Brittany Runs a Marathon
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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With a stellar ensemble cast that reunites Gyllenhaal and Russo in a quirky, off-beat drama, Velvet Buzzsaw tries too hard to be what it isn't and fails at being what it could have been. With tongue firmly in cheek, the writing is both the protagonist and antagonist in this disorganized chaos of superficial artifice. Smart dialogue and tight pacing give way to an aimless narrative that seems more meta than meat. I found myself rooting for the story to progress, much as you do the underdog in a scrappy coming-of-age film - though, in this case, even the impressive cast lacks the chemistry of a few oversexed, bumbling, fumbling teens. This is not a horror film. Predictable and witless masquerade as clever and inventive horror sequences. The characters run around like tiny mice searching for cheese and pretending to look timid. For all if the trappings and world-building, "Velvet Buzzsaw" is a quasi cat-and-mouse caper where Schrodinger cuts a whole in the box instead of opening the lid; what you feel when you reach inside is anything but the promised puss. "Shafted" may be a more appropriate title. Skip it.
Plodding and uneventful storytelling cannot be saved even with sight gags and startles.
"31" has all the elements of a gore-fest classic: great direction from veteran of the genre, Rob Zombie; the most solid performance from Richard Brake in his entire career; a script full of low-budget gags that are executed expertly to reveal maximum carnage without looking comically bad. The film has all of the elements of an epic horror film but somehow misses the mark. The script includes the requisite sexual innuendos, foul language and gritty atmosphere that we have come to expect from the Zombie brand. It isn't until the halfway mark, however, that "31" starts the buy-in from the audience. The small band of unsympathetic carnival workers are wholly disposable throughout the first act. When we see the characters show empathy for others we begin to see their humanity and root for their survival. The industrial/circus settings couple well with gonzo-style camera work to throw viewers off balance. Much can be forgiven of "31" by fans of gore. The groan-inducing one-liners of the killers are just clever enough that they could be uttered by some emo-teen-gone-wrong; the carelessness of some of the characters during the kill scenes also lends credence to some sticky plot points - namely, how such a group of psychopaths could have found each other at all. Overall, "31" delivers as promised despite a less-than-epic script. It could have been more, but in the end, it's not too bad at all. A true cult classic.
An instant classic; one of the best films of all time. With superb scripting, directing and acting "Darkest Hour" is to film what a Dickens novel is to literature. Destined to be included among the best received films ever produced, "Darkest Hour" provides a sweeping and engrossing glimpse at one of history's most storied moments. By turns timely and timeless, we are invited to explore the life and mind of a statesmen of monumental influence. Far from being stale or out-of-touch, Oldman deftly breaths life into this towering figure in a way that makes him human and accessible. With support from a stellar cast and paced to deliver maximum impact, the script beckons to the audience to engage with it in a way that few films have since Attenborough's "Gandhi."
While not worth despising, it's a film that does not engender anything more than a passing consideration on a lazy, rainy Sunday afternoon. "A Quiet Place" reveals the monster early-on, and, to me, that's not it's most egregious sin. Cleverly conceived, well-acted and unapologetic in its embrace of genre, the writing and pacing should have been intelligent and brisk. Instead, what we receive is a meandering, plodding, 90-minute tale filled with so many plot-holes and cheap gimmicks that viewers are left unfulfilled. It is a lackluster smörgåsbord of cinematic tropes and gimmicks that would have been better served in one of the many brooding, predictable slasher films that lovingly populate the shelves of horror fans everywhere. Fans of the creature genre will be underwhelmed; fans of horror will be left wanting more. The film seeks to innovate its way into our hearts but the decent directing from Krasinski and cast work, from Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds, in particular, do nothing to save a mediocre script and inconsistent application of in-world rules and standards. Watch it on television when you're stuck in the house one weekend, otherwise choose a better scripted, or at least more fun, film like 1990's "Arachnophobia" or the classic "Alien."