Cold Pursuit (2019)

We went and saw this last night in the theater. I had briefly read the synopsis and descided on a whim to go see it. Based on what I had read, I expected it to be a drama. Boy was I surprised! (In a good way!)

 

Cold Pursuit stars Liam Neeson playing a snowplow driver on a mission to get revenge for his son’s murder. It follows him as he kills progressively higher-ranked drug dealers of a Denver-based ring, ultimately going after the boss. As you can imagine, things get messy and a little absurd. 

 

Cold Pursuit reminds me of Fargo (both the movie and the TV series) meets Wes Anderson. The pacing was a little slow in the beginning, but by the end things had picked up and I was left wanting more! The ending was somewhat open-ended and in a weird way, optimistic.  

 

I was surprised to see that it’s been tanking at the box office. Cold Pursuit was a super enjoyable, entertaining film. Go see it!

A Few Good Movies (and a Few Bad Ones...) - Christmas Edition

I’ve got a bit of a backlog going so here’s a list of movies I watched over the last couple weeks:

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

I’ve seen this one before, but this was the first time watching it in 35mm. It’s an amazing film - one of my favorites - and an excellent representation of a dream. Aside from the spot-on everything (cinematography, lighting, score, acting, storytelling), it’s also arguably, one of the best Christmas movies. I’m sure one day I’ll do a Kubrick write-up and discuss more.

Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

Feels weird following a Kubrick film with… this. I don’t have much to say about this flick. It was cute, I guess?

Krampus (2015)

This was the second time watching this and I think I liked it better this time around! Very atmospheric. Fun story. What’s not to like?

Elf (2003)

2003?? Can you believe this came out 15 years ago? Still holds up excellently though. Every time I watch it, I catch something new. And now, living in New York, I can watch it and recognize buildings and New York-y things. A Christmas classic.

Vice (2018)

I didn’t like this movie. The cinematography was fine, but the story telling was horrendous. I was bored, confused, and felt absolutely no emotional attachment to any of the characters. There was no motivation for anything anyone did. I was so bothered and distracted by the storytelling (or lack thereof) that I was ready to walk out about half-way through.

Black Mirror - Bandersnatch (2018)

Just got done watching this and wow! This is the future of filmmaking. It was equally entertaining as it was thought-provoking. I found all the characters very balanced and the pacing was good. We ended up going through most of the scenarios - my favorite was the meta Netflix path. It’ll be exciting to see where Black Mirror goes with this.

The Editor (2014)

Am I currently watching this as I write this review? Yes. There’s probably something against doing that, but oh well. This is hilarious. Like crying laughing. If you like filmmaking and you like bad, dubbed over Italian horror movies from the 1970’s, you’ll like this. So many color gels must have been used making this - each scene is a technicolor painting. A few rapid fire notes: Everyone is smoking all the time. Liberal use of (bloody) practical effects. Pointless use of split field diopter. It’s really really funny. Also, tons of boobs.

The House That Jack Built (2018)

I’m in love with this movie. I’m also terrified of this movie and I’m not sure I’ll ever watch it again. I have a love-hate relationship with Lars von Trier films, as I imagine most people do. He’s one of the most original directors of this generation, but that being said, I hate some of his movies, like Melancholia and Dogville. The beautiful visuals and creativity of these films cannot be denied, but oftentimes the storytelling leaves something to be desired  

 

The House That Jack Built is an exception. It has wonderful, albeit horrific, storytelling. The commentary between Jack and Verge serves as a fantastic backbone to hold the “incidents” together and provide context and insight into Jack’s mind. 

 

Like most Lars von Trier films, there are downright disturbing scenes that leave you feeling like your stomach has turned inside out. I won’t go into them here but will leave a warning that if you are sensitive to disturbing content, do not watch this film. 

 

The film follows Jack’s descent into madness. In the beginning of the film he is murderous, but meticulous and structured. By the end he is raging, sloppy, and manic, more or less wanting to be caught. Stick through the movie and you’ll be rewarded with what I am tempted to say is one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen in cinema: Jack’s descent to Hell. 

 

This movie made me feel like screaming after I saw it. I would easily call it one of the best films of the year, but I’m not sure I would recommend it to most people. It deserves to win an Oscar or whatever award is deemed “the best”, but I doubt it will.   

Eighth Grade (2018)

We had a very strange coming of age double feature. First up was Larry Clark’s Bully (see below), then Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade. Very different movies to say the least! 

 

I thought this movie was very - at some times, painfully - real. So many flashbacks of awkward memories. But I’m my opinion, that’s what great filmmaking does: it makes you feel a certain way. In this case it was overwhelming awkwardness and anxiety. 

 

It was very interesting to see how “kids these days” are using technology, too - albeit a little depressing. The scene at the dinner table where all Kayla wants to do is be on her phone was all too telling of today’s generation (wow I can feel myself aging as I say that). 

 

I thought it was a really great slice of life movie. Didn’t have any unnecessary bullshit, for lack of better words. I’m very interested to see what Bo Burnham does next.  

BULLY (2001)

Larry Clark’s Bully. What a movie. It’s definitely in line with his other films and felt very real. As someone who has spent a good bit of time in South Florida I can clearly see something like this happening. When I found out that it is based on true events I found myself thinking “that makes sense.” 

 

The acting, music, and cinematography are great. There were a couple really cool shots that stood out. The overall atmosphere created a chaotic feel that fit perfectly with the story. 

 

I don’t have too much to say about it besides a recommendation if you are into these types of films. 

First Reformed (2017)

Another movie I went into without knowing anything about it! I really didn’t like this movie in the beginning.

 

The first thirty minutes or so of this movie was a drag for me. Very slow and not too much going on. Kind of washed out colors and overall just very blah. The aspect ratio was 4:3 or so which was weirdly distracting.  

 

Things picked up after a while and it got a little more interesting as you learn about the characters, but still pretty slow. I can appreciate this film but I won’t be watching it again.  

The Favourite (2018)

I forgot I had seen this last Saturday at Nitehawk in Brooklyn. The only thing I knew going into this movie was that:

1) It’s by the director of Dogtooth (2009) and the Lobster (2015), both movies I had kind of loved but also kind of hated and

2) It’s been getting really good reviews 

3) It has something to do with British royalty

 

I hadn’t planned on seeing it until I saw who it was by, then I was intrigued. I enjoyed it enough and there was some great cinematography. In particular, the use of a fisheye in certain scenes was a welcomed surprise. 

 

In my opinion, The Favourite didn’t much feel like any of Lanthimos’ other works, and that’s not a good or bad thing. On a scale of 1-10 (hate to love), I’m probably at a 6.5 regarding this film. 

December 10, 2018: Whiplash, Clovehitch Killer, Searching, and Mommy I Didn't Do It

I watch a lot of movies, so I thought I would start keeping track and write up some notes for each one. We watched 4 movies this weekend:

Searching (2018)

This movie focuses on a father who must use social media and technology to find his missing daughter.

Put this on thinking it was going to be so bad it’s good but it was actually pretty good! Most movies that have a strong focus any aspect of social media tend to be pretty bad, but Searching did it right. It did get a little goofy with a plot twist at the end, but for the most part it was surprisingly good.

The Clovehitch Killer (2018)

This movie is about a high school boy who suspects his dad may be a serial killer.

Watched this after seeing the Red Letter Media video about it. I’ve been listening to a lot of true crime podcasts lately, so this was right up my alley. I had a few issues with the ending, but overall I recommend this.

Whiplash (2014)

This movie is about a college kid who wants to be a great jazz drummer.

Didn’t know what this film was about going in, but so glad I watched it. Surprisingly suspenseful. Really great cinematography and storytelling. Makes me want to watch La La Land (also by writer/director Damien Chazelle).

Mommy I Didn’t Do It (2016)

This movie is about a lawyer mother who’s daughter is accused of first degree murder.

Horrible acting, terrible writing and story telling, and so many laughable moments. This movie is so bad it’s good(ish). I think this is a Lifetime movie and might be a sequel, but to be honest, I don’t care about it enough to confirm that.