Decades ago, I wasted WAAAYYY too much money in college studying film & video. WAY TOO MUCH! As a result, I spent two decades in the music business, a decade in hospitality, used ZERO of my expensive film & video education but developed an addiction to watching movies.
A few years back, I went on a one year mission to watch a movie a day. Sounds daunting, but at the time I lived in the middle of nowhere – the local cable company was pretty damn cheap so I maxed out premium channels – and watching movies was about the only evening activity. There was once even a blog attached a former business site logging all the films watched. Sadly that site and the list are now long gone.
So, here it is 2018. I’m making a return to writing and generally making some life changes so logging the films I watch going forward seems like a mildly interesting hobby. No intention to do a review site though I will make some sort of comment on good, bad or whatever. Honestly, this is more a way for me to remember what I have watched.
I’m a sucker for quirky documentaries & this is pretty damn quirky. Never realized how many different breeds of poultry there are.
Chicken People Trailer
Barista are – like a bartender – is often seen as a transitional job or side hustle. This movie proves it’s not only a career but also a competitive one – even if only as friendly competition.
The Quick and The Dead
I have watched this more than a few times. A great cast (especially Sharon Stone), great gunfights and a nice send-up of the High Plains drifter story. Hell – even DiCaprio is less annoying than usual (but still annoying).
The Quick and The Dead Trailer
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage
I realize Vin Diesel is at best a one-note “actor”. I also realize when he is placed in an action film it will generally be time well spent watching. I was actually far more impressed with the women characters in this and truly hope they get spun off into their own film.
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage Trailer
Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2
Well, I had already watched the rest and had nothing better to do at the time.
Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows Part 2 Trailer
David Bowie: The Last Five Years
As a major fan, this is both brilliant and bittersweet. A great looking into the artistic process of a true genius.
David Bowie: The Last Five Years Trailer
Dave Made A Maze
It had an interesting concept but lackluster story. It could have been genius if made by Michel Gondry or Spike Jonze. I’m willing to be the entire film was written while stoned in a blanket fort.
Dave Made A Maze Trailer
Ingrid Goes West
This could have been a scathing black comedy comment on millennial social media obsession. It wasn’t. I loved Aubrey Plaza in Parks & Recreation but her film choices to date are less than stellar.
Ingrid Goes West Trailer
My Bakery In Brooklyn
You know a film has gone south when the score – the SCORE – starts annoying you. Trite, predictable “Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks” wannabe drivel with absolutely no respect for actual Brooklyn geography. It actually made me angry at points.
My Bakery In Brooklyn Trailer
Nobody Walks In L.A.
After a string of less than stellar indie film choices (to say the least) – this was a VERY pleasant surprise. Sort of an L.A. mash-up of “Before Sunrise” & “Slacker” with naturalistic dialogue that would make Linklater proud. Writer/director Jesse Shapiro did a marvelous job of avoiding cliche and mixing bitter with sweet.
Nobody Walks In L.A. Trailer
48 Hours To Live
I honestly never thought I would end up spiritually hating a film distributor. Then I met Gravitas Ventures. Seriously – every single film I have seen with their name on it has been horrible. This movie continued the trend. Dreadful acting – EDM visuals, editing, and script or at least what a group of “film” makers who only know EDM from news exposes about Molly think is EDM – and a pointless “twist” ending. At least it didn’t make me as angry as My Bakery In Brooklyn.
48 Hours To Live Trailer
Number of films watched: 11
Number of films enjoyed: 6
Enjoyment rating: 54%
I know Ocean’s 11 by heart. Ocean’s 12 is dead to me. Ocean’s 13 is great afternoon absurdist fun and a return to the Ocean’s 11 form. Pacino has become a parody of his early career but it works here. I have no idea how they actually got the tunnel drill under the street but who cares. If you’re thinking about this movie, you are doing it wrong.
Ocean’s 13 Trailer
A secluded research facility working on a genetically engineered synthetic AI life form. Nothing could go wrong with that, right? Seriously, it’s like people in these films exist in a universe where no one ever makes suspense/sci-fi films about AI going wrong. This has a solid cast – a formulaic story – and a twist you’ll see about a quarter way in. Not a bad way to kill time but nothing new for the genre.
Another interesting documentary on people with an obsession. This time it’s PEZ collecting. It’s the usual mix of those who seem perfectly sane as collectors and those who – honestly – seems a little sad. In the end, the biggest take away for me is the massive array of PEZ dispensers in existence and some of the prices they fetch. Buried in this – from a web nerd standpoint – is a subplot on how early internet message boards and Netscape websites enabled collectors from across the world to connect as a community. We take that for granted now, but it was a sea change for collectors & obsessives in the early 2000s.
Like a small child continuously reaching for a hot burner on a stove despite past experience, I keep watching Todd Solondz films expecting not to get burned. Like that small child who finally learns not to touch the hot stove – I have finally learned to not watch Solondz films.
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of The National Lampoon
In high school, I read National Lampoon from time to time. Animal House was the first R-rated film I saw. I wasn’t actually old enough but the ticket guy at the Flint, MI mall theatre really didn’t care. What I never realized until this documentary is how great an influence National Lampoon had on modern satire and comedy. It was a result of a moment in time allowing a seismic shift in what could be done in the name of humor. It’s doubtful we’ll ever see anything like it again.
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead trailer
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I have a deep appreciation for “family” films that operate on darker levels. This one is a classic in the friendly enough for kids (except perhaps the Tunnel Boat Freak Out) and slyly satirical enough for adults. Don’t even get me started on this movie being a Seven Deadly sins allegory. Gene Wilder is the one and only Wonka. Tim Burton & Johnny Depp are dead to me.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory trailer
Lived up to the hype. Best of the DC universe to date. (I do not consider Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy to be a part of the DC Universe.) Gal Godot played Diana Prince to perfection. Great action plus a healthy dose of things to make you think. Always a pleasure to get something other than just a big dumb superhero movie.
Wonder Woman trailer
A Futile and Stupid Gesture
Re-watching Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead was my lead-in for this Netflix drama starring Will Forte as Lampoon founder Doug Kenney. A great cast & script make this the perfect companion piece to the actual Lampoon documentary. I still recommend Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead over this, but if you want to live in the crazed world of Lampoon at its peak, this is a solid choice.
A Futile and Stupid Gesture trailer
Fred Armisen: Standup For Drummer
I like about 80% of Armisen’s work. The concept for this Netflix special is brilliant: one had to prove they were a drummer in order to gain entry. Then, the show mostly focused on drumming and being a drummer in a band. All in all, it plays as if Armisen was asked to give an extended TED Talk on drumming. Most of it works – some of it misses. His history of drum kits section is fairly great. Not a bad way to kill an hour.
Fred Armisen: Standup For Drummers trailer
You Got Served: Beat The World
In my house, dance battle films are like Pokemon – you gotta catch ’em all. Given all of these films have basically the same plot, it took us 15 minutes before we realized we had seen this before. At that point, it was what the hell – we have nothing better to do. I definitely prefer the Step Up series before You Got Served and unfortunately this is one of the weakest in the genre. You know things are bad when the non-featured challengers in the big finale battle are better than the “stars.”
You Got Served: Beat The World trailer
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
Sometimes all you want to do is tune out and watch a big dumb McG directed mess with a ludicrous plot. This was one of those times.
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle trailer
Another Frank Miller “make it look like a grey scale graphic novel with occasional punches of primary color” production only proving one Sin City style movie was really enough. Samuel L. Jackson & Scarlet Johansson are pointless here. Not even bad enough to be considered good. I don’t blame them – I blame a shoddy script & style over substance.
The Spirit trailer
Chris Rock: Tamborine
About half of this concert film is spot on solid comedy gold. The other half – sadly – panders to the usual “edgy” sex and relationship material that – honestly – diminishes his more satirical work. My favorite observation concerning the NRA defense that mass killing could be done with a knife: “If 100 people ever got stabbed at the same time, in the same place, by the same person, you know what that would mean? Ninety-seven people deserve to die.”
Chris Rock: Tamborine trailer
The first Marvel film with a real actual story and not just an origin one. Definitely not as fun as Thor: Ragnarok (currently #1 on my fave Marvel films list) and not intended to be. Brilliant casting, strong female characters, Forest freaking Whittaker and a great antagonist (I do not consider him a villain per se) in Eric Killmonger. Yes – I believe the hype is a bit overblown. This is a great superhero film but not some sort of world-changing political statement. I’m VERY interested to see how this dovetails into the upcoming Avengers epic and how they plan on working stand-alone sequels.
Black Panther trailer
The Great Wall
This should have been better. There are glimpses of the spectacle it could have been, but then you get another dose of sub-par CGI blowing it all to hell. Plus – focusing marketing on Damon completely missed the point.
The Great Wall trailer
When We First Met
I tend to consider “time travel back to try and win the boy/girl of my dreams only to have to correct mistakes time and again kind of like Groundhog Day but not really only it turns out main character was chasing the wrong person all along” films to be like a Dance Battle film directed by Todd Solondz. I HAVE to catch them all but I ALWAYS been burned by them but – I think to myself – “this time will be different…” It wasn’t.
When We First Met trailer
Another cyberpunk dystopian future where the hero has been framed by the villain – put in prison – villain creates brutal competition viewed globally wherein hero can get pardoned if he survives – blah blah blah. A cast who should have know better. Great performances by Ludacris channeling Tej from Fast and Furious films and Michael C. Hall chewing scenery like a wood chipper after a Broadway show closes. The one highlight is the most demented you of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” ever.
(500) Days Of Summer
This is a flawed film – mostly from trying to dress up a fairly standard “boy meets girl – falls in love – loses girl – kind of learns a life lesson but not really” in the indie cred of Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Zooey plays a bit less goofy than usual. JGL does an amazing Pixies karaoke. Chloe Grace Moretz steals every scene she is in. The soundtrack is a great collection of indie tracks. Ultimately, it is worth watching – an enjoyable hour and a half – but nothing you haven’t really seen before.
(500) Days Of Summer trailer
Number of films watched: 29
Number of films enjoyed: 18
Enjoyment rating: 62%
Goodnight Brooklyn – The Story Of Death By Audio
This is a great yet ultimately depressing documentary on the state of the indie music scene in Brooklyn circa 2014. Death By Audio was a DIY performance venue – barely held together by prayers & duct tape – hosting some seminal Brooklyn music shows over its seven-year run. Then in 2014, Vice Media – a one-time indie music mag now turned corporate brotards – bought the building and kicked DBA out. This film documents the final months of a dying breed in a Brooklyn that’s turning into Manhattan.
Goodnight Brooklyn – The Story Of Death By Audio trailer
I remember when I first heard Soderbergh was re-making Ocean’s 11. I thought “hell no!” but damn if he didn’t improve on the heist genre. Then I heard he directed Magic Mike – and though I’m a fan of both Tatum and McConaughey – I thought “not even Soderbergh can make a male stripper film watchable!” I was wrong there as well. So along comes Logan Lucky. Soderbergh heist film with Channing Tatum. Daniel Craig plays a brush cut wearing hillbilly safecracker. Adam Driver plays a Southern Adam Driver with one arm. Riley Keough, Hilary Swank, and Katie Holmes are basically window dressing. (Soderbergh does not have a great talent for directing female characters.) The heist is set at a NASCAR event. It definitely shouldn’t work – or at least felt a bit too stupid and insulting. In fact – it’s one of the more original feeling heist films in years. I say “feeling” because it’s basically the standard heist plot with a unique set of non-traditional heist characters.
Logan Lucky trailer
Silly Cold War cold fusion plot. Great Russian villain cliches. The always goofy Val Kilmer. Elizabeth Shue not being a credible physicist. Perfect mindless Sunday afternoon viewing.
The Saint trailer
Soul Boys Of The Western World
Another great archival footage meets label footage meets interview music documentaries. Hulu and Amazon Prime are loaded with them. This time, the subject is Spandau Ballet. What helps make this a better example of the cut and paste music doc genre is the participation of all the members. Many of these appear to not be authorized or at least do not get band member access. Honestly, I liked a bit of SB back in the day, but I had no knowledge of their background, early bands or the art/fashion scene the New Romantics came out of in London. A bit too long and with a somewhat sappy reunion ending, it’s still a solid watch for fans of 80s new wave.
Soul Boys Of The Western World trailer
England Is Mine
Watching this 2017 biographical drama film about pre-Smith’s Morrissey is like listening to a Smiths album: a little pretentious (but not in a bad way), a bit arty (but not in a bad way), melancholic, sometimes slow-moving but ultimately somewhat satisfying.
England Is Mine trailer
Literally, Right Before Aaron
Standard indie rom-com stuff with nothing new to say and Justin Long doing his usual Justin Long thing. The end riff on The Graduate was just annoying.
Literally, Right Before Aaron trailer
Oh. Hell.Yes. Live stunt driving. Killer soundtrack. Evil Jon Hamm. Directed by Edgar Wright. Absolutely nothing wrong with this film – though I would have liked a different ending. The Kid Koala tape rig is genius.
Baby Driver trailer
10 Cloverfield Lane
I could not finish watching Cloverfield. I have a real issue with that whole shaky camera found footage school of film. Even though I knew it really had no connection, my prejudice against Cloverfield made me hesitant about watching 10 Cloverfield Lane. I’m guessing the same may be said of others and that’s a shame because this is actually a decent thriller with some very nice twists. A solid lazy afternoon time killer.
10 Cloverfield Lane trailer
As a commentary on the potential evils of social media and internet famous, this is marginally successful. Dave Franco does Dave Franco. Emma Roberts is the wrong actress but not so wrong she ruins the fun. Mindless fluff that thinks it’s deeper than it is – so pretty much reflective of its target audience.
Such an amazing cast – some of my favorite people in comedy. Weird but interesting premise – babies that never age but need little care. Unfortunately this attempt at low rent Jim Jarmusch – complete with black & white cinematography – completely disappoints. Not really funny – not really satirical – not at all engaging.
Infinity Baby trailer
Any action film where the protagonist ends up looking like crap by the end (in this case even the beginning) is aces in my book. Some of the most brilliant realistically choreographed action sequences in recent cinema. Plus a killer romp through classic 80’s new wave and Berlin as a backdrop. Almost makes one nostalgic for the REAL Cold War.
Atomic Blonde trailer
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
This is one of my favorite New York films. It’s a love letter to a time in the East Village and Lower East Side that is (as of 2018) rapidly vanishing. Michael Cera & Kat Dennings are brilliantly believable music nerds looking for love. The soundtrack is another great “of the time” indie mixtapes. A simple perfect “It Happened One Night” rom-com watchable over and over again.
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist trailer
So I Married An Axe Murder
I was never a big Mike Myers fan. He can be amusing in small doses but often mugs a bit too much for my taste in comedy. This is one of his better outings and has actually dated fairly well over the years. For me, the real draw here is his “poetry.” The line “hard-hearted harbinger of haggis” is – in my opinion – a classic in cinema. This is a fine “kill an hour and a half while sick on the couch” sort of movie.
So I Married An Axe Murderer trailer
Unoriginal story – cliche characters – gratuitous zip line urination scene (yes – I ACTUALLY wrote that!) – though Tiffany Haddish was 90% funny if not a bit of a stereotype. To be fair, I’m DEFINITELY not the target audience for this.
Girls Trip trailer
Number of films watched: 43
Number of films enjoyed: 28
Enjoyment rating: 65%
Putting the “Fun” in dysfunctional. Excellent cast handling what could have been a depressingly overwrought concept brilliantly. A solid but not genre shattering indie flick.
Peep World trailer
Despicable Me 3
I watched the other two in the series so why not watch this one. The Minions continue to be the best part and this storyline was fairly weak. Not disappointing – it functioned as a nice mindless time kill – but the series is definitely past its prime.
Despicable Me 3 trailer
Mister Rogers & Me
A lovely documentary about Fred Rogers as told by the people he influenced. I had no idea about his spiritual and philosophical side. He was an amazing teacher and a major part of my childhood learning. We certainly could use a bit of Mister Rogers in this climate.
Mister Rogers & Me Trailer
Yes – I had seen it before. No – it did not somehow magically get better. I was just looking for some mindless distraction and this was the first thing I ran into. This could have been so much better. The premise is fairly solid if not cliche. The actors involved, even Seann William Scott, work well together. There are glimpses of great kung fu wire work. In the end, it all just kind of goes “meh.” Not great but not horrible. Worth watching if you don’t really want to make a decision.
Bulletproof Monk trailer
John Wick: Chapter 2
Some people have an issue with violence in movies. I believe if the violence is realistic then we might have something to discuss. The violence in John Wick films is definitely not realistic. It is over the top video game style carnage and I’m perfectly fine with that. Who needs a plot or dialogue when the real reason we are here is to watch Keanu Reeves be a badass. Plus, the sommelier scene is perhaps one of the greatest moments in action film.
John Wick: Chapter 2 trailer
When I am feeling a bit defeated in life, I turn to this classic Bill Murray summer camp film to remind me of an important philosophy: “It just doesn’t matter!”
Johnny Depp used to star in great movies. No so much anymore. A cliche “absolute power corrupts absolutely” take on AI and the singularity. Nothing new here and fairly plodding plot overall. Not even Paul Bettany can redeem this stale retread.
Number of films watched: 50
Number of films enjoyed: 32
Enjoyment rating: 64%
Theory Of Obscurity – A Film About The Residents
I have been a Residents fan for decades now. Granted, I rarely listen to them much anymore but I still love their dedication to making the world a stranger and better place. This was a crowd-funded documentary that does a great job of laying out their history, continuing their mythos and possibly giving small glimpses behind the mystery if you watch carefully. Not a lot of new information for longtime fans, but the interviews are great as is the rare first performance footage.
Theory Of Obscurity – A Film About The Residents
The Hitman’s Bodyguard
This could’ve been much worse. Also should’ve been much better. Samuel L. Jackson plays Samuel L. Jackson. Ryan Reynold plays Deadpool Ryan Reynolds. Big body count. Lots of set pieces. A ridiculous deus ex machina ending. I would’ve been pissed if I had paid in the theatres, but as a “just want a big stupid action comedy” at home it was quite fine.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard trailer
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Still in a Reynold state of mind from Hitman’s Bodyguard and prepping for the Deadpool sequel plus suffering a massive sinus migraine lead to me re-visiting this disaster. We can thank it for at least ultimately giving the world a proper Deadpool film (and sequel), but damn is this a mess. There are glimmers of possible greatness, but it all just goes to crap. Even Jackman seems pretty annoyed to be in this. A hard pass unless you’re looking for something to fall asleep to.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine trailer
Avengers: Infinity War
Marvel Studios has demonstrated an amazing precision in the Avengers series. Even weak films like Norton’s Hulk or the third Iron Man are far better than anything from the X-Men or DC’s universe. Infinity War is the penultimate film in a decade-long series and it does an amazing job of handling a giant cast spanning multiple properties while still being coherent. I expected it to topple under its own cast weight, but it was an amazingly focused film. Sadly, the emotional impact of the ending is a bit diminished knowing what is in the 2019 Marvel production pipeline, but I’m very intrigued to see how those stories get resolved. The Russo Brothers still can’t shoot fight scenes, but damn if 2 plus hours of movie time didn’t fly by. An epic and worthy start to the end of this phase of the franchise.
Avengers: Infinity War trailer
Song To Song
A beautifully shot 30-second perfume commercial loosely set in the music biz stretched to feature film length.
Song To Song Trailer
The first Deadpool was my favorite Marvel film until this sequel was released. Bigger – louder – funnier – and an even more amazing cast. Domino for the freaking win! Brolin is far better here than in Infinity War. My Film of The Year because nothing is going to top this.
Deadpool 2 trailer
Daisy & Violet
There was definite potential here. Two young hit women sent to kill a guy who wants to die. There are glimpses of possible great character studies but ultimately it fails. Not particularly funny or meta or deep. In the end, just meh.
Daisy & Violet trailer
A standard high school rom-com from Netflix. The usual geeky girl falls for hot jock but there are (of course) issues and social challenges. It all works out in the end because (of course) life is always perfect in high school. Breaks no new ground but not annoying enough to regret watching.
Kissing Booth trailer
Sure it’s absurd. A secret society of superpowered assassins whose targets are chosen by out of place threads in textiles. If it hadn’t started life as a graphic novel, I guarantee it would never have made it out of the pitch meeting. Thankfully it did, and the result is a great example of comic book mayhem brought to the big screen. James McAvoy is great as the confused milquetoast turned expert assassin. Common has a great turn as the Gunsmith. Morgan Freeman plays a great Morgan Freeman. Angelia Jolie as the least believable assassin ever. Not a shred of realism to be found. Massive plotholes. Over the top violence. Everything you could ask for in a big dumb action flick.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Luc Besson directed two of my favorite films: Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element. They are about as polar opposite as movies get, but both contain a sense of style and eye toward detail uniquely Besson. (They also both have Gary Oldman in brilliant roles.) Despite advance word, I had some hope for Valerian. The trailer looked great and I like more than a few members of the cast. Sadly, it’s kind of a mess. Some nice visuals. A few interesting concepts never fully realized. A completely senseless plot. Not even worth the time as a big dumb movie time kill.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets trailer
Attack The Block
Sometimes British films could use subtitles. This is one of those times. Great low budget alien invasion flick set in a South London council block. This is a solid B-Movie with cheesy monsters, a couple gory action scenes, and almost zero character development. Just a simple “South London street gang and a few others fighting off aliens with glowing teeth” storyline. Nick Frost should have used more. John Boyega makes his pre-Star Wars debut. The wonderful Jody Whittaker is kind of wasted in her role. Nothing redefining the genre but a nice British twist on the usual alien invasion theme.
Attack The Block trailer
The summary called this “8 Mile meets Hustle & Flow in working-class New Jersey” and that is definitely spot on. Danielle Macdonald turns in a brilliant performance as an aspiring rapper. With a story that could easily have descended into the usual depressing fatal realism of current indie cinema, writer/director Geremy Jasper does a great job of giving the viewer both highs and lows. Kudos for not taking the cliche way out and also for creating one of the most interesting musician characters on film in the form of Basterd. A great example of how indie cinema can uplift even as it strives for gritty realism.
Patti Cake$ trailer
Wow – simply no words for this one. Let’s start with it’s a Zom-Com as in Zombie Comedy. Then there’s the 1950’s setting straight out of Leave It To Beaver. After radiation from space turns the dead into zombies, humanity battles and wins the zombie apocalypse. A company named ZomCon (get it?) protects the living from zombies by fencing in communities and creating a collar that keeps zombies from eating flesh. This allows zombies to become domesticated and used as servants among other things. It’s what happens when a boy’s zombie, Fido, accidentally kills due to a malfunction in his collar that forms the film’s plot. This is quirky surreal Canadian comedy in all its glory. Carrie-Ann Moss plays the mom to demented 50’s perfection. Billy Connolly is barely recognizable as the zombie Fido. A definite choice if you’re looking for something totally original and off the beaten cinema path.
Number of films watched: 63
Number of films enjoyed: 40
Enjoyment rating: 63%
When I sit down to watch a post-apocalypse vampire flick starring Willem Dafoe and Ethan Hawke, the last thing I expect to see is a propaganda reel for Veganism. In the not too distant future (2019 to be exact), a virus has turned much of the world into vampires. The human population is beating hunted and farmed out of existence to keep a steady supply of blood for hungry vamps. This unsustainable process is leading to a shortage which is leading to starving vamps which apparently leads to cannibal vamp mutation. Ethan Hawke plays a vamp scientist who refuses to drink human blood and is searching for a human blood substitute so humans no longer will be eaten. Along the way, the “vegan” vampire discovers a cure for the vampire virus, but that’s kind of last half of last act tack on to wrap up everything. Seriously, replace “blood” with “meat” in the dialog and you have pretty much any conversation at a cafe in millennial Brooklyn. It’s not a bad film and is likely the first of the Vampires For Veganism movement.
Banksy Does New York
In October 2013, Banksy came to NYC for a residency titled Better Out Than In. 31 days of new pieces, one piece a day, scattered across the five boroughs. Each morning, a new post with a piece and a vague hint of where it was showed up on Banksy’s website. Banksy Does New York documents the media frenzy, both news and social, surrounding the month-long scavenger hunt. During the course of the film, it becomes clear Banksy’s real NYC thesis was the follower mentality of the Instagram FOMO generation.
Banksy Does New York trailer
There are three films that can be considered truly great in the Nic Cage filmography: Face/Off, The Rock, and Con Air. Face/Off is a great John Woo action flick with a ludicrous plot. The Rock is a great Michael Bay action flick with Sean Connery and a ludicrous plot. Con Air is a great Simon West action film with John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, Danny Trejo, Dave Chappelle, John Cusack, Colm Meaney and Ving Rhames plus a ludicrous plot. So Con Air is the clear best Nic Cage film ever.
Con Air trailer
Blade Runner 2049
A beautifully shot 30-second futuristic perfume commercial stretched to the length of two feature-length films vaguely discussing a possible replicant miracle baby while Jared Leto eats scenery.
Blade Runner 2049 trailer
Another “Underdog wins” film in a college setting. Technically everything that happens in this film would result in massive criminal charges, but that wouldn’t make for a feel-good 20-something comedy starring Justin Long, Blake Lively, and a pre-Superbad Jonah Hill. No new ground was broken – nothing really offensive – just a simple screwball college comedy.
I am often disappointed by films with heavy Academy Award hype. I rarely find them interesting though that probably has everything to do with my status as a reformed film student. Academy Award bait is not my current cup of tea. That’s why Lady Bird is such a delight. First, I am a major Greta Gerwig fan so I was pulling for her directorial debut. I also love Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan. So I had high expectations for this film and thankfully was not let down. This is yet another indie film that proves one can explore relationships without the usual indie downward spiral into depression. It does a beautiful job of balancing realistic drama with comedy. A definite must see.
Lady Bird trailer
When you must watch a gothic movie about a supernatural undead mime rockstar in an all to close to real Detroit on Devil’s Night, this is that film. It has certainly not held up well over the years but is still far better than any of the sequels. It’s definitely time for a reboot.
The Crow trailer
Fox Studios has made a mess of the X-Men franchise. Bad scripts. Questionable casting. Ultra confused timelines. The lack of overall focus is startling. That said, X2 is one of the less annoying X-Men films and a solid choice for a mindless Sunday afternoon of “shut off the brain and watch something stupid.”
This is my favorite of the Marvel Studio films. Originally caught in the theatre in 2017, I recently re-watched it when it hit Netflix. While al MCU films have had a bit of humor, director Taika Waititi makes Thor: Raganok the first MCU comic book film and the world is better for it. This film has it all: brilliant bright production design, excellent casting especially the genius performances from Jeff Goldblum and Cate Blanchett, MMA superstar Hulk and the single greatest use of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” to date. My favorite film watched in 2017 and my second favorite film watched in 2018.
Thor: Ragnarok trailer
Sign ‘O’ The Times
One of my favorite Prince albums, this concept concert film has definitely not aged well. The music is still amazing, but the staging is incredibly dated and a bit cringe-worthy. The Sheena Easton “U Got The Look” video is a classic in 80s cheese. Thankfully, Prince’s legacy is his music and not his films.
Sign ‘O’ The Times trailer
Fits & Starts
A great indie film that nicely balances genuine humor with a touch of realistic drama. Wyatt Cenac plays a writer overshadowed by his wife’s literary success. Cenac is his usual kind of vulnerable, kind of snarky self as he navigates a night at an art salon filled with someone of the most realistic art fucks every committed to film. The night ends with him coming to terms with his own life and ultimate his writing. A rare indie filmmaking a statement without being heavy-handed
Fits & Starts trailer
The Last Movie Star
While this may not be a great film, the performance Burt Reynolds’ delivers is amazing. An aging film icon is invited to what turns out to be a small fan event to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. That the event is not a major film festival forces the icon to face the realities of fame, life and growing old in Hollywood. Clever use of footage from Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance and vintage Reynold’s westerns anchors this clearly in Reynolds’ own career even as we’re supposed to believe this is a fictional character. Reynolds’ willingness to play this part and play it this honestly elevates a somewhat average indie film into a touching portrait of aging.
The Last Movie Star trailer
The Disaster Artist
A perfect double feature compliment to The Last Movie Star. Both examine the nature of fame and the delusions of grandeur that can go with it. Both feature larger than life main characters. Burt Reynolds plays a fictional version of himself. James Franco plays a fictional or at least exaggerated version of Tommy Wiseau. The Last Movie Star examines the fall from grace. The Disaster Artist examines the creation of legend from chaos. Ultimately, I don’t think The Disaster Artist really succeeds. It feels like a bad film about the making of a bad film. Perhaps that’s the point but it also misses opportunities to dive deeper into the why of Wiseau.
The Disaster Artist trailer
Strangers wake up in a room arranged in a circle. Big black globe shoots lightning a regular intervals killing one person. Strangers determine the Black Lightning Ball lets them vote on who dies. The rest of the film is a giant sack of cliche social, political and racial tropes that ultimately mean zero. Why? The answer is because absolutely nothing is done to establish any sort of real characters. It’s just a bunch of cardboard cutouts in what turns out to be – wait for the shocking surprise – an alien shooting gallery. A complete waste of time and production money.