Cake by the ocean! Anyway…I’m up to 19 movies. Worst is first. Read ‘em and weep. New ones in this color. Highlight to read spoilers.
Knight of Cups – Did Terrence Mallick hit his head underwater a few years ago? That’s the only thing that could explain this and the almost as bad fake philosophy tripe Tree of Life. Gimme a freakin’ break. And he keeps casting all my favorite people in his movies. STOP IT!!!!
Hail, Caesar! – Now I tend to like movies that have an exclamation point and this is no different. But I don’t exactly love it. I think I might have if it was longer. Ralph Fiennes needed to come back and I’m not sure Jonah Hill’s role even qualifies as a cameo. But Josh Brolin was great as always. Channing Tatum I’m getting sick of. He looks half asleep the whole time and here and in The Hateful Eight I thought he did damage to the movies. I get that he’s the flavor of the month, but how about someone more delicious in the future? The plot was cool in that it included all the types of classic Hollywood movies and how some of it probably was instead of how it seemed. I really can’t help but think this was supposed to be a longer story though. I can’t say it’s great for that reason, but it’s really good.
X-Men: Apocalypse – I mean, a lot of it was off. I mean why style Xavier like an 80s version of Robin Gibb instead of giving him a perfect mullet? And no one had a mullet. Or leg warmers. IDEK. Anyway, I saw it earlier today and I’m already straining to remember anything I really liked about it. It wasn’t bad but, maybe I should let it sit. I usually don’t like to read other reviews before I do this, but in this case, I think it will probably help. I debated putting it last. Maybe I should have. Anyway, the inclusions to the cast were good. Sansa, of course. But I don’t know it all had a ‘been there, done that’ feel to it. Days of Future Past was so good that it makes this seem like weaksauce. But maybe it is weaksauce even without comparing it. I don’t know. It feels a little phoned in. They probably should have cast someone taller for Apocalypse. If he’s all powerful why can’t he turn his head in his suit? Maybe the tubes? Am I supposed to know what that was about? Anyway, yeah. I’m leaving it here for now. But it’s not looking promising that it will stay here.
The Young Messiah – Little kid Jesus looks like my friend Karen from when I was a kid. Had to get that out. Anyway, I thought it was pretty good. At first I thought it was going to be goofy with some new director trying out all his camera angles, but it settled down. I mostly went to see this for Sean Bean. He had more of a role than I expected. I thought he was just the “name” attached. But he plays a centurion who has to hunt down young Jesus. Of course he doesn’t want to but it’s his job. See, Herod died and Herod, Jr. wants to get rid of the threat. And then basically we see what it might have been like for the young Messiah. I thought it was a nice story. Everyone stayed away from the regular hammy biblical acting. I don’t think this movie should bother anyone and it has a nice little explanation what His Life, and life in general, is probably about.
Zootopia – Yeah. This was cuter and smarter than I expected. I don’t know why I’m saying that I wasn’t expecting anything. I only went to see it because I had time to kill and nowhere else to go. But it was the story of following your dreams no matter what. I’m not exactly sure that I still believe that’s the best advice. Maybe I was meant to be a carrot farmer all along. But there’s a lot going on here and I think you can interpret what it’s trying to say in a couple of different ways. I’m not going to bother spoiling it since there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t see it yourself. The voice actors were great and I appreciate the Disney style of animation better than that other stuff. One thing I don’t get is why Shakira when that clearly should have been Lady Gaga.
Jane Got A Gun – Good western. I really wanted to see it in the theater but it didn’t play here. Probably would have been higher on this list if I had. The cast were all good. Nothing really to remark on that much. A fine effort by all.
The Nice Guys – I think it belongs here. Um, so, it suffers from a mild case of inthecommercialitis. You’ve seen the funny parts. It’s still good though. It’s very close to Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, except without Val Kilmer which if you pay close attention it seems he should have had a cameo but I’m assuming he wasn’t there because he was sick. His son actually plays the projectionalist, which I didn’t realize until I read the credits. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe make a natural pairing. Kim Basinger seemed like she didn’t want to look at Gosling, which is weird, but I remember her being super nervous in interviews and I want to blame that, but it’s odd for a seasoned actress. Anyway, I lost the plot a few times but I was distracted by Gosling’s pants. Bomer was gorgeous as always. People who love KKBB should like this almost as much. I want Crowe’s jacket. Sad to say, I think it’d fit.
Demolition – Well I only went to see it because Jake. I had expected it to be either the same thing as Moonlight Mile, or Jake smashing a house for two hours. It’s more the former than the latter and it’s got a pinch of Ordinary People thrown in. It’s a little more avante garde than those movies. I’m still left with questions though. For example, I don’t know why but when I originally saw the trailer, I thought it seemed pretty obvious that she purposely crashed the car. Now after having seen the film, I don’t know where I got that from but it’s still totally possible. Naomi Watts and Jake and the kid make a great team. It’s nowhere near as depressing as I thought it would be and there’s lots of quirkiness to entertain you but then Chris Cooper really grounds the thing. There’s a lot going on and it turns out to be unpredictable. I feel like Her fans will like it.
Keanu – This kitty. Such a cute kitty. And that will sway your opinion of the film. There were some bland spots and it’s fairly obvious that the template for this was Raising Arizona. If you recall Nathan Jr. was so adorable that all the criminals wanted to steal him. It became about more than money. Same thing here with little Keanu. I think it’s a genius thing to give him the disease that he has to allow for future sequels. I’m not really a fan of these guys. I always thought they did that kind of ‘trying to hard’ comedy. But they were decent in “Fargo” so I gave it a chance. Fun, cute movie.
Batman V Superman – If you recall I hated the abomination we called Man of Steel. So I sort of surprised myself that I got to this on opening weekend. I’m even more surprised at how much I liked it and honestly almost loved it. I don’t read the comics but I’m familiar with a lot of the villains from hearsay or other animated TV, maybe that helps. Anyway, Ben Affleck was fine as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Clooney remains the worst Batman ever. Here Bats is older and more like the grumpy thicker Batman from more of the animated stuff. Superman makes more sense here than he did in Man of Steel. They didn’t toss the idea that he’s a jackass alien. They built on it. I think what we have to understand as older folks is that we were dealing with Kal-el in the first movie. I don’t know that we ever really dealt with him before MoS. Then at the end of MoS he took on the mantel of Superman and only now toward the end of this film does he become Clark Kent, human. Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is just window dressing and moves around to fill in plot points. It might have been that she was miscast but there isn’t a lot for Adams to do here. Jesse Eisenberg, who I normally don’t like, was actually quite good as Lex Luthor. Maybe a little like the Joker here, it seems he wants to watch the world burn. And they stole a lot from other things, but that’s the way of this hodge podge/mod podge world we live in. Otherwise I enjoyed it. I loved Wonder Woman’s wardrobe cues to who she would be. And as much as I was dumbfounded at why she has a sword and shield ala Xena, the magic lasso showed up right when it should have. I almost cheered when it did, tbqh. The storyline was fine as long as you take it as Snyder’s new thing that he’s doing. You can’t look for our old Superman anymore. He’s gone.
The Infiltrator – I’ll probably need to rewatch this because I didn’t follow some of the transactions exactly, but this was a really good movie. The cast was great. Bryan Cranston of course, and Leguizamo is a reliable pest, but Benjamin Bratt stole the show here for me. He out charisma-ed Ol’ Heisenberg. The thing is I wish they’d let their relationship grow a bit more. That’d make the movie longer but I don’t care. I like long movies. Anyway it seemed a bit rushed that they would be that close. Michael Paré who I’ve been a fan of since forever has a cameo here and I was super happy to see him in it, even now that I’ve realize he blocked me on twitter. WTF? lol I really don’t know why. Anyway, for half the movie it seemed like the same old undercover cop/drug trafficking thing ala Donnie Brasco but this went a different way because of the banking.
War Dogs – Right off the bat, I have to say I really liked the nods to Scarface, especially that wall. Scarface is not one of my favorite movies, but it’s the favorite movie of the kind of people who would get themselves into a mess like this. I love Jonah Hill, which is why I went, and I’m really starting to like Miles Teller. Teller is the star playing a young man whose life has already sort of crapped out on what it was supposed to be even if he’s still young. Well, in true Johnny’s mother fashion his life requires him to turn to a life of crime in order to handle his financial responsibilities. That’s where his old BFF from junior high comes in. Honestly if we grew up at all, we shouldn’t still be friends with the people we chose in those years. Could you imagine having to have your junior high hairdo all your life? Of course not. But. Of course his friend leads him on a path to riches and where the path to riches leads. It’s a dramedy I think. Anyway, it’s got lots of yucks but it’s really a cautionary tale about people who want to think the world is yours. Hopefully you know how that turns out. Good movie. You might be reminded of Buffalo Soldiers, but it’s not really like it except the way they make money.
The Brothers Grimsby – Okay that one scene is as gross as you’re going to get without gore. But, this movie is actually really well done and entertaining. And smart. I’m going to go ahead and do medium spoilers to explain a film I think a lot of people might mistakenly skip. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Nobby, a family man from Grimsby who although blessed with many children still misses his long lost brother Sebastian. By happenstance he finds that Sebastian’s going to be at a big to-do because he’s an MI6 agent. And from there the wackiness ensues. In the meantime what we find out is what’s really important, what family means, and that everyone is important in the larger human family. You weren’t expecting that were you? Sacha Baron Cohen is some kind of a genius. Although I liked Mark Strong before, I was super impressed with his straight man abilities. I mean the stuff he went through in this movie with a straight face. lol And he was brave to do it, in my opinion.
Race – Such a great film. Released at a different time of the year, you’d think it’d be Oscar bait. But somehow it’s fighting it out the weekend before Oscar with last year’s movies. I don’t get it. Now truth be told it seems like a Disney type movie from 20 years ago, which if you understand what I mean by that, is a good thing. I don’t really know Jesse Owens’ story but for the bits and pieces you get as a sports fan or in history documentaries about something else. Here you see a cinematic telling of the time and just really about how important his actions were in the course of history. And I really wish that Jewish people and black people would watch this together. Seriously. The performances were great. It was easily digestible and it’s incredibly timely. I can’t imagine anyone disliking it. Some of the cinematography stops you like when he’s about to enter the stadium and he separates from his coach in silhouette. Really great stuff.
Captain America: Civil War – Yeah well, the Russo brothers have done it again. Now mind you it’s the weakest of the three. But the other movies were so freakin’ amazing that it’s barely a criticism. I think some of the other Avengers’ lack of awesome dragged it down a bit. Mainly Iron Man and the witch girl. I’m still not sure what her red energy balls are doing. But if it weren’t for them this would be a ten. Olsen I don’t like, but there’s nothing wrong with Downey. Iron Man is just not that wonderful of a character. I love that they continue to make Hawkeye useful. They must love Renner as much as I do because there’s really no good reason for him to be there except to round out the cast. The new guys, Black Panther and Spider-man were a great addition. And new-to-the-team Ant-man was a scene stealer. But the emoting part of the film goes to Sebastian Stan even if he’s still half robot. Now that I think of it the other emotional one was Vision. Weird. But yeah, it’s great. Cap is still our greatest hero. Falcon is our bestest friend and the hits just keep on coming. Let’s hope this goes on forever.
fyi, I saw Miles Ahead last year, but if I’d seen it this year, it’d go about here.
Kubo and the Two Strings – I knew little about this going in which is the way I like it. This is one of those movies where as you’re watching it you think ‘Yeah it’s good and stylish and all that, but I’m not sure about all the hubbub’ and then the ending. I started crying like I was hiccupping. Yeah it’s like that. It’s darker than I was expecting because I guess I was expecting a kids’ movie, which it is but then it also isn’t. I wouldn’t bring small fries who don’t know about death already. But if they do know, it should be great for them. It had a couple of wonky spots and was sort of predictable until the very end which really packs a punch. But I’d really like to know why the character Ralph Fiennes voices looks like Peter Cushing.
The Light Between Oceans – So I wasn’t sure about this one but I ended up really liking it. I guess any bad reviews have to do with the younger folks thinking everything has to be immediate and not at all emotional. I’m not really a Fassbender fan. He sounds so much like Bono that whenever he starts talking I start looking for a dude in wrap around shades. But he was quite good here. I believed him in his Catholic guilt and decent husbandness. Alicia Vikander has yet to suck. This is a story about how life just makes everything a tragic ball of shit for everyone everywhere at all times. Heartwrenching it is but it sort of peters out at the end. I would have had the kid walk right into the ocean trying to get to the lighthouse and that be the end of it. But this went on into a not so gruesome but still unhappy and messed up ending. Still the rest of it made up for what it rolled into in the end. It’s Oscar-y. Don’t know how the rest of the year will turn out though.
Hell or High Water – Our newsmen don’t seem to know what’s going on in this world but our movie makers do. That’s sad. Especially when you think about how long it takes to make a film. This is about America and her formerly pink houses and what happens to their inhabitants. And it’s a classic western at the same time. I mean it’s here, in the now. But it’s also a shoot ‘em up with bank robbers and even a cattle drive. Chris Pine has grown on me. He’s definitely a great singing talent, but in this movie I finally feel like he can be a great actor. Ben Foster always has been. I hope he gets some buzz out of this. The Dude continues to abide. I really enjoyed it. Taylor Sheridan is quite the storyteller. After this and my favorite from last year, Sicario, I’ll be showing up for his films by default. This is movie is America 2016, watch it and weep but also cheer.
Eddie the Eagle – I really think this is going to end up in my all-time top 100. That’s saying something because I’ve been trying to redo my list for a while and not a lot has been happening there. Firstly, I came to love the Olympic Games as a fourteen year old watching the Calgary Winter Olympics. I remember it as such a happy time in my own life. Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards was such a huge part of those wonderful games. This movie captures the spirit and hope that those games held better than I could have ever hoped for. The cast does an amazing job. Of course Taron Egerton as Eddie is award worthy in my opinion. I mean the actor looks nothing like him. But he became him in the most adorable and glorious way. Jackman is steady in his role but it’s not about him. It’s really about the spirit Eddie carried through his whole life and a level of optimism I don’t know that anyone else ever had. Could you imagine if we were all like that? How great the world would be. But the way the film is executed especially the jumps and the tension and the great use of bullet time to catch their emotions in the moment. What a great treasure this is. It at least holds up to the standard of other great sports and more specifically Olympics movies like Miracle, Chariots of Fire and Prefontaine.