recent movies

Wow, it's been more than a year since I've done one of these! Not so recent, then. I guess I'll go in chronological order.


What We Do in the Shadows: Faux documentary about NZ vampires. This kind of "forced-awkwardness" humor is normally not to my taste, but this was pretty funny.

White Bird in a Blizzard: I actually don't remember this very well, but it had a maniacal Eva Green chewing up the scenery like crazy.

Better Living Through Chemistry: They are still re-making Something Wild. This version has Olivia Wilde in it. It's ok.

How I Live Now: There's been some kind of never-described war that involved the UK, and a bunch of teens are shuffled off to "the country" and then avoid internment camps. It's a pretty standard war/refugee movie, with extra teen angst, but the modern setting brings the Grim Meathook Future aspect home pretty nicely.

I Frankenstein and Dracula Untold: A pox on both your houses.

The Man in the High Castle: This wasn't bad, but they stretched about 4 episodes of plot into 10 episodes, and then ended the season with basically no resolution of any kind. Still, it's worth watching just for the set decoration. Imperial Japan-occupied San Francisco looks amazing.

Tusk: Torture porn bullshit, and instead of actors it's an overstuffed burlap sack of assholes. I assume Kevin Smith made this as an actual prank.

Puppet Master X: Axis Rising: It was way better than Tusk, I'll tell you that much.

Laggies: I'm glad they are still making slacker movies! If it was the 90s this would have Bridget Fonda in it instead of Kiera Knightley. It's cute.

Banshee Chapter: ZALGO Shaky-Cam that is basically From Beyond with Hunter S. Thompson instead of Crawford Tillinghast. Not a lot happens but it was fun.

Late Phases: Grumpy old blind guy versus a suburban werewolf! It's not Bubba Hotep because it's played completely straight.

The Lazarus Effect: It's Flatliners. Eh.

Focus: Adequate heist movie. It's popcorn.

Ex Machina: I really liked it. It's like if Lucy was directed by the Moon guy instead of Luc Besson. There have been a few decent Singularity movies in the last couple of years.

Jupiter Ascending: What a steaming pile. The best description I heard of this was that it documents a Kardashian Type III Civilization. The only good scene in it was the one where they were waiting in line for permits, and that was just a five minute mash-up of Brazil and The Fifth Element. Even the fact that there were like, space rollerblades or some shit didn't even elevate it to the level of quality of Solarbabies.

Time Lapse: Oh, time-loop movies, why can't I quit you? This was Rear Window as a very long Twilight Zone episode, but it kind of stunk.

Welcome To Me: This is really pretty amazing, and painful and cringe-inducing, and much less of a comedy than the trailer leads you to believe.

Chappie: This was better when it was called Short Circuit and didn't have those dirtbag assholes from Die Antwoord in it. Given how good Neill Blomkamp is at animating fake robots, I wish he showed some evidence of actually enjoying science fiction. (I absolutely despised District 9, too.)

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief: It's even more fucked up than I realized, and I've read a lot about them. Ugggggh, the world is a terrible place.

Humans: An almost-not-terrible British series about a world where everyone has humanoid AI robot slaves, and yet self-driving cars aren't even a thing. Apparently its thesis statement is "Gosh, what is it to be human?" but it never actually asks that question, because the robots are bifurcated into the categories of "toaster" or "completely human slave", so there's not actually any moral ambiguity anywhere. Peter Watts tore it apart pretty well: "What a pleasant 101-level introduction to AI for anyone who's never thought about AI before, who's unlikely to think about AI again, and who doesn't like thinking very hard about much of anything."

Final Girl: I expected this to be "girl in faux-danger, then she turns the tables because she's a secret ninja", but actually it dispenses with all of that and just goes straight to the part where she monologues at and then executes a pack of low rent American Psychos, after giving them hallucinogens. There wasn't a lot here, but it was moodier than I expected. The takeaway here is, never trust a high school senior who owns a tuxedo, especially if he's played by a 30 year old.

Deathgasm: I mean come on, it's called Deathgasm.

The Age of Adaline: This isn't bad if you take the precaution of going LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU every time the voiceover plays. Seriously, pseudoscience dreck they threw into that voiceover filled me with such rage it pulled me right out of the movie. Just let it be fucking magic. She's a Highlander, ok, move on. Geez. I haven't seen a movie so ably ruined by voiceover since Dark City.

The Last Survivors: This is a classic 80s-style apocalypse movie that owes a lot to the first Mad Max. I liked.

Martyrs: Actually, don't watch that trailer, it gives away the last third of the movie and makes it look like it's just torture-porn, which it isn't really. A Final Girl goes to an orphanage and makes a friend. Years later, that friend proves that friends help you move, but real friends help you movie bodies. Also: cults, man, they're everywhere.

It Follows: This sounded really dumb but it's a lot better than I expected, and medium-scary.

Excision: How did I manage to not hear about a horror-comedy that has John Waters, Traci Lords, Malcolm McDowell and Ray Wise in it?? This movie is about as creepy as American Mary or Teeth, and then at the end it takes a turn into, "Oh, this wasn't actually a comedy at all, was it?"

Some Kind of Hate: Kids get sent to rehab at Camp Crystal Lake, but the ghost-killer isn't Jason, it's the girl who was murdered there year before and she's really talkative about it, which was a pretty nice change. She's like, "Yeah, I'm going to possess you all to death because the world is awful and kids suck and I'm still really mad about the whole being murdered thing." Vengeance spirits don't usually just lay it all out on the table like that.

Listening: It's kind of Flatliners again, with a bit of the feel of Primer. It definitely has the feel of "movie about neurology written by someone who's never met a neurologist", so it doesn't really have that going for it. The ending was weak, and I wanted to see more singularity apocalypse. The Haphead haircuts made me smile though.

Crimson Peak: It was very pretty, but honestly, I've already completely forgotten it.

Gravy: If you're pretty drunk and you're thinking, "How about a splatter comedy about cannibals", maybe this is that movie. But probably not.

Nina Forever: Every time she has sex with her new boyfriend, his dead ex oozes up out of the sheets, Uncle Frank style. She doesn't like the new girl and they have to change the sheets a lot. I loved the hell out of this movie.

Deadpool: It is every bit as good as everyone is saying. This movie was everything I hoped it would be. Extremely satisfying. I've never read any comics that he was in, mostly because I think Rob Liefeld is one of the worst artists of all time, and also I have zero fucks for that "grim, gritty" Image-comics 90s nonsense. But holy crap, this movie is fun.


Incidentally: is there a decent replacement for the YIFY site, since they went into hiding? By which I mean: a curated index of high quality torrents of recent releases, not "type shit into a search engine like Kickass."

Previously.

Tags: , ,

32 Responses:

  1. M says:

    Kardashian scale?! D:

    • Jeremy Leader says:

      Apparently that's a thing, or perhaps jwz just brought it into existence, rule-34 style?

      "In general terms, a Type Kim civilization has achieved mastery of the vapid catch phrases and annoying movie quotes of its home planet, Type Khloe of its solar system, and Type Kourtney of its galaxy."

  2. MattyJ says:

    I was as surprised as anyone about Deadpool. The commercials/trailers made it look pretty dumb and I'm not a Ryan Reynolds fan. They pulled it off in every way.

    The Revenant was brutal, but good. If you're someone that notices cinematography and sound design you'll be excited about this one.

    Have we discussed Mad Max: Fury Road here yet? Seems like it would fit in with jwz's tastes.

    I'd hate to out myself as a sentimental sap, but Brooklyn was every bit as good as everyone says it was.

  3. Otto says:

    Try yts.ag for the new yify.

  4. thejmags says:

    When you say "It's Flatliners. Eh." I hope you're complaining about the rehash aspect, and not suggesting that Flatliners isn't a great film, and the best film in which any of its principals were involved.

    • jwz says:

      Well, I think you enjoyed Flatliners more than I did, but I think it was an OK movie. But I don't think it's such fascinating ground that needed to be re-tilled twice this year.

  5. Erik says:

    I'm hoping you're aware of and maybe have already seen the original French language version of Martyrs, made in 2008. I haven't seen the US remake, but my understanding is the ending was changed and very "Americanized". The original is a masterpiece with one of the best horror movie endings I've ever seen.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1029234/

    • Pedro says:

      Wait, there is a remake and they changed the ending? I loved that ending, it was so perfectly ambiguous and unexpected. One of my favorite movies of the last few years.

      Just more reinforcement for the rule: never watch remakes.

      • Erik says:

        See also: "The Vanishing". The original French version (1988) has one of the more disturbing endings you'll ever see. The American remake (1993) (made by the same director as the original!) has an Americanized, uplifting ending. Ugh.

  6. Green Dragon says:

    The English version of Humans totally mangled the original story line/characters from the Swedish version, which was so much better.

    And it was painful to watch Katherine Parkinson in this role after IT Crowd....

    Real Humans
    Äkta människor (original title)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2180271/

  7. James says:

    The part of Jupiter Ascending you liked was the beaurocratic permitting scenes? I would have guessed that was the part you hated most.

  8. mds says:

    I haven't seen a movie so ably ruined by voiceover since Dark City.

    Oh, very yes. I still halfway wish I had watched Dark City with the sound off. I mean, Richard H. Deckard on a popsicle stick, when the premise of a movie hinges on characters not knowing WTF is going on, it's okay for the audience to wonder "WTF is going on?" It's not like they came in to catch a Michael Bay flick, guys. I bet the critics would've been much more favorable to The Age of Adeline without the "As you know, Bob" malarkey, too.

    Anyway, thanks to how well The Numbers Station and Predestination panned out, I guess I have to add a couple more films to the queue. The Zawinski has spoken.

    • Elusis says:

      I still halfway wish I had watched Dark City with the sound off.

      So, I take it you never went to a goth club between about 2001 and 2009 then...

      • mds says:

        Fine, I halfway wish I had watched Dark City with the sound off the first time.

        Also, I did go to a goth club between 2001 and 2009, but they were closed.

    • Miguelitosd says:

      I always had this habit of FFWDing VHS tapes through the credits until the action started. So the first time I saw Dark City, I did, in fact, skip over the voice over... not knowing about it. Later when I got it on DVD I was surprised to hear it.

      Yes, the film was more awesome having skipped over said voiceover.

  9. jboy says:

    The Lobster is amazing and you should all see it. Best movie I've seen within the last 12 months.

    (I make this recommendation as someone with a moderate-to-high correlation of taste with JWZ in movies & music.)

  10. DC says:

    > those dirtbag assholes from Die Antwoord

    Keep chugging the haterade.

    What did they do thatcyou consider wrong?

  11. DC says:

    > those dirtbag assholes from Die Antwoord

    Keep chugging the haterade.

    What did they do thatcyou consider wrong?

  12. Eric says:

    Thanks for the Welcome to Me recommendation! Super good, and more ammo for my theory that Kristen Wiig is on a Bill Murray-like career arc.

  13. Leonardo Herrera says:

    Saw Chappie just yesterday. When I realized that it is not a science fiction movie, but a robot movie as envisioned by a twelve year old, I was completely happy. I think this is on purpose, given the font used in the end credits.

    (I mean, the script is ridiculous, the handwaving just too much to handle (I mean, without mentioning the "science" aspects - just look at the security in the ultra secure weapons factory) and the characters are exaggerated to the point of being caricatures...)

    • jwz says:

      There are just so many science fiction movies that have to be excused by saying "it's not actually a science fiction movie." I enjoy seeing science fiction movies that are actual science fiction movies.