Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Some Random Mini-Movie Reviews

Snow day! Means I spent the morning lounging, the afternoon in the snow and now relaxing a little bit in front of the fire...okay, not in front of the fire, but in the quiet of my living room...before the kiddos get baths then bed and then some words for me. The exciting life of a writer. The new project- THE FALCON AND THE CROW- is going swimmingly. I've found a great little groove and I'm digging the story I'm telling. It's outlined and I'm really working hard at a solid five week deadline to hammer out the first draft. I'm 11k in out of about 75-80k, so 65-70k in 5 weeks? We'll see. Anyway, for some reason I've been on a real movie kick lately, mostly old, so I thought I would do a few micro-movie and television reviews, so here goes :

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: I'm saving this for an individual blog post after I see it again. Short answer: it wasn't perfect, but it was damn near close and entertaining as anything I've seen in a long time. Hating on TFA has become the "I am vegan/I do crossfit/I am gluten free" of movies right now. Does it have plot holes? Sure. But so does EVERY Star Wars movie. Anyway, save that for a later post. (9.5/10)

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU: I watched this movie on accident. It was over Christmas break (it may have actually been late Christmas night after we came home from the festivities) and I turned it on because I still had Adam Driver on my mind from TFA (more on that in a minute). But that wasn't all. I love Jason Bateman and think he's our generations great straight man a la Jack Lemmon. I imagine him when I write Thomas Grange in my SEASONS books. I also have a thing for Tina Fey. so I was drawn to it. And I LOVED it. Bittersweet, genuinely funny in spots and very real. It was an adult movie and it worked for me on that level. It tells the story of a family greiving the death of their father by sitting Shiva (his dying wish) even though they aren't Jewish. The cast is amazing and the chemistry is palpable as they tweak, mock, prod, poke and cope in their own ways as they honor their father's last request. If you know me as a person or as a writer, you know that father-child relationships are very important to me and this is fascinating as it shows the way people cope with the loss of a parent. Like I said, it's an adult movie. Adam Driver's Phillip reminded me of my brother, it was kind of scary. And if they were to make a movie where someone had to play "me," I'd want it to be Jason Bateman. (9/10)

THE INTERN: Robert DeNiro not actually playing Robert DeNiro. It's more of a novelty than you think these days. I liked this more than I thought I would. Anne Hathaway is charming, as always, and you root for her in everything she's in, even as Catwoman (even though they never call her that). But DeNiro is the star here. Playing understated is always where DeNiro shines because it's never what we expect, though he was amazing in CAPE FEAR playing against type. Robert DeNiro reminds me of my grandfather and I kind of saw bits of my grandfather in the character he played. The three dudebros in the movie were just funny enough that they were fleshed out, but the confusing message of the movie at times kind of threw me at times (things were better in the past except for the women being in charge thing) but the movie was an enjoyable couple of hours. (7/10)

CREED: To be honest, I only watched bits and pieces. It hit all the boxing movie cliches along the way and didn't do them particularly well. Michael B. Jordan is going to be a star. He's got charisma to spare and can morph himself into any role. Sly Stallone is good as the sick Rocky and the fight scenes are thrilling, but that doesn't save the movie from being just okay. (5/10)

A BRIDGE TOO FAR: An old WW2 movie that was a spectacle for it's time and still is. Look it up. The cast is massive and all HUGE names for its time. It'd take a special project to do that now. It's completely enjoyable as a film but relies entirely too much on cliches and tropes that just miss the mark. You follow my reviews, you know that I love a good trope-y filled story, but this missed the mark. I hung with it because it worked in the big moments and built the right amount of tension that it needed to when it did. It didn't shy away from the fact the Operation Market Garden was an epic clusterfrak but I felt that other things did it better, but for a movie that was made in 1977, it was amazing to watch that did manage to capture the horrors of war. Characterization was paper thin and that didn't make me care about the characters the way you need to in a war movie. I ordered the book from my library because I want to read it in prep for a few new projects. (7.5/10)

WRATH OF KHAN: Do I need to even? The best Star Trek movie and if it weren't a Star Trek movie it would've made a great science fiction movie. The battle in the nebula still holds up as one of the most tense space battles in movie history. (8/10)

THE EXPANSE: Holy shit! I don't like swearing but damn this was amazing. The first two episodes were so well done. I read the book, loved it and this was so perfect. I DVRed a bunch of episodes and will probably talk the shit out of this when I catch up. It's hard because the kids are up with me (take after me and are night owls) but I will catch up. But you need to watch, now. Seriously. Go. (10/10)

INTO THE BADLANDS: We need more of this: ORIGINAL SFF. There's not enough. Martial arts. A familair dystopic setting with martial art. This was a genre mash-up of epic proportions and you all know how much I love me some genre mash-ups. I hope there's a second season coming. In the same token I caught part of a movie called LAST KNIGHTS that looks right up my alley, but I haven't watched it all and will review when I do. (8/10)

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD: Holy Mary Mother of God. I know I'm late to this party, but my God, this movie...this movie was everything. I can't contain it in this small a space. I want to write a ton about this movie. I loved it that much. First, can we all just admit that this wasn't really a Mad Max movie, right? I mean it's got Max and he kicks ass like Max, but we know that this movie doesn't get made unless they put Max in it...and that sucks. We suck for that being a thing...wait, stop, a post for another time. I've seen it twice and will watch it every time it's on. I'll post about it after the next view.

So there's my mini-movie/TV reviews. Feel free to discuss.