Woof. Jim and I really, really wanted to like Glass, the sequel to the terrific Unbreakable, and the surprisingly good / sneaky amazing Split. And it should work. Bruce Willis, Samuel Jackson, and Anya Joy Taylor are good, and James McAvoy does more incredible work as the Horde. But the script is just about the laziest damn thing we’ve ever seen. Tons of plotholes, characters succeeding not because of their brilliance but others’ stupidity, and Shyamalan indulging the worst of his third act instincts torpedo any chance this movie had to kickstart a new cinematic universe, which is it’s plain ambition. It’s a genuine disappointment, ya’ll.
Jim and A.Ron got a one-two punch to their sense of nostalgia as Creed 2 relentlessly broke us and a theater full of Rocky diehards down. It should not be possible to build so much pathos and legend on the somewhat shaky foundations of Rocky IV, but we’ll be d*mned if they don’t. Up and coming director Steven Caple Jr. recaptures the magic of the original Creed, Michael B. Jordan is amazing as always, Sylvester Stallone continues to age like fine wine into the role he was born to play, and Tessa Thompson once again shows that playing a boxer’s wife/girlfriend doesn’t require you to be a human wet blanket. If you’re a Rocky fan, you’re going to like this film.
Another split decision on the latest first run Bald Movie, the WW2-themed action-horror film, Overlord. The serious and somber tone set against the gonzo and outrageous action quickly lost Jim. I thought the film delivered a pretty solid war film, followed by a tense and effective horror film, then rounded into a solid action romp that unfortunately started collapsing under the weight of too many action movie tropes. Still, the war scenes are more horrifying than most supernatural spookfests, the characters while basic are appealing, and the effects gruesome and effective enough to deliver the goods, especially if you can turn your brain off for the last act.
Jim and I had a helluva lot of fun seeing the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody tonight, starring Rami Malek. It’s getting mixed reviews, but we’re struggling to understand why. Malek does an incredible job embodying the greatest rock band front man of all time, the soundtrack is just literally all of the greatest Queen hits, so what’s not to like? Unless the movie tells just truly egregious and hateful lies about Mr. Mercury, which we’re not in a position to verify, or the justifiable suspicion around the film’s director is souring people’s opinion on it, we can’t see much not to like.Freddie Mercury is front and center of the stage as he should be, but it does a great job of highlighting the incredible talents and creativity of Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor as well.
Jim and A.Ron went to see Bad Times at the El Royale and give it mixed reviews. Writer/Director Drew Goddard throws a lot of slow, character and dialog driven set pieces at the audience, mixed up and out of order, until finishing the movie with a spasm of violence and action. Jim enjoyed the performances and the movie held his interest throughout, whereas I thought the ending didn’t do enough to justify the other two hours, and thought a lot of the characters were pretty thin for a dialog and character driven movie. But the film is stylish and slick enough that perhaps you’ll be able to forgive it’s flaws?
Mandy is a film by Panos Cosmatos starring Nick Cage. It is both a slow burn, 70’s style horror film dipped in acid, and a gonzo Nick Cage action film. It continually suffers from being torn in these two very different directions. A.Ron dug it, Jim wants nothing to do with it. This film boasts near universal acclaim on Rotten Tomatoes and yet is a tough one to wholeheartedly recommend. Please enjoy our spoiler free review and discussion of new trailers and upcoming films, but if you want to hear Jim and I argue about Mandy’s merits, you’ll have to be a Club Member!
Jim and A.Ron put on their brown pants tonight to go out and see The Nun, the latest installment in The Conjuring universe, but only one of us needed to. The film’s getting mixed reviews; and Jim worries that co-writer James Wan’s bag of tricks are getting played out and the movie suffers from inconsistent internal logic. Perhaps I’m the biggest wuss alive, but the movie got my hair standing up on the back of my neck fairly consistently. Your mileage may vary!
Jim and I had high hopes for the Gothic horror film, The Little Stranger, thinking it would be an ultra atmospheric mash up of The Witch with Downton Abbey. Instead, we got a commentary on upper class angst during the 1940’s as their fortunes crumbled alongside their estates masquerading as a dull, drab little ghost story. At no point does the film ever manage to generate anything but mild disquiet and malaise. Which is a shame, because all the pieces were there for genuine horror. An interesting core idea, excellent cast, excellent location, and fantastic atmosphere that were all unfortunately squandered with disinterested filmmaking.
Spike Lee has thrown a very well made, very funny, and very devastating bomb into American movie theaters with his latest joint, BlacKkKlansman. To mark the occasion, we’re not keeping our full review and discussion as a Club Member. Anyone who wants to hear this can. Will White America listen to the message we so desperately need to hear, or hit “snooze” and go back to sleep. What are we going to do about the resurfacing of explicit racism in our country, that has until recent years been hiding beneath the still waters of institutional racism? What will you do with friends and family who bemoan Black Lives Matter, or offer the limp rebuttal that “both sides are bad?” As the movie asks, if not now, when, and if not you, who?
Jim and A.Ron have seen the latest “how old is Tom Cruise again?!” installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, “Fallout”, and it’s crazy. The plot around the absolutely bonkers stunt work is a bit thin, but the stunts themselves fully justify the movie. You can see ever dollar spent and bone broken literally up there on the screen, but it also must be said that these stunts are clinging desperately to the line from believable to unbelievable. And half the time they are careening over that line and land into Fast & Furious territory. Unless they can find an emotional core to build future episodes, this might be as good as a retro-futuristic spy thriller can get.