Song to Song

I have put off watching Song to Song as much as possible. At this point in my career, I am more likely to check out the director before watching an unknown movie for only one reason. To see if Terrence Malick was secretly the director.

Because if he is, I need to go into the movie with a completely different mindset than literally any other film.

I need to have hawk eyes to figure out just what the main plot of the film is going to be, especially when the narrators decide to switch on me, or even be from characters I never paid attention to.

No one else makes me waste my time like Malick. And I just need to know before seeing if a movie how mad I will be five minutes into it.

Yeah, get that bitch some Christmas lights…

What do Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Holly Hunter, Val Kimer, and Bérénice Marlohe have in common?

They are all in this series of maybe related scenes “film,” and have been tricked into working with Malick!

Look at all these dynamic camera shots!

2017 was a year of change for me. I gave up watching the Sharknado movies, because heck, they didn’t need my review saying they were shit on top of the pile of reviews saying they were shit, as it did nothing. Everyone agreed they were shit and I realized I can stop. I also gave up on the Transformers films, because fool me four times, then fuck me over.

I think…I think I might have to do it for Terrence Malick films. Which is a significant director still in the film community, so it is not something that I can say lightly. Or maybe I will never see them in theaters again, and only at home…where I can distract myself with my phone.

At this point when it comes to directors, I am still willing to watch things that Luc Besson has dealt with, even if I generally hate it all, whereas I feel like I will just burn into painful flames if I have to watch a complete Malick film.

They are all now just feeling the same at this point. I can’t imagine saying new stuff for the next film, I didn’t even really say new stuff for this film.

Song to Song is just home made movie trash.

0 out of 4.

The Big Sick

Earlier this summer, if you have friends in the 20’s, you probably know of someone who was talking about The Big Sick. They would have recommended that you see it RIGHT AWAY in theaters, because hey, it is an indie movie and they need to make their money back to produce more good films!

I know I was hounded, but that is because people know I watch movies and made sure I went out and saw this one.

And then I decided to wait a few months before dropping this review, just to see how many more times would people tell me to watch and review The Big Sick. The total count was 7, quite a large number, larger than any other film that has ever been requested. You know, because most of the times I just go and review the movie and not wait on it.

I just think it is interesting that basically everyone who saw it, made sure other people would go and see it too. It is like it was a guerrilla marketing ad campaign or something.

“Oh you are buying pasta? Will you eat it after you go see The Big Sick?”

Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani, yes playing himself), is a stand up comic living in the Windy City and generally he is poor and happy. His best friends are all stand up comics (Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant), and he lives with another one (Kurt Braunohler), but he isn’t as funny. Kumail is also an Uber driver! Good times for mad cash.

At some point after a show, he meets Emily (Zoe Kazan) in the bar. He tries to flirt with her, it goes okay, and they have a one night fling. But it is nothing serious. Won’t continue. Until it does! It keeps happening, despite her busy graduate school schedule, they just cannot stop doing the sexy and the dating.

Kumail has commitment issues though. You see, his parents (Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff) are traditional, and want to set him up with a traditional Pakistani arranged marriage. He doesn’t want it, but he plays along, because he loves his family, and if he dates a white woman he will be ostracized. So he is afraid of getting too close to Emily. So he doesn’t want to even meet her parents (Ray Romano, Holly Hunter) when they are in town!

This leads to issues. This leads to fights! But most importantly is the title of this movie. The Big Sick. Because throughout all of this, Emily gets sick. Really sick. A sickness that no one understands and is life threatening. The type of thing that can really bring people closer together. Well, not the sick person, but everyone around the sick person.

Also starring Adeel Akhtar!

If I had to have celebrities play my parents, this would be an ideal pairing.

This is a very personal story for Nanjiani, which shows. He clearly has passion in this movie and he wants people to know about the struggles that his wife went through and what began their relationship. After all, the best comedians drawn upon their own lives to help relate their work to other people, building a connection and having a good old laugh about it all. Even though it can be scary, even though it can be intense.

Romano and Hunter were FANTASTIC as the parents of Emily. They, too, felt wonderfully real and open about everything. I imagined them as a real couple quite easily, wearing the fear of concern on their face, while dealing with the awkward situation of a pseudo-boyfriend. It was great acting from those three.

What I really didn’t connect with at all was Kazan as Emily. After the fact, I realized that I recognized Kazan from other films (like the wonderful Ruby Sparks!) but forgot about them all in this movie. I just naturally assumed that maybe she wasn’t an actress and was also playing herself, as the love interest of Nanjiani. That makes sense. If he casts himself, he would cast the other main character of the story.

But it wasn’t. And the only reason I assumed this is because I did not think she did a great job in the first half of the film at all. It seemed like someone uncomfortable with acting. It is hard to explain, but she just didn’t work for me at all.

The movie is charming, it feels realistic, and it is overall wonderful. But at times it really did just feel like a regular RomCom and not something that elevated the genre. It was definitely a good entry in the genre, just not one I loved a lot. Although the 9/11 joke had me rolling, which is why I was sad to see it as part of the main advertising after the fact.

3 out of 4.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I love Ben Affleck. Wait let me rephrase that.

I love Ben Affleck. Oh, apparently that is what I meant. I am not saying Affleck is perfect. He had the bad stretch in the early 2000’s. But he is making a hell of a comeback and I have been cheering him on the whole time.

I was excited to hear he was playing Batman from the get go. Finally, a Batman from Boston. Obviously he won’t be from Boston in this film, so one dream was crushed, but I still feel he has the look and power to pull it off.

That is why I am excited to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I hope that it is better than the mediocre Man of Steel. I am also glad that the slate of DC movies is now determined for the next decade or whatever. After MoS, they initially said there would be a Man of Steel 2 like, a year later, then Justice League film to bring in everyone. I guess MoS2 turned into this, a Justice League prequel. A much smarter move.

Blue eyes
God damn, look at those dreamy blueish Batfleck eyes!

Metropolis got fucked over by Zod and Superman (Henry Cavill). You might remember it because it was a big source of frustration for many film goers at the lack of consequences. So in this film, they decided to make consequences.

Like by pissing off Batman (Ben Affleck). One of his financial buildings was destroyed in the fight, with many people who used to work for him killed and one worker (Scoot McNairy) lost his legs. His legs!

So now, two years later, Superman has been around for awhile and generally doing good. Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and the rest of the newspaper seem to be on his side and write good stories. Batman has been a vigilante for a long time as well, long before Superman arrived.

But now, two years later, a large source of Krptonite has been found in the ocean, and thanks to research by LexCorp and Lex Luther (Jesse Eisenberg), they have found that it can damage Kryptonian skin. Ooooh. He wants to build a Superman deterrent, just in case. You know, that is something that Batman can get behind.

And then a whole lot of other things happen. Like Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)! She is here too, damn it!

Also starring Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Tao Okamoto as Luther’s assistant, Laurence Fishburne as head of the newspaper, Holly Hunter as a senator, and Callan Mulvey as a generic bad dude.

Shit, does everyone have glowing eyes?

Batman v Superman, because the s in “vs” is one too many characters, is a bit over 2 and a half hours. And if you haven’t heard, there will be a directors cut with the Blu-Ray release that is about 3 hours and rated R. Yes, they made the bold decision of announcing a director’s cut before actual theatrical cut, something that is mostly unheard of. I think it was to mostly announce the R-ness, after the success of Deadpool.

With a long run time, there is of course a lot going in. Even though everyone in the world knows about Batman, they still have to give us a bit of an origin story for him. For the majority of the film, it is implied that Batman has been Batmanning for a long time, perhaps even 20 years at this point. He has a lot of history that they don’t get into, but it is something I will believe, because it implies past Joker interactions, everyone involved in Suicide Squad, and more. But if Superman has been here for almost two years, you’d think the two of them would have interacted at some point before now, given Gotham and Metropolis being across a bay from each other.

I am coming from a very pro-Batfleck back ground, but I think he knocked it out of the park as our caped crusader. And not just because of his chin. We have a lot less material to work with still, but I think he is definitely better than Nolan’s Batman (Batlan?) already. He is raw, he is angry, and he is calculating. Jeremy Irons does a wonderful Alfred, but I’d be honest, I think I liked every Alfred.

Wonder Woman was also very exciting. We really only get to see her for one fight scene, but when she appears, she commands the screen. She shows no fear, fights like a god, kicks ass, and even uses one of her trademark weapons. I wanted more Wonder Woman, hell, I wanted all of the Jusice League, but the other characters were only teased.

Cavill as Superman is more of the same from Man of Steel. Nothing too drastically different here, although his 6th sense of detecting if Lois is in trouble gets a bit ridiculous. He is a bit more of a tragic character in this film, with the Christ allegations no longer being subtle.

Lastly, in terms of characters, Eisenberg as Luther I am still mostly unsure about. A lot of the character seems to be similar to half of Eisenberg’s other characters. Smart aleck, talks fast, etc. By the end, it almost seemed like they wanted to turn him a bit into the Joker with a sort of madness behind him. Let’s call him passable.

No cool glowing eyes, but hey, one group shot so I don’t show favoritism.

Back to the movie as a whole. This film is all over the place. And honestly, early on the plot feels a bit convoluted. Most of the Lois Lane plot in retrospect feels a bit pointless. Everything is supposed to connect by the end, in a shower of brilliant planning, but it feels instead like it is full of holes and unnecessarily complicated. (“Hey, that’s what convoluted means! You already said that!” – Gorgon Reviews reader complaint).

The actual Batman v Superman fight scene was really cool, but in all honesty it just seemed like it was mostly to showcase how awesome Batman was. Superman never really went “full Superhero” during it, and the ending of the fight seemed sudden and a bit tacky.

As for the actual big crazy fight scene, which I won’t spoil despite the second trailer doing just that, it was occasionally nifty, while also often being messy. I really enjoyed the fight scenes between Zod and Superman in the previous film because it did a great job of showing how intense a fight between virtual gods would be, but this one takes place in the dark, with tons of explosions and flashing lights. It is harder to follow actually what is going on, which was only a problem in the Krypton pats of the first film. Basically every fight is in the dark and at night, making it annoying. We do get to see how the different characters fight and they aren’t just all bam bam pow.

Annoyingly, Batman seems to do something in the final fight that makes no real tactical sense. In fact, it seems like it is him doing something that he was angry at Superman for doing. They try to explain it off with a line, but as it was spoken, I could only shake my head wondering how something so stupid could be included in the film.

Favoritism, schmavoritism. Batfleck was clearly superior and everyone knows it.

The film doesn’t go about explaining a lot of smaller plot points. Sometimes it makes sense, as it assumes the audience is competent and knows a thing or two about these heroes. However, on Batman’s side, there are a lot of weird…dreams, moments, and references, that seem to mostly be teasing for the future and leaving me a bit perplexed at times. They tended to feel out of place and actually slow the movie down since they aren’t relevant yet.

And finally, FINALLY, the ending. Good news, it might be controversial again although not in the expected way. The whole time I was sitting there, I was confused. There were two routes it could have gone. One would have been really bold and a creative direction to take the future films, the other would be very obvious to any movie goer and thus have absolutely no impact. And yeah, it went the no impact route. The last 5-10 minutes seem to be almost cancelled out thanks to final scenes. On its own it will rustle at least dozens of jimmies.

Here is the good news. I think this film is a step in the right direction. There is a lot of good in there, just also a lot of meh to overall bring it down some. But it did still have me excited for Justice League and excited for Wonder Woman. As for Suicide Squad, the trailers still have me as mostly indifferent. This could be a fantastic film franchise and a nice foil to Marvel, it just will take a few more steps than The Avengers took to get there.

2 out of 4.