SneakerHeadz- Like every good sport/art/trade/style documentary this made me want to participate for about half a day afterwards. I actually really do like sneakers and their description of “colorways” had me hooked. Then, like I often do with vinyl and books, I weighed the storage of the product versus its usefulness. In summation, I have only two pairs of non-utilitarian sneakers today. This is a fun movie about a subject that can be wider ranging than you might think with a good mix of participants from fans to designers.
Louis CK 2017– More of what you would expect. If you like him, you will like this. I don’t really know if I should review stand up. It doesn’t feel like it needs to be done unless there’s something special about the special itself. I don’t think this is a seminal film. It’s not Raw or Killin’ em Softly so culturally it’s not notable but it’s a performer at the top of his game which for Louis CK is pretty much a constant. Unless you don’t like his style then you won’t care. See the problem? Somebody right now is laughing there ass off at Jeff Dunham and it’s not me.
2018 Mandatory Sexual Harassment Update: Louis CK has since disappeared from the spotlight. Accusations of his impropriety and weird behavior have entered said spotlight. The timing seemed fortuitous as the movie he had just finished centered on a Woody Allen-esque character who chases another man’s daughter. It was not being well reviewed at the time but I’m sure Louis would have preferred poor critical reception to having it pulled from theaters. Guess I don’t have to catch up on the past few seasons of Louis now.
Lone Wolf and Cub-Have you ever wondered where the inspiration for Kill Bill’s fight scene came from? Here you go. Blooooooody. This is for die-hards only and for a few reasons. Most people are content to watch the material inspired by something else i.e. The Magnificent Seven vs. Seven Samurai. If you’ve seen the aforementioned Kill Bill then you’re probably good to go. Also, kung fu movies are an acquired taste. They are fun to watch with no small amount of quirk to them but even as a fan I never felt that I was enjoying them un-ironically. There’s always a little tongue in cheek for me. This has an equally more fun and darker side to it than most.
Everybody Wants Some– This is low stakes, 1980s bro session to the max, dude. Similar to Dazed and Confused (its “spiritual predecessor”) but without the interesting conflict of Seniors vs. Freshmen. Even the nerdy outcast in this movie is a bad ass. It’s all about fucking chicks and playing ball. I phrase it crudely because that is what it truly is. I’m not saying there’s no heart and Linklater isn’t great but it’s about screwing and baseball. There’s even a character who briefly bemoans this state of their existence. That’s it and that’s fine.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children– The premise and world are so intriguing that the decline into the third act is all the more painful. I don’t know what to think of Tim Burton anymore. What do younger people think that don’t know him beyond Alice in Wonderland? Probably the same thing they think about Johnny Depp. There’s a fantastic world here and parts of it are so scary and original I was very impressed but that’s quickly drowned out by awkward scenes and plot lines. Seriously, there’s people who only know Johnny Depp from his dress up roles. Same with Robert Downey Jr. There’s a whole pre-Iron Man, pre-Jack Sparrow filmography that they will never really see. Weird.
World on a Wire-The Matrix in 1970s Germany. So, worth it. Like Stalker, this movie has to get by without the use of special effects (either on purpose or due to budgetary constraints), so it relies on implication, conversation and how the scene is shot to convey an “otherly” world. This movie is a bit overlong but there’s enough substance and excellent framing to keep your brain and eyes busy. The use of mirrors in this film is incredible. If you pay attention, mirrors are actually used to great in effect in good films almost as if director’s are challenging themselves to use them.
The Birth of a Nation (2016)-Nate Parker attempted to steal the thunder of the original, extremely racist Birth and probably only revived it for those who weren’t aware of it. The story here is marred by too-much, too-fast for a novice filmmaker with no one around to say no or offer guidance. Parker shows promise but many scenes looked like cheesy soap opera transitions and being a slave (forgive the usage) to the facts may have hindered the film’s telling of it. It just needed a little more poetry and a little less sap.
One Good Thing: Nate Parker’s acting on the other hand was excellent. He would have been better served in this instance to only wear one hat or the other.
Watch Instead: 12 Years a Slave
20th Century Women– I was annoyed at Benning’s character wavering between the stern matriarch and care-free hippy but that aside, Mills makes a a wonderfully unpredictable and feminist tome on manhood. I really did enjoy this but sometimes reality gives movies a weight that the viewer can’t or doesn’t want to hold. I never felt joy from, or connection to, any character despite their positive and individual traits. Like Beginners, Mills take moments of exhileration and couches them in a life of pain, secrets, and surrender.
MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
Race-Did you know (according to this movie) that Leni Reifenstahl really only cared about film and wasn’t truly a Nazi? Do you even know Reifenstahl? Agh, never mind. Race is a good example of a movie about historical events that I hope is accurate. In history, I knew the one-sentence description of this movie just by being American and aware of words and stuff but beyond that it was all new information. And unless I pick up a book on it I probably won’t ever learn much more so I hope it’s all true. Accurate or not, it’s well made and acted and with enough ignorance in tow you will wonder how it’s all going to end. Lucky you!