Tag: Mystery

See How They Run

A lot of times to start these reviews, I will talk about the title as an effective or ineffective tool, or how people might perceive the movie. This time it isn’t a joke. It is all honesty. See How They Run sounds like a horror film. It just does. Or maybe even a war film.

I would have never guessed a Comedy/Mystery movie. I certainly would never have guessed it was something Agatha Christie adjacent. What does that mean? You will soon find out.

You will also find out why this stacked cast, full of actors I love, did very little for me unfortunately throughout the picture.

cast
This is most of the cast! Not even the biggest names! One or more of these characters might die!

In the 1950’s, there was TV and Movies, but let’s be clear, it wasn’t the top tier stuff we know about now. So what did people do? Well, there wasn’t a war, so they went to plays!

One popular playwright was Agatha Christie, whom you have heard of before. She wrote a lot of murder mystery plays, which had the audience guessing and sworn to secrecy that they wouldn’t spoil the ending of the play. After all, then people wouldn’t come and see them!

One play in particular, The Mouse Trap, was doing very well, and it got a lot of people excited about murder mysteries. It may have been even based on a real story. It is doing so well, a few people have the great idea to turn it into a film. People are watching films now, so why not let a lot more see it on a bigger scale? Great idea!

Until people start dying, who are associated with the film. No, this is not Scream 3. This is See How They Run. Now we have an Inspector (Sam Rockwell) and his rookie assistant (Saoirse Ronan) are going to try and find the killer. While also dealing with apathy and inexperience. And some intrigue, sure.

Also starring Shirley Henderson, Adrien Brody, David Oyelowo, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Charlie Cooper, and Harris Dickinson as a young Richard Attenborough.

running
See, I kept the biggest names hidden. Oh what a mystery that was!

This film is going for some sort of meta look on Agatha Christie plays, by having a murder mystery involved with the making of an Agatha Christie film. A real murder during fake murders! It is something that has been done before, so while feeling like it could be a unique look, it isn’t actually too unique. Now we have to compare it to just meta murder films and plays. At the same time, we have to compare it to actual Agatha Christie plays.

That is a lot of comparisons it needs to overcome. Unfortunately, it fails on those levels.

In terms of positives, I can say this movie is really well shot and costumed. It has a great visual look to it, and it is clearly using some good cameras and interesting scenes. I also think Ronan’s character was interesting, and that this one felt a bit more unique when compared to the majority of her other roles. Again, the spunky new cop who is smart and gets things figured out is not a new archetype either. It is just unique for her own body of work.

In terms of everything else, I am just left disappointed. From the eventual reveal, to the death scenes, to the jokes (this is a comedy, technically), and to even Sam Rockwell. I love Sam Rockwell. But much like his character didn’t want to be there, it felt like he didn’t want to be there either.

See How They Run is just a snooze. The jokes fall as flat as the bodies that eventual hit the floor. Its meta qualities don’t even feel like a unique enough reason to give it a watch out of curiosity.

1 out of 4.

The Outfit

I do love me some double meaning titles in movies. They literally carry me through life. Without them, I would be a lost little shell of a man, who has no friends, no family, no love, and of course, no double meaning titles.

Last year we got CODA, which was brilliant, and already this year we now have The Outfit. The Outfit is a nickname given to the Chicago mafia specifically, and it is pretty well known. And this movie is also going to involve a tailor? A suit maker? Someone who literally designs outfits?

Sign me up. But only if the movie includes actual tailoring and suit crafting knowledge and teaching. I don’t want it to be about someone who looks like they are faking it, or the movie doesn’t know the subject matter. Teach me, or else I riot.

shot
No, get out of here with your guns. I want to learn about tailoring and suit making!

Leonard (Mark Rylance) is an older gentleman, who runs his own suit shop. By appointment only, he will design all of the way a fresh suit for whoever will buy one, and it will be of the highest quality. But he is NOT a tailor. That is just a bitch who can sew. He is a cutter. He is a trained cutter. He demands that title respect too. He also has a receptionist (Zoey Deutch) who dreams of traveling the world some day, and collects snow globes to put in their shop window.

And sometimes, when he is working, with or without customers, men in suits come in to put envelopes in a lock box in the back room. Very suspicious. Leonard ignores them. And apparently at the end of the day, two mobsters (Dylan O’Brien, Johnny Flynn) go to the lockbox to retrieve the envelopes, and go back off into the night.

Looks like Leonard is a safe house for the mob, but he tries to not get involved in their antics. Does he do it for protection? For survival? Is he a former mobster? Who knows!

But once a note gets out that there is a rat in the organization, it turns out his closed shop is going to be almost ground zero for betrayal, backstabbing, and just regular amounts of death.

Also starring Simon Russell Beale, Nikki Amuka-Bird, and Alan Mehdizadeh.

tailors
Yessss, this is the content I have come here for.

Did I learn how to be a tailor cutter? No, not really. But I did learn a little bit about it, which is more than I have ever assumed I would in my life, so that is a plus. Rylance’s narration reminded me a bit about Michael Caine‘s narration in The Prestige. No, I won’t go into specifics, for potential spoiler reasons, but they seemed to have the same overall goal. Also, Caine’s name in The Prestige was actually Cutter. Is that a coincidence? Yes, probably.

I loved The Outfit for sure. The entire thing takes place inside of the shop, which is wonderful. I love it when movies get Bottle Episode-y.

There were twists and turns in the film, some expected, some not. I certainly wasn’t sure the entirety of who the rat was by the end. I wasn’t sure who would live or die either. It was very slow moving at points, but the sitting and waiting really helped make me feel more uncomfortable, which is a good thing. I don’t want a mystery to feel pointless. You don’t want a mystery to feel pointless.

I think all of the actors involved did a swell job, but extra shoutout to Johnny Flynn. First, he is the actor with the most mobster like name in real life. But I was really impressed with his attitude, and accent, for being the fourth biggest name on the main cast list. I don’t know anything about him, but his character was magnificent.

The Outfit won’t likely do well in the box office, but from this critics mouth, it was a great movie, and one I can imagine watching even more than once.

4 out of 4.

Nightmare Alley

The last time we got a Guillermo del Toro film is when he directed the one about fucking a fish.

Will someone fuck a different creature in Nightmare Alley? Hard to say based on the title alone. I did not know until a little bit before hand that Nightmare Alley was an older book, and also an older movie from 1947. So we are getting a remake. And honestly, this is the exact reason for remakes in my mind. Often remakes are made for successful film that they just want to try again because people liked the first one. They should do more remakes either based on films that failed, or at least just more unknown work to give them a new fresh light.

Not to insult those of you who know and love the original Nightmare Alley film, but honestly, it isn’t super well known now, regardless of how big it may have been in the past.

This new version promised to be closer to the book. Alright, whatever, I am just hear for the movies. Specifically, Guillermo del Toro movies.

carnyNo, this isn’t a screengrab from the next Indiana Jones flick…
Who is that mysterious stranger, Stan Carlisle (Bradley Cooper)? The one with the smooth outfit, the clean face, the twinkle in his eyes, the hat? The one who burned down that house for some reason and is willing to just…drift.

Stan finds himself at a traveling show, a carnival, full of lies and deceit. But he sees a geek show, and agrees to help load up for the night for a small payment. And then he gets offered a job to stay along more, because he looks like someone who just needs to be there.

So he stays, he listens, and he learns. Quickly. He learns the tools of the trade. He has plans and ambitions. He has been kept quiet and hidden for so long, he thinks he can take some of these skills and become famous. A celebrity. But if he becomes a man who deals with deceit, eventually, he will be deceited right in the ass.

Also starring Cate Blanchett, Clifton Collins Jr., David Strathairn, Holt McCallany, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, Rooney Mara, Tim Blake Nelson, Toni Collette, and Willem Dafoe.

blindI bet his eyes aren’t even closed under there. He is using those eyes and his blindfold eye. He is a phony!

Nightmare Alley is so damn aesthetically pleasing to look at. It is polished (some would even say,¬†polished as fuck). I know it is getting harder and harder to really tell how much of a movie is made in front of green screens, but it feels as if this film was mostly main in real places and scenes, using fine cameras to make everything pop. That is what I truly hope and believe, especially since I know del Toro is a fan of using as many practical effects as possible, generally. But maybe most of it is CGI’d, who knows. It looks wonderful.

The big cast works really together. Some in much smaller roles than expected, but still bringing in their all to tell this strange story. It was good to see Perlman get some work in a non straight to video film. Blanchett is in particular quite a force, basically stealing the movie away from Cooper’s character after she walks into it. She is given a really strong role and one that is hard to top. Cooper also does a wonderful job. It takes awhile before his character starts to talk. I wondered if he would be a silent protagonist for the whole film (like Cage was recently in Wally’s Wonderland) but once he started to actual talk, getting him to stop was the harder part.

The actual story for the film is also a pretty good one, if not slightly familiar in some ways. The ending is the type of thing you can see miles away, because they foreshadow everything really hard. However, it is okay knowing how it ends up, because finding out the lengths someone can fall and also rise is often the most exciting part of a film.

Nightmare Alley, shockingly, has no puppet animals, or strange creatures, or any non humans getting fucked. Is this growth? Nah. That was a one time thing for del Toro. Until it isn’t.

3 out of 4.

Secret Magic Control Agency

When I first found out about Secret Magic Control Agency, I figured I was definitely not going to watch that movie. Its poster/images just screamed a straight to DVD, low effort, low budget, animated film. I loathe those types. They always make me so angry. They are extremely basic on story, and hide behind the fact that they are a kids film in order to say they don’t have to stand up to the quality expectations of an adult.

Fuck that noise. Kids deserve quality too. Should we only ever feed our kids hot dogs, and never let them try pork roasts, or steaks, or turkey? No. Kids can know good stuff exists too, even if it means coming to terms with the fact that a lot of basic stuff out there is, in fact, basic, and not worth their time.

So why did I watch it? Because it actually released on Netflix. A much bigger platform than expected, so I need to check it out quick to see if it is worth time before people get stuck wasting their own time potentially. Or you know. maybe it was great and I needed to spread the word.

kids
Corgis, by definition, are low effort as well. 

In this magical kingdom based on (checks notes), ugh, fairy tales, we have kings and queens and magic users and all of that. But because of shenanigans in the past, magic is now regulated by the Secret Magic Control Agency. I guess they are like the CIA force of this world. I don’t know what they actually do most of the time (make sure people doing magic have the appropriate bureaucratic paperwork? Capture people using magic like a villain?) but right now they have a very important job. The king was kidnapped!

Led astray by some mysterious food. Oh no. So the agency is going to get one of their top up and coming agents on it. Gretel (Courtney Shaw)! Why just one person? No, the powers that be think they need to get a thief as well to join her, someone who knows how to lie (something that the agency should be able to handle given their normal job functions…?) and they specifically search out Hansel (Nicholas Corda / Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld). Yes. Siblings.

But they are grown up, one is a charlatan, the other a law enforcer. And they want them to work together to get the king back before everyone realizes he is gone. So they have to put away their differences and you know, do that.

Also featuring the voice work of Erica Schroeder, Johanna Elmina Moise, Marc Thompson, Mike Pollock, and Tyler Bunch.

steal
Captured but unlimited dessert? There are worse places to be. 

Low. Effort. Films. That could be enough of my analysis and end, but I guess I will be specific.

This could have been a generic fantasy film about completely new entities. But they decided no, we NEED this to be Hansel and Gretel. Why? WHY? The fact that they are these characters doesn’t do really anything for this story. They make a bread crumb way back home reference. There is one line about the Grimm Brothers writing up their shenangians, but in charge of changing the details to make it sound like a story instead to…hide the truth? From who? Is this set in the past in this world? This has a lot of advanced stuff in here, and wouldn’t make sense to be set in our own world, let alone the past. That is a bad joke and they should feel bad.

The only thing they needed for the plot would be to have a brother and sister. Almost all of this is new material. Just because something is on the public domain, doesn’t mean it has to be used. No child is going to be picking movies and be iffy about this film, but see that it has H&G and go “Oh shit, hold on momma, this got my favorites in it lets get it!”. No one cares and it just makes an already lazy movie feel more lazy.

Honestly, if this was an original story that wasn’t relying on name recognition of aspects in order to tell a story, it would fall easily in the 1 out of 4 territory, because at least there was effort. But the lack of effort just pisses me off, especially when the makers would probably acknowledge that this film isn’t great themselves. They would just mark it off as a kids movie and say it works for that level, and that is unacceptable.

0 out of 4.

Happily

Happy is a fun word. Most words with 2 ‘p’s in a row in them end up being fun, I think. Well not disappointment. Or apprehension. Or inappropriate. Or whippersnapper, which has two sets of 2 ‘p’s. 

Okay, I am not sure where I was going with this, except that my initial understanding of a concept (2 ‘p’s’ means fun) was wrong in closer expectation.

You know. Sort of like the movie Happily. Whereas with a lot of inspection, my ideas about it have changed after my initial thoughts of it. I thought this would be a happy film. Or maybe the title would be sarcastic, and it would be a terrifying film. But we definitely got something well in between both of those extremes. 

love
Red Light Sexy Time, a new cologne, for very specific occasions. 

Tom (Joel McHale) and Janet (Kerri Bish√©) have a secret. They are in love. Love? Is this a bad secret? Are they married to other people? Is this a crush? Did they just meet? No. They have been married for 14 years, and they are still going through that extreme lust phase, where they want to bone everywhere and go out of there way for big acts. All of their friends find it weird and uncomfortable and they hate it, they literally have told them this. They got kicked out of a couples weekend because everyone is sick of them.

The next day, a mysterious stranger (Stephen Root) who works for the city shows up to discuss something important with them. He says that every once in awhile, someone has a defect, and they aren’t built like others. It doesn’t matter most of the time. But both of our main characters have the same defect. They never lose that desire, that happiness. They don’t have diminishing returns. So he is here to fix it, just has to give them both a nice shot and they will wake up the next day fixed.

Well, one dead body later, they are certainly not going to let whatever this is happen. 

Awkward awkward, dead body, ahh. Good thing they don’t fight and can work together to deal with this situation! However, after this, they get re-invited to the couples weekend. Weird. I guess the couples don’t care anymore. But also. Wait. Fuck. What if they sent the guy as a prank? What if there is no actual shot? Or what if it was a real thing that they all knew about except for Tom and Janet, and they are only inviting them because they are normal now? Shit, now this weekend is going to be suspicious. 

Also starring Breckin Meyer, Charlyne Yi, Jon Daly, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Natalie Morales, Natalie Zea, Paul Scheer, and Shannon Woodward

roots
I hope all mysterious strangers are played by Stephen Root in the future.

One of my friends uttered that they would never watch Happily again, and to this, I tend to agree. If anything, I could watch it to find out if I missed something during the movie, but I wouldn’t watch the whole movie to find that out. I would watch just a few scenes and the ending again. I don’t think I missed anything, yet I find myself still confused and underwhelmed by the end.

I guess the message of the film is that people aren’t perfect, everyone has secrets, and life moves on? I don’t know.

I honestly don’t fully understand all the intrigue that happened by the end, and I don’t know if the makers of the film did either? As far as I know, multiple aspects weren’t explained (and I am not talking about Root’s character, which makes since to be more mysterious). It had good ideas, but the execution was lacking.

It felt like most of the movie was just an introduction, but when the plot finally got going, it rushed through it and left us longing. I don’t want to be left longing if I also feel unfulfilled.

I am keeping it at an average rating, because it did raise some interesting questions with some interesting scenarios, but it never felt properly together in one piece to really do much else. 

2 out of 4.

Synchronic

Synchronic has probably one of the best movie posters I have seen of this year. Check it out. I don’t know anything about this movie going into it, but it captivates a lot of imagery. Is it about time travel? It is probably about time travel. Maybe.

The film is directed by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, who have worked together before, but got relatively famous in the indie community for directing The Endless a couple of years ago. That was a film I wanted more out of, and probably need to give a second chance viewing.

But they love dealing with the mysterious, and the drama, and the fantasy, so I am sure, sure…that this movie is about time travel. Probably.

OH ALSO! The directors care about safety, and don’t actually want you to go to theaters if it isn’t safe enough. That is pretty awesome and will hurt their line and maybe their status in the business, but hey, they have morals damn it.

night
Well, there’s no proof of time travel in this picture. Unless they time travel to night time of the same day.

Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) are paramedics down in New Orleans, and this movie has nothing to do with Katrina (yay!). It is just a setting. A lot of their job unfortunately is working with people hurt and dying of drug overdoses, given the location of their city. Nothing against people with addictions, it is just a same to see so many young lives lost and stuck.

Steve has his own worries going on, about his future career, and about his life, after being a bachelor for so long. His partner has a wife (Katie Aselton) and kids, the oldest Brianna (Ally Ioannides) is turning 18 and wants to move away for college. What the hell is Steve doing with his life?

Well, at the same time, a new designer drug hits their area, named Synchronic. Nice name. It gets a real unique feeling but has side effects, of course. Shit starts getting wild around them, like, their world changes. Sometimes people feel like they are going to a completely different part of the world in a different time. Like…time travel. But sometimes, young people don’t return for some reason.

And sure enough, Brianna goes missing. Did she take the drug? Is it time for experiment drug taking to save a life?

day
Okay, this also isn’t time travel. This is just normal day time, booo.

As I already stated, I did see their first film The Endless. And despite not getting fully entrenched in that film, I can say visually it is obvious these are the same directors. A lot of it stylistically feels the same, despite having a higher budget this time around for better equipment (and the low equipment was likely part of the appeal of The Endless). It still contains that ominous air of mystery and music around the situation, asking us to wonder how much of it is real and where is the story going?

Mackie absolutely slays in the lead of this film. He feels so emotional and real. We get all about his business and this entire film feels personal to him. I don’t remember if we have ever seen this side of him before, but Mackie does have a lot of smaller films to his name, they aren’t all just Avengers an cop movies, so I can’t say I’ve seen them all.

The drug is relatively unique and I love, LOVE, the rules associated with it and the methodology put into it by the characters to discover just how things worked. It didn’t answer all the questions, but enough to get the job done.

This is a film about finding your purpose in life, whether you are read for it or not. Accepting a destiny that is hard to fathom until the moment really shows itself. How can you better yourself or your surroundings when so much shit is falling apart in front of your eyes?

Synchronic has some great visuals that are limited in nature, you have to wait for them and earn them (outside of the opening scene). It doesn’t overwhelm you with special effects constantly, it is a lot more grounded in reality. It is a fresh and unique film and one that is worth at least one gander, if not two.

3 out of 4.

Knives Out

As a critic of film, I try to not let hype over take me, but for a film like Knives Out it has been quite hard to ignore the praise.

Best murder mystery in decades? Stellar cast where everyone brings their best? Laughs and shocks galore?

It was hard to not get swept up in the rush, so much that just getting ready to watch Knives Out made me appreciate the movie I saw before it a bit less due to wondering if I’d even get a good seat.

Also, it’s probably best to even skip my middle section, because generally the less you know about a mystery, the better!

cop
Unless you a detective, in which case, you want to know as much as possible.

Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) was found in his attic with his throat cut, blood everywhere. By all accounts, a suicide.

But now, a week later, it looks like there are still questions. Officially led by two local officers (LaKeith Stanfield, Noah Segan), but the main questions are coming from Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), a southern detective of notoriety who is being backed by a mysterious patron to find the truth of the matter.

Harlan’s Nurse, Marta (Ana de Armas), is going to be his main go to in order to get the inside scoop on the family, full of people with secrets. So many people, let’s just call them the family (Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Jaeden Martell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Katherine Langford, Michael Shannon, Riki Lindhome, Toni Collette).

But of course, nothing is as it seems, and blah blah blah, til the very end!

Also starring Edi Patterson as the house keeper.

stare
J’Accuse…!

Yes, Knives Out was very creative with its reveals and its pacing. Yes, Craig was magnificent in his role as eccentric detective, with a lot of funny lines. Yes, de Armas carried a lot of weight on her shoulders as well, and was a great leading lady. Yes, a lot of the twist and turns were very much on point and unexpected.

And yet, it still didn’t do everything perfect.

With a large cast, I felt like only three~ people ended up being important. A lot of big names are in there, have a moment or two, but are really wasted. The script does not allow for the large amount of people to shine and it is a bit disappointing in that regard. Hell, I am pretty sure Lindhome didn’t have an actual line of dialogue in this movie, outside of gasps, facial expressions, and argument background noise when everyone is talking at once.

And even if the ending technically works, and the reveals are all laid out, it is so god damn convoluted that it will not only be impossible to guess, it takes a lot of mental work to follow through.

This could be very well be a movie that is best tasted after 2-3 tries, and is still a very enjoyable experience. But if certainly did not dethrone Clue as the best murder mystery movie, in terms of humor, wit, or reveals.

3 out of 4.

Fractured

When Netflix released its line up for Netflix and Chills for October, I ignored it. Hell, I assumed most people ignored it. It featured a lot of titles that were original releases, so really, I had no reason to hype them as they were unknown to me.

What am I going to do, watch a trailer? For a NETFLIX movie? Psha.

The only reason I gave Fractured a chance (because it didn’t even make the front page of my Netflix feed) is thanks to positive word of mouth, and frankly, I am just here to pass it on.

waiting room
Waiting for a reason to watch a trailer for a Netflix film.

Ray (Sam Worthington) and his family are driving up to the extended family for Thanksgiving holiday. They are heading up to Minnesota and a bit late, so they are not enjoying the long flatness of the Midwest en route. A lot of anger and minor arguments between him and his wife (Lily Rabe). Thankfully their young daughter (Lucy Capri) seems to be mostly ambivalent.

However, when stopping at a rest stop for normal reasons, and to clean a mess, a dog scares their little one. Ray tries to get the dog away, but she still falls into a construction pit and she is hurt. Ray is a little bit shaken up, but his wife snaps him out of it, and they decide to drive her to a local hospital for a check up.

Things go slow, his wife is nagging, so Ray has to bug the staff over and over again to get things moving, but they finally look at her, see nothing wrong, and bring her in for a cat scan to check the rest of her body.

Ray can’t go downstairs with his family during this time, so he waits in the waiting room. And he waits. And he waits. And he waits. But they do not return. And now the staff has changed, and no one says there is any proof of there being his family there.

This sounds like the hospital has stolen his wife and child for not being from there and no insurance, to do what…steal their organs maybe? This is not what Ray wanted when he stopped by, but he has to figure out how to get his family back, when the whole system seems to be against him.

Also starring Chad Bruce, Erik Athavale, Stephanie Sy, Shane Dean, Lauren Cochrane, Adjoa Andoh, and Stephen Tobolowsky.

fall
Me falling forward in anticipation of more Stephen Tobolowsky.

Fractured was way better than anticipated, and the anticipation was low for many reasons, including Sam Worthington as the lead role. And yet it doesn’t take long to draw the viewer in. The fall happens very early on, after enough naggy wife to get us all on edge.

And from then on, we are in hospital mode, and shit just seems to get stranger and more bizarre the further we get into the movie. Who is telling the truth, our lead, or the hospital? Is this a man getting screwed, or is he delusional?

Unreliable narrators can lead to quite the thrill, especially if the film teeters on the fence until the final two minutes.

Fractured featured okay writing, but the twists and turns were enough to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the movie. Definitely would recommend and worthy of viewing in your living room.

3 out of 4.

Tell Me Who I Am

Alex Lewis was in a motorcycle accident went he turned 18 years old. A bad one, but it didn’t kill him. It did fuck with his brain real good though, giving him that amnesia.

Yes, most of the time amnesia is a dumb plot device in shows who don’t know what to write about, because it is super, super rare. But this happened for Alex. When he woke up in the hospital, he didn’t know anyone who sat beside his bed, except for Marcus. Who was Marcus?

Marcus was his twin brother. That is good, because if anyone can help Alex with his life, it would be someone who spent most days with him growing up, and someone who knows everything about him. Marcus’ job is literally to tell Alex who he is, which is why we got the fun title, Tell Me Who I Am.

And that is a big job for anyone, especially if you have something to hide.

bros
Well, if they turn the lights off, I guess they are mostly hiding from each other.

You see, when Alex asked Marcus about their home and their past, he gave answers and Alex had no reason to question them. He told them about their home layout, their previous vacations, their routine, their parents, their friends and all of that.

Eventually questions got more detailed and less basic, and Alex had answers for them too. Why were his parents like whatever, why did they do blank in their house, why as their dad a jerk. You know, advanced questions.

And it wasn’t until after both parents had passed, when they were cleaning out the house together, when Alex found something incomprehensible from what he knew about his own past, and his brother confirmed it when asked. But he refused to give details, and they started to drift further apart.

In this documentary, we hear Alex’s side of the story after waking up from the accident, we then hear Marcus’ side of the story and why he did what he felt necessary, and we find out what they’ve been dealing with for the last 20 years apart. But finally? They get to meet in person and just get the truth out there. Alex needs to know for closure, and Marcus has to tell him and relive his own worst nightmares.

This documentary is so goddamn compelling. For basically just being two guys talking separately, than to each other, there is so much to unwrap and follow. It breaks your goddamn heart, especially when you realize that at this point, there is nothing that can be done. The bad people are gone, the lies were told, and now they just have to live out the rest of their lives.

Bless these men for not only going through these terrifying experiences, but by also choosing to tell their story in a compelling and unique way. If it wasn’t for Marcus’ cowardice, we would have never had something to fucked up to even follow. It is heartbreaking, I never want to see it again.

Thanks, I hate it.

4 out of 4.

Movie Roundup – Indies 2018 Part 1

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 Indies 2018 (Part 1)! Basically, the indie movies I had missed, and need to really review, or else. Are these all really indie movies? Heck if I know. Some certainly are. Go with 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.


Indies 2018 Part 1

Arizona

Arizona is a weird movie to talk about, because it is a dark comedy. A lot of dark comedies go into just such strange corners of the room. And you know, are funny, but usually involve death, or extreme “edgy” jokes. It could easily just go into some crude territory that is a poor taste and lose its viewers. Arizona is a lot more grounded in reality and about one person who is clearly losing his marbles, and using his size and gun skills to try and fix things.

I was shocked by Arizona, surprised, and I couldn’t believe no on was talking about. Dark comedies are almost always a hard sell, but this one was a great one compared to other similar movies in recent years. Our leads were believable, the setting was something easily relatable (an empty residential community after the 2008 housing collapse), that is also a bit unsettling. Yes, some aspects of this are a bit terrifying. And hilarious.

Arizona I think really works and it is a shame that it had almost no push for visibility.

3 out of 4.

Arizona

Bad Samaritan

Bad Samaritan is an example of a film that I really liked the idea about, but did not execute great.

We have a thief breaking in to steal and while there, they found someone clearly held captive. What do they do? A similar plot line was used in Don’t Breathe and used a bit better in that film. Instead, a majority of the movie takes place after the initial find and is more of a cat and mouse battle between our thief and the evil guy, played by David Tennant.

And the cat and mouse game is lame. The villain doesn’t seem smart, it seems ridiculous. He is flawed with a god complex without showing us why he even warrants a god complex. It goes completely ridiculous, moves away from a more grounded in reality movie, and doesn’t really give us the moral quandaries that the plot line suggests.

Forgettable film on every level, unfortunately.

1 out of 4.

bad

Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade is an example of a pretty well known film, and one you’d be more surprised to see that I did not have a full review upon. It was an immediate success, and had all the praise, and has spirit award nominations!

And yet, that’s why I have the round up. Things happen.

Eighth Grade is a pretty great and uncomfortable film. I cannot say that this is an accurate portrayal of what middle school girls are thinking and go through, because I am not one of them. It seems very accurate, and our lead does a wonderful job of riding that awkwardness and navigating through her school life. Bo Burnham‘s transition from comedy musician to director/writer seems to go flawlessly, and I wonder if he just had a lot of smart people on his side to make this work.

Eighth Grade is uncomfortable, awwkard, completely modern and set in the now, and probably something that a lot of people will want to read.

3 out of 4.

8th grade

Izzy Gets The Fuck Across Town

What drew me to Izzy Gets The Fuck Across Town is the title. Of course. I mean if you are going to be bold and swear at me, I think you need to bring it. It made me think of older films like Igby Goes Down, about these run down people with strange I names.

And hey, it had Mackenzie Davis, an actress who I think hasn’t gotten her fair shake yet. Haven’t you seen Tully? She is great! And despite how great she may be, this movie felt like a chore to get through. We have have movies about miserable people and they can be great movies, but this is one where I just wanted it to hurry and get to the final point. And once it did, it was lackluster.

I don’t remember much about this movie, but I do remember that it had no hype for a reason. The fuck did not give it notoriety.

1 out of 4.

Izzy

Summer of 84

Finally, we are going to talk about a movie that I think we average, for most of the film. Set in the ’80s with a group of kids, trying to solve a mystery of missing kids. They think it could be the local, single middle aged cop. Maybe he is taking kids and killing them? No, that can’t be.

Well, I won’t say if it was, or was not, of course. But the story the story is not unique. However…the ending was pretty damn good. It amped up the intensity, it went places I didn’t expect, and it left me with a little bit of dread. It is not a common way to end a film, and leaves it open ended in a good way. It turned a middling film into a film that I wanted to talk to people about, just to see if they saw it for the ending.

3 out of 4.

Summer

Overall, this is a really good list of indie films to check with. At least three of them I rated highly, and two of them I did not. Indie seem to have a better chance of giving me quality, you just have to take a dive and go into them knowing that they have a lot less hype around them on average.