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Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Shortest 2.5+ hour movie I have ever seen . . . but not quite great.
I gave this movie a 7 out of 10. I'd have really preferred to give it a 6.5 out of ten. The 2 hours and 44 minutes went by fairly quickly, which is to say that I was being entertained. Usually when a movie gets to be very long, it's trying to make up for in volume what it lacks in substance (think A.I. and Benjamin Button - both awful AND long). This movie, however, filled the 2.5 hours plus with enjoyable content. That written, it could have, and maybe should have, been shorter. SPOILERS There were several scenes with the lead character interacting with a computer image/hologram of a woman. I recognize that that was important to building sympathy/empathy for the character,but it really didn't work to that effect for me. Regarding the plot, it seemed a bit scattered. Was tough at times to follow who was trying to do what and for what reason. I don't usually like plot dumps, where a character spells out exactly what is going on, but I could have used one or two in this film. I really can't say much more other than it was fairly forgettable and not particularly fantastic. Just kind of ambled along. Not even in the same galaxy as the original. Also, there are not going to be flying cars in 31 years.
Wind River (2017)
Did not like this movie at all - slow, predictable, and unlikely
3 is as generous as I can get on this review.
I think most people, like me, wanted to like this movie because it involves A) violence against women, and B) a depiction of Native American hardship. By liking the movie, you indirectly show your support for the causes, as it were.
The movie was just not good. It started well enough, and I was not dissuaded by the slow pace.
Wheels fell off when - SPOILERS AFTER HERE - Jane shoots the young man in the trailer. Totally unnecessary scene, and totally unrealistic. Ask yourself this - what are the odds that a cop investigating a murder ends up in a trailer with a guy who has done nothing wrong, but yet opens fire on the cop and ends up getting shot? How about close to zero? So now with the wheels off a fire breaks out to burn the remaining structure down when there is a Mexican stand off (no slight intended - I don't believe that's pejorative) among 10 different people - Jane, the Tribal cop, two Star-Trek-Orange-Suit guys they bring along, and 5 or 6 of the drilling crew guys, all of whom are armed to the teeth. Everybody's got a gun drawn, and everybody's yelling to calm down and back off. Finally, Jane, in a terrible alpha dog voice, claims rank with her FBI status and tells everybody to put weapons away. But then a guy with what appears to be an auto open fire from inside where the guy who actually raped the girl is, and all hell breaks loose, with bullets flying everywhere, Star-Trek guys and Tribal cop get killed, but Jane survives, aided by Hurt Locker/Hawkeye, who then exacts your desired blood lust revenge by making bad guy run in snow until he dies, which ends up being a hundred feet and well short of the dead girl's six mile run in the snow, which, I think, is supposed to show us how tough she was? Ug. Awful, awful stuff. Had a chance to be very good, then made the critical mistake of going to what they probably believed were tried-and-true tropes, which did not fit the story at all.
Also, a bunch of guys beating their friend to death because he wouldn't let them molest his girl seems very far fetched.
Just not good.
EDITED TO ADD - sound track may have been the worst sound track I've every experienced as a movie goer. Did not fit the scenes. Awful.
SPOILERS! Boring and Preachy. Close to walking out.
SPOILERS!!! So much was wrong with this movie . . . In sum, the movie tried way too hard to fit "action" and "big war scenes" into the plot. What resulted was a disjointed mess that was nothing more than borrowed, tired plot elements from 100 prior movies awkwardly amalgamated on a bible story.
Quick list: The movie was either written by or funded by a vegan. Big message of the movie was - humans are less than animals, and we can only aspire to be as perfect as them. Noah is a vegan, as is his family. The bad guys all love meat. One bad guy eats a raw lizard, I think? Of course, the obvious contradiction here is that a huge portion of the "perfect" animals eat each other. Somehow, God is OK with a Chimp killing and eating a monkey by ripping it apart. Humans eating a goat is wrong, however.
Reptile dog. What? Did we really need to see a dog with scales? Big Fight scene. Huh? Was this Lord of the Rings? There was no need for a big fight scene. It made the movie seem extremely contrived.
Big Rock guys? Come on. Did they have to pay JRR Tolkien for these? They were, essentially, the tree things in Lord of the Rings, with a rock exterior instead of a tree exterior. Their speech was the same. Their movement was the same. LAME.
Sparky rock fire ignitors? You know you have a sh-t movie when you have to try to add pop-rocks to it to try to bolster the interest level.
Noah is willing to kill people but does not carry a weapon? Why not? Why is Hermione Granger in this? When did Methusaluh obtain miracle healing powers? The UBER-bad guy was just awful. Not a compelling character. Trying way to hard to be evil. Him finding a way into the ark was flat out stupid.
If Noah wanted to end all human life, then the best way to have done it would have been to kill Hermione Granger as the only breeding female. Not kill her female children. Didn't it occur to Noah that he could drop dead of a heart attack and then Hermione and her lover, who looked about as much like Noah's son as Will Smith looks like John Madden, would crank out dozens of babies.
How bad was this movie? Let me put it to you this way: a major subplot was that Noah determined that God wanted Noah to prevent humans from breeding. Noah changes his mind at the end, but for a good part of the movie Noah is preparing to kill breeding females if need be to do God's work.
This movie was so bad I was cheering for Noah.
One last thing - writing, directing, or acting the line "do you realize what you have done" should be grounds for being banned from ever being involved with a movie - forever.
If you don't think too hard, it's okay, otherwise . . .
I gave this movie a 5 because I was entertained. But I was trying really, really hard to be entertained, and I wanted to be entertained. Had I been in a more dour mood, I would have dislike this movie.
The main problem I have with this movie is that the story takes too many liberties with common sense. If you are going to watch a time travel movie, you are going to have to shelve some questions, no doubt. But this movie asks you to leave too many basic questions unanswered.
Why is it so hard for the future mob to get rid of bodies? If it's hard for the future mob to get rid of bodies, why did they shoot Old Joe's wife? Particularly given that she was simply walking around and was not a threat? And further given that they had a future stun-gun device in their hands that could have immobilized her? Why not kill the victims before sending them back? You'd hope by 2074 they'd have a lethal method of killing people that didn't shed blood. I mean, they have flying motorcycles in 2044, and a time machine in 2074, so surely they would have a quick way of zapping people. In 2012 we can't even make an affordable EV, but we have flying motorcycles just 32 years later? If the future mob has the precision to send people back to the exact spot in a cornfield, why not send them back to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? Or the North Pole? Or a volcano? Or 1 mile under the Pacific? Or New Jersey? Why, exactly, is it a problem for "loopers" to be alive in the future? If loopers know that they are going to be captured and returned in 30 years, why are they sleeping in bed with their wives? You've had 30 years to prep. Why does young Joe have attached ear lobes (cat's ears) but old Joe has ear lobes? ;) Gold is preposterously heavy. How does old Joe move around so easily with what amounts to several hundred pounds of gold on his back? Why not send the older loopers back to be killed by loopers who aren't them? They clearly have no issue shooting strangers. How does a major crime boss from the future leave himself open to having old Joe shoot and blow up everybody and every thing in 5 minutes? There are many others - those are just the obvious ones.
This movie was not clever. It was anything but clever, in fact. But, if you don't ask too many questions, as the movie implores, you might be able to eek a bit of enjoyment out of it.
By the way - the movie was more gruesome than it needed to be. I felt a bit guilty watching the violence.
Watch it because it's so bad it's funny.
I saw this as a teen and thought it was good. Now, 25 years later, I was almost in tears watching it because it was so bad.
Without going into too much detail - The acting was High School musical quality. In the opening scene, watch the fan sitting to the Highlander's left. People didn't cheer that much at Ali Frazier.
Sean Connery actually seemed like he was doing a cameo at an amateur acting event.
Story holes were huge - black guy introduced on bridge for awkward interaction with Highlander. No need for it. Woman who works as a CSI has written a fat book on historical sword construction? Huh? Do a lot of PhD research types take those kind of jobs? And she was what? 30?
Really, just watch it. Hilariously bad, even accounting for the time in which it was made.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Biggest Movie Disappointment of My Life
I like non-main stream flicks - Blue Velvet, Boxing Helena, and so on. I like comedy that is not dependent on stupid sight gags or scatological humor. This movie had been out for a few years before I watched it. It was, I had heard, a gem that was waiting for me. I had looked forward to it greatly.
I didn't find any aspect of the movie funny, other than the enigma that it's well liked by many.
I suppose this is where I differ from most - I don't find a guy walking around with a mixed drink all the time funny. I don't find Dan Conner overreaching as a guy who is a Vietnam vet freaking out about anything funny, particularly because that's been done before. I don't find the Italian guy acting fooling while bowling to be funny. I don't find referencing a guy as "the dude," with article obligatory, to be funny. And on and on. What's funny? Dennis Miller. He's funny. George Carlin. He's funny. The Big Lebowski - not funny.
I really don't have any comment on the ins and outs of the movie. Just not funny, and, given that it's a comedy, that, to me, is a fatal mistake.
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Boring, Derivative, Silly, Poor Acting, Did I mention Silly?
I gave this a 3 because it was not totally unwatchable.
The main problem with this movie is that the story was silly and pointless.
The problem with trying to make a good movie based on a silly and pointless story is that you are starting below zero, and everything else has to be excellent to even bring the movie up to good.
That didn't happen here.
As a first matter, the acting was terrible. The worst acting in the movie came when the guy from Fargo is at the bottom of the stairs talking to the lead character. I almost fell off my chair laughing it was so bad. He literally looked like what you'd expect at the High School talent show - forced, as if he was reading off of a teleprompter.
As a further example of bad acting, the Italian actor who played the Jewish character was terrible throughout. The scene where he is on his knees and "pleading for his life" was laugh out loud funny - it was that unbelievable. Then later, when the same character tries to act tough, it's about as believable as Screech trying to act tough on saved by the bell.
The acting of the Italian mobster is another low point - he overdoes it to the point of making Dinero look reserved.
Beyond the acting, the story stunk.
For example, in one scene the Italian mobster kills his, presumably, long time bodyguard and number 1 because the lead character has come over to the mobster's side and spun a tale about how the bodyguard is double crossing the mobster. Please. I find Clifford the Big Red Dog more believable than that. But the mobster is apparently so incredibly silly that he is willing to murder his right hand man because a guy who, 48 hours earlier, represented the enemy Irish mobster is now telling him his bodyguard is a traitor!!
That'd be like Vladimir Putin's right hand man coming to the U.S. and convincing the president, in a matter of hours, that his VP was a spy.
Those are just some examples - the whole movie is one long string of the ridiculous and improbable all strung together into a big mess.
Another example is when the lead character is being forced to kill the Jewish character in the woods. It was obvious from the start that he wasn't going to do it. So he marches him out there, and the two guys who work for his "new" Italian boss don't even bother to keep an eye on him. They let him waltz off into the woods, they hear two gunshots, spaced a minute or more apart, and they think nothing of it.
That is so stupid so as to be beneath dime store pulp fiction, never mind a movie on the big screen.
Then there's the painfully derivative machine gun scene where each machine gun has about 7,000 rounds of ammo in it, and when a guy gets hit, he doesn't just fall limp, like what happens in real life, he stands there with his arms in a zombie reach and wiggles like a Shaker on Sunday for about 3 minutes and 3,000 of the 7,000 rounds are send through his vibrating torso. Ridiculous, silly, and boring.
Another example. Hit men walk in front door of mansion, walk up to room for about 4 minutes, then walk in and Irish mobster is under bed.
What would any non-retarded person do? Well, clearly then would fire 2 or 3 thousand rounds into the bed. Not!
You'd hit the floor and spray under the bed or you'd get up on the bed and fire down, or you'd get back in the hallway and you'd take an angle . . .
But not in the brother's movies. In the brother's movies, everybody acts like a complete moron all of the time.
If a movie is made based on an improbable premise, then the movie can be enjoyable. Fargo is one example of this. The events of that movie are improbable, but not impossible. On the other hand, if a movie is made based on an impossible premise, then the movie has to either aspire to be Buckaroo Banzai - where it is understood that everything is unrealistic - or it is a flop, as in the present case.
I find it funny that some people say that they watch this movie over and over and it "gets better".
I can tell you that, were I to be strapped to a chair with my eyelids held open as in Clockwork Orange (great movie), I would not only NOT think this movie was better, I would think it even worse, because all of the bad acting, impossible behavior, and silly story lines would be even more obvious.
Absolutely terrible movie.
Blood Simple (1984)
Garbage packaged as Art
SPOILERS EVERYWHERE . . .
I gave this movie a 3 because, unlike some other flicks by these guys, I didn't find the movie unwatchable - I just found it incredibly dull.
In about 20 or 30 years a new generation of movie watchers will pick up this movie, and others from the Brothers, and will wonder, "geez, out parents must have been completely insane."
Like when you look back at original Dragnet episodes and you practically pee yourself they're so stupid. But back in the 50s they were considered spectacular.
This move was terrible. There seems to be a contingent of people out there who see a movie like this and find artsy reasons to like it. They like the camera angles, the "cinematography", the "noir", and other words that have nothing to do with the story itself.
If that's your idea of a great film, then you might love this film.
My idea of a great film is - a great story told well.
This story was silly. The story was, ironically, simple. Too simple. While the writers seemed to have strained to make the story intricate, it was about as intricate as a Scooby Doo episode.
Here is the story in about 5 sentences - Bar owner's wife sleeps with Bar owner's bartender. Bar owner attempts to hire local hick to kill bartender and wife. Hick only pretends to kill bartender and wife, and then, after collecting the money, kills bar owner. Bartender finds body of bar owner and thinks wife did it, and so bartender tries to hide the bar owner's body. Unfortunately, the Bar owner is not dead, so bartender buries him alive. Hick comes back to try to kill bartender and wife to recover evidence linking himself to bar owner's murder, but instead only kills bartender - wife survives. The End. Thank you - I saved you a few bucks and a few hours.
The bar owner is Carla's husband from Cheers - a HORRIBLE actor, and not convincing as the burned husband. The bartender is not interesting. The wife, who was great in Fargo, was so-so. The Texas hick played the part fine, it just was not interesting.
In sum, I was not surprised or impressed by any part of the movie. The plot was silly and impossible, the characters were boring and behaved irrationally from start to finish, and the murders were stupid and uninteresting.
Further, there is only about a gallon of blood in the human body. The bar owner lost about 15 gallons of blood in the horribly slow 40 minutes that he was dying and then being buried alive.
Further, bartender buries bar owner in the middle of a plowed farm field. They keep showing a shot from a helicopter of the car in the middle of the dirt field. This must have been one of the great artsy moments that I didn't appreciate. What I did appreciate was how ridiculously asinine it would be for a criminal to drive two tire tracks to the middle of a plowed field, bury a body, and then drive away, with a farm house a few hundred yards away. I mean how long would it be before the farmer got curious and followed the tracks to the place where there's a bunch of footprints and a 6' hand dug area?
I mean, DUH? That right there is stupid as all get out. People bury bodies in the woods for a reason.
This movie was too dumb to be interesting. The story was simple, the acting, so so, and the artsy stuff that so many people seem to thing made this movie something more than a borderline B-movie murder non-mystery - it evades me completely - I guess I must just not be artsy enough.