over the map, and though everything about it conspires to make it a fucking mess, it just works. This sequel absolutely and completely sucks, save for Mark Ruffalo fighting some rando using actual magic.. which was awesome.
- The Lobster. Everyone has such a huge monster dong boner for this movie, and I absolutely loathed it. The concept is enchanting for the first half of the movie, and made me want to know more of why this world of Relationships Only existed; the hell is that about? Why is this happening? What’s the machine that turns people into animals? Is the rest of the world like this, or only Ireland? The second half of the movie is sad, drab, dull and overall.. no. The tone is so flighty, I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be taking itself seriously as a movie, or if it was a dark comedy, or what.. ugh. I also can’t see Colin Farrell without thinking of him cockslapping that lady in his sex tape and talking dirty WAY too much. So, at least that’s sort of depraved and delightful.
And there you have it! 2016 had some really great flicks for sure. I’ve still got a few movies to see.. but nobody can pay me enough cash to give an iota of a shit about Casey Affleck.
Here’s to 2017!
Getting married at the end of 2015 significantly hosed my schedule for a year of movies recap, so here’s my long overdue post that’s been sitting in some form as a draft for the last 3 months. Pardon the mess.
Look at all these dresses & tickets!
Spoliers ahoy, so quit yer whining. 2015 had some real gems, and some true trash. Enjoy!
Delightful Holiday Romp: The Night Before.
Shockingly Violent and Fun: Kingsman: The Secret Service.
The Most Fucking Infuriating Movie of 2015: While We’re Young.
Most Fun Erotic Dancing: Magic Mike XXL.
Fun Superhero movie that wasn’t Stupid Gritty: Ant-Man.
Best Thriller featuring Jason Bateman as the Douchepocalypse: The Gift.
Best Use of a Soiled Adult Human Diaper: The Visit.
- Spotlight. So happy this won Best Picture at the Oscars this year, holy hell. A really incredible story about a team of journalists unraveling systemic child abuse within the Catholic Church, set in Boston. Absolutely gripping, heartbreaking, and a must-see. Mark Ruffalo remains flawfree, and Michael Keaton has atoned for Birdman.
- The Night Before. Didn’t have any expectations going into this, and it was wonderful. Fun comedy, good backstory, outrageous shit happens, there’s drugs, and it’s Christmas. I love Christmas.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This movie is pretty polarising, but I really enjoyed it. Adam Driver is a fucking revelation.. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac too. These characters are instant classics, and I am really excited to see what happens. The music, the vibe, all of it.. spot on. No Lucas CGI or garbage in sight. Is Snoke really just a tiny bug? Will Hux bust a forehead vein while screaming about how boss the First Order is? Has Luke just been JO’ing for the last 30 years on that Ireland planet???
- The Martian. Probably my favourite movie of 2015. I saw this flick twice in one day because I’m a fucking maniac. Loved the book, loved the movie more. The soundtrack, Matt Damon carrying the whole damn thing, the science fiction end of it all.. just fantastic.
- The End of the Tour. Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel star in a rare dramatic film for them both, centering on Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky interviewing David Foster Wallace post-Infinite Jest during his book tour. I can’t say enough positive things about this movie.. powerful performances, genuine character moments, and the dialogue in this flick is top notch which is no easy feat. Seriously worth seeing. I was lucky enough to see this at the San Francisco Film Festival!
- Creed. Man, this movie is just wonderful. Michael B Jordan was seriously snubbed for his performance as Adonis. And Christ, is there anything sadder than seeing Rocky fucking Balboa being diagnosed with cancer?
- The Big Short. Who knew Adam McKay could churn out something like this? Seriously one of my favourites. The book of the same name is incredibly dense and hard to get into, but the movie is just right. Bonus: Ryan Gosling’s spraytan explosion.
- The Hateful Eight. Technically I saw this on New Year’s Day, but whatevs. Well worth the 70mm Roadshow half a day of viewing, this flick is just about everything you could ever want from a Tarantino western.
- The Connection. Jean Dujardin stars in this French film based on the 1970s French Connection, as the police magistrate taking down a massive drug ring. Utterly and completely captivating.
- Joy. I didn’t love this as much as I thought I would, but it’s definitely a solid movie. I’m a David O Russell fan, and Jennifer Lawrence knocked it out of the park. There’s absolutely charming writing/character moments and the soundtrack was spot on, but the pacing overall is a little off. The third act could have been fleshed out more for sure, but well worth a watch either way.
- Bridge of Spies. This movie is neither great nor bad, it just is. I enjoyed it a lot, but it’s very much one of those Spielberg(TM) movies. This is not to say that the man isn’t magical, it was just a very by the numbers flick to me. Tom Hanks remains flawfree, however.
- The Gambler. Saw it, forgot about it almost immediately. Loved Mark Wahlberg’s haircut.
- Taken 3. Oy vey. It’s enough already.
- Mad Max: Fury Road. Unpopular opinion, I know, but this movie did nothing for me. It felt like being blown out of a cannon at a million miles per hour, but that’s about it.
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Besides the incredible costuming and period setting, this movie was a whole lot of nothing. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer are two gigantic brawny dudes who can barely fit into human man clothing, some shit blows up, and there’s a girl involved. Oh, and spy shit. I think.
- Steve Jobs. Eh.
THE CONFUSINGLY HORRENDOUS;
- Tomorrowland. Jesus, this is still disappointing to me. I followed the development of this flick for actual years. YEARS, Lindelof. Brad Bird, apparently some kind of nerd god, was supposed to make this into THE MOVIE. That one we’ve all been waiting for! And he’s got the writers from LOST too! Instead, it was just a steaming pile. I’ve got some more ranting about this movie for another post to come soon..
- While We’re Young. Oh god, no. OK. This movie was presented as a hip 40something married couple living an interesting/eclectic life in NYC, and they meet younger friends. Suddenly friends their age had a baby and they wonder “wait, do we need to do that too??” (actual answer: NO). The main characters have a shaky marriage at best. Their friends yammer on about how fulfilling it all is or whatever as a baby shrieks, so they begin to question themselves and go on one of those intolerable hipster finding themselves journeys for rich people and befriend some 20somethings (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) who are totally delightful but Quirky(TM). And they’re totally cool being an awesome couple without kids, TIL THE END WHEN THEY ADOPT A BABY BECAUSE IT’S GOING TO FIX THEIR MARRIAGE AND HOW CAN WE ENJOY LIFE WITHOUT CHILDREN. NO. NOOOOOOOO. Burn it to the ground. Nope.
- Jurassic World. U G H this pile. Where do I even begin? The main characters are garbage, the made up new dinosaur is a mess, the regurgitated bits and pieces of the original amazing Jurassic Park were just annoying, and the excessively violent death that happens to Fake Jessica Chastain’s assistant for no reason was just too damn much. The kid from Iron Man 3 is charming enough, though. It seems that re-booting a franchise in the present day means taking absolutely nothing about what made the original movies worth watching/movie magic in the first place and just jamming surface level things like the musical cues and logos on stuff. It’s a poorly written mess where you don’t give a damn about any of the characters in the least. BOOOOO.
- Spectre. Good god, what in the fresh hell happened here? This movie has some powerful moments but is pretty unpleasant overall. The performances are good and the stunt work is incredible, and I know better than go into a James Bond flick expecting anything ~super deep~ but Spectre is an all around letdown. I really wanted this to be good, Skyfall set a high bar. Instead, they were like “let’s take all the cool bits of Thunderball/You Only Live Twice, add a terrible whiny Sam Smith song, criminally under-use Christoph Waltz, jam it all under the hydraulic press, and VOILA!” Mess. At least it wasn’t anywhere near as fucking boring as Quantum of Solace, so it’s got that going for it.
Anyhoo, that’s my schpiele. Thanks, 2015! I’m working on something about Midnight Special right now, so expect that in the next few days.
Holy shit, remember when I had a blog? Me neither. Sorry for the radio silence – lots of Real Life(TM) nonsense went on on including moving, hustling, getting engaged, getting a full time job, Christmas in NJ, planning a goddamned wedding, the whole nine. I was reading on Facebook earlier about how disappointing the Oscar noms are and figured I could slap my thoughts about my faves of 2014 in here rather than blow up a Facebook status. Sound good? OK!
Those of you lucky souls who follow me on Instagram have probably noticed that between photos of booze and cats, I post a photo of every ticket stub for movies I see in the theatre. This is due to a couple of reasons – the constant deluge “of the now” realness that social media has enforced is slowly seeping into my brain, but it’s also utilitarian in a way; it allows me to keep track of the movies I see because I can’t remember anything that happened more than a week and a half ago. In short, I very much enjoyed in no particular order; Gone Girl, Top Five, Nightcrawler, The Gambler, Interstellar, The Judge, The Disappearance of Elanor Rigby Her/Him, The November Man, XMen Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I’ll elaborate a little more on some of these along with the flagrant disappointments of 2014 in a bit.
Best Achievement in Throwing a Goddamned Horse: The Rock in Hercules.
Most Eraserhead Realness Served in terms of Uncomfortable/Cold Feeling Homes: The Double.
Most Lewd Fun had in a Theatre: Filth.
Best Fun Sci-Fi Flick with a Female Character who shockingly wasn’t Made of Fucking Cardboard: Edge of Tomorrow.
Most Realistic Horrifying Gritty Violence: Blue Ruin.
Best Non-Ironic Nicolas Cage Performance: Joe.
- Nightcrawler. Probably my favourite flick of 2014. This movie is written absurdly well, with Gyllenhaal as this bizarre misanthrope antihero with no real character arc and it STILL works. He’s an absolute fucking lunatic with LA as the co-star, and I couldn’t stop thinking about this movie once I saw it. It’s just a solid movie, a type that I didn’t think was made anymore. Truly enjoyable and tight.
- The Disappearance of Elanor Rigby. This movie was originally intended to be two separate back to back experiences, one strictly from His POV and the other from Her POV. Thanks to the fucking Weinstein Company, we got some mangled slapdash ‘Them’ cut first before the original Her/Him versions were released in theatres here.. needless to say, this movie should be enjoyed in its original form. There’s so much depth to these characters and their experiences that the edited/combined version just misses the mark. The performances are fantastic and the story is heartbreaking, but ultimately satisfying, gripping, and real. These movies have stayed with me for months. James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain play really well off of one another, and I believe them existing as a couple.
- Gone Girl. Jesus, this movie is fucking fantastic. I struggle to recall any movie that has ever improved upon the novel as source material; I enjoyed the hell out of Flynn’s book, and read it in about three days flat mostly on a flight back from Ireland in June. The casting of Ben Affleck opposite Rosamund Pike could not have been more perfect, and Fincher just makes this whole movie work. It’s sinister and upsetting, the dialogue and action are taut, and Reznor/Ross’ score is delightfully creepy. Plus.. it has an orange cat named Cheeto deftly playing the role of Nick and Amy’s cat. Aaaaand you see Affleck’s dick. Not bad!
- Edge of Tomorrow. If you haven’t seen this movie, DO IT RIGHT NOW. It’s fantastic, it’s fun, it’s funny without being gimmicky, and the story is really great.
- The November Man. Pierce Brosnan is always a delight, and I’m not just saying that because I grew up watching Remington Steele with my mom. It’s an action flick and is of course a little predictable, but still a totally fun experience that surprised me with how much I got into it. Brosnan’s still got it, and Cobra Commander from the fantastically awful GI Joe sequel plays opposite him so whatevs. Totally unexpected fun romp, complete with miscellaneously Eastern European villains.
- Interstellar. Now, in case you haven’t noticed the inalienable truth, I’ll reiterate it here; the Nolans are not good writers. McConaughey does the heavy lifting and brings the relatable human touch to the Nolans’ otherwise typically sterile characters, and Hathaway manages to not be completely intolerable so there’s that. The robots steal the show, which says all you need to know about the Nolans. The movie is not flawfree, but the strange thing here is that I liked it more and more upon reading/thinking about it and a couple of additional viewings. This movie really grew on me. It’s also worth noting that the Hans Zimmer score is fucking MAGICAL.. I haven’t stopped listening to it.
- Top Five. Chris Rock wrote and directed this movie, and it’s really, actually, funny with heart.
- Joe. Every now and then, I am reminded that Nicolas Cage is an actor, and a great one at that. This movie is nuanced and stripped down, and he gives a hell of a performance. It was the first movie I wrote about on this blog, in fact!
- Jersey Boys. Now, before you all think I have brain damage, this movie isn’t actually good; I know that. It’s camp and totally absurd, but it sure is fun. Sometimes I want a fun movie to take me out of reality for a couple of hours, and Jersey Boys is the movie for that. And I love the music! I feel the same way about the 2008’s Mamma Mia; it’s genuinely terrible, but still manages to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
- God’s Pocket. I had some high hopes for this one, considering John Slattery directed it and Philip Seymour Hoffman headlined, but it was just another one of those forgettable “THIS IS MY NEIGHBOURHOOD AND YOU’LL NEVER BELONG BECAUSE YOU’RE DIFFERENT” steaming piles of nothing.
- The Drop, another steaming pile of nothing, for a movie I hoped would be great. The late great James Gandolfini puts in a wonderful performance in this otherwise banal movie that I really cannot recall much about; it was just sort of.. there.
- Birdman. Unpopular opinion, I know. Performances aside, this movie was a goddamned mess. I went into it with high expectations, had read so much positive critical acclaim, and it was just one of those blowhard Faux Arthaus shitpiles trying too hard to be edgy and artsy. Don’t even get me started on the fact that this movie’s “score” was nominated for a Golden Globe, a score that as far as I could tell had someone strap a drumstick and cymbal to a couple of dogs.
- A Most Wanted Man. I couldn’t tell you a goddamned thing about this movie other than the fact that PSH had a German accent.
- Snowpiercer. Eh. I enjoyed it while watching it, and then never thought about it again.
THE CONFUSINGLY AWFUL;
- Inherent Vice. Holy shit what a letdown this was. Now, I am mostly hit or miss on Paul Thomas Anderson flicks because I think they’re lazily referred to as ‘character studies’ when they should really be categorised as ’roundabout messes’. I was genuinely hoping this would be another Boogie Nights (which is the only PTA movie I actually enjoy, come to think of it), but IV is inconsistent, rambling, and nonsensical. At least it wasn’t as horrendous as The Master, which gave me an actual migraine. The styling of everything in IV is great though, so at least there’s that. What an abject disappointment.
- The Theory of Everything. This movie is not only awful, it is aggressively awful. It is infuriating. Hey, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s take Stephen Hawking’s story, strip it of any and all actual character, feeling, and science, throw it into the Romantical Story(TM) garbage disposal with a love interest who manages to look constipated for the entire two hours she’s on the screen, and you get this fucking movie. Not really an actual spoiler, but that ending: where he’s next to his estranged wife and looks at their children frolicking around a fountain at fucking Buckingham Palace and has his computer say LOOK AT WHAT WE MADE I wanted to hurl my rocks glass at the wall.
- Locke. What in the goddamned world was this movie? It just didn’t work for me. Everyone was shitting themselves over how wonderful and visionary it was, and all I could think was, did these people all have lobotomies? Dafuq?
- Hercules. Aside from The Rock throwing the aforementioned horse, this movie was a mess AND it was boring. There’s nothing worse than an action movie that’s incredibly dull. How in the fresh hell does that even happen? It’s the worst combination.
- Noah. Speaking of boring, THIS fucking movie. Granted, I would never have seen it had Nick not wanted to, but HOLY FUCKING HELL IT WAS BORING. Mind-numbingly awful. And one of the characters was named Ham, so I kept thinking about ham. That’s really all you need to know.
SO, that’s about all I have to say about 2014 movies. And hey, Mad Men is back on April 5th, so look forward to more content on here in the near future. Rock n’roll.