Movies you've seen recently

A tangent about what I haven’t seen recently. I was planning to check out the new Bond film and went onto Fandango to check showtimes. It’s sold out for multiple showings at all five local theaters! I haven’t seen that since the pandemic started.

I’ll likely catch it tomorrow or Tuesday for a matinee, but I’d gotten used to not worrying about crowded theaters on weekends.

I saw it (No Time to Die, the new James Bond movie) about 3pm in the biggest theater at the multiplex and there were plenty of open seats.

That’s a pretty low bar, tbh.

The Guilty - Netflix

I’ve not seen the original Danish movie. Well, this was a pretty good movie, but kind of forgettable afterwards. It’s about a 911 operator(actually an officer who was demoted?) and how he tries to help someone who is desperately asking for his aid on a 911 call.

It was well made, but generic. I was hoping for some major twists and turns along the way, but I honestly found the story to play out in a fairly predictable way. I will admit a few little details were a surprise to me, but overall it was nothing special.

I thought Jake Gyllenhaal was fine in this movie and him agreeing to be in it was probably the only reason it was made. It looks like it took 11 days to shoot and most of that is him at his 911 station and on his personal cell phone. Nice, but also a very cheap and quickly made movie.

If you need a 90 minute Netflix movie, this one is just fine. Nothing great, just fine.

I had about that much time to kill last night because I wasn’t tired enough to go to bed. So I wasted it on Destination Wedding with Keanu Reeves and Wynona Ryder. I liked the idea but it failed in the execution. It just didn’t seem like the director and cast had their hearts in it. Unremarkable with a few good lines that landed flat. Predictable ending.

Nitpick: maybe you already knew this, but the original idiom was “champing at the bit”: How to Use Champing at the bit vs. chomping at the bit Correctly – Grammarist

There’s a bit in one of the episodes of Billions where Chuck, in campaigning mode, is told to use the incorrect “chomping” because “champing” sounds too elitist. He does.

I watched “Minari” last night/this morning. I’d give it 3 out of 4 stars, and while I did enjoy most of it, the end just kind of leaves you hanging, which was probably the intent.

It’s based on a true story, and I have to say that the clothing, cars, and decor were very accurate to ca. 1980, when the movie is set.

Watched Palm Springs on a recent flight. I know this was discussed when it first came out. I wasn’t expecting much, but was pleasantly surprized. Clearly parallels with Groundhog Day, but I liked how they started with the main guy already having lived the day numerous times (the dance scene at the reception was awesome). I think I might have enjoyed it if the main guy was a bit more likeable - he just seemed more of a jerk (even worse than how Phil Conners starts out). J.K. Simmons’ character raised an interesting twist on the circumstances: would it really be so bad to live the same day over and over, if it was a great day ?

Watched Live By Night the other night. This felt like a movie that wanted to be epic, covering a whole history of bootlegging in Tampa (think “Once Upon a Time in Florida”). But was just kind of “rambling”, and I thought it ended about 3 times. I was also kind of put off with the big shoot-out at (one of :wink: ) the end when the former boss, always very civilized in a nice suit goes all “Scarface” to kill Ben
Not the worst movie I’ve ever seen (always nice to see Zoe Saldana not in green skin), but not a “must see” either.

I just watched a 1998 pseudo-documentary titled “World War Three”, which starts with the fictional overthrow and disappearance of Gorbie in the U.S.S.R., the strengthening of Soviet influence in East Germany, the shooting of West Berliners by Eastern troops firing over the wall into West Germany when the attempt to tear down the wall is attempted(and fails0. Words and troops are thrown at each other, escalation happens and, on March 31st 1990, the buttons are pushed. The movie ends with the words “There is no further historical record of what happens next”.

Clint Eastwood, le franc-tireur (also titled Clint Eastwood: A Life in Film). French documentary directed and co-written by Michael Henry Wilson. Released in 2007, run time 82 minutes and entirely or predominantly in English. Eastwood appears throughout, responding at length to questions. His fans will probably enjoy this a lot. I admire some of his work and flat-out don’t like other things about his career and persona. Nonetheless, I think the documentary is a well-done example of a seemingly candid response to the question, Who is this guy? I say seemingly, because I think it serves Eastwood’s interests very well and was probably carefully constructed in collaboration with him. Nothing wrong with that, IMO. If I were the subject of a documentary, I’d want it to be something like this.

For those who’ve not watched Henry’s Crime, starring Keanu Reeves and James Caan, allow me to save you the trouble.

Mass. In the aftermath of a tragedy, two sets of parents come together in one room to discuss, argue, and try to understand what happened. Other than the opening and closing scenes, the entire film is just four actors in one room but it is one of the most riveting and dramatic films I’ve seen in quite a while. All four performances (Martha Plimptom, Jason Isaacs, Ann Down & Reed Birney) are just top notch. Highly highly recommend this if it’s playing near you.

Lamb. Another film about parents dealing with loss, starring Noomi Rapace. In this one, a farming couple in Iceland discover one day that one of their sheep has given birth to a lamb/human hybrid baby, and they take the child to raise as their own. This is such an A24 film. It reminded me at times of The Witch. I wanted to like it more but the opening 20 minutes were just so. damn. slow. They could easily have trimmed 15-20 mins from an overlong run time and had a really tight story. Beautiful cinematography of Iceland and sheep have never looked more creepy just standing there staring!

Is Lamb going to stream anywhere soon? It’s on my viewing queue.

Monster Squad - streams on Prime

I actually saw this on TV once many years ago, back when I was probably 12-15 years old. I did not see the whole thing(who did back then?), but I saw the final 30 minutes for sure. This is another recommendation from Jay Bauman of Redlettermedia.

Anyway, it was very charming and cute and honestly, I kind of loved it. I am not surprised to learn it is a Shane Black script. Very punch and a lot of attempted one-liners. The kids are really great in this movie and the whole thing is a lot of fun. It’s basically about a group of kids that love monsters and…well, they end up having to fight them in the real world.

I would again point out something I noticed in Free Guy. This is a perfectly acceptable PG movie…except they threw in just enough language or sexual content that it got itself up to a PG-13 rating. It’s nothing atrocious, but this could be a movie that would be equally fun and effective and gotten the PG rating. Anyway, not a big point, but something I noticed.

If you’ve never seen it, check it out. I also have a question:

Question: I remember a movie where a guy or monster gets pushed out a window and exploded. This happens to the Wolf-man in this movie. My memory was of a movie where the movie pauses and text comes on the screen saying “Wow. That was so cool, let’s see that again!” and it rewinds and shows it again. I…thought that was this movie, but it didn’t happen.

Anyone know what movie I’m remembering?

Not sure, it’s currently only in theaters, I saw it at an AMC. It’s by A24 and they ended up streaming The Green Knight shortly after it opened in theaters so perhaps they may do the same here?

Halloween Kills

The new Halloween III. Our new Halloween movies have made up a new Halloween II and now a proper Halloween III that actually follows the story involving Michael Myers.

I liked this movie, but I definitely get a lot of the dislike it is getting. The previous Halloween movie(called Halloween for some reason) was actually a really solid new-sequel to the original Halloween. In this movie…well…Michael Myers kills a bunch of people much like many of the normal sequels.

However, I think this movie was just fine, one of the better Halloween movies out there. I see that they intended to film this movie back-to-back with the next one(called Halloween Ends), but the pandemic forced them to only film this one. Anyway, I would actually recommend this movie quite a bit. It does suffer from people doing some very stupid thing and perhaps more importantly, not doing some really obvious things.

I mean, someone has got to chainsaw Michael Myers into bits and separate those bits by miles, but nope. This movie does sadly spit out these tropes:

  • he must be dead by now
  • putting my weapon down instead of continuing to hold it
  • poorly timed firearm malfunctions

I still liked it, but it is much more a standard 80’s slasher movie. I will be seeing Halloween Ends as soon as it is released.

I just finished watching Republic Z (2018). If you like zombie movies (or, more likely sifting through the dreck to find a watchable one), you should give this one a look. It’s Russian, with English subtitles, but the cast appears to be Mongolian(?). It’s very well acted, has a sense of humor, the music is appropriate, the cinematography is top-notch – I actually cared about these characters. Nothing really new added to the zombie mythos, but I’ve seen much, MUCH worse bigger-budget American movies with the same subject matter. Plus, the music over the end credits is Russian Rap! How could you go wrong?

Wolf Blood(1925), a wonderful silent movie about a werewolf, starring George Chesebro. I am currently watching it on OtherWorlds TV, a Roku channel.

Till Death - streams on Netflix

A fairly decent thriller about a woman(Megan Fox) who ends up handcuffed to a dead body and has to figure out how to get out of this situation. She has bad guys pursuing her, her phone is broken, and various other things that are obstacles.

It’s 90 minutes and is actually quite well made. Nothing special or memorable, though. A great little “comes with Netflix” movie if you need one some night.

Megan Fox is actually quite good in it, though nothing requires her to do much other than react. I don’t know that I’ve seen much of her in movies despite her being quite famous.