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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

Lady Bird [2017] * * *

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While I did like the movie, the whole time watching it I couldn't shake the feeling that I would have enjoyed this more if Greta Gerwig herself (younger, of course) had played the lead role. Saoirse Ronan didn't do anything wrong. I just didn't like her as much as I wanted to -- or as much as I've liked the quirky awkward characters that Gerwig has portrayed in other movies. I think that would have been what I needed to get me through a lot of the conflict between Christine and her mom that made me feel so uncomfortable.

It makes me wonder how old this script is. There's no story reason for it to be set in 2002/2003. Was it something Gerwig wrote for herself maybe 10 years ago back when she was young enough to play a high school kid?

My favorite parts were the scenes with her best friend, especially towards the end. And that brief scene of reconciliation with her first boyfriend was heartbreaking. Shame is such an awful, destructive thing we do to ourselves and others.


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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

Creed [2015] * * * *

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"Do what you love for as long as you can."

There could be a whole line of t-shirts and bumper stickers and Instagram memes comprised solely of lines from Rocky movies.

When Adonis and Bianca are doing it on the couch, I kept waiting for the camera to pan up to show Rocky at the top of the stairs beating off.

The run up the street with the parade of motorbikes and ATVs was just as cool as Rocky's run up the museum steps, IMO. Living near Philly, I gotta find out if they really do wheelies like that and go see it in person.

Loved the long takes! I noticed two (the first fight and the walk to the ring). Did I miss any others?

Oh and yeah, I cried when he thanked his mom.


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jmunky [2018] PERFUME

 

Giorgio Armani Code Profumo * * * * *

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Now there's no need to grab a beautiful, dense, sophisticated root beer and pour it all over yourself.


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Isaak von Seggern [2018] FILM

 

Fifty Shades Freed [2018] *

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Oh, be still my beating heart

Dakota Johnson is such a great actress, and Jaimie Doorman is such a... not great actress.

What does Fifty Shades Freed even mean? I don't know, but they spitroast a carton of vanilla ice cream (consensually?) half-way through the movie so that probably has something to do with it.

The fact that the Winter Olympics and this movie's theater run are going on at the same time is pretty funny. If sex was a winter sport, Oh boy, Eddie the Eagle might as well break his fuckin legs because these two essentially live their lives inside of each other. There is conservatively speaking, a sex scene maybe every four minutes of the runtime and Ellie Goulding is there like a trooper every time to play the soundtrack to your favorite local mall. In fact, I find walking through a Macy's is a surprisingly similar experience to watching this movie. They ALWAYS got "Love Me Like You Do" bumpin, and when I finish purchasing my clothes and the clerk says "Have a good day, sir" I gently place my hand over theirs and say,

"You may call me Mrs. Grey."

Then I conservatively beat the shit out of them with a flog (consensually) and rub vanilla ice cream on their pubic hair with a spoon (possibly consensually).

I love these movies so much, this is probably the best one, but god I hope they make more. Get my guy JJ Abrams to take the next Lars Von Trier project, digitally scan in Dakota Johnson's Tostino pepperoni pizza nipples to make it a fourth 50 Shades movie, then digitally plop in a blurry frame of the inside of the Cloverfield monster's asshole to make it a Cloverfield movie, and surprise drop that shit on Soundcloud for free after the next Super Bowl and BAM, watch the monees roll in.


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audreyv [2018] FILM

 

Spider-Man 3 [2007] * * * *

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Sam Raimi's love for the source material is tangible; he's obviously having the time of his life and I find the chaotic fun of this movie so contagious. The entire trilogy has become probably my favorite of all time which I truly never expected when I first watched it over the summer! Peter Parker is such a believable character whose struggle to juggle family, friendships, romance, money, and school, alongside his sense of responsibility as Spider-Man is so compelling!!! Nearly every character in these films has believable motivations and everyone is played with such ENERGY. Sure the plot of the final film gets complicated with all the villains but you know what else is complicated?! REAL LIFE!!


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Isaak von Seggern [2018] FILM

 

Manderlay [2005] * * * * *

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It's rare that a sequel is better than the original, and even further so singular if it gives the viewer a greater appreciation for the original, but that is exactly what Manderlay does. Picking up shortly after the end of Dogville, Grace and her father along with their gang happen upon Manderlay; a plantation of slaves in Alabama. It has been seventy years since slavery has been abolished. Feeling compassionate along with being in a position to do the right thing, she (without any support from her father, save a few extra men) takes over the plantation in an attempt to teach the former slaves and the slave owners themselves how outside society functions.

The most notable deviation from the original is Bryce Dallas Howard taking on the main character of Grace, replacing Dogville's Nicole Kidman. I initially didn't find this a welcome change, as Kidman's performance was nearly the only thing that kept my interest in Dogville. Her portrayal of Grace was extremely cold and significantly more defensive than it is here. It makes sense in that film too, because in typical fashion for this director, she was a foreign body being subjected to and tortured by those around her. However, that quiet, hard resilience has evolved into a fairly personable determination with Howard's performance. I have only ever seen Howard in Jurassic World, so I was surprised she was able to not only fit into the characters shoes, but bring her own personality to it so well. Most of the surface level enjoyment (if any) that one could grab a hold of in a film about slavery, comes from her acting. Grace as a character is intricate and I imagine not easy to simply play, but Howard does great in the role, perhaps even better than Kidman before her.

Granted this is Trier, and it wouldn't be Trier unless you were a miserable husk of a human being while watching. Of course, this is a direct result of everyone on screen being miserable husks of human beings themselves. There is a fleeting moment of perhaps some perverted, mangled sense of joy in the second act, but it is quickly raped, and then drawn and quartered unceremoniously, never to be seen or heard from again in Trier's filmography. And that was perhaps my biggest complaint with Dogville (besides all the meandering) that when the film ends, the violence is so extreme and so unceremonious that it comes off as bitterly comical. However, with the context of Manderlay now in place, that final scene in Dogville means so much more for the character of Grace in her overall character arc thus far (there has been a third movie planned but never released). Really the entirety of Dogville feels weightier and more important than it ever did on its own. This time when the violence apexes with the same severity and effect as before, it makes sense why it is comical, and why the both of the movies are so relentlessly absurd at all. Grace's character has been explored for 5 hours of film by the time the final scene of this clicks into place. So the ending of Dogville takes on the meaning of rather being a milestone point of her character, and not the definitive ending to all that transpired in that film.

The soundstage is back this time, but with a much more succinctly executed purpose. Where it kind of felt gimmicky before, the story and purpose of Manderlay is elevated by its existence instead. Manderlay the plantation, is that soundstage, more so than Dogville ever had to be that soundstage. Typically, people watch movies to sink into a different reality or an escape of sorts. It is strange to go from watching Black Panther, where millions have been poured into immersing the audience in this cgi world of Wakanda, and then see this; where actors are pantomiming opening and closing invisible doors. Manderlay really sets itself apart by constantly reminding you that its reality is only the actors and the frames for their houses. Everything except the ugliness of American society has been stripped away in the most literal sense possible, and we are just left to gawk at how disgusting it really is.

Trier himself has never even been to the United States, but here he is making one of the greatest films ever to be set in the United States, and on easily the country's darkest and most disturbing subject matter as well. One might think this to be out of line and inappropriate, but Trier couldn't care less and I don't think he is wrong not to either. Besides, Stanley Kubrick did nearly the same thing 48 years prior with Paths of Glory. All this, on top of being filmed entirely on a near empty soundstage and with a new actress to reprise the leading role of such a delicate character is staggeringly impressive. I have complained in the past about Trier being too negative about certain subjects. While this is more of the same in that sense, this film is so well made that it doesn't come across as repetitive or dull as it did before. Manderlay is a near masterpiece, and possibly the best offering that I have viewed thus far in his filmography. No one talks about things with such blunt severity as Trier, and that is what makes him and his films so interesting.


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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

Tusk [2014] *

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Oh, Kevin Smith. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a half dozen times, I must be an idiot or a masochist. Why is that I find you so interesting in interviews yet so tedious on the big screen? And why do I keep getting sucked in with the thought, "Maybe I'll like this one?"

Justin Long's performance worked for me about as well as his mustache. Haley Joel Osment is given nothing to do. Michael Parks makes so-so lemonade out of rotten lemons. And Johnny Depp -- Kevin Smith seems to be the only director in history to make Johnny Depp unwatchable. The only acting I believed came from Genesis Rodriguez.

Most egregious of all: None of the humor landed for me. So telegraphed, like really bad SNL. "Oh, and then Johnny Depp will do a weird voice and it will be hilarious!"

The whole thing felt to me like Smith (the writer) was trying to be Tarantino (the writer). The long monologues, the flashbacks, the quirky characters. Problem is, he's not, and the whole thing would be laughable (as in at him, not with him) if I wasn't so pissed.


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audreyv [2018] FILM

 

Quiz Show [1994] * * * *

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This is one of those films that seems to have faded into semi-obscurity but for the life of me I cannot figure out why! It's been one of my favorites ever since my mom first recommended it to me when I was home sick in high school (she has an incredible grip on my taste). It's one of those Hollywood based-on-a-true-story productions but it's done so meticulously and pointedly... And the story it tells is so fascinating and relevant to American culture. Another film on my list of movies I wish my American history teacher had made us watch instead of the half of Tom Cruise's filmography that we covered...


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Isaak von Seggern [2018] FILM

 

The Cloverfield Paradox [2018] *

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Do I write reviews anymore?

I don't know, I will have to speak to my sports manager, but there is a possibility.

I do know however, that the exact moment this movie lost me was when the invisible Cloverfield monster started playing Foosball.

👏 Don't 👏 use 👏 Dutch 👏 angles 👏 unless 👏 someone 👏 is 👏 throwing 👏 up 👏 eels 👏 on 👏 screen 👏

I don't watch sports or have conversations with other human beings, so when I logged into Netflix and saw a new Cloverfield movie had come out, I was like ooohhh... that's not good.

People are praising this as being one of the greatest marketing campaigns of all time, and it definitely is, because this movie is slimy as fuck, but boy was that advertising even slimier. This is like the Martin Shkreli of advertising. They got me too which is the worst part about it. It's right there on my Netflix que. What am I going to watch, Bright?! It's not like I am just going to not watch a new Cloverfield movie naked, eating chocolate covered coffee beans at 4:00 am in the comfort of my own living room. You just can't get that experience at AMC.

This is the way Cloverfield was meant to be seen.

If it had a theatrical release with a bunch of trailers people would have seen the writing on the wall with the inevitable January release date and it would have tanked.

But here we all are now aren't we?

It's like the Taco Bell drive-thru at 2:00 am, none of us want to be here, but some soulless creature of our own doing dragged us to this cursed hell, and it is in this cursed hell we will all sit ashamed and helpless, waiting for our Mexi-pizzas and unsalted tortilla chips.

Straight to Netflix for a small independent film? Not a bad thing at all, I was into "To the Bone".

Straight to Netflix for the highly(?) anticipated third entry in one of the most popular sci-fi franchises of the 21st century?

Yeesh, I declare,

Yeesh, JJ Abrams indeed.

When it's not trying to be Alien, it's a cool concept. Take a spaceship shaped like a tower of onion rings from Applebee's and have its crew accidentally travel to a different dimension. It's a lot like 2001 too in a sad, pathetic, kind of way. Though 2001 would have been a boring movie without Hal, monkeys, or a giant floating baby, and this movie has none of those things, sooooo. Instead all of the characters are super boring, and there isn't any antagonist in the main plot till the last 10 minutes, save for the spooky Foosball table, and a wall???

That's right, they built a storyworld with aliens that invade earth, right before Russia is going to launch a ground assault on London, and the main point of contention in this is no joke a fucking wall. The movie uses the fact that they are in a parallel dimension to completely remove any logic from what is going on, so by the end I was like,

"Just please nuke all the dimensions."

Nothing happens, and too much happens somehow at the same time. As in, so much is going on, the world is literally ending, but the characters almost never seem to be doing really anything about it. It's a really frustrating experience.

There is like a sequence where they have to do a space walk for some reason, and it just looks like a really expensive episode of Wipeout. I have nothing to add to that, but just... ugh, Wipeout.

This didn't need to be a Cloverfield movie.

Hey, and while we're at it, it didn't really need to be a movie either.

Keep up with this, and a Cloverfield-Wipeout tie-in is not too far off in the future.


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audreyv [2018] FILM

 

You Were Never Lovelier [1942] * *

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Now I know none of us watch classic Hollywood musicals expecting narrative perfection but boy this really outdoes the standard of gibberish with a father writing love notes to his daughter in order to somehow reduce her "frigidity" so that she'll be more likely to marry sooner since it's a tradition for the daughters of the family to be married in descending age order and her younger sisters are getting impatient; yes it is complete nonsense. Astaire's presence in this situation is hardly explained but I'm not one to complain about seeing him. What I am apt to complain about is the scarcity of dance numbers here-- now that is the actual reason one watches these films! There is ONE dance in the first 50 minutes. Unacceptable and completely unjustifiable. It does pick up a bit after that and Rita and Fred's dance in the overdue second act is absolutely spectacular. And then Rita puts on a dress emblazoned with the most gorgeous sparkling sequins and all my grievances were forgotten. I feel like this really could have been molded into something solid if the silliness was embraced more fully and the dancing was amped up, because it does finish strong which makes the first act all the more frustrating.


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