Movie Roundup – Online Releases 2018

Welcome to a Movie Roundup! A movie roundup features a few films that I didn’t feel like making full reviews for, but needed to get basic reviews out there for completionist reasons. It also helps me deal with my backlog. It may have a theme, and today’s theme is Online Releases 2018! Basically, things that started out on the internet, ideally a streaming website, because it is a loose theme, and I will take it.

Being on a movie round up doesn’t mean a movie is inherently bad, or good, or meh. I can feature any rating on here! So don’t assume the worst! I will also just post the reviews in alphabetical order.


Online Releases 2018

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Can we go wrong with the Coen brothers? Yes, we totally can. But I can’t help but feel something wonderful when they continually try to do something different, or make the normal a lot more eccentric. This time, they went back to the former, while also going back to some of those old timey western roots, which are arguably their best movies. Except this time, it is straight to Netflix, and an Anthology movie with six short films instead. The only connection? Western.

This ends up working really well, even if I can say I didn’t love every part of the anthology. Unfortunately, the best and most fun was the first of the stories, and probably me least favorite was number two. I really enjoyed the one about the prospectors and the woman with her not dog too. When it works, it really works, and when it doesn’t work, it is still well made and a bit beautiful, if not full of fuckery. This is not a happy movie, and it can easily be watched in parts, and deserves praise for its individual shorts that work out amazingly well.

3 out of 4.

Ballad
None of these people share a scene with the others.

The Kissing Booth

On the other hand, Netflix has made it clear its strategy isn’t to appeal to just the best movie ever, but to instead go for all the demographics so that they all have something to watch, which is fair. Netflix having a shit movie doesn’t mean that Netflix is bad, I just don’t have to watch it…if I am a normal movie goer.

But this movie is something else, and it has crawled out of the pits of hell thanks to some teenage girl. Yeah, it is based on a book, written by a teenage girl, on some website, and now its a movie. An uninspired romance movie, that seems to rely on the kissing booth as a feature, despite not being featured too heavily in the grand scope. It features a love interest who is super controlling, threatening, and uses his fists to solve problems. Ah, what good values to instill in our youth.

0 out of 4.

Kissing
Help, help, I’m trapped in a 90s movie.

My Dinner with Hervé

Over on HBO, they also like to do movies, and shows, and documentaries. In this one, we have dudes as the stars, with one of them being one of their biggest stars of their biggest show. Makes sense. Peter Dinklage playing a biographical role, of possibly the most famous little person in history (before Peter Dinklage and Verne Troyer), Hervé Villechaize. Made famous for being in Fantasy Island and The Man With The Golden Gun.

Now, this is all according to a journalist, but it is based on the night out on the town with Hervé, where he also recounts his whole life story leading up to the point, his rises, and his many many downfalls. Dinklage does an amazing job of transforming himself, or what I know about himself, and this is an extremely touching tale of a childhood of abuse and sadness, while still trying to make something about it. It never seems to go deep enough into the sadder parts though, and probably skirts around important details. I just knew that it started off way better than it eventually ended.

2 out of 4.

DINNer
And that is also true about life, I suppose.

Slice

Slice might not technically fit this theme, because it came out on VOD, but hey, my themes are loose, and I want it in this post. Slice is the type of movie that is just so out there, it is hard to believe that it even exists. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, murder mystery, pizza store, witches, and such a strange plot and concept. It is the type of movie that when describing it you know will have a cult following and probably LARPing in the future.

But in all honestly, it just doesn’t work out well. The only redeeming factor is that it definitely feels original. It just is a weird mash of ideas that aren’t fully explained because it isn’t fully thought through. It is cool, it is weird, but it is definitely not good.

1 out of 4.

sLIce
Although, it made me want pizza, so good job there.

The Tale

Finally, another HBO movie (sorry Hulu), that I didn’t even know came out this last summer. I would have never known it existed if it didn’t get nominated for a Spirit award. I mean, it has a big name in it, and it is about sexual abuse when someone was a child. Sure, a fictional tale, but a tale that resonates due to how often similar “tales” have been told by other girls in relation to their coaches while growing up. Hell, the gymnastics scandal was in 2018, maybe even going on after this movie. It is very relevant.

Dern plays someone very vulnerable and stubborn at the same time. It doesn’t end with fireworks, but plays it in a more realistic way. More importantly, the girl who plays the younger version is amazing at her role. Her acting, in normal kid way, amplifies the creepiness of everything. It puts the viewer in a dark place and really helps bring the hate towards these sexual predators.

3 out of 4.

tale
These two adults are now on my despise list, well done!

Overall, steaming platforms put out a lot of duds, and some successes. And especially Netflix, because I will never catch up on on their new releases. Or, maybe I will, if I just keep the review format like this and not larger. But these ones caught my eye for some reason or another and I chose them to watch to review, and never got around to actually writing.

The Age of Adaline

I am coming into The Age of Adaline a few months after it hit theaters. This really means that I cannot in good conscious make any jokes about a crossover movie of Avengers: Age of Ultron and this one, which came out roughly around the same time. That would be silly.

So instead I will talk about how little I know about this film. I am literally going in knowing nothing about it, not even who is in the movie. I figured out it was based on a book, probably a popular modern romance.

And hey, not all popular modern romance novels are bad. Sure you got your Twilights, but there is also The Fault In Our Stars! Shit, this is all teenage stuff. I am not as familiar with older adult romance novels.

Given the genre, I hope (like always) I can get a good cry out of it.

Elevator
My emotions are like this elevator: They look really pretty but they get ignored by the rich all day.

Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) has had an interesting life. Born on New Year’s Day, 1908, she has always had a party for every birthday. And right now she has had 108 birthdays.

But no, she isn’t old. She is young, attractive, and looks like she is around 29. In fact, her body is 29, despite the years around the sun. Due to a freak accident, involving drowning, body chemicals and lightning, somehow she no longer ages. Science, magic, fantasy shit.

So now she has to move every 10 years, or else people get weirdly suspicious. Or if she ever gets too close to someone romantically. That is a huge issue for her, never getting to love again.

Now it is modern day, and of course, someone likes her a lot. Ellis (Michiel Huisman) is rich and is impressed by her intelligence and poise. They like each other a lot. She even gets to meet his family! He has a Momma (Kathy Baker), a sister (Amanda Crew), and a dad (Harrison Ford). The dad of course being someone Adaline had a relationship with over 40 years prior.

Also starring Ellen Burstyn as Adaline’s much older looking daughter and featuring Hugh Ross as the narrator.

Family
“Dad, remember the girl who broke your heart before you met mom?”

I loved the concept of The Age of Adaline, once the movie told me what was going on. Shit, I might have tried to watch it in theaters if I actually knew what it was about.

This is by far the best acting I have seen from Blake Lively. Savages and Green Lantern weren’t great for her, and of course Gossip Girl isn’t known for its great acting. But she is fantastic in this film. So is Harrison Ford, who also has had quite a few stinkers/unforgettable roles lately. Let’s not forget he did Paranoia. In this film he reminded us he was a great actor, which is good news for those dying to see Star Wars VII.

The story was a good one, the acting was good, but the major downfall with this film was its ability to drag. Which is this romance in a nut shell. It is like the rich and prestige, going to fancy dinner parties where people do a lot of small talk, having the same conversations with their friends. That is just the general feeling of the first half of the movie when it is set in modern times. Adaline is worried about being caught, her daughter just wants her to finally live her life, and discovering Ellis. I don’t think it gets truly interesting until she finally meets the dad, and the awkwardness really begins. The awkwardness allows for the best acting in the film and is where Ford starts to shine.

An okay romance, with a decent plot, and some fine acting. But it did not make me cry.

2 out of 4.

Draft Day

By and large, the trailer for Draft Day is one of the worst I have ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, give it a watch. It is two and a half minutes. It is almost mythical the way they made that trailer. It is both a trailer that gives us the entire movie while also giving us absolutely nothing at all. It is truly marvelous to comprehend that achievement.

I guess that is a negative. A terrible vague yet overly detailed trailer. It also was advertised a lot, so I got to see the same identical thing over and over again. The concept became slightly infuriating. Basically, it had a huge uphill battle to prove itself an amazing movie in my mind.

Chill
Look at how fucking laid back they are about this movie. Clearly they don’t care what I think!

A lot is going on in Sonny Weaver Jr.’s (Kevin Costner) life right now. His dad died a few days ago, one of the more famous coaches of the Browns. Ali (Jennifer Garner) runs their salary cap number stuff, and it turns out she is now pregnant with his kid. It is also 12 hours til the NFL draft, and as the GM Sonny is told he has to make a big splash tonight at the draft or his job might be done. So sayeth the owner (Frank Langella).

Good. He has the 7th pick though. Right now his choice is between a running back that fits his teams system, Ray Jennings (Arian Foster), that is also the son of a former Browns player Earl Jennings (Terry Crews). So Browns royalty, the obvious pick. But Sonny really likes this defensive guy Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman), good at sacks, can stop many great players, just might have some emotional issues.

But thanks to all of the pressure he is facing, he ends up trading for the number one overall pick for his first round picks this year and the next two. Shit. Now he can get Bo Callahan (Josh Pence), a great looking franchise QB. Their current QB (Tom Welling) has bad knees and got injured early on their last season. This pisses off the coach (Denis Leary) who feels his job is on the line thanks to Sonny’s boneheaded decision.

Yeah, then a lot more drama happens. OH WHAT WILL SONNY DO? Ellen Burstyn plays the mother, Sean Combs plays Bo’s agent, and Griffin Newman plays an intern.

Draft Room
Didn’t you know there was constant arguing and drama right before a draft pick?

If you hadn’t noticed, there are no real NFL players or coaches or GMs talked about in this movie. All of the plot points related to the Browns are of course made up. Which is why seeing Crews/Foster there was a bit weird. Oh wait, 98% of this is made up. But they also mention Andrew Luck, and that is probably the only mistake they do I guess.

Garner’s character didn’t really seem to fit the normal stereotypes of a woman in her situation. She was really calm, which is generally not how I see her in most roles. It was strange.

What they ended up doing by the end was a bit clever, but not really too realistic either. Basically, there is no reason for a certain other GM to have done what he did and that is the only main issue with it.

So overall, it is an okay movie. I am surprised it came out in April, since it is clearly just a giant commercial for the NFL, romanticizing the whole thing. The NFL is next month, so I figured they’d make it basically the same day. Most of the teams mentioned were bad, maybe to drum up support, outside of the Seahawks. I also liked Boseman in this movie. Pretty crazy. I have seen him as a famous baseball player, now a made up football player, and later this year, a famous musician. Pretty exciting film roles for this guy is all I gotta say about that.

2 out of 4.

Main Street

HEY LOOK. A movie that takes place in Durham, NC! And by takes place, I mean the setting. I don’t think it was actually filmed here at all. And storyline wise, the descriptions of Durham don’t make any sense.

In Main Street, Durham is noted as a community hurt by both the economy and jobs leaving, and you know, tobacco shit. But, they make it seem like there is ZERO economy there. The town is struggling, city government is listless with no idea how to do anything. It is also made to seem smaller than it is, and Durham is pretty damn big. Also has those dumb colleges, and is in Research Triangle and what not. Oh well.

Bull Durham
Didn’t even mention their famous minor league baseball team!

Not many characters in the movie either, but some bigger names. Colin Firth plays a stranger from Vernon, Texas, Orlando Bloom a local cop taking law school night classes, who is trying to woo Amber Tamblyn, who was briefly in the show House. Also, there is Ellen Burstyn, now poor owner of a few warehouses that used to be use for Tobacco, and her niece Patricia Clarkson.

Firth comes to town to rent the warehouses, and even though he tries to tell Ellen what for, she doesn’t want to know. But her niece gets her suspicious, especially when she sees guards at the door. It turns out he works for an environmental corporation who deal with hazardous waste disposal. Oh shit, awkward. They are looking for a new place to also build a plant to help deal with it, which could create thousands of jobs in the area, and help Durham out of the slump.

But. You know. Hazardous waste. Is Durham ready to move on from one harmful substance to another?!

I loved the acting in the movie. Accents did not bug me, because I am not picky about that. What bugged me was the ending. With the movie being about 85 minutes or so long, it doesn’t take long. But there is a lot of set up for little to no pay out. At the length and definitely unfinished story, it just felt like a long TV pilot for a show, that could have gone further. It had two serious relationships it could continue to explore, and some family dynamics. It could have continued with the plans to bring in jobs, and environmental concerns, and the old lady trying to move on..

A LOT. But it doesn’t. Just has the “climax” scene and ends soon after. Just kind of meh.

Maybe it was a failed TV pilot released as a movie? Who knows. Google doesn’t.

Google
All hail google! I feel like if I show their picture, they will rank me higher.

2 out of 4.