Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage
Infinite Storm

The bones are here for a engaging drama/survival story exploring the deep agony of grief, but it doesn’t fully deliver. The bad styrofoam snow and storm special effects are distracting. Naomi Watts’ performance is solid but overshadowed by the peculiar characterization of John. Intimate survival films need to thread the needle as they do not have the typical structures that a traditional 3 act film can lean on, and this one just misses.

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Downfall: The Case Against Boeing

Every time I worry I am becoming too cynical, I realize I am not even keeping pace.

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The Batman

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy was inspired by the gritty nihilism of The Long Halloween but The Batman fully captured it. The true future home of this film should be in between Thief and Manhunter in the Neo Noir Collection on The Criterion Channel instead of its inevitable dishonest placement in the DC hub on HBO Max next to Wonder Woman and Aquaman.

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Is Kate Netflix’s cynical version of John Wick and Atomic Blonde? Yes. Was it placed in a hyper stylized Japanese setting to fit some algorithmic attention grabbing thumbnail and trailer? Yes. Am I ashamed for liking it so much? Yes.

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Jurassic World Dominion

I have never watched a film that felt like it was built by an algorithm without one free thinking human involved like Jurassic World Dominion.

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Mine is an intimate survival film that has a plot and concept with a lot of potential. Other films in the genre like All is Lost and Arctic successfully captured the subtle character development and constant suspense that make survival films enjoyable. Instead of using creative direction and storytelling to learn about the main character, Mine chose to utilize dreams/delusions where the character literally punches his inner demons and vulnerabilities in the face. Armie Hammer is a capable actor who has several performances that I enjoy and I think with a few script changes he could have been more of an empathetic character instead of a tired cliche. In a parallel not too far off universe, Mine is a great film.

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Fall is the survival sub genre at its best. This feels like it should be a found footage film but I believe its sprinkled use of the technique was much more effective and practical. This film has a predictable plot and mediocre performances but overshadowing those are its adequate special effects, satisfying set ups and payoffs, a decent plot misdirection, and its genuinely terrifying premise.

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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

The fax machine and random guy at the house are so random. Random things are funny. Hahahah.

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The structure and execution of this film overshadow its corny script and lame comedy gags. It has several satisfying set ups and payoffs with very little fat making it a solid real time action story.

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Even with measured expectations it’s surprising how cynical this film is. A studio threw $100 million at a movie only based on the idea that Halle Berry looks hot in leather and a mask. As bad as they are, the acting, screenplay, and CG all are better than the PS2 era loading screen esque score. A truly and objectively terrible film.

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Lance Stephenson in 2020 being the big signing for a valuable sports agency worth millions in of dollars is one of the most unbelievable things I have ever seen in a film.

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J. Edgar

Expectations have a huge influence on my perception of a film and there is no better example than J. Edgar. I had only heard criticisms of Clint Eastwood’s biopic of the infamous FBI director which led to my surprise on how much I enjoyed it. Yes the color gradient is too grey and the old man make up is jarring, but J. Edgar is a competent period piece that chronicles the modernization of America through the life of a highly flawed man. This film dips into the fascinating post WWII American history which blends well with the performances of Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, and Judi Dench.

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Mission: Impossible II

I scoffed hard at the over the top actions scenes, face swaps, bad acting, dove explosions, and poorly choreographed flip kicks, but by the end of the motorcycle chase scene I was cheering at the anime style stunts. M:I-2 cranks it up to 11 and its hard not to appreciate it for at least that. I changed my rating from 2.5 to 3 stars due to the inclusion of the Limp Bizkit song during the end credits.

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The Zone of Interest

Shout by Themanski90
BlockedParent2024-02-22T01:14:36Z— updated 2024-02-23T02:46:34Z

This is a film that focuses on the foreground but presented in a way that forces your attention to the background. The visceral details and images of Auschwitz are already imprinted in everyone's mind and compelling the viewer to call upon those on their own instead of recreating them is powerful.

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Bye Bye Barry

This didn’t reveal anything insightful that wasn’t already well known, but I can (and have) watch Barry Sanders highlights all day. Jeff Daniels serving as a poetic thesaurus for the word despair to contextualize Lions fandom and some incredible footage including a top down view of Barry breaking tackles in the 91 NFC Championship and reflections of the defense he was dissecting in his face visor make this necessary viewing for football fans.

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Game Change

This is a smidge too preachy and very much looks like a made for television movie, but it has a loaded cast with convincing performances telling a fascinating (and terrifying) story that was a brightly colored domino in a series of historical events that led to the existential crisis our society faces today.

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An explanation for the cat food spoon lick would go a long way.

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Shin Godzilla

Godzilla makes for a compelling and worthy Angel.

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Shock and Awe

This is the left wing equivalent of a Daily Wire produced film. I don’t disagree with its interpretation of historical events, but there are much more subtle and much less preachy ways of portraying them.

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This film has a lot of problems, but its vision of being a jovial retelling of the origins of professional American Football managed to infrequently shine through the thick layers of continuity errors, jarring tone shifts, and uneven pacing. Learning Rick Reilly was a script writer post viewing connected a lot of dots as you could feel his perplexing dad humor scattered throughout and recognize his unfounded confidence in being a funny sports writer. Officially I rate this film 1 Kate Upton boob (IYKYK).

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47 Meters Down: Uncaged

2.5 stars on concept alone. Underwater The Descent. Unfortunately that’s all it had.

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We all now know the answer to the question, “what if there was a mediocre version of It Follows?”

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Ghislaine Maxwell: Filthy Rich

Nothing diminishes my enjoyment of a film more than being able to feel the algorithm's influence behind it. This documentary feels rushed to avoid missing the tail end of the discourse surrounding a pop culture topic, not to properly analyze and asses a tragic situation with the nuance it deserves. The glaring cynicism of Netflix's algorithm becomes more visible with every original release.

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Facing Nolan

12 one hitters. 12 one hitters.

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Remember the Titans

Remember the Titans is tough to explain because it’s cliché, historically inaccurate, and overly schmaltzy but still manages to achieve its goal of being an inspiring story about a town overcoming racial and political tension through high school football. Carried by the performances of Denzel Washington, Will Patton, and a strong supporting cast, this film defies its ostentatious foundation.

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The deep punch to the gut felt after watching Netflix’s Downfall is also present with Amazon’s Flight/Risk. The tragedy of the situation is well examined through the perspective of a family member of a victim, a Boeing whistleblower, a local journalist, and lawyers representing victims. I have long known that unhinged capitalism is quickly turning people into psychopaths but there is something especially sobering about the Boeing 737 Max scandal.

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Everything Everywhere All at Once

Nihilism the action comedy film. The tone is a bit off and several of the absurd comedy bits fail to land, but this film made me chuckle and tear up in less than a minute during a scene where two rocks silently communicate with each other. Nothing matters is a complicated and painful ideology to understand and this film is an impressive representation of that.

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The Perfect Score

A bad early 2000s Breakfast Club Heist movie that actually has some genuine heart to it.

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The Bridge