recent movies

Witching and Bitching: This movie was all over the map, but pretty amusing. It starts off as an idiot-heist movie with angry relationship whining, then takes a left turn into Gonzo Evil Dead Land with a splash of Suspiria.

Franklyn: It starts off as a cartoony world where everyone is required to be registered with a micro-religion ("Seventh Day Manicurists" is one that I remember) where Athiest Rorschach is about to assassinate someone, then it does a needle-scratch and it's a movie about a psychotic performance artist trying to annoy her mom. Both of those movies are pretty good, and when they finally merge, it works out reasonably well.

Predestination: This is a great little time-cop movie. I was about halfway through it when I realized, "Oh shit, this is an adaptation of [SPOILER]!" It was a solid adaptation, as far as I can remember, though I haven't read it since I was a kid. When I got to the end, I started it over to see how it connected. That's a good sign.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: This was decent, though without any surprises. It has the common plot of, "it only takes one asshole to fuck things up for everybody." My only "WTF" moment was when, after demonstrating that the apes are efficient, organized, stealthy hunters, they abandon all semblance of tactics and just run down Montgomery Street screaming. But, they were being led by a moron by then, so maybe that deserves a pass.

Guardians of the Galaxy: I watched this again, and it's still awesome. Why can't they just file the serial numbers off of this and call it the new Star Wars movie? Seriously, make him Darth Ronan, make the Infinity Gem be the Kaiburr Crystal, re-skin the Nova Corps ships as X Wings, and boom, you're done.

Automata: Antonio Banderas is really sad and chases robots, on what I'm pretty sure is the set of Cherry 2000. I've already forgotten it.

Another Me: Girl haunted by her doppelgänger, or maybe just schizophrenic. It wasn't bad.

Everywhen: If you were wondering whether Norway also has irritating douche-bros, the answer is yes. I wanted to smack every part of this movie. I think the author's deep reading of The Matrix was "guns are cool."

Let me emphasize that I only watched the following because I had already watched literally everything else in the world:

Sin City 2: It's pretty, and nasty and hateful, but so was the first one, and this one adds nothing.

Dark Skies: Ghosts or aliens or alien ghosts or something. It was adequate to fall asleep to.

Open Windows: I thought this was going to be another ham-handed rehash of Rear Window but instead it was a ham-handed rehash of Body Double. Why would you even bother ripping off Body Double?? Brian De Palma is one of the most epic hacks in all of film! Who wants to emulate him?? Ick, ick, ick. I think I just watched someone play the worst, most boring video game ever.

The Maze Runner: Utterly mediocre Mary-Sue Every-boy saves... not his friends. Let's say, "some bipedal props". They managed to ensure that not a single person in the movie had even the slightest hint of personality or backstory by giving them all amnesia. Without that they might have needed names! I imagine the three lines of dialog along the lines of, "that's the cool kids' table, and those are the jocks" was fleshed out to 500 pages in the book. Then they send in utterly-bland-Smurfette to deliver a single line of exposition. You know. For the ladies. Whoever wrote this thought that robot velociraptors and Spanish moss are the scariest things in the world. And, wow, for a Depopulated Nuclear Tatooine Hellscape (oops, spoiler), they sure managed to pour a whole lot of concrete for no reason that was ever even remotely explained. I think I just watched someone play the worst, most boring video game ever.

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15 Responses:

  1. Julian Calaby says:

    I also loved Predestination. I haven't read [SPOILER] so I didn't figure it all out until a few minutes before the end. It's in my rewatch queue.

    Parts of it were filmed in and around a prominent building about a 20 minute drive from where I am right now, which is pretty awesome. Yay for the Australian film industry! That said, knowing that their cool interiors were a university building's lobby didn't help with getting into those scenes.

  2. Owen W. says:

    Have you seen "Edge Of Tomorrow"? On the one hand it's Groundhog D-Day starring Tom Cruise, but on the other hand it riffs on the idea in enough different ways to stay interesting.

    • jwz says:

      It's Groundhog Troopers, and I loved it.

      • James says:

        Mr. Nobody was two and a half hours of something like Groundhog Truman Show vs. Kramer, but weird enough in parts that ... Well, you'll probably hate it but possibly not to the point of actual regret.

  3. Rusty says:

    Okay, for those of us who are not time agents, how or where did you happen to see Predestination already? Film festival? Academy screener? Audience opinion preview? Close friend who worked on the film?

    I respect your taste in films, but this casual dropping of a film review, as if it is something the general public seemed to miss, makes me feel as if I have missed something great that hasn't even happened yet. It's kinda creeping me out. I should go look for my meds. Yeah, that's a good idea.

    • jwz says:

      Uh, it came out in March.

      And there is an invention called The Internet.

    • Otto says:

      Predestination is available for streaming on Amazon. It's also on those pirate sites which shall not be named, if you don't feel like streaming it.

      I thought it was a very good adaptation of [SPOILER]. The additional material worked pretty well overall and added just enough of an actiony twist to make it viable as a time-travel film. They left in most of the better lines too.

  4. Jacob says:

    Maze Runner: nope, that's pretty much the book, too. I got about 50 pages in, gave up, and read Wikipedia's plot summary.

    • Rick C says:

      I have a feeling Maze Runner is, like Eragon and Divergent, written by someone too young and callow to write better. I managed to force myself to read all three books because I'm a masochist that way (I sat though Freddie Got Fingered, somehow. If the ticket seller asks why you want to see a movie, you should probably skip it) and you can see how it probably could have been a good story if someone talented had written it.

  5. TS says:

    I liked Franklyn, but then again, I would watch Eva Green do pantomime.

  6. Michael V. says:

    Thanks! A lot of these I hadn't heard of, I have new viewing options.

  7. Stefan P says:

    Re: watching everything else - how about Birdman?

    • jwz says:

      Haven't seen it. Thought the trailer looked dumb.

      • MattyJ says:

        Not that anyone asked, but the characters in Birdman didn't do it for me, I didn't really care about their problems, but it's well worth seeing if you're at all interested in the technical aspects of making a movie like this. They had some balls with the gimmick they used, but I was sold on it very early in. They managed to pull it off, but it's just that the plot/characters were all kinda shitty.

  8. MattyJ says:

    These lists are always lacking in documentaries!

    If you can find Finding Vivian Maier it's pretty intriguing. Art and Craft turned out to be a pretty amazing movie that said a lot more about mental health than I expected, and managed to convey a real life narrative with heroes and villains where your opinion of each changes several times throughout the story.