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All Movie Reviews Quick-Thought Film Reviews

Quick-Thoughts: Playtime (1967)

I was genuinely waiting for the “Geico” logo to appear on screen right before the movie ended. 

Do you remember going into one of those innocent carnival funhouses back when you were a wee child? Now, imagine if these funhouses satirically imitated everyday life with no sense of direction. Well, Playtime is basically the equivalent to the experience of going into one of those, except prolonged to two, numbing hours. 

Sound played a vital role in Playtime. Every little movement is accounted for with descriptive audio and it’s obnoxious, but effective! It gave me a little teaspoon of anxiety and a little teaspoon of clarity. The film was funny as s*** too! It reminded me a decent amount of what Chaplin could’ve made if he was even stranger? Playtime is a tricky movie to discuss in words, indeed. I’d reckon it’s another one of those motion pictures that you have to see for yourself to believe. So, stop reading this review. Go watch.

Verdict: B+ 

“Playtime” is now available to stream on iTunes, Amazon Prime, and The Criterion Channel.

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All Movie Reviews Quick-Thought Film Reviews

Quick-Thoughts: The Face of Another (1966)

A social experiment gone terribly wrong. After a man’s face becomes marred from an explosion, he looks to a doctor specified in body molding to make him a mask. What comes subsequently, however, is a progressive modification of this individual’s persona and a sequence of audacious events that interrogate the construct of human independence. It’s an identity crisis if I’d ever seen one. 

From the anatomical-inspired set-designs, to the seemingly endless backgrounding, to the eerie yet credible costume/makeup designs, to the batty camera zooms, to the object + freeze-framing, to the subtle score, to the foul audio sampling… Hell! What isn’t aesthetically masterful when it comes to Hiroshi Teshigahara’s The Face of Another?

There is a mouthful of conversations that can arise from this overlooked motion picture, but two principal ones specifically come to mind: does appearance coordinate with personality in a social environment or can someone’s soul permanently latch with another’s instinct? On paper, it seems like a simple understanding, but in The Face of Another, it’s a rotten amplification of reality. The film may beg more questions than it does answers, but philosophy, in many ways, has always stood as a form of provocative commentary. 

The side plot involving the girl with the burn-scar deserved more sequential screen-time and details, though. Or, at least, a more dilated resolution to the central narrative that it, for the most part, succeeded in paralleling. Just saying. 

Verdict: A-

“The Face of Another” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

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Video Game Reviews

Quick-Thoughts: Arkham City (2011)

Arkham City is the most sci-fi-y, fantasy-y Batman property I’ve ever witnessed. This is furthermore the biggest orgy of Batman trademarks (villains, deep lore, etc.) that I’ve ever seen in one entity. It’s a Batman fan’s wet dream come true? 

It’s probably because I sinfully played Arkham Knight before this, but Arkham City didn’t exactly live up to the hype for me. With that being said, I can definitely understand why this game blew many peoples’ minds back in 2011. In my opinion, though, Arkham Knight just vigorously built off of everything that’s so fabulous about this game. 

Verdict: B

“Arkham City” is now available to play on Playstation 3 & 4, Xbox 360 & One, and the PC. 

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All Movie Reviews Quick-Thought Film Reviews

Quick-Thoughts: On the Waterfront (1954)

Premise of On the Waterfront: A 29-year-old bum who primarily hangs out with kids wants to bang the sister of a friend he accidentally got killed. Hey, I’m just sayin’! 

Awe, yes, the classic bad guy who wants to become the good guy and lead a revolution of low-class citizens against the wicked higher-ups of the town; an allegory famously popularized by the Academy award-winning On the Waterfront. It’s the motion picture that’s been recreated a million times, and to the contemporary, the recycled anecdote never gets old. But where there’s a daddy, there’s a daddy, and On the Waterfront, you will always be, the father. 

Speaking frankly, however, I don’t believe On the Waterfront to be a perfect film. Occasionally the pacing in this iconic movie is actually too fast. Some of the most crucial plot junctures will go by in a jiffy, and it has the movie feeling quite uneven at times with many events patiently developed and some clumsily scuttled.  

But boy, would I be straight-up wrong if I thought that the dialogue wasn’t as sharp as a hook, or the performances weren’t borderline legendary, or even if I found the movie not to be relatively uplifting. Maybe, it hasn’t aged the best because factory lines of others have stripped its formula to a T, but the qualitative hallmarks of its presentation are details that simply never die. 

Verdict: B+

“On the Waterfront” is now available to stream on Vudu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Play.

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All Movie Reviews Quick-Thought Film Reviews

Quick-Thoughts: Some Like It Hot (1959)

I think the biggest joke around here is that this movie showcases how men would have their priorities set on going to inexplicable lengths to sleep with Marilyn Monroe rather than carefully attempting to avoid being assassinated by the mob. Well, I guess it’s not really a joke. More like a melancholy reality?

Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot: a narrative with one of slapstick’s juiciest storylines in the Hollywood scene. Two musicians witness an execution by the mob and must flee with an all-girls jazz band to hide their true identities. It’s also assuring to mention that there are difficult technicalities that are accomplished in this classic preposterously for a 1950s feature-length, like the opening car chase sequence. More noticeably, howbeit, this is a hell of a comedy! A laughing-stock of sly satirical situations that will rile up just about any type of crowd. It certainly helps the movie’s likability, nonetheless, when we get down to the fact that Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon pull off miracles playing the two main leads who’re disguised as the faulty women. 

I’ve heard constant word from peers and media alike that Marilyn Monroe is a lousy actress. Furthermore, I myself have never understood the excitement when it came to the famous sex-icon. Even now in the 21st century, you still sort of grow-up knowing that Monroe is widely considered the epitome of beauty from the media and some occasional trips to Las Vegas. Now, however, finally seeing her physically act out a character on the TV screen, I can get behind her 1950s-type appeal. She has this sensually unaware way with words, some dreamy, precise face gestures, an unexplainably lull voice, and other assets that’d make the common lad go cuckoo. And you know what? I thought she did a beyond glorious job playing the classy yet dumb stereotypical blonde. She ain’t bad at all! 

At a fault, however, there is a SWARM of foolishly coincidental plot instances planted in Some Like It Hot—a chunk of them transpiring in the motion picture’s climax. But, for the most part, this was an unusually entertaining movie experience that’s incontestably going to receive numerous rewatches from mwah in the near and far future. 

Verdict: A-

“Some Like It Hot” is now available to stream on YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, Hulu, fuboTV, and The Criterion Channel.

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All Movie Reviews Quick-Thought Film Reviews

Quick-Thoughts: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)

This is a movie that’s made for the artistic horror-fanatic: A simple yet depressing vampire thrill-tale that spotlights concentrated directing, epic monochrome cinematography, and a delectably sundry soundtrack. But, to me, these proficiencies are about the extent of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night’s erudition. Would I consider this to be a good or bad thing, though? It really depends on the viewer’s specific taste, quite frankly. But, as I hinted at before, it still functions capably as the narratively conventional—besides the contemplative ending—yet visually well-assembled romantic vampire story that deviously soars into cinemas from time to time. 

You could also call it Twilight but for “premium members.” And, with that logic, we can call Let the Right One In the A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night for “premium members.” This is the definitive vampire movie pyramid, indeed.

Verdict: B-

“A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” is now available to stream on Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime, and iTunes.

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All Movie Reviews Quick-Thought Film Reviews

Quick-Thoughts: Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Wes Anderson makes it really hard for us to dislike his movies. 

At this point, I’ve accepted the fact that it’s too easy to map out where almost every Wes Anderson movie is going from the moment the opening of one of his feature-lengths starts. The ending of The Darjeeling Limited and a few of the emotional beats presented throughout the motion picture are all quite elementary topics that we’ve invested ourselves in from common stories on broken-bonds before, but the way Anderson executes them through visual/verbal satire, whimsical, evolving characters, and tasteful plotting always favors on his side.

It’s probably better than Isle of Dogs and Bottle Rocket. Maybe not as good as the rest though—besides The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou which I have yet to see—but it’s still unexcelled in its story-type. 

Killer soundtrack, by the way. 

Verdict: B

Wes Anderson Ranked

“The Darjeeling Limited” is now available to stream on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now.

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Announcements

Update: New Grading Scale (Again, I Know)

I did the mathematics and I did all the snobby, dorky calculations. In my opinion, this is the most accurate possible scale that I could think of that equally coordinates letter grades with /10 number scores. For just judging movies and music, of course. 

A+ —> 100 or 10/10

A —> 92 or 9/10

A- —> 85 or 8-9/10

B+ —> 77 or 8/10

B —> 69 or 7/10

B- —> 62 or 6/10

C+ —> 54 or 5/10

C —> 46 or 5/10

C- —> 38 or 4/10

D+ —> 31 or 3/10

D —> 23 or 2/10

D- —> 15 or 1-2/10

F —> 8 or 1/10

I will be updating the grades that I have given movies from 2019 and onward.

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All Movie Reviews Quick-Thought Film Reviews

Quick-Thoughts on 3 Shirley Clarke Short Films (A Moment in Love, Bridges-Go-Round, Butterfly)

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A Moment in Love (1956)

I see Shirley Clarke really likes to screw around with the opacity a lot.

Very cleansing and meditative stuff. If you’re ever feeling a little under the weather or even unusually infuriated, turn on A Moment in Love. It’s as curing as flowing down a warm, gentle river… With a bunch of colors flashing back and forth cause…art?

Verdict: 3.5/5

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Bridges-Go-Round (1958)

Review of Version 1 

It’s either a synthetic POV from an alien looking out the window of his UFO…

Or a genuine statement on how aliens would probably feel gazing at the humongous structures that mankind has created. Spoilers, they could feel petrified. 

Gets me freaked out and stoned at the same time. Two for the price of one; good job, Clarke. 

The jazz (2nd) version of this short is quite the perspective changer. Really makes you realize how detrimental music is to film. 

Verdict: 3.5/5

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Butterfly (1967) 

Peace and love, peace and love, man. 

And, weed. Oh yeah, you should take lots of it watching this. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and…

Can we proclaim “color-spasm” as a genre now thanks to Shirley Clarke?

Verdict: 3.5/5

The Quintessential Short Films 

These Short Films are Now Available to Stream on The Criterion Channel.

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All Movie Reviews Quick-Thought Film Reviews

Quick-Thoughts: Darren Aronofsky’s π (1998)

So, what you’re telling me is that Darren Aronofsky has been making irritatingly stressful movies since the beginning of his career? Gotcha.

Mathematics and mumbo-jumbo aside, at the nucleus of Darren Aronofsky’s debut Pi is a simple story of a stubborn man frenzied of not knowing a definitive answer for existentialism; he’s an intellectual obsessively trying to make complete sense of the universe like its a code or like it can somehow be comprehensively solved into a permanently determined variable. Pi is purely the rough and gruesome retelling of the “individual wanting to understand” tale. 

Clint Mansell’s berserk score does massive numbers to the quality of the film. There are plenty of interesting low-budget aesthetic decisions that Aronofsky aptly showcases. And, as with most of Aronofsky’s projects, the editing is sharper than a katana. 

Notably, however, the narration is sometimes repetitiously excessive and almost unnecessary in consideration of the grand, telling visual depiction of sequences. The exterior story sometimes quickly reaches arbitrary boundaries that appear less faithful to a logistic consistency or organized foundation, yet they don’t entirely jeopardize the experience of Pi since they aren’t nearly meant to be the main thrust or moral objective of the project.

Believe me, the journey of what happens to our troubled main character is what’s key in Aronofsky’s debut, not whats occurring outside the mental human experience whether it has to do with the crazy mathematics or the complex Hebrew language. For what seems like 84 minutes of sheer mania, Pi surprisingly just wants to exclaim to the audience a pretty straightforward message. 

This would low-key make for a pretty sweet supervillain origins movie though, right? Or, superhero? 

Verdict: B

Disturbance in Art (Ranked List)

“Pi” is now available to stream on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.