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Sonic the Hedgehog is Abominable, Yet, Technically Not Nearly the Worst Movie You Could Watch With Friends or Family

It’s amusing how an almost strictly made for kids movie was so savagely pounced by a nostalgically spoiled group of internet-raving adults. Due to a poorly constructed “character design” back in the year 2019 that many reacted to as if it was a near end of the world scenario, Sega’s innocent project was pushed back four whole months; smh, as if children (the target audience) would actually give a damn about a CGI character design. However, in the midst of this state of affairs, the finalized product of this latest video game adaptation may either disappoint or alarmingly jolt fans who grew up with the classic Sega game due to its immature nature that perfectly reconciles the beats of watching a motion picture like a child again. 

However, as a movie, the blockbuster talk-about is an appropriate DVD rental snatch for your 5-year-old niece, and an unintentionally hilarious ball for you and your young adult/teenage friends to belly-laugh your butts off too. Despite the content of the blockbuster looking awfully unwatchable in its first few teasers, Sonic the Hedgehog turns out to be shockingly “meme-able” rather than just flat-out boring. So, like X-Men: Dark Phoenix, I enjoyed it in those regards. 

Jim Carrey is the only actor here who is admirably trying to give it his all, yet the atrocious screenplay Patrick Casey and Josh Miller have implemented here is so utterly awkward that it cannot competently mirror Carrey’s quirky acting abilities. The relationship between our main character’s Sonic and Tom is a prime example of “artificial chemistry” that is, might I add, side-splittingly counterfeit to a point of grave embarrassment. Jim Carry and his simp had more allure than these two underwritten dweebs. 

It’s a shame that, at least to me, all the intentional gags in Sonic the Hedgehog fell flat. Even the few kids and parents at my theater were dead silent the entire time. The iconic rendition of the character, Sonic is, unfortunately, one of the most obnoxious mends to the movie considering 75% of the jokes come out of his mouth. I also merely have the stomach to get into how generic this movie’s plot is and just how pathetic its endeavors to be “heartfelt” are—robots will definitely be writing our future projects if we keep this haphazardness up. The blockbuster is littered with dated movie references to keep the adult audience from falling fast asleep, which in of itself is just insulting. Sonic the Hedgehog additionally features possibly some of the most blatant uses of product placement in cinema that I’ve seen in a while. However, while they are blatant, they were god-tier leveled priceless in a sort of scornful manner. I mean, BEST OLIVE GARDEN ADS EVER. THEY WENT ON FOR SO LONG BUT I WAS ALMOST KILLED BY LAUGHTER BECAUSE OF THEM; BLESS YOU MOVIE

Sonic the Hedgehog is a film that could sincerely believe it to be competent and in-fashion, but deep down comes off as one of the biggest cinematic trolls of the century. It’s strictly “made” for kids and it does mean well, but then again, a 95 million dollar budget is enough to “save” more needing kids as an alternative…

Hey! But the CGI was pretty good though, and I’ve now discovered that I have a bottomless, driving passion for Olive Garden quips! 

Verdict: D

2020 Ranked

“Sonic the Hedgehog” will be playing in theaters on Valentine’s Day.

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In the Future, Portrait of a Lady on Fire Will Be Considered One of the Greatest Romances of This Century By Many

I guess I never told you, readers, what happened to me the day I went to go see Portrait of a Lady on Fire back in October. It seems like this would be an appropriate time to tell you, anyhow. So, if you don’t know, I went to see The Lighthouse that same day in the afternoon up in LA—an event that I ended up being late to too. Afterward, I had to get some 8mm film developed because when I’m in LA, I usually take advantage to use its awesome resources to get some of my movie work processed. 

Being the idiot I am, I completely lost track of time, and I realized it was around the start of late afternoon traffic. Ultimately, I drove for almost five hours from LA to San Diego for the film festival. In the process of this, I also scraped my car, not one, but TWO times on my drive there. I also ended up missing the first three minutes of the movie. Evidently, as you can imagine, I was extraordinarily grouchy going into seeing Portrait of a Lady on Fire. In a sense though, that in of itself is a compliment for the movie, considering despite my s**t attitude, I still ended up giving the movie a high grade of an A-. You rock, Céline. 

So yeah, yeah, I know I’m making excuses but I wanted to preface this review before I start discussing why I love this special film even more on rewatch. There’s a specific qualm from my original review that I’d favor to go over in which I’ve completely changed my mind on. In this previous review of the movie, I had claimed that the cinematography displayed in the film was “50/50.” Maybe my possible migraine caused me to nitpick the hell out of the cinematography or I was just being needlessly pissy that the movie wasn’t shot on film or something, but I openly admit that I was wrong. Witnessing the colorful ornamenting of Portrait of a Lady on Fire is like walking around in Candyland. I officially retract what I had said about the visual look of this movie from my original review. Okay; cool. 

I empathetically profess Céline Sciamma’s masterpiece to having virtually FLAWLESS dialogue that evokes the genuinest indications of desirability. Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel gave by far the best performances of 2019 alongside Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in The Lighthouse—yet for very contrasting grounds. The two ladies’ subtle facial cues speak so essentially to the audience’s faith between these lovers. The execution of Sciamma’s feature-length, as I believe I had mentioned in my previous review, is arguably painted in perfection. 

I suppose the one argument somebody could make to discredit Portrait of a Lady on Fire is that from a “surface-level” point-of-view, the plot is foreseeable and accustomed. Even at that, it is the outstanding substance and contextual presentation of the actual movie that vindicates the debatably familiar structure—you don’t want your motion picture to be so heavy with thematic individualities that no viewers can possibly carry it. 

So yeah, if I could go back in time, I would definitely place Portrait of a Lady on Fire in the top 3 of my favorite movies of 2019 article. It’s frankly one of my all-time favorite romantic dramas amongst other cult classics such as Punch-Drunk Love or The Lobster—and in all fairness, it definitely has the best ending out of all of them too. F*****g fire film.

Verdict: A

2019 Ranked, All-Time Favorites, Favorite Romances 

“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is now playing in select theaters. 

 

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Birds of Prey is a Harmless Comic-Book Movie That’s Currently Being Blown Out of Proportion

Warning: The following review is RATED R because some reckless movie reviewing asshole says an unnecessary amount of curse words to emphasize his point on this particular motion picture while also attempting to embody the raunchy stylistic directions of the film’s pizazz. 

Awwwwwww. A completely harmless comic-book half-pie-flick with a ton of blood, guts, and chaos starring a far from unlikable jumpsuit-wearing, sledge-hammering, and trouble-stirring ex-princess of the Clown of Crime, Harley Quinn. Cute! 

Wait, what was that? People are getting…heated…about this movie? What? But, why? Hold up a second, individuals are actually giving a shit that a by-the-numbers, forgettable DC movie has a minor, inconsequential social justice agenda…huh? By showing love or hatred through internet praise or protest? Aye-yai-yai. Hm. Let me take you fellas back to the very beginning from where this all started. 

Hi! My name is Evan Ambrose, but you can just call me Evan. I’m a moderately young writer/filmmaker from San Diego, California and I fancy talking about movies around the clock. But enough about me; that’s not why I brought you citizenries here to talk. I’m here because I want to dig at the roots of why Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is whipping up a wee pot of controversy. 

Back in the year of 2016, a DEVISTATINGLY hyped-up DCEU movie, also known as the movie that shall not be named, ended up being an utter DISASTER—don’t tell anyone I said this, but that wretched movie is called Suicide Squad. That poor, dear flick additionally happened to be the movie to introduce Margot Robbie’s spectacular interpretation of Harley Quinn, and the film was planned to set up the villainous world of the DC universe. Unfortunately, after the fact that countless had witnessed such a dumpster fire of a motion picture, nobody really desired a sequel or spin-off to the movie that shall not be namedwink wink, Suicide Squad. A couple years later, Birds of Prey was rumored amongst the internet as possibly being a “feminist movie”—GASP. And, as speculation causes, both men and women began not caring about what the actual cinematic (AKA, important) content of the follow-up was going to hopefully feature, but began either getting aggravated or preachy about the likes of a movie being feminist-oriented. 

Now, I have finally gotten to witness the movie myself (and you should too if you’re one of those low-lives who are currently criticizing or applauding a movie before it even comes out) and conclusively, while the movie does cover such topics as misogyny and female empowerment lightly, it is but only a sliver of the cake that feels more tacked onto the final product than it does appear fore-fronting—so quit your bitchin’ and whinin’ and enjoy or don’t enjoy the damn movie as a MOVIE. Okay, FABULOUS! Glad we understand one another now! 

Margot Robbie’s gracious return to the ferocious Harley Quinn character was effortlessly the greatest blessing of Birds of Prey. Unlike recent DC failures such as Suicide Squad and Justice Leauge, this new movie advantageously has a leading character that we can latch onto rather than subconsciously forget. The extroverted, cartoonish style of Birds of Prey is affectionately reminiscent of the zany Harley Quinn comic-books and not only added flavor to the movie’s presentation but will simultaneously please geeky accuracy fans as well. The violent, over-the-top, and creatively designed action sequences were also comically set-up to the point of recapturing the lampoon flair of Harley’s imaginative yet cuckoo world from the source material. Nevertheless, the questionable choreography of these battle scenes is sometimes iffy in its department. For newcomer to the blockbuster business director Cathy Yan, however, the work displayed in Birds of Prey’s colorful presentation is somewhat meritorious. Yipee! 

Sadly, my readers, that is around the extent of Birds of Prey’s value. What absolutely stings this flick in the ass, is, well, a number of things actually. Its aimlessly fucked-up timeline creates unnecessary confusion and degratification. The migraine-inducing attempts to flesh-out numerous characters (sidekicks, villains, officers of the law, etc.) into an hour and forty-nine minutes of screen-time felt very familiar to the defective realms of the clunky Suicide Squad. The plot is unbearably formulaic and uninspired with predictable character arcs, slothful writing, serendipity scattered throughout, and a distracting original soundtrack—so just about everything you’d come to expect from your run-of-the-mill DCEU blockbuster at this point! 

So you may be asking yourselves, does this all bum you out, Evan? The medicoreness of the picture, does it bother you? No. Frankly, I’m fine that this movie exists. I didn’t regret watching it nor did I enjoy watching it, it was just everything I’ve come to expect from team-up, comic-book blockbusters at this point, and I’m much too careless to get aggravated at another one of these second-rates existing. To the people though who are blowing this typical anti-hero flick out of proportion through political absurdity, as Ms. Harleen Frances Quinzel herself would suggest, get yourselves a nice, juicy, possibly expired breakfast sandwich down at your local corner store, and chill the hell-o out, okay? Marvelous! 

Verdict: C-

DCEU Ranked, 2019 Ranked 

“Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” will be released in theaters February 7, 2020.

 

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Every 2020 Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Film Briefly Reviewed + More!

2020 Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films > 2020 Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Short Films

And, by a looooooooong shot too. 

Hair Love (2019)

You people with perfectly straight hair have nooooooooo idea what it’s like. And this is only coming from a dude! 

Damn this is the best Pixar film I’ve seen since Coco—it’s not actually Pixar so please don’t let that joke fly over your head; thank you very much. I wish the final scene didn’t feel so tacked on though considering how obvious the secret “YouTuber’s” identity became towards the third act, but hey, it’s all good and done. 

Verdict: 3/5

Daughter (2019)

If you thought the animation in Coraline was creepy, wait until you get a load of this…

Daughter is an unconventional stop-motion that is directed with some of the most schizophrenic camera mannerisms ever put to animation. It’s told under a very abstract and obscure method yet you at least understand an idea of how the daughter’s brain is functioning and what the relationship between her and the father might be. “It’s borderline experimental.” 

The low Letterboxd rating is criminal, by the way. DON’T HATE THE STRANGE. 

Verdict: 3.5/5

Sister (2018) 

A charmingly animated stop-motion picture that is the mundane Fight Club wannabe of stop-motion short films. Solid diss on China’s retired one-child policy, too! You tell ‘em! 

Verdict: 3/5 

Mémorable (2019) 

Mémorable is the Synecdoche New York of animated shorts that dabbles in Altizemer’s disease and the psychological prison that it encloses. The puppet molds and set pieces are absolutely staggering and inventive, as well as its abstract depiction of memory loss. WINNER ALERT—hopefully; I’m crossing my fingers!

Verdict: 4/5 

Kitbull (2019) 

CUTE, but also really f’ed up? 

Kitbull takes the cheesy stigma “don’t judge a book by its cover” and applies it in a more convincing matter to the world of pets! If I find out that any of you have even thought about supporting dogfighting, I will personally hunt you down and do…something bad and mean to you!

Verdict: 3.5/5

The Short Films (Honorable Mentions) That Almost Got Nominated for the 2020 Oscars Briefly Reviewed: 

Henrietta Bulkowski (2019)

You could remove all the superfluous narration in this short film and we would’ve gotten just as much out of the story as without it. However, it’s got fantastic animation, good intentions, yet, some seriously goofy and indecisive writing. Meh. 

Verdict: 2.5/5

The Bird & The Whale (2018)

SAD WHALES DON’T CRY. 

It was aight. Very “poetic.” Laboriously crafted animation. Good job? 

Verdict: 2.5/5

Hors piste (2018)

Reminds me of those old-fashioned slapstick cartoons that you don’t see too often these days. PRAISE BE! 

Verdict: 3/5

Maestro (2019)  

Somebody watched a very foreign edition of The Little Mermaid recently…

My expectations were subverted, I guess? Pretty animation, I can’t deny, howbeit. 

Verdict: 2.5/5 

Oscar-Nominated Short Films Ranked 

The 2020 Oscar-nominated animated short films are now playing in select theaters. 

 

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Every 2020 Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Short Film Briefly Reviewed

A Sister (2018)

IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) is such a common yet disturbing occurrence that happens in human culture, and to see an obscure visionary bring it to a cinematic format through a secretive 911 call was quite eye-opening and gripping to watch. 

The short film doesn’t do anything past just showing you what the event would realistically look like—so it doesn’t personally have a whole lot to say on the matter. However, it sought out and succeeded in doing exactly what it intended to do—successfully portray a realistic 911 call that subtly hints at a rape crisis.

A Sister would definitely be the short film out of the five that I would prefer to win, by the way. Evan’s lock of the year! 

Verdict: 3.5/5

Brotherhood (2018)

Scattered with plot-holes left and right, Brotherhood is a flawed but, thankfully, poignant and tightly shot short film that has a handful to say about egotistical parenting, degrading presumptions, and the un-talked-about intentions of some soldiers who want to leave a war behind. 

Verdict: 3/5 

The Neighbors’ Window (2019)

I’m about 99.9% sure that this 20-minute short is just a VIAGRA commercial that spontaneously decided to become a cancer awareness PSA at the last second.

I know, this is the “American” short film of the five pictures nominated, but please Academy, don’t let this corny-ass feature win. 

I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt though; it does have good intentions, and I can respect that. Somewhat. 

Verdict: 2/5

Saria (2019)

It is so utterly disturbing to even contemplate that abusive conditions like the ones exemplified in Saria actually occur in some orphanages in Guatemala. It’s a shame that the short film telling the devastating story of the tragic fire that occurred in Virgen de La Asuncion Safe Home is so bizarrely written and inadequately executed. 

Despite the quality of the actual picture being moderately low-grade, I think that this is a real-life situation that everybody should become aware of, so I do still recommend for anyone strong-willed enough to watch Saria and educate themselves. Or…better yet, just read about it. 

Verdict: 2.5/5

Nefta Football Club (2018)

Nefta Football Club is pretty funny at times, but I cease to understand what is so marvelous about it to receive a nomination by The Academy. It’s definitely not bad by any means though; it’s a fairly mind-numbing watch. 

Verdict: 2.5/5

I think all these 2020 Academy Award live-action short film nominations have firmly convinced me that we must petition to get a Letterboxd filmmaker nominated next year. I’ve witnessed folks on YouTube and “Piercing Productions” who have crafted far more experimental and innovative short pictures that deserve to be chosen more than most of these nominations. Then again, this is a LOT to ask from The…Academy

Oscar-Nominated Short Films Ranked

The 2020 Oscar-nominated live-action short films are now playing in select theaters.

 

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Gretel and Hansel Marks an Unfortunate Turn of Events in Proficient Director Oz Perkins’s Career

Aww, what a handsome movie, indeed. 

Hybrid of a horror picture Gretel and Hansel emphasizes the hard sweat and tears that accomplished filmmaker Oz Perkins (The Blackcoat’s Daughter) lives to deliver. Unfortunately, Perkins’s third feature-length may have definitively been hijacked by a writer’s room that wanted to cram too many ideas into a classy, patient director’s possibly intuitive vision. Its enchanting alignment of colors may draw you into its delectable visual appearance, but beware, the story at hand is a derivative fiasco that will eat your tolerance alive! 

The newest spin on the ancient tale of Hansel and Gretel is that of a much darker matter—the house isn’t made of candy in this one, folks. Shot impeccably to a degree of stimulating ethereality, Gretel and Hansel does come off as an attractive-looking yet terrorizing creature, however, this does not deduce all that is in the “meal.” The secondary dish to Orion Pictures’s latest horror project is entirely seasoned with sporadic sequences, a structure so overwrought, and wooden increments of editing procedures. Buoyant YA-inspired narration and reservedly subtle Oz Perkins-rooted directing seem to not fruitfully go hand and hand in this frankensteined recipe. It’s of the equivalent to witnessing a hurricane try to chase an earthquake; it just doesn’t function properly or mesh adhesively. The sweeping supper is, furthermore, topped with one of the most miserable attempts at ending a motion picture off on an uplifting note—squealing away defensively as an unwise tonal misconception. 

In conclusion, Orion Pictures’s rightfully placed “January” live-action asset is a forced attempt at living among the greater deeds of modern-day experimental horror cinema. Gretel and Hansel, disappointingly, is unlikely to thrive with other achievements of its adapted genre. It’s The Witch, not The VVitch

Verdict: C-

“Gretel and Hansel” will be released in theaters on January 31, 2020.

 

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Some More Thoughts on Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Again)

It’s officially my third time seeing this in theaters! Call me a Tarantino fanboy, cause I’m lovin’ this movie the more and more I watch it! 

Time to defend the main criticism that this movie has received on such a constant, unhealthy basis recently. 

“There’s so many scenes in this movie that don’t contribute to the plot…blah blah blah…it should get straight to the point…blah blah blah…I studied at film school…blah blah blah…”

There’s this small movie—I don’t know if any of you’ve ever heard of it—called Pulp Fiction. It coincidentally happens to be made by the acclaimed director, Quentin Tarantino, who also wrote and directed Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. In this film, there are dozens, no, countless scenes in the movie that don’t really contribute to the plot of the overarching storyline of the motion picture. 

However, that’s why people, like myself, love that film. Because those scenes are fun, well-written, and either extremely light-hearted or darkly comical. It’s all hardy-like build-up to the more grand events. They aren’t hampering you from the story at hand or wasting your time with, quote on quote, “unnecessary filler.” If anything they’re quintessential pieces to make our on-screen characters appear down-to-earth and relatable. 

Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is a film meant to be enjoyed for the sake of witnessing acutely executed moments of grace, friendship, rivalry, and unshackled violence that all occur during spontaneous moments of the three main characters’ lives. It’s not jarring or pretentious, it’s just meant to be extremely fun to watch, and if you go into this movie with the mindset that Tarantino should have to make some god-like, schemed out tour de force of emotional and philosophical depth, then you have obviously never understood what has always made a Tarantino film so ravishing. 

I think I’ve said my piece on the matter. Thanks for listening, partners. I want to lastly thank the sponsor for this review, Red Apple Cigarettes: “Better drag, more flavour, less throat burn.” Have a good rest of your day now. 

Verdict Change: A-

Top 15 Movies of 2019

 

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The Most Anticipated Movies of 2020

So, recently I did some research on what movies were coming out in 2020 and was contentedly surprised to find out just how much this year has to offer. Considering that 2019 set the bar for 21st Century years for movies, I had totally forgotten that there are a lot of attracting movies coming out this year. Hence, here are my top 10 most anticipated movies of this decade’s opening year: 

10. No Time to Die 

Release Date: April 8th

Granted, 2015’s Spectre didn’t impress me. To me, that movie kind of admitted that the Daniel Craig saga of the 007 franchise was beginning to die down in intrigue. However, I am a total geek for this series. From From Russia to Love to Casino Royale, there are so many monumental moments in James Bond’s grand, epic story and to hear that No Time to Die could be the definitive quote on quote “ending” (for now) of this individual’s legacy does harness my attention. Plus, the trailer was badass and Cary Joji Fukunaga (the man behind Beasts of No Nation) is directing it. 

9. The Invisible Man (2020)

Release Date: February 28th

I have always been a supporter of Leigh Whannell ever since he and James Wan made the original Saw. Two years ago he directed a fantastic throwback thriller called Upgrade, which ended up on my Top 20 list of 2018. I am also a big supporter of Elisabeth Moss because she’s a phenomenal actress. Hearing that these two are coming together to craft a twisted, darker reimagining of The Invisible Man tale is honestly quite exciting. 

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8. Those Who Wish Me Dead 

Release Date: October 23rd

Taylor Sheridan is a man of many talents—one part actor, one part writer, and one part director. This man not only wrote Sicario 1 and 2 and Hell or High Water, but he also directed 2017’s acclaimed Wind River. I legitimately would have to be critically insane not to be thrilled for his junior directorial feature-length, Those Who Wish Me Dead

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7. The Trial of Chicago 7 

Release Date: September 25th

Aaron Sorkin is a screenwriting legend to me. His collaboration with David Fincher, also known as The Social Network, featured one of the greatest screenplays ever in my opinion. Later on, Sorkin went on to write Moneyball and Steve Jobs, and more recently he directed a solid biopic about American entrepreneur Molly Bloom. Now, he has a second directorial film coming out that has not only a killer cast but a pretty interesting true story behind it. I doubt that anything could possibly go wrong with this movie; I can’t wait! 

Film Title: Glass

6. Last Night in Soho

Release Date: September 25th

I have a confession to make: I am not the biggest fan of most Edgar Wright movies. For the most part though, I’ve liked all his films but have never really “loved” any of them besides maybe his most recent gift to cinema, Baby Driver. With that being said though, you can’t deny that the director is outstandingly gifted. I am always excited to see a new project by Wright because no matter what, even if I don’t end up falling head over heels with a new project of his, there’s always something creatively worthwhile to get out of anything that the man crafts. He’s clearly someone who appreciates the art of cinema and I hope Last Night in Soho is a stylistic blast like most of his feature-lengths. 

5. Tenet 

Release Date: July 17th

Christopher Nolan is a mainstream filmmaker that I adore. Even if he makes an indifferent movie like Interstellar every once in a while, everything that the dude makes always interests me and at least has some sort of admirable complications to them. Tenet, based off the trailer, intrigues the hell out of me. I have no idea if I’ll like it or not, but like most Christopher Nolan movies, there’s bound to be something mind-boggling about its culmination. Plus, Robert Pattinson is in it. 

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4. The French Dispatch 

Release Date: Unknown

Ah, yes, Wes Anderson. An artist who usually makes the cutest, prettiest, and most hipster-targeted movies of this generation. When it comes to Anderson, I never have major expectations for his stories, but I always have major expectations for his entertainment values. There’s something peculiarly charming about everything that the filmmaker has made yet and I guarantee that there will be many things that are oddly delightful about his newest film, The French Dispatch

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3. Mank

Release Date: Unknown

There’s a new David Fincher movie coming out. Do I really need to explain myself? This time around though, I think I’m more excited for a film of his than ever not only because it’s been more than half a decade since he’s released a feature-length, but because this new movie of his, Mank, is about the creation of Citizen Kane. Thee Orson Welles, Citizen Kane. That’s awesome! I’m utterly dying to see it! 

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2. I’m Thinking of Ending Things 

Release Date: Unknown

Good news for Netflix subscribers: I’m Thinking of Ending Things will be available to stream on the platform this year. I have no issue in saying that writer and director Charlie Kaufman is one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time. Most notably, the mastermind is known for writing such hit films as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind but, to me, his greatest achievement in the category of cinema is easily his directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York. Not only, with only two films, has the craftsman proven that he is a brilliant writer, but he has furthermore proven that he is more than capable of directing a masterpiece. About less than a year ago, I actually read the novel that Kaufman’s new movie will be based on and reviewed it. In simple words, I loved it, and there is no fitter director out there to take on the material that that book had to offer than Kaufman himself. I have high hopes for this exceedingly anticipated motion picture. 

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1. Dune (2020)

Release Date: December 18th

In 1984, legendary director David Lynch made an underwhelmingly received adaptation of the heavily acclaimed novel, Dune. Not until 36 years later did it seem as if the perfect director would come to take a jab at the iconic science fiction tale. From the man behind such triumphs as Incendies, Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, and Blade Runner 2049, comes a motion picture that is almost guaranteed to be an experience of a lifetime. Of course it’s my most anticipated movie of the year! 

 

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The Top 15 Best Movies of 2019

Can I be frank with you fellas for a second? 2019 has been a GOLD MINE year for cinema. It’s as if the movie gods themselves had wanted to drop every consecutive masterpiece during this very special time in 21st-century history. So, with that in mind, this list was extraordinarily hard to make; it hurt putting this one together. I wish most of the movies on this list could get the #1 spot, but this was a damn well competitive year, so I’ll be a fair gentleman and rank them accordingly. Once again, I have done separate reviews for all of these films so the links for them will be highlighted over the titles of each film. First off, though… 

My Honorable Mentions: Knives Out, Ad Astra, Beach Bum, 1917, Joker, Shazam!, The Farewell, Us, Her Smell, Rocketman, Birds of Passage, They Shall Not Grow Old, The Souvenir, and Pain and Glory

Now, onto the list! 

15. Greener Grass

I feel as if I would be doing the world a disfavor by not having Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebee’s severely overlooked Greener Grass on this list. This movie is just straight-up freakin’ weird. It’s a motion picture that doesn’t try to hide the fact that it’s quirky and absolutely absurd, but rather, fully embraces its uncanny material. Nevertheless, what truly makes Greener Grass a triumph is how it evokes laughs out of its audience. The comedy here is not only holy original but the eccentricness of the movie’s comical material is utilized for a much more consequential meaning. Through one of the most joyful parts of human existence (laughter) DeBoer and Luebee sinisterly strive to make gloomy meanings out of situational comedy. 

14. Cold War

This foreign gem by acclaimed director Paweł Pawlikowski didn’t get a US release until February 2019, so it’s on my list—which I’m not complaining about, FYI. Cold War isn’t necessarily a movie I’d deem super innovative, it’s simply just an exceptionally well-written and well-acted love story that successfully encapsulates its time period. Some of the best, most provocative dialogue of the entire year lies within this film. Cold War is a lovely film to look at, an extremely pleasant movie to listen to—thanks to its spectacular original soundtrack—and a fairly insightful study on intimacy. 

13. The Irishman

In many ways, Martin Scorsese’s return to mafia motion pictures does seem like a retread of familiar grounds, but at the core of the film, the themes of the motion picture feel entirely different from anything the legendary director has touched on. The Irishman is a three-hour documentation on a husband/father who starts to incrementally get caught up in his work and caught up in some of his new colleagues who have almost become like “family” to him. The most daunting part about this state of affairs is that working in such a dangerous field inevitably forces you to make some tough calls that could majorly affect your real family or your best friends. It’s essentially a more psychological modernization of Goodfellas

12. Midsommar (The Director’s Cut) 

The first time I saw Midsommar, I thought it was just “fine.” I had no dire inclination to watch the movie again in theaters. That is until I read some articles that director Ari Aster was pretty much propelled to cut down the movie by studios. A couple months later, A24 decides to limitedly release a 3-hour director’s cut of Midsommar in theaters. Due to these circumstances, I decided to watch this extended version of the polarizing horror/drama feature-length and I ended up pretty much loving it. It’s amazing realizing just how much less than half an hour of footage can improve a film. This superior version of Midsommar to me is a fantastic example of how uncomfortable situations that at first, may appear quite taboo and funny, can really get under your skin when you begin to witness how it affects others. A terrifying break-up movie, indeed! 

11. A Hidden Life

It seems that we’re on a roll with these 3-hour-long movies, huh? Terrence Malick’s newest feature-length A Hidden Life was a beautifully depressing experience, to say the least. Of course, the movie is shot and directed to a god-like level that only Malick can accomplish. But, I also really appreciated what Malick had to say in this story. This is an admirable exploration on how belief is such a chief principle in causing us to make decisions that don’t necessarily seem logical. It’s a very upsetting look into an Austrian farmer during World War II who simply gives up all his lawful rights just so that he can keep his firm beliefs. It’s inspiring yet emotionally draining to witness, and the unforgettable experience that Malick took me on has simply not been able to scram out of my head. 

10. Marriage Story

Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is a great argumentative piece of evidence to show people that marriage and divorce aren’t as cookie-cutter as they appear to be. While this movie did piss me off a lot because you essentially witness just how corrupt the divorce system is, it was also a very moving experience for me and I’m sure a great chunk of people who saw the film. Not only do Adam Driver and the spectacular Scarlett Johansson deliver some of the best performances of this entire year, but they also share together one of the most important stories of the entire year. This is a must-watch for couples who want some forewarning and single folks who want to feel victorious.

9. Uncut Gems

As a gigantic Good Time fan, it can be plainly expected that I had high hopes for the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems. Luckily, my expectations were reached. This is, of course, an exceedingly anxiety-driven thriller like Good Time, but is one that seems to want to focus more on its main character than the rough sensations you get from the situation at hand. This is a marvelous motion picture that constructively exemplifies the cliché father who is too caught up in his work and money than in his actual family. Plus, there’s some crazy filmmaking stuff in it that cinephiles like myself will eat up graciously. 

8. Waves

Can we please make an exclusive Academy Award for Trey Edward Schultz that rewards people who know how to direct and move a camera seamlessly? That’d be so cool. Anyhow, Waves was a hard film to watch and I can completely understand anyone who found the movie to be repulsing. To me though, I found Waves to be endlessly insightful on modern-day adolescence/young adulthood. It showcases some very graphic scenarios and builds off of them productively. It has resolutions that are immorally disgraceful and resolutions that are morally positive and it successfully balances them as a singular, consecutive piece. It’s a momentous movie that I think everybody high-school-age and up should check out. I truly believe that it’s an experience that we all need to understand and recognize for the benefit of ourselves.

7. Under the Silver Lake

I can’t tell you how much I hated the first hour of this movie when I initially saw it. But, I hate to compare a movie to Citizen Kane, but this movie is similar to Citizen Kane in the sense that it’s so adventurously taboo to the filmmaking art that it makes sense why so many people, critics and audiences alike, would initially hate the experience of the movie. By the end of it, I was won over despite almost despising the confusion I gained during the opening act of the movie. Under the Silver Lake is one of those films where you don’t entirely understand what the story presented at hand is, but you do know entirely what it’s trying to say thematically. The whole movie is this unbelievably ridiculous abstraction that’s meant to intel us on the cancerous culture of the entertainment industry. You feel it throughout the movie, and while it hurts to not understand every intricate plot point that is occurring at hand, you feel satisfied in the otherworldly journey of emotions and memories of Hollywood that David Robert Mitchell’s newest film takes you on. Also, it has my favorite scene of the entire year in it. Do yourselves a favor and Google, “the Elite Scheme scene.” 

6. High Life

I never could have imagined that one day I would need a horny science-fiction movie to complete my life. High Life, you’ve disturbingly changed my taste in movies. Legendary director Claire Denis’s newest feature-length is not only one of the best looking space movies I’ve ever laid eyes on, but it’s also one of the most unique movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The execution of this film is super unorthodox and the resolutions of this movie are also extremely unorthodox. This whole movie is one humongous “F-U” to the conventions of typical storytelling. But, there’s clearly a purpose to all the madness, and I ended up getting so much out of High Life especially as I thought more and more about it. In my mind, this movie is going to age superbly and I can only hope that it becomes a cult classic in the near future; it deserves it. 

5. Climax

Gaspar Noé you sick son of a bitch, stop stressing me the hell out! Climax was one and a half hours of just pure horror. I hated it. But that’s why this movie is so incredibly mind-blowing and why Noé continues to be one of my favorite directors working today. Sure, the movie is arguably short on story, but obviously, that’s not what the movie is all about. This is a stressful visual performance that allows its victims (the viewers) to witness a posse of dancers struggle to survive on LSD. From the flawless camera direction to the gut-wrenching performances from all the actresses and actors, Climax is undoubtedly a monumental accomplishment for the thriller genre. Watch it with the whole family!

4. Portrait of a Lady on Fire

I was one of the few—thanks to not seeing the trailer beforehand—people who went into Portrait of a Lady on Fire without knowing that it was a love story. In hindsight, because I watched this movie slowly blossom into a beautifully orchestrated romance with no knowledge of the film at all, it can evidently be said that my experience was unfairly enhanced. However, I don’t care, I still think this movie is absolutely brilliant either way. Imagine if Ingmar Bergman wrote Call Me By Your Name; that’s essentially what Portrait of a Lady on Fire feels like. Who could turn down such a prodigy of combination? Céline Sciamma is certainly going places and I’m dying to see what she does next.

3. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

Tarantino’s ninth feature film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is the type of unadulterated “fun” Hollywood should ironically be striving for. It’s a lightweight movie made exclusively from the ambitions of a filmmaking genius who wanted to play around a little with his devoted audience. It’s the kind of light-hearted, laid-back motion picture that takes you on multiple different journeys through the preexisting times of the Hollywood Renaissance. It’s another Tarantino soon-to-be-classic, indeed. 

2. Parasite

Parasite is genuinely one of the most carefully crafted films ever made. A virtually flawless affair in directing, writing, acting, cinematography, comedy, twists, drama, structure, characters, and themes, this is arguably a 2019 knockout that’s up there with some of the greatest movies of all-time. It’s exciting, it’s traumatizing, it’s shocking, and it’s a movie that nobody on this entire planet is going to forget once they’ve seen it. I can’t imagine a living soul out there that wouldn’t be enthralled from start to finish by Bong Joon-ho’s finest contribution to Korean filmmaking yet.

1. The Lighthouse

While Parasite may be the cinematic technical achievement of the year, when it comes down to it, Robert Egger’s The Lighthouse is this year’s feature-length that I personally bonded with the most. The aesthetically old-fashioned yet utterly original film lends itself to classic horror premises like The Shining where we observe an individual or a couple people slowly drift away from sanity. However, The Lighthouse doesn’t present itself like any of those vintage psychological terror flicks. Despite its obvious influences, this is a dark comedy at its core. The satire blended with the old-folk language makes for an absurdly hilarious adventure of drinking, farting, and violence. You wouldn’t believe the lines that come out of Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe’s characters until you hear them. You couldn’t come up with the type of character actions that Eggers’ pulls out of his odd little complex until you’ve seen them for yourself. This is an endlessly rewatchable genre-blender with some of the best acting, dialogue, and sequences ever put to arthouse film. High-brow creativity never seemed to cease in The Lighthouse. 

So, those are my top 15 movies of 2019. Damn, this year was killer. I don’t know what else to say. If you haven’t already, check out some of the movies on this list. Support these talented filmmakers. This year deserves one big round of applause. 

 

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My Top 10 Least Favorite Movies of 2019

It’s that depressing time of the year again, ladies and gentlemen, where I go over my top 10 least favorite movies of 2019. Disclaimer: I haven’t seen every dreadful act of wickedness this year so if a crappy movie that you absolutely despised didn’t show up on this list, don’t get upset; it’s probably not on here because I didn’t see it. Unless it’s High Life. I saw that movie, and I loved it; I don’t understand why you barbaric people hated it so much! Additionally, I have reviewed each of these movies separately, so if you’re interested in checking those out, the links to each review will be highlighted over the movie titles. Now, let’s get this s***show on the road, shall we? 

10. It Chapter Two

I thoroughly enjoyed Andrés Muschietti’s 2017 remake of It so the concept of making a sequel to the wildly successful horror hit always came as an alarming scheme to me considering that the source material in which the novel is based on has a highly half-baked secondary story revolving around the all-grown-up members of The Losers Club. Regretfully, It Chapter Two ended up being exactly as I expected it to be: drawn-out, moronic, and a complete misuse of such a talented cast. 

9. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

While I did admire the haunting creature designs in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the movie itself left more to be desired. Admittedly, I never grew up on the books as a kid—I was rather a Goosebumps fanatic (sorry, not sorry)—so I may have not bonded with the long-awaited motion picture like some folks did. It merely felt like an amateurishly extended version of an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark—and a tedious one at that. 

8. Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel isn’t necessarily what I’d call a “terrible” movie, but it’s certainly the type of blockbuster that I would gladly categorize under “vanilla-as-HELL.” It’s a forgettable, pointless, and defectively contrived adventure flick that lives at the depths of such duds as Thor: The Dark World or The Incredible Hulk. It’s disappointing to see that the first female superhero movie in the MCU—which, by the way, has taken way too long to happen—ended up being a vast waste of money and time. 

7. Happy Death Day 2U

Happy Death Day 2U is a Blumhouse cash-grab sequel that’s a complete retread of the original Happy Death Day, just without the imaginative wit or drive. This whole movie feels like a PG-13 Disney Channel TV movie—meaning, it has the childish writing, acting, and dialogue of a made-for-television feature but the raunchy blunder of a PG-13 movie. They should’ve never made a sequel; the first Happy Death Day was a solid stand-alone that didn’t need to be tampered with. 

6. Terminator: Dark Fate

We’re officially 4 for 2 in the crappy Terminator movie count. Imagine: a studio wants to erase all their previous mistakes from the official Terminator timeline (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator: Salvation, and Terminator: Genisys) so that they can restart the franchise with a clean slate…and then they just end up making another mistake—except this one, unlike the previous three failures, is a light retread of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The action has never looked more embarrassing, the plot is all too familiar, and the results whimper down to another reason to jot down on the list of why the Terminator movies never should’ve been a massive franchise in the first place. 

5. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Isn’t it just depressing that I’ve now had two Star Wars movies in my top 10 worst of the year lists? First Solo: A Star Wars Story and now The Rise of Skywalker—which by the way, is even worse than Solo. Like, it’s so disappointing that these new Star Wars movies have already reached this level of “bad” and it’s been like only 4 years since Disney released The Force Awakens. It’s such a shame. Anyways, do I really need to explain what is so utterly wrong with this movie? I’m exhausted from watching these Star Wars movies transform into studio orientated blueprints on how to please their obnoxious fanbase rather than ambitious and creative passion-projects. Enough said. 

4. 3 From Hell

I feel so sorry for hardcore Rob Zombie fans. I do shamefully enjoy The Devil’s Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses isn’t that shabby, but by golly is 3 From Hell a dyed-in-the-wool disservice to the series. It’s a movie that has absolutely no geography or sense of idea on what it wants to be or where it wants its gratuitous story to go. It’s one of those movies that thinks it’s so meta for parodying its source material, but just ends up comically backfiring on itself. If I had to choose between going to Hell or watching this movie again, well, let’s just say, it’d be a tough decision. 

3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Gareth Edward’s Godzilla is a good movie. There, I said it. Did you see Godzilla for more than 15% of the movie? No. Was there at least an authoritative sense of scale and intensity to that motion picture? Absolutely! What does Godzilla: King of Monsters have? Unbearable characters, shaky-cam/close-up CGI action sequences, and an unhealthy amount of fan service. Sure, mindless diehards got to see their favorite monster fight on the big screen, but at the cost of what? Getting a movie that inserts so much unqualified blockbuster nonsense that eventually gets real old real fast and even makes the greatest creature known to cinema seem repetitive and tiresome? Not worth it, in my humble opinion. 

2. X-Men: Dark Phoenix 

Sigh. Now, even though this movie is indisputably an atrocious superhero flick beyond disbelief, I wouldn’t say that I hated it. In fact, I, sinisterly, had fun watching just how horribly awful this franchise has become. In hindsight, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Logan, in a lot of ways, set the bar for how fantastic superhero movies can be. But, watching such a solid revamp of a franchise just coward back to the flaws of its original series but at such a miserable level that hadn’t yet been discovered was hilariously enjoyable to witness. Dark Phoenix may be an inexcusably convoluted film, but it’s an unintentionally hilarious one. Do yourselves a favor: watch it with the biggest group of friends you can gather up. Alcohol may be needed. 

1. The Lion King

So here it is, fellas. My least favorite movie of 2019: the quote on quote, “live-action” Lion King remake. Not only does this movie happen to be the most despicable feature-length that this year has had to offer, but it’s taken a more special spot in my life as of the moment: it’s officially my least favorite movie of ALL-TIME. Yep, I am not exaggerating. Let’s take a glance at some of the classic choices that people would often choose as some of the “worst” movies ever made: Tommy Wiseau’s The Room and Amir Shervan’s Samurai Cop. Terrible, terrible movies. But, if you haven’t noticed already, these movies feature something that The Lion King simply does not possess: passion-driven ambition. The Lion King shouldn’t even count as a movie; it’s a greedy corporate product that managed to get millions of people to pay money and watch the same exact movie that they’ve already seen—minus the heart, minus the creative animation, and minus the charm. This is “legal plagiarism” if I’d ever seen it. I HATE JON FAVERAU’S THE LION KING SO MUCH. SO MUCH! IT MAKES ME GET SO AGGRAVATED JUST THINKING ABOUT IT! 

Deep breathes, Evan. Deep breathes. So, that concludes my least favorite movies of 2019. If I’m being quite frank, this year could’ve been a lot worse. Half of the movies on this list I don’t even think are that bad. I just happened to not see that many stinkers this year, which is delightful to recognize. The Lion King, truthfully, was basically the push I needed to make this list, all-in-all. So, thank you, Disney.