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Films - Watched and Thoughts 2021

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JANUARY - (11 films)

  1. One Cut of the Dead (2017) [Shudder] 4/5*
  2. Host (2020) [Shudder] 3/5*
  3. Tenet (2020) [UHD] 3.5/5*
  4. Man of Tai Chi (2013) [BD] 2.5/5*
  5. Project Power (2020) [Netflix] 3.5/5*
  6. Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) [Netflix] 4.5/5*
  7. Sound of Metal (2019) [Amazon Prime] 5/5*
  8. Unhinged (2020) [BD] 3/5*
  9. The New Mutant (2020) [Plex] 2.5/5*
  10. On The Rocks (2020) [AppleTV+] 3.5/5*
  11. Puncture (2011) [Amazon Prime] 3/5*


FEBRUARY - (8 films)

  1. His House (2020) [Netflix] 3.5/5*
  2. Palmer (2021) [AppleTV+] 4/5*
  3. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (2012) [HBOMAX] 2.5/5*
  4. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013) [HBOMAX] 2.5/5*
  5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) [BD] 5/5*
  6. Marshall (2017) [Plex] 4/5*
  7. The Dig (2021) [Netflix] 3/5*
  8. V for Vendetta (2005) [UHD] 5/5*


MARCH - (6 films)

  1. Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995) [BD] 3.5/5*
  2. Coming 2 America (2021) [Amazon Prime] 3.5/5*
  3. Star Trek: First Contact (1996) [BD] 2.5/5*
  4. Dark City (1998) [BD] 2.5/5*
  5. Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) [HBOMAX] 2/5*
  6. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) [BD] 3.5/5*


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Shadow of the Vampire - The front of the DVD box was very misleading. It said, "A Shockingly Funny Spellbinder".  I thought this was a drama? Anyways, I though it was alright. There was not a single laugh to be found. Must be an intellectual joke only jazz and wine snobs laugh at.


Dracula 2000 - Ah yes, when late 90's/early 2000 movies had a particular look to them. I kind of thought it was hilarious passing off a Scotsman as Slavic. But thanks to this movie and 300, I have no doubt in my mind Gerard Butler would make an excellent live-action Groundskeeper Willie.


The Grudge (Sarah Michelle Gellar version) - Did I get old? I remember when stuff like this was freaky and scared me sleepless. Now I'm like whenever someone dies, it's like, "well, that's inconvenient to clean up."


The Twelve Chairs - Early Mel Brooks is definitely early Mel Brooks. You see the skeleton of his style when watching this, but it really strikes me as a very old film. If it was better and more significant to film history may be it could use a restoration?


To Be Or Not To Be - That's a very low bar for an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Didn't realize it was a remake until I researched it a bit. It wasn't directed by him, and it didn't feel like a Mel Brooks film either.


Silent Movie - This was very uneven for me. There's stuff that made me laugh out loud (the mime struggling to walk into the room and the knight scene with Liza Minelli). I'm not sure why this made me laugh other than the sheer stupidity. Then there's the small interludes that were more silly than funny. The brick joke with the mime fell flat for me, but I'll admit it is a difficult one to pull off. If this movie made me realize anything, it's that the spoof/satire in the modern age has been dead for a very long while now. Genre self-awareness is built into the movie template now, and to be honest I hate that. I blame Joss Whedon for this.


The History of the World, Part 1 - Why is this rated R again? I'm probably desensitized thanks to all the violent movies and couples-friendly porn I watch. Otherwise, a solid effort although like most of his other work it'll probably be forgotten.


A Mighty Wind - There's a combination of genre awareness and paying close attention to dialogue and context that makes me wonder if this kind of movie can still work in 2021. Otherwise I enjoyed it, but the shocking part is that the songs are actually good. And not "we're making fun of folk songs", but a "genuine love letter to folk songs" good. Last five minutes of this movie wouldn't fly anymore during this modern era though. On a side note, my brother and his wife say they may own Best In Show, but I'm not sure how funny spoofing a dog show can be.


I've got one more day hanging out with the parental units. I'll see what other movies I can watch. Definitely not watching Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.

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Make Way For Tomorrow - One of the greatest films about the Depression + the impact it had afterwards on families. Older couple lose their house, and end up getting "split" between their children as noone will take them both in. There's some humour in how they fit into their socially climbing kids' lifestyles, but really, it's all about the pathos + an incredibly unflinching ending. It's definitely a film of its time in looks, but it's worth a watch if a black & white 1930s pre-war society statement film is in your wheelhouse :) 

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#Alive - Just awful. Stupidity all around and a lack of attention to detail.


Soul - I wasn't expecting it to hit the feels. I really didn't. I'll have to rewatch it, but this was much better than I expected.


The Scorpion King - Finally got to watch this cheese fest. The generic nature of it would be a lot more forgiving if it logically tied into the Mummy series.

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So I liked Tenet. I’m of the mind that it could have used some minor exposition that more clearly explained the rules and Pattinson’s character sort of teases it near the end with Kat’s character healing and it cuts away almost like a big fuck you. Despite that, it gets more interesting with subsequent viewings as you put the pieces together. It’s not Nolan’s best but it seems to be strangely maligned for having the audacity to release during Covid crisis and bombing in the process (maybe I’m reading that tea leaves wrong there?). Overall, I rather enjoyed it though. It was indeed LOUD as hell which someone mentioned in the previous thread.

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The China Syndrome - I swear I've seen this before on BBC2 or somewhere 20+ years ago, but I genuinely didn't remember the details. Wow. This is a 70s film ahead of its time in how it frames TV reporters against the commercial interests that their channel need to profit from and the even more difficult conversation about business vs safety + nuclear power... Jane Fonda + Jack Lemmon dominate the screen in different ways, and the supporting cast is just as riveting.

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The Fountain - I keep revisiting this film because when it released in 2006 it just hit me in the feels at the right time, and I've made it a point to watch it on a yearly basis for the past 3 years. It just clicks with me. I've read criticisms of it over the years, and they're all valid. But I look past those things, and I just experience the catharsis that comes from watching this film. It's turning into an all-time top-20 favorite for me.


Silver Bullet - Meh. Stephen King adaptations are genre on their own, and this is middle of the road lower end sort of deal.


Stardust - The movie was alright. But the important facts are I'm convinced Michelle Pfeiffer (saw her in Antman & Wasp) and Jennifer Connelly are the only two people on the planet Earth that have hit the Quadruple Crown of Hot Teen, Hot Young Adult, Hot Older Adult, Hot Much Older Adult category.


Case 39 - This movie wants me to quit Netflix. I mean the deep catalogue for Netflix is awful. It's only good for "new" content, and it's starting to run low.



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Bliss, on Amazon Prime.  I rather liked this.  It's sci-fi (ish?), and gives you plenty to think about in the "is it real or is it a simulation" sense. Or it could be making a statement about drug addiction and the alternate realities an addict creates for himself. 


I think it's sci-fi, but there's probably no real answer. Definitely there are some clues sprinkled throughout to support either interpretation, and I'm still thinking about it. 


Check it out. 


I give it 4 out of 5 Hayek 'splosives. 

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Bacurau - this is the Brazilian grindhouse flick you didn't know you wanted, mixing environmentalism, anti-Colonialism, with a weird outback vibe of forgotten villages, jungle drugs, rebels, ghosts, and a possible UFO. There's more but it's better to absorb it as it comes. Very violent, very good. 

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One more from this weekend - New Jack City. I remember this is a stylish, anti-drug policy, anti-gang, anti-crack "gangsta" flick with Ice T + Welsey Snipes... And it is... But man, has it aged. It's so very much of its time in looks + music, dialogue + direction. Compared to something like Do The Right Thing that's still razer sharp + relevant... Wow, it's aged. 


Still enjoyed it. ;) 

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Have not had the mental energy or focus for new films lately. 


Shadow in the Cloud - WW2 drama, very narrow focus of a woman agent stuck in the lower gunner bubble of a bomber with a secret on board and what looks like a gremlin outside. It's very Twilight Zone-y with that setup, obviously, it's got a heavy dash of women empowerment from the setup, but it throws the plot + consistency to the wind whenever tension or action will work more. I enjoyed it far more than I should because of the lead actress pulling everything forward and some good action moments as a result. 


The Last Blockbuster - Ugh. A great documentary subject - the woman who has managed the last Blockbuster in the contiguous US for the last 15  years - wasted with surface level pop culture talking heads, surface level dismissal of the technical reasons why Blockbuster failed, and a lack of focus on the community in Bend Oregon around the shop. One single cinema obsessed customer is not enough to make a doc. I learned more about the downfall of Blockbuster from the recent Netflix book + doc than this - "oh no netflix, oh no icahnn, oh no market crash".. The manager clearly cares about her staff + community, and I wanted to see more of them. 

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Level 16 - Low budget Candian indie flick that takes elements of The Handmaid's Tale, throws in a big heavy dash of Fallout's Vaults + maybe a dash of the recent TV version of His Dark Materials in how it wants to present itself, but with a much lower quality because of the budget. Daughter + I dug it - simple sets + plot, mostly good acting, and a solid arc to the story. "The twists" are clear to any fans of the genre, but it was all new to my daughter, which was cool. Keep expectations in check - definitely a Fantastic Fest style genre piece on a budget.

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Godzilla vs Kong - Two hours I’ll spend again this weekend. Big, wonderfully silly and it pushes the human nonsense as far into the background as possible cause it knows it’s just there to get you to what you came to see. The last 40 minutes are on par with Pacific Rim in terms of modern Kaiju battle porn. This isn’t high art but it’s probably the most evocative of those old Heisei period films. I expect many to dislike it for that. I was as giddy watching it as I was Pacific Rim.


Summed up: It’s a whole lotta stupid shit to get these two to fight and it’s glorious when they do.

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The Last Cruise -  Doc using footage filmed by the crew + passengers on the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship that visited Hong Kong & was then placed in abysmally executed quarantine in Japan at the 'start' of the Covid 19 crisis. As it's 100% based on footage from individuals on the boat, it's split between the privileged & the crew, and trying to put both viewpoints in the context of the unfolding crisis... But there's little insight... We've seen the pleas from the crew after the rich Americans get airlifted off, and this isn't adding much to their stories. And seeing mostly glib moments from the passengers,  until "it's real"? Meh. 


This is getting a lot of positive reviews + awards, and it just didn't work for me. 

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