Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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An imperfect yet fascinating adaptation of a literary classic. It mixes together biographical elements of Burrough's life and characters, scenes and passages from Naked Lunch to create a fantastical fictionalized account of Burrough's journey to writing the famed novel. Directed by David Cronenberg, this movie is a disorienting, disgusting, disturbing, surreal, junk-fueled nightmare. It's nowhere near as superb as the novel is, but is still worth a watch (as long as you've read Naked Lunch FIRST). You'll never look at the art of writing the same way again.
One of the most under-appreciated films of 2019. It's expansive, large, and epic yet also small, intimate, personal, and moving, Pitt is stellar (no pun intended). The film acts as a space adventure, an intriguing mystery, and a character study (It places us directly in Pitt's characters' head space. There is A LOT of voice-over narration, but I never found it bothersome). The cinematography is gorgeous and striking, the action scenes are tense and thrilling (yet different from most action scenes we get today). The film also has some great messages and themes. Certainly one of the best of 2019.
The film should have either been released in theaters as a 3 hour plus experience, or on Netflix as a 3 part mini-series, with each part running an hour 30. The Irishman is a great gangster/mob/mafia film, and I like that one of its themes is how living this kind of life only ends up screwing you over in the long run (Everyone involved liver terribly ever after). The de-aging is subtle, and effective....it never draws attention to itself (though I still think Captain Marvel did it better). Pesci, De Niro, and Pacino are all great (with my favorite being Pacino), though I don't think any of the performances are Oscar caliber. I loved the opening shot inside a nursing home. The costume design and production design are fantastic (film might win for production design). Scorcese is a great director, but he's certainly done far better films than this (and there are better gang/mob/mafia films than this). Irishman is undeniably a well-made, well directed and well acted film, but personally I wouldn't put it on the best films of 2019 list. Then again, there aren't many gangster/mob/mafia films that I love, so it likely just wasn't made for me. Those that enjoy this kind of thing though will find lots to love here.
Well, at least this remake is trying to be a Black Christmas movie, and it does attempt some different things with middling results. It's certainly very stylistic, and it feels more like a bottle film. Most of the film takes place in the house, and it feels quite claustrophobic. It also tries to create an origin story for Billy and Agnes, but it just doesn't feel right and doesn't work. There is a lot of blood and gore in this remake, but the kills aren't memorable or creative (Plus, you don't see much. This is a film where they use the bag-over-the-head from the original 6 times!). Our leads are forgettable, interchangeable and bland as well (I had trouble remembering their names), not to mention it never feels like we really have a main character here. (Maybe Billy and Agnes, but they are villains). The villain design is very weak, it looks like Billy and Agnes are wearing masks most of the time (although they aren't supposed to be). It doesn't help that Billy isn't in this much, for most of the film Agnes is the one doing the killing. Billy does get a great entrance near the end though. In the end, Black X-Mas (2006) is a bad film, but it is entertaining (to a degree) and at least it's trying. It's a well-meaning but heavily flawed horror flick.