The plot and politics are a bit ? (the climactic jail confrontation could’ve been unpacked more) but everything else is !–the tunes (Nirvana and also the emotive, ever-present score), the turns, and especially the unique tone, with its sly layer of superhero cheese underneath the super-serious noir (see the heavy exposition between Batman and Gordon) and moody character study (see the bookending voiceovers). Great ending (see the rethinking of “I’m vengeance” and then the silent ride together).
Impossible to pin down: a colourful, clever tapestry of music and monologues, banter and beratings, love and hate–all of it dripping with sweat and f-bombs. The characters vary from complicated to caricatures, the dialogue from raw and real to grand and theatrical, the vibe from crudely humourous to pointedly discomforting, and then to unbearably tense in the heart-wrenching final act. No easy resolutions here, just plenty to ponder (the fire hydrant parallels were particularly provoking).
A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood. (IMDb)
Call me a “common man,” but I found the surreal third act a bit jarring in its offloading of abstract symbolism (which was a bit too much so), as artistically affecting as it was, and despite the underlying meta narrative. Still, the great turns, quirky characters, moody atmosphere, and memorable dialogue throughout (Jack’s monologues are hilarious; Barton and Charlie have a great dynamic: “I could tell you some stories-” “Sure you could!”) make for a highly engaging Hollywood satire regardless.
Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties. (IMDb)
A really cool classic film noir feel saturates this cohesive slow burn of a crime drama, with its drab 40s sets and suits, niche dialogue (“What’s the rumpus?”), fiery character melodrama (see the climax of Tom’s arc: “Look in your heart!” “What heart?”), and twisting plot (see Dane’s rise to prominence). It’s maybe a touch hard to follow at points, but it’s so solidly acted (Turturro might be the highlight; see his pleading in the forest) and directed that that can be easily forgiven.
The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets. (IMDb)
A few new faces, a lot of the same old shit (cars, explosions, a model to take by the hand everywhere, a plot that’s cheesy and/or confusing and exposited by boring dialogue) with some new things to groan at (enough pop songs and product placement already) but some saving graces too (Sam’s restlessness, the Dylan twist, the hopeless feeling before the final battle–the latter of which finally paired the impressive CGI with some coherent and cool action sequences; see the glass building collapse).
“The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. (IMDb)
A fun madcap crime plot with hilarious mishaps galore (see Walter’s car smash, the Germans’ failed extortion in the parking lot) is decorated by hilarious characters and memorable dialogue, most notably the three main buds (the bowling motif is nerdy excellence, BTW): The ultra-relaxed Dude (“That’s just like, your opinion, man”), the short-tempered Walter (“This is what happens, Larry!”), and the absent-minded Donny (“That’s your name, Dude!”). The dream sequence felt unnecessary though.
A young man is a reformed gambler who must return to playing big stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks. (IMDb)
The many poker scenes throughout here are certainly entertaining, with Damon’s soft voiceovers filling you in on all the fascinating features of the game, but they aren’t enough to make up for a plot that feels more like a poker player’s pipe dream than a legitimate drama: It’s too easy and cliche and fumbles the potential of its two interesting lead characters (Norton’s Worm especially begged for more study). All told, it’s a good flick–just needed more focus on the story and less on the poker.
A writer is accused for plagiarism by a strange man, who then starts haunting him for “justice.” (IMDb)
A very odd thriller-turned-horror flick. The acting and screenplay are laughably bad at certain points but the creepy slasher ending (as predictable and easy as it is) seems, upon reflection, to justify those moments as intentionally weird (like a cheesy horror movie) and not unintentionally bad. The film starts off bland, underwhelming, and even painful to watch at times, but it builds into something delightfully odd and unnerving and so leaves a surprisingly good impression in the end.
The slow and brooding nature of the movie is in itself attractive, but it drags down the film when paired with a plot that is consistently difficult to latch onto. Damon is excellent, and his character’s uncomfortable family drama provides some engaging moments, but the central CIA birth-story fails to connect on a character level (despite a good cast) or a story level (despite an intriguing premise), making the film a chore to get through, especially considering its lengthy run time.
An infectious and wonderful old-timey soundtrack accompanies this highly enjoyable 1930s-set adventure-comedy, full of hilarious mishaps, well-crafted and witty dialogue, and a diverse set of memorable characters that range from charming to deadly. You never stop rooting for the three chain-gang escapees (played wonderfully by Clooney, Nelson, and Turturro) as they stumble towards a satisfying happy ending. Lots of memorable scenes in what is one of my personal favourites.