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.

Fifty Shades Freed

With Fifty Shades Freed coming out, it makes it the second trilogy to end in 2018 already, and it is only halfway through February! The other one was of course Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which was also complete shit.

I don’t know a lot about the point of this trilogy, but looking at the ad spots online, on youtube, on Hulu, the one thing I realized is that whatever the plot was, they certainly did not want to show it to the viewer. They just wanted us to see people being rich, doing some sexy stuff, and being rich. Rich, sex, rich.

Maybe that is the main point of the movie? Maybe they expect the plot to just maintain “oh, their relationship!” and it be an okay story overall.

edding
Is the wedding the climax, or just the beginning?

The movie begins with the saying of I do from our leads (Which is answers that question). After all, he proposed at the end of the second film, we don’t need to see them planning for it and all that shit. Let’s just see Anastasia become Anastasia Grey (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) stays the same. Which is one of those plots about the movie, him staying the same.

Now we can watch them traveling the world, honeymooning, sexing, being rich. You know. But some guy goes and steals some data from Grey’s company, cutting it short! Oh snap! Now we have some man, or some lady, trying to do bad things to them, and he has “no idea at all why!”. Security is beefed up and some things are a little bit less sexy.

But don’t worry, we still have time to deal with other issues. Like how they never even talked about when they would want kids or if they wanted kids at all. Perfect thing to do post marriage. On that note, that weird ex mistress of his that taught him all of his kinks? You’d think that would be important, but in this movie, it is basically just dealt with in a single scene and ignored the whole way through after it. Yay!

These people are in this movie: Brant Daughtery, Bruce Altman, Eloise Mumford, Eric Johnson, Hiro Kanagawa, Kristen Alter, Luke Grimes, Marcia Gay Harden, Max Martini, and Rita Ora.

SmallBoat
Will the SeaDoo scene be the new boat scene from the previous film?

This film is shit, and everyone knows it is shit. The people who put it out know it is shit. The reason the plot is hard to tell is because there is no discernible plot in the whole movie. Bad plot reasons for man to be bugging them. Characters act stupid and don’t understand what is being told to them, and intentionally characters put off obviously important information until it is too late. We have a couple who still doesn’t make sense together, who just get really kinky around each other I guess. Whatever happens never really looks like love.

We have a main character male who is emotionally and physically abusive at times, yes still in this movie. We have a cartoon bad guy. We have a scene where someone gets slapped twice and kicked in the stomach causing a short term coma, some how.

The infamous boat scene was recreated almost with a house they go to in Colorado. Watching the car go up the driveway, we then see several angles around the house, switch switch switch. It is still full of romantic (maybe? hard to tell when it all sounds the same) pop music, to fill any sort of space they might have for character growth.

And just in case you forgot the other films, near the end, we get to see a long montage of the first two movies, of their romance scenes and travels. Yes, we still see that damn boat again in this film. They did it just to troll me.

And then at some point the movie ends, without resolving one of the major plot issues their relationship had with his ex mistress lady he couldn’t ever stop confiding in. Hooray!

0 out of 4.

Fifty Shades Darker

Two years ago, we were finally given Fifty Shades of Grey. After years of anticipation. And we were given an R rated film that wasn’t as intense as the book, when all we wanted was an NC-17 penis showing flick.

It was bad, but it could have been worse. And strangely enough, the parody, Fifty Shades of Black was just as good as Grey. Meaning they both were bad, but just as bad as each other.

And now we have Fifty Shades Darker. Which according to my wife is a better movie, focusing less on people getting beat and more on a story. But books don’t always translate well into film, so I will note I am expecting the worst and hoping for…well, the worst as well.

Vagina
His hand is in or near her vagina.

Unfortunately this movie does not begin inside the elevator as Anna (Dakota Johnson) leaves Christian (Janie Dornan) for good. No, it is some time later, maybe even months. Christian sends her gifts, she ignores them. And instead of working at a hardware store, she has a job as an assistant to a fiction editor, Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) in Seattle.

Life is good for Anna now, but she still misses Christian, just can’t handle his paddle. Anna also keeps seeing a creepy girl (Bella Heathcote) watching her every once in awhile, with bandages on her wrists. Blah blah, eventually Anna talks to Christian again, and immediately wants to hop on his dick some more. No more contract this time, just a slow relationship with immediate passionate sex and foreplay. And despite saying no rules, there are still some rules. Like he can’t just hurt her. And she can’t touch his chest. Oh okay.

Oh, plot. There is a plot. Yes. Okay, the boss of Anna’s is an obvious jerk and jealous of Christian. The creepy girl is one of Christian’s past subs still obsessed with him. And there is Elena Lincoln (Kim Basinger), the woman who taught Christian about sex, involved with his life and being a bitch too. And hey! Christian has a new security dude (Max Martini). Anna still overreacts to a lot of things, and Christian still doesn’t know how to carry on a conversation.

Oh, and of course flashbacks that imply that Christian’s fetishes are actually the results of abuse, abandonment, and things he has to change and not something Anna has to accept.

Also returning in their previous film roles, no matter how brief are: Marcia Gay Harden, Andrew Airlie, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, and Victor Rasuk.

Masq0
Now you cannot see their shame or anxiety.

There are so many things wrong with this movie, I knew it would be an easy and fun analysis to write. First major issue is of course that it ended up being worse than the first film! How was that possible?!

Darker decided to go a different route with the story. No, there is still some level of eroticism. But in way of public acts and sex beads, versus more traditional paddling used in the first film. A film can have all of this and still be a good film, but unfortunately instead of going for a good film, they decide to just take any and all important plot points and resolve them as quickly as possible. They must have decided that these scenes only exist as a way of transitioning between soft core porn scenes. But you know, still quite softer than anything else that exists. Because it is just an R rated movie with “Some graphic nudity” (meaning no, we still don’t see penis).

Now lets go into the scenes between sex. Well, there are technically some important plot points that occur in the film. Like Anna’s boss being all rapey. And right after the threat exists, in the next scene he is already fired and then she has his job. Boom, resolved. She has to go to a meeting in his place, we then hear a stupid idea, her obvious and better idea, boom, they like it, she is great at her job.

There is a helicopter crash. And within the next three minutes, despite being in a mountain wilderness, they area not only found to be alive but hey, back at the house and just seemingly ignoring that it even happened. There is a creepy girl, who appears a few times, and boom, she is subdued, lets move on.

This means the plot of the film is just their relationship, without a viable end goal. And with our ending, it isn’t as bad as the first one, but it feels like a terrible cartoon, with returning characters looking badly menacing. Shit, it is worse than a terrible cartoon, it is more like a bad soap opera (not a good soap opera).

Obviously the acting is still bad. Anna is still annoying and overreacts to everything. Christian is a character who has no ability to express feelings, so Dornan is wooden.

Oh, and yeah, the movie begins to imply the only reason someone would be into BDSM type things is thanks to physical abuse and sexual abuse in the past. You know, instead of regular fetishes. Yay, demonizing real, mostly normal people!

0 out of 4.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax

My decision to watch The 9th Life of Louis Drax seemed to happen almost by accident. In fact, I had four options for screeners to go see, an overwhelming number of choices. One of them was about to come out in theaters, so I didn’t want to rush the review. Another one didn’t come out for almost two months, and there would be more future screenings. So it came down to this film and a war film.

I settled on 9th Life merely because it seemed weird. Both films seemed interesting, both had mysterious components. But this title was just a bit stranger.

And hey, going on to read the IMDB page really didn’t answer any questions. I figured it was based on a book and would just be an actual unique movie to witness. I just didn’t imagine it would also be intense, haunting, and emotional.

Wires
And hey, you know what they say.
Wires on the head, sexy in bed.

Louis Drax (Aiden Longworth) is not your average little kid. On his 9th birthday, he finds himself falling off a cliff, straight into the ocean. You see, Louis Drax has always been accident prone. His birth was an accident, he almost killed his mom, Natalie (Sarah Gadon) in the process and needed an emergency C-Section. When he was a baby, a light fixture fell on him in his crib, breaking ribs. But Louis survived. Louis survived electric shocks, food poisoning, and more, and damn it, he is going to survive this.

Sure, he was declared legally dead for over two hours and is now in a coma, but he survived. Sure, his dad (Aaron Paul) allegedly pushed him over the edge and is now on the run missing, but he survived. He is now having visions in his coma, causing him to flashback through his life, but he survived.

And he has a great coma doctor to help him in Dr. Allan Pascal (Jamie Dornan), who also gives TED talks about coma stuff that is totally relevant to the plot. However, Pascal’s relationship with Natalie, as they both mourn over Louis’ fate gets a bit too personal and with the dad potentially stalking around, it can get bad.

At the same time, they really have to get to the bottom of all these accidents. Why is God seemingly out to get this little boy, causing him to need to see a psychiatrist (Oliver Platt) for all of his issues?

Also starring Lina Roessler, Julian Wadham, Molly Parker, Barbara Hershey, and Anjali Jay.

Picnic
Ah, what a happy little family. 9th birthdays are always full of falling from heights, right?

The 9th Life of Louis Drax is the type of film I would love to talk about, complete with spoilers, but that is now how my site has worked. So I will respect that and keep things vague.

9th Life was a movie going experience. Not in the same way of something like Lord of the Rings, but an emotional roller coaster, going more than up and down, but also backwards, looping, spinning, and in circles. I’m sorry, that hyperbole was kind of shit. The intro showed Louis going through accidents growing up, including as a baby, and it basically made me horrified. I cried. And that was just the beginning. (Editor’s Note: Yes, I also cried at the ending).

Louis in the coma was a strange place, full of flashbacks, weird creatures and demonic voices. What was happening in real life at the same time was just so odd and strange. In terms of the mystery, I figured it out for the most part about halfway through. However, I was wildly wrong on the smaller details and guessing a big part of the end didn’t take away from the actual experience.

Spy
No, we don’t get to see Dornan’s penis. Stop asking. This is like Fifty Shades of Grey all over again.

The acting from Gadon, Dornan, Longworth, and Paul were all top notch. This is probably the best acting I have seen from Paul since Breaking Bad. He had me in tears at one part as well. Gadon’s character was appropriately weird, Longworth carried every scene despite being such a young actor, and Dornan was a very relatable character. It was easy to see his mistakes and understand why he was making them, while also finding him sincere in all of his actions.

And shit. This movie despite being fiction is about real diseases and problems. Again, if I went into specifics, it’d count as spoilers. There was one really odd scene at first that didn’t feel realistic. However, it fit within the universe that the movie had created, so it wasn’t completely out of place. It did provide a very haunting and sad ending as all of the threads were finally unraveled.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax surprised me. I both want to see it again and kind of never again. Good performances all around and damn it, an original story as well.

4 out of 4.

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Let’s start with the obvious.

Literally everyone at this point knows that Fifty Shades Of Grey started out as some sort of Twilight fan fiction. People liked it, she changed the characters names a bit, gave them some new jobs and that was about it. Literally even the setting is the same. When watching, I could easily imagine Edward and Bella in each scene. The mannerisms, whatever. Yeah.

Either way. That is besides the point.

The other thing I heard about Fiddy Shades is that it is a poor portrayal of BDSM subculture and what this movie really promotes is sexual abuse and lies. Oh good. Perfect date night film then. There are also issues with the rating itself (which I will get to later) and apparently the director and book author argued a bunch on set.

Sexy Sex SexSex
I’m sorry, I can’t hear your criticisms over these chiseled abs and bare skin.

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) met under unusual circumstances. She interviewed him at his company because he was going to be giving the commencement speech at her graduation. He is a billionaire. She is a senior English Lit major who is doing the interview for her sick roommate (Eloise Mumford). But he sees something in her and she mostly just thinks he is hot.

However, she is also very inexperienced. Despite having average looks, she is a virgin, saving herself for the one she really wants. Fuck this pretense. Christian wants to spank dat ass, and Anastasia doesn’t know what she wants, outside of the fact that she wants Christian’s body too.

So he gives her a taste. Like, a dick taste. But does that get her hooked? No, not really. She knows about what he really wants, and he makes it perfectly clear. He has a contract, things up for negotiation, everything laid out on the table. But she doesn’t want a contract, she wants their relationship instead to be confusing and “normal” where things can happen without rules. In fact, the whole film she just leads him on instead, refusing to sign the contract, not because she doesn’t want to, but because she keeps going back and forth. Not that changing your mind is bad. But refusing to come to a decision for weeks is kind of annoying.

Also featuring the Grey-clan, like Marcia Gay Harden, Max Martini, and Rita Ora. I have been told the last person is a singer.

Red Rope
Grey isn’t the only color in the movie. Unless Red is a shade of Grey. I don’t know, I don’t “see color.”

First of all, I am definitely disappointed in the R rating. Boooo. You might wonder why? The only way it can go higher is the dreaded NC-17 rating, which major movie chains refuse to show! Only indie art house theaters! Well, obviously, an erotic novel for adults only with very graphic sex scenes should be that rating in movie form. But also, this was like, our ONE chance for the major movie chains to change their opinion. They know this is going to make money. They wouldn’t refuse a film version when the book was so hyped up. They would have caved and maybe we would have gotten more NC-17 movies in theaters in the future.

But yeah, missed opportunity.

As for the abuse part? I looked very hard. Christian never does anything to Anna that she does not agree to. Never. Sometimes it takes convincing, but real adult people are allowed to discuss things. Yes he is more experienced, but like in real relationships there will usually always be someone more experienced. If convincing someone to try new things sexually is abusive behavior, then man, I’d imagine most relationships are abusive.

At the same time, this doesn’t really put a good spotlight on the BDSM community, known for being very high on communication. Why not? Christian follows their rules pretty well it seems (despite Anna’s best attempts to muck things up), but they also made him an abused figure in his past who came from a crackhead mom. So they are also painting the picture that BDSM is “not right” and clearly it is due to bad experiences in his youth. Shit, looks like they are also trying to burn all bridges here.

Anyways, Dakota Johnson was very believable in her role, I guess, even if she is stupidly annoying the entire time. The character’s actions rarely make sense to me, but she acted great in it. Dornan had the serial killer look down I guess, but I thought he overacted his part.

In all reality, I thought the movie was okay for the most part. But the ending was down right terrible. Terrible in a “Hey, fuck you guys, you don’t get a complete story in this one, you have to watch two more movies to get a complete story.”

Cliffhangers are one thing. They can work well for a series. But if that series can’t even complete a fucking basic arc, then it is just filler pointlessness. I don’t know anything about how the rest of this story goes, but if it is like the first one, then I can safely assume it probably should have just been one movie and not fucking three.

Also, there were no dicks in the movie. Some bush on both ends, and maybe the start of a shaft once. This is what I assume you all really wanted to know.

1 out of 4.