Victor Frankenstein- Utter mess. One of the worst sins a movie can commit is not knowing what it wants to be. Like his monster, Victor is a mishmash of many elements, none of which make it a real thing.
One Good Thing: I like Daniel Radcliffe in everything I just don’t like everything he’s in.
Watch Instead: Young Frankenstein
Concussion- Pretty sure I was talking shit about Will Smith earlier. I think the non-bankability aspect still holds here but the story is gripping and the whole cast brings a pretty awful story to light for us non sport aficionados. He takes a complex character and delivers him with equal complexity where simplifying the character for the story’s sake would have been easier.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter- Horror, like comedy, is an easy genre to make and a hard one to fuck up. This movie has something to do with Satan worship and has genuinely creepy moments but it’s not challenging and that’s how you stand out in the crowd. Like Personal Shopper it’s winding up on a few Top 10 of 2017 lists and I just don’t know why. This is the same director who did I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In The House and I found that even slower.
One Good Thing: There are some intense and horrific moments.
Watch Instead: The Devil’s Backbone
MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
The Warriors- 1970s New York. Gangs run the streets. A nighttime journey across the city where one gang battles all the others and I drool because all of my favorite things are here. It’s like going to In-n-Out with maple bars for desert. This is quintessential 70s cinema but mixed in with video game aesthetic (or vice versa actually). If you enjoy this world you will never want the sun to rise or the world they inhabit to end. You know that sing-songy “Warriors, come out and play.” phrase? This is where that comes from and you didn’t even know it so get up to speed already. Also, send maple bars.
Green Street Hooligans- Like Robert Pattinson, Daniel Radcliffe or Kristin Stewart I am a fan of Elijah Wood’s post-blockbuster movie life. They all cashed in hard and are pretty free to do whatever they like for some time. The setting for Green Street (rival soccer club fans) is mildly entertaining but we are supposed to believe that Wood’s character has become extremely hardened during his brief stay with them. I am more inclined to believe he is a hobbit than a hooligan.
One Good Thing: You can see the early onset swagger of Pre-Sons of Anarchy Charlie Hunnam.
Watch Instead: The Warriors would destroy these guys.
Black Rain- Medium length hair Michael Douglas goes to Japan to tell all its cops how they’re fucking up despite the fact that he’s under indictment in his own country. Sometimes to be above the law you have to break the law and Asians (in this movie) just don’t get that. I can’t tell if I like this objectively but from a genre perspective it’s entertaining if not condescending. He is one of the few white people in this movie and is a wanted man in an Asian country. Is it racist of me to think that he should be easy to find in Japan? Probably. Here’s an extremely valid topic for discussion: What is more ominous, American Biker Gangs or Asians Street Bike Gangs?
One Good Thing: Andy Garcia’s neck and a katana sword get in a fight.
Watch Instead: I guess just watch this. I can’t think of anything specifically like it and unhinged Douglas is fun to watch.
Autohead- One could confuse “slow burn” plot with just plain taking forever for something to happen. This movie is guilty of the latter and it’s not even a big reveal. It amounts to little in the end other than a poorly managed “found footage” movie.
One Good Thing: Culturally, there are interesting moments.
Watch Instead: Chronicle, V/H/S
The Panic in Needle Park- Pre-Godfather Pacino as a heroin addict channeling his future “woo-ah” self. I am fairly certain people are actually shooting heroin in this movie but I am also fairly gullible when it comes to movies. It will be interesting to look 30-40 years down the road and see who the top actors/actresses are. I look back at Al Pacino and think “Of course he became famous, just look at him.” He’s dynamic, charming, quirky, handsome, etc. But was he viewed as built-to-last at the time? Will Zac Efron or The Rock win an Oscar in the next 20 years? Will Ryan Reynolds become the new Tom Hanks? His career trajectory certainly looks like he could.
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You- I didn’t know shit about this guy and now I really like him and want to know more about his work. The hallmark of any good documentary. It also combines a possibly fake stage show to mimic portions of his life. I’m fairly certain this was done for the film and is not an actual stage show but an interesting addition either way.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes– When I was probably too young I watched something called Kentucky Fried Movie. It stuck with me mainly because there’s a scene where boobs press against a glass shower door. I had no idea what the movie was about but it didn’t matter. Because boobs. Now, as an adult I still don’t know what the plot was because it’s part of a sparse genre of films called “anthology comedy”. Most will know this genre based on Monty Python or possibly Mel Brooks but the pedigree drops quickly after that. Attack falls in that genre with the loose narrative of killer tomatoes tying the separate bits together. At one point during a grand battle with the tomatoes, two paramedics attempt to put a gurney in an ambulance. A giant tomato prop rolls up to him and the actor casually pushes it away because the scene does not call for him to fight a tomato. It summed up the movie for me.
One Good Thing: They had to use some fun low budget tricks to make the tomatoes move.
Watch Instead: Monty Python and the Holy Grail