Bad Boys for Life
I Am Not Okay with This
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Everyone has that movie that traumatized them as a child but didn't really affect anyone else. For me, that was Raiders of the Lost Ark (and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but that's another story). It's the snakes really that did it, and godamn that snake scene near the end is still difficult for me to watch. Beyond that though, it's a shame it took me so long to give this film another look, because it's really a perfect adventure film. Not an action film (though there is action in it) but an adventure film. That's a genre we don't really see a lot anymore, and it's a real shame. There is such a spirit of fun and adventure to this whole movie that, besides the snakes, it's a real joy to watch. It's also got a great sense of tension. During the opening scene with Indy's famous escape from the temple and the giant boulder, I was genuinely tensed up and worried for him. Think about that, that's crazy. I've seen this movie before and know he survives, it's only 15 minutes in the movie so logically he'd have to survive, and he's got sequels with an older Indy so he must survive. There's no reason why I should be tense and worried, but I was so caught up in the moment that I genuinely was. It's moments like that which show why Spielberg is a masterful director. Other than the snakes, my gripes with the film are minor. I didn't love the female lead, and despite many scenes of her being tough and confident there were still some damsel and distress scenes that were kind of annoying, but that's really a nitpick and kind of fits with the overall tone and style the movie was going for. So despite my childhood trauma, it's really a great film, practically perfect. But those snakes…I just can't get past them.
With the exception maybe of TV's Skins, I've never seen a portrayal of High School that shows how high school probably actually was, but John Hughes' films at least find a way to capture the way high school felt, and the way we thought it was. The scenarios and personalities are exaggerated, but they're still genuine.
Pretty in Pink isn't one of his best, but it's an adequate entry into his filmography. I don't think he was the best at romance, and since this is a love story at its core, that's a slight issue. The male romantic lead is kinda' bland, and Jon Cryer as Duckie is charming and at times extremely funny, but his role as the obsessed best friend doesn't come off as charming as it maybe once did in a post Not Another Teen Movie world.
Pretty in Pink gets a passing grade on the John Hughes scale. It's still much better and more honest than most high school, but it's certainly not his greatest entry. That doesn't make it a bad movie though, in fact it makes it a good movie, just not a great one maybe.
Ultimately an inferior sequel going bigger on the King without going all out. While the first film was a fun, but flawed sort of Goonies horror tale that took a very narrow part of the book, this one tries to have it's cake and eat it too picking up the leftover parts of the first film with abundant flashbacks and overreliance on the source material but never going all out with the most wacky parts of King's original source material. Its results are a mixed bag. The flashbacks don't quite work, because they grind the movie and lack tension because we already know who lives. The newer stuff is better, but for an almost three hour movie they're so afraid to go that deep into the mythology of It for fear of alienating audiences so they give a very filtered version of the story and overreliance on cheap jump scares. That being said, is the movie fun?...yeah, yeah it's still a lot of fun. Honestly I didn't even notice the runtime that much, it's just fun. It's like a haunted house at an amusement park, you ultimately know you're safe, it's not really that scary, but while you're in there you are having a good time with the weird creativity of it. Most of the cast does a good job as the adult version of the kids from the original, especially Bill Hader who is just hilarious, and the final 40 minutes are so bats*** insane I'd be lying if I said I didn't kind of love it. But then the ultimate climax with It is kind of a disappointment. I'm not talking about his final form, no spoilers, but if you've seen the TV special or read the book, yeah they keep that. No I'm talking about how they ultimately confront It. I get the message, but it felt like a cheap out to me, and really anticlimactic after all we'd been through in an ultimately 5 hour journey. It wasn't enough to ruin what was ultimately a fun, if not flawed, horror film.
I'm not really one of those guys who gets super into war stuff, with one exception: World War I. Another thing about me, I adore long takes in movies. So 1917, a WWI movie designed to look like it was shot all in one-take, how was I not going to love this thing? It's a very simple story, basically two-guys have to get a message to a place otherwise a lot of people will die. Simple, but effective. Interestingly as well, we really don't know a lot about either of these guys either. Funny thing though, it wasn't until we learned a tiny bit about one of them in the final shots that I even realized this. We still become attached to them in their journey. Perhaps because they're all we have, and we're stuck with them, just as they're stuck with each other. That's not to say there isn't character, there is, but it's just told in a unique way, a way that feels genuine to the wartime setting. It's an unusual form of narrative, and it surprisingly works. On top of that, godamn is this film gorgeous! Every frame is just littered with beauty. Horrible imagery often, but glorious to look it. Takes your breath away in horror and awe all at once. One of the best war films I've ever seen.
Continues a wining-ish streak for DC with a pretty solid film that is at the very least WAY better than Suicide Squad. It's messy as hell, at times crassly mean-spirited, and mostly not that funny, but for the most part it's still a great deal of fun. Harley is still a fun character, and this version of her that is more than just an oversexualized girlfriend of the Joker is a much more interesting character to follow. Her girl gang and resentful breakup is also just a very human story. Yeah it was done better in the animated series currently on DC Universe, but still, this one is fun. The other Birds are pretty good, especially Huntress, but this really is Harley's show, and she's good. I do have to give love to Ewan McGregor as Black Mask. Yeah he's done villains before, but good god, this is one helluva villain. I love the character Black Mask, and he absolutely nails the character. Charming, funny, completely psychotic, I was a happy geek watching him on screen. Not to mention McGregor is clearly having a ball in the roll, and that energy does pass on to you. Overall though Birds of Prey is a mess. It's plot is basically Snatch but not as good, and it's attitude is aggressive, but god damn does it ever have an attitude. It has an identity, a style, and a look I can't deny, and I will admit it was pretty fun. It's got some solid performances, characters I wanted to see, and a solid style. It's a wild swing, and while it doesn't totally nail it, I admire it's ambition.
It's the Breaking Bad movie we didn't know we needed but after seeing it I can say yeah we kinda did. Picking up literally seconds after the finale, it gives closure on a character who never really got closure. There's some callbacks and fanservice, but it's allowed. Really my biggest complaint is I would have rather seen this as a miniseries than a movie, that it's a 2-hour movie means things do sometimes feel a smidge rushed, especially in the beginning when we see Jesse go from totally shellshocked to determined. I believe the journey, it just happens a little fast. Other than that, this is totally a Breaking Bad story, and a great one. It's beautifully done, and I didn't realize how much I wanted to see this characters journey end until I got it.
I really wasn't looking forward to this movie, and in the end result here it's really not high art or anything, but I'll admit it was actually a good deal of fun. It's not strictly the Sonic story we know, but in all honesty Sonic's story has always been weird and all over the place, and this does still have the right elements. It's got his attitude, it's got robots, hell it's got a surprising number of references to the games even down to the way he finally beats Robotnik. And yeah speaking of Robotnik, this is classic 90s Jim Carrey here and he hasn't missed a beat, it's a lot of fun. Sonic's a fun character, his new design is incredibly charming, the action scenes are standard but creative, and it's surprisingly funny. It's about as good a Sonic movie I could want right now, and based on that end credits stinger I do kinda' want more now.
An at times charming and wonderous movie, but all too often a movie that just survives on strangeness and lack of explanation. The weird thing is it overexplains some things, but then other things it never bothers to explain. Why penguins for one? Why is any of this really happening? Never explained, and while it's arguably not important, the movie put a lot of attention this investigation so the lack of answers and overwhelming weirdness of it makes the unresolved element kind of frustrating. It's an overall cute movie, and a nice coming of age story, and often it's beautiful with strong emotions in the right place. Other times though, it's just strange to be strange and even weirdly crass. I don't know, I love penguins, but this one just felt a little off to me.
I don't really get why this movie is getting as much praise as it is, but also I guess I kind of do? I mean, for me, as an adult viewer, it really held very little value, and I don't see the value it holds for other adult viewers. That honestly baffles me. However, for kids, it's a pretty well constructed movie. It's odd because I can watch it and say yes, this is a good movie, just absolutely not one made for me. That's more than I can say for the first one though. I mean if I had kids, and they wanted to see it, sure I'd show it to them, but I'd probably want them to skip the first one which is straight up garbage. So that's progress I guess, but it's still not a movie for me.
Adding to the list of films like Prairie Home Companion and Angry Video Game Nerd on the list of things turned into movies that were really never meant to be movies, BTF surprisingly works. Essentially it's a road movie, and I like road movies, and it has a distinct sense of humor that borders on surreal while never breaking completely into fantasy. It's shockingly funny too. Not just the Ferns segments, which maintain the web series' style, but the surrounding road segments as well. Will Ferrell as a coked up executive version of himself was especially great. It keeps to Ferns humor and it's hilarious.
A movie I've had to sit on for several days and I think I'll have to sit on even longer. Controversial, dangerous, these are words thrown around a lot with this movie. I guess I see why, but maybe not for the right reason. It's asking questions, but a lot of people are getting the wrong thing out of those questions. Are they questions that have been asked before? Have they been asked in a similar way? Sure, but maybe not in this climate and certainly not with this character, and that's what makes it different. Without going too deep into my own theories, the biggest thing I got out of it is "help people". There were so many points where this slow-motion car crash could have been stopped, but it didn't. Another thing is, how much are other people to blame? These are interesting questions, and what makes it more interesting is knowing this character and where he ends up. As to the violence, none of the violence is particularly over the top in a Deadpool or Michael Bay sort of way, but that's sort of what makes it more uncomfortable. It's grounded and unnerving. It's also very Joker-ish, with some scenes that are weirdly playful in a bizarre way where you don't really know what he's going to do. This was a unique direction to take this character, and Joaquin Phoenix kills it as Arthur/Joker with a empathic psychopath. It's a thoughtful but uncomfortable feel-bad sort of movie I'm still thinking about and really want to talk about. I don't get that sort of movie often enough.
Godamn what happened to these movies. Starting with low rent Point Break we're now at a movie that honestly I wouldn't be surprised if this started out as a script for G.I. Joe 3. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just be prepared, it's ridiculous, on par with the level of insanity we see in most superhero movies these days. The problems that arise there is there are some prolonged sequences that are so riddled with CGI is basically watching a cartoon or a video game cutscene. Now, I like cartoons, hell I even like some video game cutscenes, but with those there's a consistency in knowing what you're getting compared to the rest of the product. Here, the movie's really at it's best when the effects stay real and even a little more grounded. They can still be ridiculous over-the-top fun, but once it becomes a cartoon it started to lose me. That being said, the action in this is still a helluva lot of fun, and Idris Elba makes good villain. The final sequence of old tech vs new tech is genuinely great, and unlike anything I've see in one of these Fast movies before. And yeah, the dynamic of Hobbs and Shaw is a lot of fun, playing off the toxic alpha personalities the two of them both possess. It's not the best of the F&F films, but it's a solid entry in ridiculousness.
Pretty much a perfect saga here. My only real issues with Toy Story 4 are that it could have been funnier, a lot of the other characters are sidelined for Woody and Bo's story, and how it's ultimately kind of unnecessary. But even these issues I can kind of justify. It's more about the emotions than the comedy, the story really is Woody's story, and despite being unnecessary it does take the Toy Story story into a new direction. It visits a lot of familiar territory, but does so in some new ways. The villain for example does not have your standard Toy Story villain ending, and without diving too deep into spoilers it's kind of a tearjerker. And yes the whole thing is a tearjerker. The return of Bo Peep I found an interesting choice, but she wasn't the most dynamic character in the first two films. Here, they expand on her a lot while still keeping the essence of her character, and she becomes on of the most interesting characters in this whole franchise through her arc. And yeah that ending, it broke me, honestly I was holding it together fine but there is a line from Buzz that comes at the end that if you're not crying yet, you will. Toy Story 4 doesn't quite feel as polished as some other Pixar films, but it's still an incredibly solid film with characters we love and some new ones that are a lot of fun. I haven't even talked about Forky, he's a spectacular new entry. It's not a part of the story I wanted, but now that it's here I'm glad I got it. It's got all the heart and beauty and enough of the comedy to be a worthy entry in this franchise.
A film with a fun high concept but it's focus in the wrong place, Yesterday is charming enough, but ultimately disappointing. It's not a bad movie per se, but it's just not a very good movie. The idea presents a lot of fun concepts. One direction you could go is full fantasy and explore how this parallel world came to be, but the film ultimately ignores that entirely despite giving weird hints here and there that seem to go nowhere. You could go into what this means for the explosion of fame, the ideas of how the music industry has changed from when The Beatles exploded to now, and at the films best moments it does this and it can be interesting. In the end what the movie is really interested in doing is using this really fun concept to tell another boring love story. Lilly James is charming as all hell, but she's playing a character that just isn't interesting and her motivations are either boring tropes or borderline appalling. The first half of the movie I was kind of into it, but when it became clear any intrigue into the world of fame was going to be sidelined for blind praising of The Beatles and a boring love story, the movie lost me. I didn't hate it. It still has a certain charm to it, but ultimately it's just a lot of missed potential.
An apparently controversial ending to the Skywalker saga, I'm curious how this film will age. Afterall, we forget but Return of the Jedi was not well liked when it first came out. In any case, what did I think? Honestly, I really liked it. Yes, I've heard the criticism about the cleanup of The Last Jedi and the fetch quest stuff and "that" kiss and while I do agree that these are problems, they never ruined the movie for me. Honestly some of the things that ruined the movie for other people I kinda' liked. The idea that the Emperor has been in the shadows and has even created some of the villains of the previous movies I actually really dug. Partly just because it's great to see Ian McDiarmid back on screen, but also having an overarching villain for all 9 movies I kinda' like. I like the banter of the characters. Some people say they argue, but honestly I think this is just how friends talk in tense situations and having been with friends in tense situations it felt familiar. And then there's the action, holy crap, this is some of the best Star Wars action I've ever seen. During the final confrontation there was honestly a point where I was whispering to myself "go, go!" for a character to get to a place, and even though I knew from a narrative standpoint of course they would get there, I still felt uncertain. I was never bored by the movie, in its action or in its character moments. The character turns we get feel strong and natural, and at times even moving. In the end it's not a perfect end because I don't think this whole thing was mapped out as well as it could have been. But as it is, honestly, I actually loved it.
Similar to what Rian Johnson did for Brick he's now doing for the whodunit genre. Knives Out is really a classic story of it's kind set in modern day with Daniel Craig even playing a very clear Hercule Poirot type character. There's a bit more humor and self-awareness than a lot of those classic stories, but never to the degree that it takes away from the twists and the mysteries. And there are some good twists. In fact one of the biggest mysteries is revealed midway through the movie which actually led me to check the time thinking "damn, are we near the end already?" but nope, they were just taking the movie on a left turn to Albuquerque that I did not anticipate and changed the course of the whole thing. Johnson has constructed a great mystery in the spirit of the classics. The fun of it too is how many twists there are without it ever feeling overdone. In that way also you can predict a few twists, but not another, so have fun feeling smart and still feel surprised by the others. It's just a classic fun film of its type.
It's hard to give to much of a review of this one, it's just an aggressively likable Christmas movie. Telling a bit of an origin story to the mythos of Santa Claus through the eyes of a mailman, it's a movie that's at times very funny but usually just incredible charming. If it has a choice between a charming character moment or a big laugh, it'll go for the charm, and that's okay. It makes a very sweet movie that never feels saccharine, but just right. Oh and did I mention it's beautiful? Because holy crap this animation is gorgeous. If I had a complaint it'd be that there's a couple pop song moments that don't quite fit in which almost feels inescapable in an animated film these days, but the biggest thing is that in the third act we get one of those "liar revealed" tropes. It's an annoying trope and I hate it, but fortunately it doesn't last very long and admittedly it does propel the film towards its final message which is a good one. Other than that, I think we could have a Christmas classic on our hands here.
Weird thing is when I first saw this movie I hated it, but over time I kept thinking about it. I eventually decided to give it another shot and…yeah I don't know if it just caught me off-guard the first time but I quite liked it the second time. One of the best of the critters on the run entry, and I do like it's slow-burn of turning from charming family Christmas movie to straight up horror movie by the end. It's not an abrupt turn exactly either like From Dusk Till Dawn, it's a bit more gradual, but by the end it's clear the turn has happened. There's a lot of weird stuff and pointless scenes, but those are still part of the charm of it all. I don't think I'll ever be a fanboy like some but for what it is, it's a good time.
This movie wasn't really what I expected it to be. If you're anticipating something on the level of Krampus or other American Christmas horror entries, it's not really that. It is definitely a darker take on Christmas, but it does so with a much cheekier edge. It's a slow-burn movie, more character driven, and based on ideas and storytelling moreso than outlandish imagery and effects. That said, there's some pretty insane stuff near the end, but a lot of this movie is the characters learning the legend and figuring out what's going on for themselves. For that, it still works for me. I enjoyed the characters, and even though I knew what they were going to discover how they discovered it was still fun to watch. It's a weird little film.
I guess this is Michael Bay unleashed. It's been called the Bay-iest Michael Bay movie and…yeah, that tracks. As an action movie, it's actually a helluva' lot of fun. Honestly, even by Michael Bay standards, it's kinda…good? Don't get me wrong, it's over the top and ridiculous as all hell, but unlike the worst of Michael Bay there is a great deal that remains practical, they actually keep it at a reasonable runtime (2 hours rather than 3!), and they mix up the action so you never get bored of one type of thing happening. It almost feels like Michael Bay used all he learned from those s***y transformer sequels to actually make a good movie here. Unfortunately, the story is where he hasn't learned much. The basic premise we get is fine. Despite being both outlandish and bare-bones, I still want to see them succeed. The problem is in how it's told. Oftentimes it will jump around in how the team got together and with Bay's cocaine-fueled directing style this out-of-order narrative becomes a little disorienting. It also tries to have something of a bigger message about our current state of the world and dictators. Not a bad idea per se, I'm just not sure this is the movie to do it in. Still, it's a fun movie. It's surprisingly restrained in all the bad things about Bay but goes full force in the fun stuff.