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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Self/Less: Review

Self/Less is a film which reminds you constantly not to suspend belief. The plot in Self/Less isn’t bad in itself but paired with bad writing/dialogue and a flat performance from Ryan Reynolds it pushes the film from being a promising B-  film to a soulless cash in on tried formulas. An over reliance on action movie tropes ,such as exaggerated military training capabilities, makes Self/Less fall into the category of outright silliness at times.

Characters behave and react to events in illogical and absurd manners. We are treated with a relatively disappointing and weakly written female supporting roles in a post-Mad Max society. A thoroughly unscientific plot attempts to prove that it is grounded but falls painstakingly short and expounds the gullible nature of Ryan’s on-screen “wife” even further. What could have been embraced as a distant undiscovered possibility is squandered by unconvincing narrative.

This movie had an intriguing premise which would be better suited to relish in its obscurity. It focuses on tried and overused devices in Hollywood filmmaking. With a lack of rational characters and motives, Self/Less fumbles while searching for it’s identity. While there is an obvious protagonist and antagonist, there really shouldn’t be. The audience is essentially forced into an opinion which would be fine if there was some sort of reasonable payoff.

We are given a glimpse about a debate on who is really right and wrong but ultimately do not care due to lack of execution. Self/Less isn’t a terrible movie but it certainly isn’t one that treats its audience as though they are remotely intelligent.

Verdict: 4/10 (Skip)

 

Elysium: Review

The last summer blockbuster has arrived in Elysium. District 9 director and writer, Neill Blomkamp ‘s continued run in the sci-fi genre provides an enjoyable experience. The setting of the story, is 2154 on a severely over-populated and diseased world. The rich and powerful abandon earth for an man-made utopia named Elysium. Elysium entertains with visceral action sequences and a futuristic and unique story that keeps you on your toes.

Matt Damon who portrays the main character of the film, delivers another good performance in his role as Max Da Costa; a man with nothing to lose. Matt Damon is no rookie to action films. He is widely known for his tough bad boy persona in his roles in the Bourne films. He trained four hours a day to get physically and aesthetically equipped for the film. He certainly shows that he isn’t out of practice in the art of asskickery. The weakest performance in the film came from Wagner Moura who played Spyder; a human smuggler who takes people to Elysium. It wasn’t that he had bad acting necessarily but there was an apparent and jarring language barrier. Just seemed sort of forced and a better option probably would have been to to have him speak his native portuguese/spanish tongue especially considering that Max actually had an Hispanic ethnicity.

The highlight of the film came from Sharlto Copley who plays the vicious and psychotic character C.M Kruger. Copley gives a powerful performance and steals the spotlight from the rest of the veteran cast. Even the cold and calculating Jodie Foster, who plays the secretary of defense of Elysium, doesn’t stand a chance to his ruthless and unhinged personality. He takes command of his role and puts a choke-hold on every scene he is in. Even though he is a mercenary who gets paid for his job he he takes pleasure in it all. Neill Blomkamp might be one of the only people in the film industry to acknowledge his talent so far, but that’s sure to change.

The dense over populated and dirty sprawls of Earth are visually stunning. Wide angle shots of the swarming city of Los Angeles on Earth offer a stark contrast to the perfect and clean-cut nature of Elysium. The use of handycam is present in the film but it doesn’t distract me as much as it did in District 9 . The security/surveillance drones are masterfully crafted and have a sense of realism to them. Their design balances just the right amount of finesse, stiffness, and weight to be believable. The highlight from the cinematography and VFX team had to come from the combat and weaponry of the film. It was a truly a blast to watch the way some of the guns and gadgets worked.

The plot and setting of story takes a look at the hardships of a possible future without proper medical care. This system only affords the wealthy and those with influence. Neill Blomkamp was quoted saying that this story was not an alternate future but it was actually a look at the present. Though the story was probably a bit more action oriented then District 9 its still offers some room for thought even if isn’t as deep as his previous work. All in all it was thoroughly entertaining. It’s the one of the best sci-fi films of the year and I recommend it.

Pacific Rim Review

Guillermo del Toro’s robot vs. monster blockbuster crashed into theaters this weekend. Toro is known for a variety of of films, ranging from animated family movies, to horror, and fantasy. It’s really interesting that he can have his hands on such varied material. One year he is directing Hellboy, the next Pans Labyrinth. His offering to theater goers this summer from his latest film delivers for mech and science fiction fans.

A portal in the bottom of the pacific ocean opens and giant monsters (Kaiju) emerge and wreak havoc on mankind. The world truly comes together for the first time to combat the invaders. The world’s most talented engineers and minds collaborate to invent colossal human shaped mechs. These mechs are controlled by humans in real time. To alleviate the mental strain of this connection to the Jaeger, two pilots sync their minds together and share the load.

The story is cheerful and generally upbeat. The film goer is presented with some amazing action sequences and fights. I didn’t watch the film in 3-D but I was thoroughly entertained by the action. It was fast but not too fast that I couldn’t keep up with it. Plot and character developments come at a generally acceptable pace. The story never becomes too gloomy or have too many highs or lows.

The visual aspect of this film was one of its highlights. The movie felt grounded despite it’s large use of computer generated imagery. The backdrops never felt too green-screeny and there were actually some very cool sets. The ambient lighting in Hong Kong in particular was superb.

Idris Elba brought some good acting to the film in a role he is becoming known for; The Zen-Master like authority figure/leader. And we get his british voice –a nice change from the norm. Some of the comedic relief from Charlie Day(Always Sunny in Philadelphia) seems a bit too much at times but it works in most cases. The best performance in my opinon came from Rinko Kikuchi. Her character Mako is quirky, shy, demanding, and full of vengeance;all at once. How she pulls it off?, I’m not so sure but its really entertaining to see her interact with the other cast members. And of course we get a cameo from Ron Pearlman as a black market vendor for Kaiju parts— a sort of signature addition to the cast from Guillermo del Toro, that got plenty of laughs from his fans.The dialogue of the characters wasn’t revolutionary or exceptional in anyway but it was just so fun to let go and watch the story unfold.

In many ways this experience felt like I was watching a live action anime movie. The inner geek in me took hold. Mechs? Check. Monsters? Check. Akward romances? Check. Bizarre and at times stereotypical personalities? Check. The film was exciting and managed to keep me entertained for 2+ hours. Go to see it. It’s surprisingly satisfying and has the potential to be del Toro’s new big franchise.