Mini Reviews Part Two

Oh man have I been lazy lately. I've been watching a fair amount of films but haven't written out full reviews. Since we're entering Oscar season, of course I'll get back into the swing of that, but here's a few mini reviews of what I've been watching lately.

Documentaries


Larry King of Valentine Road

The Bridge - This full doc is available on YouTube and it's about the number of people who commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. The film makers captured 23 of the 24 suicides in 2004 on film and allegedly called authorities whenever they saw someone they thought was a possible jumper. While this is very depressing, it is an interesting account of depression. I can see why this gets a lot of unfavorable reviews, there's quite a few ethics questions here. B

There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane I started watching this a long time ago but never finished, I finally saw it all the way through and it's still just sad all around. Available on HBO Go, this doc follows a case of Diane Schuler, who drove the wrong way on a freeway and killed herself and seven others when her car collided with another. Her autopsy indicated she had been drinking, while her family disputes that she would do that. The thing about this is that it answers no questions. I don't blame Diane's family for looking for a better answer. I would too. Maybe she was good at hiding her alcoholism. Maybe she did have a drink combined with a psychotic break. Unfortunately we'll never know. C

Mommy Dead and Dearest - Now this is hands down one of the most fascinating documentaries I've seen in a while. It follow the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard, a single mother with a daughter, Gypsy Rose who had multiple illnesses. Turns out, Dee Dee had Munchhausen by Proxy and Gypsy was never actually sick, and now she plotted her own mother's murder to escape. This is honestly one of the few times I've watched a true crime documentary and said "Yeah, second degree murder makes sense." It's just absolutely wild. The trial for Gypsy's boyfriend is still ongoing, so this story isn't finished. This is also available on HBO Go. A

Valentine Road - The last of my HBO Go binge, this follows the murder of Larry King, a young trans boy who was shot to death by a classmate after he asked him to be his Valentine. This is easily one of the most infuriating things I've ever watched. Director Marta Cunningham, instead of asking those involved hard hitting questions just let their stupid speak for itself and it's horrifying. Larry's murderer was seemingly a budding white supremacist. He drew swastikas, which people excused as "artistic expression." His girlfriend at one point says white people are becoming a minority. His defense attorney gets his name tattooed on her wrist. Poor Larry essentially gets blamed for his own murder because he "flaunted it." (ie: acted like the person he felt he truly was) While I wish we would've had more counter debates in this film, I see why the director chose to shoot it this way and magnify their bigotry. She also doesn't paint the shooter as only a monster, but rather shows how the way he grew up shaped him. B+

Films


First Reformed - I wanted to do a full review on this but I'm just not sure I understood the ending. I was really with this film until then. Not to mention, the way Amanda Seyfried was playing her character suggested that there was more to the story, but then nothing was answered. Ethan Hawke is great in this, but they threw it away. I think this is one of those films I might end up enjoying more if I saw it again later on, but I'm still pondering it for now. C+



The Conjuring - I gave into Sati's persuasion and caught this on Netflix. Damn, this movie is legitimately scary. I really didn't give this a chance. I wrote it off immediately because it seemed like token PG-13 horror (though it actually has an R rating only because it's tone. There's no gore or excessive swearing) I can't say enough good things about it. Sure, it's predictable but the creepiness level is just off the charts. I loved it. A-

16 comments:

  1. I haven't seen Valentine Road so I'll have to track that one down.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was wondering what you thought about First Reformed as it's a film that I really want to see. Sorry you didn't like it that much although I really disagree with Ethan Hawke's view on superhero films.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, Hawke can get bent with his super hero comments. I hate when people think they're above movies just because a lot of people like them.

      Delete
  3. Haven't seen any of those docs, but man, they all sound depressing as hell.

    I have seen The Conjuring. Really enjoyed that. I even liked the sequel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a tenancy to watch depressing documentaries lol. I'd check at least a few of them out though since they're all available to stream.

      Delete
  4. Yeeeey so glad you loved The Conjuring! Second part is a bit messy but its really scary too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it's got the same atmosphere that's all I care about lol

      Delete
  5. I actually, to an extent, agree with Hawke's comments. Superhero movies are fun (and I've seen every MCU movie), but let stop pretending they are anything more than that. Magazines like Empire and Total Film devote pages upon pages to movies that aren't too different to the one before it. I expect a film magazine to be a little more stringent than slapping a five star review on a better than average movie.

    About First Reformed, I agree with you. Liked it to the ending, which I couldn't really get with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think anyone pretends they're more than that though? They're fun and people enjoy them. They generate hype.

      Delete
  6. I don’t think I could watch the first documentary because one sees the end of so many. I don’t know how they could film this and it reminds me of that movie Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal. I have had to deal with people who were suicidal and one called me right after she took pills and I kept her on the phone while I called the police, with her knowledge. Hearing her slur her words made me counte the seconds before the ambulance and police came. I have had a couple of cl8ents commit suicide because of the debts they had and I have known 3 people who committed suicide. It is just very sad all around. The others sound more like what I wouldn’t mind seeing even if it is difficult to watch and I bet the one would make me Seethe with anger. I don’t know if I could see the Conjuring which sounds very creepy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, The Bridge is definitely not for you then. That could be triggering.

      Delete
  7. Nice work! I'm fascinated by mental health, psychology and addiction, so those first three documentaries you reviewed were all in my wheelhouse. I liked Aunt Diane a bit more than you, though I admit it's frustrating to not have a concrete resolution. And I also can't justify showing Diane's recently deceased roadside body. I found that wildly unnecessary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you mentioned that. That was seriously a questionable direction choice. It reminded me of the loud music they added in during Dear Zachary's big reveal. It didn't fit and both were seemingly done for added drama when it wasn't needed.

      Delete
  8. UGH THE CONJURING IS SO GOOD. So glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete

If you're reading this sentence you should probably leave a comment.