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BradWesley123's Movie Journal- March 2016
Movie list created by BradWesley123
Sort by: Showing 31 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
The Last Witch Hunter (2015)
DVD- 1hr. 46min.
There are a couple of okay scenes, and the cast seems to be enjoying themselves (which is always helpful), but The Last Witch Hunter is just not good. It's obviously going to be derivative, it's a Vin Diesel movie, but it goes about it in such a bland and lethargic way that there's about nothing to grasp to. You need even the slightest bit to care about in a movie for it to even remotely work, and this just didn't have it.
DVD- 1hr. 47min.
There are some superb moments, featuring excellent work from the cast (though Streep's cameo is more pandering than show-stopping), but Suffragette seems content with going on the standard historical-issue route. It's got a soul, but it doesn't really have any blood flowing through its veins. It expertly shows the challenges that these women went through, but does so in procedural ways that are harrowing, but not entirely affecting. It probably would've done better with a different lead; Carey Mulligan is quite good, but the fact I knew the character was an invention took away from it. It would've worked better with Anne-Marie Duff or Helena Bonham Careter's character as the lead. It's well made, but could've used a better script.
Crimson Peak (2015)
DVD- 1hr. 59min.
Crimson Peak is as visually lush as any other del Toro film, but the story could've used a bit of work. The plot plays out (almost) as expected, with very little deviation, excitement and/or momentum. The characters are pretty underdeveloped as well; only Chastain really gets a chance to shine in her role (though there's not a lot of development to it), though Wasikowska and Hiddleston are decent. Still, it's an inherently interesting story that is, as mentioned, lovely to behold. Had del Toro worked harder on the script, this could've been something very special; as is, it's just okay.
DVD- 1hr. 58min.
It's a pretty hard watch, but Room is a rewarding, often heartbreaking portrait of the love between a mother and child. Larson is superb in a wrenching performance, and she's matched by Tremblay, who gives a revelatory, should've-been-Oscar-nominated, performance.
Mistress America (2015)
DVD- 1hr. 24min.
An exceptionally fun, light screwball comedy/coming-of-age story, Mistress America is the best kind of surprise delights. Gerwig and Kirke are wonderful in their roles, as are the supporting cast, and the writing matches their energies wonderfully. It's a little slow during the beginning and end, but that middle section is just so wonderful that I was able to forgive it.
Infinitely Polar Bear (2015)
DVD- 1hr. 27min.
While the story features a few lulls and hiccups, Infinitely Polar Bear excels thanks to it's excellent cast and compassionate, and not entirely cloying, story. The two girls are charming, Saldana gives maybe her finest screen performance, and Ruffalo continues to show why he's one of the more empathetic actors around. Director Maya Forbes doesn't exaggerate her character's illness, bipolar disorder, but presents it plainly, and the film works largely because of that.
The Intern (2015)
DVD- 2hrs. 1min.
The Intern is occasionally a charmingly gentle comedy, featuring nice work from Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, but it's mostly an infinitely cloying and saccharine experience that packs a weirdly reductive view on gender. If the film got out of it's way, and didn't feel the need to pile on unnecessary subplots (there is no reason that this film should be over two hours) and regressive gender politics, and a couple of generational missteps at that (there's an occasional "pull up your damn pants!" aside, and simply focused on its two stars, it would've one of the more amiable comedies of the past couple of years. As it is, its simply sub-par.
VHS- 2hrs. 15min.
As a piece of studio blockbuster fare, Backdraft is pretty strong. As a complete story however, it's pretty goofy. The script is all over the place, in terms of both story (fairly episodic) and tone (at times, bipolar), and the plot points are ones that you can see coming from a mile away. It's pretty well-made though; the sound and visual effects are some of the finest put to film, and things move along decently. The cast is solid too, if often misused; Russell and Baldwin are fine, but it's De Niro's character that should've held the focus of the film; it's a strong performance that doesn't rise to the operatic levels of the others. An okay film; one that I'd recommend be watched in the summer, when your mind is sunbaked.
Our Brand Is Crisis (2015)
DVD- 1hr. 47min.
Our Brand is Crisis really could've been an excellent film. It's got the cast, the crew, the studio; had this gone the other way, it could've maybe even been a modern classic. It's not because of one glaring flaw, the script. Peter Straughan's screenplay is as toothless and rote as the worst kind of Oscar-bait; weak satire and the need to find morality. Had the film simply shown the shadiness of America's political system relocated to Bolivia, it really would've helped. Instead, we get some fish-out-of-water storytelling, and characters that aren't fleshed out. The film is at least occasionally entertaining though; while rote, some of the humor does work, and not all of the political stuff is horrible (just disappointing). Bullock is quite good here too, effectively playing a world-weary political consultant; Thornton would've likely been the better protagonist for a better film, but is used relatively well here as is. Not bad, just really disappointing.
DVD- 2hrs. 7min.
It's all pretty well made, Hollywoodland has a narrative problem; it just sort of plods without a whole lot of life. The acting is pretty good though, with Affleck standing out, giving one of the finer acting performances of his career. A little Brody goes a long way though; it's just too much at times.
M-GO- 1hr. 51min.
I don't really know what it is, but Brooklyn left my somewhat cold. It all looks gorgeous, with lovely production and costume designs, as well as warm cinematography. It also features an effective performance from Saoirse Ronan, who keeps you completely invested in her character's journey. The story is just so predictable though; it goes along at slow pace that never really changes anything up. It's a fine movie, but I was just wanting some more vibrancy and life out of this immigrant love story.
The Ides of March (2011)
Don Verdean (2015)
Netflix- 1hr. 36min.
There's a great satire on faith and religion somewhere in Don Verdean, but writer-director Jared Hess seems more interested in goofy, oddball aside simply for the fact that they are odd. The cast is okay, though several are wasted (no more so than Rockwell, who gets saddled with a boring lead).
DVD- 1hr. 41min.
There are some fun elements to Burnt; the scenery, the acting, the food. There are, however, too many elements that aren't. As solid as Cooper is, the brilliant-asshole trope has worn out it's welcome, and his character here is just more asshole. It's a character that you really don't want to spend any time with. Honestly, any other character would've been a better and more empathetic lead than his, especially Rhys's character, who fills in a lot of story in just a few minutes of screentime. The story is pretty rote to, and doesn't deviate from the course any. That being said, when Cooper isn't on screen, and the movie focuses on the food, it's pretty solid. Pretty much the visual representation of a mixed-bag.
Irrational Man (2015)
DVD- 1hr. 35min.
Irrational Man is one of the more pleasantly surprising films I've seen in a while. While the story is pretty damn obvious, and Emma Stone's character is written poorly, it's so well done (for the most part) that I was willing to forgive it. The story it's telling is inherently interesting, and Phoenix makes for one of Allen's more intriguing leads. Also, this movie just looks superb; Darius Khondji's work with Allen continues to be one of the more slyly excellent director/dp pairings around.
Secret in Their Eyes (2015)
DVD- 1hr. 51min.
The cast is doing overtime here, especially Ejiofor and Roberts, but they can't help a listless film that has very little forward momentum. Something was lost in the translation here, it was adapted from a 2009 Argentinian film of the same name, because there really doesn't seem to be anything really special enough to be adapted; it's a fairly standard revenge-thriller story with an exceptionally bleak twist that essentially nulls most of the story. While a couple scenes and, even, ideas work, it just never does much to justify it's existence.
Note: Movie people, we can accept that a few characters were bald for long periods of time, you don't need to put on funny wigs.
Man Up (2015)
Netflix- 1hr. 28min.
While it's deeply rooted in typical rom-com traditions, the film uses them to it's advantage, crafting one of the genre's best in years. With a, relatively, fresh story and a pair of winning performances from Lake Bell (who sports a surprisingly strong British accent) and Simon Pegg, as well as standout assistance from Rory Kinnear as the ultimate creeper, Man Up is fun from start to finish. The middle section drags a bit, bit the other to a strong enough to offset it.
Netflix- 1hr. 45min.
While Paul Bettany gets two superb performances from his leads in his directorial debut, his story goes overboard with their character's plight, and Shelter eventually becomes nothing more than misery porn.
Man of Steel (2013)
The Walk (2015)
DVD- 2hrs. 3min.
The build-up is pretty hit-or-miss, but the last 20 minutes of The Walk represent such a thrilling technical marvel that I was willing to forgive it for it's missteps and appreciate it as spectacle.
DVD- 2hrs. 6min.
Inherently controversial and divisive, I found Chi-raq to be wickedly entertaining and surprisingly original. I know it's adapted from Shakespeare, but I highly doubt the bard had this in mind. And yet, for all it's entertainment value, the film is also a urgent and vital message about the horrifying violence going on in Chicago. Whether or not you agree with the movie's views or not, Chi-raq is necessary cinema.
DVD- 1hr. 19min.
Grandma is a fairly slight effort, it doesn't even run for 80 minutes, but there's a lot to like her. The script is quite smart; Paul Weitz has a strong hold on characters and tone that pays off for his performers. The acting is really quite strong, with Tomlin doing some of the finest work of her career and Garner, Greer and Elliot doing strong work; Elliot in particular has a couple of excellent scenes. While the story is too leisurely at times, I'd recommend Grandma (and even if I didn't, what would it hurt to try it; it's 79 minutes).
DVD- 1hr. 43min.
Some of the acting works, Page and Shannon probably get the best material (though "best is a loose term here), but Freeheld is awards-bait in the absolute worst since; short on characterization, story, and reality. Everything is so heightened and over the top that it's hard to feel anything aside from annoyance or boredom. Just stick to the documentary.
The General's Daughter (1999)
DVD- 1hr. 56min.
The General's Daughter is just really stupid. It's a regressive, exploitative film that honestly believes that it's making a point about the military, gender and rape culture. The only point it makes, however, is that Hollywood really needs to pick better scripts.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
DVD- 1hr. 34min.
The Good Dinosaur has animation that's just as good as any other Pixar flick, but not the story that would put it anywhere close to the studio's best. It's an often dull, cloyingly sentimental film that feels lost after the first act. That's not to say that it doesn't have any emotional resonance; animated films have a built in emotional connection from the start, even if they aren't very good. It's not the animation giant's worst film, but The Good Dinosaur may be Pixar's most forgettable film.
Daddy's Home (2015)
DVD- 1hr. 36min.
Not as bad as I had expected, but not a whole lot better either; Daddy's Home occasionally works thanks to Ferrell's commitment, and Thomas Haden Church's character's weird stories, but it's mostly an excuse to polish off some old gags and indulge in rote sentimentality. The film does fare better in it's last section though, when Ferrell and Wahlberg come together instead of being at odds, largely because their Other Guys chemistry is still solid, but it's not enough to say that it's necessarily an "okay" film.
Bone Tomahawk (2015)
DVD- 2hrs. 12min.
The last act lets things down a bit too much, but Bone Tomahawk is a surprisingly effective genre-mashup up for the first two, and a rather fun one at that. The credit really goes to writer-director S. Craig Zahler for being able to merge two genres, western and zombie-horror, and be able to keep it as tonally sound as it is. The cast is good too, but this a craftsman feature and Zahler emerges as a real prospect.
The Brothers Bloom (2009)
DVD- 1hr. 53min.
While The Brothers Bloom is pretty solid escapism, it's also needlessly grim and narratively jumbled. The cast is very good with Brody, Ruffalo, Kikuchi and Weisz doing excellent work, and Johnson's script is often quite clever, it's just a bit sloppy and tonally ajar. Had there been a tighter story, this could've been something really wonderful; as is, it's an entertaining diversion.
The story plods at times, but it's no question that Youth is a deeply felt movie with some excellent acting. Caine does his best work in years in the lead role, so to does Harvey Keitel in a supporting role. Watching them interact is one of the film's great joys. The rest of the cast is strong too; the movie's big problem is it's pacing, which is so meandering that it robs certain moments of impact.
Get Carter (2000)
DVD- 1hr. 43min.
Get Carter is a movie at odds with itself; it wants to be a standard-issue Stallone shoot-em'-up, and a reflective film on violence. With that in mind, the film is both more interesting than most of Sly's output and a complete clusterfuck. The plot doesn't make a lot of sense, things just sort of happen and we have to go along with it, and there's little fun to be had beyond the expected over-acting of the supporting cast. Not much fun, just dumb.
Number of Movies Watched: 31
Time Spent: 55hrs. 44min.
Best New View: Chi-raq
Worst New View: The General's Daughter
5 votesThe Complete Wesley: 2016 Movie Journal (12 lists)
list by BradWesley123
Published 3 years, 3 months ago
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