Dude Rates Movies

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In Bruges
A
Martin McDonagh — 2008
Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ciarán Hinds
Sunday 16 December 2018 AD

I love the nuanced profiles of hitmans and their romantic sensibility. Lots of humoristic moments too. Martin McDonagh is Tarantino with a conscience. Such an excellent movie.

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Son of Saul
C
Saul fia
László Nemes — 2015
Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn
Sunday 16 December 2018 AD

It follows an Auschwitz’s prisoner who clean gas chambers and transports bodies from the chambers to crematoriums. This is one of the darkest movies I ever saw. I consider this viewing as useful since there is no other thing that has made me realize with such impact the sheer, indescribable horror of how death had been industrialized. But this was not, of course, a pleasant viewing by any measure. There are movies about the subject like Schindler’s List which are softer and enjoyable as a drama. But this made wonder: is this even legitimate to enjoy a movie about the subject? Aren’t neutrality and rawness the only responsible registers? I’m not sure.

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Amélie
A
Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain
Jean-Pierre Jeunet — 2001
Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus
Sunday 16 December 2018 AD

Apart from the awful cinematography this is a beautiful gem of creativity and originality.

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Whatever Works
D
Woody Allen — 2009
Evan Rachel Wood, Larry David, Henry Cavill
Sunday 2 December 2018 AD

There are a lot of recurrent themes and stereotypes in Woody Allen’s movies, and it’s hard to sort out what he’s making fun of, and what is part of his own personality. This director is a true mystery.

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Midnight in Paris
C
Woody Allen — 2011
Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates
Sunday 2 December 2018 AD

WOODY ALLEN WOODY ALLEN WOODY ALLEN WOODY ALLEN WOODY ALLEN WOODY ALLEN

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To Rome with Love
C
Woody Allen — 2012
Woody Allen, Penélope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg
Sunday 2 December 2018 AD

If I continue going down the 48 movies of Woody Allen like that, it will become difficult to write anything insightful at some point. I have nothing to say.

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The Night Eats the World
C
La nuit a dévoré le monde
Dominique Rocher — 2018
Anders Danielsen Lie, Golshifteh Farahani, Denis Lavant
Sunday 2 December 2018 AD

It was interesting to see an horror movie with such a methodical and organized survivor. There are many very good ideas throughout the film. The major drawback is that it’s very flat, emotionally speaking.

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Magic in the Moonlight
C
Woody Allen — 2014
Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden
Sunday 2 December 2018 AD

Woody Allen’s morale: love can’t be explained so you should dump your wife for any young bird who makes an impression on you.

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Irrational Man
B
Woody Allen — 2015
Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey
Sunday 2 December 2018 AD

I spent some time wondering whether he was actually rational or not, will probably write an article about it some day. Nice flick.

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Breathe
C
Andy Serkis — 2017
Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Hugh Bonneville
Sunday 2 December 2018 AD

Everybody knows there is a romantic sensibility behind the savage facade of King Kong, and it is good and charming, although anecdotal.

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Café Society
B
Woody Allen — 2016
Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell
Sunday 2 December 2018 AD

This and Wonder Wheel, the last two movies of Woody Allen, share a beautiful cinematography and very enjoyable vaudeville-like comedy.

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Locke
B
Steven Knight — 2013
Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson
Sunday 2 December 2018 AD

A very steady and methodical man has made a huge mistake and must now handle the consequences, which he does with 90 minutes of phone calls to various people while driving. This is really well made.

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Silence
C
Martin Scorsese — 2016
Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson
Sunday 2 December 2018 AD

Comparing Daniel Plainview's relationship to church in There Will Be Blood with the one of Rodrigues in Silence says a lot on how atheism works in comparison to faith. Those two movies share an epic sense of artistry and storytelling with the drawback of having a few dragging sections.

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post
B
Desiree Akhavan — 2018
Chloë Grace Moretz, Steven Hauck, Quinn Shephard
Sunday 2 December 2018 AD

What I liked very much about this movie is how it deals with rebellion. The main character doesn’t try to stand up to make a point, she doesn’t oppose resistance and is rather apathetic to the whole process. When she does things that appear as rebellious to the establishment, it is because it is her natural behavior to do so. It is simply human, just a sane expression of her freedom. She doesn’t even try to rebel, it just happens because she lives. Cinema is about putting the spectator in someone else’s shoes, and this is beautifully done here. Chloë Grace Moretz is a great actress.

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Wreck-It Ralph
E
Rich Moore — 2012
John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch
Friday 9 November 2018 AD

Very hard to enjoy unless you have the arcade references, I guess.

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Breakfast at Tiffany's
C
Blake Edwards — 1961
Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal
Friday 9 November 2018 AD

A bag of two-cents at random: The color palette is typical from the 50s and 60s with such flamboyant pastel colors, which is refreshing in comparison to today's cinema pseudo-subtle dark tones. Some shots are beautiful in the way they are classically and simply composed. Incredible how a movie as harmless as this one still carries on gruesome racist characterization duty with the most ridiculous side-character ever. Surprising that the Manic Pixie Dream Girl stereotype was already a thing in the 60s. I will now hang the famous picture with Audrey Hepburn on my wall. The cat is the best character. Rather average overall.

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RoboCop
D
Paul Verhoeven — 1987
Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy
Friday 9 November 2018 AD

No comment

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Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
C
Gus Van Sant — 2018
Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara
Friday 9 November 2018 AD

Jonah Hill deploys emotions I wasn't aware he had in his range.

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Bohemian Rhapsody
E
Bryan Singer — 2018
Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee
Friday 9 November 2018 AD

It is actually very good to watch, but oh boy does it fail the History vs. Hollywood test.

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Eighth Grade
C
Bo Burnham — 2018
Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson
Sunday 21 October 2018 AD

5 is the average between 10 for depicting with an impressive sharpness the anxious times of middle-school, and 0 for absolutely not wanting to experience those times again. This belongs to what could be called the "inconsequential accurate" types of movies, which render a truthful portrait of a time and age, with no ambition of hinting at anything useful or even entertain. If I want to watch life I can look by the window.

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
C
Ol Parker — 2018
Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep
Sunday 21 October 2018 AD

It made me happy, so there is that.

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
F
J.A. Bayona — 2018
Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall
Sunday 21 October 2018 AD

The movie pays tribute to the original Jurassic Park with various references, so much in fact that it achieves being "one big pile of shit" as a whole.

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First Man
Review
A+
Damien Chazelle — 2018
Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke
Sunday 21 October 2018 AD

First Man is no movie to show to kids who want to become astronauts. If anything, it illustrates how perilous and hard space exploration is. It follows the entire decade of the 60s, from the first NASA missions to Apollo 11, and shows that working as an astronaut in those times is no safe trade. People die. From the T-38 crash in early Gemini tests to the fire in the Apollo 1 cockpit, the film doesn't ignore disasters. Narrated entirely from Neil Armstrong's point of view and his family's, those people who are gone are colleagues, friends, or even neighbor. And as the others lose their lives, Neil continues advancing to the next level, riskier than the previous one.

One can imagine what kind of bravery and morale fortitude Apollo-era astronauts must have had to continue towards their goal. The popular image is the one of hot-shots and cow-boys so excited and with some much self-confidence they happily hop on the rocket ready to launch. We learn that that this is not the profile of Armstrong. In his case, death is not only a risk ahead, it is also a shadow behind. He lost his 2-years old daughter to a brain tumor before enlisting in the NASA space program. He is surrounded by death, and deals with it using total rectitude, coldness, and expertise. Such overall professionalism which certainly contributed to him having been selected to command Apollo 11. Ryan Gosling is absolutely suited for the role, which might be the peak of his career. He projects so much intensity, yet inspire so much calmness. His composure and silence form a fortress to an internal storm that is palpable.

The movie soars when it demonstrates the perilous nature of space exploitation from inside a spaceship. Those scenes are so masterfully done they are enthralling. You don't even observe it, you are in it. Director Damien Chazelle uses all the tooling at his disposition to immerse us into the missions, and it works impressively well. First-person shots entering the confined cockpits reproduced to incredible detail. Close-ups to nuts and bolts to show that this thing is fundamentally a pile of scrap that is going to be shot into space. Various distant metallic cracks when it is about to get alive. This is the most incredible rendition of what it must feel to be in a rocket I ever experienced.

We like to impress ourselves with the anecdote that states that the Apollo program sent men to the Moon with a computing power that is less than what is available today in a single cellphone. So we should also impress ourselves with the fact that First Man was made with a budget of $59 millions, which is about a third of what is usually available to those kinds of movies. The lack of budget sometimes shows. When the crawler is bringing the Saturn V rocket from the hangar to the launchpad, we only get to see the crawler. The astronauts, by-standing, are looking up and commenting on the impressive size of the rocket, but we never get to see what they see. Chazelle therefore needs to employ wonders of creativity to convince us, and he delivers. By filming the astronauts taking the elevator to the top of the rocket, we get to see the big cylinder going by vertically while we gain scary height as we can tell by the Cap Canaveral early morning scenery. There you understand the sheer scale of what is happening. They intend to launch a high-rise building into space!

First Man is about war as much as it is about space. The reasons the U.S. were fueling the space program was solely to beat the Soviets at it. Those astronauts entering spaceships to go to space were really entering heavy machinery to go to war. And those who lost their lives in a test were fallen brothers of a battle. Add to that the stern, stoic personality of Armstrong, and "Cold War" would have made an alternative title full of sense.

For Armstrong though, it seems to be an escape. When saddened by the loss of a colleague, he desires solitude from his wife, or rather the company of the Moon, which he observes with a sextant. When the Saturn V is headed towards the Moon and the interstage ring separates from the rocket's second stage, the sustained shot of the ring falling back to Earth rhymes with the way a man would remove his own wedding ring before leaving his family for a get away he might never be coming back from.

First Man is not a crowd pleaser. Neil Armstrong's detached behavior would be a mood killer for those who expect the movie to be a modern revision of The Right Stuff with hot-shots. The absence of joy, however, is not to be confused with the absence of character development. Of all the characters that are presented to us, Armstrong is certainly the one on whom the idea of going to the Moon has the deepest impact.

When they accomplish an achievement, Armstrong's colleagues congratulate themselves for getting closer at beating the reds. But when, at his initial NASA interview, Armstrong is asked why he thinks space exploration is important, he answers that it is because it provides a shift in perspective. He is describing what is now documented as the overview effect. His mates are warriors. He is a sailor. When him and Buzz Aldrin has set foot on the Moon, Aldrin is shown jumping around as if it was playground time. Armstrong is experiencing a profound emotional meltdown. It is eerie, in this moment, how, behind the opaque silver-plated visor of his helmet, we can almost understand more about his internal state as we ever could during the rest of the movie on Earth. And as we start being able to peek through this impenetrable facade, he seems to finally have found a way to commune with himself.

The movie is unconventional on various fronts. It is a saga on an entire decade yet you don't have the usual montages to show progression. This doesn't prevent the rhythm of the movie from being fantastic. As soon as you think the story might be about to develop a segment that is going to be a bit boring, it moves on without further ado to the next interesting chapter. There is not a single second in those almost 150 minutes that is useless. The music is from outer space. When the lunar module is about to land, Justin Hurwitz drops an incredible melody made of strings and brass instruments going stronger and stronger in an almost jazzy mood. As the narration focuses on Armstrong flying the module and doesn't show the conventional tour of the world with people listening to the live feed on the radio or TV, the music alone, with its originality and wonder, conveys perfectly the greatness of what is happening.

This is a film made by people who decided not to take the traditional paths, and who designed their own beautiful ones. They are true artists, and this is a masterpiece.

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Airplane!
E
Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker — 1980
Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen
Sunday 21 October 2018 AD

This looked like the U.S. equivalent of our French OSS 117 so I'm giving a consistent rating.

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Mandy
C
Panos Cosmatos — 2018
Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache
Tuesday 9 October 2018 AD

Is Cage hirable anymore? Kinda sad seeing him in a movie that can't even afford decent cinematography or sound mixing. Although what is a seemingly art student post-graduate project filled with bullshit might be the closest to an acid trip, it certainly isn't close to a good movie.

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The Children Act
C
Richard Eyre — 2017
Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Ben Chaplin
Tuesday 9 October 2018 AD

The second part is dangerously close to an afternoon TV movie for soccer moms in need of strong sensations, but the sheer talent of Emma Thompson and the rather elegant directing makes it overall pretty decent.

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado
D
Stefano Sollima — 2018
Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner
Tuesday 9 October 2018 AD

The movie possesses those thrilling vibes that will comfort fans of the first installment, but the enjoyment becomes voided as the story makes less and less sense as it progresses.

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Braveheart
C
Mel Gibson — 1995
Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan
Tuesday 9 October 2018 AD

The Mary Sue aspect of Mel Gibson's character is a bit too obvious, but overall the story unrolls smoothly and the scale of the battle scenes, seemingly without CGIs, is very impressive.

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Hereditary
E
Ari Aster — 2018
Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne
Monday 24 September 2018 AD

I'm starting to more frankly dislike movies that raise lots of intrigues in the air and then barely do the work of closing them, as if the screenwriters themselves decided they didn't know and would let the spectators figure it out by themselves because, well, the story exists as an independent entity and there is no correct or incorrect answer anyway. Yeah sure, but what about you try being less lazy and deliver a compelling story instead.

I can give a pass to that if the movie is emotionally powerful enough to move me (that's what happened to me with Mother!). I could see that this one was trying that, with quite frightening sequences. Yet the directing, although meticulous and neat, still comes out as somewhat bland, as does the rest of the movie. This seems like it's becoming a leitmotiv for A24 productions.

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BlacKkKlansman
B
Spike Lee — 2018
John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier
Monday 24 September 2018 AD

Delivers just the right amount of comedy and entertainment on a crime genre background. I would have preferred if it had let us the task of drawing parallels with some crazy old man on Twitter rather than hammering it to our face. As an example, Spielberg was quite clear about how The Post needed to be released when it was, considering how much of a callback it was to the current events, yet this isn't hinted at at all in the movie itself. Let the spectators do the math by themselves, especially when your movie is about what happens when people blindly gulp down ideologies presented in a plate instead of thinking by themselves.

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Lucky
D
John Carroll Lynch — 2017
Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston
Monday 24 September 2018 AD

I watched it Friday and it was so boring and forgettable that I needed to concentrate one good minute on Sunday to remember what movie I had watched two days before. It's not even bad though.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story
D
Ron Howard — 2018
Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke
Monday 24 September 2018 AD

The cinematography was so under-exposed it must have triggered a melatonin release because I fell asleep at the 45 minutes mark. I'm happy Solo eventually found back his girlfriend.

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I Feel Pretty
F
Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein — 2018
Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski
Tuesday 11 September 2018 AD

No comment

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The Death of Stalin
B
Armando Iannucci — 2017
Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor
Tuesday 11 September 2018 AD

Dark humor has never been so delicious. Steve Buscemi is brilliant in this, and his character represents the film so well, joking around but so cold inside.

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Crash
F
Paul Haggis — 2004
Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton
Tuesday 11 September 2018 AD

What a crude and didactic discourse on racism. Dialogs are used literally to talk about it, the story is just a side-component of the dissertation and all the characters are impersonal portraits gathered to form a catalog of profiles on the subject. Although with such analytic tooling the film succeeds in explaining how major social tensions are mostly the result of ignorance, misconception and inertia of violence rather than fundamental malice or incompatibilities, it certainly doesn't succeed in building a compelling story made of actual, nuanced characters.

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Swimming Pool
C
François Ozon — 2003
Charlotte Rampling, Charles Dance, Ludivine Sagnier
Tuesday 11 September 2018 AD

François Ozon's specialization is taking the premise of an adult movie and turning it into an auteur movie. I have no strong feeling about this one way or another.

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Barry Lyndon
C
Stanley Kubrick — 1975
Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee
Tuesday 11 September 2018 AD

It's so simply told and tactfully presented, you don't watch it, you sip it. Cue the classical music, picture the paintings. We're talking 5 minutes eye-game between a pretender and a Countess covered by Schubert Piano Trio; 10 minutes duel setting on Handel's Sarabande. Sophistication balanced by simplicity, grandeur canceled by coldness. A pleasure to watch.

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The Great Escape
C
John Sturges — 1963
Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough
Tuesday 11 September 2018 AD

Old classics often come with a theatrical style that creates some distance between the story and a young spectator like me. This is particularly true for this one. I will nonetheless recognize its big quality, which is that it becomes better and better, the last hour being the best, and you don't get tired in spite of the duration.

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Adrift
C
Baltasar Kormákur — 2018
Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Thomas
Sunday 26 August 2018 AD

The only thing holding me from giving a higher rating is the cheesiness of it all. Quite a lot of potential there. Although if it had been better done then it would have been pretty much redundant with All is Lost.

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First Reformed
C
Paul Schrader — 2017
Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer
Sunday 26 August 2018 AD

People complained about the baby in American Sniper, but this dead squirrel tho

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Super Dark Times
C
Kevin Phillips — 2017
Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino
Sunday 26 August 2018 AD

This is one hell of a sneaky tricky title. Sends you friendly Stranger Things vibes and then suddenly it gets real dark real fast.

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Peppermint Soda
D
Diabolo menthe
Diane Kurys — 1977
Eléonore Klarwein, Odile Michel, Anouk Ferjac
Thursday 16 August 2018 AD

I'm trying out a quota system where I watch 1 French movie per couple of weeks, so that I can look sophisticated in society. I wonder how much time it will take to be used to cinema that distills an atmosphere in research of poetry in the banalities of life. I'm more used to cinema that tells stories.

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You Were Never Really Here
C
Lynne Ramsay — 2017
Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov
Sunday 12 August 2018 AD

This is basically a modern revision of Taxi Driver. Didn't quite understand the whole purpose of it nor where the film was going, but Joaquin Phoenix is captivating.

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Nosferatu
D
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens
F.W. Murnau — 1922
Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim
Sunday 12 August 2018 AD

No rating as this doesn't really compare to movies I watch on a regular basis. I watched this for educational and documentary purposes on the birth of the vampire genre. As boring as homework can be.

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Mission: Impossible - Fallout
C
Christopher McQuarrie — 2018
Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames
Friday 10 August 2018 AD

It seems that the way they made this film is by choosing some fancy action scenes to make and then interpolates a story that would somehow involve those scenes. The amount of ridicule this movie subject itself to is too big to fit in this short review. I have a preference for the repetitive shots of the helicopter's indicators that blink red, with more and more of them displaying red as peril intensifies.

Now, it's true that the cinematic quality of action scenes is great, especially the whole arc in Paris. The dedication (and insanity?) of the crew to their craft cannot be understated. In the end it looks like the true Mission: Impossible was happening during shooting, and that the making-of might be more interesting that the movie itself.

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It Comes at Night
C
Trey Edward Shults — 2017
Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo
Wednesday 8 August 2018 AD

✓ Characters communicate explicitly with each other and tell what they see ✓ Characters are cautious and take reasonable decisions ✓ Characters stay with each other for security, they don't split ✓ The atmosphere is scary, without artificial jump scares ❌ The story has a clear resolution

This film gracefully avoids all the horror tropes and proves that it's still possible to make a frightening movie without them. It also throws a lot of intrigues in the air and finishes like they never have been raised. It actually got under my skin, making me imagine all sorts of theories and hypothesis to explain its mystery, even though it's a lost cause considering that the author himself said he added elements to challenge the spectator, without having himself a clear explanation for their purposes in the story.

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Spectre
D
Sam Mendes — 2015
Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux
Monday 6 August 2018 AD

The traditional Bond formula never fails to deliver a solid entertainment, although Bond's behavior toward women characters still comes out as creepy, and the capabilities of the franchise's budget gives way to too-much.

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On Chesil Beach
C
Dominic Cooke — 2017
Billy Howle, Saoirse Ronan, Andy Burse
Monday 6 August 2018 AD

A young couple suffers the two most important perils of marriage, lack of communication and over-reaction, under 6 hours of being wed. Many critics praised the acting of Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle, which is surprising considering that their style of diction comes out as very explicit and roman-esque, contrasting with modern naturalistic acting that is usually appreciated from indies. It is, anyway, absolutely consistent with the overall mood of the movie, which explores the nature of love and its complications with an approach that is both simple and epic in its sensibility.

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The Hollars
D
John Krasinski — 2016
Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, Richard Jenkins
Sunday 29 July 2018 AD

Margo Martindale and Richard Jenkins, seniors among the cast, who play the family's parents, save the movie from the mediocrity of the younger part of the cast. We can understand why John Krasinsky followed this by a movie where he doesn't have to talk since his only dramatic technique seems to exclaim "Whhhat?!" when hearing shocking news. As it turns out, the acting style of The Office isn't perfectly suited for cinema. The story doesn't deliver anything truly remarkable, only the bare minimum for a light-hearted dramedy.

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Hot Summer Nights
C
Elijah Bynum — 2017
Timothée Chalamet, Maika Monroe, Alex Roe
Sunday 29 July 2018 AD

Since it's 35 Celcius (S.I. units bitches) where I live I figured from the title that this would be an appropriate viewing. So I guess to complete the picture I now need to get into dealing weed, seducing the hot girl, and be a bad boy with my Corvette. All pumped up with a hysterical editing and soundtrack, this mixtape of genres succeeds when it doesn't take itself seriously and fails when it does. The result isn't necessarily memorable, but it makes for a pretty cool movie night.

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True Lies
B
James Cameron — 1994
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold
Sunday 29 July 2018 AD

Set years before 9/11 when Hollywood could still joke about terrorism, this masterpiece of a 90's action flick elevates itself way over its French source material, without forgetting to pay tribute to it. After Aliens, The Abyss and T2, it marks the end of James Cameron's nuclear warhead tetralogy, and a turning point into his insane budget and profit ascent, paving the way for his further titanic projects.

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The Abyss
B
James Cameron — 1989
Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn
Sunday 29 July 2018 AD

No comment

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Lean on Pete
B
Andrew Haigh — 2017
Charlie Plummer, Amy Seimetz, Travis Fimmel
Saturday 21 July 2018 AD

The first act misled me into thinking that this was just a story between a boy and a horse. It almost became boring before I realized that this is a full-featured saga on a lost teenager trying to find his marks. This is a good story, simply told, simply poetic. Boyhood the hard way.

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Disobedience
E
Sebastián Lelio — 2017
Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola
Friday 20 July 2018 AD

I need to stop adding movies on my watchlist because of their poster, just like I need to stop clicking on YouTube videos because of their thumbnail. That was as heavy and gloomy as a tank launching rockets that spread clinical depression when they hit their target.

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Icarus
D
Bryan Fogel — 2017
Thomas Bach, Sebastian Coe, Bryan Fogel
Sunday 15 July 2018 AD

This is about a journalist who uses himself as a test subject for doping. Apparently he also injected steroids into the documentary itself, because its sensationalism sometimes hinder proper informational conveyance. It’s fast-paced editing, dramatic soundtrack and catchline interviewing all around. Unnecessary considering how crazy the base material is in a first place.

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Woman Walks Ahead
F
Susanna White — 2017
Jessica Chastain, Louisa Krause, Boots Southerland
Sunday 15 July 2018 AD

Jessica Chastain typecast as the strong independent woman, Sam Rockwell typecast as the racist American with a loose walking style, the spiritual journey of the white among the natives typecast as boring as hell.

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Incredibles 2
C
Brad Bird — 2018
Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell
Sunday 15 July 2018 AD

This is a Monsters University or Finding Dory type of situation. The universe is deepened with some arbitrary story that I’ll forget about in six months. It’s at least well made and entertaining.

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Cars 3
C
Brian Fee — 2017
Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper
Sunday 15 July 2018 AD

The Cars franchise is probably the most lucrative production of Pixar, thanks to the merchandising around it. For fans it’s anecdotal but for them it’s big money. Fair enough.

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Dial M for Murder
B
Alfred Hitchcock — 1954
Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings
Friday 6 July 2018 AD

The incredibly clever screenplay seems more suited for a play (which it originally is), than for a screen. The movie eventually confesses its didacticism by going as far as letting the police inspector literally describing out loud the climax.

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Molly's Game
C
Aaron Sorkin — 2017
Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner
Wednesday 4 July 2018 AD

Too bad Molly didn’t succeed in her Olympic career because this introduction sequence is stellar in comparison to the rest of the okay movie.

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Groundhog Day
C
Harold Ramis — 1993
Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott
Wednesday 4 July 2018 AD

So what happens if Bill Murray feeds a mogwai just before 6AM.

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Revenge
C
Coralie Fargeat — 2017
Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe
Friday 29 June 2018 AD

When in doubt, apply a dose of rape-and-revenge exploitation garbage to your watching schedule.

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A Quiet Place
C
John Krasinski — 2018
Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds
Friday 29 June 2018 AD

I have two main problems with the movie.

The first one is the usage of a soundtrack, including during scenes where diegetic sounds are important. I’ve already complained about that for Arrival. This movie shouldn’t have a soundtrack at all; everytime the music started I thought it perturbed the otherwise tense and interesting silence.

The second problem is a list of unclear things about the danger at hand and the lifestyle of the characters which range from questionable to inconsistent. The movie can’t explain everything without being too didactic so the benefit of the doubt and suspension of disbelief are working at full thrust, to a level that isn’t really satisfactory[1].

Fortunately the movie offers a great, long, tense, final act where it marks a few points and becomes at least an enjoyable suspenseful flick.

[1] My principal concerns are: - If the creatures can’t distinguish little sounds if there is a greater source of sound (explained with the waterfall) then there is no reason the characters couldn’t at least whisper when inside the house. From outside the house such whisper is of extremely small intensity in comparison to nature’s sounds, just like is a clear voice in comparison to a waterfall. - The characters seem to live quite a reckless lifestyle. They hang out outside, leave their house’s door open, etc. My understanding is that the creatures may be roaming a few hundreds meters from there, searching for sound. Really all the characters should be dead by then; it’s unrealistic to survive that long without making any mistake. - There are two times where the movie shows that the creatures are absolutely strong and indestructible: it can rip a grain silo open, and a newspaper headline mentions their indestructibility. Then there are two times the movie shows effective defense and attack against them: when a car proves to be an effective shelter for at least a few seconds to the kids, and finally the shotgun. Fair enough, the shotgun may work only because the creature is already weakened by its deadly sound frequency (and unfortunately this choice reminds me of Mars Attacks!, and triggers a more parodic reading than a dramatic one).

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Transformers: The Last Knight
F
Michael Bay — 2017
Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel
Friday 29 June 2018 AD

The editing of this film looks like the cinematographic equivalent of incorrect grammar. It’s a nonsensical mixture of establishing shots, over-stylized composition and hand-held tracking shots. The constant changing of aspect ratio from one shot to another is obviously not helping. This is a feature-length clip whose narration is un-followable whatsoever. Michael Bay started his career as a clip director. He has then proved his ability to do decent cinema, first Transformers included, muzzling his clip-making OCD into reasonable limits that actually defined his style. He has expressed his wish to depart from the transformers franchise since the third installment, and this fifth one feels like an artistic burn-out. Let’s cherish the recent announcement from Paramount that production of the sixth has been abandoned, and look at what Bay can do on new grounds.

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Wild Tales
A
Relatos salvajes
Damián Szifron — 2014
Darío Grandinetti, María Marull, Mónica Villa
Friday 29 June 2018 AD

This is a compilation of short stories, about 20 minutes each, unrelated to each other, but on the same theme of people being in distress. This is glorious to watch. This is the kind of stories that make you ask yourself « How would I react? » and can compare that to how the characters react, learn about their personality from that, and see how it plays out in the end. Excellent.

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Young & Beautiful
C
Jeune & jolie
François Ozon — 2013
Marine Vacth, Géraldine Pailhas, Frédéric Pierrot
Friday 29 June 2018 AD

I can’t quite fully like movies that don’t have an intention (a goal, an objective, something that drives the story somewhere), and as is tradition in auteur-ish French cinema, there is no intention here. Great scenes, acting, etc. The movie wanders around, goes nowhere.

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Jackie
E
Pablo Larraín — 2016
Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig
Friday 29 June 2018 AD

This movie has no plot. It is a clinical examination of a woman in state of shock, followed by her subsequent mourning. The directing and editing is reminiscent of Terrence Malick’s style, with the camera filming the actors’ face 2 inches away from them, cuts from one shot to almost the same one to show fractured continuity, and dialogues about God and whatnot drifting to a voice-over. Also there is a creepy soundtrack. I have no idea what all this is trying to achieve. It was too cerebral for me, I guess.

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Tomb Raider
F
Roar Uthaug — 2018
Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins
Friday 29 June 2018 AD

So this is it, I never watch an adventure blockbuster ever again. The whole movie is so dull. There literally is a bicycle race and then a race between Lara Croft and petty thieves. WTF is this shit.

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Borg vs McEnroe
D
Borg McEnroe
Janus Metz — 2017
Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård
Tuesday 12 June 2018 AD

No comment

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A Fantastic Woman
D
Una Mujer Fantástica
Sebastián Lelio — 2017
Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco
Saturday 9 June 2018 AD

Although interesting at the beginning, the movie quickly slips into a collection of artistic vignettes where there is less and less plot to focus on, eventually delivering underwhelming pay-offs to some of the intrigues raised in the first half.

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Unsane
A
Steven Soderbergh — 2018
Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah
Friday 8 June 2018 AD

This is the movie that Steven Soderbergh shot with an iPhone, to celebrate how such accessible mean of filming marks the democratization of film-making. Well, judging from the result, this is mostly the democratization of 90s-like serie-B film-making. This is bullshit anyway, since the hardest parts of film-making are sound recording and acting. Anyone can buy a reflex camera with nice video support for not that much more than an iPhone and record close to professional-grade videos. So this should definitely be taken as an experiment rather than anything else. Anyway, the screenplay is excellent and the cast, lead by Claire Foy, is very good. Steven Soderberg delivers a solid thriller, as usual, and even knows how to exploit the exotic filming format at hand to make it consistent with the thematics of the movie. Cool.

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Thoroughbreds
A
Cory Finley — 2017
Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin
Friday 8 June 2018 AD

It's about two girls. One of them is a sociopath and has no feelings. The other one is normal, but she happens to despise her step-dad. So the first one casually asks why she doesn’t simply murder her step-dad. The story is clever in that the sociopath one is presented as so cold and pragmatic she achieves whatever she wants, but she has a big weakness: because of her inability to feel emotions, she assumes other people act rationally too (as in a cost/benefit analysis) and has a hard time processing how other people’s emotions will interfere with her plans. The movie is very well-made, but it lacks some icing to make it truly excellent. In particular, there is no great scene that stands out, and the resolution fizzles out a bit. In any case, I’ll keep an eye on the director, who makes an impressive directorial debut, and on the two lead actresses (Olivia Cooke, whom you may have seen in Ready Player One, and Anya Taylor-Joy, in Split), both definitely very good.

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Annihilation
D
Alex Garland — 2018
Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson
Wednesday 30 May 2018 AD

Poor man’s Arrival approaches DNA the same way astrology approaches astronomy, and we must wait until the final act for the director to finally take his LSD shot and reveal his true intentions, which are, obviously, to put pieces of country music guitar as a soundtrack to a science-fiction movie. The credits visuals are very nice.

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Elle
B
Paul Verhoeven — 2016
Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny
Monday 21 May 2018 AD

Brilliant directing and brilliant acting, especially from Isabelle Hupert, but the unsatisfying resolution is holding me from fully loving it.

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Mother!
A
Darren Aronofsky — 2017
Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris
Sunday 20 May 2018 AD

The surface-level narration breaks down in unison with the emotional meltdown of the lead character played by a marvelous Jennifer Lawrence. The film can be seen as the unreliable testimony of a woman in state of shock, each exaggeration and inconsistency being exploited to draw the very ambitious metaphor that lies beneath. The result is a spectacular and intensively emotional piece of cinema that leaves an indelible mark on the mind. Fascinating.

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Red Sparrow
C
Francis Lawrence — 2018
Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts
Saturday 19 May 2018 AD

A good cinematography, decent acting, enjoyable directing and nice screenplay all turn into a perfectly insignificant and forgettable movie. This is the opposite of alchemy.

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Terminal
D
Vaughn Stein — 2018
Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Dexter Fletcher
Thursday 17 May 2018 AD

This takes place into a Zack Snyder’s type of world with dark alleys and buzzing neons, and I can only enjoy this type of movies up to some limited value. Margot Robbie killing it as much as the setting allows her to.

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The 15:17 to Paris
D
Clint Eastwood — 2018
Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone
Sunday 13 May 2018 AD

Old Eastwood wants to make a feature-film about a 10 minutes event, so he shows us the mildly interesting past of the saviors, sealing it all with ugly patriotic morale

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Game Night
B
John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein — 2018
Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler
Sunday 13 May 2018 AD

A refreshing nice little comedy. Perfect for a light-weight screening with friends or family or beer.

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A Separation
A
Jodaeiye Nader az Simin
Asghar Farhadi — 2011
Payman Maadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat
Saturday 12 May 2018 AD

A thoughtful look at a familial crisis in contemporary Iran. The directing is clever and the acting excellent, especially from lead actor Payman Maadi. This is high quality cinema, keeping the story somewhat suspenseful all while having a humanist view of the characters and the context they’re evolving into.

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Avengers: Infinity War
E
Anthony Russo, Joe Russo — 2018
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo
Thursday 10 May 2018 AD

The latest garbage from Marvel, where uncharismatic characters talk mythological origins nobody gives a shit about and you can know how dramatic it’s supposed to be by measuring the inverse Chris-Pratt-jokes-per-minute

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Alien: Covenant
B
Ridley Scott — 2017
Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup
Thursday 10 May 2018 AD

The first 10 minutes of this movie must have been designed to showcase 4K because it made me fall in love with my TV set. Also the film is nice.

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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
A+
Alejandro G. Iñárritu — 2014
Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton
Sunday 6 May 2018 AD

The obsessional usage of the long-take (the movie is one long take, although with ellipsis) allows some spectacular context switches all while maintaining continuity, which is splendid. All the characters are more or less crazy and it all turns into an exquisite cacophony.

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Submergence
D
Wim Wenders — 2017
Alicia Vikander, James McAvoy, Alexander Siddig
Monday 30 April 2018 AD

'the fuck did I just watch. I’ll rate it 5 just in case.

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Glory
D
Edward Zwick — 1989
Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes
Monday 30 April 2018 AD

After having seen Ferris Bueller Day’s Off I wanted to discover more of Matthew Broderick’s filmography, but this boring Oscar-targeted history educative pack will make me stop there.

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Once Upon a Time in America
D
Sergio Leone — 1984
Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern
Monday 30 April 2018 AD

Homework, obviously, although the epic poster with the Brooklyn Bridge drove me to it as much as the film’s cult status. It’s an interminable three-acts saga on organized crime whose first act and its poetry on childhood and teenagehood is the only one that I found bearable. They also screw up big time when casting the actress to play the adult Deborah, the overwhelming proof being the comparison between Elizabeth McGovern and adult Jennifer Connely.

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Hostiles
C
Scott Cooper — 2017
Scott Shepherd, Rosamund Pike, Ava Cooper
Friday 20 April 2018 AD

It’s long and a bit too meditative for me, but I enjoyed the great soundtrack and the gorgeous visuals, both classical in their style.

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Akira
E
Katsuhiro Ôtomo — 1988
Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama
Sunday 15 April 2018 AD

Homework movie (in many top lists, considered cult, etc). I can’t stand Japanese animation and their feature-length animated GIFs.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street
D
Wes Craven — 1984
Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Sunday 15 April 2018 AD

Ready Player One homework. Mostly boring, but watchable.

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Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
D
Stephen Herek — 1989
Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin
Friday 13 April 2018 AD

The kind of movie I would have enjoyed when I was 7, the mental age of its two bafflingly stupid lead characters

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Grease
C
Randal Kleiser — 1978
John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing
Friday 6 April 2018 AD

I GOT CHILLS, THEY’RE MULTIPLYING, AND I’M LOOOOOOOOOSING CONTROL

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The Longest Day
D
Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki — 1962
John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Richard Burton
Sunday 1 April 2018 AD

Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Vandervoort: 3 million men penned up on this island all over England in staging areas like this. We're on the threshold of the most crucial day of our times. 3 million men out there, keyed up, just waiting for that big step-off. We aren't exactly alone. Notify the men, full packs and equipment 1400 hours.

Apparently « Show, don’t tell » wasn’t exactly the motto of this theatrical history educative package.

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Ferris Bueller's Day Off
B
John Hughes — 1986
Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara
Saturday 31 March 2018 AD

Ready Player One homework. Somewhat feel-good movie that runs well if you don’t expect much from it.

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Ready Player One
C
Steven Spielberg — 2018
Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn
Friday 30 March 2018 AD

No comment

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Heathers
D
Michael Lehmann — 1988
Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty
Tuesday 27 March 2018 AD

So that’s what Christian Slater was doing before embodying Mr. Robot. Well he played even crazier characters back then.

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The Iron Giant
B
Brad Bird — 1999
Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Aniston
Friday 23 March 2018 AD

It’s good but I don’t get all the fuss.

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Wonder Wheel
B
Woody Allen — 2017
Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple, Robert C. Kirk
Saturday 17 March 2018 AD

No comment

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Downsizing
D
Alexander Payne — 2017
Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau
Thursday 15 March 2018 AD

Rarely saw a movie straying from its path that much. It seems that the authors had no idea what story they wanted to tell us.

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Murder on the Orient Express
C
Kenneth Branagh — 2017
Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe
Monday 12 March 2018 AD

It seems that Kenneth Branagh’s spectacularly theatrical directing can turn any novel I don’t care about into a somewhat interesting entertainment

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The Revenant
A+
Alejandro G. Iñárritu — 2015
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter
Saturday 10 March 2018 AD

No comment