Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Lenny – Review

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I think it was only most fitting that Bob Fosse of all people was the man who went behind making a film about Lenny Bruce. But how exactly would a biopic be able to capture a sense of what the man was truly all about? Maybe it was the fact that Bob Fosse was already working himself up to the point he’s captured a sense of what the man was like on the inside, for he was editing this at the same time he was choreographing Chicago, something he went ahead and fictionalized eventually in All That Jazz, his own invitation to a glimpse at the creative process of an artist. And that’s only a fraction of what made me love Bob Fosse as much as I do, because like All That Jazz which came later, he didn’t want to take someone else’s story and turn it into any other disposable biopic. I’ve known the name of Lenny Bruce for a while already, and I’ve already found a newfound respect for him thanks to what Bob Fosse had painted of him in Lenny.

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Posted in 1 Star, Film Reviews

Death Note (2017) – Review

In truth my hopes were never high for another live-action Death Note adaptation because I’ve never been a fan of neither the anime series or the original Japanese features. The fact Netflix was releasing a live-action film in English after how this year’s Ghost in the Shell had turned out to be sounded far less appealing to me given as Netflix’s original feature films have rarely ever been great ones at that, and I grew even more cautious upon the notion that Adam Wingard was set to direct after how bad his Blair Witch sequel had turned out to be. But I’m not against the idea of retelling another story into a different language for a different audience, so looking at Death Note on its own terms had only put a sliver of curiosity into my own mind and my worst fears have only been proven true. As an adaptation of the anime, it does its job horribly, and on its own terms it’s just painful to watch.

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Posted in 2 Stars, Film Reviews

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Review

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Less offensive than Forrest Gump in terms of how it alters history for the sake of its own self-important sense of sentimentality, but at the hands of David Fincher – it was the most that one can hope for with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Granted, Forrest Gump will be among the first films that one will think of when one talks about David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because the similarities within the sort of narrative experimentation which they are working with are not limited from the fact that the two of them share Eric Roth as a screenwriter but also from what they make of their setting. And for as much as I love the work of David Fincher, this was always one of my biggest struggles in regards to his filmography for by my own personal experience, it took me three attempts to make it through The Curious Case of Benjamin Button without feeling a need to fall asleep, but even describing such a film as “bloated” doesn’t even begin to cover why it’s such a frustrating, even annoying experience.

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Posted in 3 Stars, Film Reviews

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – Review

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I can’t say I expected much out of The Hitman’s Bodyguard because I knew not so much about it other than the pairing of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, a pair of actors that I’ve always enjoyed depending on the sort of role that they’re playing. To see the two of them being themselves and put together only would have made for something entertaining but the notion that Patrick Hughes was going behind the camera had me skeptical after having been left a bitter taste from The Expendables 3. I suppose having all of that in mind would have only kept me waiting for what to expect out of The Hitman’s Bodyguard overall and it was exactly what I had received. A movie that spends nearly two hours with the two of them getting within shenanigans and not much beyond that. I had only supposed the pairing of the two would only provide such as a means of killing time for said length.

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Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

Logan Lucky – Review

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Steven Soderbergh has always been one of the most interesting American filmmakers working today, and for good reason. After he was supposedly going to “retire” from directing films after the made-for-television Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, he comes back with another heist comedy along the lines of the Ocean’s films with Logan Lucky. But what made Soderbergh so fascinating among many other contemporaries was how he transitioned between making films for wider audiences and independent productions akin to Richard Linklater. And even when he made films for a more mainstream appeal, he still manages to retain the charm of his smaller productions – among many reasons Logan Lucky continues a streak of wonder from a diverse filmography. One end you’ll have a good time, another you’re finding some sort of odd experiment with his name on it – and Soderbergh somehow manages to remain intriguing with the many highs and lows of his own career.

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Posted in 4½ Stars, Film Reviews

Elle – Review

✯✯✯✯½

Upon his entrance into Hollywood, Paul Verhoeven has made some of the most intelligent social satires of the period within the guise of science fiction action films through RoboCopTotal Recall, and Starship Troopers. It wasn’t long within these years when he decided to take a far more perverse direction with his work when he started collaborating with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas with the sleazy Basic Instinct and Showgirls. But this perverse route towards his Hollywood period isn’t unfamiliar to him as shown by his earlier works in his native Netherlands. Verhoeven’s films have never been a stranger to controversy and a case study with his most recent outing, Elle, only more of this dementia his works are characterized by allow itself to shine once again. Purely Verhoeven all in the very best sense of the word: sly, sleazy, exciting, no wonder I’ve rarely ever disliked anything with his name. A ten year wait has come between this and Black Book, and with Elle the wait certainly was worth the while.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

The Apartment – Review

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I’m an especially reclusive individual. I don’t even know if I’ve ever managed to have a social life the way I wanted because, to say the least, I’ve lived my life as a hermit. I think this is a fairly known fact about me, and it isn’t surprising about the sort of person that I am, I’ve been living a lonely person. I’ve never been a particularly good communicator. I’m already nearing my 19th birthday as I’m writing this and I’m only getting unhappier about it by the minute because I’m about to start college later this year and I don’t even know if I’m ready for it. To say the least, if any other film ever managed to get down to the bone of what that experience was like for myself, Billy Wilder’s The Apartment has always been a perfect go-to. On one end, we see the comedies that remind us of the happiness of our lives, and what it looks like on a shallow surface. But what’s made The Apartment the pinnacle of Billy Wilder’s directorial career goes beyond what it looks like, because it’s already left me a mess thinking about how I live my own life.

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Posted in 2½ Stars, Film Reviews

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – Review

✯✯½

It’s easy to find influences from Terrence Malick spreading everywhere, for David Lowery’s debut Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is only making itself clear its own homages to Badlands and Bonnie and Clyde among a few. But the fact that it lays upon these influences only is one thing that keeps me from coming closer, for it tries its best to feel soothing as a sight for the eyes and a sound for the ears, and yet on the inside it still feels so thin. I’m not even sure that writer-director David Lowery seemed especially interested in going beyond these stylistic influences to make something all the more compelling. It’s easy to see why Ain’t That Bodies Saints has drawn such a divided reaction towards the manner to which it is channeling Malick for some say it is a loving homage and others say it is a flagrant copy, and unfortunately I happen to be on the other side of the fence.

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Posted in 1 Star, Film Reviews

The Dark Tower – Review

Adapting Stephen King to film is a complicated case, knowing that Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining had taken liberties with its source material to the scorn of King himself. With that having been said, it still remains the best of the many adaptations that King’s work has spawned, but perhaps the case with “Stephen King done right” as proven by the Shining miniseries would only have proven itself disastrous, so fan reactions to The Dark Tower could set expectations in place for they didn’t get what they would have wanted as a means of introducing a story they love to newcomers. Coming in with a newcomer’s perspective for I’ve only read the first book in the series and wasn’t a fan, I already feel the anger that such an audience would have felt to see something they loved bastardized the way Nikolaj Arcel did so here.

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Posted in 4½ Stars, Film Reviews

Atlantic City – Review

✯✯✯✯½

I’m not sure that Louis Malle is talked about as often as he should for he has only made a name for himself as one of the most unique cinematic experimenters of his own time: and here’s where I pull up a rarely discussed effort of the sort despite a considerable amount of acclaim it has received. Atlantic City, Louis Malle’s tribute to the death of the gangster genre, is a film that lives and breathes within the monotony and the life of the city – but such a work even finds itself complicated all the more because of the hands it still isn’t an easy one to absorb at that. And yet maybe it’s within this false sense of simplicity where Atlantic City only makes itself out to be one of the most fascinating works of its own time. But it’s in this monotony where a calling for help can be heard, if Atlantic City were not already making itself a challenging enough work to absorb on its own hands.

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