Recent Movies and TV

  • The Matrix Resurrections (2021): Well that was a steaming pile of shit, wasn't it?

    Like, why did 10% of this movie feel like I was watching an episode of Seinfeld? Boy, give me some more of those techbro office scenes. I really want to hear what Nameless Nerd and Marketing Lady thought about the first film. It is never a good sign when the characters start giving you their blog review of the earlier, better movie, as also happened in Blade Runner 2049. But the best part, the absolute best part, is when the screenwriter stares directly into the camera and straight-up declares that they are currently shitting in your mouth:

      "I'm sure you can understand why our beloved parent company Warner Bros. has decided to make a sequel to the trilogy," he says, "with or without us."

    Basically the entire third act takes place standing around in a Starbucks. It left me curious about whether Jupiter Ascending was actually better than this. At least that didn't take place in a Starbucks.

    Also it was a gross vision of San Francisco. The entire city is Kearny and California with 3 static landmarks photoshopped in. I'll bet London Breed loved it, though! So many faceless cops. So clean and rich!

    I feel like this movie should have been made with lego.

  • Eternals (2021): I completely lost interest in this somewhere around hour five. It wasn't as bad as Inhumans, I guess? It felt more like a DC movie than a Marvel movie. I kept expecting Darkseid-I-mean-Thanos to show up when they were fighting Galactus-I-mean-The-Celestial. And weirdly, it contained multiple jokes about DC characters, who apparently exist as comic books in the MCU? I have so many questions about this.

  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021): This was so fun, and cute. It was hilarious and I loved it. It was very much it's own story, but with nice connections to the original. The Harold Ramis bits felt like a tribute rather than exploitative, and the cameos were good.

  • Red Snow (2021): A failing vampire novelist catches an actual vampire in her garage, forces him to read her manuscript. Antics, and Christmas Cheer, ensue. It's fun.

  • Antlers (2021): This was pretty scary. A school teacher eventually figures out that her Troubled Student is dealing with some Supernatural Shit at home, antics ensue.

  • Don't Look Up (2021): Comet denialists. I understand that this was intended as a heavy-handed climate-change metaphor, but it also works pretty well as a heavy-handed COVID metaphor. It is a good movie but it was very hard to watch. It's full of one-note, terrible, venal people letting the world end because it benefits them personally in the extremely short term, and that's not even satire any more, that's just our world, so it was pretty hard to laugh at it.

  • The Bite (2021): This is it, the COVID-but-also-zombies story you've been waiting for. I liked this a lot. Though much of it is a "zoom movie" it's not all shot through webcams -- there are actual sets, and direction. And if like me you had been revisiting the plot of every zombie movie you've ever seen through the lens of COVID, wondering where the "muh freedoms" zombie denialists are, and the "but we have to reopen the economy" government spin is, here we are. Spoiler, it does not go well.

  • Jakob's Wife (2021): A very classic-style vampire movie, with Barbara Crampton! Very fun.

  • Shadow in the Cloud (2020): A WWII gremlin movie, mostly set inside a ball turret. Tense and well done. Shatner does not appear.

  • Porno (2019): Some extremely Christian 80s teens working in a movie theatre find a mysterious reel in the basement. They think it's a porno but I guess it's really Suspiria, but has some extra SATAN all over it. Pretty funny.


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20 Responses:

  1. Dude says:

    Oy... so much leading up to Matrix Resurrections said it would be bad (even before we need of Breed's cameo), but Blade Runner: 2049-bad? Just... damn.

    Oddly, I'm morbidly curious to see it with the sound off due to your report of how it portrays SF. The recent Invisible Man is my current "worst" of films showing SF, but that was shot entirely in Australia (save for some aerial shots).

    Heard good things about Antlers. I'm curious about Don't Look Up, but I'm not eager to sit through another DiCaprio scream-fest.

    • Dude says:

      Sorry: "...knew of Breed's cameo".

    • MattyJ says:

      Jennifer Lawrence does most of the screaming, and it's a pretty funny bit.

    • Dude says:

      Oh good, now none of us have to see it at all (which is a shame to the extent that I love to support work with Oakland's own Yahya Abdul-Mateen II - whom I worked with as an actor years back - but I'm skipping this the same way I'll skip his upcoming Michael Bay flick with Gyllenhaal):

    • Elusis says:

      The biggest problem with watching "Don't Look Up" is that exactly as jwz reports above, you will experience being reasonably well entertained but also very, very, disillusioned and hopeless at the same time, which I personally find to be an extremely unpleasant feeling something like drinking a double vodka and Red Bull that one time at karaoke. Both experiences more or less made me want to crawl out of my skin, start punching people on sight, and also assume the fetal position under a table while vomiting my lungs out. But also, I could not bring myself to stop doing either of them until there was no more left, because they produced just enough serotonin to convince me that a little more might actually make me feel better. (Narrator: "They did not.")

      Also, I am here to report that jwz, you should definitely watch "How To with John Wilson." (Dude, I realize the genre of "awkward white man-child doing stuff while being given money by a production company" is one that I'm aware many Black folks find particularly exasperating. However, it's normally one I wouldn't touch with someone else's 10-foot pole* and I found it weirdly compelling, so, your call obviously.)


  2. Shay says:

    It seems all my trans* friends like the new matrix.

    A person with not as smart friends as I am could think they’re liking the director and projecting it on the movie.

    But my friends are smart, and can tell when good people make shitty movies.

    So I have to assume the movie speaks about something in the trans* experience that I, as a non-trans* person, would never understand.

    This isn’t a movie for me. And it’s perfectly ok.

    • rcn says:

      Your friends may be smart but that doesn’t make them less biased. There’s really no redeeming quality in that movie, it’s just awful.

      And every Lana Wachowski movie is supposed to be about the trans experience to some degree, specially since she’s Lana(according to her).

    • Diddle says:

      I can totally see why they do.

      All I got from the movie was "Girls can do it too!". Which is a good message, but that alone can't carry a movie.
      Then I thought, maybe this in-movie talk about making another game (movie), a new trilogy, wasn't really written dialogue but transcripts of actual meetings.

      The monologues of The Analyst are good though and very truthful. So read those bits of the movie script and you're set.

      • Shay says:

        See, that’s exactly that - I don’t think that’s the message, and I don’t think either of us gets the message, because like being trans*, it is something we cis would never understand.

        • jwz says:

          I don't give a shit what message some hypothetical other person might have taken from this movie. The movie I saw was complete dogshit.

          If someone else enjoyed it, good for them. That affects my experience not at all. What I saw was insulting trash.

      • David Konerding says:

        I think what most people don't appreciate is that the new Matrix movie is really the first part of the Merovingian's rehabilitation. Most people don't know this but the Merovingian is the core character around which the entire movie revolves.

  3. ennui says:

    The Wachowskis missed a chance to go full Neon Genesis Evangelion but with an interminable finale of marketing analysis focus group bobbleheads instead of Erhard Seminars Training. I think the Matrix got 'em...

    Also, since you got to compare onscreen, it was hard not to notice how dogshit telenovela the new footage looked along with the incredible plastic people AKA the new Matrix Avengers(tm).

  4. Dave says:

    I kept thinking the same thing about Don't Look Up. "Everybody says this is an allegory for climate, but goodness there are a lot of people in here that remind me of COVID misinformation adventurers and the like"

    • tfb says:

      Don't Look Up (which I liked) is a terrible allegory for climate change. If something happens (like a predicted big Earth impact or, say, a virus) which is going to kill a lot of people / everyone in a year then likely humans are at least a bit up to dealing with that. Climate change is always a decade away from being much worse than it is now and that's way over everyone's horizon so people do fuck all.

      (And I'm reading this and trying to persuade myself that we're actually doing not that badly with CV19 – developing vaccines and vaccinating almost everyone is an amazing feat. Except we didn't vaccinate enough people even in rich countries and I'm not sure we're even trying at elimination without which it will keep fucking us for ever. So, no, I'm wrong: it's a fine analogy, and we're just fucked.)

      • ailepet says:

        If Don't Look Up was taking place in China, the comet would have been wiped out 20 minutes into the movie. Stop projecting US impotence on the rest of the world!

        More seriously (the previous statement was a joke, in case that wasn't obvious), I have read some pieces in favor of Don't Look Up (such as the one linked on this blog) and I'm still not conviced this movie is great satire. Sure, making fun of Trumps and Musks is always relevant, but from my European point of view, those who are sacrifying the humanity in the face of impending doom do not look like those clowns, and to me, that what's make them dangerous.

        State leaders go to COP25, literaly tell us that the summit is "our only hope left", then decide to keep up with burning coal anyway. South countries ask for freeing vaccine patents and North leaders plainly refuse. Migrants are drowning at our borders and they keep funding detention camps and coast guards operated by failed states. They're not the buffoons depicted in Don't Look Up, spreading conspiracy theories or making up techno-altruistic motives. They're the "normal" presidents and prime ministers, the Merkels and the Macrons, sure to get reelected as long as some fascist outsider gets popular enough to scare off everyone else from actually take part in the democratic process. Those are absent from the Idiocracy-like landscape of Don't Look Up, where there is nothing else to do than watch the comet crash, or ignore it. I'm not fond of this nihilistic apathy.

        Global warming (or COVID) won't even kill everybody on the spot; at the very least, we're gonna have to deal with who should die first.

  5. cpt says:

    That was weird about Eternals (and the Raimi Spider-Man movies) since the conceit in the comics is that there is a Marvel Comics of Earth-616 and that for some time in the 80s and 90s Steve Rogers (who was still maintaining a secret identity at the time) was the artist for the official Captain America comic book there.

    Astro City did something similar.

    • Eric TF Bat says:

      As far as I can remember, Marvel TV shows have always had throw-away gag references to DC comics, and vice versa -- and of course both of them mention Star Wars all the time. JWZ will have missed the constant Spider Man jokes on The Flash due to him having far better taste than me and not nostalgia-binging that heaping pile of shit.

      What seems odd to me is that they've done it in the movie now. On TV, it's just a mythology gag for the viewers, but on movies it pretty much counts as product placement. Why is Marvel advertising DC "products"? That's just weird.

  6. Dude says:

    Diggin' this line from the Eternals Honest Trailers:

    Chloé Zhao brings Jack Kirby's most psychedelic art to the screen... in soothing grays and beiges.

    Seriously, after the first Doctor Strange, you can't move backwards with that shit.