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Wind River (2017)
Cut and paste story, competent players
This would be a very good straight-to-DVD movie.
It's a moderate movie for the big screen.
The biggest problem, for me anyway, was that it was packed full of bits and pieces (tropes or clichés) from other similar movies and that distracted from the story-telling.
The characters aren't well developed but the actors do an OK job with what they are handed.
For some reason a story that starts off with suspense degenerates in to a bloody shootout (with lost of those tropes an d clichés) and then leads to an ending which is a bit of a let down as nothing clever happens - at least not anything that hasn't been done time and time again.
I also wondered why it kept snowing but then was clear and shiny when a body was to be inspected or staged action needed to take place.
Top Gear (2017)
Just needs an Asian woman
... to finish off the cultural spread of 'personalities'.
Let's ignore the complete absence of Hispanic in the line up for something calling itself Top Gear America which led the script to forcefully imply that heading north from Mexico gets them to 'Amercia'.
It certainly didn't need a bland Brit in this show.
A lack of charisma in the trio leaves just some people and some cars and a vaguely familiar format.
The Trip to Spain (2017)
Reheated - stale and harder
The Trip To Italy was a magnificent venture into pathos and comedy. We savoured the interplay between the two chaps. The scenery and the food were delectable.
At the end of the show they must have put a sample in the fridge.
And here in the Trip To Spain we have what feels like the leftovers reheated. It has a familiar flavour. It's better than some new stuff. But ultimately it doesn't satisfy in the same way.
I skipped through parts that were too chewy. Some of it just felt stale. The crust also had a harder edge which didn't really sit well with the theme.
Perhaps it should be like Fargo. New characters for the next season.
Closer to the Moon (2014)
It's a Jewish movie, but little else
Now perhaps the fact that it was a movie about Jewish people should have been obvious from the description. But that needn't be a bad thing. Fiddler on the Roof showed how to tell a story about underlying tragedy in a humorous and inclusive way.
To paraphrase: Closer To The Moon is no Fiddler on the Roof
It is just a poorly made movie.
I gave up watching it after 10 minutes, which was 5 more than my senses told me I should. I skipped forward to see if it got any better. It doesn't.
Very much a niche movie.
Have you ever watched a movie intro to a PC game?
Well imagine if it lasted over two hours. If you can't imagine that then see this movie. Because that's all you get.
Actually it feel like you get the same scene over and over and over again. A role gets introduced, some men yell through their teeth, then there is a ridiculous fight scene. All accompanied by a sound track which mostly consists of 'rumbles'.
The actors could swap roles at any time as there is sod-all difference between the acting or the portrayals and zero character development.
But technically it is excellent. It looks like an awful lot of care an attention has been put in to costumes, set designs and the computer animation (well except for the ram running up the castle wall; that was really cheap and cheesy). And that brings us back to why it is basically a computer game intro.
Take the kids to see it by all means; but go when you are tired so that you can have a long snooze.
Son of a Gun (2014)
Great pacing - enjoyable movie
This is a 'heist' movie with a fairly standard story and the usual range of characters and events.
One little difference is that it is set in Australia.
But one large difference is the pacing of the movie. It never gets bogged down and it never goes OTT - so we don't see people flying through the air, in slow motion, shooting two guns at once.
The acting is of a level where it well represents the sort of randomness found in such characters as well as offering up a hero for the audience to follow.
If you want a fun action movie with enough of a story to follow and which moves along and keeps the interest up - this one is for you, my son.
The Broken Shore (2013)
The Paint has dried...
... although I didn't see it happen as I was distracted by watching (much of) this telemovie.
This was a competently created but by-the-numbers sort of show.
We have our hero for is an anti-hero, damaged goods, but well meaning. Not liked by the 'bad guys' in the police force but respected by his old boss.
And so on it goes. I assume a whyteboard session was used to created the original story and all of the boxes ticked to created a formula story.
Now, I should note that I am not a woman and I got the feeling that the target audience for this is more 'sheila' than 'bloke'.
Some have suggested that this set of characters be turned in to a series. It doesn't worry me. I wouldn't watch them.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Do you like to get drunk?
Do you like to leave a mess?
Do you like brainless humour?
Do you have low expectation from life?
If so, then this is the movie for you.
It takes a basic concept of having a group of 'vampires' living together like student flatmates. And that's about it.
From that you can pretty much guess what sort of interactions and dialogue will occur. Take half of that away because this really doesn't go anywhere.
Perhaps the budget was low and so getting funding was easy.
It is a shame because this could have been good. I have tried to put my finger on exactly what this film lacks. I think it is in all areas.
Some people say they are confused by the ending of the movie.
I didn't get that far.
Well, I skipped forward to see if anything vaguely interesting happened because two people sitting in a bar making up a story is quite tiresome, especially when the characters are so uninteresting.
And so at some point they use a violin case to travel in time and some mumbo-jumbo happens.
We might as well just have played the Sister Sledge song "We are family". At least we could boogie.
Overwrought and too long
There would be a fine 3-4 part story in here, or even a single episode of Endeavour.
Instead we get a story that drags with lots of hand-wringing, slow motion walking and cheesy melodrama.
An excellent cast provide a range of performances, but each begins to feel so stereotyped - from the cop with issues to the wrongly accused (we know by the episode number) who commits suicide and that makes others feel remorse.
There are a range of 'possible' suspects all leading to an anticlimax of a "discovery" and three quarters of an hour of arty-filmed grief and a soundtrack that by then is irritating.
More 'Days of our Lives' than Morse.