Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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This movie didn't quite hit its mark for me. While I appreciated the performance from Will Smith, and the de-aging visual technology (though even that didn't blow me away), the movie just can't quite gel together, mostly because of the writing. The writing is pretty bad here. Oddly on-the-nose action movie dialogue that almost made me question whether or not this movie was supposed to be a satire or pastiche of action movies. Was this so bad because it was trying to subvert older action movies? Ang Lee isn't at his best here. A couple of cinematic choices - e.g. odd slow-motion at points - really were distracting. Overall, very generic.
I am a casual fan of Amy Schumer's comedy, and while her performance was enjoyable in this film, it wasn't enough to carry the movie as a whole. The story takes a strange turn in its last third that feels like it undermines Renee. The reveal that you expect - where Renee finds out she has looked the same time entire time - comes too late in the story. Along with awkward pacing, awkward dialogue, and a strange lack of jokes and comedy, Ultimately, this film feels like a missed opportunity.
"Welcome to Chechnya" documents the persecution of gay men and lesbian women in Chechnya, a republic of the Russian Federation. It follows the Moscow Community Center LGBT group and their efforts to shelter gay people in danger, including "Grisha" (later revealed to be Maxim Lapunov), an event planner who is not even ethnically Chechnyan. The story is powerful, gripping, and tense, and at times hard to watch, especially when they intercut candid footage of gays being beat up.
Ju Dou is a remarkably small and simple film, with only a couple of actors and one main location. But it is very powerful. I love the way the story didn't go the way I thought it would go. After the affair is discovered, I had no clue what was going to happen, and that was a great feeling.