It’s almost December and I haven’t posted a 5 Quick Reviews for October or November. So here are two posts back to back. One for each month.
First up: 5 Quick Reviews of 5 New DVDs from October
This installment includes two of my favorite movies from 2014 and also two of the worse. Throw in a film that isn’t actually about abortion but centers around an unplanned pregnancy and you have the DVDs of October.
To the list…
Obvious Child (A24 [USA], The Exchange [International])
Directed by Gillian Robespierre
Abortion movies are polarizing. They are either pro-choice or very pro-life. While Obvious child doesn’t take a political side in the debate, here’s a hint: Planned Parenthood loved this movie. It is the story of a young woman, her unplanned pregnancy and her choices.
This is my abortion paragraph. It is more than okay to skip it: As far as being pro-life or pro-choice, I am staunchly pro-birth-control and anti-rape. I would love to live in a world where there was no such thing as unplanned pregnancy. And I believe with early and comprehensive education, effective birth control and early rape prevention measures that take care of the problem at its source, there would be no need for it. And all the politicians that raise money from the issue would have to…. oh yeah that’s right… nothing will change as long as the issue is a massive revenue builder for both sides. Never mind… but there is this very cute movie.
Obvious Child is based on the 2009 short film of the same name from the same director. In the film, the main character, played by Jenny Slate, a comedienne who works days in a bookstore, becomes pregnant from a one night stand and has a decision. But the story is not about the decision but about the girl. Her professional evolution. Her relationships. And about a one night stand that produces a pregnancy.
Obvious Child is a good movie with a great performance by Jenny Slate. She is perfect as the young comedian that finds her voice when her life is tipped on its side. I really liked this cute twist on the romantic comedy. However I know that abortion is a trigger for some.
I hate being preached at in film especially about abortion. Again, this movie does not do that. It is not about abortion. And the decision doesn’t affect the plot even as it is the central focus of the film and yet it isn’t. It is a smart film. Funny, sweet, very real, very good, well-written, well-directed and Jenny Slate is outstanding. Nice work.
Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Directed by Doug Liman
Edge of Tomorrow is a great movie. One of my favorite films from this year.
It holds up well on disc. As long as you have good speakers. Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise turn in great performances in an action-packed sci-fi adventure.
Now… will somebody please write me a damn sequel.
If you haven’t seen it, rent it or just buy it. It’s that good.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (20th Century Fox)
Directed by Bryan Singer
Days of Future Past is another great movie in the X-Men franchise. One of my favorite films from 2014. Maybe even my favorite.
I love the prequel casting. McAvoy, Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence are superb.
And the original trilogy cast too. Stewart, McKellen, Jackman, (Halle, Anna, Ellen)
X-Men was my favorite title growing up because I identified with the misfits and outcasts.
So combining the two casts together for the best X-Men story was outstanding.
I love this movie. I will own it. (Hell, one day I hope to marry it)
And now the bad…
Life After Beth (A24)
Written & Directed by Jeff Baena
Life After Beth is an exceptionally bad zombie romance but it is also a bad horror film, a bad comedy and a total waste of time. This is a one joke movie. And that one joke isn’t very funny. (Hey dude your girlfriend is back from the dead). Badly directed and poorly written, I laughed once through the entire film and I think I was laughing at how bad it was.
Romantic zombie stories have been done so much better in films like Warm Bodies and TV shows like In The Flesh. Life After Beth is the story of a young man whose recently deceased girlfriend comes back from the dead. The premise is promising. The casting is good. And that’s it. The characters are bland and two-dimensional. There’s an older brother character that is idiotic and parents (both his and hers) that are useless. Even their relationship, the central theme of the movie, is pointless and weak.
The dialogue is awful. The plot is stupid. There is nothing about this movie that I liked. I’m hoping these actors, that I enjoyed in other things, did this movie as a favor to someone because it’s really bad, there is no script and the director has no vision.
Life After Beth is a bad movie in every single way.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Dimension Films)
Written by Frank Miller Based on Sin City by Frank Miller
Starring Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Jaime King, Christopher Lloyd, Jamie Chung, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Meloni & Juno Temple
Speaking of sensationally bad movies. This Sin City sequel does something rarely seen from bad sequels. It actually makes the first movie worse. The story is okay… I guess. But you can’t tell because they never let a story play out before switching to another one with a new narrator. I like Frank Miller but he can’t direct.
There are too many voice-overs from too many different characters. Instead of showing one story at a time, the stories are edited together so that the different narrators of each tale are practically talking over each other.
A Dame to Kill For plays more like an audio book. An audio graphic novel with moving images. It is visually annoying. That black and white with splashes of color thing was cool in the first one but this movie does it so badly it makes me think the first one sucked too. this is not a good movie at all. Frank Miller is still a god in my eyes for his comics & graphic novels (Daredevil, Batman) but he shouldn’t direct movies. He is really bad at it.
Telling a visual story in comics and telling a visual story in cinema are two separate disciplines. The two main differences that Mr. Miller fail to reconcile are camera movement and visual continuity. A Dame to Kill For is stupendously bad directing.
And I know Robert Rodriguez also has his name on it as director but I have a hard time believing that Mr. Rodriguez got this bad at his craft this quickly. This is all Frank Miller. This is someone who doesn’t know what the fuck they’re doing.
So to recap…
There were two movies in which the main character couldn’t be killed despite everyone’s best efforts: Life After Beth and The Edge of Tomorrow. One of the best and one of the worse movies I have seen all year.
There were two movies with bad titular colon subtitles based on comics penned by two of my favorite comic book writers: X-Men: Days of Future Past and Sin City: A Dame to Kill for. One is directed by someone who should stick to comic books. The other brilliant.
And there was a romantic comedy that was well-written, well-directed and with a great performance but an uncomfortable theme that may turn some people off; Obvious Child. And that’s sad because it’s a really good movie and it may not get the recognition it deserves or make the money it deserves.
That was October
November coming right up…