Sep 19

mother!

What a month for horror. And to think it is September, not October.

It came out a two weekends ago and is smashing September box office records, which just means that people love being scared by clowns or feel nostalgia from the previous TV adaption.

But then we get mother! just a week later. Which advertising for has been all over the place. One thing for certain, we know it is a Darren Aronofsky film, so we can expecting something fucked up and hard to explain.

Or not?! mother! is getting a wide release and has a huge star attached, maybe this will just be a run of the film horror movie. Schyeah, and maybe David Lynch will make a straightforward film as well.

Wall
And maybe this wall is just a wall and not a metaphor about bees or some shit?

This film is about a woman (Jennifer Lawrence) and a man (Javier Bardem), living in a house in a field on their own. She is slowly rebuilding it after a fire some time in the past, and he is a poet who hasn’t written in awhile. They are both always working and their love is straining, but they are alone and they are alive.

And then a man (Ed Harris) appears at their door. He is old, sickly, and he thought their house was a bed and breakfast. The poet is a generous person and lets him spend the night, despite being a stranger. And the man is sickly and coughs throughout the night, but in the morning he is fine. And also in the morning, his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up at the door. Huh, he didn’t mention anything like that, and now there is two of them. The poet is still generous, and fuck it, who cares what his wife thinks? They can stay too, because they like his work and he likes their approval. But house guests who make themselves at home can be quite annoying.

Especially when their sons (Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson) come over as well, arguing about estate and will disputes, and one son kills the other in their house. Holy shit, these are terrible guests.

Things get worse from there as more and more strangers enter their home, making our “mother” feel more distant from her husband, but that is all just the vaguest details I could get out about this film. Because in reality, it is a lot stranger, darker, and twisted than anyone should expect.

Oh, and of course, Kristen Wiig. Can’t forget about her.

Mob
“And no one is fucking using coasters!”

I wish I could have just sat in the theater after mother! and just reflected on the experience that unfolded in front of my eyes. But it was late and I had to rush home to pass out, needing sleep before work.

Days later when finally writing this review, it is still fresh on my mind. Partially because of the graphic nature and story in a story that it told. And partially because I knew that this film would have a hell of a shit storm from the regular movie going community. This is not the sort of film that should have gotten a wide release and marketed as some sort of home invasion horror. It is an art house film and it is being exposed to people who are going to expect something completely different and be upset about being bamboozled.

Like it or hate it, those are the only two options people will have from this movie. Anyone who said they thought it was okay is probably just lying. Despite its polarizing attributes (Which again, are going to amplify to the negative), people WILL be talking about it and remember it for a long time. That is not always a good thing, because being infamous for being really bad or gross doesn’t make a great film.

But in all honesty, this is a pretty great film. It did incredible things inside of a one location suit. It should make the viewer feel claustrophobic and a whole lot of other emotions. It should leave the viewer thinking and change their perspective on a few things. Or it will just be considered some strange torture snuff shit and have people walk out of it, especially when it ramps up even further near the end.

Good on Jennifer Lawrence for doing a project like this. She breathed hard and panted her face off in this film to make us uncomfortable, and it really worked.

3 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/mother

Sep 18

Rebel in the Rye

Before Rebel in the Rye, what I knew about J.D. Salinger could fit inside of an index card. Along with the first 200 digits of pi, I am sure. I knew he died, I knew he wrote Catcher in the Rye, and that is it.

Well, I also knew that he came out of hiding at some point recently and made the game show Hollywoo Stars and Celebrities: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things?? Let’s Find Out!, but that is a different story, one that this film surprisingly chooses to ignore.

Needless to say, I have never read Catcher in the Rye. Never came up in my schooling and clearly wouldn’t be a book I rush off to read on my own. I like that fantasy stuff. The only reason I rushed to see this movie as a prescreener was due to the Hurricane hitting Houston and having no films in weeks. But hey, if anyone asks, say I said it was for the lead.

Type
And I can get pissed off watching someone write when I have not been writing for the same amount of time.

A long long time ago, when the earth was still green, a young J.D. (Nicholas Hoult) wants to be a writer. He is a wise alack, and from a rich house, and he has gotten kicked out of multiple colleges already for being a dick. But he gets to try again, thanks to privilege and wealth, and heads off to Columbia University. There, besides meeting with young ladies and party goers, he meets Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey), a professor who gets J.D. to reach his potential and actually write good short stories. He also runs a small short story publication and ends up publishing Salinger’s first work! Hooray! He is a professional writer!

But he wants more. He wants to be published in The New Yorker, the cream of the crop in terms of short stories. And when he finally gets a story good enough for them? Well, they go and offer notes and suggestions. They need his story to have a happy ending, not the dismal one he created. Well, that’s shit.

Other people love the short story though. They enjoy the character he created in that story, and Burnett himself suggests he needs to turn that character into an entire novel. Unfortunately, before that novel can happen, World War II and Pearl Harbor happens, so Salinger instead goes off to war! He sees some shit, he barely survives, and changes as a person. But he kept writing, and after overcoming some PTSD, finally publishes The Catcher in the Rye.

The rest? Well, the rest still isn’t so easy either.

Also featuring Sarah Paulson, Zoey Deutch, Victor Garber, Brian d’Arcy James, and Celeste Arias.

Spacey
Oh the joy of two men just giggling about words on pages.

Rebel in the Rye is the type of movie made for those who really want to know more about the author of a book they love. Salinger was known as a bit of a recluse, so seeing his story and why he became one is a journey on its own. However, without the context of Catcher, a lot of the film was lost of me.

The good news? I kind of want to read The Catcher in the Rye now, so I guess it cane make money off of me that way.

The beginning of the film took a real long while to get going. The whole thing was full of cliches really up until Salinger finally became a published author. It doesn’t stand apart from any generic 1930’s rich elite story. The acting from all of the side characters isn’t anything special.

However, when World War II happened, the film definitely started to turn. I could no longer imagine the lead as Hoult acting, but as a Salinger type person, so the transformation was working. It also became a lot of a better story, especially with the dealings of PTSD. At that point though, it was too little too late to turn this film into something amazing.

2 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/rebel-in-the-rye

Aug 18

Logan Lucky

Steven Soderbergh is a sunuvabitch. And I mean that in a loving way. After finishing strong with Side Effects and Behind The Candelabra, he said he was retiring from directing, and the world was sad. Sure, he gave us some of The Knick, but it wasn’t the same.

And then I saw a trailer for Logan Lucky. Soderbergh. Was. Back. He didn’t last long in retirement, a project pulled him out, described as a sort of redneck Ocean’s Eleven.

I didn’t need to see the trailer multiple times. I didn’t have to look at the cast list with glee. They just had to tell me that SS was at the helm and I knew I would not be missing that film.

Speedway
Also, add in one of the greatest known actors to man, then you are just asking for Oscars.

In West Virginia, part of the Blue Ridge mountains, with the Shenandoah River, bunch of country roads that are basically heaven for the inhabitants, live the Logans. A family that some individuals think are cursed or unlucky. There is Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), the one who was going to be a big football star, but got a leg injury leaving him with a limp before he could make it big. He also was fired recently as a construction worker in NC, so there is that. His brother is Clyde Logan (Adam Driver), soft spoken, ended up going to the Army after his brother’s accident, and in Iraq, he lost his hand and part of an arm. Now he is a bartender. Their extended family has some issues too, but their younger sister, Mellie Logan (Riley Keough), has been relatively unfazed and is a hairdresser.

Anyways, Jimmy has a family. Notably, a daughter, (Farrah Mackenzie) and an ex-wife (Katie Holmes), and he just wants to do right by them. But getting fired, not being rich, these are big problems. So he has had it. He wants to steal from a vault. He needs a giant payday, and from his construction, he knows how the money is moved at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. He has a big plan and everything to get the money and out without people knowing about it. Heck, he is even going to pick a small weekend where there is little security and not a big monetary loss to the company. They aren’t bad people, they are just…unlucky and in hard times.

They just need some help. And they want to enlist Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), a man from that area who is knowledgeable about getting into vaults. But he is also in jail. So they need to break him out, do a heist, and break him back into jail without knowing he was gone. Ah yes, good times.

And rednecks. Good times with rednecks.

Also starring Seth MacFarlane, Sebastian Stan, Brian Gleeson, David Denman, Jack Quaid, Jim O’Heir, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank, and Dwight Yoakam as the warden.

Incarcareted
No touching!

This film was very hard for me to review. Days later it still has resonated with me, one touching scene in particular. It has brought me closer to John Denver more so than any other film before it. You know how these movies work. Have a dad, have a relationship with his daughter, have touching moments, and you will have me there in the theater crying.

I love the cast. I love how into the characters everyone was, no matter how big or small. I loved how everyone played it straight. They weren’t mocking southerners, they were embracing the culture. Sure it was amusing, but it was still handled with a lot of class. They were just people trying to do something for their families and not trying to hurt anyone along the way. They were good people in somewhat extreme circumstances. And everyone was just so good at their roles. Even the people who were dicks.

Before I forget, this film also featured the BEST Game of Thrones reference ever in a film. It was something that made me cackle with glee. To be honest, the list of “films with Game of Thrones references” is probably pretty short, but no way could anything before have topped this one.

BUT YET THERE IS SOMETHING THAT IS HARD TO DESCRIBE. There are slower moments. There are things rushed. There is confusion at just how far away they live from Charlotte. I have to assume like 3-4 hours, which makes the timing of this film a bit awkward and harder to grasp. The later reveals of heist didn’t feel as extravagant as I had hoped. And the ending just sort of ending.

It isn’t the perfect film that my mind has made it out to be. I still can love it, I can accept its faults, but that makes me put an honest rating. You know, a brain rating and not just a rating in my heart.

If my heart was rating this film, it would maybe be a 5 out of 4.

3 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/logan-lucky

Aug 17

Atomic Blonde

Atomic! Blonde! Atomic Blonde! Two words that are powerful, in very different ways, and together make something…about the sum of their parts.

It is a new action mostly film, with promises of sleek designs and fights, with a banging sound and wall to wall fun. It is also being noted as female John Wick, or something like that.

I figured Atomic Blonde would be some cool agent nick name, but it isn’t mentioned at all in the film, so really the title is just…mostly random. Strange, but it wouldn’t be the first time it is done. Sort of a call back to 80’s action films in that regard.

Wall
What a big goddamn symbol of separation. And a wall, there is a wall also in this shot.

In November, 1989, the Berlin Wall was a literal and figurative collapse of the separation between East and West Germany, reuniting the country for the first time in decades. But in this world, it almost never happened.

An MI-6 British operative gained access to a file in a watch that had information on every hidden operative on both sides of the Cold War. It would be devastating for anyone to get their hands on it, as they would gain a big advantage over the others. It getting out might also prolong the Cold War, when it is so close to finishing for once.

And then that operative was killed before he could bring it home, putting it in the hands of a Soviet soldier, who didn’t run back to his country, but is trying to get paid the big bucks for the information. So the UK sends in a new agent, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), to find the file before it gets in the wrong hands. They also want her to find information on a double agent, who is secretly leaking information to the Soviets. And all of this quickly, before the Cold War heats up.

She is sent with information to trust no one, not even their pseudo informant, David Percival (James McAvoy), a man who has been working both sides of the wall to gain intel to gain power and prestige. But he is also her only hope to really starting to crack the case. They also need to find Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), a code name for an East German intelligence officer who helped make the list and is the only one really with that information.

The majority of the story is told after the events, with Lorraine retelling it back at headquarters, to a head British dude (Toby Jones) and a member of the CIA (John Goodman).

Other bodies in this film include James Faulkner, Roland Møller, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgård, Sam Hargrave, and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson.

Cover
Man, having a big head of hair and covering your face really helps input a stunt double.

Coming from a person who didn’t find John Wick or its sequel to be perfect films (although wonderful cinematography, and wonderful action), this did not feel up to the same quality that John Wick gave us. But I am not going to compare it to John Wick, that wouldn’t be fair.

Theron was fine as our lead. A very distant protagonist, she had a lot of secrets in her head, and they showed her definitely to be a bad ass. There was an incredible scene that maybe went on 10 minutes as a long take with several fights and sequences that just felt like it would never end. It was wonderful.

But it lacked a whole lot more in the story department. It should have tried a simpler plot, instead this movie gets tangled up in its own threads, and doesn’t give a completely sensible final product. Twists and turns are one thing, but if they end up at the finale and feel forced and a bit of a let down, then the movie just ends with a pitter.

The average review isn’t just for the ending, but mostly for how the story just failed to get me involved in anyway. There were secrets, but ones I rarely cared about. I didn’t try to look for hints, because I knew they would be mostly red herrings.

But the soundtrack was definitely banging. And again, some of the fight scenes were just extremely well choreographed, so if that is all you care about, you will have a good time. I just think who cares? Big deal, I want more.

2 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/atomic-blonde

Aug 15

Dunkirk

The hype surrounding Dunkirk has lasted a little bit over a year. A historical war movie from Christopher Nolan? A war film on IMAX or 70mm screens!

Bombs and sadness!

Because the real life Dunkirk really fucking sucked. A whole lot of Allied soldiers in World War II were surrounded. It was one of the major setbacks of the war and could have lost the entire war if things didn’t slightly work out.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about some war things.

Bridge
Tightly packed, little soldiers, just trying to get home.

War. War never changes. Except for World War 1. That changed a whole lot of things. The number of soldiers to die in this war was far higher than any war before it. They had less swords and horses, instead focusing on technology could kill. And it in World War II, that technology could now fly, dive under water, bomb, and more.

And in the city of Dunkirk, France, the allies were completely fucked. The French and British forces were surrounded on all land sides by the Germans. The sides without Germans had water. Sure, on the other side of that water was Great Britain, but it was far away.

The soldiers could only bunker down and hope they could get rescued, because every day the enemy came closer and took out more of their supplies. But even the water wasn’t safe. The Germans had U-Boats, and of course planes dropping bombs. Soldiers just wanted to get home. If the armies were wiped out, the Allies would have lost the war and there would not have been a second chance to come back and take over.

So how are they going to rescue so many soldiers? And how many aren’t going to make it? Well, either way, people are not getting out of there happy.

Featuring three main plot lines, and a lot of dudes mostly. Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Cillian Murphy, Damien Bonnard, Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, Jack Lowden, James D’Arcy, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Hardy, Will Attenborough, and Kenneth Branagh.

Soldiers
French? British? Doesn’t matter. Basically everyone there was whiter than the sand though.

Dunkirk has potentially been one of the more hyped films of 2017. More than the superhero movies, more than whatever Leo DiCaprio might find himself in, more than the return of the NFL (probably not true). It is a summer blockbuster, that is Nolan directed, and probably headed straight for several Oscar nominations despite not waiting until the end of the year.

And yet, here we are, I am giving it a 2 out of 4.

First of all, I will openly acknowledge it is technically a wonderful work of art. The camera use, the cinematography, the explosions and a bit of the thrill.

But the biggest issues I heard about it ahead of time that I blew off came full force and hit me hard. The story just was weak. It relied entirely on tense sequences and not knowing how the different plot liens interacted to build the entire story. It was a good idea for a story, but the big story elements were mostly missing.

It took me weeks to write this review, partly because of how daunting writing the plot summary portion would be. For example (and probably realistically so), we barely hear character names. I remember only one or two after the film, everyone else is just a soldier or citizen doing their best. The rescue is the story, but the rescue is only so strong.

The other reason it took me awhile is because it just took so long to figure out my feelings behind it. I went in expecting a 4 out of 4, figured it would be a 3 out of 4, but then realized that to me it ends up being just a bit more mediocre in the long run. I am shocked, I am confused, and I really just wanted something much, much more.

2 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/dunkirk

Aug 14

Wind River

For awhile, I was up in Northern Minnesota. This is real life, true story. How north, you ask? Well, apparently a 45 minute drive would have taken me to Canada.

I bring this up for two reasons: One, it made me miss quite a few screenings, because they show movies up there months after everyone else saw them, certainly not before. And two, the movie Wind River is set in the wilderness.

Not almost Canada, but cold enough in the months of “barely Spring” Wyoming, in the mountains.

So basically, I am this story. If you squint really really hard.

Hunt
Oh hey. Avengers. I see you upgraded weapons.

Set in the titular Wind River, Wyoming, this takes us to a big reservation city where people want to just be left alone, raise their families, and not be fucked over by the white man. Basically like a lot of people in the world.

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a cool white guy though, as you can tell with his white name. He is okay, because he works to help the area. He lives alone and is a hunter, and he works for the government sort of, taking out wolves or lions or whatever that are messing with people’s farms. He has an ex wife (Julia Jones) and a son (Teo Briones) that he has visitation for sometimes. Definitely some backstory there. Would be awesome if a new character was brought in so that it could be addressed at some point.

But before that, DEATH. Because while out looking for a momma lion and her cubs, he stumbles upon a dead body. A girl, Natalie (Kelsey Asbille) that he knows, barefoot, and miles away from any house. His plans have changed, and now they have to wait for an FBI agent to get there to investigate the possible murder. Which is where we meet Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), girl totally not used to the cold, here to check things out. Despite bad things that have clearly happened to the girl, specifically physical stuff, the death cannot be ruled a murder but natural causes. Weather is a goddamn bitch.

Banner doesn’t have a lot of time to investigate this before she will be called back to a new job, so she enlists Lambert’s help in order to get someone who knows the area and land to maybe make some leads quickly before she has to run off again. Can they figure out the mystery behind her death?

Featuring the awesome Graham Greene as the local cop, and Gil Birmingham as Natalie’s dad. Also all of these people: Apesanahkwat, Eric Lange, Tantoo Cardinal, Althea Sam, Tyler Laracca, Martin Sensmeier, Tokala Clifford, Jon Bernthal, James Jordan, Austin R. Grant, Blake Robbins, Hugh Dillon, Ian Bohen, and Matthew Del Negro.

Grief
And Birmingham’s face was played by William Wallace.

After watching, Wind River seems like one of those movies that I really love for basically every aspect, that other movie watchers will find to be boring or dumb. I hate it when that happens. I want those people to open their minds and realize they just witnessed something epic, so I write about it (while begrudgingly say that yeah, everyone can have an opinion), and make sure people get out there.

But honestly I can’t see that happening. I can’t imagine people going to watch this and not being impressed with it. It is just so damn good. There is no way this can have a disconnect between critic and the average movie goer. Anyone should be able to go in, see how much Renner, Olsen and Greene brought it the entire time they weer on the screen. They should be able to see how much Birmingham did with a lot less screen time. They should be appreciative of the cast that was very racially sensitive to the area.

And they should be able to see how well the plot unfolded. When the movie decided to reveal the secrets, they should feel how their stomach turned and their anger increased. The emotions would be on a ride if someone just let them.

Sure, Wind River started off a little bit slow, but once we get dead body, it should captivate the viewer, and you will see definitely one of the best films of 2017.

4 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/wind-river

Aug 11

The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature

Alright, this is an easy introduction. The Nut Job sucked. It came out January, 2014, made an okay money and a sequel was announced for January 15, 2016. Months before that date I noticed it and waited, because I was ready for an equally shitty movie that is easy to trash.

And then January happened, it was nowhere to be seen anywhere, and no one knew when it was coming out. It wasn’t until months later, April 2016, when it was announced it was pushed back to May 19, 2017. Yes, it wasn’t officially delayed until THREE MONTHS AFTER IT WAS SUPPOSED TO COME OUT. No announcements about being pushed back indefinitely, just quietly hidden under a rug. But I was there, I was asking the hard questions. I also don’t know when they finally gave it a name that was different, but they called it The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature, to appeal to…some demographic.

Three months later in July, they announced that Jackie Chan had joined the cast. He joined the cast six months after it was supposed to already be out. There is some real big behind the scene delays going on. It wasn’t until December of 2016 when it was pushed back into August 2017, where it moved around again once I think, but was kept basically the same.

What a production shit show. And to think there is a The Nut Job 3 IMDB page saying a 2019 release date, despite no official announcements at all. Who is in charge damn it?

Squirrels
Ah, the fucking squirrels are probably calling the shots.

This sequel takes place a few years later with the nut store now out of business. And by that, I mean, it was being used as a mob den or whatever, so they probably just never got a new owner and it was condemned. And for some reason this condemned building was never removed of its items, so its basement was still full of nuts of all sorts. I assume it is a few years later, because literally none of the other squirrel and rodent leaders are present in this film, just our main character and crew and some young things, so at some point everyone else must have died out.

Now Surly (Will Arnett) and Andie (Katherine Heigl) are the de facto leaders of this group, I guess. And by that, I mean Andie is trying to teach some baby chipmunks how to hunt for nuts in the park, and Surly and his gang of randoms (Maya Rodolph, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham, Rob Tinker, Kari Wahlgren, Tom Kenny, Sebastian Maniscalco) are living in the nut shop basement that has turned to a variable den of sin. Andie thinks they are losing their ability to succeed in nature. Probably true.

Also in this city is a corrupt mayor (Bobby Moynihan). He seems like he has been there for awhile though, based on the way he lives and talks. He keeps getting elected despite being openly and obviously corrupt, and a danger to the citizens. He drives along sidewalks and hurts people while displaying he is above the law, yet everyone is fine with i? Anyways, this mayor likes his city making money and says that every square inch of his city makes money except for one. This is when most people would say “Oh yeah, the abandoned nut shop”. No, he says the park. Meaning he doesn’t know about the nut shop either.

So yeah, he wants to put an amusement park on the park instead, to make money. He begins to demolish stuff, which would be fine because of the nut shop, but the nut shop also blows up.

Now the animals have to go to war with the machines and the amusement park and the mayor. Oh how nutty!

Also featuring Isabela Moner as the mayors bratty as shit daughter (no mom in site, mayor probably killed her to be honest), Peter Stormare as an exterminator, Bobby Cannavale as another dog, and Jackie Chan as a kung fu mouse leading an army of city mice.

LibertyLand
That is a sweet ass sign, I would probably go there if I lived in the general vacinity.

“It was a mess of a movie.” – Gorgon Reviews, describing The Nut Job, in 2014. And it easily fits this review as well.

At this point in the review I am already over 700 words, and I haven’t even started to deconstruct its ass down yet.

I already alluded to it, but the mayor character cannot even exist in the world they created. Unless right when the movie starts he just got elected (despite implying longevity), and he was going on a two week crazy spree of fucking up parks and killing pedestrians. But we know it is a lie. For whatever reason this mayor character wanted to make the shittiest park, quickly, to make small amounts of money. But he is clearly a guy with high standards, so he wouldn’t make a park out of used parts, but something nice and shiny that people would want to go to for a long period of time. Another bad plot point.

The park premiers at a big fancy event for the mayor and all of his campaign donors, where everyone is dressed up, fancy as fuck, and rich. Except literally none of those individuals would ever set foot in a park like that. It is extremely ugly and they don’t try to hide it at all. It looks like a park that could give you AIDS just for walking into it.

The animals start terrorizing the park, the rich people hide, but don’t worry, exterminators come and get rid of them all. And the mayor makes these rich people stay. Of course animals quickly break out, come back to the park, and start to rip things up and destroy things with explosions. That point is weird though because 1) The rich people didn’t leave, 2) When things were exploding they carefully only showed the exterminators (who had already finished and should have been gone). Yes, very odd. Although they didn’t show them there, they specifically showed them staying, so a whole bunch of people probably died in this plan and they are just covering it because of badly written PG films.

Speaking of badly written, I am pretty sure that the movie was made, was worse, then they had to change a lot of it. Since Chan was brought in so late, they probably added his plot lines. He wasn’t in the film until halfway or so, and only one scene. Then he was brought back during the crazy end mess. I have to imagine that they just added this shit in, and that is why it was delayed a year and a half. A big waste of Jackie Chan.

The voice work is bad. The movie has absolutely no real feelings behind it. They just patched some shit together, hoping no one would examine to find out that there are holes everywhere.

And goddamn it, where is that little girls mom? Why was the Nut shop ignored by a money hungry government? Why the fuck does Andie the squirrel put up with Surly, who abuses her emotionally and puts her down in front of others constantly? And did the eat the other goddamn squirrels from the first movie?

0 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/the-nut-job-2-nutty-by-nature

Aug 06

Landline

In 2014, Gillian Robespierre directed a small indie film called Obvious Child, starring Jenny Slate.

And it frankly was the best thing Slate has ever done. She is in a lot of kid movies weirdly enough, along with voice roles, so those rarely are anything noteworthy. And then on the other end of the spectrum, she can be in these raunchy/annoying roles that make you remember her, but usually in a negative way.

Obvious Child was a nice balance between outspoken and notable in a good way.

So I was excited to hear that the pair had teamed up for a new movie, Landline, not at all related, but hey the same director and same star.

Boys Room
And hardcore tobacco use in a bathroom. Is this what Mötley Crüe was talking about?

Dana (Slate) is an adult, working a job, and living with her fiance, Ben (Jay Duplass), who is a bit boring. And by that I mean their life is routine, their sex doesn’t lead to climax, and every time they try to spice things up it goes wrong. Her younger sister, Ali (Abby Quinn) is almost graduating from high school and thinking about colleges. She is super smart, but she is getting into dumb positions and working with drugs, putting a strain on her future.

But we are really here to talk about their parents. Alan (John Turturro) and Pat (Edie Falco), who are going through weird times. Turns out that Alan might be cheating on Pat, thanks to Ali finding a disk with some erotic poems to a mysterious C. Oh yeah, I mean floppy disk, because this takes place in the mid-90’s.

While that is going on, Dana separates from her fiance temporarily to find herself, which she does in the arms of a friend from long ago, Nate (Finn Wittrock). Oh boy, time for everyone to have panic attacks about their lives and question all of their relationships!

Also starring Raffaella Meloni as “C”.

Hibachi
The face you make when you realize your dad was actually cheating with the hibachi chef the whole time.

Landline is going to be remembered as one of those movies that really just fit the okay rating. It had some things happen, some notable moments, but the whole thing failed to stick with me in anyway. I don’t even have any large complaints. No one acted terribly and no character felt badly written. Everyone in the family was pretty realistic, as were their relationships and attitudes towards each other. It just didn’t resonate.

And hey, I didn’t even find Slate annoying in this film, that is a first!

I was most impressed with Turturro, he did a lot with his face and body, despite a more limited screen time than the two lead actresses.

Also the ending of the film felt wrapped up too nicely. It ruined a bit of that realistic feel and turned back into a movie, but one that didn’t match the way one would assume with the choices a few characters had made.

The good news is it wasn’t terrible, so I would be more than willing to watch another team up with Robespierre and Slate. Unlike the team up of Wahlberg and Berg.

2 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/landline

Aug 02

Table 19

Ah, Anna Kendrick. She had six movies come out in 2016, and I was disappointed in the five I saw. I am sad to say The Hollars, which looks great, I still haven’t gotten around to.

I used to love Anna Kendrick, since I saw her in Rocket Science and Up In The Air. But her choices that don’t involve singing in the movies have been bad choices, and that really just sucks.

So on that note, I wasn’t rushing to see Table 19. For a lot of reasons, but even the Anna Kendrick appeal was losing its lure on me. At this point it just feels like I should just wait until Pitch Perfect 3 before trying to trust her again.

Camera
And then Kendrick might have more than one person following her around for paparazzi.

Ah the joys of a wedding. What a splendid time where people come together to laugh, sing, dance, be merry, all in celebration of the love of a couple!

Except for those who feel like they had a pity invite or shouldn’t be there. Or maybe people there for alternative reasons. Or maybe you are just Eloise (Anna Kendrick). A month ago you were the bridesmaid, but you bailed out of the wedding due to an awkward situation. You are great friends with the bride (Rya Meyers), but you were also dating her brother, Teddy (Wyatt Russell), the best man. And a month before the wedding, he broke up with you over text. Oh yeah, lot of confusion now over what you should do. ‘

But Eloise still shows up! She decides to come anyways, for her friend, and maybe for rekindling love, but it is awkward. And she is now put at Table 19, with the random people who they couldn’t put anywhere else. The people who came but really, why?

Like Jerry (Craig Robinson) and Bina Kepp (Lisa Kudrow), who own a diner, have a lose connection to a family member of the bride, and sort of hate each other. There is Renzo (Tony Revolori), a high school student looking to just get lucky, who is young and unaware of how to be social. We have Walter (Stephen Merchant), a cousin who is awkward and a criminal. And we have Jo (June Squibb), the bride’s first nanny who they love so dearly, maybe.

Eloise now has to exist in misery with this group of strangers who have issues, while hoping she doesn’t also accidentally ruin the entire wedding.

Also starring Andrew Daly, Amandra Crew, Charles Green, Jay Klaitz, Margo Martindale, Richard Haylor, and Thomas Cocquerel.

Freaks
Oh my god look at these freaks and weirdos.

Table 19 is a shocking film. Not in the extreme graphic language, violence, or nudity way. Not in the amount of laughs that it provides. But how different it was from its advertising, which most people would assume is a comedy with a bunch of weirdos, doing weird stuff. But it was hardly ever funny. There were some amusing bits, but it was extremely lacking on the actual humor.

Yep, we have a drama comedy that is more drama, with a bit of romance. It just drives the film into the average territory as it goes for several genres without excelling at any of them. If you have read certain films this year that I have reviewed, like Get Out or Colossal, I praised them for their genre bending. But the difference between them and Table 19 is that when the genres change, each the movie is awesome on each level. Table 19 is just middling, where the shifting doesn’t help it but hinder it.

Sure, it is realistic. But a lot of the story lines feel like missed opportunities. Kudrow/Robinson story felt like it didn’t help anything, Merchant’s story didn’t feel finished, and Revolori’s plot was just disappointing. The only other character to have a decent story was Squibb, who really brought the whole film together.

Table 19 has some cute moments and the occasional laugh. But the selling points of the film are how Kendrick and Squibb carry themselves throughout the movie, the realism they bring to the whole thing, to give the film a little bit of heart.

2 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/table-19

Jul 24

City of Ghosts

What a spooky week! Technically this review of City of Ghosts comes only one day after my review of A Ghost Story, and they couldn’t be more different. Well, if one was bad and the other was good it could be different. But they are both fantastic. Oh no, I spoiled the talk about this one being fantastic early!

City of Ghosts puts us in Syria, before the fall of Assad. During the Arab Spring in 2011, protests happened throughout the country and in Raqqa, the capital of Syria. The regime had been dickish in the past, but they tortured a bunch of school aged kids for graffiti that was anti-government, and that set the protests into a bigger momentum. Protectors fought with soldiers, and eventually the government was toppled over. Hooray freedom!

Just kidding, this started a country wide civil war, and it wasn’t long before a militant group referring to themselves as the Isalmic State came into Raqqa and took over. They promised to be nice, but also came in with machine guns and executed those faithful to the past regime. And then they kept killing. They took control over everything, and kept executing those who sucked. But they controlled the media in the area and sent messages about how awesome things were.

But things weren’t awesome. People were living in more poverty, there were food shortages, more and more of their basic freedoms were being taken away. Worse than when Assad was in control. But the militant group had their ranks grow still, because it was the only way to have a good life in the area.

One group of citizens decided that their city was dying and no one in the world knew about it. They started an organization, called Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS). Their goal was to smuggled out videos, information, pictures, to major media about the realities of their life and to let people know that this group called ISIS was doing a lot of harm and lying about it, putting their own lives on the line in the process.

ISIS
And now ISIS is on my website 🙁

That’s right, ISIS motherfuckers!

And I found the beginning of this documentary fascinating about the rise of ISIS in the area fascinating. They could have done the whole story on that and it would have been great on its own right. But no, this is by the guy who gave us Cartel Land. He wants to talk about the citizen journalists of RBSS and showcase them as heroes.

We learn about some of the men who founded the website/twitter account, and how they first got the word out. We learned about their passions and lives before the protests begin and how they saw their lives going. We saw them on the run in their own city, secretly recording and getting the message out. We saw them on the run out of their country, into Turkey and Germany, when one of their own was captured and killed with information on them.

And we saw them more importantly, double down on their efforts. Ramp up security for their own operatives still inside the city risking their lives, while worrying about political assassinations across country lines. We saw them feel like they were safe, but still get wrecked by the ISIS Hollywood level media campaign against them in their homes, as more of their family members were found and killed, while also dealing with protesters in their new homes who want the new “dangerous” immigrants out.

What we have here is an extremely powerful documentary that handles a broad subject with grace and humility. This is their story and another way they have to get their message out into the world. It also sheds a message on refugees and helps show just what they are escaping, and how ridiculous these protesters who are anti-refugee look. It should almost be required viewing just to get certain hard ass individuals to maybe open their goddamn eyes.

City of Ghosts tells of a world, a nation, a city, that was stripped of its humanity from outsiders. And the message they want to pass on is to not let these same outsiders destroy the rest of the world’s humanity as well.

4 out of 4.

Permanent link to this article: http://gorgonreviews.com/city-of-ghosts

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