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BradWesley123’s Movie Journal- June 2021

Movie list created by BradWesley123 Avatar

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June 1st

People who added this item 358 Average listal rating (208 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.1

HBO Max- 1hr. 40min.
First Viewing
The idea is there for a bitter, warily romantic satire in Addicted to Love. Hell, the title even understands that. The script can't commit to this premise, nor does the direction set a distinct tone. There are times were the film comes close to touching on something searing, about how the concept of love has kept these people from genuine connection (usually coming with Broderick's character). It split down the middle, though; the characters do some terrible things, but the movie always pull back, like it's saying "Yeah, they've done bad, but they aren't bad." Let them be bad; we don't need to sympathize with these people to empathize with them.

It doesn't help that the central romance feels underdeveloped. Ryan's character is given some shading and emotional complexity, but Broderick's rather vacant. We know he obsessed with the idea of traditional love with his ex-girlfriend, but we know nothing about that relationship; their dynamic and/or whether or not there was an actual emotional connection between them. The film doesn't seem to think that it matters; it shouldn't, I suppose, but his character is so un-shaded that we can't even infer such things. The leads, also, have very little chemistry. It works in spots, it's well crafted (it's got a few of the best shots in a rom-com that I've seen, and it contains a performance by Tchéky Karyo that, in a better/smarter film, would've been remembered, but it's as stunted as it's characters.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Supporting Actor- Tchéky Karyo
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June 2nd

People who added this item 491 Average listal rating (351 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3

HBO Max- 2hrs. 14min.
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June 3rd

People who added this item 499 Average listal rating (336 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.4
Mindhunters (2004)


Paramount+- 1hr. 46min.
First Viewing
It's not a particularly good film, has no real weight to it and lasting impact, but Mindhunters is a pretty damn fun movie with some fun set pieces, solid performances and lurid, featherweight storytelling that doesn't hold up to scrutiny afterwords, but is exceptionally thrilling in the moment. Good trash is hard to come by, so take it where you can find it.
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June 4th

People who added this item 391 Average listal rating (277 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.4
Red Dawn (1984)

HBO Max- 1hr. 53min.
First Viewing
Red Dawn goes on too long, and doesn't have much in the way of depth, but it is involving, for the first hour, at least. Invasion films need an immediacy to them, as to place the audience in the film, to work. The first has that. It's hampered by outdated technology (there's a certain amount of static that you have to factor into these films), but it's solid enough and it does it's job; making the audience feel the impact. The second act settles down into a more casual rebellion flick. I say casual because after the first act, the energy comes and goes. The cast is fine, but their characters have no depth and/or personality, so there's no human stakes to latch onto. Here and there the film works, Powers Boothe shows up for a few minutes to pump some life into it), but it's often a slog. A decent start and some occasional flashes of a more consistent film make it interesting enough to warrant viewing, but don't expect a complete package.
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June 5th


Cinema- 1hr. 53min.
First Viewing
Where the first two Conjuring films were more sprawling in their narratives, The Devil Made Me Do It is practically economic. Instead of splitting it's time between stories, this one is more focused on the Warrens than the possessed. That might seem like a small change, but it actually shifts the film tonally from it's predecessors. It becomes less a paranormal possession picture, and more a hybrid horror-detective thriller. This isn't a change that many have enjoyed, but I had fun with it. It certainly leads to less scares; the most glaring difference between Devil and the first two is this installment is missing James Wan's sure hand at the helm. Though director Michael Chaves gets a few solid thrills and keeps the story humming (for all it's faults, I think this one has a surer pace than 2), he doesn't have Wan's knack for showcase thrills.

It is a fun, entertaining film, though. The story is well told, the scares (while not as potent as the first two) work, the tone is consistently ominous (these film are weirdly welcoming and unsettling, in equal measure), and the cast is terrific. The cast, in particular, really give this thing depth. Supporting actors Ruairi O'Connor and Sarah Catherine Hook do nice work, as does John Noble in a trickier role than what it first appears, but this one, more than it's predecessors, rests on Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson's shoulders, and they do phenomenal work. I wouldn't go as far as to say that this is a character study for the Warrens, but it does delve more into their history and connection, leading to a fuller picture of the pair. Maybe not as complete or memorable as the first two, but this is another solid installment in one of cinema's most consistent modern franchises.
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HBO Max- 2hrs. 16min.
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June 6th

People who added this item 60 Average listal rating (36 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 6.2

Netflix- 1hr. 32min.
First Viewing
The Whole Truth is a quick, efficient little legal-thriller that keeps chugging along with admirable conciseness. It doesn't stop to invest in much beyond what's necessary; it's a bendy thriller that is, almost exclusively, all plot. That makes the film compelling in the way that an episode of a good legal series is. The drawback is that it doesn't really dive into any of the emotional ramifications on the characters. Sure, the plot hinges on character decisions, but the film keeps us at a distance. What could've been a searing tragedy, something more memorable, gets the meat-and-potatoes treatment. A solid movie, with some strong performances, that, unfortunately, leaves a somewhat hollow feeling.
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People who added this item 68 Average listal rating (49 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.6

Netflix- 1hr. 56min.
First Viewing
Stowaway is well-made chamber drama about the cost of ambition and the value of human life. The first half of the film really does a strong job handling these concepts; you feel the weight of the predicament, the toll on the characters. It's evocative and bracing; do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, when you actually have to look the few in the eye? The cast, too, terrifically illustrates this dichotomy of reason and emotion. Then the second half drops the ball, piling suspense tropes on top of each other, forgetting the moral argument at the center. It's not bad per se, in the moment it works, but it crumbles under reflection. Worthwhile, but disappointing.
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June 8th

People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 5.6
Defenseless (1991)

Amazon Prime- 1hr. 44min.
First Viewing
A wholly forgettable film. It's not that bad, as it's competently made and well-acted, but the story is bland, and told with little energy; a killer for a supposed erotic thriller. It bunts when it should swing.
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June 9th

People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.6

Paramount+- 1hr. 53min.
First Viewing
Much like various character in the film, Night Falls on Manhattan falters under the weight of it's ambitions. It aims to tell a story about a broken justice system, about those both trying to fix and those who simply aim to succeed within it, about the way this shapes society. It illustrates many sobering issues and gives them some space to breath, gives credence to all sides, and gives them a human face with some lived-in, believable characters. It just bites off more than it can chew. It touches on some many topics and issues, but doesn't quite pull them together in a satisfying way.

The individual pieces are just too damn strong to ignore, and say it's unworthy of praise; it is. The first act is terrific, the cast is phenomenal (everybody gets the room they need to craft living, breathing characters), and it ends reasonably well. Aside from that, it feels unfocused. Lumet has so much on his mind that he can't decide what topic is the focus. If he could've, this would've been another jewel in his filmmaking crown. It's just incomplete.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Adapted Screenplay- Sidney Lumet
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June 10th

People who added this item 1802 Average listal rating (1220 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7
Super 8 (2011)

Paramount+- 1hr. 51min.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Rewatch
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June 11th

People who added this item 51 Average listal rating (34 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.4

Paramount+- 1hr. 46min.
First Viewing
An interesting idea is drowned out by lazy storytelling, bland direction, and a thoroughly uninspired lead performance. Mark Wahlberg can work in action movies, but he's, for the most part, on an island here. He doesn't fit the role (though, to be fair, the writing does him no favors); he's supposedly a broke schizophrenic to start the film, and he plays it like just another action movie badass. It's a choice that cripples the movie early; what could've been a character's transformation for meek to mighty is rendered static.

That lays the failure a bit too much on Wahlburg's shoulders. He's not good, but nothing around him is any better. The story, which has a decent hook, has no clarity, no personality, no purpose (though, I will give it credit for the holy waterboarding scene; it a non-listless film, it'd have been much-discussed). The direction is functional, but uninspired. The technical aspects are fine (the production design, in particular, brought their a-game), but aren't given much texture because of the blandness they're in service of. What I'm say, in a rather long-winded manner, is that this is a bad movie. Even worse than bad, though; it's a boring movie.
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June 12th

People who added this item 230 Average listal rating (167 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 7.4

Cinema- 2hrs. 14min.
First Viewing
I had no real interest in Cruella. The idea of another revisionist revamp of a classic villain seemed like a ridiculous idea, especially one of a character whose chief goal is still skin puppies for clothing. The film never actually reconciles that aspect of the character's origin with the version presented in the film (it, weirdly, winks at it, while still asking us to sympathize with the character), but a character, and it's film, deserve to be judged on it's own merits. With that in mind, 2021's Cruella is a surprisingly fun film.

The screenplay is the film's main weakness. It tries to do so much that the movie feels at times like three separate films glued together. The first act is the origin story, the second is a riff on The Devil Wears Prada, and the finale is like a revenge-heist film. It can't connect them so that they feel like a cohesive whole. This really shows in the last act, which feels especially divorced from the first two, drawing on too much coincidence and forced-mythology to close out the film, tease a sequel, and connect the film to the original IP (it, also, way too long). The only constant throughout the film, that carries over from each installment, is the oppressive soundtrack. There are a few tracks that are fun, and these are good songs on their own, but it's non-stop, with some way too on-those-nose choices. The film is a lot to handle.

But it is, also, a lot of fun. Despite an ending that left me cold, the film starts strongly (albeit with a truly ridiculous inciting event), and flourishes in the second act. I could go on and on about how good this film looks, but it would feel redundant after a while. I'll just say this, though; Jenny Beaven should get an acceptance speech ready, because her costumes are amazing (if there's a better film wardrobe in 2021, we're in for a good year). The cast, too, is terrific, with strong supporting work from Paul Walter Hauser, Joel Fry and Wink (the one-eyed dog), though the film truly belongs to them Emmas. Stone is great in the lead, finding a way to merge each disparate character thread (or, as in the film, two different character entirely) in a satisfying way. Thompson is hamming it up, tearing into ridiculous material with relish, having a blast doing it (it's not a surprise that the film jumps up a notch when she's introduced). If the sequel is able to build off of the middle portion of this, it should be better film than this solidly entertaining, if wildly overstuffed, one.

Monthly Wesley Awards
Best Actress- Emma Stone
Best Supporting Actress- Emma Thompson
Best Costume Design (Period)- Jenny Beaven
Best Production Design (Period)- Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton
Best Hairstyling- Carolyn Cousins
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People who added this item 5263 Average listal rating (3621 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.4

Paramount+- 1hr. 55min.
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June 13th

People who added this item 53 Average listal rating (26 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.8

Amazon Prime- 1hr. 36min.
First Viewing
Jack's Back is solid. It has some very strong elements and some very weird ones, too. In all honesty, this should've been a stranger film, taking advantage of it's genre straddling premise (supernatural horror meets slasher horror meets detective story meets character study). The film we get eventually ends up being a decent serial killer thriller, with some genuinely thrilling moments, but once it's revealed it's more fantastical elements, it becomes a pretty standard genre film. It does have some actual character work, though. James Spader does some terrific work in a dual role, and the supporting cast holds there own as well. I just wish it would've take a few more risks. A decent curiosity viewing.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Actor- James Spader
BradWesley123's rating:

Paramount+- 1hr. 58min.
First Viewing
For the majority of my cinema viewing (or, based on the amount of watch, consuming), I didn't have much of an inclination to seek out Temple of Doom. I love Raiders and Last Crusade, and I can stomach Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but I'd heard enough negative things about the sequel, or prequel, that it felt unnecessary. After watching Raiders, I finally decided that I'd take the plunge, and give it a look. And, much to my surprise, I'm thoroughly glad that I did.

Temple of Doom doesn't hold up on a storytelling level to it's predecessor nor to it's sequel, but it certainly matches their thrills. This is a pretty non-stop ride, with scene after scene seemingly designed to see if Spielberg can keep topping himself. He doesn't always, but he gets damn close. It does get baggy for a few minutes once they first enter the title Temple, but the climax is such a thrill ride that it's forgivable. An imminently enjoyable theme park ride.

Monthly Wesley Awards
Best Picture
Best Cinematography- Douglas Slocombe
Best Score- John Williams
Best Costume Design (Fantasy)- Anthony Powell
Best Production Design (Fantasy)- Elliot Scott and Peter Howitt
Best Sound Editing- Ben Burtt, Richard Hymns
Best Makeup- Tom Smith, Connie Reeve and Peter Robb-King
Best Visual Effects- Dennis Muren, Michael J. McAlister, Lorne Peterson, George Gibbs
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June 14th


HBO Max- 1hr. 58min.
First Viewing
The Manhattan Project has a middle section issue, and a lead character issue. Those are, essentially, it's biggest issues. It starts well, with a strong setup and a terrific heist sequence. It ends well, with a tension saturated standoff. There's strong work by the actors, especially John Lithgow. But the second act drags on, and Christopher Collet's lead is too much of a prick to get behind. I can understand having an annoying kid as your lead, but he doesn't grow any throughout the film; he's the same in the beginning as he was in the end. If you can stomach those two problems, there's enough here to recommend (the central premise if though-provoking, and terrifying), but it's not easy.

Monthly Wesley Award
Best Original Screenplay- Marshall Brickman & Thomas Baum
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June 15th

People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.2
Holler (2021)

Cinema- 1hr. 30min.
First Viewing
Holler is respectable in it's aim to humanize modern Appalachia, and try to illustrate it soberly. To it's credit, it does so much better than something like Hillbilly Elegy (a dumpster fire that wants us to pity the childhood of a white nationalist), and is involving throughout. It's a bit too obvious in craft, the striking 16mm photography is strong but expected, but it's constructed well. It's an exceptionally well-performed character, too (Jessica Barden is commanding in the lead, and Austin Amelio does some interesting work from a boilerplate character). The script just doesn't have that kick. The story goes the expected ways (especially unfortunate in the last act, when solid characters start becoming plot devices), and it only hints at depth more so than digs in to find it (again solid characters, but they, eventually, don't get the space they need to breathe). Fine, but I wanted more.
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June 16th

People who added this item 393 Average listal rating (281 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
Spies Like Us (1985)

HBO Max- 1hr. 42min.
First Viewing
There are a few fun bits sprinkled throughout (the first act is a pretty funny setup), but Spies Like Us often a rambling, flat film that squanders its strong premise and well-matched leads. It's a road picture, with a varied array of cameos and sketches, and that, at the very least, keeps the film interesting and new and, most importantly, watchable. Unfortunately, the sketches all go on to long, lacking the energy or vigor required to keep them afloat, leaving Aykroyd and Chase flailing in their attempts to inject life into them.
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June 17th

People who added this item 3080 Average listal rating (2061 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.8

HBO Max- 1hr. 46min.
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People who added this item 1940 Average listal rating (1285 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.9

HBO Max- 1hr. 47min.
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DVD- 2hrs. 6min.
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June 18th


Vudu- 1hr. 46min.
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June 19th

People who added this item 1496 Average listal rating (1001 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6

DVD- 1hr. 46min.
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People who added this item 47 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3

Cinema- 2hrs. 23min.
First Viewing
The story gets a bit patchy at times, and the first act feels jumbled, but In the Heights the kind of big screen musical that reminds viewers why cinemas were built in the first place. Despite those mentions reservations, and a few others (I also think that it doesn't give all it's characters worthy narratives), this is a terrifically satisfying spectacle with some transcendent numbers (the big pool scene and building-wall dance are already classics), an excellent ensemble, and a lovely message about community (as well as giving a face and a voice to an often overlooked group). Should've been a bigger hit.

Monthly Wesley Awards
Best Director- John M. Chu
Best Ensemble Performance
Best Editing- Myron Kerstein
Best Soundtrack
Best Costume Design (Contemporary)- Mitchell Travers
Best Production Design (Contemporary)- Nelson Coates, Moin Uddin and Andrew Baseman
Best Choreography (Dance)- Christopher Scott
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 1297 Average listal rating (887 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Fast Five (2011)

DVD- 2hrs. 10min.
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June 20th

People who added this item 955 Average listal rating (642 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1

Peacock- 2hrs. 10min.
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June 21st

People who added this item 1742 Average listal rating (1086 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.9

Disney+- 1hr. 38min.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 703 Average listal rating (482 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7.1

Vudu- 2hrs. 17min.
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June 22nd

People who added this item 20 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.2

Cinema- 1hr. 33min.
First Viewing
I warmed to the original film as it progressed, but it dug such a whole to start that I couldn't recommend it for many other than unassuming children (or not, as it was a weirdly violent film). It lacked the grace and charm. Peter Rabbit 2, while not an overwhelming achievement, does have a certain charm about it. It's still a rather blunt piece of children's programming, but it has enough flashes of wit to hold adults attention as well.

This can be attributed to a few things. One is an irreverent story, with enough sense to comment on itself and acknowledge it's and, more importantly, it's predecessor's faults (it lampshades a bit too much here and there, but I appreciated that it understood the big issues it was attempting to overcome). Another is the title character himself being leveled out. He's more a self-conscious ass than an out-and-out sociopath, a line that the original toed very poorly (Corden, too, adds some depth in his vocal performance that was entirely absent the firs time around). It doesn't make for a great film, but it also won't make you feel like you've completely wasted your time. Surprisingly enjoyable.
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June 23rd

People who added this item 30 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 4.9 IMDB Rating 4.9

Netflix- 1hr. 37min.
First Viewing
Awake is in too big a hurry. The film rushes to get to it's central conceit, a world where only a select few can sleep, stumbling through some basic building blocks. While it does do a decent job introducing it's principle characters, the supporting characters and the world they inhabit remain blank. This means that the rapid rate in which society crumbles feels hollow; they're literally starting death cults, built on sacrificing those that can sleep, after, maybe (the editing could've flubbed a time jump) a day without sleep. In a smarter film, perhaps this could've made for a critique and/or satire of society; here, it feels rushed.

The second act, while rather routine for these sorts of films, is solid enough to overcome these opening flaws. As the characters get loopier, the film ratchets up the tension in effective, if expected, ways. This carries over into a strong third act that takes it premise to chilling ends, and a solid resolution to it's central dilemma... and then it ends. There's no climax to the story. It resolves a moment of crisis, then ends. Just when it's starting to get strong. It's galvanizing, and not in a good way. It wouldn't have taken much to end this story well. You don't even have to solve the sleep-crisis; you just have to end a quick moment with the characters, that allows them some semblance of resolution. Then you can end your movie decently (maybe not satisfyingly or memorably), and get the sequel that you're desperate to set up. A real ending to this movie, and I knock this up a star. As is, it's a frustrating ending to a movie that had been getting progressively stronger.
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June 24th

People who added this item 307 Average listal rating (209 ratings) 4.8 IMDB Rating 4.7
The Marine (2006)

DVD- 1hr. 32min.
First Viewing
Holy shit was that weird. Admittedly, there are a few solid b-movie action pieces here and there. That doesn't make The Marine good though. The majority of the 92-minute runtime is devoted to drawn-out scenes of characters standing around or walking, punctuated by a truly awful score by Don Davis (how could the guy who did The Matrix shit those one out). The action isn't terrible, but it is pretty funny (the one where Cena loses his security job is fun is the most memorably well-staged/paced). There's typically too much editing, a lot of close-ups on Cena's face (the opener feels is shot and cut to, presumably, resemble a Nazi propaganda video), and the usually end with an explosion that Cena either runs away from, or gets blown away by (don't worry, he's never injured in any way).

There's some intentional fun to be found here. Robert Patrick seems to be having a blast playing the heavy (even though the character is, bar none, one of the dumbest fucking bad guys in action movie history). And... well, that's really about it. Aside from the aforementioned fight scene, this is an unintentionally funny film, even if the laughs aren't so much of the "how stupid" variety, but of the "what the fuck is this/did they just do that?" persuasion. Case in point; there is a scene where a character reveals that he was molested as a child at Summer camp, set to Deliverance music. They make child rape, arguably, the most elaborate joke of the whole movie. That's what we're dealing with in The Marine. Watch at your own peril.

Monthly Wesley Awards
Worst Picture
Best Worst Picture
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Blu-Ray- 2hrs. 16min.
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June 25th

People who added this item 2240 Average listal rating (1446 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.9

AMC+- 2hrs. 12min.
First Viewing
The Blues Brothers is a brilliantly entertaining film, from beginning to end. Sure, it takes a few minutes for the plot to warm up, but once it starts cooking (likely the mall car chase) it never lets up. It's a four-course meal of a film. A genuine force.

Monthly Wesley Awards
Best Choreography (Stunts)
Best Sound Mixing- William B. Kaplan, Robert Glass, Robert Knudson and Don MacDougall
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June 26th

People who added this item 125 Average listal rating (79 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.2

Cinema- 2hrs. 25min.
First Viewing
It feels weird to say that F9 disappointed me. These films are, in essence, impervious to criticism; they're so ridiculous that any attempt to analyze them in general cinematic terms feels pointless. They're sound and fury and family; not particularly deep, but fun and involving. Trouble is, it seems that Vin Diesel wants these movies to be deeper. Fate of the Furious hinted at that, with some familial twists meant to depth and emotion to these films (Furious 7 arguably started this trend, but Paul Walker's death couldn't help but add emotional underpinnings; also, it worked in that film, feeling more like a culmination of the films). It worked, in spots, but the strains were more visible there than in previous installments of the revived franchise. Instead, F9 takes those strains and exacerbates them.

The first hour or so is pretty fun. Returning director Justin Lin flexes with a terrific jungle chase, then a goofy magnet-infused one through Edinburgh, then a pretty fun Helen Mirren cameo. This is the kind of stuff that these films do well, and it's a blast. Then the middle section comes, and it's a huge bummer. The backstory with John Cena, as Dom's brother, is overblown and undercooked; big and bloated, but lacking in the Shakespearian melodrama that aspires (largely because you can't score dramatic stakes with two slabs of meat grunting at each other). Then the Han reveal is underdeveloped, feeling more like a checklist obligation than inspired storytelling ("Cross #JusticeforHan off, moving on!"). Then, there's a near-death sequence with Dom featuring both some of the most striking filmmaking in this series, and a full-blown time waster that takes nearly 10 minutes (it feels like it, at least) and adds nothing to the story.

Once we get past that, the fast are, once again, allowed to be furious. Unfortunately, it's running on fumes. There are parts that are fun enough to keep things watchable, but, as given away in marketing and joke Twitter accounts, then they go to space and it's just too much. Cross-cutting between that surprisingly low stakes affair (it's space for Christ's sake) and a perfunctory chase that leads to an obvious climax makes for the most disappointing Furious ending in the franchise's history. I'm not looking for cinematic boundary pushing from a Fast & Furious movie, I'm looking for a good time; not a total parody, but not too serious, with a brisk pace, and, yes, solid family moments. F9, instead, consumes itself trying to accommodate the Torretto bloodline. Hopefully, the final films in this franchise find a way to bring it back to it's roots.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 5119 Average listal rating (3596 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7

HBO Max- 2hrs. 23min.
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June 27th

People who added this item 228 Average listal rating (150 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.4

Starz- 1hr. 51min.
First Viewing
Under Suspicion is a decent chamber drama that doesn't quite know the story it wants to tell. Is it the story of police overreach? Or, is it a story of the hollowness of power? I suppose both hinge on a sort-of double-edged sword; those who are charged to protect causing ill, and the power that comes with wealth it's own prison. In any regard, the film only skims the surface of either path. While it never tipping it's hand is admirable, it doesn't make for a complete viewing experience.

The surface stuff does keep things compelling throughout. The leads are terrific (Hackman, especially, adds an edge to everything, giving each scene added depth) and director Stephen Hopkins adds a fluidity to a film that, in it's essence, is primarily set in two spaces. While I don't believe that the elements come together satisfyingly, Under Suspicion is strong enough in places to warrant respect.
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People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (26 ratings) 4.2 IMDB Rating 5.1

DVD- 1hr. 39min.
First Viewing
The Unholy comes close to being decent. The story is rife for a great thriller, with echos of The Exorcist or The Omen possible. Horror films that place religion front and center can always touch on something deeper, something universal; devout or not, religion has played shape each of us. Playing on this role would've yielded stronger results. Unsurprisingly, it just sticks to the basics; jump scares, shouting, poor characterizations. In fact, the lead character makes such astoundingly stupid decisions at the start that not even the steady hand of Jeffrey Dean Morgan kind steer it completely back on course (it does some gymnastics to bring him back, and his work comes close). The ensemble (Cricket Brown does some nice work as the possessed) keeps things aloft, the craft is decent, and the story has enough juice to keep things working, but writer-director Evan Spiliotopoulos can't push things to a satisfying level.
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June 30th

People who added this item 764 Average listal rating (476 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6
Derailed (2005)

Vudu- 1hr. 52min.
First Viewing
The audience knows too much. That's you base level with a movie like Derailed. We might not know how the story's going to come together, not entirely, but we've seen too many of these sorts of films not to read the tea leaves. For a mystery/noir to transcend this audience knowledge, it has to either; throw a couple of wild variables in, construct the plot in an unpredictable way (Knives Out is a great example of this), or just do it very well. It can go through the motions and play hits, but it has to hit those marks with panache and precision. In a lot of way Derailed does that. It's a well-crafted film with a foreboding tone that colors everything with dread, with a few okay twists here and there, and a terrific cast (Vincent Cassel, in particular, is a terrifying, menacing villain). The problem is, it has a protagonist problem.

Try as hard as he does, Clive Owen just can't make this guy meek enough or downtrodden enough for us to buy into it. This guy has to be way, way down, and he also has to be a boob; a pitiable boob, sure, but a boob who won't see the mechanics. He's got a rough home life, but he doesn't seem willing enough to throw his life allow. Owen gives off too much of a knowing vibe. He does fine work, especially in the back half when he's a man driven out of desperation, but the start just doesn't work. Conversely, while Owen's work gets stronger in the back half, the film goes, slightly, off the rails, with a bonkers ending that makes very little sense. This is an involving, well-made thriller, but it just doesn't click in the ways that it needs to.
BradWesley123's rating:

Numbers


Number of Movies Watched: 39
Newly Watched: 24
Cinema: 6
DVD: 5
VHS: 0
Blu-Ray: 1
Streaming: 27
: 2
: 1
: 1
: 9
: 3
: 6
: 1
: 1
: 2
Time Spent: 74hrs. 29min.

Critcal


Best New View: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Worst New View: The Marine

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