Posts Tagged ‘better call saul’

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Movie Reviews: The Irishman, Terminator: Dark Fate, The Lighthouse, El Camino, and more

November 22, 2019

This seems to be a growing trend for me. I get so backed on up movies I haven’t reviewed that I just spew them all out in one lazy, abbreviated post. I have to admit, I don’t feel much like writing in depth reviews for movies anymore – unless I’m really inspired to do so – but I’d like to find a way to streamline the process one movie at a time. Hope to figure it out soon. Until then…

The Irishman (2019) – I’m going to give this another go when it comes to Netflix next week because I was expecting a total masterpiece and what I got was… a very good film. The acting in this movie is pretty high level, especially from Joe Pesci and Al Pacino. De Niro is good also, but I’d be kind of surprised if his performance gets Oscar attention. This movie centers around the mob’s involvement with the Teamsters and the events leading up to Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance (which I don’t know much about) so the story spans many decades and the filmmakers had to use a de-aging process on the actors and I think for the most part it looks pretty great. There was one scene where De Niro’s character is in his 20s or 30s and gives the business to a shop owner and he’s roughing him up with all the ferocity of a, well, 75 year old man. I think The Irishman is technically sound and will probably get plenty of Oscar attention, but the movie didn’t wow me and the story didn’t really move me. Also, at 3.5 hours, the run time isn’t exactly ideal and after one viewing I’m not sure it needed to be that long. I’m hoping to change my mind after watching it again and discover that it’s actually a great film.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) – I liked that they took the Halloween approach and ignored the last three movies and made this a direct sequel to Judgment Day. In fact, I watched The Terminator and Judgment Day in the days leading up to seeing Dark Fate and, uh, I’m pretty sure that was a mistake. Those films are just so much better and the drop in quality is impossible to ignore. Also, I absolutely hated the opening sequence of this movie. I was literally like wtf before the title even showed on screen. I didn’t find myself very invested in the new characters, as Arnold and Linda Hamilton provided pretty much all the highlights in this film. If the franchise plan is to move forward with the new group and leave Arnie and co. in the past, they are going to be in trouble. I suppose the action in this movie was pretty decent, but I checked out early on in the film and it only brought me back when Arnold was saying funny things. I thought it was strange that the future would send back a human-cyborg hybrid that had so many, uhm, red flags health-wise – the most excruciating moments of the movie were centered around trying to revive her. Give me a T-800 all day. I thought this movie was pretty middling and continues a nearly 30 year run of mediocre Terminator movies, but a couple of my friends assured me it had “top 5 sound all-time” (in case that’s something anyone cares about).

5/10 (Decent)

The Lighthouse (2019) – Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are great in this, but… it was too weird for me. I didn’t really get it and had to read about it on Wikipedia to try and figure out what I missed. I felt the same way about director Robert Eggers’ last film The Witch. It kind of bothers me when something is critically lauded and I find myself scratching my head while watching it. I generally find that if something is universally acclaimed, it is usually pretty good, so when I don’t feel the same way, it makes me feel like I don’t get it. That makes me hesitant to say a movie like The Lighthouse is bad because I don’t really think that it is. The acting and cinematography are top notch, and it’s a rather beautiful looking film, but… the story appears to be over my head and I didn’t enjoy it much. I’m going to give this a 5 out of 10, but be warned, many of you out there could very well hate it.

5/10 (Decent)

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie [Netflix] (2019) – Well, that was quite unnecessary. Breaking Bad is a top five show all-time for me (and maybe as high as #1), so I’m eager to dig into any additional content, but Jesse’s character was never the reason I watched the show and if they made a spin off series based on his character, I’m not even sure I’d tune in for that. This movie tells Jesse’s story immediately following the events of the series finale of Breaking Bad and while I guess I found watching this movie to be somewhat enjoyable, it was also a largely forgettable experience. Jesse Plemons reprising his role as Todd was by far the highlight of this movie. Something about that guy is just hilarious. Obviously, if you loved Breaking Bad you should probably watch this, but I can’t say it added much to the lore and for continued Breaking Bad content, Better Call Saul is far more entertaining.

5/10 (Decent) – and that might be generous

The Art of Self-Defense (2019) – This movie was hyped up to me and I had hopes that it would be a surprising dark comedy, but I thought it got pretty ridiculous about halfway through and it totally lost me as a viewer. The first half of the movie is quirky and funny, but it falls off a cliff when Jesse Eisenberg’s character becomes entangled in the seedy operations of the dojo he enlists at. I suppose it’s worth a watch, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

5/10 (Decent)

Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2019) – Cowabunga! A 1990s 12 year old’s dream come true! Unfortunately, it’s 2019 and this movie is about 25 years too late for peak impact. Still, even though these aren’t the Turtles of my youth, I was pretty impressed with this mash up. I thought it was funny and entertaining and not nearly as cheesy as I expected. I’ve seen it twice now and enjoyed it both times. My only real gripe is that it seems like seeing Batman’s rogues gallery get infected by the ooze and turn into Manimals would be really cool, but the results are pretty disappointing. Overall though, this was a pleasant surprise, especially considering the poor run Batman’s animated feature length adventures have been on.

6/10 (Recommended)

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So Many T.V. Shows!

October 24, 2017

Ratings
5 – Must Watch
4 – Good Stuff
3 – Decent
2 – Not Recommended
1 – Terrible

I’ve powered through a number of seasons of various T.V. series recently, but haven’t shared my thoughts yet, so here they are:

Game of Thrones, Season 7: The biggest event show on television is still must watch stuff. Season 7 featured a bit of ridiculousness (like, travelling to and fro is no longer an issue for anyone in Westeros – they might as well be apparating), but there were plenty of long awaited moments and lots to cheer about. It’s hard to say too much about this show without spoiling things, so I’ll just say I still find Thrones insanely entertaining and I can’t wait to see how they end this thing. 4.5/5

Iron Fist, Season 1: I hated it. Easily the worst of the Netflix Marvel series so far. The biggest problem is Finn Jones just has no charisma in the lead role and, as such, Danny Rand is not someone you can wholeheartedly root for. I really had to force myself to finish this season so I could watch… 1.5/5

The Defenders, Season 1: How could they mess this up? By making The Hand the main enemy, I guess. It’s fun seeing the four heroes interact with each other (although Iron Fist is still lame), but at the end of the day, the agenda of The Hand just doesn’t make any sense. I literally have no idea what the end game was for them. And who is Sigourney Weaver’s character? She’s the leader of The Hand and she’s supposed to be important, but we are never given any reason to fear her and have no idea why she’s in power. Certainly someone like Madam Gao seems a more formidable leader. Shrug. I thought this long awaited series was good for about four episodes and then it lost me completely. People that are going to watch are going to watch it anyway, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. 2/5

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later: If you aren’t already familiar with this franchise you should acquaint yourself with the 2001 film and the Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp first. There are too many back stories and running jokes to fully appreciate this show if you haven’t seen the previous installments. I admittedly did not revisit the film first and I think it dampened my enjoyment ever so slightly. I kind of figured things out and remembered as the new story unfolded, but not having everything fresh didn’t make everything as funny as it should be – and it was still hilarious! Absolutely my kind of comedy, but certainly not for everyone. This shows gets pretty ridiculous and out there, but I’ve really enjoyed both series streaming on Netflix. 4/5

Gotham, Season 3: As a dedicated Batman fan, I can’t stop watching this series no matter how ridiculous or bad it gets. There are just so many things to complain about. To some degree, Bruce Wayne finally begins his actual transition into becoming The Batman, but most of his biggest villains are already fully formed – despite the fact that, traditionally, Batman is the reason his rogues gallery exists in the first place. There is a lot to gripe about but I’d like to highlight a couple of things: 1) So Jerome isn’t The Joker? I really liked Cameron Monoghan as Jerome even though his portrayal was a weeeeeeee bit over the top. I don’t understand how someone that looks and acts exactly like The Joker isn’t actually The Joker. The idea that the real Joker is someone paying homage to Jerome, or a copycat, really doesn’t sit right with me. 2) My goodness, how bad did they botch Mr. Freeze? He looks and sounds absolutely TERRIBLE, plus they turned a formidable anti-villain with a tragic back story and turned him into… Penguin’s lackey? 3) This season has a Penguin-Riddler love story. No joke. 2/5

Better Call Saul, Season 2: Creator Vince Gilligan (also responsible for Breaking Bad) is truly a master. I wasn’t really sold on a Saul Goodman spinoff when I first heard about it, but both seasons of the show have been stellar. The show has amazingly rich character development and plenty of fun call backs to Breaking Bad. Arguably the best show currently airing right now, I can’t wait to watch season 3 and be all caught up. 5/5

Ash Vs. Evil Dead, Season 1: This series picks up 30 years after the events of Evil Dead 2 (I think it ignores Army Of Darkness) with Bruce Campbell reprising his role of zombie/demon slayer Ash Williams. The first season is hilarious, spectacularly gory, and wildly entertaining. Ash picks up a couple of compadres on his quest this time around and they are admittedly still growing on me but at least they give someone for Ash to verbally spar with. This isn’t genius stuff here, but it’s definitely something fans of horror and the original franchise will love. 4/5

Shameless, Season 2: This show is wild, and dirty, but it’s also a lot of fun. The Gallaghers are a crazy bunch and everyone has plenty of flaws, but they somehow still come across quite lovable. I still don’t understand Fiona’s interest in Steve/Jimmy though. It really makes no sense to me. Season 2 is still pretty grounded but I have strong suspicions this show is going to get totally bonkers, to the point of completely unbelievably. Here’s to hoping it keeps its heart and doesn’t turn every single character into a total scoundrel. 3.5/5