Last movie you watched



  • After stewing on it for a few days, I think Bill and Ted Face The Music is an adequate, though predictable sequel. I think that the core conceit B&T learned at the end of 2 was that they would need to put in the work to succeed and that they should/could use shortcuts to that end - using the time machine to train for six months in a matter of seconds - but Face The Music places them right back in the "maybe we can shortcut our way out of this situation" mode where they try to go to the future to steal a song they haven't written yet. Which was a little disappointing, IMO.

    I think Keanu especially struggled to reconnect with Ted's naivete - though this may just be my bias having seen him as Neo/Wick for years, Alex Winter on the other hand, and both the "kids" were great. I think Samara Weaving (The Babysitter/Ready or Not) is one of the most promising of the next generation of young actresses in Hollywood - and Brigette Lundy-Paine, who I'm less familiar with, so nailed some of the physical mannerisms of Keanu in the OG movies, that I could easily believe that they were related.

    It was definitely a fun movie. I figured out what the end "plot twists" were less than 10 min into it, though overall it was still enjoyable and the resolution of the film was still a nice message. I appreciate it for what it is, but selfishly wish that maybe it was a little deeper and more consistent. B+



  • Charlie Kaufman has the incredible ability to tap into the human experience like no other, and does it in such a way that you don't even know exactly why it affects you so. It's like his work just reaches inside of your brain, tapping into parts of it that you can't identify. I'm thinking of ending things continues that trend, and manages to be even more mystifying than his previous work. If you were to ask me what happened, I wouldn't be able to tell you. What I would be able to tell you however, is that I felt it deeply.

    The performances in this film are astounding. Toni Collette and David Thewlis in particular deliver damn near career-defining performances, bringing both heart and an unmistakable eerieness to it. Guy Boyd manages to be beautifully heartbreaking as well.

    I have not read the book, and after seeing this film I don't think I want to. Not because I think I won't like it, but because adding any more clarity to this film could ruin the beauty of it. I have no clue what it means, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    4.5/5 Stars



  • Youtube Video

    Streaming free on Kanopy with a library card.



  • I'm thinking of ending things
    Charlie Kaufman A young woman meditates on life and humanity over an increasingly bizarre trip to meet her boyfriend's parents. If you've watched any Kaufman, you know what you're getting into. This is a deeply metaphorical movie that's difficult to describe without spoiling (or at least - spoiling what I believe happened in it). Kaufman's intentions are apparent fairly early on in the movie, to the point where formal techniques to enhance his meaning become distracting as opposed to enthralling. The performances and cinematography across the board are outstanding, and this movie certainly made me feel things that few others have, but ultimately it’s mostly a curiosity that falls apart by the end. It's a difficult recommend, but if you're at all interested I suggest you at least have a friend on hand to talk to after you're done. C+



  • Rewatched a couple movies over the last few nights.

    Went on a Denis Villenuave kick after seeing the trailer for Dune, so I did a double feature night and watched Prisoners and Sicario. Prisoners I think especially holds up with the feeling it gives off. It has a cozy feeling that's permeated with this camerawork from Roger Deakins that creates this layer of dread with different creeping shots. The acting is pretty awesome from Jackman, and the questioning of morality as things go on, especially from the perspectives of a regular set of lower-middle class family people against the opposing character story of Gyllenhall's detective thread is pretty harrowing. It runs a little long and there are some questions that I think could have been explained better, but overall it's an awesome mystery with a chilling atmosphere in a unique setting.

    8.7/10

    Sicario is a completely different kind of movie, but still has things that I feel are distinctly of the director's flavor. There are plenty of slow, beautiful scenic shots, specifically sunset shots in this one with silhouetted characters that are awesome. While the story takes a long time to explain itself and get going, leaving the audience in the dark with the main character, it really pays off at the end. The final shot, after all the pieces have come together and we understand why and how the events as a whole fit together is chilling, and makes you think from the perspectives of a lot of different people coming from different angles and cultures. Acting from all parties here is top notch, especially Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin who are perfect cocky counterbalance to Emily Blunt and Daniel Kaluuya's audience surrogate characters. Definitely one you just need to see a second time after you've seen it the first time.

    8.9/10

    Also rewatched Silence of the Lambs last night. I hadn't seen it since High School, but did a brief study on it in a film course I took more recently. It's pretty fascinating how all the shots are designed to unsettle the audience from the perspective of the protagonist by having characters speak and look directly into the camera, and therefore the audiences' eyes. In the course mentioned, we talked about how it was crafted to be uncomfortable from the perspective of a woman in a male dominated profession, or to give you the cautionary and uncomfortable feeling many women have in a daily basis when speaking to people or being in situations, and the camerawork does this extremely well. Anthony Hopkins still kills at his role here and I forgot how little he's actually in the movie given the impact he has. I'll definitely have to read this book at some point to see what sorts of missing information is there that didn't make it to screen. I think the standout thing here is the pacing, as there isn't a lot of actual action or violence. It's all a slow burn buildup to the finale, as we slowly uncover clues and investigate with Starling.

    9.2/10



  • Ni No Kuni
    Two teens are transported to a fantastical world as they fight to save their friend in a movie that serves as the most definitive proof yet that we'll never have a good video game adaptation. Seriously, it's unreal to me that they managed to screw this one up. The first ten minutes or so show some promise; it carries some of the lovely mystical air that made the game world so enjoyable, and I appreciate the effort to center a disabled character. In general I guess you could argue that the base story here is fine, but the storytelling is stilted to high hell, the character development is horrendously rushed, and the animation is shockingly bad at times. There is a 15 minute stretch or so that's supposed to be a major battle sequence/conflict, but ends up playing out as a series of characters expositing important information over bad CGI. Even when viewed as a kids movie, the main beats here are asinine in the way that they play out. The only thing that I genuinely liked in this movie is the score, which owes most of its power to Joe Hisaishi's score from the original game. I say watch the first ten minutes and then skip the rest. C-



  • @naltmank have you seen that Dragon Quest movie that came out recently? I was curious.



  • @happygaming lol that's what I was going to watch instead of this one originally. The animation was great from what I saw, but I could tell from the get go that it was gonna be an insane rush job so I gave up pretty quickly. DQV is a very special game to me, though, so I was sort of setting myself up for failure there. That said, I did read up on the "controversy" around it and think it's hilarious. Pretty sure I'm not missing much.



  • Grave of the Fireflies
    A boy must care for his younger sister after their lives are destroyed during an air raid in Kobe, Japan. I've been avoiding this movie my whole life, but I've been stuck in this terrible malaise recently and felt this might help get me out of it. After watching it, I feel confident in saying that this movie is both worthy of its reputation and absolutely essential viewing. There is real tragedy on display here, but it only works because of how well Takahata and co. capture the beauty and joy of childhood. The pain isn't just from the fact that the characters we're following die - we're told that they're dead in the first lines of the movie - but rather from the utter wastefulness of it all, how children are forced to grow beyond their years, and how kindness is lost in times when people need it the most. The pervasive darkness is offset by the purity of Seita and Setsuko's relationship, and despite the fact that you know where their story ends, you still can't help but feel that their love for each other is the only reason they lasted even as long as they did. Ultimately, I can't say that this movie provided my the catharsis I so desperately seek. I can, however, say that despite any misgivings you may have about this movie, you should absolutely watch it. A



  • @naltmank I've got to watch this one as well. I've also been avoiding it for as long as I've known about it. I have it on blu ray because I have every Ghibli movie, but it's the one I haven't gained the courage to turn on. In my earliest memories of it, my sister watched it with my mom, and when the movie was over, she just held me and cried for close to an hour after the movie was done because of the sibling bond and dynamic. With it being that traumatizing for her, I've had a hard time gaining the courage to watch it, despite knowing it's history, impact, importance, and careful execution. But at the same time, I feel like I'm letting myself down by avoiding it at the same time.



  • Grave of the Fireflies is epic filmmaking, but painfully depressing.

    I highly recommend Takahata's final and most epic film, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, which is much more lighthearted (though gets depressing in the late stages). The artwork and cinematography is some of the best in all of 2D animation.

    --- I recommend the disc version, as it has a ton of fine detail that doesn't deserve to be streamed. And be sure to watch the making-of featurettes, which show how production dragged on forever and cost a fortune.



  • @happygaming My two main triggers in movies are 1) siblings and 2) grandparents, and Grave of the Fireflies hammers (1) about as hard as any movie possibly can. Still worth it.

    And @Oscillator absolutely love Kaguya. Beyond the absolute artistry behind the whole production, it modernizes a traditional Japanese fable in really smart ways to make it more emotionally resonant and impactful.



  • @oscillator said in Last movie you watched:

    And be sure to watch the making-of featurettes, which show how production dragged on forever and cost a fortune.

    If anyone is interested in this, check out the Ghibliotheque podcast's episode on the movie. Dives into the development hell and what happened.



  • I should give Grave of the Fireflies another look. I really liked some things about it, but its design as a grim weepie turned me off. I really like some of Takahata's other films though, especially Only Yesterday and The Story of Yanagawa's Canals.



  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
    A high budget episode of Arrow set in the Jurassic Park universe. Fuck this movie. F



  • @ringedwithtile said in Last movie you watched:

    a grim weepie

    It's THE grim weepie



  • The Babysitter: Killer Queen

    I'm a pretty big fan of the first movie, which played around with common slasher tropes and had interesting and unexpected dialogue and character choices. The level of camp felt appropriate to the first film. The second movie, ratchets the camp factor up a few notches, while losing some of the same subversion and interesting character the first film has, but it's still a very fun slasher. I just think it took a sizable step into serialized slasher fic sequel syndrome. (say that 3 times fast!)

    Samara Weaving is still a damn fine movie star, and there's enough fun homages and musical cues (shoutout to Love on a Real Train by Tangerine Dream!) to keep film nerds amused, if not wholly invested.
    C+



  • The Wind Rises
    A young man pursues his dreams of becoming an artist an airplane designer. I think most people knew that when Hayao Miyazaki announced that this would be his last movie, he was bluffing. He's "retired" before, and certainly this time would be as permanent as the last. However, after finally watching this film, I'm honestly disappointed he's decided to continue; this is his magnum opus. Existing somewhere in the realm between fact and fiction, past and present, this is a deeply personal tale of an artist looking back on his life and career and trying to figure out what it means to be human. There is so much beautiful, powerful subtext that is baked into the very fiber of this movie, all the way down to the sound design. I think it is very intentional that so many of the sound effects are vocalized by man, blending the threshold between man's power over what it creates and the relentless power of nature. These are the themes that Miyazaki ruminates on again and again, questioning how the nature of man changes from childhood to adulthood, and how the artist may find himself both enmeshed in those and beside them. If it is the boy's nature to dream, then it is the artist's nature to create. But what is lost when an artist devotes himself so fully to his craft? How can one reconcile with the destruction that their creations may unleash? Miyazaki - hardly known for his subtlety - pulls at the strings of these questions with more restraint than he's ever shown, with a script that easily tops his storied career. The marriage between his artistry, script, direction, and Joe Hisaishi's score culminates in one of the most beautiful and moving sequences I've seen in film - animated or otherwise. And while he never truly answers all the questions he poses, Miyazaki does leave one thing clear: none of this is possible without the love and kinship of those you hold dear. A



  • Last few I've watched:

    The Insider - 9.5/10

    Considering how much I love Heat and Pacino, I can't believe it took until 2020 for me to watch this. I actually like it more than Heat. The true story speaks for itself and I love me some hard hitting journalism.

    I think it works because they didn't go for this newsreel version of reality like, say, Zero Dark Thirty. They just make every scene riddled with drama and some of the tension feels bigger than a thriller/action movie.

    Bloodsport - Infinitely Rewatchable/10

    I got a craving to watch Bloodsport last night. I never get tired of this movie but I've somehow gone like 3+ years without watching it. People say Chong Li is the most evil movie villain but I honestly give the edge to Tong Po in Kickboxer. Bloodsport is way more lighthearted and whimsical then I remember it being. It adds to the charm but takes away from some of the "Evilness" I put onto Chong Li.



  • Been going through the AV Club's retro lists of best movies of 1999, 2000, and 2001. Just rapidly downloading random movies from those years that I haven't seen and uploading them to my Plex Media Server. I was really young then and as I was growing up, the aughts and 90s didn't have the aura of the 70s and 80s so other than the obvious classics like Goodfellas, The Usual Suspects, Matrix, etc, I missed a lot of the fantastic in-betweens and have been catching up slowly (i.e. Eyes Wide Shut, The Virgin Suicides, Mulholland Dr, etc).

    Likewise, it's October and I need to get some Halloween dread in. I checked out Cinemassacre's best horror film of every decade since 1920s video that they released last night:

    Best Horror By Decade - Cinemassacre's Monster Madness
    Youtube Video

    So I'm going to download some of the Universal monster movies from the 1960s. Probably check out Frankenstein vs Wolf Man. I'm not a monster movie guy, but I want to check some of these out.


    Last night I watched:

    The Cabin in the Woods - 5.5/10

    This movie is pretty amusing and I think it did a good job of creating an entertaining premise by spinning the teen horror trope on its head, but it really missed an opportunity to actually bring the scares. Again, the premise works, but it's just missing actual horror filmmaking language to build suspense and dread. I don't see why this movie couldn't have done that AND done everything else it does (which I won't spoil).

    It's fine but the Joss Whedon whimsy comedy just doesn't do anything for me. I always liked Buffy, but I can't get into his comedic tone that he brings to all of his films. If you like that Avengers kinda ha-ha cackle laugh comedy, this movie will probably resonate better with you.


    Over The Top - 8/10

    UNDERRATED. I checked the production notes and I'm pretty convinced Stallone wrote this movie to just pay himself a massive salary because the he took 50% of the budget in salary and was contracted to write and produce the edit after different filmmakers started the project. Either way, I think more of the budget could've gone into better razzle dazzle because the premise is pretty solid. This could've been a big movie like Rocky IV, Bloodsport, Karate Kid, if they spent more of the budget on directing rather than Stallone's $15M pay day.

    I always assumed this was a greasy trucker movie with lot lizard's, drunk driving, and chewing dip, but it's actually a feel-good father son bonding movie. Like any good Stallone script, he brings an immense amount of "feel good" good-guy scenes to the table and I can't resist Stallone when he plays a super honest good guy. Then the last 1/4 of the movie turns up the heat and gives us that sweet 80s muscle mass action that we all come to expect.

    It's a brisk 90 mins and it's like 25% montage movie, 25% action, and 50% feel-good schlock so I'm kinda surprised people write this one off. I really had a fun time.