Week 37


’71- British soldier gets stuck behind Irish enemy lines and must try to survive long enough to be saved. It sounds simple in presentation which is good but there are not only two sides working against each other. Each organization has different levels of operators both good and bad. O’Connell is great in a largely silent role as he navigates the physical and political maze of 1970s Belfast. One scene in particular involving homemade explosives is expertly filmed and acted.

C7 A6



The Hitman’s Bodyguard- Everything about this should have been funny and almost none of it was. I say this as a fan of every actor/actress in this movie and the only one that really seemed to work was Gary Oldman as the Belorussian dictator on trial for war crimes. He’s the only one seriously acting in a serious story while everyone else is chuckling along. Writing and bad jokes aside, some of the scenes in this movie are so blurry and unnatural looking you might be surprised that the effects are from the same people who did The Expendables 1 AND 3. Not to knock effects artist as they are severely underappreciated but the team here seems largely Russian based and I think I’m just more used to American artists. And it’s really only noticeable because my eyes start drifting around the screen when nothing of consequence is happening in the foreground. So, two hours of that.

One Good Thing: I laughed when Samuel Jackson shot his own deployed airbag with a silencer on his gun. Just because it’s quiet doesn’t mean no bullet comes out and ricocheting in a small care would be, I assume, still a concern.

Watch Instead: Midnight Run

C4 A5


Smiths Under.0

The Smiths Under Review- Again, kind of a shitty Amazon music documentary but I knew next to nothing about the Smiths so it was informative. I can’t believe Morrissey became famous. I have never heard anything like how he sings but maybe that’s why he’s famous? The movie dutifully goes through their catalogue from demo to final album interspersing talking heads of various proximity to the band. I think there were interviews with the actual band mates but it was old footage and not for this documentary.

C6 A6


Don't think twice

Don’t Think Twice- Mike Birbiglia is amicable, casually funny while slightly tinged with sadness and his movies reflect that accurately. The world of improv comedy is probably more well-known than it was 10-20 years ago so much so that it’s almost cliché, but it still remains a serious entry point for writers and performers into the world of Saturday Night Live and, hopefully later, Hollywood. If I had to guess who on this show is natural improv I think I would have guessed wrong as everyone did their homework. The relationships are sweet and honest and so is the resolution.

C7 A6




Micmacs- I don’t know where to start with this. Like his other film Delicatessen, Jeunet crafts a world packed with life and color. Similar to Tim Burton of yesterday, every character is a singular and tangible creation who stands alone but forms a beautiful ensemble with the others. The scene construction and movement is strong, poetic and comical all at the same time. For those who prefer less “constructed” realities a la Wes Anderson this may seem too faux for their tastes. But if you like to make believe as only movies can then this is an excellent choice.

C9 A6



Wings- I’m not entirely convinced this isn’t a gay love story. I don’t mean gay in the way it was meant in the era it was filmed (1928) but gay as in today gay. The story revolves around two boys, one rich (Jack) and one less rich (David), who enter the war to fight Germany in 1918.  Initially they are at odds with each other as they both have feelings for the same woman but become best friends after beating each other up (entangling their bodies) in boot camp. At that point they become inseparable. Now, I mentioned feelings for the same woman and you might think, “Well, that’s the least gay thing you can do.” These boys may pine over someone by keeping her picture in a locket but when David dies tragically at the end, the long, almost noses touching look they give each other while embracing does not scream “Just Friends”. ANYWHO, considering the time that all this took place, the images of war are extremely impressive but like Anchors Aweigh they can’t just tell a story they have to throw in a bunch of extra stuff so they can say you got your money’s worth. The movie is 2 hours and 24 minutes which is crazy considering the average lifespan of Americans in the 1920s was only 4.5 hours. And I can handle subtitles but title cards is something else. It adds probably 15 minutes to the movie. I watched this because it was the first movie to win an Oscar for Best Picture and the best LGBTQ film of the 1920s. Probably.

C6 A3


Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson-Songwriter 1969-1982- This long and detailed documentary recounts Wilson and the Beach Boys lives exhaustingly, sometimes by the week and month. My only exposure to him thus far had been last year’s Love and Mercy and “Kokomo” so this was a welcome and educational addition.

C8 A7



Kingsman: The Golden Circle- Sometimes, a movie that is otherwise average or even below average will open up some sort of seam. I see that thread dangling and once I start tugging on it, I can’t stop until the whole sweater is a pile of useless thread. Two examples that I can immediately recall are Prometheus and Elysium. Add to that Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It had so many flaws and holes and bullshit that when I left the theater all I could keep in my head was the very last thing that bothered/offended me. Don’t worry, the rest came back. I audibly said “What the fuck” towards the end of the movie, but that emotion had been simmering for about an hour and a half and it still remains. Everything in this movie contains some sort of “fuck you” to the memory of the first film and makes me actually want to watch a Bond film.

C3 A6


I'm a cyborg

I’m a Cyborg, but that’s Okay- This is probably the least accessible of Park’s film but it still has his signature character styles and humor. The problem here, which he doesn’t fall prey to in other films, is we are supposed to focus on multiple characters but to not really see their stories end. While the two that we are staying with have so many problems circling their central story that tracking the problems and solutions that arrive proves difficult. The setting and story are unique with fun and interesting visuals.

C7 A5

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