My List: The Boondock Saints (1999)

The Boondock Saints

Rating: 9/10

The Boondock Saints is one of the best action films I think I’ve ever seen, and it was made on a limited budget. It’s a fun movie from beginning to end. I especially like the use of letting Willem Dafoe as FBI Agent Paul Smecker figure out every case and then showing the awesome action through flashbacks as he figured out who did what in every case. It makes a style that I’m not sure could be properly replicated now. Though the director Troy Duffy did try with a sequel that unfortunately tried to both retcon this movie while also riding its coattails into oblivion.

This movie is far superior to it’s sequel, taking it’s rough style and cuts to the best mix of Catholic ultraviolence since the Spanish Inquisition, but doing that while also telling a smart yet fast-moving story about God telling two Irish brothers to kill mobsters in New York City. That may sound crazy, but that’s because it’s crazy awesome! Oh, and the music is all mixed with the movie well and the editing is really what makes this movie what it is.

My biggest complaint is there isn’t really any strong female roles throughout the movie. There’s a couple of girls who show up here and there but it would have been nice to have a couple of women in main roles. They could have been a few of the cops following Willem Dafoe around at least, since the gender there doesn’t seem to be very important. Ah well, whatever.

Why you should watch it before you die: Because it’s one of the best action movies ever, even though it never had enough money to advertise and achieve superstardom, it’s an immediate cult classic with a great story, hilarious comedy, and awesome action throughout the film.

SCORING:

+8: An action movie that’s great fun

+1: Awesome action and acting

+1: Great Editing

-1: No strong woman in the film

0242: In a Lonely Place (1950)

In a Lonely Place

Rating: 5.5/10

This movie stars Humphrey Bogart as a down on his luck screenwriter who’s suddenly suspected of murdering a young girl. His neighbor helps get him off but then she starts to have her doubts.

The dialogue throughout the movie is both witty and smart, though some of it is maybe a little too much exposition. Much of it is very well acted also, but some of the actors aren’t as good, their adequate, but so many good actors makes them really stand out when they’re there.

There’s something about this movie that makes me nostalgic for the 50s, despite not even being born yet. It just has every film cliche from the time period all mixed into one. It’s a noir because every movie was a noir back then. It’s got a song in the middle of it because every movie had a song in the middle of it. A man in it gets angry and drives off erratically in a huff because every movie has that in it as well. It has Humphrey Bogart in it because– you get the picture. Since this was released in the year 1950 exactly, it was probably before many of these things became cliche, but watching it now these cliches start a chain reaction, compounding on one another like a slowly gathering unstoppable snowball and it becomes amazingly distracting and totally stops my suspension of disbelief for most of the film.

Also, this movie loses the plot in the middle of it. It becomes more about this romance between the two main characters and doesn’t exactly do anything for the rest of the story. I guess you need that to set up the third act, but the third act is too bogged down in unnecessary scenes it just makes me wish it would get to the point. This movie feels like there just wasn’t enough to it to edit it down anymore and they couldn’t do that without it being only 45 minutes long or something. It has some intense, and some interesting scenes that make it worth watching but you have to shuffle through quite a bit of garbage to get there.

Why you should watch it before you die: I feel if you’ve never seen a 50s film you could probably just watch this one and get the gist of the whole era. Outside of that, I’d probably only recommend it to Humphrey Bogart fans. It’s nice seeing him play a character unlike most of his roles, but he had better roles and there are better movies out there with similar themes.

SCORING:

+5.5: Decent noir flick

-1: Chain-Reaction-Compounded-Cliche-Snowball Effect

+1: pretty good acting throughout, especially from Humphrey Bogart

-1: Way too many unnecessary scenes

+1: Witty, smart dialogue

0553: Red Psalm (1972)

kinopoisk.ru

Rating: 0/10

This will mark the first Hungarian film I’ve ever seen. But I immediately started having “Wicker Man” vibes from the get-go. It’s probably all the singing, which seems out of place really, being that this mostly is a movie about a group of farmers going on strike in 1890s Hungary. The scenes are long, usually have singing, but otherwise don’t go anywhere and aren’t about anything. And I’m not sure the songs fit the feel of the rest of the film. They usually sound happy and have a kind of “we’re in this together” feel to it but the rest of the movie feels like everyone is depressed or dying. Really this is a movie about the confrontation of rights between the individual and the country, shown through the eyes of the ones suffering the most from what seems like a dystopian place and time period to live in, but the songs just don’t work. Also, neither does anything else…

Many of the scenes seem very random, much like a few films I’ve seen not too long ago. Here it all has a common theme of showing what people are doing as this strike continues to go on, but as to the question of “does this movie have a plot?” I would say: not really. It’s mostly a series of music videos that the video doesn’t match the music and there’s excessive female nudity. I guess that’s a plus in terms of me getting at least some enjoyment out of watching this, but as to telling a story, the nudity doesn’t add or subtract anything at all.

Okay, I’ve figured it out, this movie is trying to be artsy and thinks that being “artsy” means you don’t have to have a real plot, or a story, or dialogue that makes sense, just throw some naked chicks in there and sing a bunch of songs and have this vague feeling that it’s supposed to about a farmer’s strike from the 1890s and claim it’s political or something and maybe he’d make some money. At the very least he could get some women to take their tops off.

Why you should watch this before you die: I don’t know, you like Hungarian music? I would just claim wasn’t a movie and not score it but I’ve rated a few things that were less movies at this point, so…

SCORING:

+1: A movie that just made me go “Huh?” for an hour and a half

+1: some of the music was decent, though out of place

-1: So, so many pointless scenes

-1: Nothing about this movie makes sense

My List: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Rating: 8.5/10

Though this movie didn’t do great in theaters because it came out a bit too late to be timely, I still love it. It’s a great adaptation of one of the best books ever written, with a screenplay written by the author, Douglas Adams, but unfortunately the technology to do it right wasn’t available until after his death.

The movie begins with the destruction of Earth by the Vogon Constructor Fleet. Luckily, for Arthur Dent, his best friend, Ford Prefect, turns out to be an alien, and he saves him just before the planet is destroyed. It immediately becomes an adventure through space as Ford and Arthur are put into increasingly more improbable situations.

The practical effects in this movie are brilliant. It uses both puppetry and animation to an amazing degree and makes all of the weirdest parts of the movie more believable because of it.  The acting is also perfect for this otherworldly comedy. Sam Rockwell is especially great as Zaphod Beeblebrox. Stephen Fry makes a perfect narrator, and Alan Rickman does a really good job of being Marvin the Paranoid Android. I only wish this movie could have done better and we could have gone through the whole trilogy.

The one thing I’m not a big fan of about this movie is the shoehorned in romance plot between Arthur and Trillian. It wasn’t in the book and didn’t really make sense as they’re really totally different people. Trillian here is totally different too. It’s because she’s being played by Zooey Deschanel. She’s fine doing what she does in this movie, she just isn’t the same Trillian I love from the books.

Why you should watch it before you die: It’s a great comedy and space adventure, and one of the last relics from one of the best authors from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Douglas Adams.

SCORING:

+7.5: really enjoyable comedy adventure

+1: Great acting

+1: Really cool special effects

-1: Shoehorned in romance plot

1210: Black Panther

Black Panther

Rating: 7.5/10

Ah, Black Panther, the movie that makes me ask the question, “wait, didn’t I review this already?” Also, “What is in their mouth? does anyone see anything different about any other mouth? I don’t get the mouth thing.”

This is a movie about the king of the nation of Wakanda. A nation powered by Vibranium, a super metal that can also make all technology come straight out of the future. They didn’t explain that when they gave Captain America his shield. Anyway, Killmonger shows up, tries to monger-kill Black Panther, action and adventure happens, we know the formula.

I’m gonna complain about a few things. For one, I think the first act of this movie is too long. I get that they’re setting up Wakanda and how it works but then they also have to set up Killmonger and his deal. It becomes a bit bogged down switching between these two things and makes me aching by the end of it for the second act to start. Really I think they either should have shortened both parts or maybe just focused on one or the other. Also, some scenes are clearly unnecessary. For example, when setting up Wakanda, it shows us they’re isolated with the entry through a hologram showing nothing but wilderness only to reveal a thriving society. We don’t need then a scene dedicated to a conversation about their isolationism. It’s all shown to us in 3 seconds, show OR tell, not BOTH movies!

My other complaint is how invincible the Black Panther is in his suit. I’ve read some of his comics, and he’s kind of the Marvel Comics, African Batman, and one of the great things about Batman and Black Panther comics is the stakes are always really high because they can get hurt, sometimes really, really hurt. Here though, they like supe him up, make his suit bulletproof, apparently super strong and give him tons of gadgets (in a way, he’s better than Batman in the comics I’ve read because he doesn’t really use gadgets, unless you count melee weapons). So here, instead of having a cool story about a warrior king with high stakes it becomes akin to a self-insert story where the cool protagonist can basically pull any power out of his ass and is basically invincible until he has to sacrifice himself heroically. Okay,  that isn’t quite what happens here, at least not in the way it might in a Gary Sue story, but the essence is there, especially in some of the overblown, no-stakes-whatsoever, action scenes.

It gets better once Killmonger shows up and ruins everything, as villains do, but it’s an exceptionally long first act to get there…

The stuff I like in this movie are actually the parts where it’s a  political. Asking questions about what a nation and its rulers should do with the power they have. Should they use it to stay safe in their own borders, use it to take over other countries but then protect those countries, or use it for the good of all people in all nations without going to war? Some might seem selfless or ruthless or cowardly but none are easy and none are truly the right decision.

Also, I really like Wakanda in general. A country that has both Star Wars’ technology and keeps its African roots. I think this makes it both distinct as a location and makes it feel more real and maybe more possible than it actually is. Also Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan do an amazing job as Black Panther and Killmonger respectively. As an added thing, that stood out but I haven’t mentioned, the music in this kills it, being mostly original (but don’t quote me on that) and works amazingly well for the setting and matching the mood of every scene.

Why you should watch it: It’s a good Marvel movie and the most action-packed, political-drama I think I’ve ever seen. Though the first act could have been trimmed, the second and third act are so well done it makes you forget about it.

SCORING:

+7: Good superhero movie

-1: First act is way too long

-0.5: action has no stakes

+1: Great acting from main characters

+1: Great music

+1: Good political drama

-1: A few unnecessary scenes

0101: Modern Times (1936)

Modern Times.jpg

Rating: 9/10

This was both the first movie Charlie Chaplin’s character, the Tramp, actually spoke in and the last movie to officially use silent film techniques and conventions as a serious filmmaking technique. It marked the end of an era for cinema. Also, the score is really great too, being both original and able to capture the feeling of each scene perfectly.

Though Charlie Chaplin is as great in this as he is in everything, Paulette Goddard really does a great job, especially since she probably hadn’t been in a silent movie before, which I imagine is harder to act in since your words can’t do any of the acting for you. Still she stands out in this movie. I wonder if she had to put up with a lot of Charlie’s bullshit throughout the film, from what I’ve heard he was a perfectionist director. As an example of that filming for this lasted 10 months, and this was considered fast for one of his films. He also once had a woman say her line 54 times before he was satisfied IN A SILENT FILM! So yeah, maybe a bit of a perfectionist…

The slapstick in this film is very good, even for Chaplin. I feel like he sought to make the best silent comedy after all silent movies were already out the door. Though I don’t know if this accomplishes that, I do think it’s the funniest one I’ve seen so far (sorry Buster Keaton).

As a complaint, this has the same problem I’ve seen from other silent era comedies in that it gets a bit bogged down in just trying to tell good jokes instead of progressing the story and thus the plot becomes secondary to the comedy. Being that the story and the comedy run hand in hand for the first half of the film, this becomes amazingly obvious  about half-way through. It comes back a bit at the end though, but just a little bit.

Why to watch it before you die: Aptly named Modern Times marks the end of the silent era. Watch it if you like silent era comedies, Charlie Chaplin, or are just a film-history buff.

SCORING:

+8: Great movie that’s fun from start to finish

+1: Good Acting

+1: Amazing score

-1: Loses the plot halfway through

0155: How Green Was My Valley (1941)

How Green Was My Valley.jpg

Rating: 6.5/10

This movie asked the question: what happens to a pour, Welsh mining town when the mines close down? Can one family and the town survive?

This first fifteen minutes of this movie has a lot of narration, so much so it feels more like a documentary-style reenactment than an actual film. There’s also a lot of singing in Welsh, or Gaelic, or something, and a lot of scenes where so many people are talking you can’t hear anything. It’s weird. It’s not a documentary, but kind of feels like one, it’s not really a musical but kind of feels like one. I don’t think this mixing of genres really works for this section of the film, as it gets bogged down in narration and songs and maybe this was something really different for its time?

The scene this movie should have started in is about 18 minutes in when the father comes in and starts talking about how the coal mine was closing down. This is when the story actually starts. It feels like a real movie after this, but the beginning is so off putting being nearly 1/6 of the movie’s length and just being completely unnecessary. It comes back like this a lot throughout the film too, and I think, if nothing else, this movie is a good example of why you shouldn’t overuse voice-over narration.

Okay, I’m done complaining about that. This is actually a pretty good movie after the opening. The acting is pretty exceptional and stands out as dramatic and realistic. The message of being Pro-Union while everyone else is screaming against it for being a “socialist movement” might feel a bit dated but, now, it could be seen as a look at how opinions change throughout history.

Why you should watch it before you die: It is a pretty good drama about a family, though much of the opening could probably be cut without any issues to the story. Still, recommended to those who like dramas, or those interested in social and political issues.

SCORING:

+7.5: Pretty good movie overall

-2: Pointless opening

+1: Great acting throughout

My List: Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar.jpg

Rating: 9/10

This movie is nearly three hours long but honestly I was never bored. As far as Sci-Fi films go this one is at least as good as Arrival and might even be good as 2001: A Space Odyssey. Also, though I love Star Wars, seeing a space movie set in hard science is always a plus for me. Everything they talk about here is theoretically possible, until it isn’t, near the end.

This movie isn’t immediately apparent as a Christopher Nolan movie, it’s more a movie about a journey, both a literal one and an emotional one, for an astronaut as he has to leave his family behind in the hope that he can save humanity.

Matthew Mcconaughey does a terrific job in this movie, never thought I’d say that, but it’s true. He really makes me feel for the character he plays and I enjoy his performance as he goes on his noble quest.

I also really enjoyed the score. Hans Zimmer has really grown into an amazing songwriter and it shows here. The sound design, cinematography, and special effects were sometimes especially weird but Zimmer is very good at creating a sound that matches the scene no matter how strange it is. All parts work very well together to create a cohesive, running theme.

I also really enjoyed the story, but can’t really talk about it without spoiling something.

Why you should watch it before you die: It’s a movie more for nerdy sci-fi people like me than others but, like 2001: a Space Odyssey, puts forth enough thought-provoking ideas that I feel most people could gain something from it.

SCORING:
+8: Very good space movie with a Christopher Nolan spin on it

+1: Amazing score, sound, cinematography, special effects

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2.jpg

Rating: 10/10

Cable, Deadpool’s best frenemy, joins the fray in this film that does an impressive follow-up to the original. It might even be better than the original as it doesn’t fall immediately into many superhero cliches as the first one does. Deadpool 2 takes every expectation you have and turning it upside down.

Actually, the advertising on this movie was pretty genius. Setting it up like it might any other superhero franchise, showing you things that are probably going to happen, Deadpool puts a team together, to fight Cable, and people from the first movie are in it again. What’s great about that is that the trailer both doesn’t spoil anything, and also totally lies to you. This isn’t false advertising in that it pretends this movie is something it isn’t (like making it look like it’s a drama or something) instead it’s just setting you up to then subvert your expectations and making the whole thing a surprise.

Also, it uses the R-rating really well for the best humor and some pretty gory action, something the first one didn’t have and I don’t know if the first one needs it but it works really well here I think. I also really liked the action throughout the movie, something that was fine in the first movie but you could tell it was underfunded and they were doing the best they could with what they had. Here though, with more funding they’re able to really go all out with this action. It’s awesome.

Man, I can’t wait to see this movie again actually. There’s so much going for it and I think, much like the first one, I could probably watch it over and over again forever. I guess I’ll see when I get the DVD.

I’m having a hard time thinking of anything that I really found wrong with this movie. This is a common problem for me whenever I see something for the first time So here’s some complaints about other things: Why isn’t Deadpool in the MCU? Come on Disney, hurry up and buy Fox Studios already. I just really want Deadpool to suddenly show up in other movies and quip at people. Also Cable could fight Thanos, that would be confusing as they’re both played by Josh Brolin. Or Deadpool could fight Tony Stark but they were only allowed to quip at each other. Or he could show up in the Netflix shows and fight Daredevil just because they kinda look alike. Man, really Deadpool should be everywhere, all the time, breaking the fourth wall and making fun of everything. I would love that (okay, maybe only I would love that…).

Why you should watch it: Like many sequels, if you liked the first one you probably already saw this movie, so I’m just preaching to the choir. This is one of the best comic book movies I think I’ve ever seen, so really if you’re interested in the genre at all you might want to check this one out.

SCORING:

+10: Humorous, fun, action-packed, Deadpooled, awesome movie

-0:  Some of the humor might be too dark for certain people, perfect for me though

0133: Gone With the Wind (1939)

Gone With the Wind.jpg

Rating: 4/10

As far as movies go, this one is four hours long. Meaning, I’m going to be especially unforgiving about anything in this movie that wastes my time. My own rule, and I’ve said this before, movies should be as long as they have to be, no more and no less, okay, sometimes less actually because you don’t always need everything. Anyway…

What stands out in this movie are the great shots. The cinematography is not only top notch but really revolutionary for its time. I also think that the costumes and colors are all done beautifully to make for some great shots and set pieces.

This movie starts out boring and then continues boringly until the end, aside from an exciting scene or two. I get that this is what the books about it’s not its fault that it’s based on a boring story. I just don’t care about Scarlet, at all. I’m sorry, she seems spoiled and all the bad things that happen to her throughout the film doesn’t make her any less spoiled, which is really weird. It’s like she’s just stubbornly doing her best to not change in any way even though the entire world changes around her.

The one person I do like is Scarlet’s black servant, played very well by Hattie McDaniel, the first black person to win an Academy Award for any reason, in this case, Best Supporting Actress for her role in this movie. A win she totally deserved.

I guess I should point out the acting is all fine, really it is, it’s not the actors or actresses faults that their characters aren’t very likable, or the script not very interesting, outside of a few scenes. Really this feels like a movie made by rich snobs for rich snobs but it’s one of those things that’s a “classic” and “historical” so it has to be good. Right? Right? Okay well no, we know from watching A Birth of a Nation that just because something is historically significant doesn’t mean people should watch it…

Why you should watch it before you die: To check out Hattie McDaniel’s historical performance, though she’s not in nearly enough scenes.

SCORING:

+5: Adequate

+1: Great cinematography, set design, and costumes

+1: Hattie McDaniel

-2: Too God Damned long

-1: Boring/uninteresting