terminoob Posted February 25, 2019 Share Posted February 25, 2019 And, lo, as if by a black magick, I emerge. Reborn atop the mount of cinder, ash, and coffee grounds. Charred and abandoned by both The Bachelor and Celebrity Big Brother. I’ve but a humble land to return, not a palace nor 3 bed/2 bath. Alas, though evermore I await the judgement of realtors and ponder the results of my credit score, I lie awake at night as I cannot in good health drift to slumber due to not only my possible sleep apnea but also my unfulfilled promise to complete this god forsaken list. My mind has been attacked - torn asunder by the visitations of my fellows as they harangue my meager subconscious. So, as I once did spake, the list will come as follows. WOW ISN’T THIS SEASON OF “THE BACHELOR” REALLY FRIGGIN’ WEIRD? HERE ARE TEN MOVIES, IN A SUBJECTIVE RANKING OF NO PARTICULAR ORDER, TO KEEP YOUR MIND OFF OF IT Spoiler SORRY TO BOTHER YOU So, due to life ramping up and my schedule being jam-packed with things like “fruitlessly email publishers”, “stare blankly at a wall and contemplate life’s true treasures like family and love and wonder if I can pay my rent with those”, and “let’s find out if I’ll get sick from eating this thing”, I’ve unfortunately let this fall by the wayside - but! Nevertheless I made a promise and I intend to uphold it to the best of my mediocre abilities! Sorry to Bother You may well be my favorite movie of 2018. It’s just about everything I want in a movie. I’ve heard criticisms of this, saying that Boots Riley didn’t really push the envelope enough and that this didn’t say as much as it thought it did, which.... I don’t really agree with. I think - especially for a writer/directorial debut - Riley did a really ingenious job of critiquing just about everything in our society at the moment without it feeling preachy or didactic. Lakeith Stanfield, hot off of Atlanta, continues to knock it out of the park with his comedic timing, body language, and some real screen presence. The supporting cast really kills it as well - especially Armie Hammer, doing what he does best by presenting a greedy corporate monster as incredibly charming and persuasive and making you think “yeah, you know what, this IS a great idea!” I don’t want to say much of substance about this movie because I think it’s really important for anyone who hasn’t already seen it to go in as blind as possible, but believe me - it’s a wild ride from start to finish and you won’t regret seeing this. If you’re a fan of anyone involved in this movie (and, seriously - Lakeith Stanfield, Steven Yuen, Armie Hammer, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Danny Glover - who’s not a fan of at least one of them?) or if you’re a fan of Boots Riley’s music (and, if not, then get on that), you gotta check this one out. Spoiler SEARCHING My favorite thing with watching a movie or TV show or reading a book is when the writer can outsmart the audience. Patrick Rothfuss has this “children’s” book called The Princess and Mr. Whiffle where he sets everything up to be a very boilerplate story about a princess and her stuffed animal so that as you read it you think you know what’s going on, but because you’re focused on the words and the story instead of the pictures you don’t know that there’s actually a whole other story being told. I saw him present this at PAX East and he gave a little spiel afterward about how he thinks twists can sometimes be dishonest but that it’s also not the author’s fault if you don’t pay attention. Agatha Christie does this too. She deliberately leads the reader down multiple paths and she guides you through them at exactly the right time so that when you think you’ve solved it she pulls the rug out from under you and reveals that you missed something six chapters ago. What’s all that to do with this movie? Well, it’s because it’s one of those. The script for this is airtight. I could go all day about this thing. John Cho is great in this, and while not totally surprising given how he’s really good in everything he’s in, I enjoyed seeing him in a more dramatic role where he can really show his stuff. This is all basically just his face for two hours and he completely sells it. However, regardless of how well-acted a mystery might be, it lives or dies by the writing. If it’s not well setup, if the clues don’t make any sense, if the leaps in logic are too great, it all falls apart. This is near-perfect. Everything is in this movie for a reason. You’re discovering everything along with David and you’re feeling his struggle as he continues to hit roadblocks with the case because you’re hitting the same ones. I think the strength of this movie lies in the amount of empathy you feel as it progresses. Sympathy as well, obviously, because you want to see this man find his daughter, but the whole movie takes place on a screen. You and David are finding everything together, and you will see his face light up when he thinks he hits a break and you will see his face break as he hits a snag and you will feel it. I found this movie to be incredibly frustrating to watch, not because of cliched stupid writing when it came to the cops (as is typical of mysteries and thrillers) but because the writing is so smart and there’s still so little hope for him. You gotta get to watching this movie (which I think is also a writer/director debut, crazily enough). Oh, yeah, not to mention there’s an alien invasion happening in the background done entirely through news headlines. Not his fault you didn’t pay attention. Spoiler HEREDITARY This has been praised up and down for close to a year at this point. Again, a writer/director debut, and, again, an instant hit. I’m on board for more Ari Aster from here until he screws up this third movie. What else can I even say about this that hasn’t been said already? Haunting, chilling, thrilling. Toni Collete is astounding. Alex Wolff proves to be leaps and bounds ahead of Nat. The imagery and symbolism is all great. The marketing for this movie should be the benchmark for every movie moving forward because they were somehow able to not give anything away. Truly incredible on all fronts, and a shame that it got no love from the Oscars. Spoiler FIRST REFORMED Ethan Hawke plays a priest at a small church who helps counsel an environmental activist, which in turn forces Hawke’s character to rethink everything he thought he knew about life. Instant hook for everyone, right? This movie is challenging, honestly. I watched it, and it’s like Paul Schrader reached into my brain and grabbed a handful of goop from my “anxiety” section and splattered it onto a film reel. For my money, this movie was more unsettling than Hereditary. I’m still having a hard time grasping it or even forming a coherent sentence explaining this journey we go on with Ethan Hawke. This is not a flashy movie. It’s very subdued. It’s much more character driven than plot driven. The looming threat of this mega-church is in the background of the film, but it’s really about how Hawke’s character confronts these ideas and how he decides to process them. As he battles cancer and continues to destroy his body, he needs to figure out what fight is worth fighting and how best to win this war that humanity is rapidly losing. A lot is done throughout the movie in terms of subtext and imagery and it won’t go down smooth. I think it’s a movie people need to see, if not for the relevancy than for Hawke’s incredible performance (and to think he could do this and Juliet, Naked in the same year). I recommend this to anyone that’s a fan of Ethan Hawke or a fan of being terrified about climate change. Spoiler EIGHTH GRADE Yet again with the writer/director debut! Bo Burnham has arrived on the stage. I have been a fan of Bo’s since… I wanna say 2009? 10? His first Comedy Central special he did. I think it was just a Presents. I wasn’t a huge YouTuber so I never discovered him that way, but one day I just see this kid on Comedy Central and I’m floored that he’s ONLY FOUR YEARS OLDER THAN ME. Since that day, I’ve followed his every move. It was about damn time he got around to writing a movie. A lot of the themes he explores here he began to explore in Make Happy, which I thought was really interesting. He’s given a few interviews on You Made it Weird, and I remember his most recent one (maybe a few years old at this point) he talks a lot about social media and the effect it’s having on society. This is something he’s very passionate about, and it clearly shows here as he delivers a gut-punch of a movie. If you went to school - at any point in life - you will undoubtedly relate to this movie. Though bullying has changed and gotten less hands on, it’s still a reality kids growing up face. Hell, I think we all do. It’s not the classic bullying of “look at you nerd, you’re on a Spongebob website”, but more, like, societal pressure, I guess. Like if we’re not doing something cool and posting about it then we’re losers. And as much as we want to buck the trend and feel like we don’t have to post about everything we do because we think we don’t need that (at least I do)... it’s hard to actually do that and feel good about yourself because you see all of these people being constantly validated by everyone around them and there you are, in your room, alone. You need to validate yourself, and that’s really hard sometimes, and if you miss out on a party or a brunch then you get the feeling that you’re being left behind. This is what that movie is about. The facade that we put up on social media because we’re expected to and how we think that our voice is important because we have a platform for it, and the person that we actually are when push comes to shove and we realize no one wants to hear what we have to say. You feel like you need to cry? Go watch this movie. Spoiler THE DEATH OF STALIN ...And if you feel like you need to laugh? Look no further! I think I mentioned this in the Vice thread, so here’s my breakdown of it. Man. What a movie. I thought this was brilliant. The power struggle in the days leading up to, and following, the death of Stalin. A movie about Russian history with no Russian being spoken. What else would you expect from Armando Iannucci? The decision to showcase no Russian whatsoever makes this movie feel universal. This kind of crap is happening everywhere at all times, and people like this are running every country in the world - it just so happens that right now we’re focusing on Russia. I thought the exploration of how power can corrupt was done so much better here than in Vice - a movie that presented itself as being so much more important and clever than it actually was. With this? There’s no such pretense. It passes itself off as an absurd movie grounded in reality, and you can take it or leave it. Two scenes have been burned into my brain since watching this a year ago. There’s a bit at the end where the movie gets real and cuts the bullshit and you can actually feel the tension and see the stakes being raised and you think it’s all fun and games because the rest of the movie has been a comedy but then something serious goes down and it’s gut-wrenching. As horrible as these people are, my stomach was still in knots as the ending was happening. Also, there’s a slow-mo scene of Jason Isaacs throwing his jacket off and thinking of that always puts a smile on my face. If you’re intrigued by the premise of Vice but don’t want to sit through it, or if you’re a fan of any of this cast (or Veep), then you need to sit down and treat yourself to this movie. It’s really incredible, and one of the best comedies of last year. Spoiler MANDY This movie is wild. Spoiler THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS Wow. What a movie. I really love when the Coen Brothers can mix comedy with their nihilism, so this was such a treat. I don’t even really know how to review this. If you’re unaware, this movie is split up into segments. Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Near Algodones, Meal Ticket, All Gold Canyon, The Gal Who Got Rattled, and the Mortal Remains. They all deal with some combination of facing death and pushing characters to their limit to see what they do to survive - if they’re all talk or if they’re a man of action, if they have the will to live, if they have any morals at all. Each segment is relatively short, aside from The Gal Who Got Rattled, which feels more like a short film than a segment of a longer movie, and they all breeze by (aside from The Gal Who Got Rattled, but I think that may have been done on purpose to really draw out her agony on the trek she was making). I thought Ballad of Buster Scruggs was easily the star of the show. I could watch a whole musical western featuring him. I think Tim Blake Nelson did such an incredible job turning Buster into a sympathizing character while at the same time making it clear that he was a two-faced phony who knew exactly how to wheel and deal. James Franco and Liam Neeson both give stellar performances in the two follow-ups; Tom Waits is a delight; Zoe Kazan is rocky at best but can make you feel for her nonetheless. You’re really missing out if you haven’t seen this one yet. Spoiler PADDINGTON 2 I mean… a delight from start to finish, what else would you expect? This movie is something else. It’s so incredibly wholesome and joyous and never once makes you think anything is wrong in the world because you know Paddington is going to make you marmalade and everything will be okay. Hugh Grant stole not only the movie with this performance, but he may well have stolen the entire damn year. He portrays the villain of the movie - a washed-up actor who has been relegated to commercials but is looking for his break back into the limelight. The best part? He’s just Hugh Grant. Almost literally. His apartment is covered in headshots of him when he was younger, and, well… they’re just all pictures of young Hugh Grant. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s really something to behold. Brendan Gleeson as the prison chef is amazing as well. The whole prison subplot is just so fun. Everything about this movie is happy and uplifting and it’s so sincere in all of it. You don’t even need to see the first one to understand the gist of this one, so there’s absolutely no excuse for anyone to not go and see this movie and then subsequently show each and every one of your friends and spread the joy like marmalade on bread because that’s what Paddington would want. Spoiler THE FAVOURITE In preparation for this movie I watched both The Lobster and Killing of a Sacred Deer and was left very concerned. I didn’t think I would like this at all, but I wanted to support a director that I thought was very unique and interesting and also wanted to see Emma Stone in a movie again. I had a suspicion that my biggest problem with Yorgos Lanthimos came down to his writing. The second half of The Lobster fell apart for me, and while I liked Killing of a Sacred Deer a lot more it still didn’t instill much confidence that The Favorite would be any good. But I saw The Favourite anyway, and so here we are! My biggest takeaway is that I was right. His writing doesn’t do it for me. Thankfully, he didn’t write this movie, and, as such, it’s one of my favorite movies from last year. His directing style is exactly something I want to see more of (where he goes in the exact opposite direction of the kind of genre he’s directing - so, for example, The Lobster, which is a romance, is done entirely in monotone) and it really works here. This feels like children playing royalty at times, as a way to heighten the ludicrousness of the whole thing. While Iannucci goes over-the-top in one way with his depiction of a power struggle (with everyone speaking English and with heavy English accents), Lanthimos goes in a completely different way (with the men running around like high school gossips and the women playing mental chess). This has been getting a lot of well-earned praise, mostly for acting, and, man, are these performances something else. Olivia Coleman in particular is really great, but someone not getting much attention - Nicholas Hoult dressed up in this outrageous outfit, running around the castle spreading rumors and pushing Emma Stone into the mud was just so amazing to watch. His role is relatively minor (as are all the men) but he really put everything he had into this and clearly loved every minute of it. There are some definite tells that this was directed by Lanthimos (I thought the fisheye lens shots were very much on-brand for him), but it’s also very much his most accessible movie yet because he didn’t write it. Whether you’ve seen his work before and didn’t care too much for it, or haven’t seen a lick of it and you’re not sure what to expect - you should see this. 2 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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