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BradWesley123's Movie Journal- August 2016
Movie list created by BradWesley123
Sort by: Showing 28 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
Black Mass (2015)
Apartment Troubles (2014)
Showtime- 1hr. 16min.
Apartment Troubles is a pretty mixed bag. The leads are quite good (Jennifer Prediger, in particular, does some very strong work), and the film's focus on their friendship is feels genuine. It's also, often, quite funny. The story, however, as well as the meandering pacing, leads to frequent dullness. As a showcase for Prediger and Weixler, I'd highly recommend it, but not so much for the film's overall quality.
Midnight Special (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 51min.
Too slow and monotonous for its own good, Midnight Special is, nevertheless, a thought sci-fi film about fatherhood. While I wouldn't say that I was in love with a lot of it, the plot felt undercooked and the ending was a mixed bag, I can say that there was too much good to write it off. The cast is excellent, the look and style evoke 1970s flicks, and there are some genuinely lovely moments. If Nichols had just had a clearer vision of what he wanted, the film would've been much better.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Supporting Actor- Joel Edgerton
Best Score- David Wingo
Best Visual Effects
The Lobster (2015)
DVD- 1hr. 59min.
While I'm unable to say that I was as enamored by it as some, the humor was a little to black for me, The Lobster is highly original, funny, and perceptive. It's understanding of "love" is highly insightful, though pretty damn depressing, though it's satire is a bit uneven at times. The cast is superb though, with Farrell leading the way, giving one of his finest performances.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Actor- Colin Farrell
Best Original Screenplay- Giorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou
The extra time doesn't exactly make the film any better, though it does make it a bit more coherent. It also offers up a couple of solutions as to what would've made the theatrical release better; cut several of the dream sequences, and keep the clarifying material.
DVD- 2hrs. 15min.
Stephan James gives a strong performance as Jesse Owens and the film occasionally succeeds at it's inspirational goals, but Race is missing enough energy to compensate for it's overstuffed plot. There's just too much going on here that takes away from Owen's story. The Leni Riefenstahl/WWII stuff is compelling, but it simply should have been done in its own film; excised from this film. The Owens stuff is solid, though it is more of a hagiography of events that an emotional journey (and Sudeikis, as his coach, is miscast).
The Bronze (2015) (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 40min.
There are various funny moments in The Bronze, including one of the more brazen sex scenes ever put to film, and the cast is excellent; the film's problems lie, as expected, with the warmed-over story. We've seen this story done before, with greater insight and human and, more importantly, more cohesion. Not the disaster that many would call it, not be a long shot, but a tighter story would've yield a better film.
DVD- 1hr. 35min.
Despite some obvious story beats, and a last act that drags a bit, Green Room is a thrilling action/horror flick that expertly builds tension to queasy levels. The cast is great (Poots, in particular, steals the show), but writer/director Jeremy Saulnier is the real star of the film; the way that he mounts suspense and terror is probably the best in a long time, and the grisly violence is truly stomach churning. It also helps that he doesn't drop the ball with character work and story, giving us compelling characters on both sides. Watch it, but be prepared for nightmares.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Picture
Best Director- Jeremy Saulnier
Best Supporting Actress- Imogen Poots
Best Editing- Julia Bloch
Netflix- 1hr. 40min.
If you're going to do a modern day The Apartment rip-off, you better do it with great leads and genuine emotion. In this regard, Night Owls is surprisingly successful. While the condensing the story to over the course of one evening does strain credibility, it's not quite enough to impact the feelings that Pally and Salazar are able to elicit with their authentic performances. Despite the script letting them down every now and then, they're able to make their scenes together sing (Tony Hale and Rob Huebel also pop up, winningly, for a few scenes). It's all fairly predictable but, sometimes, the journey's worth it even if the destination isn't as nice as you'd hope.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Actress- Rosa Salazar
5 to 7 (2015)
Showtime- 1hr. 37min.
5 to 7 explores some interesting themes in the romantic drama canon, and quite well made. It is, also, quite up it's own ass. Every insight is treated as if it were some grand statement on love and relationships. Despite some strong performances from Marlohe and Yelchin, as well as the supporting cast, their characters are more ciphers for these grand proclamations, instead of well rounded characters. When it works though, it works; the melancholy and bittersweet moments lend a great deal of weight to the preceding events.
Slow Learners (2015)
Netflix- 1hr. 36min.
Despite its plotting being more akin to that of a network sitcom, Slow Learners is a largely amusing diversion thanks to the cast. Burns and Pally make for a pair of endearing leads, and the supporting cast often gets a couple of minutes to shine. It's not even close to being original, but it's relatively harmless fun.
In Your Eyes (2014)
Netflix- 1hr. 45min.
Well made and often well executed, In Your Eyes can't quite overcome some gaping third-act problems that somewhat derail the story that came before. Not completely, but enough to wish that it had all come together better than it did. The leads are quite appealing; Kazan and Stahl-David give anchor the film with compelling performances that make the pair easy to root for. The story, however, just doesn't hold up. This is a film just needed more time; too many of the plot shifts seem abrupt; it probably would've worked better as a series (think Sense8, but with only two of them). Still, there's enough to like that it's still a worthwhile watch; the first two acts, while not the sturdiest, offer a pretty fun, interesting picture.
The American President (1995)
Manhattan Romance (2015)
Netflix- 1hr. 37min.
Manhattan Romance is very much your standard indie romance flick, but with less charm. The lead isn't really that likable, and the premise isn't all that believable or interesting (who the hell, in 2015, would be making a documentary on love?). The film's only really bright spot is Katherine Waterston, who lights up the screen every time she's on it. Had the film been told from her perspective, it would have been much better.
A Hologram for the King (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 38min.
A Hologram for the King is amiable enough, with several funny moments and a typically strong performance from Tom Hanks, but offers little else. Too slight and twee to really engage with many of the themes that it proposes, the film merely coasts on the lead's charms and fish-out-of-water humor. It works occasionally, but could've been much more.
The Angry Birds Movie (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 37min.
The Angry Birds Movie is a pretty standard studio animated picture; lots of loudness, bland "be yourself" messaging, references that go over the heads of it's target audience, and excess. Case in point, the film likely paid Sean Penn millions of dollars to merely grunt; seriously? Sure, there's the occasional splash of absurdist humor that works mildly, but there's not a lot to recommend here for adults. I'm sure the kids'll love it.
A Perfect Murder (1998)
HBO Now- 1hr. 47min.
A pretty good Dial M for Murder remake that's let down be a shoddy third act. Before the drop off, the film weaves an admirably complex web, and excels at handling tone. The cast is strong too, with Douglas, in particular, oozing sinister sleaze that elevate the picture. Had the last act not dropped the pace and momentum off a cliff, I would've given the film a much higher rating. As it stands, it's a solid if disappointing thriller.
The Boss (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 39min.
Despite a few game moments from the cast, almost nothing in The Boss works. This all stems from a haphazard story that mistakes abrasiveness for comedy, and shallow sentimentality as character development. Somehow makes Tammy look good in comparison.
Monthly Wesley AwardsWorst Picture
I Believe in Unicorns (2014)
Netflix- 1hr. 18min.
While the story results in a very mixed bag that can't help but give in to genre cliches, I respected I Believe in Unicorns' style and director Leah Meyerhoff's vision. Had she just been able to get the story right, this could've been a genre-defining classic. As is, it's a slightly dull though imaginatively rendered coming-of-age tale; mild recommendation.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Cinematography- Jarin Blaschke
Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 52min.
Barbershop: The Next Cut is essentially a hang-out movie; just two hours of being with characters spending their time working and talking with each other. Luckily, the film uses these interactions to a shine a light on several topics that prominent for both African-Americans and the nation as a whole. The film does so with surprising wit and sincerity, leading to a fun viewing experience. There are certainly issues to the film; it's a bit too long, it's a bit too episodic, and, despite doing incredibly well with racial discussions, it doesn't quite work when it focuses on gender. Otherwise, this was a strong feature with a winning cast a strong script.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Adapted Screenplay- Kenya Barris & Tracy Oliver
DVD- 1hr. 41min.
Despite it's extreme over-familiarity and less than expert scripting, Demolition is still a solid film with strong direction and another top-notch performance from Jake Gyllenhaal. Without his performance and director Jean-Marc Vallée's style, the movie wouldn't work. Sure, it's more style than substance, but when the style is this good, I can't complain.
Maggie's Plan (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 39min.
Maggie's Plan is a rather enjoyable ensemble film that suffers from a mild script. That cast is quite strong, Moore, especially, owns the scenes she's in, and there's a calm in the direction that makes it akin one of Woody Allen's better later-day films, but the script is too tame to really hit too hard. There are a lot of funny exchanges, and there's a cleverness to the central premise, but it just doesn't have enough energy to make it sing.
Netflix- 1hr. 36min.
While the film is quite, surprisingly, visually appealing, and Theron is compelling in the lead role, Aeon Flux is just a mess. The story is barely coherent, and fairly bonkers, and the film takes little to no time developing the world of the film or the characters that inhabit it. I'll admit to having some fun with the film, but not enough to offset the film's many, many problems.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Costume Design- Beatrix Aruna Pasztor
Best Production Design- Andrew McAlpine and Bernhard Henrich
Rock the Kasbah (2015)
Netflix- 1hr. 45min.
While it's heart is in the right place, Rock the Kasbah is a tonal disaster that never really knows what it wants to be. Does it want to be the fish-out-of-water story of a failing music manager finding a new talent in a unconventional location? Or, does it want to be a genuine plea for the liberation of girls in the Middle East? It splits the difference, and never recovers. The cast is pretty wasted here; aside from Murray, almost every one of the recognizable stars appear to be on autopilot. Murray, though going a bit overboard with his shtick, manages a couple of laughs, and keeps the thing watchable.
Number of Movies Watched: 28
Newly Watched: 22
Time Spent: 50hrs. 39min.
Best New View: Green Room
Worst New View: The Boss
5 votesThe Complete Wesley: 2016 Movie Journal (12 lists)
list by BradWesley123
Published 5 years, 6 months ago
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