Archive for May, 2017

Once again I have fallen behind with my movie reviews. Long story short, I am working a full time job during the week and a part time job on the weekend. I was also finishing the school semester, which just ended this week. Still, I did go to see movies. So, here are some very, very short mini-reviews.

Unforgettable
A laughably bad Lifetime TV movie posing as a feature film. It is silly and melodramatic. Katherine Heigl pretty much plays the public perception of who she is in real life. The steamy scenes aren’t even steamy, for a film that wants to join that Fatal Attraction/Basic Instinct genre, of which we get two or three of these being released each year. This one is pretty awful. D+

Phoenix Forgotten
Take the plot of the original “The Blair Witch Project” and its found footage format, combined the plot of the last “Blair Witch” film in which a sibling of one of the original missing kids searches for answers while making their own documentary, and replace a witch with aliens, and you have this film. It is reasonably well made and has some potential at the start, but the film ends up being the same blue-balling, show-nothing-and-explain-even-less approach of the films it is ripping off. By the end, where a shaking camera and magic tricks try to equal scares or excitement, I was bored and disappointed. C

Sleight
If you took an indie thriller about a young, poor black man and combined it with a superhero origin story, but gave the whole film the tone of, say, “Moonlight”, you’d have “Sleight”. While the film is held back from its full potential by some poorly written supporting characters (a girlfriend who is too perfectly supportive, a neighbor who is also too perfectly supportive) the main character is well developed and acted. For a story about a kid raising his younger sister who is a street magician by day and a drug dealer by night, the film ends up better than its high concept logline makes it seem like it will be. B

The Circle
The Circle is an interesting and intelligent film…but it’s not good. The movie is more fun to analyze and think about than it is to watch. The movie sort of portrays a dystopia of neoliberal corporate control of every aspect of our lives and governance operating under the guise of benevolence.
Lots of people hate the government. The reasons I hate the government may be different from the reasons a Conservative does, but hate exists. Conversely, lots of people like Google. Gmail, YouTube, the Android OS, etc. The movie wants to make you afraid that people would gladly hand over control of the government to Google because a veneer of benevolence and services that are useful and aesthetically pleasing are enough to make most people forget that Google exists to make a profit, and it only cares about people to the extent that “caring” leads to more profits than not caring.
Also, transparency does not equal truth, because if you know you are being watched your behavior becomes performative and takes on levels of artifice. Plus, enough videos of cops murdering innocent people in cold blood exist yet many still get acquitted. The end of privacy does not automatically lend itself to a more just society.
Emma Watson gives another serviceable but bland performance. Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt don’t get enough room to shine. Karen Gillan gives the best performance and steals the scenes she’s in. C

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
A very funny, colorful comic book movie that manages to not descend into camp. Baby Groot is adorable, but Dave Bautista steals the show as Drax, getting all of the funniest dialogue and the best moments. Kurt Russell is clearly having a helluva fun time playing Ego. The story is nothing special and fairly predictable, and the film feels very small scale (possibly due to a lack of connectivity to the larger MCU) for being so expensive and, you know, set in space. The soundtrack is pretty awesome, and the CGI-fest finale is kept from being boring by the added humor and characters you care a bit more about than usual in these films. I had a really fun time at this one. B

That brings us up to date on what I’ve seen. Not sure if I’ll have much time to write full reviews in the immediate future, though.

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