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A Wild Time
For it's time, its a truly something nobody has ever seen. A throwback to the golden age of Universal Horror films, with more blood and guts than any mainstream film of the early 80's, and enough strange humor to suggest that John Landis was making a comedy, which he vehemently claims he wasn't. This is a peak 80's movie. I loved every minute of it. Look, even I agree, it's a choppy mess of a film. The editing is off the wall. That nightmare scene with the masked invaders is something I will never understand in a million years. The film ends on the most bizarre note in history. But it just doesn't matter. I had a thrilling time. Everyone involved looked like they had a ball. The genius special effects by Rick Baker still holds up. David Naughton is such a terrific lead, it's a wonder how his career didn't take off after this. Best of all, this film inspired Michael Jackson to make Thriller. Just remember that, folks. Whether you love this film or not, we wouldn't have gotten Thriller without it.
Snake Eyes (1998)
Roll the Dice
Not all De Palma films are beloved. Snake Eyes is considered one of his weakest. The story is generic and the ending is a complete letdown. But the cinematography is so on point, it's really hard to dislike this film. It's a lot of fun, in fact. Nicholas Cage doesn't get better. Gary Sinise is superb. The opening shot is a steady cam, long take, reminiscent of the Copa scene in Goodfellas and the opening to Boogie Nights. It gets you right into Ricky's world, and immediately, you are hooked. De Palma knows how to get you invested in his characters. Overall, it's very surprising yo me how much of a bad rep Snake Eyes has.
The Guardians are back. Bigger, badder, crazier and funnier than ever. However, how does this one size up the original? A film that surprised filmgoers everywhere and took the Marvel empire by storm as an August sleeper hit, three years ago. You can only capture that sense of discovery once, I suppose, but does that really matter in the end? Isn't the whole idea of this franchise to be a goofy, popcorn action flick that gives you more bang for your buck than most multiplexes serve up in a month? Guardians Vol. 2 does that in spades. It's unbelievable fun.
All the returning characters have a real sense of longevity as to how likable and hilarious they all are. Like a family reunion, you're amazed by how much you missed them and how much they've grown. The story may seem choppy, but you're having too much fun to notice. The non-stop action made me cackle with glee. The jokes are timed perfectly. The emotional aspect of the drama scenes hit you out of nowhere, and surprisingly, moved me even more than the opening scene in the first one.
Let's not forget all the little things that tie the whole thing together. Like the adorable Baby Groot's kiddy antics, cameos by Marvel legends and another blast from the past from Peter's mixtape. Chances are, if you're a millennial, you've never heard of the songs featured here. Let this be the eye opening moment, where you realize that today's music is total garbage.
Figure It Out
Michael Haneke creates a multiple character, multiple plot-line film that film lovers have seen time and again. Amores Perros, Babel, Short Cuts, Magnolia. You know that the essence of a great filmmaker is one who can juggle multiple stories and characters at once, and even more so, whether or not he can intertwine these stories at the very end. It's confusing whether or not Code Unknown does that, but it attempts it successfully at the very least. A lot of the talking scenes didn't resonate with me. Although the ADR scene blew me away. At first I was in the midst of a shocking scene where a child almost falls off of a building, to reveal that it was part of a filmed scene-within-the-movie of which the actress is in the process of re-recording. That is awesome stuff. Also, take a look at the unbearable tension in the subway scenes. It's nail biting stuff.
The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)
I never saw The Lego Movie, but from what I saw from little clips, it looks like a thoroughly funny movie. Great especially for little kids. I went to an SU campus screening, followed by a lecture from the producer of all Batman movies and TV shows, Michael Uslan. I really had fun. This is a silly movie, for sure. The jokes come flying at you, like the best of David Zucker. DC fans need to make sure they watch it again to catch all of the comic book references. The cast is huge, and super funny. What more can you say?
Les amants du Pont-Neuf (1991)
A Bridge Just Right
This is the Leos Carax film that truly resonated with me. A homeless love story. Half-blind, half- dumb and half-crazy, these two characters are really memorable. This isn't a dialogue heavy film. Scenes go by like little vignettes, capturing the everyday lives of the Parisian homeless. They live, and love by the bridge. The Bastille day celebration scene completely floored me.
Mauvais sang (1986)
You have amazing scenes here. The energetic and nail biting heist scene, the sky-diving scene, and of course, the scene in which Chatterbox runs down the street to "Modern Love" by David Bowie. How shamelessly Noah Baumbauch stole this scene for Frances Ha, which compared to Mauvais Sang is a sophomore year, film school project. This is a master class in filmmaking. However, it's conversation scenes lag on for far too long, don't amount to much, and extend the run time of the film. It didn't need to be two hours.
An absolutely fascinating documentary about the lost Superman film, that was to be directed by Tim Burton, and starring none other than Nicholas Cage as Clark Kent. My imagination went wild the entire time. Just thinking about how amazing it would've been to see a Superman movie, as weird and as sublime as only a Tim Burton film could be. From the looks of it, it was going to be a masterpiece. But corporate shenanigans shut it down. They never gave it a chance. If you are a fan of Superman and the films of Tim Burton, you must watch this. You will be floored by all the footage you are about to see. From concept art, to the camera test starring Nicholas Cage in the Superman suit, you will be amazed at how much went into the Superman film that never was.
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
A Lot To Speak Of
A modern day, cerebral version of The Omen, essentially. It's a study into the mind of a psychopathic school shooter, told from the perspective of the mother. Troubled youths at home have been tackled in films before, but this is an exceptional piece. It's entirely uncomfortable in every aspect, to the point where some of it is just unbearable and dull. Tilda Swinton's performance is stirring.
I'm Still Here (2010)
Remember that time when everyone thought that Joaquin Phoenix went AWOL from acting and became a rapper? Remember when everyone thought he went nuts because of his bizarre appearance on Letterman? Well, it was all a set up for a mockumentary... and it's one of the worst ones of all time. This is a pretentious, garbled, unfunny mess. The fiction is far less entertaining than what we thought was reality. He thought he was the next Andy Kaufman, as did many. But by the section of the film that featured the Letterman interview, I only wished that Jerry Lawler came out on to the stage and smacked Joaquin off of his chair. I'm a lover of all kinds of cinema, but I can't stand the self aggrandizement of the Hollywood celebrity. Some of these people just live in total fantasy.