Week 2

Author’s Note: Movies are hard to make, even the shitty ones. So even if I don’t like a movie, I will look for the bright side and make note of something good about it. Also, If I can’t wholly recommend a movie, I will try to find a different one for you to watch that is in a similar vein or was made by the same people.


johnwick2John Wick 2- Keanu Reeves is known for his behind the camera determination as much as, if not more than, his acting chops. That training is evident in the now-planned John Wick trilogy but the murder high of the first one is wearing thin/off. I know you’re not going to die Keanu so there is little invested here on my part. So many people are murdered with ruthless efficiency and speed I couldn’t tell you another character’s name in this. The rapper/actor Common was there for a bit. Is his name Common in the movie? Could be. Hey, how does John Wick get back from Europe still covered in blood with everyone trying to kill him? Did he fly business class? Boat? If it’s more secret-assassin-world shit then I want to see it because that’s the best part of the Wick movies.  All the secret cabals and royalty and hotels, etc are one of the major draws to this along with fantastic action sequences. What is less of a draw is one thousand headshots of nameless minions. C6 A7



war dogsWar Dogs- This is a decent Goodfellas rip-off that would have benefited from a less average soundtrack. Every song in this movie has been in another, better movie. It’s 2017 why are we still playing Jump Around, Sweet Emotion, or Fortunate Fucking Son? Play some goddamn Migos I don’t care as long as it’s not Creedence. Even the amazing Cliff Martinez  score is  cribbed from other movies. Jonah Hill is wonderful, per usual. He’s not just fat Jonah Hill here. He’s young Al Sharpton Fat Jonah Hill, if that makes sense. Miles Teller, in his own sweet way, is great to see again. I have loved him in everything he’s done but I can’t help but notice his everyman-ness. See: Andrew McCarthy, Jason Bateman, et al.  C6 A6



age of adalineThe Age of Adaline- A woman born in 1908 doesn’t age due to biological processes that won’t be discovered until 2035. This fake movie fact is the only thing that I remember about this. Michael Huisman is in this. Know who he is? He’s the handsome guy that replaced the other handsome guy on Game of Thrones. See, the problem with being good looking is sometimes you blend in with all the other good-lookings and then no one knows who you are anymore. Everyone remembers ugly. C3 A6






unbrokenUnbroken- I don’t know. My only takeaway is that British actors can do American accents better than vice versa. This is an amazing story of an Olympian runner turn military bomber pilot stranded at sea who survives the war in a POW camphowisthissoboring? Maybe it’s Jack O’ Connell but I love him in Starred Up and ’71 so not sure why I didn’t care. It bothered me that no matter what punishment he endured, he looked pretty much the same at the end as he did in the beginning. I look at teeth in movies a lot. I don’t know why. But his shit was perfect at the end of all that time at sea and in POW camps. Mine feel off if I forget to brush one time.  One Good Thing: Jack O’ Connell’s teeth. Japanese musician turned hateable actor Miyavi. Watch Instead: Rescue Dawn C6 A7




Youth_without_youthYouth Without Youth- Movies made outside the Hollywood system are a mixed bag. There’s a lot of fun psychological and metaphysical concepts getting thrown around here, most of which I don’t understand. Pseudo scientific. Tim Roth is really holding all the corners of this story together to make sure it doesn’t fall apart. The makeup is excellent and it introduced me to Alexandra Maria Lara whom we will see a few more times on this list. She is lovely.  C6 A3




black seaBlack Sea- Jude Law is never not fun to watch. The mania in his eyes can express pure joy or madness just as easily. This is claustrophobic and tense like every submarine movie ever. Except maybe McHale’s Navy. That was a sub movie right? Anyway, it’s all about Nazi gold and that’s usually a good start for a plot. Personal Side Note: Shout out to Law owning his new hairline. His blonde curls were killing it in Alfie and The Talented Mr. Ripley but within a few years it was gone. But he’s taking the Jason Statham route and making it his own. Travolta tried it in Savages and just wasn’t brave enough. Now his hairline is a midnight black horizon one inch above his eyebrows. C7 A6



safety lastSafety Last!- If you want to watch people almost die onscreen watch the old Buster Keaton/Harold Lloyd/Chaplin movies. These are the stars of the film imperiling themselves for the best shot. Equally impressive are the effects they achieved back then to make it look like they were in danger. It was, up until about the 70s, primarily called special or practical effects. Now almost everything is CGI or computer generated imagery. You might think these old films are boring yet it’s anything but. I recognize the vast contributions artists CGI and otherwise contribute to today’s cinema (Hint: It’s about 80% of the screen) which makes the old movies all the more striking without it. There is less risk in today’s films, though I’m sure stunt men would probably disagree. To wit, enjoyment of a movie (or any event) increases when you know what it takes to make them happen. C8 A3


salesman2Salesman- Early documentary. Just checking things off my personal list here. Follows the day-to-days of door-to-doors and the hustle involved in the bible selling game. As with most old films, it’s interesting as a time capsule if nothing else. Example: One of the salesman gets lost in Florida because of the confusing Spanish street names. No Google Maps or Waze back then. Just driving around America hoping you find your destination.  C7 A2






Captain Fantastic


Captain Fantastic- Any time Viggo Mortensen makes a career move, it’s wise to pay attention. Whether the movie is average (A Dangerous Method) or amazing (Eastern Promises) it’s worth checking out because he saw something unique in the opportunity. I don’t count the Lord of the Rings trilogy as epic as it was. That was for paying rent even though I’m pretty sure he learned Elvish for the role. Captain has third act issues like every movie but it is so fun watching this family. Every one of these kids is individually incredible and I would be best friends with any of them until they got bored of me. C7 A6




The FrontThe Front- Writing this review later…trying to remember this one….nope had to IMDB it. I don’t always write the review as I watch it so less than memorable titles don’t trigger strong memories. Woody Allen here paying homage to blacklisted writers by retroactively telling them what they should have said at the trials that ruined their lives. I know there is good intent but it seems like a slight or at very best 20/20 hindsight. It’s not intended though as he obviously has a great respect for them. During the credits, it shows everyone on the crew that was blacklisted in real life and that was awesome.  Woody Allen makes about a movie a year and unless you’re a completionist this probably won’t find it’s way on your list but it’s not bad either.    C6 A4

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