Short Reviews on Films I’ve Watched Recently

As many of us have been stuck inside during this global pandemic, we have had a lot of time to enjoy some of our more introvert hobbies; One of mine being watching television shows and movies in my spare time. It feels like it has been ages since the last time I was able to experience a film in its fully intended format on the big silver screen. However my love for my hobby hasn’t died down in the slightest. I’ve watched many films since the last time I hit a legit cinema but I’d thought I share some of my thoughts on a small selection of these films I’ve experienced during this quarantine life we have found ourselves in.

Well without further ado here are my short and sweet thoughts:

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The Wolf House 2018
★★★ Watched 08 Jul, 2020

Artistically brilliant but lacking focus.

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I’m No Longer Here 2019
★★★★★ Watched 05 Jul, 2020

I loved this film. Equally a powerful tale of poverty/violence and an examination of what it means to be home.

Ya no estoy aqui (I'm no longer here) (en) | Cinelatino

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Almost Friends 2016
★★★★½ Added 03 Jul, 2020

This is straight garbage romcom with a real generic formula but shit was entertaining to watch, so whatever and that’s how imma rate it. One thing I noticed is that the side plots were distracting/uninteresting. This was a good popcorn flick to watch with a group of friends, significant other, or by yourself if you have some time to burn. If you/they don’t like Freddie Highmore though you might want to pass.

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The Vast of Night 2019
★★½ Watched 01 Jul, 2020

The beginning of this film has some fantastic world building but it sputters out for me at about the halfway mark.

The Vast of Night movie review (2020) | Roger Ebert

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Ingrid Goes West 2017
★★½ Watched 29 Jun, 2020

More comedy than drama which is a huge loss in my opinion.

Review: 'Ingrid Goes West,' and Social Media Is Her Road Map - The ...

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Waves 2019
★★★★★ Watched 16 Jun, 2020

Waves tells it’s story fully and without feeling drawn out. The film tells an expansive story of the lives touched by tragedy and the ripples that permeate their lives. I wish it lasted longer…

Waves (2019) by Trey Edward Shults

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire 2019
★★★★★ Watched 07 Jun, 2020

I was truly wowed by this film. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a remarkable tale of a fleeting but profound love, highlighted by amazing performances, beautiful costume design, and best in class cinematography.

portrait-of-a-lady-on-fire-trailer

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Millennium Mambo 2001
★ Watched 31 May, 2020

Art house bore. Beautifully shot but horrendous story and lifeless main character.

How Millennium Mambo set the blueprint for Moonlight

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The Hunt 2020
★★★★ Watched 21 Mar, 2020

This movie was pretty fun watching with the family.

Recension: The hunt (Film) | SvD

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The Invisible Man 2020
★★★½ Watched 29 Feb, 2020

Solid popcorn thriller film with solid production and an above average score. This film will be very popular. Go head out with your friends/dates for a very enjoyable theater experience.(Edit: These thoughts were before everything in the country was shut down)

The Invisible Man Scares Up $9.8 Million at Friday Box Office ...

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The Lodge 2019
★★★★★ Watched 22 Feb, 2020

I think this just became my favorite horror movie all time. The film is unsettling as hell and beautifully shot. The entire audience at the screening I attended were morbidly quiet and freaked out from this film. Can’t recommend enough!

The Lodge (2019)

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Jojo Rabbit 2019
★★★★★ Watched 22 Feb, 2020

Loved the uniqueness, simple but effective plot, and humor.

Jojo Rabbit' review: Taika Waititi goofs on Hitler in fab WWII satire

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Marriage Story 2019
★★★★★ Watched 08 Feb, 2020

Adam Driver is phenomenal here. He is a definite runner up for best actor if he doesn’t straight up steal it as the underdog. I abso-freaking-lutely loved this film. Perfectly illuminating the unfairness and brutal honesty of what divorce/separation does to a couple. And don’t let me start on the amazing home evaluation scene. This film is a damn near masterpiece. Please watch it! It’s on Netflix for Christ’s sake. You don’t have an excuse letterbox family.

What's Missing from the Brilliant “Marriage Story” | The New Yorker

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Terminator: Dark Fate 2019
★½ Watched 01 Feb, 2020

Legion flashbacks were interesting at least.

Biggest Unanswered Questions In Terminator: Dark Fate | Movier

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The Lighthouse 2019
★★★★½ Watched 29 Jan, 2020

Dafoe really shines here. I could listen to him berate someone all day.

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American Factory 2019
★★★★½ Watched 20 Jan, 2020

An eye opening look into globalization , American values, and efficiency. American factory is thoroughly entertaining and an equally depressing depiction of the direction the world is going.

American Factory' a tale of two blue collars: US and Chinese | 48 ...

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Threads (1984) : Review

I’ve heard rumblings of this film through the most bizarre of places. I was in search of a horror film and came across an off-hand comment that swore by the statement that Threads was and continues to be, in his memory the scariest movie he had ever scene.

After a little research I discovered an avid fan-base for the movie with similar thoughts regarding the nuclear holocaust drama. Threads is a film that depicts the immediate aftermath and continuing effects that a nuclear war would have on city.

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I jumped into the film with a little hesitation. How could a film with these topics be considered essentially horror. The film portrays a world in political turmoil and on the brink of catastrophe. It takes an up close and personal look at a small group of people as they experience nuclear annihilation. The film displays a step by step thorough  documentary style and disturbing breakdown of the events with incredible effect.

Threads is a relentless depiction of societal breakdown. I found it particularly potent how the film illustrated the futility of keeping order in a world of destruction and chaos. One arc in the film follows a group of public servants responsible for administering aid and support during and after the event. You can almost taste the fear as they experience the same sense of dread as those outside their fortified bunker. Then as the audience you you have to witness the same ones responsible for allowing the world to continue to move forward meet their slow and painful deaths.

I can only fathom the way kids growing up during the cold war may have felt experiencing a film such as this. As the doomsday clock ticks closer and closer to the brink of annihilation, a drama style documentary releases, preying on everyone’s current fears. The imagery of the film is shocking but ultimately forces you to examine what an event of this magnitude would actually entail. One scene in the film is particularly striking as the bombs begin to fall and all hell breaks loose. A character in the film stares up at the looming mushroom cloud and says in the most defeated and fearful way, “Jesus Christ, they’ve done it.”

After the end of the film, I thought deeply of what I would do in a world like this. I thought of how unprepared personally and as as people we are for something like this. Where would I go? Where would I meet my loved ones?  How could anyone survive in a world where every scrap of food is the difference between life and death. How does a government decide who should live or die with massive food shortages? The tag line for the film is “The closest you’ll ever want to come to nuclear war”. This sentence is pretty much a spot on endorsement. What defines a “scary” film? Threads is a film that gnaws at our inner fears and exposes the ever-present depravity of human nature. If this realistic living nightmare brought to the screen isn’t horror, I don’t know what is.

Review: Threads is a profound film that shouldn’t be missed.

 

 

The Vault(2017): Review

The Vault is an interesting  genre mix up. A mash up of your standard b-movie heist genre and a weird combination of unexpected horror. As far as bank heist films go, this film is pretty adequate. All the right beats for suspense in the first half of the film are hit as the would be robbers go in to make a score. Unfortunately they don’t know what they have gotten themselves into. As their plan unravels through predictable bank heist mistakes, so does a much darker under tone for the film.

A paranormal component to the film is introduced when the crew looks to target the vault in the basement. The horror element in the movie is relatively rushed. Their isn’t any real build up or pay off for the horror side of the film.The film doesn’t rely on jump scares but instead unnerving hallucinations and gore. Looking back at the film I believe the horror aspect of the film proved to be one of The Vault’s weakest characteristics.

Image result for francesca eastwood the vault

Cinematography takes a realistic approach and it fits the grittiness of the subject materials. No scenes in particular really hit home for me in that regards.  The writing in the film isn’t horrible but is very unexciting because everything is as expected. Taryn Manning gives a solid performance for her usual skitzy typecast character. The dialogue is run of the mill,  however Francesca Eastwood’s acting is pretty much wasted for this film and was a pleasant surprise. I look forward to seeing her in new roles.

James Franco the most prominent actor and main focus of  promotional material in the film is just there to attract viewers it seems. Franco only speaks about 5 lines of dialogue and only  holds onto a minuscule amount of screen time  the whole film. This film won’t last the test of time but I recommend firing it up when it goes up on your favorite streaming service.The vault is good fun and I would recommend for  a boring night you want to stay in and stream something with a friend.

 

The Conjuring | Review


This film succeeds where many other horror movies fail at miserably. This creepy story is  based on true events. The story revolves around the haunting of a house recently purchased by the Perron family. Two paranormal investigators, Ed Warren and Lorrain Warren reluctantly take the case. The Warren’s find that this is not the typical hoax they usually receive and is actually one of the worse cases they have seen in a long time.

When I think of today’s horror movies, I automatically get bad ideas.  I just imagine cliche scenes of cheap scares from ridiculousy loud and shrieking bass with monsters magically appearing. That’s why I usually stray away from the horror genre unless I hear some good word of mouth.  The Conjuring is a film that redefines my idea of what a horror movie should be.

The movie manages to flow very naturally and keep up the suspense to the very end. It helped a lot that the cast of the movie, all had solid acting abilities. Vera Farmiga’s portrayal of the clairvoyant Lorrain Warren was uncanny. Some scenes she didn’t even need to say anything. Just the look in her eye often showed many emotions and depth.

This film touches your primeval fears of darkness which everyone had growing up as kid. It becomes really easy to relate to the Perron family, when you yourself are kept wondering if any shadow in this film could hold a possible demon.  The young actress Joey King played the part of a terrified young girl to the tea.

In addition this film had some excellent special effects. The camera work and costume designs of the dead in this film helped me stay immersed into the movie and kept the hair on my arm raised. I haven’t watched a horror movie in a long time; that actually had me second guessing and left in anticipation after almost every scene. So If you’re sitting there about to put another random modern paranormal activity in your Blu-Ray player, Stop. Give this movie a try and you won’t be disappointed.

This movie is the definition of a good horror movie and solidifies my review score of

9.5/10

What did you think of the film? Leave a comment Below.

Review: The Purge

The year is 2022 and unemployment and crime is virtually gone. This is achieved by an event called The Purge. For one night a year all crime is legal. A fantastic premise for a horror movie in a stagnating genre. The film stars Ethan Hawke  an actor who is having a bit of resurgence especially in this genre.  He is the highlight of the film when it comes to the acting with Lena Headey(Cersei Game of Thrones) coming in a close second. Their family in the film are trapped in the house on the day of The Purge.  After their son feels sympathy and lets a man looking for refuge into their home, a group of hunters vow to break in if they do not release him.

The setting of the film is unique. A possible sci-fi like future where the poor are seemingly eradicated because they do not have the means to protect themselves. It’s a good thing this film skates over the socioeconomical implications of the Purge. It probably would have somehow led to a race fueled controversy. It’s an interesting topic and it certainly caused me to debate what would happen to my neighborhood if that did happen.

Some of the dialogue from the leader of the hunters was jarringly flat. Maybe he should have just kept his mask on for a creepier effect. It felt very forced at times. The actual events that transpired after  him  and his lackeys breached the house were very satisfying. The film did have to suffer from the typical horror tropes. We have the usual heads peeping out at the edge of screens in the background, clumsily falling in chase scenes, hiding under beds, sneaking around in the dark, and the suspense even hits a rock bottom low when an extremely predictable kid hiding in the dark behind an object in the basement forgets his flashlight is shining out of his hiding spot.

There’s a reason I usually don’t watch horror/thriller movies by myself. Horror movies generally just don’t work.  They are usually way to similar and all follow the same formulaic plots and devices. Yet we still go to watch them with friends. There’s something about that horror movie audience atmosphere that is just special. There’s nothing particularly good about the movie The Purge but its still fun to watch. That’s pretty much all that matters for horror movies. I generally don’t go into horror films with high expectations.  If you file this under a category I like to refer to as popcorn flick then you’ll be fine. It’s mindless fun. A film you go to watch and laugh at, especially at the moments that are suppose to be serious.