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BradWesley123's Movie Journal- March 2017

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March 1st


Netflix- 1hr. 37min.
First Viewing
At times it goes for a strangeness that seems a bit forced, but I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore. is a mostly fun, darkly-comedic thriller that draws most of it's power from the performances of its leads Lynskey and Wood. It does start a bit slow, and the middle is a bit doughy, but the last act and certain sections are strong enough to recommend.
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March 3rd


DVD- 1hr. 53min.
First Viewing
It's a bit bland at times, and the material it's going over is pretty tired at this point, but Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is a suitable tribute to the troops, as well as solid tale about responsibility. The high resolution wasn't much of an issue, especially since I saw it on DVD, but there is, at times, a bit of a disappointing flatness to the frame, and the story isn't a lot to write home about, but Lee's handling of it, and his maneuvering of a superb cast, especially newcomer Alwyn, make this a worthwhile viewing.
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March 4th

People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 5.8
Dreamland (2016)

Netflix- 1hr. 29min.
First Viewing
Dreamland is a pretty conventional indie, but it's made with enough style and depth that it (mostly) offsets that. The cast is strong and the writing is decent, but's its the score that really steals the movie. Had it not been for the winner below, it would've taken this month's music award. On the story level, Simmons' story (or the lead story) works quite well, but the story involving Frankie Shaw feels completely underwritten, to the point where it just wastes time. Good, occasionally has glimmers of something more, but not great.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Supporting Actress- Amy Landecker
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People who added this item 423 Average listal rating (280 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5

DVD- 1hr. 56min.
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March 5th

People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.3
Little Sister (2016)

Netflix- 1hr. 31min.
First Viewing
Another movie littered with classic indie-flick tropes, Little Sister side-steps those issues with a lived-in authenticity that grounds the picture, even when it veers towards exceptional oddity. The film is basically handed over to the lead character, and Addison Timlin does a great job carrying the film. It does tip-over a bit towards the end, but its charming enough to forgive its issues.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Makeup
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People who added this item 96 Average listal rating (68 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.9

DVD- 1hr. 45min.
First Viewing
More bland than outright bad; Keeping Up with the Joneses is more fun when it lets it's cast play around. Outside of Gadot, who isn't so much bad as she is underused, the cast does pretty well, but they're given some really poor material. It does get better towards the end, but by that point so little has happened that it can't make up for the rest of the film.
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People who added this item 104 Average listal rating (66 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.8
Masterminds (2016)

DVD- 1hr. 34min.
First Viewing
When it isn't absurd for absurdity's sake, Masterminds mines some solid laughs from its strong cast and oddball energy. The problems mainly stem from the script, that makes its characters so stupid that, even for a comedy, its difficult to take the situations. Other times, that animated mentality does work, but this is mostly due to the cast's strengths.
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March 6th

People who added this item 76 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
The Take (2016)

DVD- 1hr. 32min.
First Viewing
The Take, or Bastille Day, doesn't really have anything that would differentiate it from any of the glut of low-grade action flicks that you see going straight to DVD or streaming. There are a couple of action sequences that work, including the last scene, and Elba is solid, but this isn't a necessary viewing.
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March 7th

People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5

Showtime- 1hr. 29min.
First Viewing
While I wasn't always the biggest fan of the film's wonky tone, nor some of the odd stylistic touches, Bang Bang Baby is never less than an interesting oddity. It's not a genuine success, but I respected what the film was trying to do. That doesn't forgive the clunky storytelling, but the film's ultimate aim does clarify it. It's a mixed bag, but at least it's got more going on than meets the eye.
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March 8th

People who added this item 230 Average listal rating (133 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Snowden (2016)

DVD- 2hrs. 15min.
First Viewing
There are some strong moments in the film, thanks to (most) of the cast and the story's inherent intrigue, but Stone won't stop deifying Snowden, to the point of cloying mawkishness. The script is, also, about as blunt and one-note as most of Stone's oeuvre, but lacking his usual chaotic energy. Okay, but Snowden's story really could've made for a more intriguing film than this.
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March 9th

People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (9 ratings) 4.8 IMDB Rating 5.2

DVD- 1hrs. 10min.
First Viewing
The absurdity is light, but often enough to make the film a pleasant little diversion. Unfortunately, the end is so abrupt that all of the enjoyable aspects of the film feel shortchanged. Had the film had gone on another twenty minutes or so, there may have been more room to close things out.
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March 10th

People who added this item 36 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.2

Hulu- 1hr. 53min.
First Viewing
There are some solid genre delights to be had from the film's neo-noir story, but Manhattan Night too anonymously made to hit noirish sweet spots and too spottily plotted to work as a good mystery. The cast is good; Strahovski shines brightest in an archetype role, though Brody comes on too strong at times. The biggest problem is the script; littered with contrivances and cliches, it fails a pretty decent setup.
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March 11th

People who added this item 349 Average listal rating (247 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.4

VHS- 2hrs. 13min.
First Viewing
It's Die Hard on a plane, but Executive Decision is also fairly fun, and gets better as it goes along. It's not a particularly good film, but's its a reasonably entertaining and well-made 90s action movie; maybe that's enough.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Editing- Stuart Baird, Derek G. Brechin, Dallas Puett, Kevin Stitt, Frank J. Urioste
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People who added this item 2189 Average listal rating (1537 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.4
The Rock (1996)

DVD- 2hrs. 16min.
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March 12th

People who added this item 41 Average listal rating (27 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6
iBoy (2017)

Netflix- 1hr. 30min.
First Viewing
A movie as goofy as iBoy should not be so damn glum. It's about a kid that has a digital mind, and somehow focuses on drugs, rape (of a teenager), and other depressing adolescent difficulties. The cast is strong, and its relatively well-made, but the tone just doesn't work. It zaps most of the life out of the film.
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People who added this item 27 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.3

DVD- 1hr. 48min.
First Viewing
The 9th Life of Louis Drax is an oddly made film. At times, it brims with potential and humanity, and it does get better as it goes along. The trouble is, the story feels off; it points our emotions in so many directions, and doesn't fully commit to any of them (nor set a tone) while straining as many interesting plot points as possible. While I lean more towards the positive (there's enough solid storytelling and great acting to forgive its many faults), I could easily see why reaction is mixed. It's just okay.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Adapted Screenplay- Max Minghella
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People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (24 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.8

DVD- 1hr. 32min.
First Viewing
Don't Think Twice is a bittersweet dramedy that examines friendship, success, and the passing of time. With deft writing, full of great characterizations and subtle touches, and an excellent ensemble cast, the film rings true on several fronts. It's an engrossing film that's only real flaw is that not every cast member gets a whole lot to do; otherwise, its very good.
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March 13th

People who added this item 28 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.9

DVD- 1hr. 39min.
First Viewing
A weird tonal mishmash of crime drama and father-son bonding; Trespass Against Us works more than it should, thanks to a strong cast trying to make sense of the story. It gets so dark at times, but ends on such an oddly uplifting note, that doesn't really fit with everything else in the film, with weird side plots that distract rather than add. Still, it works quite well, occasionally, when Smith lets his actors take control, Particularly Fassbender and Gleeson. As mixed a bag as they get.
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March 15th

People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 4.3

Netflix- 1hr. 31min.
First Viewing
Blood in the Water was, honestly, a lot better than I was expecting. What could've been a pretty low-rent Lifetime wannabe ends up being a pretty well-made thriller with solid lead performances and decent style. It's slight, and the ending is disappointing, but it's better than one would expect from a random Netflix title.
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March 17th

People who added this item 471 Average listal rating (347 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
Moana (2016)

DVD- 1hr. 47min.
First Viewing
Moana is beautifully made, with great visuals and sound, though I found the plot to be off. It's a fairly standard animated plot line, but the film doesn't really create much momentum, slogging along between strong setups; there are great "big" scenes, but the build-up isn't really here. Still, it's too good to not recommend, thanks to some wonderful scenery, voice-over work (especially from Auli'i Cravalho), and wonderful music.
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March 18th

People who added this item 697 Average listal rating (504 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.5
Under Siege (1992)

HBO Now- 1hr. 44min.
First Viewing
It's exceptionally stupid, but Under Siege, or Die Hard on a boat, is a fairly fun film, at least until the last act. Human-embodiment-of-creepitude Steven Seagal is himself, a presence (though often dull); the real fun of the film comes from the villain pairing of Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey. They have such an odd, manic energy that it's honestly hard to not root for them (hence the film's collapse in the last half-hour). Fun, but mixed.

Monthly Wesley Awards
Best Supporting Actor- Tommy Lee Jones
Best Sound
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People who added this item 740 Average listal rating (492 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.5

DVD- 1hr. 55min.
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March 19th

People who added this item 111 Average listal rating (58 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7
Loving (2016)

DVD- 2hrs. 3min.
First Viewing
Loving is a mostly touching ode to the Lovings and love itself, though it's so damn underplayed that some of the moments that should hit hard just sit there. The leads are superb; Edgerton and Negga are so natural and nuanced that their performances should be taught in acting classes. Had the film added just a dash of melodrama, only a little, then it probably would've been a stronger film.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Actor- Joel Edgerton
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March 20th

People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.2

DVD- 1hr. 36min.
First Viewing
A truly original film, Two Lovers and a Bear starts off too cliched to truly shake, but ends in a genuinely intriguing fashion. Dehaan and Maslany are very good, though I'd say they're better individually than together, but the film mostly belongs to writer/director Nguyen, whose visual drives the film. The first act is a bit stiff, but the middle-on gets things on track, mostly. The film has a pretty wonky tone, though that's by design, that works as the film gets odder. Its not a great film, but its a decent one than goes for it.
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People who added this item 50 Average listal rating (35 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.2
13th (2016)

Netflix- 1hr. 40min.
First Viewing
13th is a compelling and vital film that's made with a well of emotion and humanity. It's not necessarily an eye-opening film (anybody who watches the news can tell you about the films subject matter), but it examines race and incarceration in specific sociological ways as to correct even the most staunch opposition.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Documentary
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March 22nd

People who added this item 359 Average listal rating (201 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.4
Body Heat (1981)

VHS- 1hr. 53min.
First Viewing
An exceedingly entertaining, and extremely sensual, neo-noir, Body Heat is as alluring and steamy a film as there's ever been. The writing, directing, acting, music, etc., there's really nothing about this film that isn't top notch. In particular, the clever script by Kasdan and the star-making performance by Kathleen Turner propel the film to superb highs. It'll likely have you hooked from beginning to end.

Monthly Wesley Awards
Best Picture
Best Director- Lawrence Kasdan
Best Actress- Kathleen Turner
Best Original Screenplay- Lawrence Kasdan
Best Cinematography- Richard H. Kline
Best Score- John Barry
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March 25th

People who added this item 1007 Average listal rating (643 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7
Primal Fear (1996)

DVD- 2hrs. 10min.
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People who added this item 1996 Average listal rating (1320 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.4
Contact (1997)

Netflix- 2hrs. 29min.
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March 26th

People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.7

Netflix- 1hr. 51min.
First Viewing
Come and Find Me is a blandly made mystery-thriller that wastes a decent setup for cliche after cliche. The cast is fine, but the script is so underwhelming that it engulfs everything in it's path.

Monthly Wesley Award
Worst Picture
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People who added this item 405 Average listal rating (286 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 7
Passengers (2016)

Blu-Ray- 1hr. 56min.
First Viewing
Passengers was more entertaining than I expected, at least for the first two acts. It wasn't great, but it was solid with two likable leads doing solid work. The "twist" is certainly an odd area, one the film doesn't actually effectively retcon in the end (even though it tries), but one that doesn't totally sink the film. It's pretty fun in stretches, and it's exceptionally made. The script lets the film down though; it hints that we're going to get a payoff to the first two acts, only to introduce an issue that wipes everything under the rug. Despite a solid setup, the ending drops the ball.

Monthly Wesley Awards
Best Production Design- Guy Hendrix Dyas and Gene Serdena
Best Visual Effects
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March 27th

People who added this item 49 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.8

DVD- 1hr. 57min.
First Viewing
Bleed for This is fine. It is, essentially, the stock boxer movie; there's little-to-no deviation from standard template. Dysfunctional family, check; "grittiness", check; "inspiration", check. I don't necessarily say this as a total negative; it does what it does well. It's all well made, with strong performances and decent boxing scenes. It just doesn't go that deep, which is often what separates a good boxing film from a great one; they all have the same mechanics, but only a few go deep enough to make the audience feel the hits.
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March 29th

People who added this item 47 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.7

DVD- 2hrs. 6min.
First Viewing
Rules Don't Apply is a beautifully made mess; the costumes, sets, cinematography, etc.; it's all done so well that it keeps you mildly invested, even when the plot doesn't. The cast is strong, but the script lacks any real focus, and any true tone. It'll be a screwball comedy one minute, and a mournful meditation on time and regret the next. When it works though, it really works. Very mixed bag.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Costume Design- Albert Wolsky
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Numbers


Number of Movies Watched: 32
Newly Watched: 27
DVD: 18
VHS: 2
Blu-Ray: 1
Streaming: 11
: 1
: 1
: 8
: 1
Time Spent: 57hrs. 40min.

Critcal


Best New View: Body Heat
Worst New View: Come and Find Me

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