“Averagely unique. And disgusting. Don’t forget disgusting.”-me

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Director Gore Verbisnki is very eclectic in his works, which range from most of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies to the animated Rango, and from groundbreaking The Ring to the children’s movie Mousehunt.  The Cure for Wellness tried to do a lot, and much to my dismay, fell flat. Much of the movie’s score and cinematic sequences seem to hold a lot of promise, guiding us in “What will come next?” and a fair amount of suspense and intrigue.  I will say that visually this movie is very impressive and considerably well done.  But it also, sadly, makes up the 90% of why I enjoyed this movie.

What didn’t work, just at a glance, was that the main character. Played by Dane DeHaan (and nothing against him as an actor; he did well in Chronicle), the lead is just not likeable. Things start to take place with the main character after you trudge halfway into the movie’s 2 1/2 hours (of what could have been reduced by easily 45 minutes), and you find yourself not really caring what happens to him. Once you start to pick up on the idea that this movie doesn’t have much of a direction halfway through, you start to let this movie go into the background, only picking up on the over-production of it all. But please don’t be remiss in briefly discussing how vile some of the scenes were, not to mention just how real they came across. I haven’t looked away from a scene in disgust since 2013’s Evil Dead, which is a huge, uuuuuuuuuuge, compliment.

C-

 

“I questioned my sexuality.”-me

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Damn. Just, damn! Alright, so let’s dive in. DC Extended Universe took a ticket from Marvel and has been creating their own realm.  Man of Steel and Batman v Superman led the start of this universe, and putting Suicide Squad in the punish corner where it belongs, this world is starting off strong and giving Marvel a run for its money. Wonder Woman (hand claps to 2003’s Monster-director Patty Jenkins for having the biggest opening for a female director) takes the obvious reigns of a woman (kidding!) to focus greatly on emotion with some good characterization of Diana to portray why she comes to want to help humanity. (As an aside, Gal Gadot is so hot. She reminds me of an attractive, human version of Kim Kardashian.)

While this movie does seem to have some dragging moments, you have to give credit where it’s due, and it’s due in its sparse but lush action sequences. No exaggeration, my nipples got hard twice. I liked this movie far more than expected. As fives of you know, I don’t care much for World War movies. They’re, like, so long ago, and I want my Frappuccino, like, now.  But Wonder Woman somehow kept my interest.  I’m guessing it was greatly aided by the beauty and allure that Gal expelled, but I’m making my fiance jealous.

What I enjoy about the DC Extended Universe’s movies thus far is the fluidity that the superheros have when fighting in, albeit, CGI sequences. It’s more lifelike than the Marvel movies at times. And when they slow it down, especially in this movie, it allows you to truly enjoy everything it has to offer: grace, prowess, elegance, and grit. That’ll be the only other time I use those words not to describe myself.

A-

“Social politics that will spook you.”-me

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Jordan Peele separated himself from the Key and Peele series so hard that it blows my mind.  Just a quick applause for this first-time director, if I may. Making over $250 million off a less-than $5 million budgeted movie, while at the same time making critics moist and portraying racial barriers (which is sadly still a present-day issue) without being preachy or offensive? Hats off to this man for guiding through about 17 different laser beams of offensive in today’s bratty society.

Digression! Ge Out offers an oddly-perfect blend of laughs and suspense. While the twist did seem a bit obvious, it was still a smartly crafted movie. It payed homage to some of the horror films from the 70s and 80s subtly; its composed soundtrack gave me some fantastic 90s horror vibes. Appreciate Get Out for it’s social context that isn’t shoved down your throat so much as brought to a brighter light; enjoy it’s refreshing blend of thrills and lol moments.

B+

“*water splashing sounds*”-me

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I’ll start off with the most offensive line first: I didn’t like Emma Watson as Belle. You look back at the animated version from 1991 and you recall her smiling and being happy, like all the other Disney female leads were drawn to be. In the 2017 remake, shejust seems bored and irritable from her IBS. And while I enjoy Emma Watson in other movies, I would have chosen 18 other actresses over her to portray Belle, including Susan Surandon.

This movie gets some shit from the critics, and with good reason, because this remake takes everything we recall from the original and assumes it for us. It seems to just trudge from scene to scene, taking for granted everything we enjoyed from the animated version. As an example, personally, I was waiting for the big zoom-out moment during the dance scene between Belle and the Beast- nothing happened for me. In the 1991 version, that was such an elaborate and famous scene. In this version, I kept waiting for more.

For every other aspect of the movie, everything was effective. The musical numbers were diligent, well-manicured, and, when needed, over-the-top but seemingly flawless. The castle’s characters were done nicely with some interesting additions to them. The special effects were, as expected, on par with Disney’s impressive top-dollar displays. To play the live-action Disney remake game, The Jungle Book beat the hell out of this movie, for me. Still and all, this movie is worth watching as it is mesmerizing and some kind of spectacle to behold, regardless of my bitchy comments.

B+

“I didn’t see it, but it’s good.”- movie theater usher

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The soothsayer of a 17 year old ticket-tearing movie theater girl was spot on: it was good! I have not thought the genre of “comedy” was amusing after The Wedding Crashers in 2005. Genuinely: you name it, I probably don’t think it’s funny. For me, comedies have (more often than not) been over-hyped and been left for the apt teenager to gawk and laugh at brainlessly.  I haven’t enjoyed a dumb comedy since The Heat from 2013.  And the strange thing is I don’t care all that much for Amy Schumer. Lean in.

Snacthed was consistent, something most comedies seem to lack. From the very start, it demonstrates what kind of comedy it will be- it plays greatly on Schumer’s character’s crappy life and poor decisions while shedding a comedic light on the age gaps. This is done hilariously as director Jonathan Levine (of The Night Before) allows us to laugh as Schumer is more concerned about selfies and IG likes compared to Goldie Hawn’s maternal concerns of locking all three door locks and fears of being on vacation out of the country. The director’s choice for Hawn to play the mother comes across as random, and so her acting falls mostly flat. The side characters played by Joan Cusack and Ike Barinholtz definitely help fill in the laughs as the mute ex-Special Forces vacationer and the agoraphobic brother, respectively.

Overall, this movie does what a dumb comedy is supposed to do: make you laugh from start to finish and throughout. It was refreshing in that it didn’t center on drugs and sex like most comedies worry about. My age and nipple are showing now.  Anyways, it comes off much like Schumer’s stand-up: it’s inappropriate, picks on her flaws, and has you glad a female can be funny in these hard times. The message, or whatever the movie’s aim, may have gotten lost in the movie’s first half, but I L’ed, O’ed, and L’ed the whole gay time.

C+

 

“No.”- me

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I guess my first question would be “Just…why?” to director F. Javier Gutierrez if I had to interview him, after slapping him in the face with a white linen glove. No one asked for a third installment. Fuck, no one asked for a sequel in 2005 when The Ring Two came out a few years after The Ring, which re-imagined horror and introduced a whole new horror genre to America.  It was directed and acted fantastically by Gore Verbinksi and Naomi Watts, respectively. Rings did nothing of the sort. It was a cheap imitation of the franchise. It did nothing to enhance the franchise or to make people feel like it offered anything except terrible acting. Which leads me to the acting. Fuck them. They were awful and deserve to be on CW or a CBS sitcom (wink wink).

I did everything I was supposed to as a spectator- I went in unbiased (knowing I’d seen the trailer and could already tell how horrible it would be); I went in wanting to be scared or even get some chills. But nooooOOOoooOOOoo, I was rode hard and put away wet. Rings tried to go deeper into the Samara story, and again I ask- why? Some things don’t need to be touched, like Roseanne, or The Godfather, or your grandmother’s fragile doll collection on the mantelpiece. I was physically angry after watching this movie, and I’m becoming physically angry as I write this. I SAID GOOD DAY.

D-

 

“If Pixar’s Cars had a stroke.”- me

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To be fair, I didn’t want to watch this movie. I was dragged in, beaten, and left to watch as a vegetable.  So I legitimately had no choice but to stare at the screen.  (As a brief aside, watching this as an IMAX feature made me question life with the sounds so intense I wanted to tuck my head between my legs, and not for the usual reason).  Mentioned previously, I’ve only seen this movie’s predecessor and not others, nor do I have any intent on watching them. Not critiquing this movie as another tired installment of cars doing things, I will say some of the action scenes left me open-mouthed, though I’m not sure if it was out of shock and aw or to guffaw at Dwayne Johnson’s ridiculousness. I’m getting off-topic when I rant how outlandish is has become to make this actor into some horse-like animal with crazy strength (picking up a man and pinning him horizontally to a wall; running into three men and having them tossed into the air like bowling pins; punching dents into steel walls). It’s almost a practical joke that will have people mocking in 2034.

The science and facts of life behind this movie go out the window. And it makes sense to a degree. For example, with Saw VII or Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, it’s less about reality and more concentration on being more unique than the last 6-7 installments. So I get it. How do you top cars jumping out of a plane? And so, appreciating it for what it is and not what it’s worth, I enjoyed and admired how these action scenes, as expensive as they were (a hearty $250 million budget), were almost entirely real and not CGI, though Director F. Gary Gray (who directed….yes…TLC’s “Waterfalls” video and 1995’s Friday) admits to digitally enhancing some of the scenes. Yet, I found myself oddly impressed with the action sequences through most of the movie (the New York City’s zombie car scene was reinventing) and sadly underwhelmed by the climactic submarine scene after using deductive reasoning.

Little to behold is the cast. Yes, Fate hosts an arsenal of big names, old and new. Charlize Theron finally becomes the series’ first female nemesis, and does a sensational job, all things considered. Ultimately, Fate of the Furious delivers what it promised: fast and shiny cars, fires, bad acting, awkward dialogue, aged actors that need to retire to television rom-coms, and Dwayne Johnson as The Hulk.

C