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Showing posts from 2024

Series Review: American Nightmare

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No, this is not a documentary on the wrestler Cody Rhodes. Just a poorly named 3-part series about a truly harrowing crime. In 2015 Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn were fast asleep when men broke into their home, drugged them and took Denise. Aaron of course went to the police, and found himself the prime suspect after what he described seemed stranger than fiction. Denise re-appears in 2 days, completely traumatized and the police now accuse them of doing this all for attention. It shouldn't take you long to guess who's in the wrong here. At least once a year I watch a true crime documentary that is so insane, I can't believe I didn't know about it before hitting play. American Nightmare is that for me. Was this all over the news? Maybe just locally, because I have no memory of it. What Denise and Aaron went through is awful, and the fact that they are able to calmly talk about it now is a miracle itself.  At a brisk three 45 minute episodes, this makes for an easy sho

Review: Monkey Man

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Official synopsis:  An anonymous young man (Dev Patel) unleashes a campaign of vengeance against the corrupt leaders who murdered his mother and continue to systemically victimize the poor and powerless. Dev Patel said it's not enough to grace us with his presence in front of the camera, he wants to give it a shot behind the camera too. And so we get his Jordan Peele produced first time feature, Monkey Man . A film that's bound to bring comparisons to the John Wick series. This film has a lot to say about the rich and the powerful, especially the ones who use religion to push their agenda and harm those they deem beneath them. That's what makes Monkey Man stand out from your every day "Dude goes on a killing rampage" film. Patel's not reinventing the wheel here, but by giving us this story with an Indian man front and center, the Western world is at least getting something new.  And he's good as a director! Definitely a bit green. There's far too muc

Series Review: Tokyo Vice

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Back in 2022, I kept getting Youtube ads for a TV show on HBO called Tokyo Vice. It was the only place I saw ads for this show, and I didn't see anyone talking about it on my Twitter timeline. Normally, a show with Ansel Elgort, card carrying member of the Very Punchable Face Club ™ wouldn't sway me, but something about it did.  Now here we are in 2024, and the finale of season 2 just aired last night. It's safe to say that Tokyo Vice has become one of my favorite new shows of recent memory. If you love journalism stories, this might be for you too. A quick run down of who's who and what actors are involved.- Jake (Elgort) is an American journalist living in Tokyo. He becomes the first foreign reporter at The Meicho. He's our lead. Then there's Detective Katagiri (Ken Wantanabe) who Jake begins to work with on a story. Other main players include Samantha (Rachel Keller) another American living in Tokyo working at a club. Her Yakuza love interest Sato, ( Shô Kasa

Review: Road House

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Official synopsis: Ex-UFC fighter Dalton (Jake Gyllenhaal) takes a job as a bouncer at a Florida Keys roadhouse, only to discover that this paradise is not all it seems. I never saw the original Road House so I can't compare it to that, but I can say that Godzilla x Kong didn't even last a full weekend as the dumbest movie I've seen in a while. I will give credit where credits due, the fight scenes in this are pretty cool and Gyllenhaal got incredibly jacked for this role, contributing to plenty of thirst traps that I will not complain about. The script is pretty basic, but that's not the part that suffers the most. It's the uneven acting. Gyllenhaal is good for what this is. He has nice comedic timing, only he doesn't get to use much of it against the actors that could properly match it, like Jessica Williams (who should be in this movie way more than she is) and Lukas Gage. Arturo Castro gives him something at least, but it's not enough.  Conor McGregor

Review: Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

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Official synopsis:  Two ancient titans, Godzilla and Kong, clash in an epic battle as humans unravel their intertwined origins and connection to Skull Island's mysteries. I'm still waiting for Godzilla Minus One to be available to watch, so I decided to tide myself over with this. I've liked most of the new Godzilla movies. They're entertaining enough and this one is no different. Which is great because this might be one of the dumbest films I've seen in a long time. Everything that happens in this script is so convenient. Ancient indigenous language? Don't worry. We got a translator for that. Telepathy? Don't worry, we got someone for that too! Huge robot arm fit perfectly for Kong? Hey, it just happens to be right where we are and we have a vet that can also fly an extremely advanced piece of air craft! But all of those things just add to the chuckles I was already getting from this. Godzilla essentially throws a tantrum and takes a nap in the Colosseum. K

Series Review: 3 Body Problem

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Official synopsis:  A fateful decision made in 1960s China reverberates in the present, where a group of scientists partner with a detective to confront an existential planetary threat. I've been cautiously excited for this series since its announcement. On one side, the series creators let me down massively by rushing the ending of my beloved Game of Thrones, but here they have a completed 3 book series to work with. One that I've also read. So how did they do? I really enjoyed the first season, which is available to stream now on Netflix. I think the changes they made work overall. Instead of following one person with a ton of internal dialogue, he's essentially split into several different people. We get Saul, (Jovan Adepo) Jin, (Jess Hong) Auggie (Eiza Gonzalez), Will (Alex Sharp), and Jack. (John Bradley) Benedict Wong plays fan favorite Da Shi (though they never call him "Da." He's "Clarence" here, despite being credited otherwise. Ye Wenjie is

2024 Blind Spot Series: Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

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Official synopsis:  A recently widowed woman (Ellen Burstyn) is on the road with her precocious young son (Alfred Lutter III), determined to make a new life for herself as a singer. In my quest to watch Scorsese's older works, I've finally landed on this film, and honestly I should've started with it because I've enjoyed it far more than I did  Raging Bull or Mean Streets . Ellen Burstyn is a gem, and Alice is going through it as a character. One minute she's happy and hopefully, then reality comes crashing down on her. Not to mention she has terrible taste in men and a son who definitely talks too much. She's dealing with a lot, and I'm not surprised at all that Burstyn took home an Oscar for this. I liked the little things it said about female friendships. Alice's goodbye scene with her friend Bea at the beginning is the film's most emotional moment. Alice eventually becoming friends with her fellow waitresses is another highlight. Even the scene

Series Review: Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV

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Official synopsis:  A docu-series that uncovers the toxic culture behind some of the most iconic children's shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Like many, I grew up watching Nickelodeon in the 90's. One of the shows heavily featured on this docu-series is All That, which I counted as one of my favorites. But the rumblings of showrunner Dan Schneider's abusive behavior can only be compared Weinstein's; an open secret on the internet. It's something I've followed for quite some time. There are numerous videos, Twitter-threads, reddit posts, and even a bizarre CDAN comment on how shitty Schneider is that people swear is from Robert Downey Jr of all people. Needless to say, when I heard this was coming out, I knew I'd be watching. The series consists of four one-hour episodes, starting with All That's various seasons, before covering The Amanda Show, Drake and Josh, iCarly, Zoey 101, Victorious and Sam & Cat. Actors from All That and The Amanda Show

Review: Late Night With The Devil

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Official synopsis:  A live television broadcast in 1977 goes horribly wrong, unleashing evil into the nation's living rooms Let's get the elephant out of the room right away. There is a lot of chatter online regarding the use of AI in this film. Per the filmmakers, the graphic design team experimented with AI to create three title card sequences. Though other comments online say there's more than that, but I haven't been able to find proof of it. Personally, I think we can all agree AI art sucks, but I don't think it's worth seeing an indie film bomb at the box office over it. Especially when the use of it is so small. I'm glad people speak against it, but let's not tank a film that already has tough competition at the box office. Not to mention, the film is pretty great. David Dastmalchian is an actor I'm so familiar with in creepier or comedic supporting roles, so seeing him shine as a 70's TV talk show host was a welcomed change. He leads this

Review: The Royal Hotel

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Official synopsis: Backpackers Hanna (Julia Garner) and Liv (Jessica Henwick) take a job in a remote Australian pub for some extra cash and are confronted with a bunch of unruly locals and a situation that grows out of control. A synopsis like that sounds intimidating, at least to me, but thankfully we have a woman behind the camera in Kitty Green. With her, while the unease is there, nothing is gratuitous. The film was inspired by a documentary made in 2016 called Hotel Coolgardie. I have not seen it, so I cannot compare. I find myself appreciating what this film isn’t more than enjoying what it was. While Green’s previous film The Assistant (also starring Garner) was a quiet, uneasy film like this, The Royal Hotel did not grip me in the same way. The men are creeps, one friend is a partier, the other reserved, it’s very standard. At one point, I paused the film and realized I only had 33 minutes left. An hour had gone by where not much at all had happened. Garner and Henwick are goo

2024 Academy Award Winners

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I LIVED for the I'm Just Ken performance. It might be the best Oscar  Thankfully I missed the majority of the opening monologue which I'm sure was far too long. I went 20/23 with my picks, which I think is a new record for me. Below are the winners + my thoughts. Best Picture American Fiction Anatomy of a Fall Barbie The Holdovers Killers of the Flower Moon Maestro Oppenheimer Past Lives Poor Things The Zone of Interest Very happy with this win! I'm glad Emma Thomas' dream came true! Best Director Jonathan Glazer – The Zone of Interest Yorgos Lanthimos – Poor Things Christopher Nolan – Oppenheimer Martin Scorsese – Killers of the Flower Moon Justine Triet – Anatomy of a Fall Finally!!!! Best Actress Annette Bening – Nyad Lily Gladstone – Killers of the Flower Moon Sandra Hüller – Anatomy of a Fall Carey Mulligan – Maestro Emma Stone – Poor Things You could tell by Emma's face that even she was shocked she won this. I wonder if the Killers of the Flower Moon team reg

Series Review: True Detective: Night Country

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True Detective has been a highly polarizing show on HBO. The first season was near perfect and the subsequent anthologies have created endless dialogue about how "they're never as good as the first." Despite the very high expectations everyone puts on this series, I've enjoyed every season of True Detective that's been put out. The newest season - subtitled Night Country has been a ratings hit for HBO, and a very hot topic online. No major spoilers here - I will say, I don't know what some of y'all were bitching about, because I thought the ending was pretty satisfying.  Our detectives this season are the hardened Liz Danvers (Jody Foster) a police chief who fucks and Deputy Evangline Navarro (Kali Reis) who cannot shake a previous case. When a group of scientists are found frozen in a pile outside their small town of Ennis, Alaska. Dangers and Navarro find themselves working together again.  Night Country likely could've stood on its own without bei

2024 Oscar Nominated Shorts

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It's been another year of tracking down all the Oscar nominated Shorts! Thanks to my pals over at r/oscarsdeathrace as always for helping me fill in the gaps with finding these films online. I've broken them down into each category and ranked them from best to worst. Have you seen any of these? Tell me what you think! Best Animated Short Film Our Uniform - The clear favorite for me. I loved how unique the animation was in this! And at 7 minutes, it's the shortest watch of the bunch. Very easy to enjoy. A Ninety-Five Senses  -There's a lot of feelings packed into 13 minutes. The animation is very unique and fun to watch. Not a fan of Tim Blake Nelson's hillbilly voice performance though. B War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko -  This is the most emotional I've been over an animal death for a while, but I suspect the music used is giving this a lot of goodwill. Animation is cool, though. C+ Pachyderm -  The animation was not very pleasing to look

2024 Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win; Who Should Win

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We're a week away from the Oscars so it's time to get predicting! Here's who I think will win on Movie's biggest night, and in some cases who should win instead. Best Picture American Fiction Anatomy of a Fall Barbie The Holdovers Killers of the Flower Moon Maestro Oppenheimer Past Lives Poor Things The Zone of Interest Who will and should win: Oppenheimer Oppenheimer has all the momentum now. I'd be shocked if something else won. Best Director Jonathan Glazer – The Zone of Interest Yorgos Lanthimos – Poor Things Christopher Nolan – Oppenheimer Martin Scorsese – Killers of the Flower Moon Justine Triet – Anatomy of a Fall Who will and should win: Christopher Nolan Like the film itself, he has all the momentum and it's quiet shocking he doesn't have an Oscar yet. Best Actress Annette Bening – Nyad Lily Gladstone – Killers of the Flower Moon Sandra Hüller – Anatomy of a Fall Carey Mulligan – Maestro Emma Stone – Poor Things Who will: Lily Gladstone Who should

Review: Dune: Part II

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Official synopsis:  Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) unites with Chani (Zendaya) and the Fremen while seeking revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Director Denis Villenueve's first Dune entry was a welcome surprise for me. I've never read the books, nor seen any of the older versions. I loved the film and am perfectly fine to have this as "my" Dune experience so to speak. So to say I was excited for part II is an understatement. After may delays, Part II is finally here and is absolutely worth the long wait. Dune: Part II is stunning to look at. The cinematography, the VFX, all of it is rich and beautiful. The way they chose to introduce the new antagonist in a black and white scene (shot in infrared) was very cool. But Dune is more than what we see, the actors are the beating hearts. Chalamet continues to prove every day that he's leading man material. Paul is in an impossible situation and Chalamet makes you feel it. His chemistry with Z

2024 Blind Spot Series: Daughters of the Dust

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Official synopsis: A languid, impressionistic story of three generations of Gullah women living on the South Carolina Sea Islands in 1902. I wanted to add more films directed by women to my Blind Spot list this year, and when doing so Daughters of the Dust was an easy inclusion. It's one I've thought about for a while, and thankfully Mubi is streaming it for all to see. Daughters of the Dust is a gorgeous film. It's poetry in motion with its stunning cinematography and costumes. The film feels like an extended dream sequence. The style reminded me a bit of Picnic at Hanging Rock in that aspect. (I preferred this film far more) Gullah culture is something I'm well versed in, so I can't speak to any smaller intricacies involved, especially with the language used.  Admittedly, there were times my attention wavered, but a lot of that had to do with the very annoying blizzard happening outside my windows, and my kid kicking a soccer ball around the house because of said

Review: The Zone of Interest

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Official synopsis:  Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife Hedwig (Sandra Huller) strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden beside the camp. With this, I've officially seen all 10 Best Picture nominations. This one has been quite elusive, which is why I went to see it right away, knowing it probably won't hang around my theater for long.  Everything you've heard about this film's sound design is true. What the editors and mixers did with this was incredible. Scary, depressing, but incredible work. The technical elements of this film are the strongest, but it struggles with the story. I give writer/director Jonathan Glazer a lot of credit because this is a very different take on a WWII movie, but I struggled to understand the point of it all when it was over. I expected the Höss'  to be challenged a bit more. To maybe struggle with their decision to be so flippant about the death happening right outside their fancy

2024 Screen Actors Guild Predictions: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

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The SAGS are upon us tomorrow and here I am, late with my predictions. This year is starting out to be my flop era of blogging. Anywho, here's who I think will win and in some cases should probably win instead.  OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE American Fiction Barbie The Color Purple Killers of the Flower Moon Oppenheimer Who will and should win: Oppenheimer Oppie seems to be gaining some of the momentum Barbie had initially, so I see them taking the big prize.  OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE Annette Bening – Nyad Lily Gladstone – Killers of the Flower Moon Carey Mulligan – Maestro Margot Robbie – Barbie Emma Stone – Poor Things Who will win: Lily Gladstone Who should win: Lily or Emma Stone Emma has all the momentum right now so SAGs are make or break for Lily. Truthfully, the win will mean more for Lily, but I still think her performance is supporting and not lead. If we're talking a true lead, Emma gave the best performance

Review: Dicks: The Musical

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Official Synopsis : A pair of business rivals (Josh Sharpe and Aaron Jackson) discover that they're identical twins and decide to swap places in an attempt to trick their divorced parents (Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally) to get back together. I saw the trailer for this film in front of Bottoms last year and it opens with Jackson singing the line "My cock is fucking massive, it always makes the ladies sore." I laughed. It was ridiculous, and I knew that would be the tone for the whole film. But what I was hoping was going to be dumb fun ended up being just plain old dumb. My family and I needed a laugh, and I put this on thinking it would do just that, but it ended up being incredibly annoying and unfunny. There are probably two jokes that land in its entire 90 minute run time. It also chooses to end on an incest joke that just doesn't land. The performances are very inconsistent. Sharpe and Jackson have good chemistry together, despite not being very funny. Lane and