Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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Under The silver lake is such a wonderful oddity, its hard to know if its one of those movies designed like a Chinese puzzle box, its mysteries and clues, symbols and hidden meanings put there to be unravelled for years to come by die hard fans, or if the movie is in fact totally meaningless and is trolling you into thinking its got more up its sleeve than it has, the makers laughing to themselves secretly as you futilely sift through it all, much like Garfield's obsessive millenial slacker/amateur detective. The point could be that you can look for clues to the mysteries of the world as much as you want but the truth is that there is no mystery and no meaning to be found, except for the fact that everything is nonsensical chaos and nothing more. Whatever the case this is such an absorbing, compellingly unpredictable experience, it unfolds at a languid, stoned pace, like freeform jazz as a movie, taking you down strange paths and detours, it sone of those rare movies where you never know what is coming next, and it truly does go to some fucking weird, shocking places. You can never quite peg the movie down, even Andrew Garfield's lead isn't who you think he's going to be, at first seeing to be an ineffectual milquetoast every man, until he does some things that take the character into troubling and even unpleasant moral places that make you realise that he is actually a pretty unlikable, prickly protagonist. This is one of those "cult on arrival" movies, it will have a strong following dedicated to deciphering its many ambiguities and illusive details. But weather on not its worth digging into all that, or if indeed the film is playing as much a practical joke on the audience as Garfield's character, its worth at least just letting the movie wash over you and transport you, taking you on its trippy, pot smoke fogged journey into the dark, sinister, funny and sexy backrooms of it's alt universe Hollywood, filled with listless, star fucking, fame whore Millennial's. It can be at any given moment, an early 30 something Big Lebowski style detective comedy, a Hollywood satire, a horror, a dark murder mystery, a 21st century slacker noir set in culture less ruins of modern Hollywood, where the golden shine has faded somewhat, no one cares about anything and there is litter and shit stains on the walk of fame.
Watched it for the first time recently and SPECIES 2 is a sleazy, nasty, grotty exploitation B-movie gem, albeit done with a slick studio sheen. It's rare to see genre movies this unrepentantly trashy and lurid anymore, and the practical effects are incredible and seriously gross to behold.
This duel Mad Max/Star Wars rip off is a little more distinguishable than most of the era (There were loads) due to the fact that it is fucking insane. There's some weird shit going on here man, that fucking cave nightmare vision for instance, the evil dude who talks with his mind and has silver teeth (possibly the most cool looking yet weirdly ineffectual bad guy ever) and the endless chase climax that culminates in....well, im not sure really, some strange, perplexing shit that comes off like a 2 quid knock off of 2001's star gate trippiness. Features the most remarkably uncharismatic lead in movie history, and yes, i have seen The Room. Its really weird how this silly fucker of a film doesnt even realise that it actually has a genuinely cool and charming motherfucker who should actually be the lead in Tim Thomerson, at one point he even gets mildly injured and taken out of the film till he pops back up out of nowhere at the ending, leaving us marooned the rest of the way with fucking Jeffrey Bryon, a gaping chasm where a human being should be.
Everything about "The Predator" sounded like a film geek fever dream , a hard-R
sequel to Predator and throwback to a more simple,minded, gleefully violent and unabashedly entertaining time for action movies written and directed by Shane Black and co-written by Fred Dekker, writer director of the ridiculously underrated horror comedy masterpiece "Night Of The Creeps" and kids horror classic "The Monster Squad" which he co-wrote with Black, making this their first collaboration since that 1987 gate way drug for kids into the horror genre. Somehow, as per the consistent ineptness of modern studio movie making, none of these mouth watering elements come together and what we're left with is a giant mess of a movie, bits and pieces of a great film scattered over the two hour's of a mostly mediocre one, a runtime that drags like hell even with this movies manic energy. Its really hard to know what went wrong here, this should have been a total fucking slam dunk, i would have bet money on it. From the get go somethings off, even when we're in the midst of a strong scene like the opening, it all still feels under cooked and rushed, like the movie is constantly trying to get somewhere and ending up nowhere. So much of it feels chaotic and muddled, by the end scenes are often unintelligible, at one point a major character dies and, honestly, me and everyone i saw it with were all struggling to remember if we had actually seen his death on screen, or any kind of fate for him in fact, its choppy and murky as fuck. One of the biggest issues behind the scenes was a completely reshot third act, and fuck me does it show, with terrible effects work, editing that renders scenes incoherent and underlit action, its a total headache. Another problem is that it seems Black and Dekker had about four different story ideas, and instead of picking one and settling on it they just piled them all in together, stacked on top of each other until they all fall over, there's a crowded feel to these plotline's that is exhausting, the movie doesnt spend much time in one place before it jumps to something else, never settling long enough to give the thing time to breathe. It really is the most shockingly messy, unpolished big budget studio movie i've seen in a while, it feels like its been butchered down from much longer movie but instead of chopping out inconsequential scenes, they chopped out the beginning and sometimes the ending of scenes, rendering them frustratingly nonsensical. There is some good stuff here, the gore is plentiful and satisfying, some of the action is good when you can tell what the fuck is going on, and there's a gleeful foul mouthed vulgarity and retrograde attitude to it all that is quite refreshing in this age of "hey lets all get upset and offended by everything because im bored", plus the central characters are really engaging, The loonies are a fun, riotous rag tag of "mum joke" spouting, mentally unhinged veterans, especially Travante Rhodes, Keegan Michael Key and Thomas Jane, Rhodes especially is a standout as possibly the coolest motherfucker in the movie and the most pure Shane Black hero of the movie. But Olivia Munn is the real takeaway here, she once again shows why she should get better roles and more of them. Admittedly if you havnt come into this thing with the expectation i have, then you may enjoy it as a bloody, funny, junk food, B-movie lark, which it can be whens its not being bewilderingly inept. The best i can give it is that if it was on tv late at night, id downed a couple of beers, a fair few beers in fact, and nothing else was on, id leave it on. It breaks my movie geek heart that this is my most positive thing to say about the film. A truly baffling, bitter misfire. I love you Shane, but woof, what happened here?