Archives for category: movie reviews

We live in times when some take delight in exacting moral leverage over others by judging yesterday’s actions against today’s standards. Those of us who aren’t as self-certain in matters of virtue can ponder films like “Chappaquiddick,” the 2018 retelling of the 1969 car accident that killed a young lady and altered Ted Kennedy’s life. It’s fascinatingly ambiguous and will get you thinking – if you’re someone still inclined to do that. As the Kennedy machine tries to save his political career, we’re reminded that Ted isn’t the victim, the girl is. But are we really talking about the car wreck?

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Back in 1981, Brian De Palma was right in the middle of his run as The Next Hitchcock and John Travolta was close to peak stardom. They teamed up for a classic that mixes murder mystery, political conspiracy and a look behind the scenes of low-budget filmmaking. The camerawork goes for a lot of home run shots (but swings and misses sometimes). We get introduced to John Lithgow and Dennis Franz. What’s not to like? “Blow Out” was one of the first movies that made me understand how much I loved good movies (and curly redheads – thank you, Nancy Allen).

Whenever I’m watching a movie like “Beirut” (2018), where nobody changes clothes for days and the sun is beating down, I’m thinking how bad I’d be smelling and how much I’d want to take a shower. But I also pay attention to the plot, because it’s like a big game of poker where the winner is always the person who doesn’t give a shit the most. If I were Jon Hamm, I’d be pretty happy at my transition away from TV (and far away from “Million Dollar Arm”) to a starring role in a major espionage thriller alongside Rosamund Pike.

These are all the films released in 2018 that I watched in 2018. Links to my reviews where available:

  1. Gringo
  2. Red Sparrow
  3. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  4. Hearts Beat Loud
  5. Isle of Dogs
  6. Three Identical Strangers
  7. Beirut
  8. Ready Player One
  9. Chappaquiddick
  10. A Quiet Place
  11. The Equalizer 2
  12. Eighth Grade
  13. Leave No Trace
  14. The Death of Stalin
  15. Deadpool 2
  16. Ideal Home
  17. 12 Strong
  18. The Commuter
  19. Unsane
  20. I Feel Pretty
  21. 7 Days in Entebbe
  22. The Happytime Murders
  23. Tag
  24. Thoroughbreds
  25. Social Animals
  26. Game Night
  27. Night School
  28. Pacific Rim: Uprising
  29. Searching
  30. Arizona
  31. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
  32. The 15:17 to Paris
  33. Proud Mary
  34. Siberia
  35. Death Wish
  36. The Hurricane Heist
  37. The Con is On
  38. You Were Never Really Here
  39. Shock and Awe
  40. First Reformed

Apparently, “Bad Moms” was such a surprise hit (as if it was still a surprise that in 2016, there was a market for R-rated shock-comedies starring women) that the makers got Mila Kunis and everyone else back together to crank out a sequel in a little more than a year. Even better (as in not better), it’s Christmas themed. So we have “A Bad Moms Christmas” (2017) trying to catch lightning in a chimney. But whereas the original had just the right amount of mommy pathos, this one overdoes things (sequels always do) by pitting the moms against their moms.

OK, so I was about 35 minutes into “Copycat” (2008), an absolutely godawful straight-to-video movie about serial killers. There’s an overlong, seemingly random scene with some dude playing Jeffrey Dahmer. (The whole movie seems like some form of pornography for 14-year-olds who would rather watch bloody deaths than naked bimbos.) But anyway, there’s Dahmer, having a random conversation with himself. He keeps saying “turn it off, turn it off.” Given my limited knowledge of serial killers, I know they always listen to the voices. So I listened to the dude who listens to the voices. I turned it off.

There are a lot of reasons why a film can be lousy. Perhaps the worst one is laziness. “The Con is On” (2018) is a limited-release bomb of a caper flick. The caper stinks (stolen loot, a psychopathic Russian, a big jewel, whatever). Uma Thurman looks spectacular and gives the impression of effort as a con artist with a checkered past, but her husband is Tim Roth doing a half-assed Dudley Moore impersonation. Crispin Glover plays himself as a bipolar director. Everyone else sucks and is not worth mentioning, except Parker Posey, who is horrific as a whacked-out movie flunky.