Rate the Last Movie You've Seen!
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

    It is good, but I was disappointed.  Worth seeing on the big screen, some really beautiful scenes.  What made the first one so refreshing was the originality.  This just takes all the stuff that worked in the first one and does that stuff over and over again.  Every battle is a 70s tune.  I love the Groot titles, but by the third battle, I was like, "Another AM tune?  PS not all these songs are totally awesome."  They end on Flashlight, which a classic now, never got much radio time when it was released.  The number of post credit scenes is out of control.  They are funny, but again, too much of the same.  The middle kinda drags and just way to much unimaginative exposition.  At one point, we actually got a HALL OF EXPOSITION, complete with visual aids.  Villian power point is the opposite of good writing.  It does go for it on the jokes.  They did not all land, but the effort was there.  "Ahhhh! my nipples!"

    Ninja Assassin (2009)

    Another good film that seems like it should be better.  An ignored B movie jem, and one of the best Ninja movies ever made.  Seeing Sho Kosugi read JM Straczynski dialogue is a real treat.It's biggest problem is that it cannot settle the rules for ninjas.  Sometimes they are invisible, invulnerable, teleporting demons; sometimes they die by the dozens.  Great fight choreography, worth seeing.
  • Captain Fantastic - 3 cremations out of 5.
  • Logan

    It was good. Everything just fit, unless you nit-pick certain details, and the comparison between the comics. 

    Ninja Assassin's awesome.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 -- 7/10

    I honestly wasn't a big fan of the first, which had a overdone ending and never felt as funny as the trailers suggested it might be. Most people seem to like the first more, but I appreciate the sequel's wholesale leap into Technicolor dreamscapes, and a bizarre, almost Hitchhiker Galaxy feel to everything, where everybody, no matter the circumstances, is a wisecracking smart ass. Villains included.

    Other than a trite opening scene that sees Baby Groot dancing while calamity ensues, and the fact that needle dropping old pop songs while violence flies stopped being as humorously ironic as it was when first seen in the 90s, the beginning two-thirds of this film are really snappy. The humour is on point, the tension between Rocket and the rest of the crew is apparent but never overdone, and the movie zips along. Both Drax and Gamora are great, and Starlord is well-worn by Pratt. It's the last third things become a bit overburdened with exposition and Sudden Revelations. Why, for instance, does Ego spit out the thing about the tumor? How does Rocket actually know there'd be a chain reaction? 

    There are things that feel a bit off, too. The Sovereign are kind of interesting in the beginning and might have made a funny antagonist, but they're quickly pushed aside. The whistle dart thing goes from "pretty OP' to "non-creative means of escape in any and all situations" and that's a shame. And the 5 - yes, 5 - credit scenes are just about 4 too many, nor are they very interesting, anyways.

    All that said, it's a fun movie. Worldbuilding a galaxy where everyone has a joke to make isn't easy, but it feels right at this point. It's a full frontal visual and audio assault that succeeds more often than not.

    Captain Fantastic -- 5/10

    This is a decently acted piece that never really manages to say perhaps as it could and does definitely feel like the kind of movie some holistic rich white 22 year old would make. It takes place largely in Washington wilderness where a father raises his kids living off the land, espousing Trotskyist ideology, railing about capitalism, religion, business, and more, and self-teaching physics, philosophy, quantum mechanics, etc. While watching the movie, I was frequently assaulted with a feeling of nothing important happening. A character's suicide happens so fast that it becomes a major plot point is a bit weird. The characters involved notch every stereotype you could hope, including one deciding to travel to Namibia because he spun a globe and that's what his finger hit. They even have super wealthy family to fall back on if the whole anarcho-syndicalist thing didn't work. 

    There are some definite positives. Viggo Mortensen is really good. The youngest actors in the movie are surprisingly really good, too. The one sexy romance scene is funny and awkward. The soundtrack is airy and dreamy and features Sigur Ros, giving an sense of thoughtfulness. The scenes when the family has divisions or disagreements are well done. But the entire ending doesn't really make much logistical sense, with a whole bunch of legal and practical realities thrown out the window.

    There's just nothing really the stands out, nothing that breaks from stereotype, and even the ending message the movie portrays feels like genuflecting to all parties involved. It's not bad, it's just not really good, either.
  • Dallas Buyer's Club -- 7/10

    A ridiculously well acted piece that veers into pseudoscience and sadly casted a white straight dude as trans. That's no knock on Leto, who really did, in pure technical terms, act exceptionally well. But it is demeaning and lazy. McConaughey was tremendous too. A slight theme in some of these movies; over the top foreshadowing and visual metaphors. At one point, McConaughey's character asks for a sign from god. A few minutes later, he hallucinates a sad clown in a barrel in an empty rodeo arena. Excuse me? This movie is littered with moments like that, and has a really, really cheesy ending. It's a shame. The character study side of things is tremendous. The tragedy of how America reacted to AIDS is never smashed over our faces but constantly and depressingly present. A movie that is simultaneously brilliant and also flawed and unimaginative.

    Wonder Woman -- 9/10

    A tremendously earnest piece the feels like it fits into the superhero archetype without also feeling like Marvel's by the numbers formula at this point. It's a superhero movie that we all needed, even if it's message of hope and love isn't necessarily new to the genre, and the idea of someone brought into a new world isn't either - Gadot and Pine deliver it so convincingly I can't really complain. Does some of the action not really make sense? Yeah I guess. And if Wonder Woman thought Ares' creation of World War 1 was awful, wait until she sees the sequel, World War 2. But there's a bit of boundary pushing here, a reflection on death and grief and suffering that Marvel only started daring approach in Civil War (and even then they largely framed it poorly). It's nice to see a woman in the lead role and it's nice to see some (admittedly short and offhand) comments about race. It's just sadly surprising that we don't have a whole lot of super hero movies, all of which are laden with action, come out this strongly against war and suffering and violence. Captain America always treated it a bit like a celebratory good old American romp. Iron Man is too smarmy until Civil War to even dare reflect on anything. In fact, that was really the first time Marvel reflected on any of the wanton destruction. I appreciate the more nuanced view here immensely. 
  • Wonder Woman - 3/5 

    A refreshingly honest movie, with a message that goes a long way even today. Sadly marred by some really rough effects work, an absolutely horrendous third act that ends the entire experience on a sour note and an evil "McGuffin" that somehow makes less sense than the usual superhero fare as it actually tries to root itself in real chemical warfare.
  • Raw -- 4/10

    Yucks and schmucks abound in this decidedly French art body horror film that suffers from a distinct lack of tension and a lot of questionable scenes. The world the movie creates is weird and otherworldly but by not following through on any realism or causing other characters to react to the horrors around them, the entire thing comes off as surprisingly nonthreatening. None of the characters express that they're in danger so why should a viewer think they are? The lead actress also has a tendency to over act, glaring and burrowing her brows when wanting to display aggression, all with frequent slow closeups and a ridiculous soundtrack to go along with it. A sisterly peeing scene, a repeated car crash scene, and others all feel unnecessary. The main character's sister is the most compelling here, coming off as cocky and simultaneously caring and also threatening, she swaggers through scenes like she owns the place. All in all, it feels like a missed opportunity. It's never scary, and never tense, and needed a bit more of the cannibalism elements and less of the pee/poop/pubes elements.
  • Dune -- 1/10

    I've seen it a couple times now and I still can not even begin to wrap my head around how amazingly, excruciatingly bad it is. Multiple voice over narrations that often are pointless and beyond painfully awkward, incredibly disconcerting acting, a hack job of the book, and atrocious effects even given the time period. It goes beyond bad, past so bad it's good, and straight to "holy shit why does this exist" bad. The final line of the movie, however, gets me every time. It's like ending a book in the middle of a sentence.

    300 -- 1/10

    I was bored and sat through the first hour. Why? I do not know. It's aged horrifically. What was a stunted, crude, pointless racist two hours of thin plot and ridiculous gore is, well, still all of that and even more glaringly racist and unnecessary. Even putting aside that issue, it serves no function but to hack limbs. The plot is more meager than a Michael Bay movie, and the action way less compelling. Any instance of attempted drama and emotion is so overdone and rushed it's almost laughable, but it's too crappy to even do that. The sound mixing is completely bananas, in a bad way. No redeeming aspects to this film.
  • San Andreas - 3/10

    Boring as all fuck. Paint by the numbers disaster film. The Rock is The Rock.
  • Wonder Woman 

    Good, not great. Way better than all recent DC. It paints an actual character has some sense of fun. I thought it tried to be a little original at the end and might look muddled to some. Somebody has got to go to Warner Bros and burn all of their blue filters.  Holy crap, way to many dark dreary shots after we leave the island.  Gadot was way better at the role than I would have guessed.  Mediocre, but mediocre is miles ahead of Murder Man vs Mopey Man.  I still have little hope for Justice League.  The trailer for Black Panther was way more exciting and that Killer Mike beat is awesome.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 -- 5/10

    I still think this is silly and over-done and cheap at times, particularly the final 45 minutes or so, which just sort of loses the smarminess for more straight laced, rope humour and over-the-top drama. The rest is fine, particularly Drax. Still not high on Groot. All the tears at the end in a movie that up until then never takes itself seriously are kind of painful to sit through.

    Mystery at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian -- 5/10

    It's cute, cromulent kid's movie stuff. Some funny lines, some silly lines and over-acting, and weird crossovers with Star Wars and Sesame Street. The action is mostly bad. Ben Stiller is a decent 'everyman' type guy in this movie and keeps it grounded. You could do a lot better and a lot worse.
  • War Machine -- 8/10

    This movie is getting mixed reviews from critics but has been super popular in the halls of the Pentagon and DoD, which is surprising, considering how utterly critical this is of, well, everyone. Nobody escapes it here; soldiers, the president himself, the American people, but especially generals. The American obsession with a strong leader, with winning, with kicking ass, even when all the evidence says we can't is on display here. General McMahon isn't a bad guy, he's just incompetent, surrounded by incompetence, commanded by more incompetence, and all for fucking what? 60 years now of Middle East policy that has relied on bombs and missiles and coups, and no stability, democracy, or security to show for it. It's a funny film, sometimes darkly so, and has a streak of Heller's Catch-22 running through it. And like many good post-modern war films, it has little actual war. Instead, it's about hearts and minds (on all sides), on projection, on politics, on... it. Whatever it is. It being why America keeps invading Middle East countries. We still seem keen for it. This movie lays bare why it shouldn't even be a thing at all.

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