Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Snotty Movie Criticism: volume two

The Dark Tower ****
(2017) Idris Alba, Tom Taylor, Matthew McConaughey
Surprisingly competent enjoyable action flick inspired by, and having very little to do with, the Stephen King series of novels.

The Sea of Trees ***
(2015) Matthew McConaughey
Watchable exploration of life and death despite undisguised budget constraints. But given the tight concentration on the subject I frankly would have hoped for more depth.

Ithaca **
(2015) Alex Neustaedter, Sam Shepard
Fairly gentle look at wartime America through the eyes of bad-news-bearing telegraph messengers. It’s a coming-of-age flick at more than one level. If you really digged American Graffiti and Stand By Me, you might appreciate this but don’t go expecting the Tom Hanks brand. He’s too insignificant here to save this one from mediocrity. (Netflix)

Tig ****
(2015) Tig Notaro (documentary)
Extremely personal and intimate look at comedian Tig Nataro, her startling series of suffrage and a privileged look at a singular comedy event of tremendous impact. This is a rare, significant and thought-provoking story you won’t find anywhere else. (Netflix)  

Hits ***
(2014) Meredith Hagner, Matt Walsh
Just the kind of dorky and biting dark comedy you might expect from dorky actor/biting social commentator David Cross. Perfectly entertaining to me and probably not to everyone. (Netflix)  

Thank You For Smoking *
(2005) Aaron Eckhart, Cameron Bright
If you have trouble finding this movie, check under alternate title: Thank You For Watching This Shit Movie, or just find something better to do. Which won’t be hard.

Captain Fantastic ****
(2016) Viggo Mortensen
This was almost a noble look at a rare way of life vastly superior to the good ol’ ‘murican dream until they wimped out with compromises designed to water everything down to a bland stew quaffable by the dull general public and their many wallets.

Freeheld ***1/2
(2015) Julianne Moore, Ellen Page
Another truth-based Ron Nyswaner gem which might have approached 1993 gem Philadelphia in terms of resonance if not for the regrettable casting of Steve Carrel as an over-the-top homosexual public figure who too often drags the film a hair’s breadth from satire.

Swiss Army Man **
(2016) Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe
Altogether upsetting to the digestion. No thanks.

Manchester By The Sea*****
(2017) Casey Affleck
Dynamite subtle character film hit me hard.

Gold ****
(2016) Matthew McConaughey
Classic McConaughey effort pulls a decent drama flick up a notch.

Hidden Figures ****
(2016)  Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe
It seems pretty silly at first; takes eye-rolling liberties with poetic license, but despite its Disneyesqe crimes, packs a worthwhile punch by the third act. Thumbs up.

The Lincoln Lawyer ****
(2011) Matthew McConaughey
Another classic McConaughey effort pulls another half-decent drama flick up a notch...

Logan ****
(2017) Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen
I’m glad I was semi-tricked into seeing this. Thought I’d seen sufficient Wolverine-based X-Men stuff but this one was superior! Surprising depth in terms of emotional and moral dynamics. Some genuine tender moments at times and notable absence of them at others. Some good laughs thrown in and plenty of gratuitous violence which definitely pushed my buttons at times. Specifically: there is an unusual dynamic here which legitimises scenes I would have trouble tolerating out of context. 

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