Friday, July 31, 2015
Netflix This Movie! Vol. 140
The Guest (2014, dir. Adam Wingard) The Guest is a movie I loved the first time I saw it last September. I was totally on the wavelength of the movie, which works as a thriller, an action movie, a horror movie and a comedy. It's a marvel that the movie can juggle so many tones and genres successfully. But it wasn't until the second viewing I had of The Guest that I knew I made a major mistake putting BEGIN AGAIN!!!! above The Guest in my top 10 list of 2014. What the eff was I thinking??? Dan Stevens is great in this, btw. If you don't like this movie, you might just not like movies.
Tracers (2014, dir. Daniel Benmayor) Let’s get this out of the way: Tracers is not good. It is a bad movie that hopped on the parkour bandwagon about three years too late. Tracers follows Taylor Lautner, who plays a down-on-his luck bike messenger who gets caught up with a gang of thieves into parkour. I know. I vomited in my mouth as well. I am a firm believer, however, that most of the bad movies out there have something to like about them, and fortunately Tracers has two things in it I liked enough to sort-of recommend it. First and foremost are the chase scenes. I know you may be sick of parkour, but there are some really great chase scenes in Tracers that did entertain me and made me want more of what I just saw. The second (and reason I think some of the chase scenes work) is Taylor Lautner. Most of you are probably only aware of Lautner as teenage girl’s favorite werewolf and enemy to all vampires. Now don’t get too excited -- Lautner still can’t act himself out of a paper bag -- but as I was watching Tracers I realized that Lautner was doing about 95% of his own stunts. They do overkill it a bit by having some completely pointless scenes with Lautner just jumping off shit, but I do have to say I have a bit more of respect for Lautner after it, enough that I think he’d make a fairly decent action star. So here is what I want you to do. Look up and down the list of recommendations for this week. Then look and see if you have any movies you haven’t watched yet sitting by your TV. If you have anything else to watch this week, watch that. However, if you have nothing to watch and are starving for a movie, watch Tracers.
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961, dir. Irwin Allen) Irwin Allen's 1961 undersea science-fiction adventure Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea predated his most famous creation -- the television series Lost in Space -- by about five years. With Lost in Space coming to Blu-ray in just a few months, Irwin Allen's work is back in the minds of genre fans everywhere. If you're one of them, you have ONE WHOLE DAY to watch the classic film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea before it disappears from Netflix on August 1st. It's a chance to see Frankie Avalon and Barbara Eden before their careers took off and to see Peter Lorre in one of his last film roles. Hurry, before it's gone!
Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (2014, dir. David Gregory) Patrick recommended this a few weeks ago, and was he ever right! I was previously aware of the reputation John Frankenheimer’s 1996 version of H.G. Welles’s classic novel enjoyed as one of the worst films ever made. I had heard stories and rumors about Marlon Brando’s epic misbehavior on the set, but nothing prepared me for the crazy story this new documentary has to tell. Using extensive preproduction drawings and documents, loads of interview footage with original director Richard Stanley, actors Fairuza Balk and Rob Morrow, and plenty of anecdotes from the film’s production staff and extras, this film spins a tale so twisted and odd that if it were somehow made into a narrative film, audiences would scarcely believe it. The film’s delights are plentiful. Val Kilmer is a douche bag.
Hercules (2014, dir. Brett Ratner) Ok, so I'm recommending this one for a couple of reasons. 1) When I first started doing NTM suggestions, I deliberately tried to recommend titles that were widely disliked but which I felt like were underrated. That criteria applies to Brett Ratner's Hercules, a movie that came and went without getting a lot of love but which I dug. It's surprisingly smart for a movie so stupid. But the REAL reason I'm recommending it is 2) it features Rebecca Ferguson in a supporting role and the entire country is going to be head over heels in love with her come Monday after they've seen Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation. She's the goods.
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Adam Thas my thoughts on Tracers are similar to yours. Its not a good movie but its very watchable. The fact that Lautner appears to be doing most of his stunts really impressed me. I actually like the Lauter even though he can't act. I think he could be groom into a good action hero. He was pretty good in Abduction with the action scenes also.ReplyDelete
Agreed, it's got multiple problems (some glaring) but it was fun and the action works so well because they don't need to bring in a stunt person for most of it.Delete
If there wasn't so much overlap between the various people about that final story in Lost Souls, I'd never believe it. It's so....crazy.ReplyDelete
I loved Lost Souls! For me it's right up there with Hearts of Darkness and Lost in La Mancha for entertaining docs about movies. Great recommendation. And yes, Val Kilmer really does not come off well here..Delete
I tried the first half-hour of The Guest, and it just didn't work for me. Not one character said one interesting line, and the various scenes just felt overwhelming familiar - the bullied nerd, the mysterious military badass who beats up a whole room without cracking a sweat, the harassed ex-girlfriend, the teens with suburban ennui, etc. And though I dig Greengrass' Bourne movies as much as anyone, as an armed forces member myself, I also find the whole psychotic-brainwashed-soldier trope grating when said service is used as a shorthand explanation for why someone is evil, and when vets are treated as proverbial Others: "they've been to war, so they're obviously different and unknowable to us regular, normal folk." Conclusion: no, thanks. ;)ReplyDelete
You're breaking my heart.Delete
Me four. Though I can understand how your approach as an active serviceman might be different from ours, I do think if you watched the whole thing you might change your initial assessment, because I know what you're talking about re vets and I really don't think this movie is doing that.Delete
^ Oh, I read Wikipedia plot summary, and I know the movie's not saying the guy's at all representative of service people generally, and that he's a freak bad-military experiment gone awry. Still, a trope is a trope, and unless the story is about wrestling with these kinds of issues, like Greengrass' Bourne movies do, it's a trope I find annoying. It felt like they could have made the main character a vampire, and changed pretty much nothing else about the movie. Like I said, it's about seeing soldiers as The Other (and I'm not even a kind of service member who has or ever will see combat; I'm just observing).Delete
But don't get me wrong; I didn't stop watching because I was offended; I stopped watching because I was bored. After half an hour, I felt like I knew exactly where the movie was going - violence, violence, final girl (Wikipedia proved me right) - and though the cinematography was quite pretty and the score very Carpenter, nothing so far had grabbed me. And if a movie hasn't grabbed me in half an hour... it gets hit on the head with a pool stick. ;)
A lot of which you mentioned is brought up if you stuck the entirety of the film up. Especially why he is portrayed as psychotic.Delete
I'm in the minority with Gaith in not really enjoying The Guest, and the Special Forces scene just breaks the movie for me (it's fine).Delete
However, I watched and really enjoyed Hercules. A really solid cast balances kicking butt and winking at the audience, with Ian McShane stealing every scene he is in. I didn't read the graphic novel, so I was pleasantly surprised by the different take on the classic Greek myth (Heracles; the Romanized version is Hercules).
I liked The Guest when I first saw it, but I kept coming back to it and loved it more everytime, and it's now my favorite movie of last year. Good grief I love it so much.ReplyDelete
Me too! Nightcrawler my fav of last year though.Delete
After reading the recommendation and the comments leaning both ways. I finally sat down and watched The Guest. Really liked the actors. The first 3/4ths are pretty solid in my opinion. As soon as they get to the final set piece I felt it fall apart for a second. It just felt forced for a bit. I did really like the ending. The last line of the movie really sums it up. I just wish it didn't feel like two different movies to me. I like the mysterious thriller and I like the 80s horror side to it. I just had a problem with the way it did the final scenes. My biggest problem was that no high school puts that much money and effort into a Halloween dance. That was just ridiculous to me. Overall I had a really good time. I do think it's worth a re-watch.ReplyDelete
I always laugh at how pissed off the special forces guy gets that he has to go through the haunted house. Just a little thing but funny nonetheless.Delete