Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi has quickly risen up the ranks of directors that if they make a film, I will want to see it. I don’t even have to realign my values at any point. He already makes films that sound interesting to me, and then I find out he directed it and can get double happy! You know, like those rainbows!

Hunt for the Wilderpeople, his last movie before Thor: Ragnarok, made my top of the year list for 2016.

Now this title of Jojo Rabbit doesn’t scream out anything on its own. Knowing it is about Nazis in WW2 does…not also make anything clearer. Those people going into this movie with a blank slate are going to be quite shocked at what they have picked, but lets be honest, how many people do you think would go into a movie with this title without any advertising?

dinner
This screenshot really just raises more questions than it answers.

Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) is 10 years old, it is 1945, and he loves Hitler! Oh, he is also blonde haired, blue eyed, and in Germany as a German. He has grown up entirely in the Nazi hype, and hasn’t known anything besides the Third Reich.

His mother (Scarlett Johansson) is basically raising him on her own, as his father was sent off for the war effort years ago and is somewhere in Italy. He hasn’t been heard from in a few years, so he might be dead, maybe he ran away, who knows. But with his mom working, Jojo is alone most of the time. Sure he has a sort of best friend, Yorki (Archie Yates), but his real best friend is Hitler (Taika Waititi). Or at least his imaginary friend version who tells him how to be a man and how to live his life so he can please his family and friends.

He joins the Hitler Youth war effort. He dons the uniform. He gets a job and volunteers the best he can do at home. And yet, is it enough? Is his mom pleased?

Oh, and eventually he finds that there is a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) hiding in his house, with his mom’s permission. What is he to do? Turn her in? That would get his mom in trouble. No, he should study her, and maybe publish a book on his Jew findings.

Also starring Alfie Allen, Rebel Wilson, Sam Rockwell, and Stephen Merchant.

Jew!
Ah! Jew behind you!

Jojo Rabbit is an unapologetic look at German youth during the final year of WW2. Why is it unapologetic? Well, it has nothing to apologize for. It should be noted first and right away this movie is not trying to glorify Nazi culture or upbringing in anyways. It isn’t trying to say there are fine people on both sides.

It does however highlight that people who were involved could be involved because they know nothing else, which sure, is true. It wants us to know about the German resistance groups who were killed trying to protect others, even when the country was clearly about to lose. Those in power wanted to “win at all costs” even if it meant taking out its citizens and throwing them in the path of the bullets.

Now obviously this is not a historical non-fiction story, but it does tell a unique story. The Jewish girl isn’t a magical other force to make Jojo see the wrongness of the actions, but just a piece of his own growth.

Every scene between Davis and Johansson was wonderful, especially the dinner scene, and one of the scenes in the middle. There was so much sadness in Johnasson’s character over her inability as a single parent to raise her boy the way she knew was right for fear of death for her and her family.

It is a powerful story about overcoming everything you have ever believed in, in the face of overwhelming evidence that you are wrong. It is a movie that tells us that people can change for the better.

And let’s not forget, Waititi is himself part Jewish, and that is why he decided to play Hitler. He figured it was the biggest insult he could give to an evil man.

3 out of 4.

The Current War Director’s Cut

Here it is, boys. The time has truly come. A film has decided to come out and also be the “Director’s Cut” of that same movie.

Technically that isn’t all too rare. A lot of movies that come out are Director’s Cuts, they just don’t always advertise it. Usually if there is a DC available, it is home release, and it implies the studio or a producer had a final cut that was different from the director’s vision.

So what is going on with The Current War Director’s Cut? Well, Harvey Weinstein happened.

One of the main things Weinstein was known for, besides the sexual assaults and rape, was getting final edit on many movies. He wanted movies to go a certain way, and advertise a certain way, and go for awards with his permissions. He could be great at it, but it also bugged a lot of director’s at the time.

This movie was planning on coming out around 2017, hitting the festivals, and getting lukewarm reaction. Then the scandal. Then the selling off of properties. And our director got his movie back, edited his movie his way, and got to release it wide for the first time!

light
It’s basically the American dream, with a lot more sexual assault in the way.

Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch). An American celebrity if there ever was one in the late 1800’s. He was an inventor, an improver of older inventions, and someone who was business savvy. People loved him and he wanted to be loved. But when it came to the battle over how America would be hooked up to the grid for electricity, he was also quite dirty.

George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon), known for being rich and helping develop breaks for trains for safety and efficiency, wanted to work with Edison, but he was shunned by the busy man. So he figured he could get into the game, help develop a new technology, and then Edison would want to merge ideas. Edison is not a merger, he is a take over kind of guy, a guy who doesn’t admit if he is wrong.

This began a big battle over the American landscape, accepting bids for their various forms of technology, with the goal to be providing power for the Chicago World’s Fair, and putting their product out there for millions. And of course we have a wildcard in Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), a foreigner, a genius, a man who saw the future, but couldn’t always get the funding or time to put all of his ideas to the paper.

Three men of influence, one goal, and a whole lot of shoddy tactics.

Also starring Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton, Tom Holland, and Matthew Macfadyen as J.P. Morgan.

looks
You know that look in your eye when you see an electric candle for the first time last a few hours? That’s the look I want to give to my dinner every night.

I honestly went into this movie thinking the worst. The trailer was okay, the cast I enjoy, but the director’s cut notion prepared me for the worst. That’s weird. The buzz was not good.

But after watching it? I feel frickan’ amped. Westinghouse is so cool, and he is only a name I have seen mentioned and had no idea he was in this race. I figured this was a Tesla/Edison movie thanks to memes, but Tesla is way less important overall to this plot. Shannon does a good job of playing this quiet and seemingly noble entrepreneur.

After the film I was electrified to look up more information on these big three, to go beyond the quick facts I see on the internet. The movie felt accurate. It moved at a very quick pace, telling a historical pr battle with enough excitement to keep me on the edge of my seat. It flowed so well from scene to scene.

I have a love of historical films, especially ones that have good acting. Historical films that don’t get bogged down in being super serious, but still can tell not only a good story, but a story worth being told. A story with wattage. Alright, that’s a stretch.

Anyways, congratulations to Alfonso Gomez-Rejon for getting the movie he wanted to make. Oh, and by the way, he directed Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which made my top of the year list when it came out.

3 out of 4.

Satanic Panic

It’s Spooktober, so it is time to watch a lot more horror movies and actually get off my ass and review them. Especially if those horror movies aren’t super mainstream, because I will be honest, there aren’t really any coming out this month? Where the hell are the horror movies? Is it too cliche to come out in October now?

Satanic Panic came out last month to VOD, and I am surprised it didn’t get a theatrical release. Based on the name alone, it could have gotten a lot of people in the theaters.

Comedy horrors don’t always pack the seats in, and its mostly unknown people, and sure maybe religions groups would boycott, and maybe it wouldn’t get an R rating as easily if it planned to go to theaters. Oh okay, I guess it makes sense to be straight to video.

panic panic
Here is the panic!

Gypsy (Arden Myrin) is just down on her goddamn luck. She has a little scooter, just got a job delivering pizzas, but really has no other assets. She needs money for gas and to build up funds to finally better her life. But it turns out, people suck at tipping and delivering pizza is a lame as hell job.

And Gypsy gets really annoyed when she delivers a really big order to a mansion, and gets absolutely nothing extra. Shit. She is almost out of gas. She can’t find the guy who paid for the pizza, but barges in anyways and sees some sort of meeting going on, led by some sort of inspirational speaker, Danica (Rebecca Romjin). Lot of red.

Next thing she knows, she is locked in a room with some man (Jerry O’Connell). She is going to be part of a ritual? To be sacrified? For a demon?

No way. That’s all made up shit. Rich people are crazy.

Also starring Hayley Griffith, Ruby Modine, and AJ Bowen.

cult
Here is the Satanic!

Satanic Panic is very graphic, as graphic as the name implies it should be. Gore, sex, creepy ritual shit. A lot of deaths and red. It is not something those with the faint of heart would watch. But of course, it is a comedy, the extreme nature of these deaths is part of the fun and the reason you’d want to see.

The characters involved are all okay. They give appropriate levels of freakout and evilness. It is definitely a film where the women are here to shine showcase their talents.

Overall, it is exactly what it set out to be. An enjoyable experience, with a lot of surprise deaths. I will note that being a pizza delivery person appears to be a very unsafe job. We had this VOD film about them, and last year we had another VOD film in Slice. Why do they gotta scare us so much of the time as delivery people? I don’t want to be killed when I am just trying to make a buck.

3 out of 4.

Zombieland: Double Tap

Here’s the thing. Zombieland is ten years old, and ten year old sequels rarely succeed in terms of the original. My review for the first film is pretty dang old, and honestly, I don’t agree with it anymore. I think the first Zombieland is just okay. It has some humor, but for a movie named Zombieland, it doesn’t have a lot of zombies in it. The ending goes too long, wasn’t exciting, and relies too much on Bill Murray.

That means I was not looking forward to seeing Zombieland: Double Tap. It had everything working against it, except for a return of the main cast, who have all went on to do great films after Zombieland. In movies nominated for Oscars, and some winning them! Well, except for Abigail. She peaked a bit before Zombieland technically.

But despite the lack of interest, I still was somehow more interested in this than checking out the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. I figured that one could wait for DVD.


Also, let’s be clear, Kevin Smith wants to see this movie too. 
Ten years later, ten years older, and the gang is still together!

Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), hanging out, growing older. Tallahassee considers himself now a father figure to Little Rock, who just wants to be in a relationship. She is now finished with puberty, older and alone.

And Columbus and Wichita are officially a couple, but they are going complacent. They are all just getting old together, by coincidence, and failing to grow anymore. So time for a shake up.

Speaking of shake ups, Zombies have evolved a bit too, and the regular is going out the window. A newer, stronger zombie is about to be a threat, and they are kind of not on their A-game anymore.

Also featuring newcomers Rosario Dawson, Thomas Middleditch, Avan Jogia, Zoey Deutch, and Luke Wilson.


Pink. 

I hope these words don’t seem terrible again in ten years, but Zombieland: Double Tap really entertained me. It had jokes that hit me in the right spots, fun new characters (versus the lack of characters in the first film), great visuals (which the first film did excel at as well, I will admit), but more importantly, more zombies and zombie related violence.

Now I will admit, the ending to the last film is very similar. Suddenly, large mass of zombies, overly long action that doesn’t make too much sense, and miraculous saves. Nothing on the level of the dumpster from The Walking Dead, but still high up there. At least it is more creatively done than the first film.

I was most entertained by the scenes with Middleditch and Wilson interacting with our crew. There is one zombie fight scene as part of that that uses the camera extremely well, long action shots, using the building, and was led up to with plenty of good jokes to keep me giddy. Hell, they were playing Magic the Gathering as well, go nerd it up.

There is a lot of improvement in this film, and, dare I say, reason for us to have another film in the future with a little bit less down time in between films. Now that we are exploring the world better, and seeing other survivors, it opens up a lot more humor potential and produce easy (if not obvious) plot lines in the future.

3 out of 4.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Breaking Bad is one of the best TV shows ever.

Calm down The Wire fans, I said one of the best, not the best, easy easy.

But it is well written, well acted, a slow burn, and keeps the audience guessing. It is so good, that it had a spin-off prequel on a side character, and that is now also one of the best TV shows ever made. Hot damn.

So color me, and everyone else who has seen the show, for this movie version epilogue to find out the fate of Jesse, who rode into the night, giggling like a mad man. And it is named El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, because it needs to make sure you know they are related and forego having just a nice title into the wind.

yell
It is about cars and everyone loves cars!

When we last saw Jesse (Aaron Paul), he was riding off into the sunrise, and finally free.

But freedom doesn’t come easy. And just because he has a car doesn’t mean you can do anything, despite what 16 year old kids think.

He needs money. He needs a place to go. He is wanted for being in connection to everything. He has family! He has a lot of issues to deal with. And goddamn it, he has some friends who might still care about him.

At this point, can Jesse get over his last few years of terrible imprisonment and crime and finally make something of his life?

Also featuring a lot of returning characters. Flashbacks aplenty. Jonathan Banks, Matt Jones, Charles Baker, Jesse Plemons, Krysten Ritter, Robert Forster, and Bryan Cranston.

beard
My bushy beard fetish is also appeased in this movie.

Much like the show, this movie is well acted, well shot, full of long and realistically slow scenes so the characters can deal with their issues. It is exactly the quality we should expect from the show, and feels like the show.

And it feels like the show. And it feels like the show.

Is that a bad thing? On its own, no, it seems like it should feel like the show. But let’s be honest here. This is just a slightly extended episode epilogue. Again, not a bad thing. But as a standalone movie, I wouldn’t want to have seen this in theaters. I don’t anything is added to this by making it a movie. As a movie it is okay.

And therein lies the pointlessness of this review. Watch if you have seen the show and like the show. Do not watch it if you haven’t seen the show. And here’s hoping that Better Call Saul will finish strongly.

2 out of 4.

The Death of Dick Long

A24 has been a cream of the crop for a few years. A good mix of great titles, quirky titles, original titles, and sometimes all three put together.

Who doesn’t want a film that is original, quirky, and really great? That is my kind of film of the year. That is what we get with things like Colossal (not A24). I am just happy they are still making money enough to try.

And that is what we get with something like The Death of Dick Long. Heh. Dick Long. Nice.

men
Men. Just being guys. Doing manly things.
Last night was a blast. A lot of booze, fireworks, shenanigans, and more. But in the extreme early hours of the morning, Zeke (Michael Abbott Jr.) and Earl (Andre Hyland) find themselves racing to the ER to secretly leave their friend, Dick Long, who is bleeding and dying, and getting out of there before it is too late. They don’t want their friend to die, but they also don’t want to be associated with his injuries, because of how they got formed. They take his ID and skedaddle.

Hell, Earl says they just need to skip town its so bad.

But for Zeke it isn’t as easy. He has a wife and kid, and he needs to clean his car, and destroy evidence. But it seems no matter what Zeke and Earl try to do, they just keep getting mixed up in their own lies and the innocence of others, driving the story closer and closer to home.

They really, really, really, don’t want people to know what they did.

Also starring Janelle Cochrane, Roy Wood Jr., Jess Weixler, Poppy Cunningham, Virginia Newcomb, Sunita Mani, and Sarah Baker.

gasp
The face a lot of people will make halfway through.

The Death of Dick Long is a simple story, about a crime that people don’t like, but not one that people have normally seen as dangerous. It is based on a news article that the director read at some point, and wondered what the lives were like of the people involved.

The lives of the people involved? Apparently mostly normal, redneckish people, trying to live simple lives, who sometimes develop curiosities. They aren’t trying to hurt people, but they’d still want to hide their own sins.

This movie was over hyped for me, but thankfully I still found enjoyment in the film. My favorite moments were just watching the lies completely get unraveled by very obvious irregularities and people talking to each other. It made me cringe and I got a lot of enjoyment over it. I was busting out laughing in a final scene, when a character decided his best option was just to run away finally.

But it didn’t maintain the chuckles throughout. It felt like the acting was fine, but I never felt like the movie went hard enough. Now, I wasn’t expecting them to show the acts that lead to the death in question, because then they’d be going purely for shock instead of focusing on the story. But I still expected more comedic moments, or more dark moments, and was disappointed it didn’t go far enough.

3 out of 4.

Captain Marvel

Here we are, the first “marvel” film of 2019, and maybe the last of them to be reviewed. Whoops.

Now technically, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a Sony movie. And maybe this will come out before Avengers: Endgame. It depends on if it finally breaks that damn record. I’m trying to hold out.

But let it be known, that damn it, I saw Captain Marvel opening weekend! I just didn’t write a lot in the spring and I am catching up. It’s not out of hate, or sexism, or anything like that. It is just I don’t want Disney to profit off of my reviews if I don’t get invited to see them early anymore.

Brie
Yes, this website is why Disney makes so much money. 
Kree good. Skrulls bad. That’s what Vers (Brie Larson) was taught. She is a warrior in the Kree kingdom, following the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening), trying to protect the galaxy and the universe. Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) is her mentor, and commander of their group of super soldiers. He looks out for her, but she is having problems unlocking her potential.

Either way, they know they need to stop the Skrulls. They can change shape and pretend to be other people! Anyone might be a Skrull, and it is important to have secret phrases to deal with the threat. Threats like Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), leader of the group of Skrulls and a threat to the Kree way of life, and other planets! They go to a planet, pretend to be the citizens, slowly take over, and boom, their planet.

This battle takes them all to planet Earth. It is important to note this is 12-13 years before the events of Iron Man, before Y2K wrecked house. And Vers, when she gets to Earth, is going to have even more memory problems than before, and has to work with local human security, like Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) pre-eye patch, in order to stop the Skrull threat and unlock her true potential.

Also starring Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Lashana Lynch, Algenis Perez Soto, and Rune Temte.

Skrulls
I don’t know why they’d want to shapeshift. They don’t like green? Elphaba-syndrome much? 
Captain Marvel is fun and entertaining while also introducing a lot of backstory into the MCU. I bet you never knew you wanted to know how Nick Fury lost his eye, but once that question is answered, you’ll never be the same.

Danvers is a great and strong as fuck character. It has been awhile since we got a character that seemed like they could destroy the world if they wanted to. She has powers comparable and potentially surpassing Thor, Hulk, and Dr. Strange, who I’d put as the biggest three in the MCU. Scarlet Witch should be higher, but they have more downplayed her actual abilities while talking them up, and odd choice. But Captain Marvel has the power and the talk. She will fuck up all the shit.

Like a lot of other recent solo movies, this one failed to feel like it did a lot different than the other previous 20 movies to warrant a higher grade. 3s are great, and better than the occasional 2 these MCU movies can make.

Again, more importantly, this adds the Skrulls to the MCU, which are going to allow some bigger huge storylines in the future, especially if they want to kill more superheroes and it be okay.

3 out of 4.

Crawl

Alexandre Aja is not a new director to the horror genre, and yet, so much about Crawl feels like a wonderful first film from a director no one has heard about.

Aja has direct films like The Hills Have Eyes and Mirrors, but his name isn’t well known amongst directors in general. I don’t want to blame the genre, because plenty of directors have become well known for being horror makers.

More recently he did Piranha 3D (so he has experience with the water), Horns (which wasn’t really a horror), and The 9th Life of Louis Drax (which made my top of the year list, but also, not horror). So he has been working a lot, and yet still, Crawl just seems to have come out of nowhere.

Like an alligator lurking in the water.

Gator
That doesn’t look like Wally at all!

Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is a swim star in the collegiate level. She doesn’t win everything, but she has a big drive and wants to win it all. This drive was instilled in her by her father (Barry Pepper), who was her coach, and trainer, and cheerleader, and everything all of her life, because he knew she had a gift and could be something special.

Well, now that she is in college, with parental divorce, and distance, they have grown apart and argue more. And it also turns out there is a Category 5 Hurricane about to hit Florida. Shit, Haley doesn’t even really know about it too much, too focused on her sports. Her sister in Boston (Morfydd Clark. Such a Welsh name!) and warns her, while also noting she has not been able to get in contact with their dad. Maybe she knows something?

Well, Haley doesn’t but she still loves her dad. So she drives the two hours to go and find out where he is at, towards the hurricane, into areas that have been evacuated. She has to get past some lame security and old friends (Ross Anderson), but she finds her dad hurt in a basement, nowhere near his phone. She better hurry and get him to the vehicle before the storm gets worse.

Oh yeah, and an alligator is in the under house area as well, and now they are trapped. And then more alligators. Fuck.

Bathroom
“Shit, shower is in use. Now where will I bathe?” – Alligator, probably.
Crawl had a LOT of positives going for it, and probably one of the biggest surprises of the summer. It is insane how exciting a film is that didn’t even show itself to critics.

The movie has a great run time of under 90 minutes. Although even at that length, I kept being surprised that the movie still had “more to say” and new problems that got in the way to continually cause issues for our leads.

The best part of the ongoing sense of danger is that it came from two sides: The alligators, and the hurricane. A lot of films would focus on just the former and the latter would be an inconvenience, but they made the hurricane itself a big threat and one that continually made things worse for our heroes.

Aja has a lot of creativity in this movie, which looks great and very polished despite being in a pretty gross area. Which does lead to some of the complaints. For example, how clean most of the flood water was, despite being from a pond and hurricane rain water, which is generally not something you’d want to open your eyes in.

Another issue involves the injuries of the characters. It is great that they are not invincible and get hurt along the way. Unfortunately, after that slight inconvenience, it is quickly mostly ignored for the rest of the film. Throw a bandage on it, tie it tight, and continue being a bad ass swimmer or walker or human.

If this film could have accurately had the injuries also matter and gone for a bit of realism in that level, it would have had probably near perfect critical acclaim.

3 out of 4.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Most reviews for this movie mention fun facts about Quentin Tarantino. And I will spend this time talking about an issue with that. Holy shit, can we all stop going crazy about how many movies he has directed? Let that be his obsession, not ours as reviewers.

Sure, he said he will retire after 10. But plenty of directors have said they would retire and then not.

Outside of a director’s first film, or their second film, I have never seen so many care about their total number after that point. By obsessing over it, we are building up Tarantino to be something bigger than what he really is, and let’s face it, he doesn’t need everyone else stroking his ego.

And with that, let’s talk about Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, his 9th-ish directed movie.

dance
Dance
The year is 1969. Vietnam sucks. Hippies exist. People are famous and rich and Nixon is around as well. We went to the goddamn moon!

But the plot starts in February and ends in August, so most of the film takes place without the moon landing at all. We are talking about aging star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), who was the lead in a Western show for many years in the 50’s and early 60’s, but now is stuck without many job offers and one off appearances in shows as a bad guy who always loses to the hero. It is also about Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), long time friend and stunt man of Dalton’s. Although he isn’t getting as much stunt work, he is still trying and really a personal assistant and friend to Dalton in order to make some money.

The movie is mainly about their struggles, but it is also a little bit about their neighbors, Polanski and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). It is also about a lot of hippies living in abandoned studios. It is about what people need to do to get famous, even if it means doing (shudder) European movies.

Also starring Al Pacino, Austin Butler, Bruce Dern, Clifton Collins Jr., Dakota Fanning, Damian Lewis, Damon Herriman, Emile Hirsch, Harley Quinn Smith, Julia Butters, Kurt Russell, Lorenza Izzo, Luke Perry, Margaret Qualley, Mike Moh, Rafal Zawierucha, Scoot McNairy, and Timothy Olyphant.

bar
Most of all business deals are done in bars with cigars.

Around 2006, when information was coming out about this future movie called Iron Man, people were abuzz with casting decisions. Who is playing who!? One of the most exciting aspects of the whole deal was of course Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury. And then not much else was said about him for a while.

Opening night while watching Iron Man, I remember being so excited the whole film to see SLJ as Fury, and getting to the end of the movie and being confused. “No! They said there would be a Nick Fury!” So as the credits started to roll, I told my friends to sit down. There must be something more in the credits. And lo and behold, at the end of the first MCU film, there was another scene, with Fury introducing the concept of Avengers. At that point this wasn’t established, for something at the end of the credits, I just knew it had to be. I needed my Nick Fury, damn it.

So how does this relate to Once Upon A Time in Hollywood? It relates perfectly I’ll have you know in a second, but let me give you some non spoilery analysis.

This movie is gorgeous. It meanders, yes. It could have been slimmed down. Pitt and DeCaprio give wonderful performances and I won’t forget about them soon. The cameos were fun. Robbie felt like a completely different person and did well at this carefree in the moment feeling actress.

So here are the spoilers for the rest of the review.

Did you know that Charles Manson was in this movie? Well, if you read movie articles, you should have known about it. Because about a year and a half ago, info for this movie started coming out and people were in an uproar that Tarantino was about to do a movie about Manson. There was a bit of backpedaling, like letting us know that he was in it but it isn’t about him, it just has him in it as a subplot or something.

And then I guess everyone forgot about it, because suddenly with this movie coming out, there is this strange aura of spoilers like its Avengers: Endgame. What the hell could really be a spoiler for a movie like this? In the theater, while talking to friends, I correctly guessed the ending of the film before hand as a joke, and uhh, it was correct. It was mostly a surprise due to just knowing what happened with Inglorious Bastards and knowing that Manson was in it. Shit, they end up making pretty obvious references to IB early in the film with a fictional Nazi burning movie.

Anyways, I think it is a mistake to try and make this whole thing a secret. I think it is okay to know that Manson murders plotline is involved, because if you don’t know anything about the real life Manson murders, a lot of the buildup won’t make as much sense. I mean, shit. This movie was actually supposed to come out on August 9th originally, which is the 50th anniversary of those murders. But it was pushed two weeks up in this schedule, maybe to make things less obvious, I have no idea.

I appreciate the level of detail that went into those scenes, using actual lines, character names, times, dates, and places. It is something he has thought a lot about, and it makes sense in QT’s “real world movie series” and still helps explain his “in universe film series” as a comparison.

If you are unfamiliar with that period, whether it is real events, the movies of the time, it will feel like a long drag and never really reach a high amount of payout. But as a movie about the place where movies were made, about an event that affected movies since that time, it has a lot of insight and actual information in a fictional film.

Also, DiCaprio and Pitt are really fun in this one.

3 out of 4.

The Art of Self-Defense

The Art of Self-Defense hit a few festivals before it got its wider release. I had so much hype built up towards it that I will say, right now, I might have liked it more had my expectations been more regular. And that sucks.

It does have a lot going for it. A24, a quirky film where Eisenberg can showcase his talents, and more.

And you know, its about karate! We haven’t had many dojo based films in awhile. The last one I really remember is The Foot-Fist Way. It was another smaller indie film with a weird humor sense. And it was okay. Maybe the real reason this came out is Cobra Kai. People love that series.

Punch
Punch

Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) is a little bitch. Maybe because he has a common lady name, but he is passive, quiet, and lonely. He lives at home with a little tiny dog. He goes to work. He doesn’t go on vacations. Gosh. He is an accountant. Gross.

Well one night he gets home and realizes he is out of dog food. Having to walk to the store in the middle of the night is scary, more so with recent reports of motorcycle people running around and beating people up. Sure enough, he gets mugged, put into a small coma, and in drastic need from rest.

While he is away from work, he wants to change his life. No, not a vacation. Getting a gun! That will help defend himself. But there is a waiting period. While waiting, he instead finds a karate dojo, led by Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), who talks in such a charismatic way. He makes Casey feel special, he gives him goals in life, he gives him a meaning. He is also going to help him become a better man.

But the more and more involved he gets in the class, the more Casey is realizing he is in something bigger than he bargained for.

Also starring Imogen Poots, Steve Terada, Phillip Andre Botello, and Hauke Bahr.

Kick
Kick.

I will do my duty to defy expectations by not talking a lot about how this movie was in terms of the genre. Because it turns out, that ruined it a bit for me. What you can and should know is that it is a Dark Comedy very much so based on the genre.

This is a swell role for Eisenberg. He is able to definitely to act his way into this character and it feels like a natural fit, unlike a lot of other recent roles. Poots really dives down into her character as well, and was unlike any other role I’ve ever seen her in.

I think Nivola is the real star and talking point here. That character is just so unique, brave, and twisted. It is hard to describe and compare him to other roles that might seem similar. It is just bizarre, and I love it.

A lot of surprises are in store for The Art Of Self-Defense, but ones that are welcome to the Sports karate genre of film.

3 out of 4.

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