We saw Steven Spielberg’s 80’s nostalgic fun fest, Ready Player One, and we were surprised that it managed to be a good film. We’d heard nothing but shaky things leading up to it, but with our appropriately set expectations, we had a lot of fun with it. It’s not perfect, the ending in particular is a bit of a mess, but it works if you want it to work, and if you’re in this movie’s target demo, you’re going to want it to work. Since we’re both pretty much at ground zero of that target, we can’t say how well it would hold up if you’re safely outside the film’s nostalgia blast wave.
Jim and I saw a movie about giant robots punching even bigger monsters, and it was even dumber than we thought it would be. Jim and I have no small amount of affection for the first Pacific Rim. But hoo-boy, Pacific Rim: Uprising might up the robot on monster punching action slightly, but removes all of the spunk and charm of the original to give us a loud, boring, and thoroughly by the numbers action movie. My 11 year old loved it, though, so if you have one of those around, or are one of those in heart and mind, by all means, don’t let us stop you from seeing Pacific Rim 2. Everybody else should steer well clear.
Tonight we were supposed to see A Wrinkle in Time, but we were upstaged by A Wrinkle in Ticket Pre-sales, so we called an audible and saw the movie we were supposed to see last week, Red Sparrow. Starring Jennifer Lawrence as a Russian ballerina turned deadly secret agent, and Joel Edgerton as just a dumb*ss American spy it manages to be lurid without being interesting. We’ll tell you what we thought about the movie up front, then talk about upcoming movies and trailers for a bit, but if you want our full spoiler-filled take you’ll have to be a Club Member!
We’ve just seen Annihilation, and boy are our minds blown. Written and directed by Alex Garland and starring Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaacs, Tessa Thompson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, it features a plot that it is alien, wondrous, unfathomable, and terrifying, with visuals to match. It compares favorably to The Arrival, and is the kind of movie we wanted Alien: Covenant to be. It’s just too bad that Paramount had so little faith in the film, in our eyes they had something special on their hands, and we feel sorry for the international audience that is going to see this for the first time on the small screen. For everybody in the US, Canada, and China, go see this film!
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is a great super hero film, and an even better launching point into interesting discussions about the politics of colonialism and liberation. Starring Chadwick Boseman as the Panther himself, and Michael B. Jordan as the best Marvel villain since Magneto, the movie is a constant challenge to one’s complacency and sense of justice. Wakanda looks amazing, the cast is fantastic, the world they are building is both visually and philosophically amazing, to the point that one of the films weaknesses is that we were desperate to learn and know more.
We saw The Post tonight, the star-studded retelling of The Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, the internal history commissioned by the Dept. of Defense that detailed the long list of failures in America’s involvement politically and militarily in Vietnam, risking financial ruin and jail time. Told from the perspective of the owner of the Post, Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), and her editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), as they wrestle with their own cozy relationships with previous and current presidential administrations and the legal, financial, and ethical risks of defying the government. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more impressive cast, the film is gorgeous and extremely well written and tells a powerful and important story of how vital a free press is to the health of our nation.
Jim and I have seen Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi: No More Subtitles, We Promise, and surprise, surprise! One of us like it and one of us wanted to like it more than they actually felt the love. On the other hand, the film is receiving almost universal praise so don’t let that dissuade you from seeing and enjoying The Last Jedi. Haha, as if wild falthiers could drag anyone away from seeing a new Star Wars.
We have seen The Disaster Artist, the behind the scenes look at the creation of The Room, which is quite possibly the worst film ever made. Based on the book of the same name, the brothers Franco play Tommy and Greg in a way that manages to feel honest, sympathetic, and most of all very funny. It is frustrating that there is so little there, there. There is no big revealing answers that make any sense about the deeply weird and enigmatic Tommy, and the friendship between him and Greg also feels like the barest sketch possible to make the film work. But it does work, and like Ed Wood before it, manages to make an amazing movie out of a dog turd. It’s an amazing alchemic work, spinning gold from lead. Go see it, regardless of how familiar you are with the source material. You’re going to be in for a good time.
Cecily and A.Ron discuss the latest DC comic book movie attempt, and one with a lot of hopes riding on it, Justice League. It’s a real who’s who of comic book movies, does it manage to build on the momentum of the very good Wonder Woman, or is this another Superman vs Batman level disappointment? Well, we’d have to say it falls right in between those two extremes. It’s not great, but it’s also not terrible, and does just enough to hopefully give DC some room to breathe and establish these other presumably great characters in their own films and organically setup their universe for the next time the League has to assemble.
A.Ron and Jim saw the most recent film adaptation of the Agatha Christie mystery classic, Murder on the Orient Express. Directed and starring Kenneth Branagh, as well as a baker’s dozen other stars, is lush and lavish and maybe missing a few pieces it needs to be assembled into a fully functional whole? It’s like an Ikea bookshelf with a few screws and dowel rods missing, is what we’re saying. We discuss our general, non-spoiler thoughts before talking about upcoming films, before getting to our Club Member only spoiler section. If you want to hear our full thoughts on this and many other first run Bald Movies, consider joining the Club today!