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BradWesley123's Movie Journal- November 2017
Movie list created by BradWesley123
Sort by: Showing 24 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
Doctor Strange (2016)
Despite the Falling Snow (2016)
Showtime- 1hr. 33min.
It looks pretty good, and Rachel Portman's score is strong, but Despite the Falling Snow is just a dull bore. I honestly don't really remember much about it; it just happens, and then its over, and you won't much remember what happened in it.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Score- Rachel Portman
Love the Coopers (2015)
Showtime- 1hr. 47min.
I'm willing to forgive a lot about Christmas movies; excessive cloying, bad dialogue, hammy acting, etc. Love the Coopers pushes my limits too damn far to enjoy though; it's stunningly cloying (don't get me started on the circumstances surrounding the narrator), nobody has ever spoken the way that characters speak in this film, and it's all portrayed so stunningly cheesily that I was left cringing through a lot of it. There are some solid moments to be found within; the acting isn't terrible and, again, it's holiday-story forgives a bit (it also looks surprisingly good at times). It just isn't enough to compensate for the poorness on display; it's like a discount Family Stone.
Burn Country (2016)
Starz- 1hr. 44min.
The plot is fairly thin, especially as it progresses towards its ending, but Burn Country is interesting backwoods noir (or noir-lite in this case) with strong performances and a solid grasp on story. I wouldn't call it an ambitious film, but it's able to meet it's modest aims with calm storytelling, and an emphasis on characters, wringing strong works from the entire main cast. As noted though, the story doesn't have a lot to it, and that hampers a bit towards the end (it's meant to be anticlimactic, but doesn't handle it particularly well). Still, its a solid mystery that doesn't overstay it's welcome.
Netflix- 1hr. 22min.
The twist at the end is pretty solid, but Visions is a poorly made "thriller" with a laughable script and a surprisingly over-qualified cast. Had the film preceding the revealed actually presented a compelling story (with solid characters and situations that didn't feel like a random assortment of scenes), then this probably would've actually made a few waves; instead, it was a turd that had a straight-to-dvd/digital release. At least it's short.
And Then There Were None (1945)
Youtube- 1hr. 37min.
While it is hampered a bit by the Hollywood stagey-ness of that many films of the era where, the 1945 version of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None is an exceptionally fun, frothy murder-mystery that features a top-notch acting ensemble and strong production values that creates a surprisingly moody picture. I can't speak to many versions of this story (though the 2015, which I have seen, is solid), but this one is a very effective one.
T2 Trainspotting (2017)
Starz- 1hr. 57min.
The biggest issue with Trainspotting 2 is the plot; I didn't care about whatever episodic troubles that the characters get themselves into. They felt hollow and tacked on so we could get to the meat-and-potatoes ending. Sure, they lead to a bundle of funny, energetic moments, but they often feel too hollow. The film sings, however, when it focuses on the weight of time; the stuff involving Begbie really sells this. Saying how these characters have aged, and how much (or little) they've changed, provides the film with it's emotional center (which is why the ending of this film works so well). It's a mixed bag of a film that could've used much less love-triangle shenanigans, and much more genuine character moments.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Editing- Jon Harris
The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
The Limehouse Golem (2017)
DVD- 1hr. 48min.
Despite a few avenues leading to null dramatic progression, The Limehouse Golem is an impressively mounted Victorian London-set murder mystery with an exceptional cast and a surprisingly relevant story. As mentioned, the story has a surprisingly timely conceit (not to get into spoilers), and it proves effective for the story. It also helps that the cast is quite good; especially Olivia Cooke, who expertly nails several impressive characteristics. The story is a bit long in the tooth, too many plot threads to explore, but that doesn't hinder the joy that comes from a mystery done well.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Costume Design- Claire Anderson
Best Production Design- Grant Montgomery and Pilar Foy
The Glass Castle (2017)
DVD- 2hrs. 7min.
It's exceedingly unsubtle, and the framing device doesn't feel as important as the film tries to make it out as being (it could have been told chronologically with more depth), but The Glass Castle often works through sheer force; a compelling story, solid filmmaking, and superb acting). It isn't authentic on a storytelling level, but it is on an emotional one; sure it pulls it's punches in its approach to the Walls parents (they aren't presented particularly well, but they're given more than they're parenting skills would warrant), but there's an underlying understanding of how these characters are at their core. Larson, though she isn't given that much to work with, does quite well, but Harrelson steals the movie; his character isn't uncharted territory for him, but he takes the character and runs with it. It's, for the most part, Hollywood fluff, but it's certainly well-produced fluff.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Actor- Woody Harrelson
DVD- 1hr. 22min.
This is a really stupid movie. Halle Berry works her ass off to give it even a minuscule amount of dignity, but it can't overcome the piss-poor filmmaking. Kidnap is discount-Taken; like ¢-discount. It features bad writing, editing that seems like scenes were chosen at random, and blatantly laziness that makes several scenes unintentionally hilarious. The bizarre, swamp ending is just icing on the shit-cake.
Monthly Wesley AwardWorst Picture
The Journey (2017)
Netflix- 1hr. 34min.
The Journey works when it sticks to its two-hander setup: Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney do some strong work, and play off of each other extremely well. Its exceptionally stagey (few locations, monologues), but it works pretty well. It's when the outside forces interfere, and the film feels the need to beat into the ground just how important these men's conversations are, that it feels phony and hollow. It's half a good movie, half a cloying one; one's worth your time, the other isn't.
Netflix- 2hrs. 15min.
The best praise that one could extend Mudbound would be to consider it a fundamentally "American" story. It's story extends to different races, classes, and genders, observing the circumstances of all without much judgment; an understanding that is often neglected in storytelling. It doesn't tell you what to think or feel about the conditions on display; it just shows them and trusts that the understandings come natural. While it does take a bit of time for the film to fully come together (the first however is exceedingly heavy on voice-over), it proves to be a powerful experience when it does. The cast is exceptional, the filmmaking stellar, and the story an important one; i.e. it probably would've won a few Oscars if it didn't have that Netflix logo.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Picture
Best Director- Dee Rees
Best Supporting Actor- Jason Mitchell
Best Supporting Actress- Mary J. Blige
Best Adapted Screenplay- Dee Rees and Virgil Williams
Best Cinematography- Rachel Morrison
Cars 3 (2017)
DVD- 1hr. 42min.
While I can't say it deserves a place in the pantheon of Pixar classics, Cars 3 is a surprisingly entertaining and heartfelt film in a franchise that made it's name for being neither of those things (I didn't dislike the original, though I didn't even watch the second film). The plot is pretty routine, an aging legend has to reconcile his legacy while moving out of the way to let another generation have a shot, but it's handled well, and it works. It still, occasionally, falls into one of the biggest lingering issues of the franchise, its playing more to children than all audiences (much more so than other Pixar efforts), but its toned down, largely thanks to the absence of the character Mater and a more mature tone. Its exceptionally animated, and the story does include some genuine emotion; i.e. it's easily the finest film in this franchise.
DVD- 1hr. 34min.
Bushwick is a pretty mixed-bag of a film; at times, it's thrilling and weirdly fun, and other times its just a slog. The story is essentially a retrofitted Children of Men or, at the very least, the last act of Children of Men, and it does its best to emulate the filmmaking of that film too; i.e. a constantly moving camera and an excess of one-takes. While it does its best, it just can't match the fluidity of the camerawork and brutality of story that that film had. Bautista and Snow are solid in the lead roles, but they're just ciphers for a so-so story. When it reveals the plot, and the action that results from that, the film works best; it's clumsy last act, however, knee-caps a lot of the goodwill that it built up. I'm leaning more on the positive side of things, but its still not a particularly great film.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Sound
The Family Stone (2005)
Queen of Earth (2015)
Netflix- 1hr. 29min.
An elliptical, stomach-churn inducing psychological-thriller, Queen of Earth is a startling examination of a mental breakdown, led by knockout performance from Elisabeth Moss. Its a, likely, divisive film; viewers feelings towards it will probably be dictated by their tolerance for the genre, and the often unclear storytelling. I, however, found it to be a marvel of controlled chaos (the chaos happening internally) and slow-burning tension; the simmering leads to a more satisfying film, and more terrifying outbursts. It's strong storytelling on the part of writer-director Alex Ross Perry, but it's Moss's performance that propels the film. Its such a strong performance that you feel like you witnessing an actual nervous breakdown; its much more than a performance.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Actress- Elisabeth Moss
Best Original Screenplay- Alex Ross Perry
Office Christmas Party (2016)
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Showtime- 1hr. 28min.
Had the whole of The Autopsy of Jane Doe been as strong as the first half, then the film would've been one of the best indie-thrillers of recent memory. Instead, the last half becomes something closer to your standard horror ending (slasher-lite), and deflates so much of the tension and intrigue that the film builds up in the beginning. It's still an often thrilling film, with strong performances and great technical work, but it's hard not to be disappointed when the film becomes a more pedestrian effort.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Makeup
DVD- 1hr. 48min.
The cast is strong, and a few scenes do work quite well, but The Secret Scripture is often too hackneyed and dull to make any sort of lasting impression. The framing device (set years after the major events of the story) works best, largely because it doesn't feel as contrived as the meat of the story (it's by no means great, but it feels more restrained). There's a great movie to be made from the material featured in this film, but it's handled too poorly here to amount to much beyond a lazy Sunday viewing.
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
Number of Movies Watched: 24
Newly Watched: 16
Time Spent: 42hrs. 29min.
Best New View: Mudbound
Worst New View: Kidnap
7 votesThe Complete Wesley: 2017 Movie Journal (13 lists)
list by BradWesley123
Published 3 years, 7 months ago
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