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.

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