Slow West

There are cowboys. There are Indians. There are good guys and bad guys as well as the one ambiguous guy. Arrows are shot. Long rifles and six-shooters. We’ve seen it all before, right?

Except something is a little off-kilter. Everything is not as it seems. Or rather, everything is not going the way it goes in your typical genre Western. It’s different. Not True Grit different. Not The Ballad of Buster Scruggs different. It’s its own thing.

And that’s a good thing. Interesting and engaging from start to finish. Which is not the expected finish – if there even is such a thing, once this film gets going. One unsurprising thing at the end, though: Michael Fassbender gets the girl.

The Irishman

Too much hype? Sure, it’s ambitious, but especially at this length, it’s a difficult story to follow, even if you come to it with some knowledge of the Jimmy Hoffa story.

And poor Al Pacino… really? You’re going to bellow your way through this role too? I’ve said it many times before, and I’m not going to stop now: One. Trick. Pony.

De Niro is better, but then, De Niro is better. While we may have seen these tics and mannerisms many times before, he at least inhabits his character, and is fun to watch.

Bright

Magic is so unsatisfying. When anything is possible, the screenwriter can be so lazy. Just wave a wand at it. So while the premise of an alternate society that evolved with fairies and orcs alongside humans is sort of intriguing, and makes the race relations story somewhat fresh (?), I just can’t commit my full attention to this kind of movie. I spend too much time complaining out loud…

Jane Got a Gun

Natalie Portman is probably too attractive for this role. But then, she nearly always is. Tough, good-looking woman with a gun, what’s not to like?

The Seven Five

In an era when dash cams and citizens with cell phones record the worst kind of police brutality and abuse of power, this story may seem like a quaint piece of history, but in his day… there was police corruption, and then there was Michael Dowd. Wow. This guy was epic, with his cash grabs and protection of dealers, etc.

However, in his testimony, as well as in the filmed interviews, he comes across as a pretty stand-up guy. And the fact that he refused to implicate any other of his fellow officers raises him in my estimation. I don’t think he ever shot anybody without justifiable cause…

Cold in July

The first third of this was way too fast, but also pretty lame. Everyone seemed flat, and while it’s nice to see something that doesn’t go for any cheap thrills or cinematography that’s too in-your-face, this was a little lacking. All set-up, but was the payoff worth it?

Sure, the twist was a good one, and there was more energy in the middle third. But then, but then… really? We’re going to have the scene of the dudes loading their guns? Slo-mo of them walking to the car? Leaving no doubt that the movie’s going to end in a gun battle.

Ho-hum.

The Son of No One

  1. The mustache was ridiculous.
  2. How many variations on one scene can we have? Tatum loses his shit, yells and curses a bunch, punches the wall.
  3. If you tell the kid to stay put and not go anywhere, then of course he’s going to take off.
  4. The cast was good, but I still don’t like Katie Holmes.
  5. Al Pacino was pretty reserved. This was a plus.
  6. Ray Liotta, as a crooked cop? Really? Who woulda thunk?

Missable.

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

Wow. Who needs a plot? Just shoot zombies in the head. Drive around a bit. Repeat.

A little bit of backstory would’ve been good. What happened to start the zombie apocalypse? How is the disease transmitted? (“Something in the air” – really?!) Why do they produce gas? How do they run on their own gas at night but not during the day? Why is gasoline no longer flammable? Why don’t the normal people make themselves known to other normal people immediately, rather than risk being shot? What has the government/military to do with all of this?

Yeah, lots of questions. Very few answers. And not really very much fun.

Running Scared

No. Just no. Paul Walker was a terrible actor. And Vera Farmiga can’t pull this off on her own, while Chazz Palminteri phones in another corrupt cop with a Jersey accent.

Sample dialogue (and you could fast-forward to just about anywhere in the film and get this): “Fuck! Fuck!” [Slams hands against wall, or steering wheel, or whatever is in front of him] “Goddammit!” Alternatively, if someone is speaking to one of the child actors – who, come to think of it, gave the best performances – “You stay here! Do not move!” Which of course is a sure sign that the kid will be taking off within a few minutes…

Does it matter what the plot/story consists of? Do we want to try to decipher what the bits of surreal comedy were intended to add? Or the stylized, yet seen-it-all-before photography? You don’t need to see this movie…

The Gunman

Sean Penn wants to make a statement about covert operations taking place in third-world countries under the guise of humanitarian aid or various NGOs? To point up America’s behind the scenes machinations and political manipulations? Well it all gets a little muddled in this clichéd “thriller” in which he really just wants to take off his shirt and sleep with the hot aid worker. Javier Bardem breathes a bit of life into it as the slimeball who steals the girl, but it’s just not very good…