5 Quick Reviews from October (Catch-up Edition part 1)

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

Sin City 2

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…

First up…

Obvious Child (A24 [USA], The Exchange [International])

Obvious-Child

Directed by Gillian Robespierre

Written by Gillian Robespierre and Karen Maine & Elisabeth Holm  Based on Obvious Child written by Anna Bean, Karen Maine and Gillian Robespierre

Starring Jenny SlateJake LacyGaby Hoffmann, Gabe Liedman & David Cross

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.

Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy

“Why are you in a box?” “I’m afraid Mel is going to start talking about abortion and… well… he has a penis. So I kinda wish he wouldn’t. I’m hiding, alright?.”

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.

Jenny Rulz

“That wasn’t too bad.”

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.

Jenny Slate

“Then he spent a whole paragraph talking about abortion. Why do men do that? I know i said it didn’t bother me but… I’m a little drunk now, so fuck his opinion.”

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.

Jenny Slate and David Cross

“Talk to me about the box.” “Um… I’d rather not.”

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.

Rent it

Next up…

Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Edge of Tomorrow

Directed by Doug Liman

Written by Dante HarperJoby HaroldChristopher McQuarrieJez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth  Based on All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Starring Tom CruiseEmily BluntBill Paxton & Brendan Gleeson

Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow

I make this look good.

Edge of Tomorrow is a great movie. One of my favorite films from this year.

"Come and find me when you wake up."

Come and find me when you wake up.

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.

Edge of Tomorrow Jump

Didn’t Mel already review this one when it was in the theaters?

Now… will somebody please write me a damn sequel.

Edge of Tomorrow Tom Cruise

If you haven’t seen it, rent it or just buy it. It’s that good.

Buy it

Next up…

X-Men: Days of Future Past (20th Century Fox)

x-men days of future past

Directed by Bryan Singer

Written by Simon Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman  Based on “Days of Future Past” by Chris Claremont & John Byrne

Starring Hugh JackmanJames McAvoyMichael FassbenderJennifer LawrenceHalle BerryAnna PaquinEllen PagePeter DinklageIan McKellen & Patrick Stewart

Wolverine before adamantium

Days of Future Past is another great movie in the X-Men franchise. One of my favorite films from 2014. Maybe even my favorite.

Days of Future Past

I love the prequel casting. McAvoy, Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence are superb.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique

And the original trilogy cast too. Stewart, McKellen, Jackman, (Halle, Anna, Ellen)

Magneto

X-Men was my favorite title growing up because I identified with the misfits and outcasts.

xmen-days-of-future-past

So combining the two casts together for the best X-Men story was outstanding.

Magneto and Quicksilver

I love this movie. I will own it. (Hell, one day I hope to marry it)

Buy it

And now the bad…

Life After Beth (A24)

life-after-beth

Written & Directed by Jeff Baena

Starring Aubrey PlazaDane DeHaanMolly ShannonCheryl HinesPaul ReiserMatthew Gray GublerAnna Kendrick & John C. Reilly

Life After Beth

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.

Aubrey Plaza

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 big brother

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 2

Life After Beth is a bad movie in every single way.

Skip it

and lastly…

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Dimension Films)

A Dame to KIll for

Directed by Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller

Written by Frank Miller  Based on Sin City by Frank Miller

Starring Mickey RourkeJessica AlbaJosh BrolinJoseph Gordon-LevittRosario DawsonBruce WillisEva GreenPowers BootheDennis HaysbertRay LiottaJaime KingChristopher LloydJamie ChungJeremy PivenChristopher 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.

Marv

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.

Jessica Alba and Bruce Willis

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.

Sin City A Dame in Color

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.

Eva Green - the dame in question

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.

Skip it

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…

– Mel

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