Mini-Review Extravaganza/Update on Me

Posted: January 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

I had planned on writing mini-reviews for all of the movies I saw that I missed reviewing in the months of October, November, and December. Unfortunately, things have taken a turn for the worse for me. I got kicked out of my home by my ex and am currently crashing with friends until I can find a place to live. Unfortunately, most of the apartments down here want your monthly income to be 3Xs the monthly rent, which I do not make working part time as a movie theater manager. So, I am stuck looking for a full time job to supplement my part-time theater income while also going to school. Yeah. Writing reviews is not the highest on my priority list. So, here are some VERY SHORT mini-reviews:
The Birth of a Nation
Film has weird message about religious violence being justified, but has an unintentional atheist message since the pro and anti-slavery sides think The Bible supports their cause, leading on to the conclusion that religion is bullshit that people pick and choose an interpretation of to justify their own attitudes anyway. The director’s rape allegations do hover over the film, since rape plays two plot points. The film is good, but flawed by the director’s lack of perspective on religion. B
The Accountant
A very good action/thriller/drama that attempts to make a sort-of Aspie superhero. The film eschews cliche in many ways (the climax, no simple love story) and contains a great lead performance by Affleck. One of my favorite films of 2016. A-
Dr. Strange

The story is your average Marvel movie. No more, no less. What it does, it does well, and I was entertained. But it does no more than is required, and has very little imagination, though the visuals are often quite good. B

Arrival
An incredibly intelligent sci-fi films (released from a major studio, no less) that isn’t about war and explosions, but rather about the attempts to communicate and bridge gaps along cultures. The film is about diplomacy and empathy, while also socking you with emotion when it comes to the characters. Amy Adams was robbed of an Oscar nod. Aside from my contention that her character ultimately makes a horrible selfish decision that the film wants us to think is profound and correct, the film was one of the best I saw in 2016. A-
The Edge of Seventeen
A pretty by-the-numbers coming of age film that starts out as comedy and moves into dramedy. The lead performance by Hailee Steinfeld is quite good, and I enjoyed the humor and the characters, but this film doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done better in other films. It won’t stand out as a memorable teen film. B
Miss Sloane
A film political junkies will like. The twist ending is absurb and unrealistic, but the film largely works as a cynical indictment of the power lobbyists and media consultants have over Washington, and is something of a player’s guide to how people upset with the system can attempt to change it from within by adopting the opposing side’s playbook and not being afraid to get their hands dirty. B+
Allied
A shitty, sappy Hollywood ending capsizes what was otherwise a fun little throwback to Old Hollywood films (Casablanca being the obvious and overt influence). The film is a fun little mystery with pretensions of being more. B-
Bad Santa 2
Not nearly as good as the first film, but no one expected it to be. I laughed a decent amount of times, enjoyed seeing Christina Hendricks in a dirty little role, and just enjoyed some stupid, raunchy laughs. B-
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Aside from an unlikable main character who seems to be autistic (and does everything wrong for autistic characters, unlike The Accountant which felt right even though it skewed things for its narrative), this film was a worthy expansion of the Harry Potter franchise. Taking the world to the U.S. and creating a new magical government and bureaucracy and new, likeable supporting characters made this a fun little dip back into the world, even if it’s not as compelling or absorbing as the main franchise. B
Office Christmas Party
Mostly unfunny, wasting a talented cast (though Jason Bateman has been stagnating by playing pretty much the same role in all of his films, and Olivia Munn gets on my nerves). There are maybe 5 laughs in the hour and a half film, but most of the time I just sat bored, waiting for it to end. C-
The Founder
A surprisingly good film about how the original McDonald brothers created a small business and attempted to run it the way naive Conservatives view Capitalism to be. Then a guy named Ray Kroc comes in to franchise it, and he uses the way Capitalism ACTUALLY works to steal the business, become rich, and screw out the original creators. It’s about wealth by idea theft and legal/capital might over actual small business ingenuity. While the view of small business isn’t shared by my Marxist self, the film does a good job of showing how a pie-eyed concept of Capitalism is crushed by the harsh reality of it. B+
Split

Some part of the film are really good, and some parts are unintentionally hilarious, which is a flaw Shyamalan has suffered in many of his films. This is still probably his best film since Unbreakable, which was his last solidly good movie. James McAvoy gives a great performance (performances, really) in the lead role(s), and the ways that the film twists a real life disorder into something supernatural eventually makes sense when you find out this film shares a universe with another one of Shyamalan’s films. B-

That’s every movie I’ve seen in a theater that I haven’t had time to write a full review of. I don’t know when I’ll have time to write full reviews again. If you’d like, I’ve set up a GoFundMe to help with my financial expenses right now:
gofundme.com/daveandkarl

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