Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Brad Pitt ate my sandwich


The excess is even wretcheder and the provocations even more hollow, but they're in service of something greater anyway.  Sometimes all it takes is a few scenes to make a movie.  On rare occasions, it takes just one.  Matthew Vaughn and Mark Millar (more the former than the latter) have done it again.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Written by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn (based on the comic The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons)
With Colin Firth (Galahad/Harry Hart), Taron Egerton (Gary "Eggsy" Unwin), Michael Caine (Arthur), Mark Strong (Merlin), Jack Davenport (Lancelot), Sofia Boutella (Gazelle), and Samuel L. Jackson (Valentine)

Spoiler alert: mild

Monday, February 16, 2015

You know, you'd catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar, Mr. Grey


Strikingly good in parts, but strictly for what it isa movie that professionally captures softcore pornographic action in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson
Written by Kelly Marcel (based on the novel by E.L. James, based on the novel by Stephanie Meyer)
With Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele) and Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey)

Spoiler alert: moderate (does it... matter?)

But a cat would have run away and survived, obviating much bloodshed


John Wick is not quite great, but much of it is almost perfect, and it's so damned close to greatness, it makes me want to explode.  Just like Keanu's head there.

Directed by Chad Stahleski and David Leitch
Written by Derek Kolstad
With Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Bridget Moynahan (Helen Wick), Michael Nyqvist (Viggo Tarasov), Alfie Allen (Iosef Tarasov), Willem Dafoe (Marcus), Ian McShane (Winston), Lance Reddick (Charon), John Leguizamo (Aureilo), and Adrianne Palicki (Ms. Perkins)

Spoiler alert: mild

Monday, February 9, 2015

The object is remarkable for an enormous persistent anticyclonic storm, swirling about the low-pressure zone at its center


Good or bad, I knew it would be weird.  What I couldn't have known was that the Wachowskis' weird could be so boring.

Written and directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski
With Mila Kunis (Jupiter Jones), Channing Tatum (Caine Wise), Eddie Redmayne (Balem Abrasax), Tuppence Middleton (Kalique Abrasax), and Douglas Booth (Titus Abrasax)

Spoiler alert: mild

Sunday, February 8, 2015

You can't handle the true-true


History is making us better, and it's only a pity we have to live through it: Cloud Atlas gives us a vision of something worth looking forward to.

Written and directed by Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, and Tom Tykwer (based on the novel by David Mitchell)
With Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Doona Bae, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Keith David, Ben Whishaw, James D'Arcy, Xun Zhou, Susan Sarandon, David Gyasi, and Hugo Weaving (and I shall transcribe their characters' names unnecessarily only over my dead body)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Cold milk


Basically, Speed Racer is everything David Cronenberg didn't get to in Crash.

Written and directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski (based on the cartoon by Tatuso Yoshida)
With Emile Hirsch (Speed Racer), Matthew Fox (Racer X), Christina Ricci (Trixie Shimura), Rain (Teijo Togakhan), John Goodman (Pops Racer), Susan Sarandon (Mom Racer), Paulie Litt (Spritle Racer), Scott Porter (Rex Racer), Willy and Kenzie (Chim Chim), Kick Gurry (Sparky), Benno Furmann (Inspector Detector), and Roger Allam (E.P. Arnold Royalton)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, February 2, 2015

Microbots took my job!


In 2013, Frozen doubled-down on the return to Disney tradition represented by Tangled: big musical numbers, romantic subplot, and a "girl-centric" narrative, whatever that means.  Last year came Big Hero 6, which is a violent, funny revenge film.  Okay... those are cool, too.

Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams
Written by Jordan Roberts, Daniel Gerson, and Robert S. Baird (based on the comic by two guys going by the collective name of "Man of Action," believe it ormore likelynot)
With Scott Adsit (Baymax), Ryan Potter (Hiro Hamada), Daniel Henny (Tadashi Hamada), Jamie Chung (Go-Go), Damon Wayans, Jr. (Wasabi), Genesis Rodriguez (Honey Lemon), and T.J. Miller (Fred)

Spoiler alert: somewhere in that wasteland between moderate and high

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Putting the "list" in miserablist! (or, the films of David Fincher ranked, nos. 10-9)

For going on twenty years nowmy how time fliesDavid Fincher has been our preeminent auteur of gross, depressing tales of murder and mayhem.  Almost uniquely, Fincher has mastered a high-wire balancing act in the thriller genre, crafting films that are formally pristine, morally bracing, thematically insidious, emotionally devastating, andmost important of allhighly entertaining.  Though chiefly noted for this selfsame prediliction toward the pleasantly unpleasant, Fincher has tried his hand at other things, too—one time it was good, one time it was the worst thing ever.  On this episode: we fervently hope that he never, ever tries one of those particular things again, because we love him, and want him to succeed in life.

Spoiler alert: high