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REVIEW – Good Time

September 2, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: Ben Safdie, Josh Safdie
Produced by: Sebastian Bear-McClard, Oscar Boyson, Terry Dougas, Paris Kasidokostas Latsis
Written by: Josh Safdie, Ronald Bronstein
Edited by: Ben Safdie, Ronald Bronstein
Cinematography by: Sean Price Williams
Music by: Oneohtrix Point Never
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ben Safdie, Barkhad Abdi, Buddy Duress, Taliah Webster
Year: 2017

 

From the ominous ‘80s-style synth score, the splashes of neon-drenched cinematography, to the exclamations of praise for star Robert Pattinson, I knew from the trailers that Good Time was a film I wanted to experience in the theatre but which I was certain would open locally exclusively in the more expensive theatre that charged double for luxury seating and the privilege of seeing something non-mainstream. Imagine my surprise when this indie thriller instead opened in the mainstream theatres, making the experience so much more affordable. Now imagine my lack of surprise when I ended up being the only one at that screening. (I mean, sure, it was a Monday night, but still….) Even with the rave reviews and a Twilight star in the lead role, Good Time was always going to be a hard sell to mainstream audiences, but that doesn’t mean you, discerning and intelligent reader, should ignore what I think is probably one of the more compelling films I’ve seen so far in 2017. Read more…

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2014 IN REVIEW: Everything in Between That I’ve Seen

February 7, 2015 1 comment

Under the Skin - Eye

Finally, we come to the films that I actually did see! As with the films I didn’t see, these films will come at you in three parts: the films that were just somewhere in the middle in terms of quality, the films I greatly disliked, and the films I really enjoyed.

I use those qualitative terms just to avoid confusion over what I’m ranking here. The films in this section range from generally bad to generally quite good, but never elevating to excellence or making me fall in love with them or making me hate them with a passion. That being said, I didn’t expect to like some of the films here as much as I ended up liking them, and, of course, I was letdown by others I actually was kind of looking forward to.

If you don’t see the movie here and didn’t see it in the list of films I didn’t see, then you can almost certainly be guaranteed to find them on one of my next two lists, as this is just a portion of the 121 total films I ended up seeing from 2014 as of this writing, whether in theatres, on DVD/Blu-Ray, or through streaming. Read more…

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Special Review: “The Twilight Saga”

August 8, 2013 6 comments
The Twilight Saga
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Chris Weitz (New Moon), David Slade (Eclipse), Bill Condon (Breaking Dawn)

Produced by: Wyck Godfrey (The Twilight Saga), Mark Morgan (Twilight), Greg Mooradian (Twilight, Eclipse), Karen Rosenfelt (New MoonBreaking Dawn), Stephenie Meyer (Breaking Dawn)

Written by: Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay)

Edited by: Nancy Richardson (Twilight, Eclipse), Peter Lambert (New Moon), Art Jones (Eclipse), Virginia Katz (Breaking Dawn)

Cinematography by: Elliot Davis (Twilight), Javier Aguirresarobe (New Moon – Eclipse), Guillermo Navarro (Breaking Dawn)

Music by: Carter Burwell (Twilight, Breaking Dawn), Alexandre Desplat (New Moon), Howard Shore (Eclipse)

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Mackenzie Foy, Billy Burke, Cam Gigandet, Rachelle Lefèvre, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edi Gathegi, Sarah Clarke, Christian Serratos, Michael Welch, Anna Kendrick, Gregory Tyree Boyce, Justin Chon, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Cameron Bright, Xavier Samuel, Julia Jones, Maggie Grace, Casey LaBow, Lee Pace, Jamie Campbell Bower, Christopher Heyerdahl, Chaske Spencer, Christian Camargo, Mía Maestro, Joe Anderson, Booboo Stewart… I give up…

Based on the books by Stephenie Meyer

Year: 2008 (Twilight), 2009 (New Moon), 2010 (Eclipse), 2011 (Breaking Dawn Part 1), 2012 (Breaking Dawn Part 2)

 

My stepsister is a Twilight fan. I’m honestly not sure what level of crazy she is to really qualify it, but the fact that she owns the books and the fact that she wanted the movies every time a new one came out is enough to at least qualify her as a pretty big fan of Stephenie Meyer’s thinly veiled saga about a young couple’s struggles to remain forever young, be faithful to one another, and practice abstinence until marriage – a struggle that apparently necessitates literal life or death battles that everyone else is willing to endure on their behalf. Twilight is a series that a lot of people hate on, myself included, yet I can’t exactly call myself blameless in enabling my stepsister’s misguided affections. What else would I get her for her birthdays when they were so perfectly in sync with every new DVD release? With Breaking Dawn Part 2 finally ending the saga, I’m kind of hoping that something new and better takes her interests next year. Read more…

2012 IN REVIEW – The Films I Didn’t See: September – December

January 28, 2013 1 comment

1134604 - Zero Dark Thirty

My apologies for the slightly longer delay in getting this part out. I kinda got stricken with the flu for a few days, and didn’t exactly feel like writing. But, here it is, the final third of the films I didn’t see in the year 2012. This is the period of time where the summer movies begin to trickle out before coming to a complete stop and where film studios begin their flood of Oscar-baiting dramas and such.

That’s not to say that there are never any good action films released during this time. That also isn’t to say that none of these Oscar-baiting films are any good, too. Far from it. 2012 saw the release of Oscar-worthy greats as Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty releasing in the same time period as cash-grabbing features like the final Twilight film, The Hobbit, and Wreck-it Ralph, all with varying degrees of success. It’s actually a fairly ripe time to watch all sorts of movies, come to think of it. Possibly better than even summer!

Django Unchained - Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx

Still, it’s not like I’m going to see every film released during this time. If anything, I ran out of time and risked going out of budget for all the films that I did want to see, but didn’t always have time to. Then there were also films that, quite frankly, I could just do without seeing. But, for the purposes of this article, I’ve gone through and examined all these, both enticing and repugnant, some being granted my attention possibly for the last time ever, and have collected my thoughts and impressions below. As mentioned previously in parts 1 and 2, this isn’t my final say on these films, and some of the commentary below is based pretty much on plot synopses, other reviews, skimmings, and a heavy use of Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes. I watched the trailers where I could and didn’t for those films that I just basically didn’t care. Which ones are those? Read, and you may just find out! Read more…

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2012 IN REVIEW – The Films I Didn’t See: May – August

January 19, 2013 3 comments

Men in Black 3 - Josh Brolin and Will Smith

Ah, summer — the time of tentpole blockbuster films that are meant to pad out the studios’ budgets for the next few months. I believe I saw most of the major films released during this period, at least at some point in the year, if not the theatre: The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-ManMen in Black 3, Battleship… Overall, it was a more than satisfying year for quality summer blockbusters that pleased both audiences and critics. … Well, probably not Battleship. That movie was awful.

Battleship - Alien ship. Yeah, I remember that from the boardgame.

With so many films that release in theatres that are best seen actually on the big screen, though, it was only inevitable that smaller and/or less interesting films fell by the wayside of my attention span. Critically acclaimed features like Beasts of the Southern Wild and Oslo, August 31st would get unfortunately lumped in with similarly ignored-by-me crap like Step Up Revolution and That’s My Boy this past summer, which isn’t a commentary on their quality as much as it is a reflection of my time and budgetary restrictions. (I subscribe to a number of rental services and still buy and go see movies in theatres, but I can only do so much and thus prioritize quality spectacle films usually over the quality comedies and dramas.)

So while I do believe I got the most out of my summertime viewings that I possibly could, let’s go over the films that I somehow managed to not see as of the time of this writing, for better or for worse. Read more…

2011 in Review: Notable Films I Managed to Avoid, For Better or For Worse, October – December 2011

January 10, 2012 5 comments

<< Part 1 – January – April 2011

<< Part 2 – May – September 2011

Here it is — the final chapter of films I didn’t see in (or from) 2011. This time of year is usually considered the “Oscar season.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t some blockbuster hits still spilling out of the summer months, avoiding much bigger blockbuster hits in favor of taking on films more serious and, presumably, meant for a different audience.

After all, October is Halloween month, and so we usually get a spat of horror films which have a reputation, justified or not, for being generally awful but widely seen films. Since the Saw franchise presumably ended last year with Saw 3D: The Final Chapter, making 2011 the first year without a theatrical Saw release since 2003, perhaps many would consider it refreshing that we got two horror film prequels this year with The Thing and Paranormal Activity 3, with The Human Centipede 2 inexplicably filling in the gap for necessary sequels. Strangely enough, no remakes of horror films. Just a remake of Footloose, which, depending on your perspective, might be scary enough. Zing!

Personally, this was also the time of year where I didn’t really go see any films in theatres at all, having to save up to go see family for Christmas and, thus, get by without pay for work by the end of the year. And Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol nearly made this list, had I not gone and seen it at a 9AM showing this past Sunday, which, technically was seeing the film in 2012, but it’s still a 2011 film and I wanted to have it on my favorite list, as I was certain it would be on there. I spent most of this time engrossing myself with films rented and streamed, as evidenced by my focus on getting to know more established horror films I hadn’t seen before in October and my Christmas movie reviews in December (with a lone Thanksgiving film, for good measure) as well as getting more familiar with my own personal, neglected movie collection once again. (I forgot how good most of the films I own are!)

Closing out the year, we seemed to have gotten a lot of Oscar bait that wasn’t necessarily as promising as previous years. No Black Swans. No True Grits. Even the usually reliable Clint Eastwood, having directed Oscar gold for so many years, was having a tough time this year. Like a second coming of summer, the films of fall/winter 2011 were largely big name releases seemingly missed the summer window in production. Not all of them were bad, and some were even brilliant, but ultimately this felt like a season where there were very few worthy contenders for Oscar gold. Luckily, this might just mean that the types of films being released are just being spread across the year now instead of being concentrated all at once. Ticket sales are supposedly dropping, and the studios are possibly experimenting with timing, but only time will tell if the coming years prove whether this theory of mine that I admit I just came up with holds any water. Read more…

2011 in Review: Notable Films I Managed to Avoid, For Better or For Worse, January – April 2011

January 5, 2012 157 comments

A lot of people will say that 2011 was a dull year for film. Unlike previous years, there haven’t been very many huge Oscar-worthy films this year that I, personally can think of. Though The King’s Speech saw its wide release in 2011 (and I even saw it in theatres this past year), it was ultimately a film from 2010 and had, by this year’s Oscars, already won several Oscars and other accolades in the year prior, so it was no longer a contender for this spot.

Of course, 2011 had its share of noteworthy films, such as Moneyball and The Tree of  Life, both fo which I still have yet to see but hear fantastic things about. And there’s Hugo, which is a wonderful family film from Martin Scorsese and my top pick for the year. But 2011 was largely a year of recycling. Sequels aplenty, some great, some good, and some completely awful, with plenty of expected and unexpected revivals of old franchises, many of which were completely unnecessary and, yes, unwanted.  (Yes, I’m thinking of The Smurfs.)

2011 also saw the end of a few eras in film history, as well. The final Harry Potter released this year to high critical acclaim. For the time being, we’ve also gotten what is intended to be the final film in the Transformers trilogy (until Michael Bay decides he wants to have more money and toss in Jason Statham, who has been rumored to be taking over the lead human role for quite a while now). And we also saw Pixar release their first widely derided film ever in the admittedly-watchable-but-ultimately-thoroughly-mediocre Cars 2.

I went to the theaters plenty of times this year. Most of the films I did see were quite good, if at least enjoyable. A couple were quite bad. But there were still plenty of notable films that were released throughout the year that I didn’t see, neither in theatres nor in my own home. Before I tell you what were my least and most favorite of the year, I thought I’d go through the daunting task of a quick rundown of each notable film released in 2011 that I, for one reason or another, for better or for worse, did not see in theatres or get around to watching on home release. Read more…

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