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BradWesley123's Movie Journal- May 2018
Movie list created by BradWesley123
Sort by: Showing 24 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
Amazon Prime- 1hr. 38min.
The best compliment that could be paid to Hangman is that it's, at the very least, not totally incompetently made. That said, it's also a hilariously inept film with horrible acting, writing, directing, etc. It's as shitty as it is fun to watch, and it's pretty damn fun. The script is hobbled together with awful plotting and some truly hideous dialogue (Brittany Snow gets a whopper of a monologue about police officers), and filmmaking is just rush, lazy nonsense. The acting, too, is pretty rough; Urban looks like he would rather be anywhere else, and Pacino just looks like a walking corspe (that's not a total exaggeration), with some truly dead line readings. I would recommend it only for those who enjoy bad movies; those looking for quality should steer clear.
Monthly Wesley AwardsWorst Picture
Best Worst Picture
HBO Now- 1hr. 41min.
There's a fun mystery/thriller story at the center of Whiteout, but the execution is so pedestrian and bland that the film can never come close to doing it justice. In all honesty, this isn't really an egregiously bad film, just one that is rather run-of-the-mill; you'll see most of the plot turns coming a mile away. Not the worst film ever, but never quite grabs you.
DVD- 1hr. 48min.
It's often a pleasant enough film, but Patti Cake$ is a mixed bag, playing it safe and pandering to audiences. It certainly has some solid energy, and has a suitably low-rent feel when necessary, but the film's biggest selling point is a strong central performance by Danielle Macdonald, selling the hell out of a basic character (the supporting cast is fine, but this is really her movie). The story is quite bland though, and the film is mounted in a similar way; it cloys too often, almost begging the audience to love these wacky, quirky characters and their wacky, quirky plight. It, in the end, works a bit more than it doesn't, but it's not a particularly memorable film.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Song- "PBNJ" by Jason Binnick & Geremy Jasper
Netflix- 1hr. 34min.
The Polka King is just as shticky as its protagonist; goofy and sincere, but nevertheless fraudulent. The cast is solid, and the story is inherently interesting, but the film's too earnest to work as satire, and too artificial to work as a dramatic portrait. To it's credit, the film does use a lot of the characters' and story's oddity to great comedic effect, but tone is just never correctly modulating, switching from seeming parody to sincerity with little notice. It's an often fun film, but one that never reaches the heights that it could.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Costume Design (Contemporary)- Susan Lyall
Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018)
DVD- 2hrs. 24min.
I'll be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by The Death Cure; it's not exactly a "good" film, but it's an exceptionally well-made one, with enough energetic set-pieces to make this a solid recommendation. To be clear, on a story department, this is the same old run-of-the-mill Y/A knockoff that the other two were, but at least this adds a little weight to the proceedings. Most of the credit has to go to director Wes Ball and his technical department, they've taken a bland, bloated story and added enough filmmaking pizzazz to, mostly, overcome it to make a fun, if exceedingly overlong, action film.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Editing- Paul Harb and Dan Zimmerman
Best Visual Effects
The Post (2018)
Netflix- 1hr. 40min.
Andrew Niccol comes up with some truly intriguing story ideas, but he, again, squanders them on an, eventually, dull story that's cliched and needlessly confusing. The movie works best at the beginning; Niccol has a genuine gift for setting up worlds and premises, and Anon thrives when the filmmaker is laying out the world's dynamics. After that though, the film descends into a poorly plotted and, frankly, indecipherable mess where story beats and characters are thrown around carelessly before a hollow ending. It's an exceptionally well-made film, with a great premise at its center, but a poorly mounted one.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Production Design (Contemporary)- Philip Ivey and Patricia Cuccia
12 Strong (2018)
Blu-Ray- 2hrs. 10min.
12 Strong does nothing new or inventive with the war movie genre, nor cinema itself, but does offer solid action and passable hoorah escapism. When I say "nothing new", I mean it; the story, characters (there's an interesting CIA character that shows up at the beginning who probably could've led a stronger film), and style do nothing to make much of an impact. That said, its fairly well-made, with strong technical aspects (sound, effects, editing, etc.). When it sticks to the action, it, mostly, works.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Sound
DVD- 1hr. 39min.
The script introduces a strong setup that it never comes close to following up, and forces some bland horror cliches to the story's center, but Winchester is not a total loss. It's well-made, with strong technical craft, and quite well-performed. There are, too, a couple of solid scares; though not enough, nor are the ones present strong or original enough to shock discerning viewers. If the filmmakers were smarter with their scares and, of course, had a much better script, they could done something here. As it is, the film isn't likely to find a long afterlife in home video, or achieve cult status.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Costume Design (Fantasy)- Wendy Cork
Best Production Design (Period)- Matthew Putland and Vanessa Cerne
Sun Don't Shine (2012)
PopcornFlix- 1hr. 19min.
The story loses its sense of intrigue when it starts to shed its mysteriousness, but Sun Don't Shine is a sweaty, queasily-crafted suspense film held together by excellent direction and great performances from it's leads, especially Sheil. It's not exactly an easily movie to enjoy, but it's highly respectable, in terms of craft and execution. Director Amy Seimetz is able to fully capture a quiet sense of dread, that only grows stronger as the film goes on; while the story loses a few steps as it goes on, the filmmaking only gets stronger. The leads, too, are exceptional, with Kate Lyn Sheil, in particular, selling the hell out of the film's paranoia, creating a startling portrait of an frightened and isolated character. Again, it's not an easy film, but it's certainly a worthwhile one.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Actress- Kate Lyn Sheil
An Inspector Calls (2015)
Amazon Prime- 1hr. 26min.
A bit too staid and reserved at times, An Inspector Calls is, nevertheless, a strong film, featuring strong storytelling and a top-notch acting ensemble. The flashback structure gets a tad drawn-out, and implausible, as it gives every character some sort of previous wrong, but the story is well told, never straying too far from the emotional core of the story, one that's intrigue carries the film to it's fitting conclusion.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest TV Movie
Best Actor in a TV Movie- David Thewlis
Best Actress in a TV Movie- Miranda Richardson
Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie- Sophie Rundle
Best Adapted Screenplay- Helen Edmundson
DVD- 1hr. 39min.
Most Likely to Murder is a thoroughly predictable film, even the big reveal ending will be expected by many, but it's also a reasonably entertaining one, with some solid jokes and an exceptional cast. Won't make the biggest impression, but it's a solid diversion.
Backstabbing for Beginners (2018)
DVD- 1hr. 48min.
Despite an intriguing story, Backstabbing for Beginners is bogged down by a dull lead and unfocused storytelling. Whether Theo James could've done something with a well-written character remains unseen, but he just can't get anything out of this bland protagonist; while Kingsley's character doesn't break any new ground, he does strong work, and would've made a much better lead (filmmakers should learn that audience ciphers aren't really interesting). The story, too, take a, well, beginners approach, leaving the politics that could've made for a thrilling picture in the background, instead focusing on a dull doomed romance and a very basic muckraking. Sure, there's a bit here and there that works (it's still a rather interesting real-world story), but there's a great film waiting to be made from the pieces of this pedestrian one.
Hulu- 1hr. 32min.
This is a cheap, flat Twilight rip-off coming several years after that franchise became irrelevant. There's really not a lot to say about this one; the writing is confused, the direction bland, and the story completely DOA. Timlin is fine in the lead role, at least, and some of the cast are solid (Lola Kirke is actually quite charming here), but they're given nothing of note to perform; just a bland, confusing romance that not even the film seems to care about.
Peter Rabbit (2018)
DVD- 1hr. 35min.
While he does get a bit more palatable as the film goes on, Peter Rabbit's title character's smugness makes the film, and the character, a bit hard to care about. It's also a weirdly violent film for a, supposed, children's film; not comical enough to be taken as cartoon, not sobering enough to startle.
Fifty Shades Freed (2018)
DVD- 1hr. 45min.
To be perfectly honest, I didn't hate Freed. This isn't a good movie, in fact it's quite bad, but this installment seems to understand something that the other two couldn't; this franchise is just trash. It's pure drivel, and Freed is often smart enough to lean into it; the "big" moments are more absurd and fun, and the sex scenes are more sexily staged (there actually seems to be some enjoyment this time around. The acting is even more lively this time; Johnson is able to bring back some of the charm she introduced in the first, and even Dornan is able to have a few okay moments (not good, mind you, but at least he doesn't come of as a burgeoning serial killer in every scene). Don't take this as monsoon level praise, though; this is still a horribly written film, and the direction does absolutely nothing to elevate the material. It's fun this time around, just not good.
Fahrenheit 451 (2018)
HBO Now- 1hr. 40min.
It's well-made and strongly performed, but Fahrenheit 451 is missing the urgency and nuance that make the material so vital. The main issue with the film is it's hollowness; it discusses the book's major themes, but it never feels all that natural. While the technical aspects of the film are first rate, the storytelling never registers as anything more than a souped-up book report.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a TV Movie- Michael Shannon
Best Production Design (Fantasy)- Mark Digby and Michelle Day
Lost in Space (1998)
Netflix- 2hrs. 10min.
If there's one word that springs to mind, above all others, when considering the film version of Lost in Space, it's "misguided". The direction, the story, etc.; it's all off the mark, missing what can and should make this film fun. The major sin that the film commits is focusing so much on Don West instead of the actual family at the center of the story. I'm assuming that this was due to LeBlanc's star power at the time (Friends was exceptionally hot during this time), and the writers lazily attempting to launch his film career as a quasi-Han Solo (but more annoying/sexist). The film is also, weirdly, sullen, foregoing the inherent fun of the story, choosing instead to focus on bland family drama that weighs the film down (further aided by the film's drab color pallet); had more thought been put into the conception of these family dynamics, the film may have carried enough weight to support the finale (it doesn't help that the actual plot doesn't start until the last half hour). The only element that actually works is Oldman's Dr. Smith, smarmy and scheming, but he doesn't have anything to do. It's misguided nature continues even into it's credits; there's a techno-infused reboot of the original theme that I labeled "nightclub seizure" upon viewing. Don't subject yourself to this dull nightclub seizure of a film.
Netflix- 1hr. 45min.
You've seen dozens of movies that Kodachrome emulates; a father-son relationship wrought with friction comes to a head due to an dire ailment. The film takes a lot from them though, to the film's credit, it's handled a bit thornier here; the first half of the movie is a tough watch, as Sudeikis and Harris's characters go for the jugular in a, surprisingly, realistic way. The second half sands down those edges, leading to a sense of catharsis. The film has a hard time reconciling this parts; Harris's character is such a toxic prick in the first half that his redemption rings a bit too false (though the actor sells the hell out of it), leading to a wobbly tone that feels off. That said, the film does go at both halves with enough earnestness and gusto that it does end up eliciting real emotions.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Supporting Actor- Ed Harris
Black Panther (2018)
Netflix- 1hr. 33min.
While the story doesn't quite hit all the right notes, and the movie leans a bit too hard into its quirky eccentricities, Sun Dogs is a solid film that works mainly due to solid direction and exceptional acting from the whole ensemble. Jennifer Morrison's directorial debut is a respectable first outing; it's proficiently made, and often generally being pretty likable. While the script does rely too much on indie-movie staples (quirky characters, "convenient" mental illness), Morrison is able to get some superb, natural performances from her cast, especially with Angarano in the lead (it's a tough character to pull off, but he wisely reels in the character's peculiarities when the scene needs him to). It's a slight film, but a likable and worthwhile one.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Actor- Michael Angarano
Best Supporting Actress- Allison Janney
Best Original Screenplay- Raoul McFarland
Best Ensemble Performance
Loving Vincent (2017)
Hulu- 1hr. 35min.
From a storytelling standpoint, Loving Vincent is a rather cold film; respectful and proficient, but missing the passion and energy necessary to capture the art community at the center of the film. On a technical level, however, the film is a stunning achievement; the painstaking work done by the craft departments (VFX, painters, cinematographers, etc.) come together to create one of the most distinctive cinematic achievements in the history of film. Had the story been handled with more vigor and warmth, the film would've been an all-time great; as is, it's a must-see for it's revolutionary filmmaking alone.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Picture
Best Directors- Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman
Best Costume Design (Period)- Dorota Roqueplo
Best Score- Clint Mansell
Best Cinematography- Tristan Oliver and Lukasz Zal
Number of Movies Watched: 24
Newly Watched: 20
Time Spent: 40hrs. 43min.
Best New View: Loving Vincent
Worst New View: Hangman
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