Movie Review: “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”
Judd Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin is, above all else, a cute, clean-cut, cheerfully vulgar crowd-pleaser. That, and it singlehandedly launched the career of The Office‘s Steve Carrell, raked in $177 million against a $26 million budget, and ushered in a whole new generation of mainstream R-rated comedies with this astounding commercial success—all only five years into the new millennium.
Popular impact aside, however, The 40-Year Old Virgin only really needed to be consistently clever (or, for that matter, even consistently entertaining) to hold up in its own right, especially with theaters settling into a new Apatow-type comedy every year…[continue reading]
Movie Review: “Mulholland Drive”
No matter the shiny Hollywood polish sparkling on its surface, David Lynch’s classic psychological thriller Mulholland Drive, featuring no real stars outside of Naomi Watts and (to an admittedly lesser extent) Justin Theroux, eventually reveals some of his strangest, most intensely nightmarish imagery, but don’t be put off by its surreal ambiguity. Difficult as it may be to always make sense of Lynch’s fever-dream visions, it’s just as difficult not to be sucked into this eerie, irresistible mystery with no clear answer, a gorgeously volatile portrait of Los Angeles’s darkest corners.
Lynch teases at this shift towards terror early, with an ominous scene set with two men we know nothing about, and are hardly ever seen again…[continue reading]
Movie Review: “Blue Velvet”
It may seem odd—downright puzzling, even—to decide on Blue Velvet being my formal introduction to the infamously bizarre David Lynch, given its reputation for being among his edgiest, scariest cinematic nightmares. Not that its controversial nastiness necessarily repelled me from ever seeing it, but for a while, I found myself more naturally gravitating towards 2001’s Mulholland Dr, a more widely-acclaimed Hollywood noir starring Naomi Watts.
Although likely rather twisted in its own right, Mulholland still seemed like a safer bet for easing myself into Lynch’s stylistic strangeness, even with 1977’s Eraserhead being another possible point of entry…[continued here]
Movie Review: “Deliverance”
Deliverance is one of those classic movies most well-recognized for certain unforgettable scenes, but is really best-experienced if you have no knowledge of those particular scenes. Many of you likely know of them already, and they’d already been spoiled for me ages before seeing the movie itself, but if they haven’t been for you, watch it with as blank a slate as possible. This had nothing to do with how I myself judged the film, but the less information you have about it beforehand, the better.
Of course, in order to properly explain my overall opinion of Deliverance, the film’s plot and tone will have to be explored as thoroughly as possible while dodging any real spoilers, which is still revealing more than you should probably know…[continued here]
Movie Review: “Inside Out”
In the otherwise-normal world Pixar has flipped Inside Out, you’re never in charge of any of those troublesome emotions; it’s the emotions themselves that are in charge of you. “Joy” (Amy Poehler), “Sadness” (The Office veteran Phyllis Smith), “Fear” (Bill Hader), “Anger” (a very appropriately cast Lewis Black), and “Disgust” (Mindy Kaling, another Office veteran) are tiny humanoid entities messily smashing buttons and pushing levers in a control room where your brain would usually be, helping you respond to whatever happens around you with the appropriate emotion. Not that the right emotion always touches the right control, but that’s just part of the job.
To most, this is a uniquely adorable way of representing to children how their feelings work, and how those feelings influence the decisions they make in life…[continued here]
Movie Review: “Jerry Maguire”
Nobody in their right mind would say that Cameron Crowe is (or, judging by how far his Hollywood career plummeted after everyone turned up their noses at the star-studded Aloha, always was) terrible at making movies. Yet over the years, it seems as though my body has become increasingly allergic to everything and anything he touches.
There’s really no other way to explain why I practically adored Say Anything… and Almost Famous a while ago, to the point of even writing a gushing review of the latter. (Warning: it’s basically just one long, confusing run-on sentence. 14-year-old me really could’ve used some grammar lessons)…[Jerry Maguire review continued here]
Movie Review: “2010: The Year We Made Contact”
VULTURE’s Kevin Lincoln: So why CHiPs? Why make a ChiPs movie?
CHiPs writer-director Dax Shepard: A very good question. Because I’m always looking for something that will hold both comedy and motor sports. I’m looking for anything that I think I can combine those two things and that someone will make. So this movie’s got the safety net of being a global brand, a global property. I couldn’t have gone into any studio and said, “The movie’s called, uh, Eat My Dust”—well, that’s actually a title —“Burn Rubber, and it’s me and Michael Peña, and we’re on motorcycles.” They’d go, “No thank you.” It had to have a safety net, and the safety net I found was CHiPs…
What does this interview snippet from 2017 have to do with 2010: The Year We Made Contact, a 2001: A Space Odyssey sequel willed into existence by an approximate total of zero people? Not much, though with all due respect to writer-director-producer Peter Hyams, I can’t help suspecting that to him, 2001 was nothing more than something to make money off of, a foolproof “safety net” of his very own…[continued here]
Movie Review: “48 Hrs.”
Without giving too much away (that’ll be done later, so don’t read much more if you wish to go into the film completely blind), the first 25 minutes or so of 48 Hrs.—in other words, everything before Eddie Murphy’s character, Reggie Hammond, is discovered loudly belting out The Police’s “Roxanne” in a prison cell—make you question whether you’re watching the silly police comedy you expected from the Daddy Day Care star being slapped on the poster, or something more on the lines of, say, Dirty Harry or your average Safdie Brothers flick.
There’s violent kidnapping, lethal shootouts, policemen being mercilessly blown to bits, and more generally bloody mayhem—all of which make it receiving the same MPAA rating as the later Murphy vehicle Coming to America pretty hilarious (by today’s standards, some of this mayhem almost seems tame, but it’s still rather jarring)…[continued here]
Movie Review: “Sound of Metal”
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Average dude is really talented at something they love, then an accident and/or disability sets them back a bit, then, after others melodramatically recite the type of “uplifting” quotes you’d find plastered to the wall of any given Rite-Aid, gets back on the game with more passion than ever before, only with a wiser (and, depending on how their life was beforehand, more wholehearted) spirit. At least, that’s what my mind thought the much-praised Sound of Metal would be like, leading to me putting it off for quite some time. Not the right decision.
During the first few minutes of Sound of Metal, all we can hear is exactly that…[continued here]
Movie Review: “What Lies Beneath”
During the making of Robert Zemeckis’s deserted-island drama Cast Away, production had to be shut down to grant its star, Tom Hanks, time to lose enough weight to suit his character’s physical transformation (which, for reasons I’m guessing are explained in the film itself, also required growing a beard) . As we all know, Zemeckis is a busy boy, so he took this time to shoot what, in his own words, “Alfred Hitchcock would have done if he’d lived in the digital age and had access to computer graphics.” And indeed, you don’t have to look hard at the final product to spot traces of his ghost, looming ever so faintly around the corner. Pity they couldn’t have been put to better use.
Let’s back up a little: I went into What Lies Beneath knowing absolutely nothing about the plot, and was only really curious about it because of where everything took place (and, with the exception of the main house’s interior, was entirely filmed in): Vermont…[continued here]
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Dear grandson. It is with complete pleasure and awe that you have found such a deep passion for film reviews at such a youthful age. I am truly mesmerized reading the detailed and so well expressed content in your film reviews. Keep up the good work, and keep smiling when I see you, whether on zoom or in person. Love you lots.
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Don’t worry, I always will. 🙂 Love you lots too.