John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Closer to a live action Looney Tunes film than the horror comedy people were expecting, this is anarchic satire at its best. The primary target of its satirical bent is (surprisingly) the original Gremlins, but Donald Trump and Ted Turner are also frequently skewered. This is the perfect full stop to '80s corporatist America, openly mocking the trend of unnecessary sequels and the greed at the heart of the decade. Many people will be put off by the meta-textual elements, but if you want to see a filmmaker completely cut loose and gleefully bite the hand that feeds him, this is the movie for you.
A story outside the main saga, Rogue One is still essential viewing for anyone with a fondness for the original Star Wars trilogy. Like The Force Awakens, this is not a flawless film, but it almost seems churlish to pick nits, given the end result: finally we have a Star Wars prequel with all the tragedy, pathos, excitement and strangeness that we were expecting all those years ago, seamlessly fitting into the universe we all know and love. The cast is excellent, the story is superb and the effects are stunning. An amazing achievement.
Somewhat captures the spirit of the novel, but Lynch was either unable or unwilling to create a lean sci-fi blockbuster from the sprawling source material. The film throws in a little bit of every idea from its source, but nothing sticks or adds up to much of anything. The result is akin to reading 100 non-consecutive pages selected at random from the 400+ page book.
Fun, funny, bizarre and often perverse, Flash Gordon is like a post-Star Wars hallucination that nonetheless stays surprisingly faithful to the Buster Crabbe serials. Written by the creator of the 1966 Batman TV series with production design and costumes by Pasolini's frequent collaborator, a soundtrack by Queen and sizeable roles for Max von Sydow, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed and Haim Topol, this is really hard to beat when it comes to camp sci-fi fun. It knows exactly what it is and embraces it so fully that it's hard not to be transfixed.
In broad strokes, it really doesn't add much to the Office Christmas Special. But what it does do is provide 90 minutes of further sad desperation from the character of David Brent, allowing a more detailed character study to emerge--the facade is slowly peeled back until all that remains is a very lonely man who just wants to be liked. Hardly essential, but worth a watch for fans.