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Jondalar 01-16-2022 08:51 AM

2022 Movie Reviews
 
1. Scream (5), grade B+ = This is a good sequel, which is surprising because it's' number 5 in the franchise. It's bloodier and more woke than the other Scream movies. However, it's also more serious and less fun the other ones. I felt like this was more of a horror movie than a horror/comedy movie and I sort of liked that. Others may miss the comedy though. I also liked a lot of the murders because the setups were surprising and I liked the complicated ending. I didn't like the lead girl, Melissa Barrera, as much I wanted to. She is sort of boring and she is not as compelling as Neve Campbell. However, she is fine. The legacy cast is barely in the movie and I wanted Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox to have more screen time than they do.

Overall, good horror movie. Go see it.

paleshadow 01-18-2022 12:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jondalar (Post 1271986)
1. Scream (5), grade B+ = This is a good sequel, which is surprising because it's' number 5 in the franchise. It's bloodier and more woke than the other Scream movies. However, it's also more serious and less fun the other ones. I felt like this was more of a horror movie than a horror/comedy movie and I sort of liked that. Others may miss the comedy though. I also liked a lot of the murders because the setups were surprising and I liked the complicated ending. I didn't like the lead girl, Melissa Barrera, as much I wanted to. She is sort of boring and she is not as compelling as Neve Campbell. However, she is fine. The legacy cast is barely in the movie and I wanted Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox to have more screen time than they do.

Overall, good horror movie. Go see it.

I'd give it a C-. I didn't find it scary at all, and I knew who done it about 30 minutes into the movie. I guess I'm guilty of expecting too much out of sequels.

Jondalar 01-20-2022 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paleshadow (Post 1272075)
I'd give it a C-. I didn't find it scary at all, and I knew who done it about 30 minutes into the movie. I guess I'm guilty of expecting too much out of sequels.

I totally disagree. None of them are really scary anymore but this one had interesting, surprising kills.

TrueFaith77 02-03-2022 08:35 AM

1.Redeeming Love (D.J. Caruso); grade: C - High-gloss Christian movie, low-rent Nicholas Sparks romance, it lacks the Western and Crime genre insights of S. Craig Zahler about the exploitation of women and the lengths men must go to protect them. Still, the two lead actors are very appealing, especially dreamy Tim Lewis who should become a big star.

TrueFaith77 02-03-2022 08:41 AM

2.Souers (Yamina Benguigui); grade: C+ - Just when I was thinking: “This is *too* Pirandello-esque,” a character complains to Isabelle Adjani: “I’m confused by your mise en abyme.” The director doesn’t have the visual imagination for this much narrative complexity but her actresses are superb—especially Adjani (my fav living actress) who fascinatingly continues her late-career exploration of her biracial identity without any sops to political fashion.

TrueFaith77 02-03-2022 09:04 AM

3.Rifkin’s Festival (Woody Allen); grade: C- -The concept has potential (former film prof’s marital woes seen through the lens of foreign art cinema past), but instead it just tests the limits of Allen’s wit—some one-liners still land tho—and of his wasted collab w/ cinematographer Vittorio Storaro who makes Persona, Jules and Jim, 8-1/2, Exterminating Angel all look Criterion gray and is undermined by Allen’s blocking. Mise en scene is the signature of the auteur, indeed…

TrueFaith77 02-03-2022 09:50 AM

4.Home Team (Charles Kinnane, Daniel Kinnane); grade: B - 1st good movie of 2022: #HomeTeam recovers rituals of father-son bonding + extends it to pop culture redemption (2012 flashback via “We Are Young”). Hence: “home team.” I laughed, I cried, I sang! Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, and Zack Snyder are the only auteurs fulfilling Hollywood’s mandate today. Relegated to streaming.

Jondalar 02-04-2022 03:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TrueFaith77 (Post 1272535)
1.Redeeming Love (D.J. Caruso); grade: C - High-gloss Christian movie, low-rent Nicholas Sparks romance, it lacks the Western and Crime genre insights of S. Craig Zahler about the exploitation of women and the lengths men must go to protect them. Still, the two lead actors are very appealing, especially dreamy Tim Lewis who should become a big star.

I was thinking of seeing this but didn't. I'm glad I didn't.

Jondalar 02-04-2022 03:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TrueFaith77 (Post 1272537)
3.Rifkin’s Festival (Woody Allen); grade: C - The concept has potential (former film prof’s marital woes seen through the lens of foreign art cinema past), but instead it just tests the limits of Allen’s wit—some one-liners still land tho—and of his wasted collab w/ cinematographer Vittorio Storaro who makes Persona, Jules and Jim, 8-1/2, Exterminating Angel all look Criterion gray and is undermined by Allen’s blocking. Mise en scene is the signature of the auteur, indeed…

I didn't Woody could get funding to make movies anymore. He's is huge favorite of mine.

paleshadow 02-04-2022 08:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jondalar (Post 1272183)
I totally disagree. None of them are really scary anymore but this one had interesting, surprising kills.

It's hard to compare thoughts without spoilers, but I am curious about what kills you thought were surprising? In terms of surprises, I thought there were people who were going to get killed that didn't. Also, one person that really pretty much was killed but at the end wasn't.

TrueFaith77 02-06-2022 10:01 AM

5.Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliche (Celeste Bell, Paul Sng); grade: B - Poly’s daughter Bell honors her mother’s legacy—a punk legend and lead singer of X-Ray Spex (think Sex Pistols meets Roxy Music meets Bowie)—by emphasizing her humanity. While the film establishes Poly’s startling youthful intelligence and artist’s sensitivity by chronicling her mental instability, it reconciles Bell to Poly as daughter-and-mother—a blessing. I wish the film had focused more on Poly’s art (the music, the image) and on her impact (grade Z interviewees ignore Poly’s influence on the Au Pairs and X and relationship to contemporaries like John Lydon). But when the film explores one of her most daring ideological stripteases (from Lyndon’s flat to an anti-racism rally) it recognizes semiotic revelation that must have inspired Morrissey.

TrueFaith77 02-06-2022 10:02 AM

6. Through My Window (Marçal Forès); grade: C+ - Gay YA filmmaker Fores’s #throughmywindow #ATravesDeMiVentana teases a more radical view of sexual discovery (and heartbreak), but turns into the usual hetero post-Twilight soft-core wish-fulfillment fan-fic fantasy … the two leads (Julio Peña + Clara Galle) are gorgeous and naked.

TrueFaith77 02-12-2022 07:40 AM

7. The Battle at Lake Changjin II (Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark, Dante Lam); grade: B-

The wacky—surprisingly moving!—propaganda film sequel The Battle at Lake Changjin II features ideologically abstracted CGI thru which camera, history, the collective (“brothers”) advance like a seamless robe and American might vaporizes like Dr. Manhattan in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. Even the three directors meld into one hegemonic force—but I’m certain Chen Kaige directed the awesomely visualized and touching climax in which sentimentality gives way to tactile feeling in looming framings and poetic imagery.

TrueFaith77 02-13-2022 09:53 AM

8.I Want You Back (Jason Orley); grade: B-

Jenny Slate might be the best current film comedienne. Her characters start as overgrown children who mature by discovering purpose and building relationships (Obvious Child and Landline remain her best work). She makes her characters specific (sexy, ethnic) but recognizes in this arc a universal crisis. And in this film she and director Orley find a new expressive facet when Slate’s character plays Audrey in a hilariously impassioned junior high production of Little Shop of Horrors. I lol’d in every scene, and, though the two main characters don’t quite get the comeuppance they deserve, the film secures a moral foundation (Scott Eastwood warning: “Stay away from my wife. I’m not kidding” is his best acting yet).

TrueFaith77 02-18-2022 08:25 AM

9.Bigbug (Jean-Pierre Jeunet); grade: A

Jeunet long-dreamt an Eisenstein-inspired peek into the sexual secrets behind closed doors. Now, finally fulfilled, but through the sci-fi lens of covidpocalypse isolation. Each actor is lit with a ring light—as if evincing an individuating spark. By the time Jeunet penetrates into the psycho-spiritual essence of his characters’ exploitable desires, the film is revealed as a continuation of Spielberg’s devastations in A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Like Spielberg, Jeunet expands these insights into cultural awareness (quoting French literature and citing Sternberg-Dietrich’s iconic Blue Angel). Dizzy yet? When the characters debase themselves for the pleasure of their AI overlords, Jeunet fulfills the film’s De Palma-like existential immanence. This peak dystopian satire brings to our current totalitarian waking nightmare the clarity of dreaming. It’s the movie to beat: 2022.

Jondalar 02-18-2022 11:04 PM

2. Moonfall, grade D = Very bad sci-fi movie, stupid plot. There are some very good special affects and Halle Berry gives a pretty good performance, but don't waste your money. The movie isn't paced well and I couldn't wait to leave.

TrueFaith77 02-19-2022 06:45 AM

10.Texas Chainsaw Massacre (9) (David Blue Garcia); grade: B


Like Brady Corbet’s art-film masterwork Vox Lux, Garcia’s B-movie TCM retcon launches its broad socio-political analysis from the trauma of school-shooting survivor’s guilt and the psychological specificity of sisters. The social tensions go beyond fake binary political paradigms. Garcia winds them so tightly that when the scary-and-funny slasher gore commences it feels like relief. In other words, Garcia confronts his characters with the moral dilemma they try to escape. Garcia complicates the “final girl” trope with ambivalent politically-loaded imagery of a phallic assault rifle and chainsaw. Those unable to comprehend such complexity and contradiction—humanity!—are doomed sheeple to the slaughterhouse.

Jondalar 02-20-2022 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TrueFaith77 (Post 1272919)
10.Texas Chainsaw Massacre (9) (David Blue Garcia); grade: B


Like Brady Corbet’s art-film masterwork Vox Lux, Garcia’s B-movie TCM retcon launches its broad socio-political analysis from the trauma of school-shooting survivor’s guilt and the psychological specificity of sisters. The social tensions go beyond fake binary political paradigms. Garcia winds them so tightly that when the scary-and-funny slasher gore commences it feels like relief. In other words, Garcia confronts his characters with the moral dilemma they try to escape. Garcia complicates the “final girl” trope with ambivalent politically-loaded imagery of a phallic assault rifle and chainsaw. Those unable to comprehend such complexity and contradiction—humanity!—are doomed sheeple to the slaughterhouse.

I'm a horror junky. I'm going to watch this one.

Jondalar 02-20-2022 11:57 AM

3. Death on the Nile, grade C- = The movie is beautifully shot, but poorly directed. There are some great scenes of the nile river and Egypt but the movie is choppy and doesn't really flow. Also, they changed the story and added a bunch of politically correct elements that make the movie far fetched. It just didn't quite work and the ending is not shocking at all. It was a big disappointment.

TrueFaith77 03-03-2022 11:21 PM

11.The Batman (Matt Reeves); grade: F

#TheBatman bastardizes Chinatown in the incoherent style of 80s Euro-trash ad men Scott, Figgis, Lyne. Essentially, it peddles Fascism. Note: GOAT Batfleck always struck in the face of imminent danger—but Battinson just disregards the Constitution to bootlicking applause. Best moment: Batman and Selina’s motorcycle wheels hum in harmony—actors offscreen, it’s their sexiest interaction. The film ruins it with Selina’s cri de gurre about white male privilege that I think was supposed to be funny/ironic (as she unknowingly delivers it to Bruce Wayne), but the audience lapped it up with the grave seriousness encouraged by hack Matt Reeves. The music score’s sentimental use of “Ave Maria” (the name of Catwoman’s mother) just continues the culture’s ruinous misunderstanding of the profound “Martha” revelation in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman.

TrueFaith77 03-05-2022 10:59 AM

12.The Invisible Thread (Marco Simon Puccioni); grade: B

“Our marriage is a farce!” declares Paolo (the great Filippo Timi!) as his 20th anniversary celebration with husband Simone (Francesco Scianna) descends hilariously-then-heartbreakingly into a domestic catastrophe caused by infidelity. At the center of this Italian farce is Paulo and Simone’s son Leonne (Francesco Gheghi), whose autobiographical activist school film project further complicates matters as it depends on Pablo and Simone’s upstanding representation of the gay-marriage cause. Hence, Puccioni always yo-yo’s between feeling and hilarity, the individual and the social, the private and the public. As questions about his family stability and the legal implications of his DNA paternity swirl, Paulo explores his compassion and his sexuality with gorgeous fraternal twins Elisa (Alessia Giuliani) and Dario (Matteo Oscar Giuggioli). He and Elisa flirt by brandishing hipster pop t-shirts; Dario kisses Paulo on a cliff. As with Timi’s hilarious embodiment of a middle-aged bourgeois gay man (on the brink of hysteria), these are the kinds of universal experiences that Europeans get right—including the identity of Paulo’s father. Essentially progressive, Puccioni’s farce resolves itself not through familial reconciliation but through the imagery of nature-and-nurture as an invisible thread of love through the generations that results in one unique person. The dignity afforded to which all politics must be based.

TrueFaith77 03-06-2022 09:31 AM

13.Scream (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin; Tyler Gillett); grade: F

Now, the meta conceit of the Scream series turns the characters into mere consumers. The film’s consumerist conflict establishes a false binary between toxic fandom (the killers) and consumer acquiescence (the victims). The film’s first victim prefers “elevated horror” junk like The Babadook and—God help us—Hereditary. (With taste that awful, she has it coming.) Meanwhile, the filmmakers’ lack of series progenitor Wes Craven’s craft and emotional intensity (what the characters call “stakes”) lowers audience standards. They ineptly stage the killings. Suspense and scares rely entirely on loud music and whip pans. The filmmakers reduce the significance of adventurous actress Neve Campbell (Investigating Sex, The Company, When Will I Be Loved). It’s ideological murder.

TrueFaith77 03-13-2022 02:28 PM

14.Don’t Look Down (Jacques Martineau, Olivier Ducastel): grade: B+

Covidpocalypse colors Martineau-Ducastel’s Don’t Look Down, by filmmakers known for the Demy-inspired gay-lib, AIDS-era existential romanticism of masterpieces Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo, My Life on Ice, and Adventures of Felix. Instead, this film’s isolation setting features 5 victims in a high-rise apartment who persecute an off-screen menace. Instead of sexual freedom, Martineau-Ducastel explore the spiritual toll of exploitative sexual-romantic relationships. As the characters take turns confronting their mutual tormentor, they divulge their sexual fantasies (domination/submission) and their real humiliations (public manipulations). Recalling similar ventures by Bunuel, Fassbinder, Ozon, the activist French filmmaking duo explore power dynamics in bourgeois norms—an insight into how gay shame and female subjugation manifest in supposedly liberated relationships. Even spatially constrained, Martineau-Ducastel always prove cinematic. The charged off-screen space, the camera exploring others’ reactions to monologues, blocks of neon color, and dance/musical interludes express moral perspectives and individual feeling. The film reaches its visual-emotional peak when a character longs for purity while a cloudy sunrise reflects on the image of the 5 characters in search of revenge, control, and healing. Martineau-Ducastel silhouette them in the morning light of compassion.

TrueFaith77 03-15-2022 09:10 PM

15.Guermantes (Christophe Honore): grade: B-

“Boo! Self-indulgent bull****!” screamed a man at a Lincoln Center screening of the new Honore film. I think the film’s unorthodox perspective on COVID got under the New Yorker’s skin. Honore, playing himself, refuses to make his art a “slave” to COVID. Yet Honore feeds the trolls with a seemingly unfocused narrative—the improvised fictional bts of a real-life theatrical production of Proust at the Comedie Francaise. The most interesting rehearsal is a gay interpretation of Cyrano de Bergerac, which synchs with the best improvised scenes (Honore’s one night stand with a student actor, two older gay men arguing about a young lover). The taste of Dominique Blanc’s presence (big eyes, mischievous smile) in the troupe acts as a Proustian madeleine, an emotional and cultural slipstream recalling the late Patrice Chereau’s Queen Margot and Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train. This last inspired Honore’s own AIDS-era catharsis in Sorry, Angel. With Guermantes, Honore explores the personal and political impulses behind the artists that covidpocalypse challenges to find meaning and achieve catharsis.

TrueFaith77 03-22-2022 06:44 AM

16.Panama (Mark Neveldine); grade: D

Neveldine strives for integrity in the realm of the low-budget action. In a glorified cameo, Mel Gibson articulates the film’s termite-like morality, hard-boiled existentialism burrowing through international politics in the 1980s centered around the Sandinistas and the Contras in Nicaragua. The drawn-out narrative features a rogues gallery of spooks and narcs who talk-talk and kiss-kiss, not much bang-bang. Budgetary constraints limit opportunities for Neveldine’s visceral wit and kinetics that reached surreal heights in his collabs with Brian Taylor (Crank, Crank 2: High Voltage, Gamer, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance). A sequence in which the Contras play their weapons like musical instruments accompanying a rap song gets undercut because there is no music on the soundtrack! Strangely, Neveldine’s compromised integrity leaves me remembering it more fondly than I experienced it in the theater.

Jondalar 03-26-2022 08:03 PM

4. The Batman, grade B = I liked the art direction, the acting and most of the story, but this movie was way too long. They should of shaved 45 minutes off from this movie. This movie really concentrates on Batman as a Detective, which other movies don't. The version of the Riddler and Penguin are excellent. I also like Cat Woman. However, I can't sit through this again. It could of been a lot better if it were tighter.

Jondalar 03-26-2022 08:07 PM

5. X, grade B+ = This is one of the most original horror, slasher films I've seen in years. It's very grind house and takes place in 1979. A group of people rent a cabin to make a porn movie and then the killing starts. It's very well made and I feel the killers are unique. I'm definitely going to purchase this.

TrueFaith77 03-31-2022 10:17 PM

20.Nitram (Justin Kurzel): grade: A

The title cards at the end of Nitram resonate more deeply than activist-filmmaking addendum to the true-story of Australia’s most deadly mass shooting and subsequent gun control legislation. Kurzel deploys many aesthetic devices to expand the cultural implications of this character study. A shot of conflicted mother Judy Davis reflected in a window superimposed over a tv news program perfectly visualizes Kurzel’s conflation of the intimate and the objective, the personal and the national. As the titular son, Caleb Landry Jones reaches out painfully for human connection. Pain is Kurzel’s subject, the emotional wavelength of cruelly nicknamed Nitram. He calls himself “slow” but his name is backwards. His introspection exposes profound alienation (when this wild child wears a suit, he looks like a clown). Palpable pain defines Jones’s interactions with Judy Davis (who explains her maternal ambivalence), Kurzel’s wife Eddie Davis (an eccentric who introduces Nitram to Gilbert & Sullivan), and his father Anthony LaPaglia (nuzzling up to his son after a mental breakdown). As 4 outsiders (plus pretty surfer Sean Keenan dramatizing a culture’s insensitivity), this cast proves worthy of Mike Leigh troupe’s politically incisive theatricality. Only Leigh was never this tender or brutal, thanks to Kurzel’s completely unsentimental mastery. Handheld shallow focus alternates with deep-focus tracking shots, Australian topography contextualizes kinetic sequences of a car crash and surfing. All of it exemplifying Kurzel’s crystalline lighting. Take that, Kubrick!

TrueFaith77 04-02-2022 08:33 PM

22.Morbius (Daniel Espinosa); grade: B

Morbius breaks the MCU rules by being fun. If the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies were fun, they would not exact the full demonstration of consumerist fealty that greets each new release—until now. Fun 1: The action scenes get increasingly exciting, visually imaginative (especially the bat-sonar VFX), and scary, sexy, emotional. Fun 2: The rollercoaster thrills depend on a Robin Wood-like understanding of monsters as simultaneously repulsive and attractive, especially as embodied by Jared Leto’s gaunt body tumescently transformed by bat juice and articulated by Matt Smith: “You pitied me before; you are repulsed by me now.” (Smith and Leto are terrific!) Fun 3: The flashback that establishes the psycho-familial bonds connecting the characters also affords shock and poignancy to the subsequent betrayals (“You gave me my name!”). Instead of MCU films usual spiritually gnostic (Dr. Strange), politically divisive (Civil War), ideologically Fascist (Endgame), cinematically televisual (all of them), Morbius exposes the sentimental underpinnings of MCU Nietzschean entertainment (the significance of Leto and Smith’s mantra: “The few against the many”). Faint praise, but Morbius is easily the best MCU movie. It imparts fun like the spiritually reviving exchange of blood between the film’s lovers. Yes, a fear of sex explains the infantilized Morbius haters.

TrueFaith77 04-09-2022 08:51 AM

17.Deep Water (Adrian Lynne); grade: F

18.Master (Mariama Diallo); grade: F

19.7 Days (Roshan Sethi); grade: D

21.Better Nate Than Ever (Tim Federle); grade: D

23.Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniels); grade F

Like the careerist, sentimental (ok, I cried, I’m easy) Better Nate Than Ever, Everything Everywhere All at Once—the most highly acclaimed movie of 2022—exploits familial responses to queer kids. But the conspiracy spanning infinite universes in EEAAO connects queer identity and hetero-tolerance to a metaphysic of moral relativism (and existentialism to mere career choices). It links the mother’s acceptance to its rejection of Creation-as-an-articulation-of-infinite-Love (in one one alternate universe, humans evolve with hot dogs for fingers). Similarly, 7 Days conflates COVID isolation with courtship and flubs its rom-com climax—an indie film aesthetic that the A24-distributed EEAAO shares (both films are visually and dramatically drab). EEAAO’s Kung Fu choreography lacks the impact and clarity of even hokey Hong Kong cinema much less compared to masters Zhang, Chen, Chow—so its immigration story comes off as appropriation. Incoherent genre filmmaking like Deep Water or Master reveals that the fun of movies gets replaced today by the satisfaction of bias confirmation whether it’s nihilistic trash of the former or the paranoid mash-up of grievance and horror tropes of the latter. If EEAAO establishes one’s truest responses as merely arbitrary, then the only acceptable response is to conform to authority. It reduces the complexity of mother-daughter love to a struggle session.

TrueFaith77 04-13-2022 06:14 AM

24.Ambulance (Michael Bay); grade: C

Better the social allegory of Larry Cohen’s THE Ambulance (1990) than the overt political analogy of Michael Bay’s Ambulance. Bay turns the current, real urban post-apocalyptic hellhole of L.A. into a car-chase morality tale about U.S. exploitation of disposable Vets of its Middle East misadventures and, as played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, the veterans’ misplaced loyalty and subsequent moral desperation and degradation. Being explicitly political, Bay’s populist cinema condescends to, dismisses, and misrepresents American pain. Still, the non-stop chase allows Bay to demonstrate his considerable kinetics that shame movies like The Batman and Everything Everywhere All at Once. It’s decadence that impresses. He’s a greater filmmaker than B-movie master Cohen, but on the big screen Cohen’s THE Ambulance movie is richer and more fun. Cohen starts with Eric Roberts as a comic book artist engaging in romantic flirtation that draws out moral action—flipping his love story and vividly imagining late 80s/early 90s NYC. The Ambulance transforms Cohen’s comic paranoia into poetry. (Bay should use his influence to adapt one of Cohen’s unproduced scripts.) Abdul-Mateen II’s obscene dishonesty to his wife in the Bay film contrasts with Roberts’ spiritual fidelity in the Cohen film—the quest to save one woman leads to a deeper connection with another. The culture is in critical condition.

TrueFaith77 04-16-2022 11:45 AM

25.Death on the Nile (Kenneth Branagh); grade: F

Branagh turns the spiritual nihilism of Agatha Christie novels into White Elephant abominations. The metaphysical gimmick proposing universal guilt in Murder on the Orient Express--they all did it!--here reduces romantic love to a mere cog in a mousetrap or, in mystery terms, to motive. That's bad enough, but Branagh imbues this ugly world view with overblown filmmaking. In the opening sequence, his cgi black-and-white tracking shot moves through WWI trenches like a wannabe Stanley Kubrick directing Paths of Glory (recalling Branagh's blaspheming Hitchcock and Welles in the forgotten but eternally embarrassing Dead Again). Doing so, Branagh attempts to conflate Poirot's romantic treason with Kubrick's exactingly achieved cynicism. Branagh's c-list cast of actors lacks gravitas and expressiveness. Suggesting celebrity, they signify the film's perspective on social climbing as the aim of love through the lens of woke politics. Poirot's investigation exposes privileged Marxists, down-low lesbians, and doomed interracial lovers (as if checking Oscar bait boxes). Significantly, the film imparts these political labels with virtue as if castigating the very socio-economic system celebrated by--and that makes possible--the movie's faux luxe. Alternatively, Alan Rudolph's detective movies like Ray Meets Helen, Trixie, and Love at Large explore the mystery of individuality through the poetry of romantic love. Branagh's political labels and decadent filmmaking commit spiritual murder.

TrueFaith77 04-16-2022 11:46 AM

26.Father Stu (Rosalind Ross); grade: A

Rosalind Ross's Father Stu (2022) is a spiritual sequel to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (2004). The Passion's radically vivid pop visualizations of spiritual warfare and the infinitely extending spiritual love between Father and Son influenced the burnished--sepia-toned--style of lesser "faith-based" Catholic entertainments. Now, Ross introduces spiritual realities into the language (mise en scene) of Hollywood Realism and the religious bio-pic. Ross's script for Father Stu continues the elemental familial dynamics in Gibson's The Man Without a Face, The Passion, Apocalypto, and Hacksaw Ridge. Ross epitomizes this semiotic progression in three scenes of "conversion" in Father Stu. Stu's encounter with a guardian angel and Marian vision--a distinctly cinematic, rather than pictorial, pieta--at a moment of spiritual-physical crisis conveys cosmic love in intimate terms that also expresses universal need. At the center of Father Stu is a family broken apart by elemental tragedy (recalling Hacksaw Ridge). Evincing a dialectic intelligence and moral rigor honed by vulgar--down and dirty--debates between Mark Wahlberg's Stu and his atheist father played by Gibson (both magnificent), Stu's faithful humility in response to physical degradation engenders healing from family, friends, and community that itself heals. Masterpieces like Bertolucci's Me and You and Chereau's Son Frere convey this social-spiritual truth in secular terms, but Father Stu dramatizes Stu's uniting of his suffering to that of Christ. Hence, Ross achieves cinematic immanence through Stu's homily that articulates his suffering as a blessing in the terms of a son reaching out to and connecting with his father. Through montage and staging--collapsing distance like Mary cradling broken Stu--Ross makes a conversion felt. (As performed by Wahlberg and Gibson, it is awesome.) Transcendental family and earthly family dynamics get distilled to a kernel of truth in the film's final conversion. A priest, played as delicately proud by Cody Fern, admits to Father Stu in confession his unbelief and his vocation as a product his own father-wound. The icon of Stu's suffering elicits the recognition of idolatry as the essence of sin and testifies to the transformative reality of compassion.

TrueFaith77 04-23-2022 03:34 PM

27.The Northman (Robert Eggers); grade: F

Eggers appropriates and, then, perverts the significance of Shakespeare's Hamlet--probably the greatest play ever. (He similarly deranged the spiritual significance of "the lighthouse" in painting with The Lighthouse.) If Shakespeare updated for his time the ur tale of Danish tribalism within a Catholic metaphysic, Eggers creates a fantasy of this 21st century era's paganism through the faux authenticity of historical depravities. Instead of Hamlet's spiritual dilemma, Eggers gives contemporary moviegoers Amleth's subservience to a fate incited by betrayed father (Hawke), warlock (Willem Dafoe), Demi-god (Bjork). Alexander Skarsgard's Amleth's single-minded focus on revenge cancels out his humanity (his involvement in mass infanticide cannot be excused by moral relativism!) and overtakes his "love" for his mother and his half-brothers. This faux conflict results in the only entertaining scenes in the otherwise dully literal movie. Eggers achieves a hilarious composition of Ameth's youngest brother triumphantly stealing a ball from his slaves during a brutal sports game before he is pummeled by a giant--both the boy's hilarious comeuppance and Amleth's outsized response exposed the exaggerated Oedipal revenge story. Then, Eggers takes what that moment exposed and makes it explicit when Amleth's mother--Nicole Kidman in the film's only fun performance--attempts to seduce Amleth before she reveals the depth of her treachery. Though technically capable (especially close up shots of logs), Eggers' imagery lacks even the piquant lighting of the early scenes of David Lowery's The Green Knight. Later, its volcanic final battle looks as opaque as The Batman compared to visionary sequences in Kurzel's Macbeth, Boorman's Excalibur, and Hill's Bullet to the Head. Those film's hellish climaxes promised rebirth and ultimate redemption, while Eggers presents a digital flight to Valhalla--the mythical domain of cannon fodder for the coming apocalypse. Don't bother. It's here.

TrueFaith77 04-23-2022 03:35 PM

29.Petite Maman (Celine Sciamma); grade: A

Imagine an entire film extending the mother-child sci-fi rhapsody that climaxes the radical coda to Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence--that's Sciamma's Petite Maman. Except in A.I., it was about the specifics of a mother and son (as acted out by a robot child). In Petite Mama, it is about three generations of mothers and daughters as dramatized by time travel. The time travel in Petite Mama requires no sci-fi explanation; instead, time travel is achieved through feeling (the autumnal season and color palette feel like a collective memory of childhood). This is as imaginative as the spiritual propositions in A.I. An awesome sense of childhood longing (abandonment) and regret (the finality of death) animates the encounter and friendship formed between an 8 year-old girl and the 8-year-old version of her mother. Played respectively by twins Josephine and Gabrielle Sanz (structuralists, have at it!), they live primal scenes (making crepes, playacting, outdoor adventures). Doing so, they discover each other's essences--one's aptitude for math compares to another's interest in language-- and explore each other's mysteries--"You were not the cause of my pain," child-mother explains. The time travel concept reaches a genre pinnacle when the mother asks to hear "the music of the future" which kicks off a boat trip of symbolic power. (As with A.I., the universal experiences mythologized here ultimately express a filmmaker's *personal* sexual-spiritual desire.) The doubled resolutions to Petite Maman attest to the accumulated power of the film's gentle approach. The purity Sciamma achieves here (like her script for the perfect animated film My Life as a Zucchini) establishes her in the legacy of Borzage, Clarence Brown, Renoir, Spielberg, but she can look them in the eyes with this film's farewell that resolves existential regret and reunion that answers desire's longing.

TrueFaith77 05-07-2022 08:18 AM

30.Everything Went Fine (Francois Ozon); grade: A-

Ozon always queers his “straight” films. That is, even his seemingly well-made melodramas like the new Everything Went Fine evince the formal cleverness and a focus on individual rebels made extravagant and subversive in his other more surreal or Brechtian films. The most prolific filmmaker of the century is astonishingly consistent and versatile. EWF features a homosexual daddy (André Dussollier) of two girls (with wife Charlotte Rampling) who extends his sexual license to end-of-life decisions after suffering a debilitating stroke. Dussollier is simply magnificent salivating over his waiter crush and sole meunière at his last meal—“This is what I wanted!”—and planning his burial site away from his wife’s parent’s as they were hampered by “bourgeois!” norms. His favorite daughter played by Sophie Marceau experiences dreams and memories about her complicated relationship with her gay dad as she goes through the process of securing an assisted suicide in contravention of French law and her own desires. Then, when she walks in on her father saying goodbye to his gigolo lover, Ozon teases shock when the camera pans down from her POV to Dussollier’s lap. Through cathartic resolution, Ozon’s very moving melodrama daringly attests to the radical core of the nuclear family.

TrueFaith77 05-07-2022 03:30 PM

30 movies in, here is my 2022 movie report card (alphabetical):


Grade: A
Bigbug (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)*
Everything Went Fine (Francois Ozon)
Father Stu (Rosalind Ross)
Nitram (Justin Kurzel)
Petite Maman (Celine Sciamma)

Grade: B
The Battle at Lake Changjin II (Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark, Dante Lam)
Don’t Look Down (Jacques Martineau, Olivier Ducastel)
Guermantes (Christophe Honore)
Home Team (Charles Kinnane, Daniel Kinnane)*
The Invisible Thread (Marco Simon Puccioni)*
Morbius (Daniel Espinosa)
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliche (Celeste Bell, Paul Sng)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (9) (David Blue Garcia)*

Grade: C
Ambulance (Michael Bay)
I Want You Back (Jason Orley)*
Redeeming Love (D.J. Caruso)
Souers (Yamina Benguigui)
Through My Window (Marçal Forès)*

Grade: D
7 Days (Roshan Sethi)
Better Nate Than Ever (Tim Federle)*
Panama (Mark Neveldine)
Rifkin’s Festival (Woody Allen)

Grade: F
The Batman (Matt Reeves)
Death on the Nile (Kenneth Branagh)
Deep Water (Adrian Lynne)*
Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniels)
Master (Mariama Diallo)
The Northman (Robert Eggers)
Scream (5) (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin; Tyler Gillett)
White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch (Alison Klayman)*

* - streaming release

Jondalar 05-10-2022 02:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TrueFaith77 (Post 1274392)
30 movies in, here is my 2022 movie report card (alphabetical):


Grade: A
Bigbug (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)*
Everything Went Fine (Francois Ozon)
Father Stu (Rosalind Ross)
Nitram (Justin Kurzel)
Petite Maman (Celine Sciamma)

Grade: B
The Battle at Lake Changjin II (Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark, Dante Lam)
Don’t Look Down (Jacques Martineau, Olivier Ducastel)
Guermantes (Christophe Honore)
Home Team (Charles Kinnane, Daniel Kinnane)*
The Invisible Thread (Marco Simon Puccioni)*
Morbius (Daniel Espinosa)
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliche (Celeste Bell, Paul Sng)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (9) (David Blue Garcia)*

Grade: C
Ambulance (Michael Bay)
I Want You Back (Jason Orley)*
Redeeming Love (D.J. Caruso)
Souers (Yamina Benguigui)
Through My Window (Marçal Forès)*

Grade: D
7 Days (Roshan Sethi)
Better Nate Than Ever (Tim Federle)*
Panama (Mark Neveldine)
Rifkin’s Festival (Woody Allen)

Grade: F
The Batman (Matt Reeves)
Death on the Nile (Kenneth Branagh)
Deep Water (Adrian Lynne)*
Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniels)
Master (Mariama Diallo)
The Northman (Robert Eggers)
Scream (5) (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin; Tyler Gillett)
White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch (Alison Klayman)*

* - streaming release

Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniels)

This movie was supposed to be good. I was thinking about seeing it.

Jondalar 05-10-2022 02:45 AM

6. Morbius, grade D = This is a bad movie. It's just blah. The director has managed to make a movie about a vampire totally boring and almost unwatchable. I don't know why darker comic books like Morbius and Venom have such problems translating into good movies. There hasn/t been a truly successful Anti-hero movie yet. Skip this one.

Jondalar 05-10-2022 02:54 AM

7. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, grade B - = I'm only liked this movie because of the Scarlet Witch. She is one of the best, if not the best, villain Marvel has ever had and Elizabeth Olsens' performance is perfect. However, the plot is flimsy and the film feels disjointed. The movie can't decide if it's a Marvel movie or a Sam Raimi (director) horror movie. The new superhero America Chavez is a complete bore and I didn't really like her character. However, there are some good action scenes and surprises. It's worth seeing but it doesn't feel like a Doctor Strange movie and I was disappointed.


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