occasionally coherent film reviews from a (slightly) movie-obsessed teen
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]
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, Mean Streets 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]
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. If there ever comes a time which such decisions will make me want to kick myself harder, boy, will my legs ever be sore afterwards.
During the first few minutes of Sound of Metal, all we can hear is exactly that…[continued here]
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]
This may sound rather silly, but some films are simply polarizing by design. They may not necessarily be made with the intention of so sharply dividing critics and audiences alike, but no matter which way you look at them, it almost seems as if they’re slyly wagging their fingers at everyone who seeks them out, daring them to be shocked by their strange and/or unorthodox craft. I’m sure there are many unsuccessful—read: stupidly, mind-numbingly pointless or pretentious—examples of this, but after watching David Robert Mitchell’s Under The Silver Lake, it’s clear to me that others are just drastically misunderstood.
As of the moment, Rotten Tomatoes’s critical consensus may be a little vague on why no two people can seem to agree on this unapologetically bizarre neo-noir (“Under the Silver Lake hits its stride slightly more often than it stumbles, but it’s hard not to admire—or be drawn in by—writer-director [Mitchell’s] ambition”), but after watching it, the reasons for this couldn’t be more evident: it’s secretly a satire of everything some have accused it of indulging in…[continued here]
I should’ve known this would happen. Nearly a year ago, after being pretty disappointed with the Burt Reynolds-starring prison-sports flick The Longest Yard (looking at the equally negative—and equally poorly-written—Field of Dreams review I penned more than a year ago, perhaps that has more to do with my not being such a huge sports guy than anything, but still), my inner war about seeing the Adam Sandler remake was squashed after I couldn’t defeat arguments like “It’s not like I care about the original version anyway, so what’s the harm in laughing at how bad this remake probably is?” More than you’d think.
Apparently not bothering to learn from any of my past mistakes, I decided to watch Coming 2 America (yeah, the title’s that cringe) for virtually the same reasons…[continued here]
As you may have noticed, I’ve been absent from this website for quite some time now. I’ve felt pretty bad for not following up on the promises made at the end of my I’m Thinking of Ending Things review (a fitting film to discuss before taking such an extended break) for a while now, but schoolwork and—I’ll admit— my increasing apathy towards review-writing hindered my return until now. More will be coming soon, but as of the moment, I can’t promise a review for everything I watch.
Charlie Kaufman has conjured up quite a few bizarre cinematic visions over the years (most notably, 1999’s Being John Malkovich, which ironically stands as the most accessible work I’ve seen from him), but if I’m Thinking of Ending Things isn’t his strangest film yet, it is certainly his most oblique. Released on Netflix while the streaming platform was mired in controversy, his newest film can be fittingly described as atmospheric, haunting, unpredictable, and even challenging… though perhaps the most fitting term for it is “divisive”.
Though I fully understand why not everyone has walked away intrigued or satisfied with Kaufman’s take on Reid’s much-acclaimed novel of the same name (in fact, it took me two watches to really sort out my feelings about it), this isn’t a film you can just watch once and be done with, but revisit, study, and ponder over—or, at the very least, look at someone else’s interpretation of it—in order to truly appreciate…[continued here]
As the only non-religious member of my otherwise Christian (and, in my dad’s case, Jewish) family, reviewing—or even watching—faith-based movies has proven to be a bit of a challenge. I’ve never shied away from expressing my honest opinions about pieces of media I see, but in the case of films like these, this has occasionally proven to upset others around me. So agreeing to watch and review War Room (which my mom had been wanting me to see for a while) is a bit of a gamble, but as a form of personal catharsis, it’s well worth it. Also, it’s easily one of the worst faith-based movies I’ve ever seen, so that makes venting my frustrations with Christian cinema a lot easier.
I want to stay as positive as I can here, so let’s get to the good stuff first…[continued here]
On August 11, 2017, a pair of moviemakers known as the Safdie Brothers posted an essay on A24’s website about the release of their film Good Time. Despite saying many insightful things about their love for cinema (particularly how films made an impact on them when they were younger), what really stuck with me the most is when they referred to Time as “our first Movie-Movie”, despite them already making 5 full-length movies at the time (including the 2013 sports documentary Lenny Cooke, which followed the former high school basketball player of the same name).
Despite not having seen any of their work besides that particular film and the later Uncut Gems, I can confidently say they’re right: Good Time undoubtedly feels like the first fully formed vision from two of the most potential-filled directors in A24’s repertoire, the first major step towards a long and successful career for the both of them…[continued here]
Before watching Feels Good Man (which, for those of you wondering how I was able to see it before its official release date of September 4th, I caught a backdoor screening of on August 29), the year’s best documentary thus far, I had next to no idea what Pepe the Frog was. All I knew was that he was a cartoon frog that became a popular meme around the Internet, and was deemed a “hate symbol” by the Anti Defamation-League because of some less-than-nice ways in which more than a few people have used him.
And it’s here that I’d like to stop and address some of the negative attention Feels Good Man has received online, mostly (I’m guessing) from those who hadn’t even seen it in the first place…[continued here]
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