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Utopia Talk / Movie Talk / Movie Reviews 9000+++++
Tue Oct 08 12:39:13
Just watched The Blind Side.

I don't have much to say except Bullock deserved the Oscar.

Was hoping for more of a football movie and less of a lesson in Christian charity.
Tue Oct 08 18:57:14
A good flick, imo.
Tue Dec 24 19:01:48
12 strong was better than that movie about stealing money over mountains? I can't think of anything else recent to compare it to.

It was not as good as hyena road or lone survivor, which also take place in Afghanistan.

You pretty much get what you'd expect. Explosions and Chris hemsworth.
Tue Dec 24 19:07:04
Michael Bay needs to find a middle ground between 12 Strong and 13 Hours. But they're comparable in quality I guess.
Sun Feb 09 08:59:17
Anyone seen Birds of Prey?
Cherub Cow
Mon Feb 10 08:17:51
I expect to see it today (Monday).
Mon Feb 10 21:26:20
How were your expectations?
Cherub Cow
Mon Feb 10 23:17:08
Didn't work out :/
I expected the bus would show up, but it didn't. Too bad I pre-paid for a day pass. :( Turns out there's a driver shortage right now, so later buses get cut without notice. I don't want to have to wait until this weekend, so I'll make another attempt in the morning :p
Tue Feb 11 01:12:11
Good luck, I wanna know if it's worth seeing in theater. Joker was damn good imo. Also are these related character wise?
Cherub Cow
Wed Feb 12 15:38:01
..Probably not worth seeing in theater :(

And it's not related to "The Joker" movie. Phoenix' Joker exists in a different DC universe than the Affleck Batman, Robbie Harley, and Leto Joker. Last I read, it's *possible* that Phoenix' Joker will attach to the Pattinson Batman relaunch, but I don't think Phoenix has agreed to anything yet.

I didn't *regret* seeing it, but it felt like an empty movie. It was poorly directed, had some bad to awful writing, and the fight choreography wasn't very inspiring. On the director side, lots of scenes felt like the director was just struggling to get things into frame and didn't know how to manage events in interesting ways — like a learning amateur just trying to get some practice for a film school project. The editing saved things a little, but there were scenes where they stuck with a shot for way too long and just didn't have the content to pull it off. Lots of things should have been cut down or multiple shots/angles should have been taken so that they could have left some of the film garbage on the floor.

On the plus side, the establishing cinematography was often cool! They'd introduce a new sequence or new scene with some cool visuals that were reminiscent of the '90s Batman animated series.. But, it was always in short-lived moments. They'd get some good establishing shots that would make great posters or memorable stills (e.g., walking into an old Harley/Joker lair, Harley on roller skates getting ready for a bazaar car chase, entry into a pier), but then you could tell where the director took over again and started butchering the sequences.

And some of those sequences were outright painful. The movie completely lost me when they got to the evidence locker of the police department. Pacing fell apart, establishing shots were garbage, actor reactions were off... it did not feel like a police department under siege.. it just felt like some poorly-captured and unbelievable fist fight with an open-ended time line. And that scene was topped off with a cell phone rendering someone unconscious.. so... physics weren't heavily involved in the writing process. Which was another issue: few fights were physically believable.

Better direction could likely have worked around the fights to make them seem believable, but without that, it was just cell phone footage of people making kicks and punches that could not possibly have done the damage that audiences were supposed to believe that they had done. Rosie Perez trying to be physical was painful, but so too were Jurnee Smollett-Bell's ("Black Canary"'s) kicks. One in particular (early in the movie) was of a henchmen much larger than her who she managed to completely incapacitate with a kick to the stomach.. and the kick didn't even follow through. The stuntmen were just doing their best to save the performers by over-selling the impacts. Mary Winstead's scenes were believable, which was likely because they gave her weapons and fewer impossible scenarios. She also has more physical presence, though it looked like she received less fight training here than did Margot Robbie. Robbie's scenes had the benefit of weapons, but those scenes over-sold the success of her strikes and probably should have stuck with her being successful with quickness and agility (one bad example: a successful fist punch to a masked person's face. That's a broken hand. One good example: a near-ending scene where she uses a villain's body weight for a throw).

So yeah.. I kept thinking that with a character like Harley Quinn, this movie could have done great with a director like Mark Neveldine (director of 2006's "Crank"). This could have been a drug and alcohol-fueled mayhem fest of clever shots and clever portrayals of drug effects.. instead.. even after snorting a bunch of cocaine, Harley is framed by a sober and boring director.

I don't even want to go into detail about the bad writing right now (that's probably an hour of writing — maybe I'll return to it later). It was just more recycled "#woke" stuff, which is barely worth complaining about anymore. Standard fair. I'll just say that this was a missed opportunity to create a more empathetic understanding of Harley's character — something that '90s TAS pulled off in seconds of good development. This movie gave her an emotional attachment via a poor pickpocket, but that pickpocket wasn't a good actress or character, so you just had to try to believe that she was significant via Robbie's reactions.

Could have been so much more than just a movie of the week.. I was looking forward to this one :(
Thu Feb 13 01:07:30
Cherub Cow
Mon Apr 20 04:20:57
"Star Wars, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker" (2019)

Such a stupid fucking movie.
This was basically the "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" or "X-Men: The Last Stand" of Star Wars movies (though, in fairness, X-Men was much better comparatively; I wouldn't mind watching that movie for a Star Wars palate cleanser). Like, their entire writing strategy was, "Should we include it? Yes. Include *everything*."


- ..Random former stormtrooper, Jannah, who doubles Finn's experiences and had four lines, and Lando has the audacity to suggest that she somehow deserves to get her own Star Wars side story ("Well, let's find out!" — please, fucking no)
- Leia's story ret-conned to justify her force powers or how she could somehow be responsible for Rey's "training" (which she needs now? Sure, but only a 4-minute montage). Yeah, that's not transparent; no one can possibly tell that they shit the bed on episodes 7 and 8 and had to jam justifications for their plot holes into 9...
- Kylo Ren flies his fighter towards Rey not to kill her but because it would apparently look cool if she countered that attack? Yeah. That's how deep the writing goes: "[I did it because we needed more action to distract from the shitstorm]"
- Ren and Rey can straight teleport items and have lightsaber fights remotely now.. sure, why the fuck not? The only limit is your imagination! Weeeeeeeee!
- Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell) gives Poe a medallion (read, "Weak plot device") to help them get onto Chewie's ship.. because they wanted to have a face-to-face with Ren (which they don't need anymore given the teleporting) and pointlessly burn their "traitor"/spy... which had zero story impact
- Rey gets to kill Ren but with no consequences because force healing has no limits here. Yay! Consequence-free writing! Marvel makes lots of money off of it, so why not Disney? Oh, Marvel *is* Disney.
- Yeah, Leia had a light saber, and you'll need *both* to defeat the Emperor. That makes sense. Two is better than one. *vomits*
- Let's cram in lots of old nostalgia to see if man children bite: how about two minutes of Lando, the bridge of Death Star II, Luke's X-Wing, a couple of ewoks, Luke's childhood home (which somehow has resonance for Rey?), Cloud City, etc.
- Biggest fleet ever known to over-saturate the screen, and it's all hard-wired to one coordinating signal. Yup. Sure. It's one thing for the Death Stars to have had design flaws, but pretending that all of those ships would be useless without a command signal? How about instead, ditch that whole story line because it's desperate and awful?
- And they can't take out the main star destroyer's navigation system from the air.......... but throwing some grenades down a hatch works... yeah.. that makes sense.
- Finn riding on an alien-horse, "Not bad for one lesson!" "You had a good teacher!" — almost sounds like they rushed more development into a one-second exposition to justify yet another story choice which should never have been made.
- The Babu Frik puppet Office-Jims the camera like the puffins/porgs in Episode VII.. yeah.. someone — a human being, presumably — decided that that was a good choice.
- Palpatine's back! Now he's stronger than ever! He can shoot lightning into fucking *space*. But he doesn't have a light saber, aaaaaannnd dead. Oh, no one cares? So weird! We took so much time developing that story! Those lightning effects looked cool, though, right??
- Ooo! Rey has a *yellow* light saber! That's cool, right?? Read my blog to find out why that's significant! (Because it *is* significant, right?? It's not just another wasted plot detail in a deluge of Star Wars failures that don't amount to anything and can never be brought to screen in any way that doesn't ultimately compromise the gravity of its own meaning anyways! Weeeeeeee!)
- And *soooooo* many bad jokes. Over and over again.

On the plus side, Kijimi, which looked an awful lot like alien India, was destroyed. All those dirty robed puppets cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Not even the filmmaker bothered caring via a respectful framing of the shot.

The only other way that this movie could have been saved was for Palpatine to kill everyone and restore order to the galaxy through the ashes of the rebellion. (Not that I don't support rebellions, I just don't want any of these losers to be happy.) Or, maybe Rey and Ren could have just kept healing each other back and forth over and over again.. like some weird Force sex. That would have saved things.

So yeah, finally watched this. It felt like homework — not the actual work itself (I like learning), but the idea of homework: that dreadful feeling of an abyss lingering over one's happiness. Even seeing it for free, I feel like this movie stole something from me... like Gallipoli stole Mel Gibson's innocence. Why must we ruin our minds with these terrible traumas? Perhaps, because there is another verse... an Under-Verse, where we cross over the threshold of Death.. where we learn how one pain can lessen another. For instance, now that I've seen this movie, I know how bad movies can *really* be — where no level of effects and production value can save their mistakes. In such a Verse, 2003's "The Room" looks pretty good. "Jurassic World" will still make me vomit, but, perhaps less? And maybe I'm finally ready to watch more of those flavorless Marvel movies. I hear you can really taste the ink in the cardboard if you develop a taste for those things.

But, perhaps the nightmare is over. With another trilogy complete, with production of new nightmares postponed due to viral apocalypse.. maybe the world will have a chance to heal from the Great Emptiness of Star Wars.
Cherub Cow
Mon Apr 20 04:29:07
Edit to clarify pronouns:
"- Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell) gives Poe a medallion (read, "Weak plot device") to help [Poe's group] get onto Chewie's ship.. because [the writers] wanted [Rey] to have a face-to-face with Ren (which they don't need anymore given the teleporting) and [the writers wanted to] pointlessly burn their "traitor"/spy... which had zero story impact"
Cherub Cow
Mon Apr 20 06:40:39
This was fun:
"How Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Should Have Ended"
..points out more plot holes
The Children
Thu Apr 30 15:12:18
alright, first up.

Parasite. Korean movie.

sort of dark comedy. it follows a family of parasite frauds cheatin there way into a rich family. its kinda funny but the ending is somewhat sad. i also wonder, would it have ended that way in real life if such a thing actually existed.

i guess its da directors way of sayin, all things must come 2 an end and karma will eventually come 4 u.

overall, i enjoyed it. i would say 7.8 out of 10.


next up, the lodge.
now this is a weird movie. it has scary moments in between and da ending was confusin of sorts. beginning, first 5 min was boring as hell. typical rich empty middle/ upper class family. ur like wtf is she even doing. then all a sudden, shock.

even more shockin coz its alicia silverstone that played the role. yes, its alicia. who doesnt remember her, beverly hill girl, i forgot the name of the movie. but she was like one of the hottest stars of the 90s.

lol peeps completely forgot about her, she kinda disappeared from the scene. but first thoughts were, damn she did not age well...

but i guess age gets everyone at the end.

so anyway, the story, the dad and 2 kids and a new stepmom goes on hilday to a remote lodge. strange things start happening very soon. i mean what culd go wrong right?

its not a supernatural horror movie. but the ending was a little confusing at first but overall i like the last part, i think i understand what the directors were trying to say.

yea, i mean its a time filler u know.

so yea, 7 out of 10.



now this is a weird motherfuckin movie. haha, its like a xfiles/ the outer limits.

it surprised the hell outta me. i mean i really thought nottin of this movie and sure enough the beginning 5-10 min bored the FUCK OUTTA ME!!!

but surprisingly, bam it immediately begins right there. and ur like WHAT THE FUUUUUCCCKK. strange things happen and then the entire movie remains a clusterfuck. i cant say i like every scene, some scenes are dull as hell.

but overall, this is one outer limits/ xfiles experience that surprised me a lot. and i like it.

8 out of 10

Wed May 06 12:08:37
You have me intrigued about vivarium. Might give it a shot.
Cherub Cow
Mon Jun 22 07:42:27
You Should Have Left (2020)

Lots of shrugged potential :(

Kevin Bacon working with director David Koepp on a horror movie was a throwback to "Stir of Echoes" (1999), and both suffer from the same issue: a fizzled resolution.

There was plenty of good setup, it was produced well, it had great cinematography, the acting was fine (even by their child actor, Avery Essex), the sets were great, the supporting story was interesting, and most importantly the concept had a *lot* of potential (a house that calls people to visit it so that it can punish them)... but, like Stir of Echoes, it was tempered by David Koepp's (and/or the source author Daniel Kehlmann's) inclinations towards optimism and religious redemption. This could have been a very cool and long-relevant movie if the writing had committed to getting much darker in the final act, but instead... not much even happened.

((( SPOILERS below )))

Things were in a position to get interesting when Theo (Kevin Bacon) and Ella (Essex) attempted to leave the house. It was a realistic character-moment: they had discovered that the house was supernatural and trying to harm them, so, naturally, they should leave... and they actually *do* leave. But the house brings them back, and they have to choose to either die in the cold (outside the house) or return into the house and face its concentrated power. That was a cool moment and a good symbol for facing the justice of society: people can evade justice through isolation or via escape into nature, or they can return to the comforts of society (here, heating and a comfortable bed) — but the comforts of society come with its judgments.

That symbolism fits the wider story. Theo had been shamed into hiding by his own wrongdoing, but he wants his wife and daughter to be happy and protected (a protection that he seems ill-equipped to provide). So, he spares them his own judgment (he forgives Susanna for cheating, faulting himself), reaffirms his love, sends them away, and submits to his (internal) conscience and to the external justice of the house/society.

In Koepp's screenplay, elements from social media's Panoptic lynch mob also come into play, where no matter where he goes, the horrors of judgment await him — his trial has permanently made him into a public figure, which, Susanna (Amanda Seyfried) explains to Ella, means to many people that Theo has been made guilty by association — regardless of his declared innocence at trial. Theo shows a detest for social media and cell phones, which dates him age-wise (their age difference also shows how natural social media is to Susanna versus Theo) but also fits his avoidance of this mob (it could be that he doesn't want to read about their hate; certainly he dislikes being recognized for his crimes). And when his crime is finally revealed, the viewer kind of has to wonder: did he deserve all this torment for letting someone die? That is, he didn't *kill* his previous wife in cold blood, he just didn't save her. This could have been to make him seem more sympathetic since his crime becomes negligence rather than murder, and it also amplifies the horror of the mob: the mob will punish any offense with voracity, and contrition may only mean annihilation.

The House Itself
I should say that the social media angle was not over-played or overt — only hinted at through mild Luddism and fear of others — so it can be ignored by most viewers, though it re-emerges in theme via the Panoptic self-punishment of internalized moralities. This leaves the House concept for the story's main effect, and despite a near-ending sequence which showed Theo traveling through time and space while struggling to face his conscience, the ending itself did not really maximize the potential that the house could hold.

A nice exposition scene with the local shopkeeper reveals that Satan himself may have built the house in many iterations throughout time in order to lure guilty souls to justice:
[Shopkeeper]: "Somebody from here, Hans Eagly, he owns the Lindenhof, he said, 'An ant doesn't know what a cathedral is, or a power plant, or a volcano.' It's the same with that house. You don't know what you can't know ... There was a different house before that one ... and before that, a tower ... It's a legend. The Devil builds a tower to collect souls, and God destroys it, but the Devil just builds it up again, and again. People have always stayed in that house. Some don't leave. The right ones usually find the place, or perhaps it's the other way 'round: the place finds them."

The shopkeeper places emphasis on the House's former iteration as a tower, which should recall Paradise Lost and Satan's Palace of Pandæmonium and/or the Tower of Babel — symbolic of humankind's "Satanic" tendency to build its own potentially horrifying realities, symbolic of human courts, and symbolic of judgment (and a *living* judgment — one that comes tragically too early when compared to judgment of life given after death). This furthers the above sense of Theo being judged and having to resolve his situation through his own conscience and reason — tenets espoused by Michael in Paradise Lost ("Right Reason", Book XII, http://www...ing_room/pl/book_12/text.shtml ).

Theo had formerly abandoned his conscience by not being honest with the courts (or others, such as Susanna), so he had become a slave to baser impulses: jealousy, suspicion, and anxiety (he has to manage these with his audio therapy). By avoiding his conscience and reason (i.e., his guilt), his own psychological state begins to distort the reality of the house, and he cannot overcome this total distortion until he faces his doppelgänger, the doppelgänger revealing that he himself is the Great Satan who built this house as many others of bad conscience built such distorted realities.

Depending on how much credit one would like to give to the author, this could be an indictment not just of social media mobs imposing Panopticism onto the mind of its users by feeding them a bad conscience version of themselves — it can also be an indictment of Catholicism, wherein people have been forced by corrupt justice systems (religious or legal) into holding guilt over themselves, living with bad conscience, and building misguided horrors to alleviate that guilt. When Theo brings up an earlier "sin", Susanna does say, "Catholic school fucked you up good."

But, director David Koepp has said that he went to Catholic school (Hollywood Reporter Interview; June 19, 2020; http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/david-koepp-you-should-have-left-exiting-indiana-jones-5-1299412 ), so he likely inserted himself into this story. That means that his ending was probably not Nietzschean (a condemnation of guilt and debt) but an examination of guilt as "sin" and repentance as virtue. And Koepp was critical of the age difference between Theo (Kevin Bacon (61 years)) and Susanna (Amanda Seyfried (34 years)) — it was just more fodder for his point that Theo was living with "sin" and deserved punishment. Not much commentary there — just recycled allegory.

With just allegory and circumstance, the ending becomes pretty bland. Theo sacrifices himself, then just stares out the window, showing that he will be stuck in a time-shifting world, doomed to re-live all the regrets that culminated in his visit to this house. In Paradise Lost symbolism, he shows virtue by being willing to punish himself despite the system having failed to punish him... but... there was no redemption here. Theo just becomes a Jesus figure, sacrificing himself for others but still being punished himself. It's story-numbing since that sacrifice here ends on so much uncertainty over his punishment. Like, does he just live there now and hang out? Does he have to work his way up Dante's Mount of Purgatory?

Who cares. It would have been more interesting if the story had ended Hellraiser style with hooks ripping his skin from his body, or his inner voice saying that it has eternity to experience his flesh via a suffering legendary even in Hell. Or, more realistic to the story's pacing, it could have ended with his torment scene, with the actual ending (bringing them to the car) spliced in the middle of his confusion. That could have been fun.

((( End Spoilers )))

Yeah. This could have been much cooler. It was well-done, but it just didn't have that extra elusive majesty of suffering that could have made it become.
Fri Jul 03 04:17:02
Tc, I'll have to check out Vivarium. Just on the X files/outer limits comparison as Im huge fan of both.

The new Twilight zone has actually been pretty good. But, the intros and the music are weak, should.have just kept the original music.

Great actors, its not just a bunch of nobodys and even the new comers have plenty of great actors like that Inuit chick who plays the Alaskan cop makira sila or something like that.

It does seem to rely super heavy on perception nased stories, which has always been a heavy theme.

7/10 while I wish they had more of a creepy vibe to it more frequently it stays pretty true to the original while coming off as fresh yet.
Cherub Cow
Tue Dec 15 09:06:14
Wild Mountain Thyme (2020)

This was a beautiful one :)

The script moves very quickly with a lot of meaningful dialogue that doesn't really get center stage in the direction (like, for example, a character will say something poetic that you can easily miss if you're not paying attention; like, "I'm half-dying with living for you"), so it may get better with multiple viewings or better with the subtitles on. I suspect that this understating of dialogue was part of why this movie isn't doing well right now (current Rotten Tomatoes: 27% critics / 44% audience); people may just not have heard what the actors were saying.

Another factor may be that this movie rejects the cynicism that's become mandatory in America cinema. The central character, Rosemary (Emily Blunt), actually believes in love, which has become something rejected by the American (pseudo?)-intellectual class. This puts her character in contrast to NYC American Adam (Jon Hamm), who considers marriage in terms of beneficial contracts. Adam is, nevertheless, enchanted with the romanticism of Ireland, being drawn to Rosemary and to farming even though he has no rational reason to pursue business in Ireland (a "blood from a stone" situation). So it's both a matter of city versus country and of its underlying rationalism versus romanticism — a good bounding for a story, particularly in times when overzealous declarations of most "rational" practices can reduce one to imagination-stifling thoughts.

(( Spoilers ))

This overly self-absorbed thought pattern emerges through Anthony (Jamie Dornan), who, like Dostoevsky's "Notes from Underground" character, finds himself all too concerned with what is correct or whether or not he is right to even want the things that he wants. This is summed nicely in one particular exchange between Rosemary and Anthony:

[Anthony]: (Speaking of manual labor that Rosemary has been doing alone) "It's a two-man job."
[Rosemary]: "Or one woman."
[Anthony]: "Yup, that's the world now. Men are useless."
[Rosemary]: "It's not so."
[Anthony]: "What?"
[Rosemary]: "Men aren't useless."
[Anthony]: "What's a man for now? What's his place?"
[Rosemary]: "That's for you to say."
[Anthony]: "I'm not talking; maybe the quiet around the thing is as important as the thing itself."

This exchange points out the difficult position men (and people in general) have been put in by today's social conventions. Perhaps some would like to think that adherence to social convention ended in Jane Austen's time, yet here Anthony finds himself threading a needle. All the roads have been closed behind him, and he feels like he has no voice. People cannot even talk about the things that ail them, because pitfalls emerge at every step. Like the crows above them, no amount of answering to the mob will produce clarity of action. But Rosemary tries to guide him:

[Rosemary]: "Do you still hear the voice in the fields?"
[Anthony]: "I dunno."
[Rosemary]: "It's not a modern idea."
[Anthony]: "I'm not a modern man."
[Rosemary]: "You have the farm."
[Anthony]: "I do?"
[Rosemary]: "Are you happy?"
[Anthony]: "No."
[Rosemary]: "Why not go ahead, be happy?"
[Anthony]: "I— I don't know how."
[Rosemary]: "There is no one left to catch you laughing, Anthony."
[Anthony]: "True."
[Rosemary]: "How many days do we have while the sun shines?"
[Anthony]: (Looking at the weather) "It's not shining."
[Rosemary]: (Looking at Anthony) "I believe that it is."

The "voice in the fields" speaks of Anthony's romantic desire for freedom, and it is revealed near the end that the voice tells him not just, "Go," but, "Go to her." Meaning, Anthony knows that he loves Rosemary and wants to be with her despite the obstacles that others and he himself construct, but, like the fence was revealed to be in this particular scene, his "Notes from Underground" social conscience is the great barrier between himself and Rosemary. And he wants to be able to love her *not* because a marriage would be useful or to otherwise manage the practical considerations of a farm — he is instead *waiting* to clear his conscience of these worldly affairs so that he can look directly at her. Essentially, like many people trapped in Hamlet inaction, he is waiting to be forgotten and to die.

It later takes a concerted effort by Rosemary to break Anthony from this mental trap. Comedies have all the time in the world, but the timeline has to be compressed into tragic logic because Adam will be arriving to propose marriage. Rosemary hints that she cannot wait for Anthony forever. They've arrived at a Thanatos / Eros crossroads where Rosemary can either kill herself with a hidden shotgun (albeit not immediately), due to the burdens of isolation, or end up like Fiona — pulled away from Anthony by the world and another marriage opportunity. Rosemary has Anthony's ring, so she knows that he wants to marry her, so she wants to help him work through his conscience to find her. The metaphoric "fences" will remain, but it's not hopeless:

[Rosemary]: "We say what's meant. Life is here. We name it."

Like I mentioned with the cynicism above, American culture has attempted to crush this level of devotion. The very idea that someone could love someone this much for so long has been treated with general critical derision. But the story alleviates this perspective through Anthony's own incredulity, Emily Blunt's performance, and a charming Irish backdrop.

Even so, the movie has its issues. A lot of the scenes were directed like one might direct a theater play rather than a movie. Errors like the actors having to move in overly blocked (positioned) ways or the lines being too melodramatic for the moment occur. Of the blocking issue, one scene in particular was the near-end scene of Anthony and Rosemary in a home together. There was a little too much attention on standing and sitting here, with the object awareness being a little too simplistic — the sort of imagery which works on stage but not on film. Like, "[Oh, you sit now while I stand. Then I tell you to sit, and you sit. When you stand, I notice how tall you are.]" These make sense on stages where the script fell together with basic props like a table and chairs, but in a real home they end up feeling artificial. These sorts of scenes should have been re-worked when this story was brought to screenplay.

The background music was also often problematic. In many scenes it was just *too* responsive to the on-screen events, which speaks of low production value. This seems to fall on the musical direction of Amelia Warner, because much of the Irish folk music (which was good) was already incorporated into the script. Those organic moments made sense and worked, like Emily Blunt singing the movie's title song in probably the most emotional scene of the movie.

And casting issues cannot be ignored. This was not exactly a "Waking Ned Devine" (1998) Irish story that recruited mainly unknown or lesser known quirky actors from Ireland and Scotland. Christopher Walken, for instance, should not have been in this movie, though his performance did come together for the pub singing scene. Weirdly, Emily Blunt gave the best performance in this movie, and she's from Britain. Jamie Dornan is Irish, so that made sense, but while viewers could believe Emily Blunt's loving glances in his direction, whenever Blunt and Dornan actually touched each other there seemed to be no chemistry. Those scenes looked more like two actors not sure how real vs. respectful they should be and defaulting on the side of "[make just enough contact to get us to the cut]." This falls to both casting and (again) to direction. A better cast may have had chemistry, and a better director could get the actors to show that chemistry. Personally, I think they should have gone full local and hired only unknown actors and actresses from Ireland. Extra points if even the American character had been played by an Irishman pretending to be American ;D

Still! All said, despite these issues, it has a very strong script. *Reading* the words really shows how much was here. Long though this review may be, it doesn't show just how much material was in this script. And Emily Blunt's performance can't be ignored; it was really her movie. So I'd ignore the current rankings and recommend this for a good romantic movie with clever dialogue and a few moving moments :)
Sat Dec 19 16:28:02
might give it a watch
Cherub Cow
Sat Jan 02 09:05:07
"Greenland" (2020)

Good things! :D
A solid disaster movie.

All disaster movies seem to have relationships to tie things together and ground the story, but this one benefited more from a strong family relationship than have ones of the past (e.g., Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, Godzilla 2 (2019), World War Z, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Knowing, War of the Worlds). I think it's because this one managed the intensity of the connections better and showed their struggle to work through some really very existential threats. All of the above movies had that same dynamic (families trying to stay together despite the world ending around them), but "Greenland" focused on *one* family and did not over-invest in gratuitous effects shots as complete asides to the family's story. The family was really in the foreground here, with the disaster being icing in the background. The result is viewers will probably be more emotionally moved by the characters than usual.

It *did* have good effects, though! I'm sure the science was off if we want to pick things apart, but there weren't any majorly bad CGI scenes, like 2012 had, for instance.

And it also had a particularly distressing beginning that rang a little bit too true: the sensation that the apocalypse was happening and people were being left to die by strategically silent world powers who have already decided who is essential and who will have to figure out survival in the streets. This also makes it a very strange time for the Greenland Office of Tourism to release this advertisement, because while it's true that world leaders seem to be conducting mass triage on the human race at the moment, Greenland may not be the answer, given that they have a total travel ban in effect and not to be lifted until January 12th at the earliest. But maybe that just really makes this movie a how-to guide, since, yes, the travel ban is in effect, but if you travel light you might just get there ;)

No complaints. Would recommend! :)
Sun May 23 00:33:12
they still make movies?
Sun May 23 07:28:09
i had trouble finishin greenland...idk.
Cherub Cow
Tue Sep 14 07:25:48
Malignant (2021)

Stupid and predictable but also kind of fun since they threw so much money into it :D

Even the first few minutes had just awful acting, so that set the tone. But in that same few minutes, the cinematography and set value were really good. This came from director James Wan ("Insidious", "Aquaman", and the original "Saw"), so it's almost like Wan got a bunch of money together over his career specifically so he could go back to his roots and make the most ridiculous horror movie he could — I fucking love it :D :D :D

(( SPOILERS!! ))

That said, the plot "twists" were telegraphed *way* in advance. When the officer mentioned that all of the doors were locked (at about 21 minutes: "No forced entry and abusive husband: motive"), the obvious thought should be, "Okay, they just confirmed suspicions that Madison killed her own husband." The question, then, was just whether or not she'd used telekinetic powers without her body needing to be present, since the opening sequence masked that somewhat. But.. in the scene at about 32 minutes, they show that she's taken her latest victim to a house.. which looks way too similar to the attic of the main character's house.. and the body type of the killer is way too obviously that of Madison's, and the killer seems very obviously to be moving backwards.. so.. it's pretty obvious that Madison is the killer and is just walking backwards with a tumor face in the back of her head (all this clear by 32 minutes). Even so, the director somehow thought that this was a hidden detail, with them not officially "revealing" this to be the case until 1:27:00 into the movie. In other words, the *actual* reveal to the audience was nearly an hour ahead of where the writer/director thought that that plot point was revealed via dramatic music and framing. That 'reveal' music made it seem like it was not just a case of dramatic irony (where the audience was *supposed* to have known) but a case of the filmmakers maybe not realizing how apparent it was. That meant an hour of sitting there like, "Yeah.. I know... just reveal it so we can move on to the next thing."

Despite that hour more or less just being fluff, the cinematography and budgeting in that hour were so nicely done that it was still worth watching. Things like creepy cassette tapes, amnesiac pasts, trips down memory lane, and dusty patient files in an abandoned asylum were reminiscent of "The Ring" (2002), "Halloween", and "The Dead Pit" (1989). The transition effects between Madison's awareness were also a treat.

The movie didn't really start back up until after that 'reveal', and by then there were only 20 minutes remaining. Still, they made good use of that time, with the final sequence being a gore-filled action scene. The poorly lit police department became a comedic site for a "V For Vendetta"-like acrobatic knife fight, with Madison's face looking like the sinister and expressionless face of one of the crab-walk creatures of "The Thing", "In the Mouth of Madness", or "The Ring" again. They wrap up with some nice thoughts about family, but while they seem to want a sequel, the developments of the end almost necessitate that Madison become some kind of superhero. It would amazing if they just went full absurdity with this and had Madison solving weird crimes or something, but it's difficult to say if Wan was embracing the silliness or was trying for something more serious and scary here. I hope he can see that it definitely was not scary, in which case there could be an "Evil Dead 2" situation building (embracing the cheesiness) :D

(( End Spoilers ))

A good movie for people who like bad horrors! Well produced, for sure, and while only Madison was well-directed on the *cast* side, the *cinematography* and effects were very well directed. This was a visually cool and dark movie about a hilarious situation :D
Cherub Cow
Sun Feb 20 05:47:21
Dune (2021)

Very good.

I'd heard that it was a little bit difficult to follow, but I didn't experience that. They gave names, places, and explanations with fair pacing and good clarity, so it wasn't exactly like Game of Thrones season 1 where you could easily miss a web of family alliances and connections (not knowing which names would be important and hearing names without having paired them to faces yet). It certainly helped to know the Dune story already, but it did not seem crucial to understand anything in advance since the explanations were all on-screen. Even the multiple names of Paul Atreides were contextually presented, which avoided confusion there. I *did* have to stop during the sandstorm/tent scene and replay with subtitles to hear Paul's speech while he was having a vision, but that was because of the distorted speech.. which they repeated without distortion a moment later.

I also avoided watching this for a while because I thought that it was a really long movie, but the ending seemed to arrive quickly. I hope they stay on schedule for a 2023 release of Part 2 because production issues could really hurt the cohesiveness of Part 1's production. It also seems like the pacing of Part 1 would mean that Part 2 would need to be more than three hours or else would need to be split in two, since they omitted a lot of details that would have to be raised. So, it should be interesting to see how they handle that runtime in post-production. This will fall to editor Joe Walker, who has a *very* distinguished career at this point (Blackhat, Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049), so that should boost confidence.

Complaint-wise, I think that Dave Bautista was a bad casting decision. I've said it before, but he is far too camera-aware, always seeming to have a twinkle in his eye like, "[I bet this looks good for the camera]" (FYI: it doesn't). He really should not be cast outside of comedy. Zendaya Coleman as Chani also didn't quite fit (doesn't really have an elfin-athlete's figure or face while simultaneously seeming to have too much of the modern teen-icon cloth to be serious), and I'm pretty doubtful they'll be able to find much chemistry between herself and Timothée Chalamet (Paul), whom I also barely like. Chalamet is just mute enough personality-wise that he doesn't ruin things, but where his personality creeps into the script tends to be obvious.. small lines that seem improvised with modern language (e.g., "Are you good?" — Rebecca Ferguson even looked at him in that scene like, "[Are we really not going to immediately 'cut' for that pedestrian garbage?]"). I wish they'd cast someone just a little older in his and Chani's roles. I'm also not even particularly happy with Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin since they basically just play one character in every movie at this point, though they at least fit into the story more than the above.

Everyone else in supporting roles seemed to fit pretty well, with Stellan Skarsgård and Oscar Isaac being the big winners here. Oscar Isaac seems like he can play anything. He was basically the only one in the new Star Wars trilogy who seemed to be pretending to be in the Star Wars universe. If they had had him play every character, it would probably have been better than the original trilogy ;)
And Skarsgård was also able to make the Baron's character far more intimidating than the 1984 Baron, who was made into too much of a joke.

Actors aside, the big strength of the movie was of course the directing and the cinematography. Denis Villeneuve knows how to make everything look amazing, and he did that here. It was just a nice movie to watch. The action sequences were very nicely done, and the semi-realism of the blade fight near the end was refreshing.

Story-wise, the development decisions were nice. Instead of laying out the intrigue overtly like in the 1984 version, the main characters sort of hint at what's going on from their own House-perspective. That was a nice form of exposition, since things didn't have to be repeated this way (e.g., no meeting with the emperor listened to by Bene Gesserit and followed by Paul finding out the information and repeating it — instead, they figure out the emperor's plans intuitively). I also liked the way that the workings of the Bene Gesserit were shown in the landing scene. They basically show that the Bene Gesserit had already seeded propaganda on Arrakis and were moving all of the pieces around Paul. It was nice to see Paul's expressions as he comes to terms with the Bene Gesserit's psychological effects on the people around him versus his own sense of personal power. In Part 1, the division there is already growing between his personal power and his awareness of their manipulations.

Anyways, it's certainly not a perfect movie that inspires or gives the glimmer of hope for cinema that has been missing in the last few years, but it has given Dune a fair treatment so far.
Cherub Cow
Mon Feb 21 02:18:40
Dune (2021) {continued}

A weird thing that occurred to me that I haven't worked out yet: Very strange that they specifically cast Timothée Chalamet in a role where his character's lineage is important to the Dune story.

Paul's mother is of the Bene Gesserit (mystics, eugenicists, and genetic manipulators) whereas his father has a more traditional strong lineage (a warrior lineage with supposed tracing back to the Greek Agamemnon or which otherwise sampled that Greek lineage for effect). Chalamet, meanwhile, IRL owes to his mother Jewish ancestry; whereas his IRL father is French Christian.

You'd have to wonder if this was done intentionally to re-narrativize Dune with even more overt Jewish frameworks. There were *already* Jewish and Islamic frameworks at work, but specifically casting someone with a split heritage in this role could not have been an accident. It could be either a critique of Judaism's influence on the world (with the Bene Gesserit already being emphasized as manipulators and propagandists in the 2021 version) or a Jewish hijacking to give an excuse to glorify Jewish leadership with a popular retelling of the Moses story. The angle of the screenplay writers might not be revealed fully until Part 2, since the division between the Bene Gesserit and Paul becomes part of that story, so how the screenplay manipulates the narrative would solidify any agenda. Still, it's worth pointing out that at least one of the three screenplay writers, Eric Roth (screenplay writer of "Munich"), has NYC-Jewish background, so he could be influencing the story in a biased direction. Roth's partial critique of the violence of Israel in "Munich" could be in effect here, so maybe the division between Paul and the orthodox Bene Gesserit was a good excuse for him to show divisions within Judaism (the propagandists versus the true liberators of an oppressed people).
Sun Apr 03 20:07:38
Spider-Man: No Way Home

I almost left half way for a cigarette. I can not, for any reason, forgive this movies liberties with the core of Spider-Man's origin or the idiocy of Disney wrapping up a modern Spider-Man for the sake of a nigger or wet back actor next.

This is the last super hero movie I'll be watching
Cherub Cow
Mon Apr 04 02:58:24
"This is the last super hero movie I'll be watching"

I commend you for making it this far! I tapped out of the MCU at Dr. Strange (2016), though I randomly saw "Black Widow", which was also garbage. I appreciated the gifs of the characters being vaporized, though.

And while I wouldn't use your language about it, I *would* say that it's Race Marxism, and it's also just "flavorless, unremarkable" writing.
Mon Apr 25 09:47:34
1Bn movie tho, good for the racket
Cherub Cow
Mon Apr 25 23:24:58
They are definitely getting rich off of mediocrity, I'll give them that! ;)

The Northman (2022)

(Not going to do a full review until this releases on demand or I see it again in theater, since I didn't hear some of the dialogue, and I get the impression that I may have missed some important stuff (it was very compact language), but..)

Very cool! Very beautifully done, between the scenery and the iconic cinematography. It's also nice to see a self-contained story with its own attempt at internal consistency. Lots of good world-building went into this, balancing the supernatural with the ordinary (like showing the mythic things people see and then balancing that with what's probably happening in normal reality).

I especially liked their exploration of a "poisoned" history, where someone attempts to re-write your origin story and take the glory of your ancestors away from you. It's fitting to see that as a metaphor in a horror movie, since horror movies tend to reflect the unconscious wars being waged in society. Right now, woke writers are trying to purchase all of the archetypal American hero franchises and poison their histories by revising them as weak or founded on "lies", but this story refused to be revised. The Northman character recognizes the poison and cuts it out of his life, ensuring his future.

Very powerful stuff. I'm worried I won't get to see it again in theater before the next movie replaces it, but the run length on this one is shorter than The Batman, so I may be able to see it again during the work week.

Highly recommended!
Cherub Cow
Mon Oct 31 03:09:45
Halloween Ends (2022)

Even worse than expected.
I originally was not going to see it since they telegraphed the ending so much in "Halloween Kills", but I had a Halloween craving, so.. anyways..

It was just the same "decentered" BS that Hollywood has been putting out — that is, it was not even about Mike Myers until the last 15 minutes — just "survivors". They also wrote more of their TDS into the story, where Myers was transparently a stand-in for people's insane beliefs about Trump. I wish I were simply imagining this political subtext, but they did this in "Halloween Kills" (2021), where a hospital riot scene was written into the story consciously at the behest of Jamie Lee Curtis to represent "mob violence" in 2020/2021. She basically explained in interviews that the hospital scene was symbolic of January 6th and partly had to do with people's rage about Trump during the 2020 riots. That is, "Mike Myers" (Trump) became a psychic force on the population that caused people to behave poorly.

She's not totally incorrect, except that — in the real world — that TDS was caused by the media, not Trump himself. People read Trump's Tweets and watched Trump videos, and media "fact-checkers" were there to tell people that they were reading lies and distortions, making people insane via the media's false narratives. So, the people believed they were seeing *Trump* (the raw reality), but their "truth" was always established as a comparison to an awaiting media psychosis machine, ready to tell them how to interpret what they'd read and ready to confirm their irrational fears. It's the social psychology of transference — angst, belief, uncertainty, and fear projected onto a scapegoat as a means of creating fear-state "solidarity".

In "Halloween Ends", they take it a step further, contradicting their "Halloween Kills" ending by saying that, no, actually, Myers is "just a man", and he's weak and should be discarded. But, a young man is shown being inspired by Myers, taking up his mantel. This flows from the left-wing belief in such men being inspired by Trump, and so he is transparently a shadow of "white supremacy" (the left's hatred of white men), attacking the people who made him out to be a monster and being a corrupting threat to society. Keeping with movie formulas of the last few years, no white men can be good people in this movie, all being bullies, harassers, and killers — except, of course, one who is no longer of breeding age, since he will allow society to move on without him.

There are also light symbolic attempts at Eros versus Thanatos, but the writers mishandle this, seeming not to understand or care how that tension is psychologically resolved — preferring instead to undermine it or "subvert expectations" in postmodern fashion. This acts out in particular with a slight nod (perhaps) to Ibsen's Hedda Gabler (1891 play), where the characters of Hedda and Eilert trade blows acting on behalf of death and life in their immoral courtship.

(( SPOILER ahead ))

Myers, here, acts as Thanatos (Death), and Laurie acts as Eros (Life). Where Laurie has attempted to make her home a "garden", Myers is resigned to a deathly sewer, filled with rotten roots and waste. After some minor battles, Laurie takes the role of Hedda, prepared to kill herself in despair after seeing her failed attempts at life — corrupted as Hedda was by her Thanatos — but the subversion is that Laurie refuses to fulfill this script, instead forcing that suicide upon Corey.

In a proper Thanatos/Eros story, the death of Corey necessitates that Allyson must die, since the balance of life and death is brought together through the procreative act. That is, Allyson and Corey are supposed to combine their life and death actions by having a child — failing that, they are to die together. Similarly, Laurie and Michael were to die together, since Eros requires Thanatos as a tree requires fertilizer.

They re-wrote this connection in the ending. Michael had previously been shown to grow stronger by taking life (appropriate for Death feeding on Life), but Laurie definitively "killing" death makes less sense. Myers cannot be killed, since Death always awaits life. The best they can do to acknowledge this is that the "killing" of Myers allows the town to heal, but Laurie has deprived Allyson of a future and she herself has only a non-procreation retirement — so she has killed herself in all but the literal. In a proper symbolic act, she should have died literally with Michael, with Corey and Allyson then trying to escape their fates by leaving the town together.

In short, the life/death theme was not properly examined — using instead an attempt at "subversion" — but outside of this failed script-writing, the characters cannot avoid the rules of life and death. The authors likely wanted to give Laurie and Allyson a happy ending, but by not recognizing this inescapable link between life and death, they simply wrote an empty ending with no true healing. They mixed too many metaphors across the trilogy, not ending with any theme better than, "[Jamie Lee Curtis and her left-wing friends will try to get over her TDS by retiring to Japan and looking at cherry blossoms]".

And this annoying political subtext undermines more than just these last two movies. This was likely the final sendoff for Curtis, who would likely not want to participate in any Halloween movies again.. and they ruined the possibility of a true resolution by making allusions to Trump, who will likely not be relevant by the time that a reboot is due, thus dating this movie and keeping this sendoff from being "timeless". The writer decisions were thus based in cowardice and confusion when simplicity and a strong theme would have fared much better.

Direction / Editing / Production
Aside from that, this was also the worst of the three movies just on the basis of direction, editing, and production quality.

Production-side, the sets of the first reboot (2018) were high quality, with a lot of attention paid to a kind of merger between modern life and late '70s aesthetics. This continued somewhat into "Halloween Kills". But, for "Halloween Ends", the sets seemed lazy and small, without much attention paid to meaning or even nostalgia. A bar was just a bar (generic), a house was just a house, and no location had any real significance aside from being the staged location of a sequence.

Direction-side, despite this being David Gordon Green's trilogy (no directorial interruptions), he clearly did not care about this one. Even his pan-up shots to key locations were lazy, with focus on a tower and a car-grinder early in the movie being far-too-obvious nods to how things would end (i.e., *several* shots of the car-grinder were shown early on, making it far too apparent that this would be used later, and a radio tower received a full and slow pan-up shot that guaranteed that it would be significant later). He also could not hide his disdain for Myers, which showed both in Myers' being nearly absent from the movie (go figure: a Myers movie without Myers) and his portrayal of Myers as a decrepit old man who was hardly a threat. He was clearly done with this trilogy before he'd even begun filming this third movie.

And editing isn't usually an issue in big productions, but there were obvious *errors*, such as an early cut where the music was not overlaid on the transition (i.e., the music cut with the screen cut rather than continuing), and a show of a pipe where Myers was likely supposed to have been revealed was instead cut awkwardly over a gas station transition. There was clearly a missing scene there that they didn't even care to soften after removing it, indicating that they actually edited Myers *out* of the early portions of the movie.

Overall, a very bad ending to the trilogy. I sort of knew I'd regret paying for this, but the 2018 one was good enough that I suspended my better judgment on a whim. People should basically just consider these the only three Halloween movies:
Halloween (1978)
Halloween II (1981)
Halloween (2018)

The first Rob Zombie "Halloween" gave it a good go, but I wouldn't even put that in the list after Zombie completely ruined continuity in Halloween II (2009) and also had a tendency to make everything look like a filthy teenager's bedroom. Zombie's Halloween also had the issue of just being a big wrestler overpowering people rather than being a stealthy and creepy stalker. Halloween 2018 did the best in this latter regard, with Myers being very calculated and creepy. This was completely absent in Halloween Ends. It may as well have not even been in the same universe.

TLDR: Meh.
Mon Oct 31 10:18:20
They're making a Community movie.

Unfortunately no Chevy Chase. Not even a hologram =(
Cherub Cow
Mon Oct 31 19:15:40
Six seasons and a MOVIE!!!
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