I haven’t done a movie notes post since December of last year! I’ve seen quite a few flicks in that time—way too many to remember—but I’ll give it my best shot and try to say a word about those I do recall.
End of Watch – A film about 2 LAPD patrolmen who keep stumbling upon Mexican drug cartel schemes and messing up their plans. It’s shot in a semi-documentary style but it was done really well and the story, acting, and action were amazing. I loved it and would recommend it highly. There’s plenty of profanity and violence though so beware.
Spring Breakers – I can’t decide whether I liked this movie or not. There wasn’t much dialogue in it but I think it’s meant to be more of an art flick anyway. Casting former Disney Channel stars in unexpected roles was kind of intriguing and James Franco’s portrayal of a white rapper/gangster drug dealing thug was inspired. He nailed the part, for sure.
Django Unchained – I love most anything that Quentin Tarantino and Django was no exception. Over-the-top gore and violence; witty dialogue; and the right mix of comedic and dramatic performances make this one of the best Westerns I’ve ever seen.
The Master – This is a film that I imagine most people won’t get or at least get and not care for. It’s about a sexual deviant and alcoholic named Freddie (played by Joaquin Phoenix) who gets caught up in a cult. Freddie’s already unstable and the cult, especially the Master, portrayed brilliantly by Philip Seymour Hoffman, can’t help him. Hoffman’s character Lancaster Dodd is based on L. Ron Hubbard and the cult strongly resembles Scientology. I thought the film nailed the ridiculousness and ad hoc nature of the religion.
A Good Day to Die Hard – I wish people would learn to quit when they’re ahead. There was no need for Live Free or Die Hard but it turned out to be a decent movie. The worst in the series up until that point, but still pretty good. A Good Day to Die Hard was also unnecessary but unlike the film that preceded it, it was horrible! The director obviously had some ideas for cool action sequences and thought he’d try to build a movie around it. Bad idea. Horrible story; terribly unconvincing performances; and a couple of decent action scenes. Avoid this one if you can.
Snitch – Hard to believe that this was based on true events. It’s a movie about a father who’s willing to do anything possible to get his son out of prison. The kid’s in there because a friend set him up with a drug charge. He doesn’t want to set anyone else up so his dad agrees to do it for him. But he goes high up on the food chain and ends up taking down some big players in the Mexican drug cartel. I gotta wonder how much was factual in this because some stuff seems pretty unbelievable. In all it was a good movie, but not as good as I had hoped for. A bit slow to be honest.
Taken 2 – A lot of people panned this one so I had low expectations. All the more because I loved the first film so much. So imagine my surprise when I found out that the movie was actually good. As good as the first one? Nah, not a chance. But good nonetheless. Bryan Mills (portrayed by Liam Neeson) is one of the most clever spy types in all of film. He showed that cleverness much more in this film than the first.
10 Years – This was a fun movie with an ensemble cast of youngish actors who get together for their 10 year high school reunion. I enjoyed it because they were all around my age so there was something familiar about it. The comedic moments were funny; the musical bits entertaining; the dramatic moments somewhat sobering but not overly done. While it wasn’t an Oscar-worthy film there was something authentic and endearing about it. I’ll watch it again.
Looper – Nothing gets under my skin more than time travel since I get stuck in an infinite regress of thinking about infinite regresses. The Back to the Future films and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure got it right. So many movies get it wrong. Looper is one of the worst at getting it wrong. And Joseph Gordon Levitt spent the entire movie making me want to smack him. Bruce Willis was slightly better. Kudos to the makeup team for getting Levitt to look like Willis though. Good job there. Still a dumb movie, but good job on the makeup.
Premium Rush – A movie about a bike messenger going through crazy trouble to deliver a package; what could be bad about that right? Well, most everything. Forget that he’s a thrill seeker who rides a bike with no gears or brakes (honestly, who cares?). Forget that the plot is nearly incomprehensible (he’s delivering a ticket that stands for cash that has been paid to get a girl’s son smuggled in from China; why does this ticket need to be presented; why not just make a phone call and say payment has been made?); forget that the dirty cop chasing him is one of the most annoying antagonists to come along in a good while; instead let’s focus on the fact that Kevin Bacon’s Quicksilver is the be-all-end-all of bike messenger movies. How dare they even attempt to make another!
21 & Over – This was your standard movie about young adult debauchery. Nothing really remarkable about it. Definitely some funny moments but overall it was pretty mediocre.
So those are the ones I’ve seen recently that jump to mind. There has been plenty of others that I’ll have to think about and comment on in another post.