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.

Mama

Good news everyone! I am now officially willing to watch horror movies. Do I still cringe like a little girl when I see them? Yes. But I can usually control my outer composer enough to make it through without tears.

With that said, most horrors I will probably find scary, so it might not be too strong of a statement when I say that Mama was the scariest movie I have seen this year. Especially since in these few weeks I have only seen one horror movie.

Oh fuck this shit
Right off the bat, this movie is a world of NOPE.

Mama begins during the financial crisis of a few years ago. It really put the hurt on certain families, driving their bread winners to suicidal behavior. In this case, the father has just killed his wife and kidnapped his two daughters, speeding away on icy roads. Well, he crashes, because that is what icy roads do. Luckily, they all survive and they are able to find an abandoned cabin in the woods. The oldest daughter Victoria (Megan Charpentier) can talk, but has broken her glasses, and the youngest daughter, Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse) is still a toddler.

But a mysterious super natural force decides that the father is a deadbeat, kills him, and looks after the kids. Five years later, their uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) finally finds them and they are all sorts of messed up. After some time with a therapist (Daniel Kash), they are released into his care with his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), in a sweet new house so they can study their behavior.

Surely the evil spirit will be happy to see the kids in loving real hands, right?

Chastain
Bonus points to this movie for not parading Jessica in only revealing clothing.

As expected, yes, I found this movie scary. Guillermo del Toro was the executive producer, and you can really see his influence on the movie. For the most part, the camera work was top notch for setting up the scenes and making the whole movie seem eerily beautiful.

I loved the “cold open” of the movie, jumping straight into the action, but also letting full opening credits come in a bit later.

Most horrors have a problem where they lose a bit of the fear when they actually show a clear view of the monster, and unfortunately for Mama this is still true. In fact, if I wasn’t so afraid, I would probably find her a bit comical in nature.

It is also interesting to see Jessica Chastain in a movie like this, where she plays a dark haired slacker who doesn’t know how to raise kids, when her normal roles involve over achievers and perfectionists.

Finally, I loved the ending of the movie. The final scenes were set up so nicely and it had me guessing until the end. The plot didn’t entirely make sense to me, but I don’t think they cared at that point of the movie. I also doubt there will be any sequels to this franchise, which is a bonus is my mind.

3 out of 4.