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Ridley Scott changes the face of modern sci fi with this mixing of high and lowbrow cinema. The clean antiseptic space of Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars is turned into a dirty dank nightmare with winding corners and a monster right out of my he horror genre. H.R. Giger's monster and set designs are as iconic as they are still relevant today. Also Sigourney Weaver as the female heroine action hero is historical. One of the greatest movies ever made.
This Is A Hijack Of Star Wars
This is one frustrating movie because it attempts to course correct the worst aspects of the nasty man hating self righteous Last Jedi and to save the huge missteps Kathleen Kennedy allowed or maybe demanded of Rian Johnson at the same time. What we get is a full on mad dash for fan acceptance that almost no one is gonna like. The first ten minutes feel like the actors did a bunch of coke and thought that acting meant hurling your lines in choppy disjointed cadences.
The heroes skip from one place to another without warning or directly after exposition dumps. You completely understand that this stuff was being made up on the spot as they tumbled down a hill trying to explain plot points the previous movie ruined. The CGI was pedestrian and the characters hollow as the souls of the ideologically possessed creators who allowed Last Jedi to finish any semblance of cohesion the trilogy might have had. I enjoyed Mark Hamill and Adam Driver did his best with what he had. The movie exposes itself in the end with the lead character stealing the very idea and spirit of Star Wars...this isn't Star Wars..this is just a veneer with a name slapped on it just like the final scene in this movie.
Looks Great But Horrible Lapses In Story Logic
Ok so this movie starts off great. Nice visuals, Kyle Ren stops that blaster shot and a very nostalgic introduction to Rey. So we're all set. Then things take a downward turn in logic and the cracks widen the further we get into it. Rey is given an illogical amount of insight into Force power without any answers as to how she's able to do what she does. And don't give me that read the books or supplemental info crap. Movie info should be contained in the cinematic story. Then we get to the Finn character and his sudden amazing prowess on the lightsaber. All this and a craptastic fate for everyone's beloved Han Solo and we have a mild disappointment. That's not to say it isn't fun if you put the whole script lapse on the back burner. JJ Abrams certainly knows how to make a good looking turd however. So turn off your mind, relax and flow downstream in a warm puddle of piss. Beautifully shot and a good cliffhanger too.
Star Wars (1977)
A Cultural Phenomenon
Modern commercial science fiction begins here. We all know the cast of characters well.One of the most perfect story arcs regarding the journey of the hero exploded on to the cultural landscape spectacularly. This wasn't just a movie it was myth created before our very eyes. Certainly one of those moments when art, commercial entertainment and the general public come into perfect symmetry. A masterpiece.
Worse Than Gungan DuDu
Ok so I know a lot of you hate The Last Jedi and I certainly ain't gonna argue with you guys on that but it certainly is better than this steaming pile of Gungan dudu no matter how you slice it. If George Lucas had some kind of coherent story arc for how Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side we didn't need to sit through 2 hours and 13 minutes of kid Vader going through his child banter, quips and going has.
Visually this is not good either. For a guy who was waiting for the technology to catch up to his vision the CGI here looks worse than either Terminator 2 or Jurassic Park.
Well we all collectively hate Jar Jar Binksso let's not even bother going into what a disaster he was. The Gungans were awful and the pod race as pointless as the Harry Potter quidditch match.
Darth Maul was cool as was the political intrigue around Senator Palpatine.
This was a hot mess and a poor start to a trilogy we'd waited 20 years for. It only gets a six rating from me cause of Darth Maul and some of the performances in it.
Ground Zero for the West.
The movie that made John Wayne a Star. This tail of a stagecoach full of misfits attempt to redeem their pasts by making a new future. The only thing is that they have to get around the demons of their pasts...and Apaches too. Wayne's swagger and total macho aura instantly make him the focal point of this ensemble cast.
Director John Ford introduces John by having the camera sweep directly into him as if he. knew that this was his golden moment.
This true American masterpiece set a high bench for other movie. Great.
The Irishman (2019)
You Can't Go Back
I went into this expecting a high energy conclusion to the Good Fellas/ Casino era..a kind of trilogy to the mob influence on American culture. While the movie did attempt to deliver on this the conclusion was a kind of geriatric ward for once robust acting giants. I was most excited to see the return of Joe Pesci and all we got was a husk of a performance. He seemed half asleep and frankly it felt like he didn't want to be with here. DeNiro just bounced from scene to scene making faces and kind of got through it adequately. Harvey Keitel was hardly in it.
The one saving grace was Al Pacino. He ran away with every scene he was in. He didn't just coast on a once relevant reputation. One of his best performances in years.
Scorsese's direction seemed a little off..overbloated script with sudden bursts of violence that weren't very memorable. Not a bad movie but not a great one either. Too bad cause this is probably the last time we'll see these iconic actors together on film.
Good Boys (2019)
It's OK If You Like Potty Mouth Teens
So if you saw the trailer to this before the movie came out then you've seen all the mildly amusing parts. It's actually doesn't commit to it's promise of being wildly improper humor and just kind of seems like a middle of the road kids movie with some cursing in it..the only people mildly interesting were the very funny older druggie molly taking teen girls whose only purpose was to get high through this thing. If you think watching 12 year olds curse is hilarious then you'll like this..for me potty mouth teens are no surprise...eh
Hang 'Em High (1968)
Feels Like An Above Average TV Movie
Clint Eastwood's first cowboy vehicle after his triple Sergio Leone homerun was the Ted Post directed Hang 'Em High. Highly entertaining it's still several rungs down on the art ladder. Unlike the highly original cinematic genius that was the Leone trilogy this feels like a very well done television movie. Which is a fair assessment since Post is most well known for his television work. That's not to say this isn't very well done drama cause it is. Some of this revenge thriller still stands as exciting stuff.
A Cultural Phenomenon
This sprawling epic changed the way the western and cinematic gunplay was shown on film. Brutal, funny and packed with characters that flow in and out of the narrative without ever feeling disjointed or dashed together. Sergio Leone pushed the boundaries of his previous two westerns and told a tale of three men and their travails through the end of the civil war in search of the hidden gold maguffin.
The result was so revolutionary that this movie is burned in the quilt of our culture.The iconic music..Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name...the closeups..everything here is classic. Arguably the best western ever made and certainly the most ambitious.
The Kitchen (2019)
Worst Movie Of The Year
Sit and watch a movie basically shoot itself in the head by creating characters so unlikeable that you can't wait to see them die. We're all gonna wake up one day hungover from the age of PC agenda flicks and we'll look at them as anomalies in the sense of the Goebbels propaganda machine. Unsubtle, stupid and repeating the same message again and again. This nasty little piece of man hating pie is not only relentlessly drenched in its own fart smells but is ugly to look at as well. Well done Hollywood...your product is as weak as the political drivel you try to peddle as entertainment.
Shane is a Masterpiece of the western genre
This movie starts off pretending to be Old Yeller and moves slowly and ominously into death and carnage mode. Great performances by Alan Ladd and Van Heflin with a disturbingly wicked portrayal of an assassin by Jack Palance turn this from a standard cowboy flick into a masterpiece. The trope of the stranger come to help the beleaguered family is worked to its best effect. A classic western not to be missed.
A Western Lecture
This absolute mess of a movie can only have been made by a guy with perfectly jelled hair. This is a western made up of feelings. A west where the white man apologizes to the noble Native American and the hero sobs his way through every piece of hardship and loss. Well filmed and beautiful to look at some of these characters act so dumb that pistol whipping the director just to show him what violence and motivation in the west should look like cinematically feels like an option. I felt the underlying leftist lecture smugly bubbling under this whole movie and it was annoying me. Big fail!
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)
The Last Days of Billy The Kid
Sam Peckinpah's tribute to the final days of the old west. He puts forth a stark vision of the last days of Billy The Kid . Peckinpah's bloody reputation is somewhat not so present in this although lots of people get shot. James Cogburn as Pat Garrett, the former outlaw turned lawman is perfect as the hero?/ villain? of the story. Kris Kristofferson is dashing as the Billy The Kid. As the new world encroaches on the west both characters have chosen opposite ends of the spectrum. This is at the heart of the movie. A classic of the western genre.
An Artful Slow Look At The Jesse James Story
A towering slow burn on the pitfalls of hero worship. A narrative on the myth of fame and how men come to worship illusions spun by media. The tale of Jesse James played by Brad Pitt with such skill and substance that he alternates between sympathy and menace with stunning swiftness. One of Pitt's greatest performances. Casey Affleck as the nervous butt kissing Robert Ford also gives his best performance in this. The slow pace of the movie makes its sudden violence jarring and that's how it probably was back in the days when America was still young. A thoughtful provoking movie. Check it out.
The Searchers (1956)
The Best Western Of It's Tine
Arguably the best western ever made it certainly is the most willing to deal with darker themes than most of its time. John Ford's beautiful landscapes are backdrops to this movie about the dark recesses of the human soul. John Wayne's performance as Ethan Edwards, a prejudiced former confederate soldier comes face to face with the object of his paranoia..Comanches. What follows is the story of a man that is sometimes the hero and at times villainous.Jeffrey Hunter gives a great performance here as well. A must see for fans of the genre.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
Tarantino Hits High Marks With Second Western
Tarantino always delivers new ways to put forth tried and true cinematic themes. The Hateful Eight is his 2nd foray into the western genre and although this doesn't reach the high powered triumph of Django Unleashed it's still a cut above most. A kind of play on The Thing by John Carpenter Hateful Eight follows the theme of the enemy among us. Spectacular cast of which Samuel L. Jackson takes center stage in a complete reversal of his character in Django the movie almost entirely takes place in a cabin. From here is where the story of opposing political and moral themes come full throttle into a death grip with each other. High end filmmaking is such a pleasure to experience.
A Torture Gore Cornucopia
Eli Roth delivers a gore fest that you'll not soon forget. This is where things go after SAW and the results will either repel you or repel/ fascinate. A well crafted piece of torture porn Hostel takes the genre to a ramped up level. It should scare you or at least disgust. Worth the watch if you can bear it.
Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
A great prequel!
The Paranormal Activity franchise goes into full gear with this very scary addition. This one ramps up the chills as it begins to partially unravel and explain the demon's presence in this family's lives. Again the unseen is the true fear here although this time the demon is a little more handsy handsy touchy touchy.We begin to feel and learn about its motivations. If you loved the original then this is more of the same spooky fun.
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Seven Is Magic
This great western makeover of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai is filmmaking at its very best.The storytelling is so on point that you get to know all the characters without any exposition or slowdown of the main narrative. Bruner, Bronson, McQueen etc...what a cast. This is a simple story of the strong protecting the weak and it works on every level.
Song of the South (1946)
Zip A Dee Doo Dah...This is Awesome
Ok man, don't have a cow but this is a good movie that's been much maligned. Well paced and melodramatic Song Of The South actually seems a lot less than some other movies of the era. All the characters are well written and it's very entertaining (take note Disney plus) and should be seen as the above average work of art that it is. Everything it tries it succeeds at. Let's rescue this gem from it's PC hysteria oblivion and enjoy a well made piece of history
True Grit (2010)
A Remake As Great As The Original
Once in awhile a remake comes along that matches the original. The Cohen Brothers' remake of True Grit is just such a movie. This version respects the original while at the same time exploring darker corners of the original narrative. Jeff Daniels' Rooster Cogburn is drunker, more grizzled and drunker than Wayne's Cogburn and yes the ride is well worth taking again. It took me two watching to take in this masterpiece but I'm sold.
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
Now this installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise neatly sums up the whole mystery of the entity following the two sisters from the original movie. It features some more traditional scares than the the unseen demon as it focuses on why it comes to be there at all. Though the franchise would limp on this is the last essential film that links to the original story.
True Grit (1969)
Introducing Roosterr Cogburn
A glorious western full of amazing cinematography and the one and only John Wayne. The dialogue is a delight and both Glen Campbell and Kim Darby are perfect straight men for Wayne's delivery. One of Wayne's last great movies.
Terminator Genisys (2015)
Director: "I pooted....out this movie!"
This movie is the equivalent of passing out drunk, crapping the bed and waking up wondering just who the hairy stranger is next to you. Nothing makes sense and you only have a vague opaque sense of recognition. I wish someone would have sent a T1000 to stop whoever greenlighted this nonsense. Emilia Clarke is a beauty but vacuous as ever and Arnold...oh whatever...I can't even be bothered trying to warn you. This is your warning.