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Rating History

The Neon Demon
17 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

WTH did I just watch? I mean seriously?

That was some Ken Russell, Dario Argento, David Lynch hybrid that was seriously messed up. Definitely not a perfect film, but damn.

The overall "review".

I can completely see why this is a love or hate film, it doesn't leave room for anything else. The pacing is deliberately slow and very "art house" but I was engrossed and confused the entire time, wondering where it was going to go and even the small glimpses added to the mystery of the piece more than anything else. It is a cross between beautifully set up shots with amazing imagery and lighting and the desiccated corruption just below where darkness and depravity lurk. It is vanity and excess and desire both lush and disturbing, egos battling out over how others see them reflecting in how they see themselves all while trying to stay relevant in a world that flaunts you for the superficial one second and then destroys in the blink of an eye.

Keanu Reeves honestly steals the movie in his scenes as the Motel manager, his delivery and the inevitable reveal of the darkness he has left chills. He really pulled out some acting chops for this role and it was great to see.

Overall, once the climax is reached, it feels like it rushes to the ending not giving the full satisfaction of all the time it took to build up. This leads into the final scene that doesn't have as much impact as it should because you never saw the chinks in the girls armor, never saw doubt and had no idea how long this had been going on, it would have been nice to get more of that to balance out the film.

Overall this is an interesting film. It is a disturbing film. It is a tough film. It is not a film for everyone. This film is art through a very interesting and strange lens.

Don't Breathe
Don't Breathe (2016)
19 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Don't Breathe

(Might be slightly spoiler-ish but hopefully vague enough to not be).

Horror is probably the most subjective of any genre of film, the set-up is vital and any flaws in the execution can either make or break the pace and build towards the attempt at a riveting ending. Don't Breathe is the latest modern horror to attempt at capturing us in its grip and never letting us go, but unfortunately the film fails to do so.

This is by no means a terrible film and if you are not like me and focus on every plot detail, every shot and every motivation you could probably really enjoy this film. But once you start paying attention the film really loses all steam, because they set everything up so obviously and in your face, that there are never really any surprises and afterwards you are left with more questions about motivations and plot structure.

Where this film really falls is the direction and slightly on the plot (and plot holes). Every single thing of important is shown directly to the audience with a sweeping camera pan that focuses on this object. It pans to a hammer like tool in the center of a tool board, it gets used later, it pans up to a skylight, it gets used later, and it pans under the bed to show us a gun, which gets used later and again and again and again. Everything in the film is so foreshadowed and obvious, it even opens in a way that you know the outcome, you know how it will go which also removes a crap ton of build-up and tension.

The premise has been seen before, young teens rob houses, they pick a blind man house and everything goes wrong. The acting is decent, most impressive is Steven Lang as "The Blind Man" because he really sells being blind, but the plot lets him down as he is a soldier and they really never deal with that in the course of the movie, he never displays tactics or has any "old soldier reclusive" traps or setting at all. There is a "twist" of sorts, but its effectiveness is lost in a meandering film with characters that do things far too smart for their set up at times, but then turn around and do some pretty stupid crap the next second. But there are plot moments that will leave you scratching your head going, wait, how did that happen? That makes no sense, there is no way that could happen or other really bad moments where you really want to yell at the screen for doing something so stupid.

There is one really nerve racking scene that I wished would have lasted a lot longer and a harness scene that will make you cringe, but that does not make the film itself that memorable or improve the rest of it. The story itself was good, but overall this falls into another modern horror film highly rated by critics that I just do not get why. This is average horror, nothing more. I would recommend it for a decent time, some great scenes and a few slight scares.

X-Men: Apocalypse
22 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The latest film released in the comic book trend, X-Men: Age of Apocalypse slides into the new structure of the comic book films and the attempt at creating grander stories with complex character arcs that effect more than just the little bubble the film is contained in. Of these X-men succeeds and fails at different parts and in the end creates another slightly above entry for Fox and the X-Men themselves.

There are three distinct stories attempted in AoA, Charles and team going from students to the beginnings of the actual X-Men team origins, Eric discovering that he cannot just sit on the sidelines and ignore the conflict and the rise of Apocalypse, an ancient mutant that not only has great power by himself but through an unexplained process can transfer his essence into new bodies retaining not only his power but gaining everything the host body can do. There is a fourth story, sort of, and that is establishing the threads and connections to other characters and plots that expand the cinematic universe and possible future characters.

Where Apocalypse shines is in the building up of the individual stories. We see actual character development for Scott (Cyclops) and Jean (Phoenix) as with other students and for once I actually liked Scott as typically he is presented as a one dimensional dick. We have an amazing performance from Michael Fassbender (Eric/Magneto) and his story is probably the most emotional of them all, even with a little comic book cheese thrown in. Apocalypse himself starts off very strong and menacing, but as soon as he begins to gather his horsemen his part of the film drops off because he and his horsemen are not given the gravity needed to increase the threat from just him. The focus is too much on Eric (Magneto) while almost ignoring the other Horsemen and they really never contribute either other than the back-up singers for some Gwar/Kiss style band. But the absolute treat of the film is in the form of two scenes, Quicksilver in slow-motions awesomeness and a cameo from Logan and the Weapon X Program and a moment most X-Men comic fans have eagerly awaited since the crappy Last Stand and I will say that moment does not disappoint.

The final showdown was enjoyable as was the main focus for that showdown that created a decent amount of tension, but once again anything other than Eric, Charles, Jean and Apocalypse himself just never did enough to really stand out. It's like they attempted to do far more and realized it was too much and ignored too much instead of hitting that balance. This unbalancing of development actually reduced Apocalypse's threat factor and the eventual moment where the tide turns as no investment into these horsemen was really established so most of the tension remains with Charles, Eric and Jean alone.

Overall the film is a satisfying and an enjoyable experience that lines up pretty well to the other two entries in this new trilogy and holds its style, pacing and development better than either BvS or Civil War. I state these two because structure wise they are similar with opposite sides trying to convey their ideology on the others with beginnings that jump back and forth between the various plot lines and characters while tying in a larger universe that all intertwines by the end. While overall Civil War is a better story and BvS might have had better action scenes, the cohesion of Apocalypse is what works over the other two along with the pacing and tension.

Keanu (2016)
23 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

To start off, I love me some Key & Peele so this movie was right up my alley. My main concern was could they take their comedy sketches and extend this for a whole movie and in this case they nailed it.

Not only does it have really well done action scenes that are stylized and exaggerated but has little touches of cuteness and comedy within them as well. The comedy extends to every aspect of the film in some ways, even in the more serious moments. There never felt like a wasted or dull moment no matter how over the top it got, the various little sub-plots fit in nicely and everyone was developed enough that you got not only their character but the layers each one had. These are things i typically do not see in most modern comedy films, especially the ones that would be in the same field as Keanu. Even Will Forte also plays his character very well, which is a little surprising for him.

There are so many outstanding moments, so many times the entire audience lost it with a line, a look or a gag and Keanu himself was adorable and everything they had the cat do worked so well it felt 100% natural. The comedy is amazing and the many George Michael references and moments were genius.

As with all films there are flaws in this one, some moments are a little too cliched, some a little too unrealistic, but overall the pros far outweigh the niggling flaws to give one riot of a good time.

He Never Died
He Never Died (2015)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

There are some films that are easily digested and parsed out for their intent and meaning, then there are those that leave you wondering throughout what the real story is, how all the clues add up and leave you wanting more as the credits roll.

He Never Died is the latter film. Henry Rollins plays a loner, a drunk who seems to have unlimited time, funds and wants nothing to do with anyone around him. He has scars on his back that hint to wings (plus the poster) and a manner about him that at first seems like a bad actor not understanding a part but eventually information comes to light that explains everything about the way he is. There are a few relationships of sorts that propel one side of his story while his darker nature drives another story and as the two meet blood pours.

The film itself never fully answers anything, it gives you exactly what you need to know to understand but leaves the rest alone and for some that might be infuriating but for me it was brilliant. Rollins was amazing in this, playing the character to perfection without break or fault. The effects were top notch and the pacing left you constantly wondering not only who he was, but what he could do and what would happen next. It does start a little slow and stilted until you adjust to it's flow and enjoy the ride.