Rate the Last Movie You've Seen!
  • Avengers Endgame

    It is fantastic. Return of the Jedi for this generation. Star Wars is in second place for now. They try to payoff on everything they possibly can. I won't be dropping spoilers, but I will have to make general statements. They start by re establishing the loss, first in even more personal scenes, then by piling on more failure, and then by showing how different Avengers take the loss. I love how some characters just straight up fold, become shadows or nightmares of their former selves. It is heartbreaking and surprisingly humorous at times.

    Setting up for the solution is a massive retrospective on the twenty one previous films. It is just fanboy fodder like nothing you have ever seen. I just cannot think of something like this in film history. Nobody else has ever webbed twenty plus movies together quite like this. It really makes you appreciate the level of planning Marvel has put in. They are trying to kill you emotionally. You are going to be reminded of all the puppies that have been lost and found in all of these stories. The whole time, they are using really good jokes to counterpoint the emotional heaviness. I have watched it twice so far, and there are so many lines you miss the first time, that smash you the second time. I wonder how much it will change rewatching old MCU films for me.

    The culmination is better than what I hoped for, as good as any pop culture climax as I can think of. I would say more, but I wish to spoil nothing. We may never see a movie with this many movie stars in it, ever again.

    If I had to criticize, it has to be long movie and some of the episodes in it may not be to your liking. I think they do a great job with pacing and tone, but man are they trying to put together a lot of pieces. The other big criticism would be continuity. There are many unanswered questions at the end. Some of those are clearly on purpose, you see the door they left open. Others just look like plot holes they could not seem to write themselves out of, even though spend a lot of character dialogue on these very issues. Obviously this is not a movie where internal consistency is primary, people fly with rocket boots and raccoons talk. You gotta suspend your disbelief. I do wonder if we are going to get a straight up multiverse out of this. Anyway a nerd argument for a different thread. This is an incredible movie and an incredible conclusion to forty plus hours of movie making.

    Now, if you will excuse me, I have to wait for the big GoT battle, and wonder how the ending of a Star Wars trilogy will be kind of a let down, compared to previous pop events this year. Also, Shazam kinda sucks.
  • Avengers: Endgame (6/10)

    This is a spoiler free review.

    I saw it Friday night in a packed theatre and way closer to the screen than I would have liked. 

    I suppose this was always going to be impossible. Such a massive universe with so much to come to a conclusion on. It feels a bit long, and I am not one to complain about long movies, but for about 2 hours this is a pretty average flick at best, minus a dramatic and tragic opening that works well. It brings up rules and then tosses most all of them aside, something the Marvel movies have largely been good at. It's a mess of trying to do a lot while simultaneously making sure it feels plot intensive and it struggles to figure out a pace between introspective and fast. Several characters have little room to breathe. 

    Mostly, it's that the main conceit of this movie just doesn't work terribly well, and as much as the movie tries to lampshade it over and over in increasingly groan worthy ways, it's no different than the Deadpool video game from a few years ago complaining about how many games start you in a sewer with rats and how boring it is, only to start you in a sewer with rats. 

    And yet, it says something that it almost, almost pulls it off. There's a period of about 30-45 minutes around the 2 hour mark that is rousing, glorious, fan service-y in a way that's not toooooo extreme, and large scale and thrilling. And in the end, as much as the major predictions post Infinity War were sort of correct, the who and the how were hidden enough. I'm actually kind of surprised on how this film leaves us. It feels less like a conclusion and more like a break, like a chance to breathe, like a chance to gather who is who and what is what.

    But honestly, it's just logically and dramatically messy. More so than I have seen from Marvel in some time, and this is one of the probably lower third tier Marvel's for me. It's not bad, it just was going to be altogether tough to pull off with flying colors, and try as they might, they fell a bit short.
  • Endgame

    I loved it. The internal logic falls apart, and they completely drop the ball on a couple of the characters. That said: all the things they got right elevated this film, and I enjoyed every second of it. Infinity War was probably a better film, but Endgame was more satisfying; and that's largely because of the final 45 minutes. I feel bad for Marvel now, because I don't know how they'll ever top the experience that is Avengers: Endgame.
  • Endgame is tough to top, but they just back a bunch of toys. They relaunch Fantastic Four, have T'chala bankroll the West Coast Avengers, do nine other cool things I cannot predict, and build their way to fighting Galactus... about twenty films and ten years from now.

    Or they redo X-men, or they shift hard into Disney's Netflix. Rumor has it that Sam and Bucky are getting their own series. On your left, bitches!

    Also, Thor is my favorite from Endgame. The ups, the downs, the hairstyling, Hemsworth probaly had the most fun of any actor of the film.
  • The Wandering Earth -- 4/10

    It's at many times visually stunning, particularly in the exposition early on between the lawbreaking main characters and a Chinese New Year celebration. Its use of color and the scope of some of the shots are really impressive. And the last 45 minutes or so, where there is a clear, concise purpose everyone is aiming for, flies by in generally exciting, successful filmmaking. But this movie flounders quite a bit before that. This is clearly a written work that struggled to become a cohesive movie, because about halfway through, there are 4 different groups of many people we are jumping between, and three of the groups are all in similar space suits, and the visual medium just struggles to keep track and differentiate. The main character's sister disappears almost entirely here, and goes easily 30-45 minutes without saying, literally, anything, even though early on she is super prominent. And the whole thing feels a bit disjointed. The entire space station narrative involving the main character's dad feels like a bone thrown towards 2001: A Space Odyssey, but we just have so little time with all these characters because there are so many that the specific storylines feel underwhelming. And then when one of the many characters who dies does die, often in a dramatic speech and with copious slow mo, the payoff just isn't there, because we barely know them. 

    And this movie does that a lot. It reaches for grandiose Hollywood in so many ways, and the kind of melodrama and screaming and shooting guns in anger feels very cheesy sci-fi tentpole in America (and not that good). Sadly, it feels very cheesy sci-fi tentpole in China too (and not that good).

    This movie does a major disservice to women as well. There are two, and they do one of three things; cry, fuck up, or provide motivation for dudes. There's even a really crass character who tosses in joke reference to how they raped a minor, at a really weird moment when basically everyone is facing death.

    It's rare for me to say this but this feels like it needed to be either a TV series, or maybe a movie duology. It's just so many characters and plotlines, and even with the ridiculous sci fi corn and cheese, if they were allowed to develop and grow more gradually, I could look past much of it. But all the characters are flat because they have so little space, and any redemption arcs just feel rushed in to try to make certain people look better. The whole result is a jumbled, at times mess up of a movie, but one that also imparts some really gorgeous cinematography and decent excitement. 
  • Only a matter of time before 3 Body Problem becomes a movie. Lot of good sci if being written in China this century.
  • I have now watched I Think You Should Leave four times since it released and I can't say enough about it. 
  • Always Be My Maybe -- 4/10

    For about three-quarters of the movie this is really a mostly funny, decent, silly little romcom. Most all of the characters are assholes, serious assholes, and that's a bummer, but it is brisk and enjoyable enough. But dear lord the ending... it ruins pretty much the entire movie. It's so rushed, contrived, dumb, takes itself way too seriously when the rest of the movie didn't, and asks so much of some of its characters. Just a gigantic mess of an ending and totally changes it to leave a super sour taste in your mouth afterwards. Bummer.

    Pokemon Detective Pikachu -- 7/10

    This is way, way better than it had any right to be, largely because Ryan Rernolds somehow makes a smarmy, wisecracking Pikachu work, and the whole thing is way more sardonic than expected. Infact, outside of seeing a bunch of Pokemon brought to the big screen, this is barely a kids movie given the humor it employs. There's literally just one fart joke the entire movie! The plot is utterly boilerplate and they stick to the more animal looking Pokemon in a way that feels understandable but also disappointing, but you know what, it's funny and largely works. 
  • Endgame 9/10

    Don't feel like anything really needs to be said here, hard to top this one. Thor really made this movie, which was surprising. I really want to check out the 20 movies or so in order that lead up to endgame, I'm definitely missing a few. Already have seen Ant Man and the Wasp since then, but I think I haven't actually fully watched any of Thor's movies, although I've heard they suck (except the new one?).

    Detective Pikachu 7/10

    I had REALLY low expectations for this one, but the pokemon were sort of adorable and it was quite well made. I was really pleasantly pleased that this didn't seem to be aimed only towards children, and adults could still get that nostalgic joy the movie gave. Really brought me back to my childhood, in a good way. However the trailer for that new Sonic movie? Jesus Christ.
  • Midsommar (7/10)

    Much more successful than Hereditary. If you can get through the first 30 minutes or so, which are dark and traumatic as it gets, the rest of the movie is digestible. It's a pretty, visually neat cult piece that doesn't stray too far off the beaten path besides being a teardown of guys who are emotionally unavailable and gaslight. There's a ceiling on how good something like this can be, and it telegraphs itself (intentionally) to a point it won't leave you guessing, but it's at times pretty darn creepy and trippy and also weirdly funny, as they play up the young adult eurotrip aspect a bit.

    As for some TV shows:

    Altered Carbon (8/10)

    Compelling cyberpunk hardboiled piece that is amazing visually, has a nifty little murder mystery conspiracy angle, and other than some characters being entirely wasted (I'm looking at you mr former marine dude) and two big twists at the end being super predictable, it's damn good.

    Stranger Things Season 3 (4/10)

    This is increasingly becoming a show rapidly running out of ideas. I won't spoil, but essentially nothing truly important happens in season 3, much like season 2. Only the first and last episode establish any important character growth, and the plot is just completely a used assets wash. We're missing info and motivations at this point for so many involved characters, and the 80s references are becoming even more slammed over our heads. It's too bad because the first few episodes started so good, with a sense of risk and danger season 2 was badly missing, and the main cast of kids are still super cheer-able for and likable, but it just gets increasingly dumb the further on you get. Even some of the fight resolutions are cheap. Just mostly sort of pointless and rehashed.

    I started Too Old To Die Young and really need to get out and see my boy Spiderman soon.
  • Well I've seen a lot of movies over the months, some awful (Hulu horror movies are mostly all garbage), some pretty meh (Mama, 4/10), some pretty good (Spiderman Far From Home, which was not as good as Homecoming at all but still decent, I give it a 6/10), and some great, like

    Booksmart -- 9/10: It's so, so clever, arresting, and funny, and it just sort of keeps finding ways to keep going without feeling stretched or filler. It's wild in a really good way, full of compelling characters, and does some super cool visually creative things. I've seen some reviews call it a "Female Superbad" but that is woefully underselling this (or overselling Superbad) and how creative and cool and acerbic this was. Really recommended. Just full of energy and laughs and off-the-wall film making.

    TV Shows:

    The Mandalorian: 8/10 (10/10 with the Star Wars bonus)

    3 episodes in and it's pretty darn good. The first episode was the weakest, with good acting holding together a very typical and sparse plot. Since then, it's kind of taken off. Episode 2 was undoubtedly the highlight, as 3 featured the weakest action scenes so far. The show is very much putting the western in space western. This is a sparse series that isn't afraid to go 5, 10 minutes with very little dialogue and lots of wide shots of the environment, wearing the Sergio Leone influence on its sleeve very clearly. Even the credits, with their western and cool as hell art, pay tribute, as does the main character. And other than episode 3, the action really pops and the special effects are absolutely movie level. Ever wondered what fighting a bunch of Jawas while hanging from a sandcrawler would like like? Fuck it, it's in this show. Ever wondered what the "no disintegration" Vader admonished Boba Fett with actually looked like? Fuck it, it's in here too. The action can be surprisingly violent and I think it's also taking its cues from John Wick in some ways. Anyways, I am glad at the weekly release schedule making it not bing-able, as I think that contributes to the excitement and quality better, and at 8 episodes, it feels just about the right length, as each episode clocks in at 35-40 minutes, so it's essentially the length of about two movies is all. And yes, the Child/Baby is amazing and Werner Herzog is right to defend it.

    His Dark Materials: 9/10. These are some of my favorite books of all time, easily the best YA books I have ever read, and I can tell you right where I was when I finished book three in the trilogy and how it was the first time in my life I ever experienced heartbreak. I never saw the movie from years ago, it looked bad, everyone said it was bad, and I had no reason to suspect otherwise. These are blasphemous, dense, visually arresting books starring preteens, i.e., impossible to make into a good movie or TV show. And if it sucks, it sucks, it can't take the books away from me. Not only that, book 1 is really just a big intro for books 2 and 3, which introduce many new characters, explode the scope, and completely change the religious components going on. Book 1 is really a straight action heavy YA book, 2 and 3 are something much, much more.

    I am kind of stunned then to say that this is really, really good. The steampunk visuals and world-building are fantastic, the girl playing Lyra absolutely steals every single scene, there's an incredible intensity to some of this already, and they aren't really choking the book or cutting a bunch of stuff out. Now, book 1, which is this first 8 episode season, is far and away the easiest to make as a TV show; again, it's relatively straight-laced and fast paced compared to book 2 and especially 3. Season 2 is already confirmed, nothing has even said about season 3, which I think will have very much have to expand from the 8 episodes the first two seasons each entail if they want any hope of not butchering the story. But for now, this cast is on point, the CGI is great, and I am so looking forward to see how they tackle this when it starts expanding out of the very little we've seen so far. There's danger, risk, action, humor, and none of it feels dragged down by the Netflix YA baggage we've seen these streaming services take on. It's just... good TV. I'm impressed.
  • Saw Episode 9, thoughts coming tomorrow
  • Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (Basically entirely spoiler free, and the few things I allude to will have 0 context if you haven't seen it)

    There's going to be a lot of words spilled about this movie I am sure, and that's fair, but I think it's best that they're not, because the main conceit of this movie is that essentially nothing makes sense. The opening crawl sucks, the entire trilogy doesn't make sense, each individual movie doesn't make sense, and that continues in 9. TFA had plot holes up the wazoo and created a situation in the Star Wars galaxy that felt both too well-trodden and flimsily conveyed, even if in reality a post-war state is when things are most unstable and prone to collapse. How they setup the First Order just felt like a missed opportunity or a weak excuse. But the movie felt right at the time; well acted, fun, Star Wars. It genuinely seemed like things were good, I thought it was fantastic, and the fact that it was so enjoyable at a surface level allowed the major plot and backstory issues to be glossed over. But at some point they had to be resolved. 8 and 9 have kind of unintentionally put on display how bad the story in 7 was, that there's so much that doesn't really make sense, that Disney is unambiguously weighed down by the legacy of the first 6 films. 8 came out and disregarded a lot of the characterization of 7 and the larger story as a whole, to the point John Boyega was frustrated with what happened to Finn. And now we have 9. It is very clear that Abrams and Johnson have completely, utterly different takes on Star Wars, and were, essentially, content to trash each other in their own movies. Just like 8 shits on 7, 9 shits all over 8, and it's a really, really weird thing.

    The movie itself is absolutely relentless, nonstop, and has so many characters and "how/why did that person get there or know that?" that it gets kind of tiring. Visually it's almost comically absurd, so over the top and cluttered and busy. Some of it is cool, particularly the more Sith-y vibe of some things, but also, this seems like, at times, an exercise in how much can be on a screen at any one time. Like a lot of modern movies and TV, it feels sort of video game-y too; going on fetch quests relentlessly with no overarching plot, and that this is the 2010s legacy of the effect of video games on visual storytelling is so disappointing. And I can't really stress this enough again but truly nothing about the First Order, what they're doing now, or how they came about works, and the fact that they've used the same excuse for an entire trilogy now is kind of silly. Yes it's a big galaxy, but seriously, you can't always use "people just hid stuff because it's big" all the time. It's just lazy. Yes, technology would develop over the decades, but to just reduce what we have already seen in previous movies to more common and cheaper feels unimaginative. The entire arc of how the final battle and final baddie comes about doesn't make sense when reflecting on the original trilogy, or the previous episodes of this trilogy, and feels really disconnected from everything previously. With no foreshadowing or anything... just kind of ridiculous. You really can't think about it, as none of why this person is here again or how they pulled this off makes a lick of goddamn sense. Sense sense sense. None of it! Literally none. Give us some backstory, give us some reason for something. Star Wars needs a 5 year break from superweapons at least, and a forever break from Luke, Leia, Vader, Palpatine. And honestly? We need a break from Rey, Finn, and Poe now too.

    And yet. And yet! While this movie doesn't really work as a story, it sort of works as a movie. There is no Jar Jar, no super wooden AnakinxPadme, but a cast that has, for better or worse, completely bought into the ridiculousness of this. And for about 80% of the movie, as dumb and stupid and "please don't think about any of this as it is" it kind of works. It's fast, fun, funny, and just ridiculous in a way that something like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann or B grade superhero movies are. That's not what star Wars is supposed to be, but it's where we are now. Some of the action is legit cool, and some of it is dumb! They even reintroduced some lightsaber and blaster moves that make no sense, kind of like some of the over the top fight moves in later Matrix movies made no sense. Still, there's something about seeing everyone constantly being chased and fighting for their lives that works, and the fact that some of the garbage things introduced in 8 are just flat out ignored and never mentioned or used is for the future of the series' benefit.

    But man, it really, really (have I said this enough) doesn't make much sense. There's no room to breathe, and all the characters are mostly helpless to be moved along by the plot, with little to no say or control or agency. And while the overall message of the film is really heartfelt, there are ways it approaches it that just don't work. The final battle is kind of corny, and how this trilogy has kind of felt like it disregards the first 6 movies stings a bit. There's various obvious and contrived setups for spinoffs at the end, with a lot of fanservice, and while they sort of hedge their bets on the Force and family bloodlines and all of that (I actually really really really liked the final scene, even if, like a lot of lines and moments in the film, it's pretty predictable) it still feels a bit like we're straying too close to a really crappy interpretation of who gets force powers and why.

    What does that all add up to? I'm not entirely sure. Again, this is a very, very silly thing. But it's kind of fun. I think, in the end, there are worse Star Wars movies. But there are a lot better. I'd have to rewatch this trilogy I think to know for sure where this sits. My preliminary ranking and tiers looks something like

    Episode V

    Episode VI
    Episode IV

    Rogue One
    Episode VII
    The Mandalorian

    Episode III
    Episode IX

    Episode I
    Episode II
    Episode VIII

    I award Episode IX a 7/10, with a cautious 10/10 Star Wars bonus that comes with many asterisks and a sigh of relief that hopefully we can all move on. My fingers are extremely crossed for the KOTOR rumors that Buzzfeed and some film leak website have reported. Word on the street is that the lady directing the Wonder Woman movies and the lady who wrote the screenplay to Altered Carbon are working on a KOTOR era trilogy. If true I have ridiculous hope for that.
  • Star Wars is just a jumblefuck at this point. What are the rules of jedi? Deus ex machina. They do anything to fix a plot hole. They are not characters. They are crutches for terrible writing. Think of how limited old Ben was, but how much he did and how much you loved him. Rey is a fucking God, literal raise the dead, move over Jesus, God, and I could give a fuck about her and her pals. She does not feel like a character. She feels like a contrivance.

    It is stunning that they could spend billions, and could not plan three acts out, together, at the beginning. I do not understand how no outline was written at the start. I wrote outlines at ten years old. It is beyond incompetence.

    Star Wars will keep old fans, because they do not know how to leave any more than a Mormon knows how to leave the faith. Star Wars simply won't generate fans like that anymore. Marvel wins simply by being coherent, and that is just the most obvious example of things that will displace Star Wars. Been a long time coming. Phantom Menace still might be the hardest to sit through. At least that trilogy was planned out.
  • The Mandalorian (10/10)

    I'm not entirely sure this isn't the best Star Wars media since Disney took over. The last episode was some of the best 48 mins of star wars in a loooong time. This show just does so much right, and gives space for breathing and contemplation in between action. Fantastic acting, compelling characters, and a super Sergio Leone feel. Can't wait for season two.

    His Dark Materials (7/10)

    Fantastic first 3-4 episodes but with questionable narrative choices and reveals that diffused tension and led to a full middle where we knew way more than the characters. HBO jumped the gun on the story a bit to rush to action and it showed. Manages to largely stick the landing though thanks to Lyra, Lee Scoresby, and Ms Coulter, plus a heaping dose of tragedy. Good, but ended less promising than it started thanks to a bad middle.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion

Most Popular This Week