Monday, December 4, 2017
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Just letting you guys know that I'm done being a writer. I love writing, but my true calling is keep Earth safe from E.T. and his other pernicious buddies. I've been searching for my calling and it turns out NASA is looking for an officer in charge of protecting our planet from extraterrestrial threats. THEY'RE LOOKING FOR ME!! I'VE FINALLY FOUND WHERE I BELONG!!
Plus, it pays a lot better than my current gig...
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
I'm too lazy to write a full review of Atomic Blonde, so here's a "skinny review" (I'm so clever...)
Atomic Blonde is a breath of fresh air at a time when violent yet bloodless franchise actioners targeted at rule the day. It's the kind of movie where when someone onscreen get decked, the folks in the audience feel it. It feels like a life and death struggle, instead of endless pixel piles punching pixel piles. And I loved it.
The cast is awesome. Charlize Theron is hard frakkin' core. She smulders with sex and violence and says so much with her eyes, you almost don't need dialogue. James McAvoy is equally awesome. John Goodman and Eddie Marsan (you may not know his name, but I bet you know his face) are also rock-solid. And this is the most acting I've ever seen Sophia Boutella do, and for the most part, she pulls it off.
This movie is more of a cat and mouse chase movie than I was expecting, which is fine by me. The action scenes are like blood-drenched dance numbers. Busby Berkley would be proud. But when people get hit the get HIT. There's a scene involving a staircase that was intense enough that it left me feeling like I just got dropped down an elevator shaft. That good action filmmaking.
The action in this movie pulses to a soundtrack chock full of classic 1980s pop songs. Some of these songs I haven't heard in YEARS. That adds another layer of enjoyment to the proceedings. Watching people beat the crap outta each other to tunes by Duran Duran, 'Til Tuesday and Joy Division is just about perfection.
Flaws? The biggest flaw is the convoluted plot that outsmarts itself. You can see the ending coming by about 45 minutes into the movie. And some of the stylistic choices made by director David Leitch are a little too far over the top. When you get popped out of the story because of how the camera is moving, that's a result of bad filmmaking.
That said, it is sooooo nice to see a movie where you can see the director's fingerprints on a film, and it's something we're losing in this movie landscape of cinematic universes and massive franchises. I'd much rather watch a movie like this or Baby Driver, movies where the filmmaker's personality ends up on screen, than War for the Planet of the Apes, where director Matt Reeves tells a good story, but that's as far as it goes.
Anyway, Atomic Blonde is fuckin' awesome, and it's a terrific antidote to the massive movie franchises. The action is raw and intense. The movie has style for days. The cast kicks ass. If you're looking for a good time at the movies, and you're not into Marvel, D.C., or sequel/prequel/remake/reboots in general, check this movie out. It could be exactly what you're looking for.
Monday, July 3, 2017
I went to film school during the height of the indie film movement in the 90s, so you'd think my favorite movie would be something classy or artistic. Like something from Kurosawa, Herzog, or Paul Thomas Anderson. You would be wrong.
My favorite movie of all time is The Blues Brothers, a silly comedic musical spun off from a Saturday Night Live sketch. The one-liners! The car chases! The music! Dude, the MUSIC!
I've seen a lot of musicals, and even the best of them seldom seamlessly combine the music and the rest of the story. Blues Brothers was the first movie I can remember where music felt like a part of the story as a whole. It bounced along to its classic blues and R&B soundtrack. It's like the movie WAS music.
I bring that up because I just saw Baby Driver and it was chock full of that same feeling. Baby Driver pulses, almost breathes, to the rhythm of its soundtrack. It's not just the music that's playing as protagonist Baby (Ansel Elgort) spins the wheel of his getaway car, it's part of his thought process.
Baby Driver introduces us to its title character (Elgort) as he's closing in on paying off a debt he owes to his boss, Doc (Kevin Spacey). He also meet Debra (Lily James) and is quickly smitten. Baby and Lily plan to get away from their lives and start new, but when you're good at crime, it's not so easy to get away from it. Drawn back into Doc's gang for once again, Baby plans to get free from Doc and his gang for good.
There's no denying Baby Driver is an Edgar Wright flick. He's subdued his usual kinetic camera style, although he still has some amazing shots. Wright is also the king of fantastic scene transitions. His mastery of editing stands out even more amidst incompetently hacked-together shit like Suicide Squad and Tom Cruise Mummy movie.
Wright fuses his camera moves to the music on the soundtrack, and it works so well the camera almost looks like it's dancing. His car chase scenes move and have an energetic feel without suffering from an overabundance of shaky camera and Michael Bay-like chaos. You always understand what's going on and who's involved.
And the writing is stellar. The dialogue is far more catchy and witty than the way everyday people talk, buy it doesn't cross the line of being full-on cheese. Each character has a unique voice and that helps boost the performances even higher. Elgort and James have a palpable chemistry. Spacey, Jon Hamm and Eiza Gonzalez are great in their roles.
But it's Jamie Foxx who steals the show. He's menacing, hateful and hilarious. I haven't dug a Foxx performance this much since he was Motherfucker Jones in the first Horrible Bosses flick. And his comeuppance scene is the best, most-satisfying comeuppance scene in recent movie-dom.
I LOVED this fuckin' movie. It's my favorite movie of the year so far. That includes stuff like Logan and Wonder Woman. It was the perfect fusion of art and violence, speed and wit, writing and action. It made me laugh, dropped my jaw to the floor and tugged at my heartstrings. I sincerely doubt I'll see anything I like better the rest of the year.
Now, time to crank up the tunes and go for a drive! PEACE!!
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Let's get the big thing out of the way right off the bat. Logan, the final movie starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, is good. Really good. Really, really fucking good. I'd go so far as to say it's the best X-flick to date. Yes, that includes Deadpool. You're fucking A right I said it.
Logan finds its titular protagonist close to the bottom of the barrel. The X-Men are long gone, and Logan's sole purpose is serving as a caretaker for the rapidly deteriorating Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart, of course). Which is ironic, since Logan's badly deteriorating himself, sick, tortured and trying in vain to drink away his pain.
Logan's relative equilibrium is shattered when a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) enters his life. Logan takes Laura and Prof. X on the run from a band of well-armed assholes with bad intentions. The goal is to reach a safe place where Laura doesn't have to live in fear. The pursuit is filled with bloody action set pieces and a lot of Logan struggling against his fate and what's left of his better nature.
I won't lie. Logan was hard to watch. Not only do you kinda know where things are headed from the first frame, but it straight-up SUCKS seeing Logan and Xavier as shells of their former selves. The dread builds as Logan progresses toward his fate and all you can do is watch and hope.
And yet that also leads us to the best thing about Logan: It has genuine emotional weight. It affected my emotional state in a way no other superhero movie ever has. It addresses issues like losing your capabilities as you age and what happens when you're broken and you have no clue how to put yourself back together. That's heavy shit that I deal with every day and can totally relate to. And because it has genuine emotional heft, Logan satisfies in a way no other comic book movie can.
That said, Logan isn't the most fun movie to watch. I mean, it's pretty fun watching motherfuckers getting shredded like cheese. But it's not a cool action-filled romp like most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe flicks. It's not a symphony of dick jokes and superhero movie deconstruction, like Deadpool. But, while I've enjoyed all those movies, they haven't had me examining my own life the way Logan did. I wasn't expecting that heading into it, but I really think I needed that.
I'm not gonna break down the writing or the directing, both of which are more than good enough to get the job done. I will say that both Stewart and especially Jackman give two of the best performances I've ever seen them give. I hope they somehow get recognized for their work in Logan. It's exceedingly powerful stuff.
I was a teary-eyed mess by the time Logan ended. Admittedly, part of that came from knowing I don't get to see Jackman and Stewart playing Wolvie and Prof. X anymore. But Logan is a powerful, emotive story that might make you think if you're not careful. I can't recommend this movie enough. If you have any interest in seeing Logan, get your asses to the theater as soon as humanly possible.