It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts. (Actually, I guess it’s been a while since I’ve blogged anything.) Here are the movies I watched last month.
Daniel Craig is back as the southern-accented detective in this 2022 Knives Out sequel. While the mystery and its solution were again a bit convoluted (and I think the massive flashback was a bit of a cheat, storytelling-wise), it was overall an enjoyable watch, even better than Knives Out, perhaps because they were all stuck on an island, so it had that sort of classic cozy mystery feel. I think a third film is already in the works. It was also funny to see cameos from Stephen Sondheim (referencing Sweeney Todd) and Angela Lansbury (referencing Murder, She Wrote). (RIP to both.)
A 2003 film telling the true story of Stephen Glass, a journalist who was caught making up a bunch of sensationalist stories in the late 90s, when I suppose journalistic integrity was something publishers still actually cared about to some degree. I had never heard of the true story, so this was quite an engaging film. The film reveals the truth from the perspectives of those he’s manipulating, so your aggravation for his behavior builds as his lies are uncovered. Hayden Christensen does a great job portraying someone who just can’t stop lying, and lying more to cover previous lies, and then continuously weeps for mercy and sympathy when people catch on, a real agonizing personality disorder.
Going to see Studio Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi in concert next week, so wanted to rewatch this 1997 animated film mostly for its beautiful musical score. Storywise, not Ghibli’s best, in my opinion. The first half is great, but the second act just tries to do too much, there are just too many battling factions and conflicts going on. Anyway, Joe Hisaishi’s music is some of the finest film music out there.
The new Transformers movie, Rise of the Beasts, was one of the few films coming out in 3D this summer,1 so I wanted to check out the 2018 Bumblebee first, which is about the yellow alien robot hiding out on earth when other evil alien robots attack his homeworld. And these alien robots can transform into cars for some reason. Not being a Transformers fan, or really understanding the appeal of the franchise at all (because the toys are cool I guess), this film did not really work for me. It does hit all the right story beats for a “lost alien” sort of movie (think E.T. or The Iron Giant), but if you don’t really care about the characters, it all still feels rather flat. I could understand younger audiences enjoying it though.
This 2023 film is based on the true story of a teenager whose dog ran away in the mountains and he sets out to find him. An innocent family film for people who like dogs, but way too cheesy for me. The father-son relationship conflict also felt really forced.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
And here’s that Transformers movie I mentioned. I was just curious to see it in 3D. I already forgot what it was about. There’s some kind of alien device macguffin in a museum that the alien robots fight over because it’s really powerful somehow, but it’s all a prequel for the Transformers getting stuck on earth, so nothing is really accomplished. It was pretty dull for a non-Transformers fan. But it was in 3D!
From 1988, one of Nicolas Cage’s first films in which he plays an over-the-top wacko who thinks he was bitten by a vampire and whose life then spirals out of control. I really just wanted to watch it because it is the source of many Nicolas Cage crazy face memes. I unfortunately didn’t find it particularly funny or interesting.
A 1995 thriller about good vigilante hackers battling against an evil businessman hacker. The depiction of hacking and teen computer-savviness is so completely over-the-top ridiculous, it’s agonizing. I prefer WarGames.
Not the Stephen King story, but a film from 2002, also called Close Your Eyes, about a hypnotist who uses his hypnotic skills to solve some silly mystery. It’s really bland and boring, with ridiculously cheap made-for-TV CGI. Terrible.
Murder Mystery 2
A 2023 sequel to Murder Mystery, a Netflix film starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. Like its predecessor, this offers more of a silly light-hearted comedy than a very thoughtful or engaging mystery, but if you go in knowing that, it’s entertaining. Nothing amazing, but some good laughs.
A 2023 Disney film about a group of kids who live on the moon. After they learn one of them is leaving forever, they steal a moon rover for one last adventure. It was a little cheesy for me, but was a decent family film, and was even free of any of Disney’s modern propaganda crap. Unfortunately Disney yanked it from their streaming platform not long after I watched it, I guess for some Hollywood accounting tax write-off scheme, so who knows if anyone will ever be able to see it ever again. But, hey, that’s what you get with the streaming business model!
A 2020 Korean film, a standalone sequel to the Korean zombie film Train to Busan. This one’s about a group of people who sneak into zombie-infested territory in search of some bags of cash that were left behind. Unfortunately they are captured by non-zombie humans who have been trapped there, and must fight both to escape. Not as good as Train to Busan, but still a fun zombie flick.
Tin and Tina
A 2023 Spanish horror film about an idiot couple who decide to adopt the creepiest kids they can find, because what could possibly go wrong? The kids are portrayed as being “overly-Catholic”, obsessed with religion, but their understanding of Christianity is just stupid, so when it leads them to do horrible things, it’s not really all that compelling storywise, because they’re just so stupid. Really stupid movie. It did have a decent long take near the end though.
A 2021 Korean thriller about a deaf woman who witnesses a crime and is chased by the criminal for the remainder of the film. It has some decent moments of suspense, but also features some agonizing cliches, such as turning your back on the bad guy after he passes out. Overall I thought it was an enjoyable thriller, though nothing overly special.
- I had no interest in supporting Disney’s latest films, The Little Mermaid and Elemental, by seeing them in theaters, even if they were in 3D. The Little Mermaid just doesn’t interest me in general, and I don’t like the sex propaganda they seem to have put in Elemental. I have no plans to ever see Lightyear for the same reason.