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BradWesley123's Movie Journal- April 2017
Movie list created by BradWesley123
Sort by: Showing 33 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
The Discovery (2017)
Netflix- 1hr. 42min.
The Discovery gets bogged down in unnecessary subplots, and the script devolves into cliche more often than not, but its able to stay intriguing throughout its run time thanks to the films inherent hook. The buildup is pretty solid, but things begin to tumble when the mystery comes together. What should be a sort of life-affirming ending becomes more of a shrug. Still, it never lost my interest, and featured several strong moments.
HBO Now- 1hr. 31min.
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is too scattershot and hit-or-miss to really be considered a solid comedy, but it's amiable enough to be palatable. It's not a consistent or gut-busting comedy, but there's enough energy from it's leads that it doesn't feel like a total waste.
Patriots Day (2016)
DVD- 2hrs. 12min.
While it's too frantic to hit a genuine emotional truth about the Boston Marathon Bombing, and the script is treacly, Patriots Day is visceral in a way that's often bruising. When the film hits upon the big moments, its great; when it slows down, it isn't. The showdown between the Tsarnaev brothers and police is one of the action set pieces in recent memory; if the rest of the film had been like it, it would've been one of the best action movies of the decade. Still pretty strong though, so I'd recommend it.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Editing- Gabriel Fleming and Colby Parker Jr.
20th Century Women (2016) (2017)
DVD- 1hr. 58min.
A tender and bittersweet coming-of-age story told with genuine feeling and insight; 20the Century Women is a wonderful film filled with great writing, acting, directing. The script, in particular, is so intelligent and humane that it ranks as one of the best written in recent memory. The ensemble, too, is exceptional, with each performer inhabiting their characters with graceful earnestness that doesn't feel artificial. The beginning is a bit slow, but the film flies when it takes off.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Picture
Best Director- Mike Mills
Best Actress- Annette Bening
Best Supporting Actress- Greta Gerwig
Best Supporting Actor- Billy Crudup
Best Original Screenplay- Mike Mills
Best Cinematography- Sean Porter
Best Score- Roger Neill
Shut In (2016) (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 31min.
Shut In is an obvious bore that goes through various, well-worn plot points and somehow manages to make all of them, some inherently titillating, dull. It is one of the biggest wastes of time I've extended to film in 2017. Even most bad films have some fun elements that makes them, at the very least, watchable; Shut In has not one.
Monthly Wesley AwardsWorst Picture
Above the Law (1988)
HBO Now- 1hr. 39min.
It's a Steven Seagal movie; that's really the plot. This is his first one, though you really couldn't tell; there's not much range in the man's acting (though at least he was awake, something that couldn't be said about his straight-to-DVD classics). But who cares about the action, amiright? It's the action, that's what we're here for. To that point, the action is fine, though not great. This is a movie best viewed as a cheesy niche flick; your enjoyment will likely be contingent on this.
Why Him? (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 51min.
While the cast is fine, able to wring several laughs out of bland material, Why Him? just tries too hard, at every turn, for laughs that should come naturally. It doesn't have much energy either; things just happen, then another thing, then another, without much rhythm. It's intermittently entertaining, but not much else.
Netflix- 1hr. 42min.
Occasionally engaging, but mostly just bland and boring, Eyewitness continually misses the better story. Hurt and Weaver are fine, but the Christopher Plummer character is more interesting in every way. Each of his scenes hints at a better, more potent motion picture than the forgettable bore that we get.
DVD- 1hr. 58min.
It was a bit too slow for my liking, but Paterson is a sweet, mundane look at the everyday; it doesn't overdo anything, wringing common moments for something close to poetry. It doesn't always work, not everyday of the week is that engaging, but there's a lot here to appreciate. The writing, acting, and pace all ring true to life.
DVD- 1hr. 40min.
I kept waiting for something to really happen; there are a lot of strong moments, but they don't necessarily come together. This is an issue that can most likely be traced to the script, which is easily the weakest aspect of the film. The film works, mostly, despite it, and is often an engaging look at the title figure, with assured direction, claustrophobic cinematography, and a powerful performance from Natalie Portman.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Production Design- Jean Rabasse and Véronique Melery
Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 39min.
Ouija: Origin of Evil is possibly one of the most surprisingly good films that I've seen in a while. It's not a great movie, but it's very well made, and it's holds you're attention from beginning to end. It's a triumph of craft above all else; director Mike Flanagan brings really fright to this thing, and not relying too heavily on tropes (they're here, but they aren't used as a crutch). The ending is a bit of a downer, too beholden to its franchise to sketch out an organic ending to its own story, but isn't enough to derail the film. Overall, a solid horror pic in an age where that's becoming rare.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Adapted Screenplay- Mike Flanagan & Jeff Howard
DVD- 1hr. 48min.
Sing is an energetically mixed bag. The music is decent, and the cast does a solid job with the songs, but the story is often incoherent and recycled; the script was most likely copy-and-pasted from various other animated films. Fine enough for a decent diversion, but not much else.
Office Christmas Party (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 45min.
It's all exceptionally stupid, and the film is crazily scattershot, but Office Christmas Party is often surprisingly funny, thanks almost exclusively to the cast. It's too tame for what the aim is, "CRAZY OFFICE PARTY!!!", there are just too many cliches to forgive (do we really need anymore comedies about people needing to loosen up and "live"?), and the ending macguffin is very poorly explained, but I'll be damned if I didn't laugh. Not enough to wholeheartedly recommend, but maybe watch it around Christmas, when expectations are lower and you're a more forgiving viewer.
Furious 7 (2015)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Netflix- 1hr. 28min.
It fairly lite, but Win It All is such a fun, minimalist picture that I was entertained for most of the film's brief run time. It's a well-made film with a terrific lead performance from Jake Johnson that only starts to wear thin towards the end (it strained the credibility that the film had built for the preceding 75 minutes, but it's still okay). While it is director Joe Swanberg's most plotted film, it doesn't feel much different from his previous films; it just seems a bit more put together.
DVD- 1hr. 35min.
A Kind of Murder is a mostly dull film, but one with enough narrative intrigue to keep the viewer, at the very least, marginally invested throughout. It's fairly well-made, but in a perfunctory kind of way (the look is a bit too digital-y), and the cast is quite strong, but the writing often squanders the solid source material, going the path of least resistance; something the direction is all to ready to let it do. In the hands of a great filmmaker, this could've been a real treat.
The Siege (1998)
DVD- 1hr. 56min.
The script is fairly wobbly, it never fully comes together in a satisfying way and goes on way too long, but The Siege has more pluses than negatives. It's pretty well-made (though Roger Deakins cinematography is, stunningly, disappointing), with a superb cast (Bening and Washington give commanding performances). While it is surprisingly prescient of the role terrorism would take in the 21st Century, 9/11 would occur just three years after the film's release, it's a bit too glib on the subject. It does a bit better with civil rights and the paranoia that leads to police states, but it works best when it just lets the leads run with the material. Worth a look.
Live by Night (2017)
DVD- 2hrs. 8min.
It works in the way that so many gangster pictures do, they are inherently intriguing, but Live by Night just tries to cover too much ground, but doesn't work hard enough to earn any of it. It's exceptionally made, with superb costumes and sets, and the cast is quite good, though Affleck probably should've gone for a different lead other than himself, in underdeveloped roles, but the film is so episodic that nothing gets enough time to breathe, and the film is hollow for it.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Costume Design- Jacqueline West
The Pelican Brief (1993)
DVD- 2hrs. 21min.
It's a well-crafted thriller with a pair of compelling lead performances, but The Pelican Brief is also a dull, strained film that only starts to come together an hour-and-a-half in. So much of the story could've been streamlined, and it would've cut a lot of bloat and added much more focus.
Amazon Prime- 1hr. 46min.
Sliver is just absolute trash; stupid, poorly plotted, and so over-the-top that one would be forgiven for mistaking this for a souped-up Lifetime flick. Having said that, it's also pretty fun to watch, as long as you know going in that it is nothing but trash. The ending is stunningly stupid though, even for this fucking thing, but everything leading up is a symphony of stupidity.
The Rainmaker (1997)
The Frontier (2015)
Netflix- 1hr. 28min.
The story was a bit too undercooked for my liking, too indebted to it's inspirations to stand on its own, but The Frontier is still a fun throwback thriller with a strong cast and enough style to compensate for story issues.
Miss Sloane (2016)
DVD- 2hrs. 12min.
Too clever for its own good; Miss Sloane often serves as a superb showcase for Jessica Chastain's talents, but a script that wants to be clever at the expense of all else derails thiss film from reaching its full potential. It's like a watered-down Sorkin script, with rat-a-tat dialogue, but without his solid plotting. Chastain is superb, but even she can't make the last act "twist" anything but absurd. Every now and then, though, it does stumble along some strong moments, but they aren't enough to forgive the problems elsewhere.
Netflix- 1hr. 24min.
An obvious, absurd "mystery"; Amnesiac is a damp squib of a film that has a few solid ideas, but nothing that ever really materializes into anything of merit. The only real redeeming aspect of the film is Kate Bosworth's performance; her assured, controlled mania was quite interesting to watch, and deserved a better film.
Hard to Kill (1990)
HBO Now- 1hr. 35min.
Again, this is another stupid Steven Seagal flick, and you're tolerance for that fact will predict your enjoyment of the film. Hard to Kill is certainly one of his more memorable films, and probably one of his better ones. The plotting is rough, but the action works okay. Not great, or even good, but decent enough.
Netflix- 1hr. 23min.
Tramps is yet another Before trilogy acolyte that puts to strangers together for a day of soul-searching and revealing truths. Luckily, it's done pretty well, with likable leads and enough energy to compensate for the over-familiarity. Not the freshest of films, but an exceedingly likable one that'll stir up a strong dosage of nostalgia for those viewing it.
We Own the Night (2007)
DVD- 1hr. 57min.
We Own the Night works most when it leans into Joaquin Phoenix's performance. While the family stuff is fine, it too often feels derivative and subdued. Any time Phoenix is on screen, however, the film has boundless energy that propels the whole thing. Luckily, he's on screen most of the time. Individual scenes work better than the whole too; a car chase scene set in the rain ranks as one of the most intense in recent memory. By comparison, the story about family and legacy feels too staid. Solid, but unsurprising.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Actor- Joaquin Phoenix
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Demolition Man (1993)
DVD- 1hr. 55min.
Exceptionally stupid, but not too stupid. It's a shoot-em-up action flick with goofy dialogue and pacing issues, but the story is pretty funny, and there is some decent satire (at times). It's all just so over-the-top that it becomes infectious. Best viewed in the Summertime, or the build-up to it.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Makeup
Best Visual Effects
The Founder (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 55min.
It's a bit too plain, and wholly predictable (I know its based on true events, but there is a way to do this that doesn't feel so safe), but The Founder benefits from an inherently intriguing story and a bastard of a performance from Michael Keaton. We don't get too much insight into Ray Kroc, but we get enough of a gist that the film doesn't feel cartoon-ish. I just wish that it had taken more risks, and gone for something greater. It's a fine story now, but more ambition could've made it something closer to The Social Network.
Number of Movies Watched: 33
Newly Watched: 27
Time Spent: 61hrs. 16min.
Best New View: 20th Century Women
Worst New View: Shut In
7 votesThe Complete Wesley: 2017 Movie Journal (13 lists)
list by BradWesley123
Published 3 years, 6 months ago
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