Showing posts with label 2020's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2020's. Show all posts

Sunday, September 17, 2023

TLDR Watch: Babylon (2022)

Watched:  09/15/2023
Format: Prime
Viewing:  First
Director:  Damien Chazelle


I was aware of several things going into Babylon (2022).  

It's an original story (of sorts) about the late Silent Era of the film industry and beyond.  It's clearly referencing Kenneth Anger's infamous, and not super-accurate, book, Hollywood Babylon, which I have not read, but I did listen to a whole season of You Must Remember this, which covered the subject matter and sought to split fact from legend.

I won't get into the book here, but it's a recounting of possibly/ maybe/ probably-not/ absolutely-not true stories from the era during which the film industry moved to Los Angeles from the East Coast and went kinda bonkers.  Sex, death, drugs, mayhem, etc... followed.  

If you have a casual interest in Hollywood history, even without specific stories to recall, you could be well aware of this era, of meteoric rises and cataclysmic falls of actors and behind-the-camera talent.  It makes today's tabloid stuff look like middle-school melodrama.  And, because Hollywood loves a good story, especially one that sounds true, they've been passed down, year after year until Anger codified them in his book.  And now we have a nice little package that I remember hearing bits and pieces of in college and whatnot.

Going into the movie, I was also aware that the movie was at least three hours.  It was all fictional but referenced the real world of Hollywood from about 1927-1935 or so, and that no one seemed to like the movie all that much.   It had a $110+ million budget, and did poorly at the box office.

Having had now seen the movie, it's a three hour movie that is beautifully shot and acted.  The design is... interesting.  

But it feels so weirdly derivative, the story is delivered by bullet point, and it seems so surprised by things that seem obvious on their face here in the 2020's, that by the film's end - 3 hours later, I have no clue what Chazelle was trying to say or why he wanted to say it.  

If this movie is for a broad audience, it feels too specific in what it's covering while filling in no details to give them the full picture of the era while also taking a very, very long time to get to the point with his storylines, while still not making you ever care about the characters.  

If this movie is for film history buffs, someone with my cursory knowledge is clearly going to wind up with so many questions, their hand will involuntarily raise repeatedly throughout the film.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

PodCast 252 A & B: "The Flash" (2023) - Earth1 and Earth2 Editions! - Stuart and Ryan talk comic movies

Watched:  09/02/2023
Format:  Max  
Viewing: First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Andrés Muschietti

Special Note:  We had a whole adventure where we thought we'd lost the first recording of the podcast.  After purchasing a new computer and recording a second version, we learned we actually had recovered the unprocessed files from the first try.  So, as everything these days is about multiverses, especially The Flash, we're offering both versions.

Stuart and Ryan race toward the end of the DCEU as we know it, with this long-in-development, long-delayed, long-discussed movie about a guy who runs pretty quickly, if you look closely. Join Stuart and Ryan as they ponder what wound up as another string of disappointments in DC's long string of disappointing people. And you'll believe a man can quit.

Stuart and Ryan race back in time to correct the mistakes of the past! Believing all is lost, they must save the day/ podcast and make sure the world knows all about their Flash opinions! Because these two, unlike Barry Allen, do not see giving up as the best solution.


Earth1 Version

Earth2 Version


Earth1 Version

Earth2 Version

Are You Actively Eating That Candy Bar? - Benjamin Wallfisch
Into the Singularity - Benjamin Wallfisch

DC Movies and Television Playlist

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Predator Rewatch: Prey (2022)

Watched:  08/25/2023
Format:  Hulu
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Dan Trachtenberg

With the recent announcement that the direct-to-Hulu film, Prey (2022), was coming soon to BluRay and 4K, I wanted to re-evaluate how much I liked the movie, which I had a fondness for on a first viewing.  

On a second viewing, I liked it even more.  There's nothing in the film I thought didn't work.  Lovely stuff.  You can't have this movie without prior Predator films, but it exists as maybe as an exercise in merging more filmic elements with the action film and one enhances the other.  As an 80's-kid, Predator stands tall in my mind alongside Aliens as the merging of sci-fi and high-octane action.  

I'd refer to my first post on the film for a lot of the nuts and bolts of what I thought about the movie.  I won't say that changed much since (checks link) last August.  After a year away, and not watching a movie just to follow it, I want to add additional respect for the cinematography in this movie, the overall acting of the cast, and the soundtrack - which is quite good.  

But, really, it's insane that Amber Midthunder is not slated for a million more things immediately.  She's so fucking good in this, acting more than half the movie against a dog or by herself, and delivering the character in understandable, definitive terms.  When she is with other actors, every bit of it works - and that's a testament to director Dan Trachtenberg and the mostly unknown cast pulled together for the movie.  Anyway, I'm now officially a fan.

There's plenty to say about the story and structure of the film that makes it inherently more interesting than a lot of similar films, from the movie's underdog of a hero to the multitude of threats present in the movie.  But I am sure you can fill in those blanks yourseld.

Anyway - I can currently see the film any time I want on Hulu, so the purchase of a disc may not be in my immediate future, but I'll also be keeping my eye open to see what bonus features get included.  I don't think I did a 2022 movie wrap-up, but it was certainly one of my favorites from last year, and a review tells me that opinion has only doubled-down.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

WA Watch: Asteroid City (2023)

Watched:  07/11/2023
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  First
Director:  Wes Anderson

So, I was as surprised as anyone else when I looked at Amazon to ponder watching something and up popped the new Wes Anderson movie, Asteroid City (2023).  We don't get out to the theater like we used to, so I was a bit bummed that I wouldn't probably prioritize this with so much else coming out/ lack of time/ lack of money in this economy, etc...

Anyway, apparently I'd also been socking away "credits" on Amazon for purchase of digital services, like movies, so although the movie was pricey to rent or buy vs., say, free or $3.99 for something else, I basically paid nothing for it and now have a digital copy, so... go me, I guess.

It's a curious period to be watching a Wes Anderson movie.  Film Twitter has basically just decided that liking anything is bad, and Wes Anderson is nothing but a collection of well mannered tricks, both visual and in his direction of actors.  That's plainly reductionist and a take I can't take seriously.  

Asteroid City may be the most ambitious Anderson film to date, carrying with it all of the lessons of the prior entries I've seen (which is not all of them).  Framed as a documentary about a play from the very complicated 1950's which also shows the leads of that play recreating the play, the film is communicating on a multitude of levels - with the story of what an imaginary playwright (played by Edward Norton) told about a group of people who have come to a remote locale in the desert for a science camp for teen-sci-fi-geniuses.  I won't get into the issues of the far more normal adults, but they have them.  And then an alien shows up.

But the story Anderson is telling folds in on itself.  This is a dramatized telling of how that play came to be.  

It's a movie that challenges with everything it says and does - from consideration of the careers of the characters in the play, to the concept of the cosmos, to what it means to have a world-changing event happen right in front of you. Especially to a photographer (who is paid to observe and not participate) and an actress who knows how to play emotions more than experience them.  But it's also a movie that feels almost primordial in its location, and some of its allusions.  But, of course, there's a play that has to be acted and completed and understood, and you get the feeling the third layer is Anderson himself, commenting and commenting upon the creation of his work, upon the seeming meaninglessness of it to some, to what it means to make illusions and share them.

More so than even usual, the film is absolutely littered with recognizable name talent in innumerable roles, including walk on parts.  Sure, you have Jason Schwartzman - honestly the best I've ever seen him- and Scarlett Johansson as a mix of a number of Hollywood stars of the 1950's, but an original character altogether.  Tom Hanks plays a minor role as a sonuvabitch father-in-law.  But then there's Hope Davis in a scene with five lines.  And Jeff Goldblum in a faceless, voiceless role.   The IMDB on this is nuts, but we're also now getting the movies that were made during the pandemic when folks had @#$%-all else to go do.  

As always, Anderson gets how just a few things can be hysterical.  Kids, for example.  Or a line delivered just so.  The right visual gag like a dancing road runner.

But, god, this movie is gorgeous.  And, I think, shot on Kodak.  

I'll need to watch it again.  It practically begs for it, but in a way that doesn't feel like homework, like "oh, you need to rewatch it to get it".  Nah, it's easy enough to get.  But it seems like a rewatch would be deeply rewarding, and - of course - give you time and brain space to appreciate what's there all the more.  

But, yeah.  I know there's plenty out there who will focus on the very quotable lines or the visual gags, but, man... you have to appreciate how astoundingly well crafted this movie is on every level.       

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Drac Watch: Renfield (2023)

Watched:  07/06/2023
Format:  Peacock
Viewing:  First
Director:  Chris McKay

I had actually intended to see Renfield (2023) in the theater, but it seemed like before I knew it was released, it was gone and being offered on VOD.  Here we are about 2.5 months out from the release date, and I saw it on Peacock.  So, we are in interesting times.

Longtime followers of the blog may know I'm a bit of a Universal Monsters fan, not least of which is 1931's Dracula.  I've seen a few other versions, read the novel, seen a stage play, etc...  I figure I've done my Drac homework.  And so it was that seeing a movie pitched as a goofy, dark comedy about the woes of being Dracula's familiar (Renfield from novel and the 1931 film, played by the great Dwight Frye) with no one less than Nic Cage as Dracula had a strong appeal.

The trailer featured Renfield (played by Nicholas Hoult, who I think people rightly say they dig), attending group therapy for folks in abusive relationships, which, in retrospect, is maybe not innately hilarious to the twitter generation.  So I expected the movie was going to be Renfield and Drac's odd-couple relationship with some gross-out gore humor.  And that's... partially correct.

Weirdly, Awkwafina, who had just come off of Shang-Chi, and twitter's flying attempt at a good canceling, was not featured in the ads at all.  And she's arguably as important to the movie as Hoult or Cage.  She plays a police officer in a cartoonishly corrupt New Orleans police department whose father has been murdered by the Lobo crime family - who are also not in the trailer but feature Ben Schwartz as a wormy heir-apparent and the always phenomenal Shohreh Aghdashloo.  

Here's the thing I did not know:  the movie is an action-comedy-horror film.  There's a whole plot about Renfield maybe wanting to be a better person and it leading to him performing heroic deeds/ teaming up with Awkwafina, and Dracula thinking he's been thinking too small.

If you're like me, and you find acts of horrific violence geared for comedic value to be, in fact, funny as @#$%, this may be a good reason to stream it on The Cock.  This movie realized a little CGI blood costs about the same as A LOT of CGI blood, and they went bonkers.  But, honestly, the best parts of this movie are:
  • the use of Dracula (1931) as a set-up and perfectly recreating scenes from the film
  • Nic Cage's unique (in the best way) version of Dracula - that kind of makes you wish someone thought to cast him as the center of the Dark Universe giant mess Universal pondered a few years back.  Like, you realize, this totally makes sense, even when he's having a goofy scene with Hoult.  
  • Shohreh Aghdashloo in general
  • Brandon Scott Jones is absolutely perfect as the therapist/ pastor.  Give that dude more work.
I wish I could say it all hangs together, but it feels weirdly rushed - like director Chris McKay decided all the scenes were too long, and so the movie never really breathes and nothing lasts long enough for a comedic beat even when funny stuff is happening.

The movie did get some advertising, but I can't figure out what the thinking was.  It's *possible* heavily referencing a 90-year-old movie was not the right choice for The Youths.  Or that the premise sold in the ads didn't appeal.   Or that Dracula is more of a concept these days than something people actively seek out (which is probably worth discussing).  I dunno.  But it does feel like 2023 audiences are incredibly finicky and aren't going to drop $17 or whatever on a ticket for a 90 minute movie unless it's going to be a slam dunk.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Friday Night Watch: Confess, Fletch (2022)

I saw both of the Chevy Chase Fletch films in the theater, and was part of a generation of people who wanted desperately to be able to quip somewhere between Fletch and Peter Venkman from Ghostbusters, making for a bunch of horrible kids who said the worst thing at the worst time all the time.

But those Chevy Chase movies were both pretty solid, even if the first is definitely better than the second.  That said, I also remember my seventh grade Language Arts teacher informing us that the movies weren't a patch on the novels, and that Fletch was fundamentally different in the movies than what a coked-up Chevy Chase was delivering.  This did not convince me to check out the books because I was a fan of the movies and felt comfortable in my ignorance.  I have not lifted one of the 11 novels.

In the intervening years, I have no idea if anyone else attempted to make a Fletch movie.  Just wasn't on my radar.  And then in late 2022, I recall ads for a John Hamm movie that was, in fact a new Fletch installment.  

Hamm made his bones as Don Draper on Mad Men, but in subsequent years has shown great talent as a comedic actor as well as dramatic.  He's puzzlingly not quite caught on as a leading man in giant movies, but he has found a happy home in mid-budget films that wind up on streaming fairly quickly.  That said, his brand of comedy has rarely felt much like the persona Chase had made famous, so when I saw he was taking on Fletch, I had no idea how this would go.  

The movie itself completely flopped at the box office.  I have no idea what the plan was, but the domestic gross was about $540,000.  It wasn't a critical darling, but did have a decent RT and Metacritic score.  Still, it's telling that this just isn't the sort of thing people will leave the house to go see in 2023.

The first two Fletch films manage to have intensely convoluted plots, but it doesn't matter, because the plots are there as a vehicle for Chase to do his thing, and if he resolves the mystery, that's terrific.  He wears disguises and is constantly in motion, and that's enough.  This film has a similar and deeply convoluted plot, but Hamm's Fletch doesn't wear disguises, he barely puts on an act when he needs to and he adopts a name (if he can remember it), and I assume it's closer to the books.  But you do start to look at the seams of the mystery a lot more, and I'm not sure I entirely get why the murder occurs that Fletch was supposed to confess to that sets up the movie, or why the cops think Fletch knows the victim or would want to kill her (motive, means, etc...).  It's entirely random and circumstantial to outside eyes.

But the movie moves along at a good clip, Hamm is actually very funny and stays not quite a step ahead of everyone else unlike Chase's Fletch you thought was 5 steps ahead.  

The movie is helped along by a solid cast, including Kyle MacLachlan as an art broker, Marcia Gay Harden playing an Italian Contessa to the hilt, Roy Wood Jr. as a detective/ new father, Ayden Mayeri as Wood Jr's partner, and Annie Mumolo as a wacky neighbor.  And John Slattery briefly as Fletch's old boss, now in Boston.

It's kind of an ideal end-of-the-week movie that's not too much of anything, but also not... dumb.  

Mostly, I kind of think this should have been just a movie straight to Apple+ or Paramount (where I watched it), and it's fine.  It's the sort of thing we all paid to see a lot of in the 1990's.  But the fact the movie didn't make any money is probably much more of an indicator now of what people will just wait for than genuine disinterest in the movie.  I, for one, blocked time on my calendar to watch it when I saw it was on Paramount.  

Would I watch more installments on Hamm as Fletch?  I think I would.  He's enjoyable, the movie is light and fun, and his version of Fletch's persona in the face of chaos is actually pretty enjoyable.  But it's far less broad.  That's left to pretty much all the supporting characters.  So seeing them do this Knives Out style every two years or so would be welcome.  But, I suspect, that ain't happening.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

PodCast 247: "Ted Lasso: Season 3" Therapy Session w/ Mrshl, Maxwell and Ryan

Format:  Apple+
Decade:  2020's

MRSHL, Maxwell and Ryan have heard the final whistle on Season 3 of everyone's favorite show about a very well adjusted soccer team. After two wildly popular seasons, this season drew a wide range of opinions. Join us as we line up for a set-piece and see if we can't get it in the goal.



Part 1:

Part 2:

Ted Lasso Main Theme - Marcus Mumford and Tom Howe 
Fight Test - Flaming Lips

Sunday, June 18, 2023

New Movie Watch: Ghosted (2023)

Watched:  06/17/2023
Format:  Apple+
Viewing:  First
Director:  Dexter Fletcher

What's funny about Ghosted (2023) is that if it came out 25 years ago, this movie would have been a fairly big theatrical hit.  Now it's dumped on Apple+, who immediately cease advertising any movie they own two days after the movie is released.  So, you probably already forgot to watch this one - if you ever considered it - and it's more than likely you forgot it exists.

It's also the sort of thing people used to go see, but now just shrug at, because we've seen a lot of stuff like this since True Lies (in my experience).  If you did see the trailer and thought "I know exactly what this is, so I'm good", you aren't wrong.  It's a movie that feels generated by AI at the script level, and relies entirely on the charm of stars Chris Evans and Ana de Armas - who are both charming as hell.  

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

PodCast 245: "Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse" (2023) a KTB episode w/ Dug, Jamie & Ryan

Watched:  06/03/2023
Format:  Theater
Viewing: First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson

It's a leap across the Spider-Verse, and that means bringing the gang together from across space and time. Join Jamie, The Dug and Ryan as we ponder the latest installment in the adventures of Gwen and Miles. Join us as spin a web of conversation, and try to decide if this movie is Signal Watch Canon.



Annihilate - Swae Lee, Lil Wayne, and Offset 
Calling -   Swae Lee, Nav, A Boogie w/ a Hoodie 

Marvel Movies Playlist 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

PODCAST @ Superheroes Every Day: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

Watched:  05/19/2023
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Director:  Peyton Reed

Well.  I was going to watch it eventually.  

Danny (of Superheroes Every Day) and I talk the 2023 critical kryptonite and box office disappointment that is one of Marvel's greatest missteps to date.  Join us as we pick up this particular dud and keep turning it over to figure out what worked, what didn't, and how this thing even came out of Marvel Studios.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Marvel Watch: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

Watched:  05/21/2023
Format:  Theater!
Viewing:  First
Director:  James Gunn

On Friday night I watched the mostly panned Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, and on Saturday spent an ungodly amount of time discussing the film with Danny for the Superheroes Every Day podcast.  Spoiler: it wasn't my favorite movie.  And so it was that here, deep in Marvel Phase 5, that I finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023).  

You'd have to listen to the podcast and read between the lines on other posts to know how I feel about Marvel these days.  It's an affection, but one that knows where we're at in the scheme of creation and the realization that what always worked will not always work, and that they're now on to properties that have always struggled within the Marvel portfolio, while still not dishing up a Fantastic Four movie that we all know is coming.

As has been largely agreed upon, James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy solidified the lessons of Iron Man (and to a lesser extent, Thor) and re-positioned how Marvel designed its films into action-comedies with heart.  GotG somehow, against all odds, managed to make you care about a tree with one line of dialog, an asshole space-raccoon, a manchild with knives, a mass-murderer, and a slacker with delusions of grandeur.  Plus a redneck pirate!  The heart part was a bit surprising as we watched our leads kill a ship full of pirates, etc... Not the usual side of superheroes.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Angry Animal Watch: Cocaine Bear (2023)

Watched:  05/12/2023
Format:  Peacock
Viewing:  First
Director:  Elizabeth Banks

EDIT: After posting, I was reminded that Banks also directed Pitch Perfect 2 and Charlie's Angels. I want to thank the commenter here (Nate C!) and the one on tumblr who mentioned this. Also, a big reminder to check IMDB before I hit publish.

Sometimes a movie is exactly what you thought it was going to be, but is also what what you were *hoping* it would be, while also being *better* than what you expected.  It's a peculiar equation, but in the middle of this particular triangle of expectation vs. reality, we find Cocaine Bear (2023).

Now, Cocaine Bear is not for everyone.  I read a few reviews that were quite cross about "nothing happens, it's just a bunch of sequences".  And, sort of.  But, also, that's exactly the point.  This is a movie about the joy of a rampaging bear fucking people up.  And, frankly, if you think the *many, many* movies about people getting picked off one-by-one are deep character work with the bear/ shark/ what-have-you as merely a framework, I have some property to sell you in Arizona.  A few are, 90% of them are filling time.  Elizabeth Banks, here in her first feature directorial effort, utterly understands the assignment.  

Banks cuts out any character development to the "bare" minimum.  The bear is not a metaphor.  It is not retribution.  It is not even a force of nature, for in nature, bears do not do massive amounts of coke.  While technically "man vs. nature" is our conflict, nature has consumed massive quantities of cocaine. 

Monday, May 1, 2023

Norse Watch: The Northman (2022)

Watched:  04/30/2023
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  First
Director:  Robert Eggers


So, I just finished listening to the audiobook of the translated Völsunga Saga, and then some pals asked if I'd yet seen The Northman (2022), and while those events were unrelated, they did dovetail.  I hadn't quite gotten to the movie despite liking the prior Eggers film I had seen and a general interest in the content.  I was aware of middling opinions of folks on the street (it's got a 64% audience reaction on RT) - with some folks also camping out in the deep like and dislike camps.  But it was a bit of a critical darling.  So, it seemed it was probably doing *something* of interest, even if it wasn't for me.

The movie does it's best to recreate a world that seems almost impossible in its brutality and viciousness, that believes in fates, and the best fate is to die (valiantly) in battle and be swept off to Valhalla by a Valkyrie.  It's a culture that sees sacking and pillaging as a vocation, and vengeance as a noble right.  And everyone is kind of aware that being a king also means being a target.  Kind of hard to believe these same people a few hundred years later would be living in countries now deemed to be some of the chillest places you can go.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Nintendo Watch: The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

I officially entered a new phase of life on Saturday when I went to see The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) with a cohort of second graders in support of my nephew's birthday.  I'm now an uncle who goes to movies he didn't select.  It's a good thing.

I am not anti video games, but I can describe my relationship to gaming as "apathetic".   The how's and why's of this phenomenon are uninteresting and best served in a dedicated blog post.  But even when we got our first Nintendo Entertainment System, I didn't have any Mario-related games.  I was spending my money on comics and tapes at the time.  Aside from a brief flirtation with a Wii and Mario Kart, never got into it.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Doc Watch: Money Shot: The Pornhub Story (2023)

Watched:  03/19/2023
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Director:  Suzanne Hillinger

This was.... fine.  

Like it or not, Pornhub was the 12th most visited site in January 2023 (as of this writing), and when people had some time off, maybe the 3rd most visited site in December 2022.  In an era where we've shattered the monoculture, it's possible Pornhub is the great denominator.

A few years ago, I listened to a podcast that discussed the history of Pornhub, how it impacted pornography distribution, how that impacted performers, etc...  I won't get into it here, but that podcast was 2017, and this doc more or less blows past *all* of that in about twenty seconds to cover more recent history.  Given the title and stated agenda of the doc, it's a wild choice.  This doc is in no way a complete history of Pornhub, it's a dissection of a specific moment for Pornhub that is already fairly well known, was covered in the press, and which receives minimal new insight into the events probed, the inner workings of Pornhub, or much else.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

PodCast 236: "Elvis" (2022) - a rock n' roll episode w/ SimonUK and Ryan

Watched:  03/06/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing: First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Baz Luhrmann

Your two hunks o' burnin' love take on the Luhrmann-ized retelling of the life of The King. We ponder the nature of biopics, fame, Dutch accents, appropriate management fees, pink suits and the power of shaking one's hips. It's another Oscar-contender episode!



That's All Right - Elvis Presley 
Unchained Meldoy - Elvis Presley 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

PodCast 235: "Top Gun: Maverick" (2022) - a high-flying SimonUK and Ryan PodCast

Watched:  02/19/2023
Format:  Amazon?
Viewing: First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Joseph Kosinski

Simon and Ryan feel the need for speed! These two misfits should be thrown out of podcasting, but they're just too damn good. Instead, they're being sent to watch another sequel 30 years in the making. Join us as as we talk this Oscar contender, why it hit, what it does right and how it gets a pass for what it does wrong. And, against all odds, they don't dwell on Connelly for too long.



Main Titles (You've Been Called Back to Top Gun) - Harold Faltermeyer
Top Gun Anthem - Harold Faltermeyer

SimonUK Cinema Series

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Netflix Watch: We Have a Ghost (2023)

Watched:  03/02/2023
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Director:  Christopher Landon

Well, I was looking for something else on Netflix and saw the #1 streaming movie was something I'd never heard of but it starred Captain America, Jennifer Coolidge and Jim Hopper.  And I generally liked the premise of people catching evidence of a ghost and what that might actually mean in 2023.

We Have a Ghost (2023) feels, however, like a few movies that were shuffled together from different results from different writers all given the same prompt and characters but no guidance for what genre this movie was, who it was for, and especially no plot outline.  The result is a strange mish-mash of a film that wants to be funny, touching, exciting, a road movie, a haunted house movie, a teen romance, a wacky buddy comedy, a sci-fi flick...  and a touching story about family, father-child relations and probably ten more things.  I thought it was a kid's movie til about halfway through, and then was like... well, no.

That said, it's weirdly watchable.  It may not be great, or even particularly good, mainly because it bounces so fast from idea to idea that nothing ever really sticks - but it does have some crazy talent in the movie and so you get to see how that can prop up a very shaky film.  David Harbour never even really talks, and still gives a genuinely moving performance.  Anthony Mackie reminds you why he gets cast in so much stuff playing a guy hitting middle-age who thinks maybe he finally struck oil, Jennifer Coolidge is Jennifer Coolidge (if she were a TV ghost-psychic).  Tig Notaro plays the scientist - who seems to have a backstory they left on the cutting room floor - who is mixed up in ghost-chasing, the government G-Men and everything else.  

Our lead is young actor Jahi Di'allo Winston who is very good.  But, man, the movie sure takes its time making it clear you should like his character.  

I don't want to dwell on it too much.  It had a lot of issues.  But I also felt like it got weirdly violent for a minute or two, and it didn't really know a movie can say something, not just be a series of events that unspool.  There's no subtext - this movie is all text.  

The most promising bit of the film, and where I thought it was going before it decided it was not that, is immediately after the evidence of the ghost hits the internet.  You get to see humanity - filtered through the modern internet - doesn't know if the ghost is real-real or not, and makes him into something meme-able and for discourse and all the dumb shit we do as people.  But then the film spins off into something about government overreach, lasers, and a tragic back story I don't know anyone was sitting around hoping for based on the premise.  


I also was just like - did Anthony Mackie really get taken out by a very old man with a pan?  Like...  no one saw that and said "this isn't working."  They just let it be a thing that happened in a movie we all watched.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Marvel Watch: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Watched:  Early February?
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Director:  Ryan Coogler

We watched this at the beginning of February when it was released.  I am holding comment until we re-watch and podcast it.  I won't spoil you on the movie or - I guess - what we'll say about it.

But I do need to note that we did see it, so here's a post.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Watch Party Watch: Birdemic III - Sea Eagle (2022)

Watched:  02/10/2023
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Director:  James Nguyen

You can't really write about a Birdemic movie as a movie.  You could, I guess.  But what's the point?

A Birdemic film is an experience.  It's there to make you ask an infinite number of questions like: why?  So many "why's?".  So many "what's?".  And "how's?"

Jamie, Steanso and I attended what was one of the very earliest public screenings of the original Birdemic,  It was during a period where I wasn't blogging, so there isn't a record, I guess.  But I do have a record of seeing the sequel.