Recent movies and tv

Ok, maybe not so recent, I guess the last time I did one of these was ten months ago.

This is not everything that I've watched -- just some that I had something to say about. I saw many other things that were both terrible and yet also not really worthy of comment.

Counterpart: This is my favorite series of the last year. It's a Cold War spy story set in Berlin, in the modern day, except the "wall" is between universes that have diverged only slightly. J. K. Simmons does a fantastic job playing both versions of himself, even when one is impersonating the other.

Killing Eve: The great thing about this show is how it bounces back and forth between glamorizing this cool, hot assassin (a thing that we have seen so many times) and then rubbing your nose in the fact that she's actually murdering people and that's horrible. Then right back to, "But look how sweet it is when she flirts via home invasion and kidnapping! Awwww!" Great acting and some great writing; plot has a few too many convenient coincidences.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: I enjoyed this a lot. The acting is sometimes a little stiff, but it's fun. The comic that it's based on is good, too, and much darker.

Strange Angel: Jack Parsons, rocketry pioneer and Thelemite mystical loony. It takes a little while for the first season to dig in to the Crowley stuff, but once it does it's really fun.

Look Away: This was a pretty solid "haunted mirror" movie. As an entry in that well-trod genre, it doesn't have a whole lot of surprises, but it's well done.

Nightflyers (2018): I ffwd'd through most of this. It's absolute garbage. I'd call it a rip-off of Event Horizon but that's not vicious enough -- it's a rip-off of Cloverfield Paradox, right down to the space ship's idiotic design. Yet another space ship that has spinning rings, but in the sets, "down" is along the axis, because gravity totally works that way? Remember all the good feelings that The Expanse gave you when they got physics right? Yeah, watch this to have all of that just faaaaade away. Oh, also all the characters are awful and their motivation for being out there at all is ...?

Nightfliyers (1987): I rewatched this because I had some vague fond memories of it. I was wrong. It's better than the 2018 version, I guess? Barely?

Haunting of Hill House: Not bad, but took entirely too long to get to the point. Also the interminable "happy ending" final episode could have been skipped.

Siren: I'm glad to see that The Lure and Grinding Nemo The Shape of Water have revitalized the "carnivorous mermaid" genre. This series is about a small town and their mermaid problem. It's a little bro-y, but the mermaids are nicely vicious.

Blue My Mind: Mermaidism as puberty, so basically a fishy Ginger Snaps. It's dark, I liked it.

Bad Times At The El Royale: This is a pretty glorious Tarantino-esque... heist movie, I guess? It was really fun all the way through. The trailer gives away too much, don't watch it.

Hereditary: Genuinely scary, with very subtle effects that are way more effective for it. And it doesn't over-explain itself.

Black Mirror Bandersnatch: I suppose this admission will lose me some nerd cred, but: I have always hated multiple-choice video games. In fact, I even dislike most modern games that simulate having a "plot" by locking you onto rails like it's Dragon's Lair or something. But this was well reviewed, and so I was happy to have found a torrent of it that was just a flat version of the movie, with a few resets edited in to see most of the endings, so that I could just watch it instead of needing to play it. Well, it's all pretty lame and doesn't make much sense. I'm so glad I didn't waste my time manually traversing a flowchart just to get there.

Incredibles 2: I expected this to be good, but I didn't get around to seeing it until recently, and here's what I don't understand: how did nobody tell me that one of the villains is called Screenslaver? Because I totally would have seen it sooner.

A Quiet Place: Yet another entry in the "You incurious motherfuckers, how are you still alive??" genre. Also it's "all about fambly." Hooray. Oh, I loved the part in the middle where they say, "We're safe here by the waterfall because it's so loud." Yes, by all means let's not stay here. Fuck this movie.

Bird Box: This is exactly the same movie as A Quiet Place except that the screenwriter did not have a concussion. The plot holes are... smaller, the acting is better, but there's really not much more to it. "Better than A Quiet Place" is a low bar.

Peppermint: Jennifer Garner Gets Revenge. It's simple but it blows up real good.

Assassination Nation: The first 2/3rds of this were a fun rehash of Heathers via Mean Girls, and I was down for that, but then it turned into The Purge and I 100% lost interest. Rarely has the third act of a movie lost me so hard: I had been fully onboard before that. It was better than Tragedy Girls, at least.

Thoroughbreds: Teen Girl Psychopaths is turning into a genre now, isn't it? Well, this is a more enjoyable entry in the genre than the above.

Never Goin' Back: This is what use used to call a "slacker movie" back when it was about Gen X. I really enjoyed watching these high dumbasses and their terrible, failed grifts and poop jokes.

The Spy Who Dumped Me: It's got a definite Romy and Michelle feel to it.

I Still See You: Suddenly the world is full of ghosts, and nobody knows how to deal with it and is really sad. Maybe they're trying to communicate? Maybe they're echoes? Maybe they're in hell? I liked this a lot, and it's one of the rare movies where I actually hope they do a sequel, because there's more of this world to explore. It's sort of like the Ghostbusters sequel advocated for in this Twitter thread:

I want a ghostbusters movie set in the immediate aftermath of the first one that's about regular new yorkers grappling with the knowledge that the soul persists past the death of the body, but sometimes you end up as a green monster man.
"Who you gonna call?" "My therapist, I guess."

Happytime Murders: I hope they never make a sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but this will do, Pig. This will do.

Upgrade: A guy is possessed by his device driver. The effects on the fight scenes are really good; a lot of it feels practical, even if it isn't. The plot is... eh.

Tau: A creep kidnaps a woman and she escapes by befriending his house and teaching it that it was a real boy after all. Not bad, but predictable.

Next Gen: A girl and her robot battle Steve Jobs. This was really fun, very much in the vein of Iron Giant.

Elizabeth Harvest: Bluebeard has a clone vat. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's pretty.

Siberia: This will do while we're waiting for more John Wick.

Tags: , , , ,