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BradWesley123's Movie Journal- October 2016
Movie list created by BradWesley123
Sort by: Showing 25 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
Gone Girl (2014)
The Shallows (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 26min.
It's a bit slight, and quite derivative, but The Shallows works as a nice little thriller that's kept afloat thanks to director Jaume Collet-Serra's ability to ratchet up tension, and Blake Lively's exceptional leading turn. The need to bookend personal growth for the lead feels too tacked on, unnecessary of this story. Aside from that, the film works due to skill instead of story.
Knight of Cups (2015)
Amazon Prime- 1hr. 58min.
While it does suffer from many of the same problems that Malick's previous nadir To the Wonder, Knight of Cups seems to have more narrative flow; more storytelling vision. Granted, this is still a Terrence Malick film, so "narrative flow" here means less abstract and vague. Also, unsurprisingly, the film is lovely to look at (Chivo doesn't know how to shoot a shit-looking film). If there's a main hindrance from the movie, aside from lacking story, it would be length; something like this would be more palatable at 90 minutes, not almost two hours. Otherwise, it was a better movie than I had expected.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Cinematography- Emmanuel Lubezki
I Am Wrath (2016)
Starz- 1hr. 31min.
I Am Wrath is, essentially, Death Wish, but, somehow, dumber and more unnecessary. The film is so hilariously bad that it's almost worth recommending, but the film's baffling dour tone prevents that. It's fun-bad a lot, but it's bad-bad more.
Monthly Wesley AwardWorst Picture
Freaks of Nature (2015)
Starz- 1hr. 32min.
Freaks of Nature is amusing and occasionally quite funny, but never anything more than mildly amiable. The cast is fine, and the film is surprisingly well made (the makeup is quite good), but the script lack any imagination beyond the initial conceit. With better writing, and direction that knew how to squeeze this material for everything it's got, this could've have been a cult classic.
Careful What You Wish For (2015)
Starz- 1hr. 31min.
This is a stupid movie, but I was expecting that. I wasn't expecting it to be, relatively, well made. Careful What You Wish For isn't particularly good, it's poorly plotted and as predictable as an impending Trumpian fiasco, but it is frothy fun for those demanding very little.
Central Intelligence (2016)
Swiss Army Man (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 37min.
Swiss Army Man is just an odd film, and I mean that in the most complimentary way. There are some lulls in the middle, but the movie is able to sidestep most issues with to excellent performances, especially Dano, and a witty and original script (if you think you know where this thing is going, you're likely wrong). It takes a lot to make an audience care about a talking, farting corpse, but the Daniels (Kwan & Scheinert) put such deep care into their characters that they're able to achieve it. It's not for all tastes, but I recommend giving it a try.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Picture
Best Directors- Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
Best Actor- Paul Dano
Best Original Screenplay- Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
Best Editing- Matthew Hannam
Best Score- Andy Hull & Robert McDowell
Love & Friendship (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 33min.
I was left surprisingly cold after seeing Love & Friendship. While it is exceptionally made and slyly clever, it just came across as flat to me. I don't need gut-busting gags or big character moments, but I need something to really care about; the lack of plot are well-defined characters' hindered that. The cast does make things frequently appealing, with Beckinsale doing some of her best work ever and Tom Bennett stealing every scene he's in. It's amusing, but never much else.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Costume Design- Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh
A Bigger Splash (2015)
DVD- 2hrs. 5min.
A Bigger Splash is a delight for it's first two acts, but crumbles in a last act that fields completely counter to everything that we've seen before. It's like a great song that hits a scratchy patch towards the end. Before that, it's an exceptionally well made, well acted film with temptation, desire and jealousy bubbling beneath the surface. Had the last act not taken such a sharp turn, I would've been warmer to this film; had the filmmaker trusted the characters, it would've felt more natural.
Monthly Wesley AwardsBest Actress- Tilda Swinton
Best Supporting Actor- Ralph Fiennes
Best Adapted Screenplay- David Kajganich
88 Minutes (2007)
Starz- 1hr. 47min.
After listening to the "How Did This Get Made" episode spotlighting this film about a dozen times, I finally saw it on a streaming service, and had to see it for myself. While I'd argue that the podcast's hosts made this sound more fun than it was, 88 Minutes is still a fun movie to watch and riff on. As a film, it's poorly made drivel; as an experience, it's a pretty fun time.
Blood Father (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 28min.
Blood Father is, at the end of the day, a b-movie. B-movies can be fun if done well, and this one, mostly, is. Gibson's past adds most of the weight to the role, and film, (I'm not sure it would've worked as well without someone with his past), and his performance really does power this film beyond being disposable schlock (it still is schlock, but the fun kind).
Netflix- 1hr. 35min.
Mascots is a relatively funny mockumentary, but its missing the soul that other Christopher Guest films usually have. The cast is good, and several jokes hit, but there's nothing really under the surface on this one. It's what you seen on screen; nothing more, nothing less. That hinders the film from gaining any lasting power. In other words; a pretty standard Netflix movie.
The Ones Below (2015)
Netflix- 1hr. 26min.
The Ones Below is a fair but middling psychological thriller/mystery that's bolstered by strong performances, particularly from the female leads, but hampered but cliches and a wholly predictable ending. In all honesty, you'll be able to know how the movie ends probably ten minutes in.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Supporting Actress- Laura Birn
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Netflix- 1hr. 45min.
It features two compelling performances from Laura Carmichael and Chloe Pirrie, and the cinematography lends it more grace than most indie flicks, but Burn Burn Burn has too many script issues to overcome. The road trip conceit is one as old as cinema, and the film doesn't do much, aside from the "dead friend's last wish" set-up, to differentiate itself from others in the genre. Plus, the friend that they're supposed to be mourning is just so damn irritating that I had a hard time believing anyone would want to be with him, let alone mourn him. Still, it's made well enough that it often exudes genuine emotion, even if the bland script sometimes stilts it.
Blu-Ray- 1hr. 53min.
It's not as embarrassing as I had expected (a low bar, to be sure), but Alice Through the Looking Glass is still a frenzied mess chock-full of gaudy, garish designs and overdone characters with few genuine character traits. Admittedly, this can lead to some over-the-top fun that's hard to write off completely, but not enough fun to compensate this film being so meaningless. This is soulless blockbuster fare with nothing but hollow "be yourself" platitudes in place of themes. You'd think with budgets this big, there'd be enough money to get a decent script.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Makeup
Café Society (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 56min.
The tone is fairly messy, it goes from broad comedy to melancholy drama, and script doesn't really distinguish itself from other relationship dramedies, but Cafe Society does often work thanks to an effective cast and beautiful production design. Eisenberg and Stewart continue to elicit genuine chemistry (this is their third film together), and so many of the winning moments from the film are due to their work(the supporting cast is strong too, but none get the moments that the central pair do). Also, as I mentioned, the movie looks gorgeous, with Vittorio Storaro lighting and the costume/production design evoking classic Hollywood. The script certainly is the biggest cause for concern, with Allen, likely, working from a rough draft cranked out over one weekend. There are some great pieces, but too many that don't seem to fit the picture.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Production Design- Santo Loquasto and Regina Graves and Nancy Haigh
Our Kind of Traitor (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 47min.
Our Kind of Traitor features some tight plotting, strong direction, and strong performances; unfortunately, it also features too many spy cliches and a rather bland lead. McGregor is fine, but he's given a dull character, and can't overcome that. For a better film, the lead would've either been Lewis or Skarsgård's characters, both of whom giving solid performances.
Angels & Demons (2009)
DVD- 2hrs. 3min.
Every ten minutes or so in Warcraft, I started to think that the film was about to get it's act together. There would be an okay moment that hinted that the story was going to become less convoluted and jumble (holy shit is the story in this film jumbled), and straighten out. It didn't; Warcraft is a lot of sound and noise signifying nothing. You can tell that the film wants to be an epic brimming with emotion and pathos, but it doesn't seem to understand that we need a story and characters that make any of it matter.
The Purge: Election Year (2016)
DVD- 1hr. 47min.
The Purge: Election Year is, essentially, a rehash of Anarchy, but that isn't much of a quibble; the film suffers the same problems that befell that one (lazy characters, poor plotting), but is smarter. The social critiques and satire, while not being that cutting, are more intelligent and the action more coherent. It's not a perfect movie, but it's the first Purge movie that could be called "good", and is surprisingly engaging.
Monthly Wesley AwardBest Sound
DVD- 1hr. 38min.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates benefits greatly from a strong cast, but loses steam as it goes along. It starts off pretty solidly, and there are laughs throughout, but the movie eventually buckles under added cliches that result in the laughs coming more sporadically. Had it kept the energy of the first half going throughout, this would've been a much more compelling work.
The Infiltrator (2016)
DVD- 2hrs. 7min.
The Infiltrator is a fun movie, but not one that can be called wholly good. The cast is strong, even if Cranston is a little old for this part, and the film's Scorsese aping, while not at all original, leads to some engaging moments. The movie doesn't quite commit to those moments though; too much of the time it plods, and doesn't give us enough moments of character development to explain the internal conflicts of the characters. Like I said, it's kinda fun, but not much else.
Netflix- 1hr. 29min.
While I respect the craft that's on display in Pretty Thing, it's too damn inessential to get a full endorsement from me. Director Oz Perkins clearly gets mood and tone, though he could learn a thing or two about pacing (and story, but that's not really the point here). It's exceptionally well made, but a fairly soulless experiment.
Number of Movies Watched: 25
Newly Watched: 21
Time Spent: 45hrs. 14min.
Best New View: Swiss Army Many
Weakest New View: I Am Wrath
5 votesThe Complete Wesley: 2016 Movie Journal (12 lists)
list by BradWesley123
Published 4 years, 4 months ago
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