J.M. Vargas here, trying once again to post if the freaking Blogger would let me! :'(MOONFALL (2022, IMAX), shown early this week to AMC investors, might be THE DUMBEST Roland Emmerich movie ever made. Dumber than "2012," "10,000 B.C." and "ID4 2" combined, at least! It's also got a third act reveal so bonkers, so batshit insane (though Michael Bay's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" kind-of beat it to the punch) that if the filmmakers hadn't fully committed to it the whole thing would all fall apart. Where else but in this Emmerich flick would the shifting gravity of an erratic moon thrown off its orbit be used primarily to stage life-or-death shootouts/car chases between our heroes'... family members on Earth and a bunch of central casting white trashy rednecks. Thinking too hard about "Moonfall's" plot holes and scientific inaccuracies is not an option. Shut that brain off completely, and it's an amusing middle-of-the-road entry (below "ID4," above "2012") into the 'Roland Emmerich trashes the world' cinematic universe. Worth the IMAX trip if you've got A-List. :-PJonas Poher Rasmussen's FLEE (2022, theater) is the latest in the well-meaning, professionally assembled but overdone and repetitive 'refugee crisis documentary' documentary wheek. The gimmick of using animation to re-enact scenes that couldn't be brought to life otherwise (like a family of Afghanis bored to death watching Mexican-dubbed-to-Russian-by-one-guy soap operas) without losing impact carries it somewhat, but ultimately the personal and familiar plight of Amin and his folks add-up to more of the same misery porn subject matters we've been overexposed to for some time. It's fine, but familiar to a fault.Mamoru Hosoda's BELLE (2022, theaters) and Yusuke Hirota's POUPELLE OF CHIMNEY TOWN (2021, theaters) go about representing a child coping with the loss of a favorite parent (a grim subject) in vastly different anime concepts/styles, but ultimately arrive at the same thematic/pathos convergence point. "Belle" has a cipher lead character in Ruku, a shy country girl who transforms into a celebrity singer online named Belle that reaches out to abused children without someone to communicate. "Poupelle," whose art looks closer to Herge's "Tintin" than anime, has a more fantastical world (think "Mary Poppins" on seampunk steroids) but a central boy protagonist wondering what ever became of the father he has so many fond memories of. Both movies have very young people forced to take a stand and grow-up much faster than they should, and both sacrifice potential jokes/humor for the story to gain dramatic heft by taking the emotions/feelings of lonely children seriously. "Belle" is the more conventional of the two, and "Poupelle" the more visually ambitious. Both are poster children for anime being cartoons for Japanese children with worldwide appeal to grown-ups.Simon Kinger's THE 355 (2022, theaters) has a cast to die for (Chastain, Kruger, Cruz, Nyongo, etc.) wasted in a female-centric vehicle that has zero new ideas to add to a genre saturated with lookalike product. You've seen a covert spy movie where the hero goes rogue to clear his/her good name? You've seen "355," again and again. Penelope Cruz gets to shine a little brighter than her co-stars because she plays the closest to an audience surrogate, but even by the end she's shooting guns and nailing bad guys she shouldn't even be able to fire at. Pass, or watch on Netflix years from now one lazy Sunday afternoon.
The 355 -- whyy?Blogger thing seems like s a Google sync issue. So my bet is they won't change it back.
I'm admittedly a lover of Emmerich's brand of big disaster movies. It's not at "can't wait" levels, but I'm looking forward to it for sure.
HAZAA....thanks for the Moonfall review JM! LOL!!!
I introduced my wife to DIE HARD 2 this week and that was an interesting experience. She pegged it immediately as essentially repeating the same plot with some interesting variations and also that this movie is *filthy* with fun character actors. Plus, she doesn't have the biggest experience with William Sadler and wasn't expecting the level of efficient creep he can bring here. It's not the classic the first is, but I think this is still a really solid thriller with a bit of that Renny Harlin insanity that I do love.
What did the wife think of zero-body fat Sadler doing naked Tai'Chi in front of the TV as his pre-mission routine? ;-)
She had no issues with that scene at all. ;)
Hey y'all! Hope everyone's enjoying the weekend!So I watched a movie from Kazakhstan called Yellow Cat, which turned out to be pretty enjoyable. The eccentric characters and quirky dialogue felt very influenced by the Coens, and the Kazakhstan landscapes are a beautiful backdrop for the small story. It was the first movie from Kazakhstan I've ever seen, and now (according to Letterboxd stats), I've seen movies from exactly 100 different countries. Still a lot of grey on the world map, especially in Africa, but 100 is a good start.I also checked out another De Palma movie (after last week's Dressed to Kill) with Raising Cain, and... boy, that sure was unmistakably a De Palma movie! A crazy ride with ridiculous twists, occasional avant-garde editing, psychosexual overtones and shots lifted straight from Hitchcock. It's not among my favorite De Palmas (Blow Out, Body Double), but then again there's one particular camera move that had me genuinely cackling watching it, so that's something.And yesterday I subjected myself to Walerian Borowczyk's The Beast and... I'm still processing it. I have no idea what it was trying to say, but it was weirdly compelling in its craziness.Tonight's plan includes two movies that will be covered in the coming days by podcasts I follow, The Piano (Blank Check) and The Black Cauldron (Disniversity). And next week there's an online documentary festival here in Finland, to which I already bought tickets for six docs. Will report back next Saturday.
The Beast is the first Borowczyk film I ever watched. He is one those directors whose vision could only have been expressed in the 1960s and '70s. The Beast probably is his most famous film, but there are other films I like better. The scenes with "The Beast" are not quickly forgotten, though. Yellow Cat is on MUBI. I will add it to my list.
The horse stole "The Beast" from any beast scene, IMHO! :-O
That's impressive, your quest to watch movies from everywhere.The Piano is the best movie I've seen in 2022, but I have an incredibly difficult time saying exactly why. It's all emotional. Looking forward to checking out Campion's other moviu.The Black Cauldron I went to see in the theaters as a kid and haven't seen since. I was scared, so scared, for a long while and would pretend that I was dead when going to sleep so that they would ignore me.
This very cold weekend is dedicated to Musicals. Earlier this week i watched the Lindsay Ellis video on the downfall of the Musical genre, so i got the taste for it and realised there was a bunch of classics i never saw. Mostly the Barbra Streisand ones. Here's the list:YentlFunny GirlHello DollyCamelotFiddler On The Roof
Good weekend to everyone. I found an escape from the cold and snow with some good watches this week.SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962, dir. Robert Aldrich) – Though an American director is credited, the Italian influence is all over this Biblical epic. Almost all of the cast and crew (including Sergio Leone on second unit duty) are Italian. Lot leads the Hebrews tribes into the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with unforeseen consequences. Will Jehovah protect the Hebrews in their hour of need? At 2.5 hours, it is also a long film but one also packed with spectacle. RED RIVER (1948, dir. Howard Hawks) – One of the iconic Hollywood westerns. John Wayne portrays Thomas Dunson, a Texan rancher in the post-Civil War West determined to drive his cattle to wherever they can be sold. Dunson is one of his early dark roles. Whatever it takes to accomplish his goal, he is willing to do. Montgomery Clift begins his movie career as the adopted son who stands up to Dunson’s tyranny. If the film had been made twenty years later, this dynamic would have been handled more violently. With a run-time over two hours, RED RIVER could easily have had something trimmed out of it.WOMEN IN THE WIND (1939) – A melodrama about female pilots competing in an air race. Featured as part of TCM’s programming for actress Kay Francis, WOMEN does show a career in decline. Francis was among the highest paid actresses of the time, and the studio wanted to be out of her contract. Being in lackluster films like this was the price she paid. BLANCHE (1971, dir. Walerian Borowczyk) on MUBI – A stylized drama that revolves around the young wife of an elderly aristocrat during the Medieval period. When the King of France arrives at the castle with his retinue, the amorous advances of the visitors put her virtue and status in great peril. The film can be interpreted in several ways. The lack of power the wife has over her own life is very noticeable. I feel that this is a film I would need to watch again to fully appreciate. Borowczyk’s visual aesthetic is more controlled than in his later films.
Despite not being particularly religious, I have a fondness for biblical epics, but have never seen Sodium and Gomorrah.You often are sharing your thoughts on older movies I haven't seen, so I don't have anything to add in the comments, but I do appreciate the reviews and the many films I add to my watchlist (and some eventually watch, of course).
There is a Lot of sodium mentioned in Sodom and Gomorrah. If you like sword and sandal spectacles, Paul, this should be something you will enjoy. I was entertained. I found a decent widescreen version Fox movie channel (FXX) to watch. I have been watching films made before my lifetime (born in the late 1970s) for close to 30 years and tend to have a preference for ones made before the mid-1990s. I know there are worthwhile films being made today, but I keep getting drawn back into the orbit of Turner Classic Movies, arthouse cinema, and exploitation.
THE BLACK CAULDRON (1985). Holy crap, this movie! Just imagine if today's Disney, or even Pixar, had enough free reign to get this weird and out-there. THE BONE COLLECTOR (1999). This is about as basic as a detective vs. serial killer potboiler can get, but it was nonetheless a decent evening's entertainment. THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT (1974). I don't even know what to say about this one. Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges are two crooks who meet by random chance, drive around the desert for a while, and eventually pull off a heist. It's frustratingly meandering. But if you view it solely as a '70s time capsule, it's a treasure. ENTER THE NINJA (1981). I know this is considered as something of a classic of the ninja genre, and it helped put Cannon on the movie map, but I found it kind of tedious. I wonder if I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for a cheesy ninja flick.
Sometimes a Cannon film is just bad. I probably watched Enter the Ninja when I was young, but I forget anything about it now.
Agree with you on "Black Cauldron," Mac. It's streaming on Disney Plus (and looks great), so anybody can join Mac in having their mind blown that mid-80's animated Disney flicks could be this far off the mainstream reservation. :-D
I agree with you on Enter the Ninja, don't much care for it. The sequels (Revenge, Domination) are really great though.
Beware! The Blob (1972 Youtube)There are advantages to having a kid that likes old school monster movies AND seeks out sequels. At the behest of my son we watched this movie which is a sequel to the 1958 classic movie The Blob. Its not good...however..aspects of it are so bananas i had to drop a quick write up here. So rather than review ill list random observations...1) Opening credits listed director as Larry Hagman. I assumed it was obviously not THAT Larry Hagman until low and behold JR Ewing himself shows up as a small role as a hobo that gets eaten by the blob along side fellow hobo....2) Burgess 'the penguin' Meredith!?3) theres a solid hippie vibe to a group of kids in the flick amongst who include...Cindy Williams (Shirley) and one of my fav off-the-beaten path actors Gerrit Graham ('its a red car!' - used cars).4) i had forgotten that the original movie ends with them realizing the creature doesnt do well with cold and therefore taking it to the artic as sort of a cold prison. AHH!! talk about huge influence for John Carpenters masterpiece The Thing!!! This flick does an ok job of explaining how it gets free.5) As silly and meandering as it is...i kinda dug the flick...lots of blob fodder and fun 70s stereotypical characters.6) also appearances by Sid Haig, Del Close, Dick Van Patten, and Richard Stall.
Wow. My kids just want to watch Red Notice and Deadpool. Of course, I show them better movies, but it' "kicking and screaming". They nearly always love what I show them
HA! i hear ya Paul. Its a tricky tightrope of wanting/hoping your kids like/enjoy/watch stuff you dig and giving them the flexibility to find their own way.
I tried to watch XMen Apocalypse as I go through Kodi Smit-Mcphee's filmography but can't get past the costumes. If he had a bigger role I would probably try harder. I REALLY liked the movie Logan. So, once upon a time, I did like a superhero movie. Woody from Toy Story is a big part of our household because my sister has a talking Woody doll toy she plays with every night. Every night it's "Forky? Where's Forky? I've gotta find Forky!" and "It's so good to see Bo again! I really missed her!" Any time's a good time for playtime!" coming from her room. She's a bit nocturnal (she has Down syndrome) so it's pretty much all night. I think I get 4 hours of sleep per night bc of this talking doll. She's very attached to it- taking it away from her or replacing it with one that doesn't talk, which we tried to do, is not a better or quieter option in the long run. I close her windows every night so Woody doesn't wake up the neighbors. So anyway, she loves Woody but we haven't watched a Toy Story movie since TS3 came out. So we watched it and Toy Story 3 is ridiculously genius! The perfect animated film.
Toy Story is really great! The opening with the train in the West is amazing. And it ends was just the perfect ending of any series ever.
*Toy Story 3
Meredith...im sure you're all over it, but if not, Disney+ has a series of very short Pixar bonus cartoons featuring Forky. They are both HILARIOUS and kinda brilliant. you'll never hear the phrase "thats the way the cookie crumbles" the same again after watching one of them. dig it!
Paul, yea. I vaguely remember they all had those adventure openings? They're so insanely creative!Mashke, Thanks! We tried some today! I really liked the Bo Peep one, "Lamp Life". I want a Bo Peep lamp, too! For a while :)