Let’s Review Movies!

By Julius

Almost everyday, for (probably, I really don’t know) the last month, my life has been nothing but watching movies. Movies I have never seen. Old ones, new ones, good ones, bad ones. It’s been non stop! I can’t control myself! I’m probably going to continue watching more f@#king movies, so look out for a sequel article called “I CAN’T STOP WATCHING THESE EFFIN’ MOVIES! By Julius.” I thought I’d share my thoughts on the blog because everyone on the planet needs to know one persons opinion regarding over 20 films. Yes, you read right. Over. 20.

DISCLAIMER:

Don’t worry. The reviews will be (at least) a paragraph per film.

 

1.GREMLINS

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Gremlins is one of the most violent adventure, Christmas, family films I have ever seen… and it stars a Furby. Oh, I’m sorry, I meant Mogwai because one Furby plus one Mogwai doesn’t equal plagiarism, but one Hasbro and one Warner Brothers equals possible law suite. This is the type of film I wish we had more of these days. It’s filled with humor, fun characters, imagination, and a great big heart. Whether you’re watching the film for the cuteness of Gizmo or the fury of Stripe, Gremlins will leave you waiting for next Christmas so you can watch it again.

 

2. BEETLEJUICE

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This is one of those Tim Burton films where if I watch it again, it’s not going to be for the performances (other than Michael Keaton) or the story, but for the creativity. This movie is filled with amazing set design, awesome make-up, and some really cool ideas. I love that the after life has an instruction manual and it’s not a final rest. In this movie, the after life is just as complicated as life, and it has a lot of problems in it, like Beetlejuice himself. Michael Keaton is fantastic as the title role and just shows how awesome Batman (1989) would have been if he played The Joker. Tim Burton really loves to “Goth Up” mid-western suburbia, and this is one of his better examples.

 

3. THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY prt. 2

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This is one of the most underwhelming, boring films I think I have ever seen. I don’t want my mini review here to be a film/book comparison, for I haven’t read those books, but based on what was in this film and how stretched out it felt, this probably wasn’t a very good adaptation. There is a reason why Harry Potter split their final film into two movies. The Deathly Hallows is ten bibles thick and had way more going on that was vital to the plot than this movie. Breaking up one book (that isn’t even 400 pages) into “parts” is obviously a money decision and not story conscious, which hurts the film.

The whole second act of this movie was probably half of a chapter, where nothing really happened, and everyone wanted to skip to the end, so something interesting could happen. For those who read the book, please let me know if I’m right and what your thoughts are on how the original source material was translated to the big screen. For me (someone who really liked Catching Fire), this was a let down.

 

4. SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

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I finally understand what “Put the Lotion in the Basket” means. I finally understand how good of actors Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins are. I finally have seen Silence of the Lambs. I can’t say that I have seen many thriller/crime dramas, but I do love that this is the one that I decided to sit down and watch. The main reason I was enjoying myself was not only because of the interesting plot that continuously unraveled but because of Anthony Hopkins’ performance as Hannibal Lecture.

Hopkins is incredible in this film. Whenever he looks right in the camera and speaks to Clarice (Jodie Foster), you can’t look away. Jodie was so scared while on set, she never actually talked to Hopkins, so when you watch the scenes with both of them, she is genuinely terrified. I would love to see more of Hopkins as this character, but I heard Red Dragon was directed by Brett Ratner… 

 

5. ANNIE HALL

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I haven’t seen many films by Woody Allen. I’ve only seen Midnight in Paris (a film I love), Blue Jasmine, and most recently Annie Hall. This movie deals with relationships we have with others, ourselves, and life in general, showing the depressing nature it can bring, but the wonderful moments that are offered. Of course, the film has social commentary, but the message isn’t shoved into a viewers face. The themes of the film are sprinkled through out with comedic moments, dramatic scenes, an honest script, and amazing direction by Woody Allen. All of the cast does a great job bringing their colorful personalities to life in the film’s dry cynical world. Though the film’s dialogue is very much like that of a stage production, there is a sense of realism and thought put into it. Watch this movie. Please… it’s great.

 

6. AMERICAN HISTORY X

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American History X is one of those films that isn’t that great, but everyone else really loves it. I know it’s loved and that I’m in the minority. It has an eighty three percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If you dig it, that’s great. I don’t.

To be fair, there are things that I like about the film. It’s a movie that deals with racism in a very effective (almost frightening) way, that I’ve never seen before. I like the story about Edward Norton’s character in prison, learning the error of his ways, but that ties into some of my problems. The editing in this film felt so disjointed. It focused so much on Edward Norton in prison, I ended up asking myself, “Why were we focusing on Edward Furlong at all? Just focus on Norton.” Apparently, Norton had a hand in the editing and made the film more centered about him.  That explains a lot of the unnecessary scenes where we see how he became a racist, when we could’ve focused more on the endearing story about him trying to save his brother from a terrible life.

The ending of this film is so underwhelming. They don’t wrap up arcs that were previously opened, but instead bring in another side story that I completely forgot about to tie the film together.

Norton is great. He’s always great. But everyone else? Not as much. Norton towers over everyone, and really got me mad at some points.

This movie is a movie I don’t plan on watching again, but hey I’m glad the rest of the world enjoys it.

 

7.UNBREAKABLE

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I don’t go out of my way to watch crap. If I hear a movie is the worst thing ever, I’m not going to pursue it. If someone tells me, “Hey man! We’re going to watch terrible movies! Wanna join?” that’s different. That’s a social event with friends, and I’m happy to have a good time with them but if I’m by myself, I’m not going to waste my time. This is the reason I don’t watch M. Night Shyamalan films.

Before Split (M. Nights’ most recent film) came out, Angel kept telling everyone he knew, “Hey man, you got to watch Unbreakable! It’s going to tie in somehow!” I didn’t see it until the day before Angel and I went to see Split and wow. I’m very glad I did.

Unbreakable is M. Night’s take on the superhero genre. It’s a very unique way to look at comic books and crime fighters. I usually don’t like it when film makers (and people in general) look at superheroes and say, “THEY’RE MORE THAN US. THEY’RE GODS. THEY’RE LIKE ZUES AND HERA! THEY’RE MODERN DAY MYTHS!” Get the f@#k out of here with that bull. When a film maker (or fanboy) has that type of mentality it usually prevents a superhero from being what it is… a character with personality and feelings.

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*Had to. Sorry.*

 

In Unbreakable, I think that mentality works better. It adds to the realistic tone that the movie sets for itself and is a part of Samuel L. Jackson’s character. I really dug watching this almost experimental film (compared to all the other stuff in the genre), and I really liked the way it tied into Split. Looking forward (cautiously) to Unbreakable 2.

 

8. SPLIT

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Here’s our review. LOLZ.

 

9. LOOPER

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Usually when I watch a movie that has a plot that’s familiar and somewhat predictable, I hope it does something different. Looper does that. A lot of science fiction films that come out now a days are usually connected to a franchise, or they’re based on some book. This (as far as I know) is not that. This is a really awesome sci-fi film that does some really cool stuff with time travel. Sure, some of the timeline stuff doesn’t make sense, but that’s not really what the film is about. The movie is very personal, and mainly about this one guy trying to save his own life in many different ways because there are two of them.

Yes, confusing, I know.

Joe Go and B. Willy are the same person from different times. The younger one is a gangster who takes out thugs from the future and the older one is a retired man who got married and lost everything. They both want a better life but in very different ways.

I think I love this movie. It has awesome effects, great tense moments, great cinematography, and Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt work really well together. I now can’t wait for to see what Rian Johnson (director of Looper) brings to Star Wars: The Last Jedi later this year. Hopefully not a remake of Empire.

 

10. DRIVE

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I feel bad right now. Everyone loves this movie. Whenever it’s brought up, people go on and on about how much they love it. To be honest, I don’t love Drive. I think it’s a very well made, well acted (for the most part) movie with great shots, and an awesome soundtrack… but it’s just not for me.

One of my biggest problems with the film is Ryan Gosling himself. I think if they casted a better actor who could emote more with his face, I would have let it slide, but his performance is him just staring at people. At first I was like, “Ok. What’s going on with this guy?” but they don’t get into it at all. Why is Ryan Gosling quiet? Who is he? Why should we care? Give us something. There was no character to identify with in the movie, so I ended up not caring about what was happening.

Plus, I didn’t know how violent this movie was. I’m not someone who’s against violence in film, but when it starts film, it’s midway in and is so out of place and ridiculous. It took me out of the film.

I wanted to love the film, and I really like Ryan Gosling (as you’ll see later in the article), but this movie just wasn’t doing it for me.

 

11. LA LA LAND

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Here’s on of our reviews. LOLZ.

 

12. LOST IN LONDON: LIVE!

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If you haven’t heard about this film, that’s ok. Don’t worry. Not many people have. Lost in London: Live came out on January 19, and I heard about it the day before. This was a special one night Fathom Event, and the idea was so interesting to me, I had to see it.

For those who don’t know, Lost in London: Live is… well… live. This was (I think) an almost two hour film that was actually being filmed as we were watching it. It stars Woody Harrelson, and it’s about him when he had a terrible night in London, right after his marriage. The whole film is done in one take and it follows these people throughout London. I was reminded of Birdman while watching, except there were no hidden cuts (I think).

The performances in the film are good, everyone brings their A game for this really cool experiment, and it’s really funny. I don’t know if they’re going to release it on Blu-Ray, but I would like a copy. Check it out if you can!

 

13. MOANA

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When I saw the teaser trailer for Moana, oddly enough I didn’t care. It was weird because I liked the previous 3D animated films from Disney (Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Wreck it Ralph), but I just wasn’t very interested.

It’s a very beautiful film with great songs and great voice acting. The plot is standard and predictable, but the visuals alone are worth the watch. Dwayne Johnson does a great job voicing the demi god, Maui, and it’s obvious he had a blast playing the role. This movie is filled with a lot of great stuff, but due to the standard/predictable plot, I didn’t end up loving it. It’s fun, but I’ve seen this before done better.

 

14. KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

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This is the best animated film I’ve seen from 2016. Everything about it is great. I watched Moana and said to myself, “Wow this movie looks incredible.” Then I watched this and holy crap. Not only is this movie the best looking animated film of 2016, but it’s one of my favorites of last year. It’s that good.

The movie has so many creative ideas visually and story wise, I’m still thinking about how certain things were foreshadowed and what was a metaphor for what. I always love seeing a stop motion animated film because it feels more real. There’s a certain grainyness to stop motion that’s just visually satisfying for me.

If I have any problems, it is the casting. These actors do a great job in their roles. They’re having a great time voicing these characters, but I find it interesting that in a year where “white washing” was such a big subject when it came to cinema, no many (as far as I know) really brought this film up.
SPOILER WARNING:

Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, and Ralph Fiennes are very good actors but as the film progresses, it’s revealed that they are not only playing talking animals and spirits but real people. Japanese people set in ancient Japan. When this was revealed, I felt weird. There aren’t many asian actors in the film aside from George Takei, who voices an extra in the background. He doesn’t have that many lines, I don’t remember his name, it’s an odd thing. Hopefully, Hollywood will get more sensitive and cast better and more accurate to what the story demands.

 

15. SING STREET

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Here’s our review! LOLZ!

 

16. HACKSAW RIDGE

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Say what you want about Mel Gibson, but the fool knows how to direct.

Hacksaw Ridge is one of the most visually stimulating films of 2016. I really dug watching Hacksaw for the battle scenes, the beautiful shots, tense moments, and great direction. This movie should win the Oscar for Best Cinematography. Everyone said this movie was really gory, but I wasn’t bothered by it. I don’t know. It didn’t effect me.

Andrew Garfield is good, but that accent of his was just too distracting.

 

17. E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL

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I watched E.T. as a young child and barely remembered it. I remember being scared by it, and that’s why I put off re-watching it for so long. During my “Movie-a-thon,” I saw that it was on Netflix and decided to give it another chance. AND HOLY CRAP. I AM VERY GLAD I DID.

Everything I could say about E.T. has been said already, for a long time. All I know is that this movie is enchanting, funny, scary, beautiful to look at, and is definitely one of my favorite movies of all time. Speilberg’s direction is fantastic, the lighting is gorgeous, a lot of the effects still hold up, and Henry Thomas as Elliot is amazing.

Watch it when you can, if you can.

 

18. THE NICE GUYS

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I’m so disappointed that I didn’t see this film in theaters. I bet I would have had a better time than already did watching it at home. This was one of my most anticipated films of 2016. It had Gosling, Crowe, was directed and written by Shane Black. I WAS SO EXCITED, and I just missed it. I don’t think any film in 2016 had me laughing the way I was while watching The Nice Guys with my friend Malcolm.

It is so damn funny, and a lot of that comes from the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. They work so well together it’s hilarious. If they were replaced by two other actors with no chemistry, the film would fall apart. Can’t wait for the sequel if (and when) it happens.

 

19. MOON

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What a wonderful film. What a smart, inventive, different film. That’s all I could think about while watching Moon. Sam Rockwell gives an incredible performance, dealing with isolation, madness, and what it means to be a person. The question through out the film is “Who am I?” The answer is weaved in beautifully throughout the course of the film. You will cry while watching this, and you will love every moment of it.

 

20. THE FOUNDER

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I was just walking around Pasadena one day and went to Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 to see what was playing. They had Fences, Moonlight, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, but I chose to watch The Founder. Why? I love Keaton, I’m interested in this rags to riches story, and I like to see what an Empire started out as.

The movie follows a struggling Milkshake Machine Salesman, Ray Crock. He goes around the US to restaurants to sell his machine but is continuously denied. One day he gets an order for eight machines from this little place in San Bernadino, CA called McDonalds. He see’s the restaurants quick delivery system, hospitality, and helps the owners franchise the restaurant chain all over the US.

This movie was acted well, shot beautifully, directed fine, but nothing about it really stands out. It was ok and I think for a film in January, that’s great. A film like this should have more of a specific voice and style. While watching it, it just felt like another biopic about someone who became what they hated. Not great but ok.

 

21. JOHN WICK

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Here’s another film that everyone saw and loved that I didn’t. John Wick is a well directed, well acted, good action film. Everything about it is really cool, but I just didn’t care what was happening.

For a revenge film, you need to care about the characters, and there has to be weight. John Wick starts with very brief flashbacks showing him and his wife. It’s about two minutes of them together, with barely any dialogue or chemistry, and then boom she’s dead, and we’re supposed to care. I cared more about the dog. The dog was more of a character than the wife, who’s supposed to be our main characters motivation.

It’s obvious they just wanted to skip to the action scenes. The action is directed really well. It’s impressive, but I would enjoy myself more if I was motivated to. Hopefully the next film is better and hopefully I care.

 

22. MOONLIGHT

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Oh boy. I know, I know. You love the movie. You all love the movie. I don’t know man… I didn’t. This is basically the same review as the John Wick one. It’s well directed, acted, the message is great, this is the movie people are remembering for 2016, but I don’t know. I guess it just wasn’t for me.

I feel like if a film decides to show the life and experience of a minority, both sides should be presented. The Good and the Bad. There are good things that happen in this guys life, but they’re surrounded by all these depressing moments. When the film wraps up, it’s not like a better ending. Watching the ending, it felt bitter sweet, and that all the effort that was put into the rest of the film didn’t add up. The kid goes through so much in the film and at the end, it’s not better. I don’t know. It was just a bit too depressing for me.

I don’t want to repeat myself, so I will say is… I’m glad you all love the film. If it wins an Oscar, that’s awesome. For me, I wasn’t invested in the story, there were weird character moments that took me out of the film, and there wasn’t enough Mahershala Ali. THERE MUST ALWAYS BE ENOUGH Mahershala Ali.

 

THAT’S IT. DON’T WORRY. I WILL CONTINUE WATCHING MOVIES.

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