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Discussion in 'Movies, TV and Music' started by Val1, May 4, 2012.
The Fundamentals of Caring (2016) - A buddy road picture where a man becomes a caregiver for a wheelchair-bound teen with Muscular Dystrophy, and the man convinces the boy to travel across several states to see a bunch of roadside attractions, and, ultimately, the World's Deepest Pit. This movie also features Selena Gomez smoking and swearing like a trucker. Also, why does she have such a wide face in some shots, and slim in others? It's weird. In some shots, her head looks like there was no way she was going to get it through the neck hole of her shirt. I don't know.
Anyway, so I didn't hate this movie. I actually kinda liked it. It was sweet and funny. Paul Rudd (who is the exact same age now as he was in Clueless, which was, like 25 years ago) plays the caregiver, and he has his own tragedy to deal with, and feels like a father figure to the boy, but is he really compensating for his own loss and grief? Could be. Selena Effin' Gomez appears in this movie almost solely to have the boy find a female companion since he's never even asked a girl out before. There's also adventures and misadventures, including what happens when there's no wheelchair ramps at a roadside attraction, but it all seems to work. Maybe on another day, I'd have found this stupid and tacky, but it ends up being quite funny and cute.
My wife tells me that Paul Rudd is 51. He's going to outlive all of us, like Tom Hanks at the end of The Green Mile.
Darkness Falls (2020)
Dir. Julien Seri
Homicide detective Jeff Anderson is convinced that a string of suicides are actually the work of a serial killer who stages the murders as suicides. His direct superior and his peers perceive this belief as his lack of acceptance of his wife's own suicide three months earlier. Until one day, a 911 call reveals a woman who has survived an ordeal that sounds a lot like Jeff's theory and more credence is given to his investigation. Eventually he gets onto the trail of a father-son duo of psychopaths.
The opening scene of this is actually surprisingly good, a scary premise shot in an interesting way. It elevated my hopes for the rest of the film but unfortunately it nose-dives into mediocrity and then flirts with utter horrendousness in a few scenes, so the opening fifteen minutes seem more like a fluke than the work of a filmmaker who knew what he was doing. Shawn Ashmore isn't a good enough actor to turn some rather terrible writing into anything other than cringe-worthy.
Dir. Gregory Hoblit
Detective John Hobbes attends the execution by gas chamber of Edgar Reese, a violent serial killer whom Hobbes tracked down and identified. During his final meeting with Reese, hours before his execution, the killer seems particularly unconcerned with his impending demise and speaks in riddles. After Reese's execution, a new series of murders commence, which share many traits with the Reese murder M.O., enough for Hobbes and his partner Jonesy to believe they have a copycat on their hands. But the new killer seems to know things only Reese and a handful of cops should know. So is the new murderer a police officer or is something far more sinister going on?
Revisited this old favorite of mine, which I hadn't seen in a decade or more. A terrific cast all around, with Denzel, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland and a pre-Sopranos James Gandolfini in a small supporting role. But it was Elias Koteas who stood out to me this time around, his work as Azazel's first incarnation really sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Would make for a great doubleheader with "Frequency" (which I also rewatched fairly recently).
Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020)
Dir. Osmany Rodriguez
Miguel is a teenager living in the Bronx who is worried about the ongoing gentrification of his neighborhood. He is organizing a block party as a way to help save the local community. He is especially worried about how aggressive the Murnau (get it?) company has been buying properties from longtime Bronx residents. One night, Miguel sees what he believes to be a vampire attacking and killing a man. He and his two best friends Bobby and Luis start investigating and they find out that a nest of vampires has landed in the Bronx with very nefarious plans of their own.
This wasn't bad, it's basically an updated version of "Fright Night", transposed to a more urban setting. Featuring the always luminous Sarah Gadon in a supporting role. This is where I give my usual little lament about the fact that she is not a much bigger star and how she, along with her fellow "Belle" star Gugu Mbatha-Raw, have not been afforded the opportunities their obvious talent warrants.
The Vampires also act as a not-so-subtle metaphor for gentrification, though I'm not sure in how far this aspect of the writing was very effective.
I love this movie. Time is on my side
Night Key (1937)
Dir. Lloyd Corrigan
David Mallory is an inventor who was robbed of a top-notch security system fifteen years earlier when his business partner and former friend Stephen Ranger stole the patent from him and went on to make a fortune with his security company. Now David has created a superior system, but history repeats itself when Mallory hires a corrupt lawyer to represent him, a man who is bought by Ranger and David once again loses control over his new invention. This time, he will not take it laying down and decides to use a device he created that can break through the first security system he created. His intention is to successfully enter enough businesses protected by the system to ruin Ranger and get back at him that way. But then real, violent gangsters get wind of his device and want to use it to commit more serious crimes with it.
Nice little drama/thriller with a borderline moving performance by Boris Karloff as the quasi-tragic figure of David Mallory. Features Flash Gordon actress Jean Rogers as Mallory's daughter.
I watched a documentary about someone I need to teach about more in my Sports and International Affairs class, Roberto Clemente.
He's a giant of a human being, and worth your time to get to know.
A Quiet Place (2018) - A family tries to survive a post-apocalyptic world filled with aliens that move and react by the sounds they hear.
This movie was TENSE. While it's sometimes billed as a horror movie, it's more a thriller, and man, what a thriller. Jim from The Office and his real life wife try to protect their family and survive by remaining as quiet as possible. I can't really explain too much without giving things away, but I had this weird feeling in my chest the whole time I watched it. There are no moments where things jump out and scare you (except maybe at the start), but the tension is calmly and quietly ratcheted up. There was one scene where someone was about to drown in a silo of corn, and, man, I could feel that feeling of terror. Maybe it's my fear of drowning, but I felt it. It was probably awesome watching this in the theatre, but watching it in a quiet living room, on your quiet block, in your quiet suburban neighborhood, while your children slept wasn't too bad either.
I liked this movie. You rooted for the family. The aliens were scary, and the story moved along nicely. There's apparently a sequel coming. I hope it's as good as this was.
After watching this, HDNet Movies had on The Naked Gun and The Naked Gun 33 1/3 back to back.
The Naked Gun: From The Files of Police Squad! (1988) - A police detective must foil an assassination attempt on the life of Queen Elizabeth II.
This movie is a hilarious spoof of police dramas and movies like Dirty Harry. Leslie Nielsen plays bumbling detective Lt. Frank Drebin whose Police Squad has been tasked with protecting the queen while visiting the US. Famous puns, one liners, and jokes all come fast and furious, and the movie is just an utter piss. The deadpan comedy from the creators of Airplane! hit on many of the jokes, but it's more of a film where comedy is thrown at a wall to see what sticks.
"Wilma, I promise you: Whatever scum did this, not one man on this force will rest for one minute until he's behind bars. Now, let's grab a bite to eat."
The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994) - Frank Drebin is now retired, but attempts to foil one last terrorist plot - against the Academy Awards. "They're going to blow that place sky high. It'll be a tragedy!" "Unless it happens during a dance number..."
The final film in the Naked Gun trilogy. It's not as funny as the first two, but there are laughs to be had.
"You just watch your step, McGurk. Take it from me. This place here changes a man."
"Oh, yeah? In what way?"
"I used to be white. I was a drummer for The Osmonds."
Hubie Halloween (2020)
Dir. Steven Brill
Hubie Dubois is a middle-aged man who is a figure of mockery and almost daily abuse from his fellow citizens in his hometown of Salem. As the town readies itself for its annual Halloween celebrations, strange things start occurring in and around town after the escape of one of its former residents from an insane asylum. By happenstance (or not?) many of the impacted folks are among Hubie's worst tormentors. Hubie himself makes it his mission to keep everyone safe on Halloween night, though this earns him primarily more derision than true gratitude from the townfolks.
This was pretty meh. I'm not sure how well an Adam Sandler comedy where he plays another manchild with a speech impediment is supposed to work in 2020. I do have respect for Steve Buscemi, who is now in his third decade of going all out in playing silly characters for Adam Sandler. I tip my hat to his dedication to the craft.
I attended a virtual screening tonight of a new documentary about native foodsystems in the US - "Gather"
It has a great mix of archival and current film clips. The main stories focus on salmon (Klamath peoples), buffalo (Lakota peoples), and agriculture (White Mountain Apache peoples). It's worth watching.
Afterschool (2008) - A story about a prep-school student who witnesses two of his classmates overdose on cocaine, and how it affects him and his school.
OK, so it's not exactly like that. First, this was not at all what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be a tale of how the school kinda came apart after this, or how the kid had issues and recovered, or, frankly, anything other than what it turned out to be. Secondly, this movie has not aged well at all.
I became lost watching this movie for two reasons: (1) It seemed like after the overdoses that few people if any learned anything, and (2) it was boring as sin with characters that had little background, weren't fleshed out, and had all the emotion of a rock. It took reading about the film to discover what its point was, which was an allegory about how video clip sites like YouTube shape how young people view the world around them. It didn't even look good. Half the film was shot on a handheld camera, and some shots were repetitive and there wasn't a real understanding of why they were happening.
I never quite had an understanding of why the characters were doing what they were doing, or why they weren't doing anything, or why they all seemed void of emotion both before and after the overdoses. There was almost no story at all.
I think this movie was a "film major" movie. One of those movies that reviewers and film majors wet themselves over, but isn't really for mass audiences. Not that every movie has to be, but you either want to be entertained or at least told a good story. This movie did neither of those things.
Midnight Special (2016) - Government agents and a religious cult attempt to track down a boy who has special powers.
The Netflix "Hidden Gems" section giveth and it taketh away. After watching the unbearably boring "Afterschool", I was treated to a delight of a chase picture where a boy who has supernatural powers is on the run from federal agents and a religious cult that believes the boy will deliver them to the Promised Land on a set date. We're told that the boy is kidnapped by his father and another man, but it's never explained why. The father seems to be very gentle with his son, and this does not seem like a kidnapping situation, but you buy into it. Next the feds turn up at a church where a pastor says that the boy is his adopted legal son. The churchgoers are all part of a ranch where the boy is hoisted up as the savior of their religion that was built around the boy.
As the chase goes on, you learn more about the boy, and he learns more about himself, and what I originally thought was going to be a picture about a kidnapping turns into a sci-fi picture, and it's really good.
It's hard to talk about this too much without giving it away, but, from the perspective of a parent, you always want what's right for you child, even if it's not always right for you as a parent, and this film finds you empathizing with the parents who believe they are doing their best for their child. Also, you never fully understand what makes this boy so special until he finds himself, and can best explain it.
I enjoyed the hell out of this movie.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020)
Dir. Jim Cummings
John Marshall is a recovering alcoholic lawman who lives in the shadow of his Sheriff father. When a strange string of murders start occurring, all of which leave the victims bloodied in a manner that suggest a savage animal attack, the townsfolk of Snow Hollow soon start speaking of a werewolf terrorizing their community. John himself is convinced he is chasing a murderous man, though the nature of the crimes and his own demons do not make the investigation any easier. Yet he is determine to find the killer, to prove something to both the citizens who doubt the local police force and to himself.
A decent little horror comedy. Very nicely shot. One of the late Robert Forster's last screen credits. Made more interesting by its very quirky tone.
Love and Monsters (2020)
Dir. Michael Matthew
Seven years into a post-Apocalypse in which mutated cold-blooded animals have overrun the earth, Joel is a survivor living in one of the small number of scattered, largely underground colonies where humanity clings to its existence. Though liked and even beloved by his fellow colonists, he feels inadequate since his fear of the monsters means he does not truly participate in either defending their bunker against various breaches by the monstrous creatures, nor does he go out on the quite risky scavenging hunts that they have to undertake to provide the colony with food.
His risk-averse nature is finally abandoned when he discovers his high school girlfriend Aimee has also survived the end of the world and is living in a colony just 85 miles removed from his. It does mean that he has a seven day trek across monster-infested country ahead of him. Thankfully, he meets two friendly survivors early on in his trip, as well as a smart and loyal dog, all three of which help him survive and fight off the various creatures that threaten any human brave enough to venture above ground.
I can't quite believe how much I liked this. Brimful of charm and wit, with a very good lead performance by Dylan O'Brien. Some scenes are even incredibly and surprisingly moving (e.g. his meeting with Boy and the night he spends with Mav1s) for what is essentially an action comedy. And Boy is my favorite movie dog since Abbie in "In a Valley of Violence".
Ride a Crooked Trail (1958)
Dir. Jesse Hibbs
Joe Maybe is a wanted bankrobber on the run. After the Marshall who is chasing him dies accidentally, Joe steals the man's horse due to his own horse having died earlier. He arrives in a riverside town where the local judge accosts him. In the aftermath of a gunfight, said judge mistakes him for the Marshall who died chasing Joe. Joe plays along in the hope of eventually escaping the town before his real identity is discovered. Things are complicated further by the arrival of Joe's old flame Tessa, who has to pretend to be his wife to keep up the charade. Tessa is there at the behest of her new boyfriend Sam Teeler, a man who wants to rob the town's bank. Joe himself has plans to the effect, only the fake life as a lawman and a married man he is forced to live actually starts to affect his moral choices.
Enjoyable Audie Murphy western. Features Walter Matthau as an ornery trigger-happy judge and Gia Scala (of "The Guns of Navarone" fame) as the love interest Tessa.
A Japanese American production from 1980 that I found in one of the more obscure corners of Amazon video. I like tales of the world falling apart. There are quite a few American stars of the day here, but most of them are dead before the halfway point. A bioengineered virus has wiped out everyone on earth, except for a few hundred people in Antarctica. If you can get past the absurdity of a pathogen with a 100% kill rate it's fairly entertaining. The only really off note is the bizarre decision to cast Chuck Conners as a British Navy captain.
Wife and kids were away for the weekend, and I just found out that Starz now comes with my cable package, so I watched some movies. After having two kids and no time (why can't I have no kids and two time?), I realized how much I missed watching movies. Even alone, I love watching movies. Here's what I watched:
Blue Ruin (2013) - A homeless loner attempts to exact revenge for the murder of his parents when the man sentenced to prison for their murder is released.
Jeremy Saulnier has a new fan. That man can build suspense like no one's business. Also, I enjoyed how someone so bumbling could want to take on an entire family to get justice. Also, revenge pictures are great, but this one had so much suspense. Really good stuff.
The Kleptocrats (2018) - The documentary of how the Malaysian government was defrauded of $3.5 billion, and how intrepid reporting tracked it down.
Was not expecting this to be as entertaining as it was. It was a good mystery, but it's incredible how easy they made it seem to steal billions of dollars from a government.
Sudden Death (1995) - A former arson investigator takes on terrorists holding the vice president and 20,000 hockey fans hostage during game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
This movie is so bad, and, yet, I love it. Any time I have a chance to watch it, I do. This movie features the best bad guy in history, played by Powers Boothe (rest his brilliant soul). He chews up some much scenery that I'm surprised the DVD didn't come with bite marks on it. This is a total ripoff of Die Hard, but who cares when you have classic dialogue as this:
"What kind of lunatic are you?"
"The best kind!"
"What do I want? World peace, an end to bigotry, and no more mini-malls. What am I gonna get? And I am gonna get it. That, boys and girls, is really hot."
"Why do you call yourselves Secret Service? If it's supposed to be a secret don't tell anyone!"
"This is Matthew Hallmark, Secret Service. Put the Vice President on."
"Hallmark? Well, I see they care enough to send their very best."
Academy Award winning dialogue and acting. God, I love this movie so much.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - An FBI agent in training tries to help capture a serial killer by trying to gather information from another serial killer.
Damn, this is still a great movie all these years later. Brilliant script. Brilliant characters. Brilliant acting. Anthony Hopkins was amazing in this. Probably the only character who terrified me without saying a word.
When I was a projectionist at a movie theatre (y'know, that job isn't a job anymore because it's all digital now ), we presented the teaser trailer for Hannibal quite frequently. Working in a dark area and seeing this trailer freaked me out.
Seriously, I hated that trailer. Frightened me out of my wits every time.
(By the way, most people were always like "Wow. I guess you watch a lot of movies as a projectionist," but I never really did. I screened one movie a week just to make sure I put it together correctly, but I didn't watch a lot of first run films where I worked. I used to watch a lot of trailers, though. Oh, man, do I love trailers. From 2001 through 2003, I saved my favorite trailers, and I made a 45 minute movie just out of trailers. My favorite trailer then was Pearl Harbor. I thought that movie was going to be good, but what a horrendous flop. Anyway, I got fired from that job because of my political views. Oh, and also because I was using old trailers that ere supposed to be sent back to the studios as shuffleboard disks. We would take a broom handle, and it stick it into the middle of the trailer, then glide it along the floor. God, what an immature idiot I was.)
Anyway, The Silence of the Lambs: Great film!
Bull Durham (1988) - A veteran minor league baseball player teaches a hot young rookie the ropes as he navigates his way to the majors.
As a huge baseball fan, I love this movie, but even if you're not a baseball fan, it's a great movie. Watching the growth of Tim Robbins' character into a more professional ballplayer, and watching Kevin Costner try to hang on to play just a little longer while showing this kid the ropes is what makes this movie, but you also watch Costner's character become more mature, as well, as his relationship with Annie builds. Another really good film.
Dir. Derrick Borte
Rachel is a young mother who is going through a messy divorce and struggles with keeping her career afloat in the chaos that is her personal life. During the commute to her son's school, she gets into a little incident with another driver, who demands she apologizes to him. At her wits end, Rachel refuses and unwittingly becomes the target of this man, who is actually a very unhinged and hyper-violent individual.
This was merely okay, saved primarily by Russell Crowe's intense performance as the villain, a man fueled entirely by very violent and toxic male behavior. In that regard, I found it to be most reminiscent of Robert De Niro's performance in the remake of "Cape Fear". It all gets very silly by the end and well beyond what any amount of suspension of disbelief can contain.