movie reviews

The Disaster Artist

by Cap'n Carrot on December 8, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Do you know the phrase “so bad, it’s good?” James Franco does double duty directing and starring in this behind-the-scenes look at the making of writer, producer, and star Tommy Wiseau‘s (played here by James Franco) The Room which some have dubbed one of the best bad movies ever made akin to the films of Ed Wood.

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The Post

by Cap'n Carrot on December 6, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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The Post is unquestionably lesser Spielberg and is more comparable to 1994’s The Paper than Spotlight or All the President’s Men in examining a newspaper room chasing down a story. While there’s nothing wrong with that (lesser Spielberg is still Spielberg), and cast and crew still deliver an entertaining and informative film, it never reaches the the heights to which it aspires.

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The Florida Project

by Cap'n Carrot on December 1, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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In a rundown hotel walking distance from Disney World live 6 year-old Mooney (Brooklynn Prince) and her mother Halley (Bria Vinaite). Set during a single summer, the film focuses on Mooney’s friendships with Jancey (Valeria Cotto) and Scooty (Christopher Rivera) and her mother’s struggles, scams, and cons to come up with rent every week while a fall-out with her best friend (Mela Murder) causes trouble for her both herself and her daughter.

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Last Flag Flying

by Cap'n Carrot on December 1, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

last-flag-flying-posterLast Flag Flying is a by-the-numbers road trip movie featuring three talented actors (Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne) and an experienced director (Richard Linklater), all of whom have done more memorable work. The film centers around Carell’s character seeking out two Vietnam War buddies when he learns his son’s body is being shipped back from Afghanistan. Having not seen each other in decades, and tied together by an irresponsible act that left another member of their unit dead, the odd couple of Fishburne and Cranston begin the long journey to help their old friend bury his son.

There’s nothing really wrong with the film, other than being Linklater’s least-ambitious project in recent memory. This is the man who spent more than a decade putting Boyhood together and crafted the most accurate version of a Philip K. Dick story we’ve ever seen on film. The solid, if predictable, script offers plenty of moments for each of the three actors to shine. It has its heart in the right place and should play well to both military and civilian families alike, although I didn’t find the film’s emotional moments as affecting as the film’s premise suggests.

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The Square

by Cap'n Carrot on December 1, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

the-square-posterI’ll be honest, I don’t know exactly what to make of The Square. It’s hard to create a satire poking fun at pretentiousness when your film is at least as pretentious as as the subject of your mockery. Swedish writer/director Ruben Östlund‘s film certainly provides its share of moments satirizing modern art, middling celebrities, what wealthy donors of the arts really care about, and marketers. However, the film is over-brimming with subplots involving a threatening letter, a mugging, an angry child, a crazy one-night stand (Elisabeth Moss), and a marketing plan so ridiculous it’s impossible to take it seriously.

Claes Bang stars as the curator and public face of a museum in Stockholm about to unveil their newest addition (which gives the film its name). The wistful, if hopelessly naive, piece of art is a square in which the artist believes that whoever enters leaves all negativity behind and will receive whatever help they need from those that pass by. As concepts go it’s no more or less ridiculous than an artist (Terry Notary) jumping around like an ape and nearly sexually-violating a young woman during a dinner for wealthy donors.

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I’ve been waiting all year for a front-runner, a film to set the standard to which every movie that follows will have to try to measure up. I don’t have to wait any longer. Writer/director Martin McDonagh takes us to a little-used patch of road in rural Missouri where the sudden use of three derelict billboards begin to raise the eyes of the local community.

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Coco

by Cap'n Carrot on November 22, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Pixar’s nineteenth feature isn’t one of the studio’s best, but it does display plenty of heart. We open to extended narration setting up the life and family of young Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) whose family’s hatred of music makes the first-half of the movie seem like Footloose with dead people. More than anything in the world Miguel wants to be a musician which, through a somewhat convoluted series of events, sends him into the netherworld on Día de Muertos when the spirits can leave the Land of the Dead and visit their living relatives (only if their families have remembered to place their picture in the family ofrenda, or altar).

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On television, stage, and in film there have been plenty of adaptations of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol over the years (Mickey Mouse and Bill Murray have provided two of my favorites). The latest from director Bharat Nalluri and screenwriter Susan Coyne, based on Les Standiford‘s book, doesn’t add much new to the proceedings, but proves to be an enjoyable holiday romp focused on the turmoil in Dickens’ (Dan Stevens) life and the creation of one of his most famous works. The script follows a familiar path seen before with authors talking directly to their characters and stealing names and lines from real-life to work into their writing. The later reminded me of Shakespeare in Love, which had far more wit than we find here.

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the-killing-of-a-sacred-deer-posterWriter/director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) is known for unconventional storytelling, and his latest certainly fits that bill. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a respected surgeon with a wife (Nicole Kidman), two children (Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic), and secretive relationship to the son (Barry Keoghan) of a former patient with an equally strange mother (Alicia Silverstone, in a surprisingly small role). When Steven’s son develops odd symptoms that can’t be explained, the doctor is confronted by Martin (Keoghan) who makes veiled threats while suggesting that he is somehow responsible.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a frustrating movie. The film is visually stunning with a haunting score, but every time an actor delivers a torturous line-reading (more appropriate to a group of lonely souls reading publicly from their Twilight fan fiction) the spell is broken. There’s a stiltedness to every performance, no character speaks naturally, and even their reactions, movements, and manners are so affected it will make you wonder if you missed the note explaining that everyone in the film is autistic.

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Justice League

by Cap'n Carrot on November 15, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Built from the worst foundation possible laid by the disastrous Man of Steel and the trainwreck which was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s a wonder that Justice League is even watchable let alone entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, the latest from “visionary” director Zack Snyder is beset with multiple problems, but thankfully being a dumpster fire isn’t one of them. Despite issues with character, plot, editing, acting, and cinematography, Justice League does produce a flawed yet entertaining film bringing DC heroes together against a common threat. It’s not the follow-up to Wonder Woman DC fans were hoping for, but it’s a fair bit better than I expected from Zack Snyder and company.

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