Impressions on Miles Ahead (a film by Don Cheadle)

Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” – Miles

What follows are my first impressions of the movie Miles Ahead. I watched it and immediately wrote this down. I usually write a review and post it here on my blog when I get a chance. But I didn’t do that this time. I wrote this.

Miles Ahead (Sony Pictures Classics)

Miles Ahead Poster

Directed by Don Cheadle

Written by Steven Baigleman, Don Cheadle, Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson

Starring Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregorEmayatzy CorinealdiLaKeith Lee Stanfield & Michael Stuhlbarg

Impressions.

From Jazz. To Fizz. To Junk. To Funk.

Don Cheadle in Miles Ahead

Like the man’s music it flowed through variations on a theme. Chopin. Chopin. Different eras in the life of a man. Interconnected. Interspersed. The work of a god. Pretty. Ugly. Inconsistent. Drugs and violence and mental illness. Cool and cruel and beauty’s bitch. Love’s fool. Forever love’s fool.

Miles Ahead Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor

Music’s master and her slave and her master again. But what difference does it make? Really. Nasty. Like just all kinds of nasty. But GORGEOUS. Gorgeous and engorged. Like the throbbing musicianship on some of the best music ever made. By master craftsmen. With craftsmanship. And artistry.

Miles Ahead Miles

Early Spike Lee without the bullshit. Melvin Van Peebles without the n-word. Nigger Poetry mixed with prose and professionals like Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor and film-making like Godard. Jean Luc fucking Godard. Like music on film. Sketches of Spain. Kind of Blue but also kind of red and black and pink and pink and flesh. And gorgeous.

Miles Ahead

You made a portrait of the man where all the ugly still shows. And it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful. But it’s hard to look at times. And he’s hard to hear. The hidden notes within the charts. And I could barely understand it all. Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” All the elements that make up the dream and the life and the work of art. Dripping paint on the canvas like blood on the ropes.

Don Cheadle from Miles Ahead

A fighter who isn’t down for the count. He’s far from out. A punch in the face. A standing eight count. A cold splash. A warm breeze. A single note. A wake up call to those of us stuck in a rut. Reliving the past failures. And fearing the future. The parts that gradually make up the hole. From the whole.

Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor in Miles Ahead

First a scratch. Then a screech. Now a scream. An impossible scream. A scream in A flat minor. A scream from the bottom of a deep dark. A scream from a place where beauty falls and fails and never screams again. A scream from a hole a thousand Miles wider than the horizon. A beautiful musical dancing scream from the movie screen.

Miles and Trane from Miles Ahead

“Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” – Miles

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: Hardcore Henry

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Hardcore Henry (STX Entertainment)

Hardcore Henry Poster

Written & Directed by Ilya Naishuller

Starring Sharlto CopleyDanila KozlovskyHaley BennettAndrei DementievDasha CharushaSvetlana Ustinova & Tim Roth

“You are half-machine, half-pussy.”

I love Timur Bekmambetov. He makes the coolest most kick-ass movies. I have loved them all. Day Watch. Night Watch. Wanted. He does the best and most craziest action sequences. He only produced Hardcore Henry but his style is written all over it. It is eternally and hysterically as bad-ass as anything else he’s ever done. Except for the headache. The combination of Hardcore Henry basically being just one ultra-long action sequence and the entire thing being in first person POV is a little hard on the eyes. So there’s this found footage aspect to the proceedings as well as the fact that you’re a cyborg, so there’s some distortion. It can give you a headache. But honestly, the movie kicks serious ass. And it’s over in a flash.

Hardcore Henry POV

I highly recommend it for action movie fans. If you can take a little unsteady camera work. No scratch that. A lot of unsteady camera work. Let me start over. The whole damn movie is unsteady camera work. So you may have to pause it to for a while every so often to orient yourself in the room. But if you can stomach that for an hour and a half and you like mind-numbing-ly cool action and a seriously awesome story. And the video game as cinema style doesn’t turn you off. Hardcore Henry is one of the most kick-ass fucking low-budget movies I have seen in a while. Jeez.

Verdict: SPARED

Hardcore Henry

I just finished watching Hardcore Henry and I am so impressed with the easiness of it and the technical difficulties involved. It is extremely high concept. All shot with a Go Pro or some shit. You wake up in a lab. It’s the future. Your name is Henry and the craziness starts from there. Lots of surprises. Lots of laughs. A seriously fun movie. Totally fucking insane. I was pleasantly surprised.

Hardcore-Henry

I was initially taken aback because of the high concept and because some of the effects were on the cheesy side. But as you’re chasing this other cyborg through the streets of Russia and through buildings and jumping off bridges and all kinds of cool shit. In first person POV remember. This asshole taunts you. He stops and turns and delivers the best line in the movie in this comical Russian accent he says,

“You are half-machine, half pussy.” You know because you’re a cyborg.

Hardcore Henry Chase

And I’m like cracking up and thinking, that motherfucker did not just say that to me.

Oh. It’s on.

And you realize the movie is just fun. It’s so much fun from that point. It’s like the best video game except you don’t have to touch a controller.

hardcore-movie-sharlto-copley

And Sharito Copley plays this sensational part. I like that he’s not afraid to do indie work. He takes chances. That’s my favorite thing about him as an actor. I didn’t like the robot movie he did. But this is such a juicy role for him. He gets to have so much fun. You got to have a friend in all this craziness. He’s your buddy. It’s really an awesome part.

Hardcore Henry Bus

Hardcore Henry is great story. Sensational directing. interesting. Innovative. Doesn’t take itself too seriously. Better than all the found footage movies ever made put together. Fun. Funny. Violent. Violent. Violent. Did I mention how violent the movie is. It’s really violent.

Hardcore Henry Sharito Copley

All I can say is that Hardcore Henry is worth the headache. No. I’m serious. It’s worth the fucking headache because it’s so much fucking fun.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Review: Ghostbusters

The rules are smiple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Ghostbusters (Columbia Pictures)

Ghostbusters

Directed by Paul Feig

Written by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig  Based on Ghostbusters by Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis

Starring Melissa McCarthyKristen WiigKate McKinnonLeslie JonesCharles DanceMichael Kenneth Williams & Chris Hemsworth

The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot is a family fun time at the movies. Extremely funny. But it is nowhere near as good as the original. I think the main reason is the pacing. Paul Feig is no Judd Apatow. The jokes don’t come fast enough. There is too much time to catch your breath in between laughs. And Paul Feig is no Ivan Reitman. The action isn’t big enough. And there isn’t the grand city-wide spectacle of the original. But there are decent laughs, cool action and a number of surprise cameos of good guys and bad guys from the original film. The new cast is amazing. I’ve never been big fans of either McCarthy or Jones. Though both are very funny women, they’ve been known to take it a little too far. However Kate McKinnon is fantastic. Outrageously funny and very cool. And of course Kristen Wigg is amazing. She is so incredibly likable. Why is she not in everything? She’s like Drew Barrymore at her peak cuteness, if Drew Barrymore had comic timing, could do physical comedy and weren’t, well, Drew Barrymore (I like Drew. I don’t know why I said that). But you guys, Kristen Wigg should be in everything. She’s so fucking cute.

Kristen Wiig

Verdict: SPARED

And while you’re at it spare me from all the misogyny and sexism and awful comments and aggressive attacks from the petty little masculinity deprived angry little man boys who keep harassing famous women. You guys need to lose your internet privileges.

Slimed

Ghostbusters 2016 is far from perfect. I think one of the annoying things about the new Ghostbusters is that the screenwriters set up moments from the original movie and you can’t help it, if you watched the first one as many times as I have, you can’t help but hear the original dialogue in your head. And you almost hope that the new cast use some of the old words. It’s a strange phenomenon. And of course they do not, and it’s sort of a letdown. There’s one point in the movie where I wanted to shout in my best Bill Murray, “Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!” But I didn’t.

Kate McKinnon

I also wanted the movie to be sillier than it was. The cast, all four of these women, are notoriously silly. I wanted more silly. This cast is like if John Belushi and Garrett Morris were in the original movie with Aykroyd, Murray, Ramis & Hudson. This is a murderer’s row of funny women. The movie made me laugh but it should have even more. It needed more ad-lib scenes. It needed more Apatow. But in my opinion, with the exception of Bill Murray, who is one of the funniest people to ever walk the Earth, these ladies are even more talented than the original cast. That’s right I said it.

Bill Murray

Still I wanted the movie to be a little more crowd-pleasing. Ivan Reitman is the master of the crowd-pleasing action. Like in the first movie where the city hates them and then loves them and the cheers. I wanted more hero shit. But the action in the new Ghostbusters is full of holes. And the city of New York should play a greater role and doesn’t. It’s like Paul Feig didn’t know my city at all. But I kind of liked seeing his people popping up in small roles throughout the movie. You can tell they had a lot of fun making this.

Ghostbusters Kristen Wiig

Because Ghostbusters is a lot of fun. The movie is very funny. I think I just wanted it to be more over-the-top. More ad-libs. More craziness. More of all four of the new cast members playing off each other. Because what there was of that was amazing. The best parts are when there are just riffing with each other. Very funny. Very cute. Very silly. I just wanted more. I wanted more of everything. It just wasn’t enough for me.

Ghostbusters Kate McKinnon

Ghostbusters is a good reboot of the series. I hope they make a sequel and this time they let the stars stretch their comedy muscles. I definitely want to see these girls again.

– Mel

Ghostbusters 2016

“I ain’t afraid of no ghost.”

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: Warcraft

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Warcraft: The Beginning (Universal Pictures)

Directed by Duncan Jones

Written by Charles Leavitt, Duncan Jones and Chris Metzen  Based on Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment

Starring Travis FimmelPaula PattonBen FosterDominic CooperToby KebbellBen SchnetzerRobert Kazinsky & Daniel Wu

Warcraft: The Beginning is so much better than I thought it would be. I have always loved the cut scenes from World of Warcraft. The cut scenes in that game are extremely cinematic. They are the best thing about the game. They are incredible. So, I knew Warcraft the movie could never compete with those tiny animated scenes (that are amazingly bad-ass. I kid you not). So I didn’t expect much. I also read a lot of people saying that it’s the worst movie from this year. I couldn’t agree less. I liked it a lot. It was nowhere near as good as the cut scenes in the video game but honestly that would have been nearly impossible.

Verdict: SPARED

Warcraft 6

If you have never played WoW (World of Warcraft) then I get that a lot of the joy of this film is lost on you. I get it. But Warcraft: The Beginning is a perfect video game movie. The best of all time in my opinion. It combines so may aspects of game play into its story. And because of the way it’s filmed, it’s almost too familiar. It is a joy to watch.

Warcraft 4

And that’s because most of Warcraft was green screen or blue screen, the locations are perfect replicas of the game rooms and locations. To the point where I achieved wood. Not a half chub but a full on chubby walnuts. Forget how bad the acting was. The film was gorgeous and I was fully aroused.

Warcraft

And still I get it. The acting is not that good. Neither is the dialogue. But the story is familiar and the look is perfect and the actors are good at the physical parts. Like for instance I tried to watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the actors were great actors but they couldn’t do the physical parts, so they either slowed down the action for them or just put it off camera which is maddening because you want to see the kills in a zombie movie (am I right?) and I couldn’t even watch it. I turned it off. That’s why there will be no P&P&Z review. This is also why Tom Cruise has all the money in the world. He’s a great actor AND he can do the physical parts. You have to find a happy medium people. I’m tired of good actors who obviously can’t handle a sword or throw a punch and I’m also tired of these athletic types who look awesome doing action but can’t act for shit. Warcraft finds a center. The actors aren’t great thespians but they’re okay and they look good doing the physical bits. Warcraft is pretty awesome.

Warcraft 7

I’m sorry if you didn’t like it. It’s not for you. It’s for the fans. I was a fan of WoW. Okay I was a fan of WoW up until it got racist RANT ALERT like soon after Obama was elected. For those of you fuckers who blame Obama for all the rampant racism, I can remember that time. I understand your confusion. Because when Obama got elected the motherfucking racists lost their motherfucking minds. I couldn’t stay in anything resembling a chat room in the game. I couldn’t visit the cities. I couldn’t find a guild. It was awful. It was aggressive and it was moderated by sympathetic racist puppets. I’m sorry. I’m getting angry. Because I complained all the time. They even suspended me when I started to fight back against it. (They suspended ME) But anyway. I really loved the game I just hated the people playing it.

Warcraft 3

I haven’t played WoW in seven years and just judging by YouTube comments and Facebook and Twitter I’m guessing WoW is still a recruitment tool for the KKK. But this movie (we’re still talking about the movie) is nice to look at and there are no chat channels with the grossest racism that is never reprimanded. Oh my god, I have never been called nigger so much as playing two video games online: the chess app Chess with friends. (There is nothing that pisses off a racist more than a black man beating them in chess), and while playing WoW. Even the people who were in my guild would call some other players niggers and then justify it to me when I objected in the most fucked up ways. They’d say, (I’m sorry but I have to continue this thought) “We’re not trying to be racist. We know you’re black. But these players just act like niggers. You know, like real niggers. That’s all. No offense.”

Warcraft 2

Offense taken. RANT OVER This review got way off track.

Warcraft: The Beginning was entertaining. I plan to buy it. I loved the look. I loved the story. I used to love playing WoW and loved the cut scenes, and Warcraft reminded me of the best parts of that. It was fun to be in the World of Warcraft once again.

Warcraft: The Beginning is like one big video game cut scene with live actors and cool action and I liked it more than I thought I would.

Amazing.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: 10 Cloverfield Lane

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

10 Cloverfield Lane (Paramount Pictures)

10 Cloverfield Lane

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg

Written by Josh Campbell, Matt Stuecken and Damien Chazelle

Starring John GoodmanMary Elizabeth WinsteadJohn Gallagher, Jr.Bradley Cooper & Suzanne Cryer

10 Cloverfield Lane is a good movie about one thing and an even better movie if it were about something else. And that’s it. That’s the movie; keeping the viewer unsure what the movie is about; one thing or the another. And that’s my review as well. Because to explain why I DID NOT like a film that I thoroughly enjoyed all the way through up until the ending. And then, get this, because this is important (and where it gets confusing) I ALSO ENJOYED THE ENDING. But I did not like the whole. In order to explain that, I would have to spoil the movie… especially the ending. So this is a spoiled review. And honestly, if you haven’t seen the movie, don’t read the rest of this review.

But now you’re curious aren’t you? You can’t help yourself. Well, you’ve been warned.

Verdict: SPOILED

"Is that a Pokemon?"

“Is that a Pokemon on the ceiling? Hold still you bastard.”

SPOILER ALERT

Let’s get right to it. I want to see the OTHER movie. They end a good movie by letting us know that a better movie was going on outside the house. Setting up a sequel? Not really. More accurately, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a prequel. It’s an origin story. The birth of this bad-ass heroine. I want to see more from her. She rocks. But then the movie ends just when she finds her swing. Let me explain.

John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane

“This here’s a Pokemon gym, young lady. Don’t you mess with my Pikachu.”

The answer to the question of whether 10 Cloverfield Lane is one thing or the other is that it’s both. A cop-out, maybe. But that’s the only solution that would be allowed. You can’t play the fence this much without both things being true. The guy who saves our hero is a bat-shit crazy kidnapper and a pathological liar but he is ALSO not lying about how he just saved her life from an alien invasion. He’s just weird. Understand that the movie is all about us not knowing this, that the drama is built around not knowing what the fuck’s going on outside the house.

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

“How do the Pokemon get up there?”

10 Cloverfield Lane is a pretty good psychological thriller. It’s like Room if Room were the movie we wanted Room to be but were pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t. John Goodman “kidnaps” a young woman and holds her in his fallout shelter tricked-out doomsday bunker. Or does he? I’ve already told you the answer. He saves her from certain death at the hands of vicious aliens. But she thinks he’s a crazy, pedophile, rapist, racist violent asshole… and she’s right. SURPRISE! It’s both those things.

cloverfield

“You have a Pokemon addiction, young lady. You need my help.”

A young woman, played brilliantly by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, gets kidnapped and chained to a wall by a crazy guy, but the guy is actually saving her from the apocalypse and it’s him that doesn’t trust her. That’s the movie. No need to watch it. I already told you the twist. SPOILER ALERT. (In case you missed the last dozen or so). It’s good. It’s creepy. John Goodman is awesome and awful. There’s some other stuff that happens. Whatever. Let’s get to the good part. She escapes him, gets outside the house and discovers there actually HAS been an alien invasion. Then… then… THEN… she starts kicking ass. There are like five minutes left in the movie and she turns into an alien ass-kicking mofo. And the fucking movie ends after that.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Cloverfield Lane

“What can I say? I’ve just gotta catch ’em all.”

To add insult to injury, the coolest thing in the movie happens right before the credits. She hears a broadcast from the remaining humans, that they’re looking for people with combat experience. And my girl just blew up a mothership, so… yeah my girl got combat experience. And then the movie ends. And then you want to see THAT movie, the movie that was happening outside of the bunker. And you’re disappointed that instead of that you got this movie; a good movie, but not the kick-ass alien invasion movie.

Cloverfield Lane

♫ to catch them is my real quest. to train them is my caaause…  ♫

So in the end, 10 Cloverfield Lane was good. A little bit of a cop-out in the end, yet still entertaining. But in the end, I realized I had missed all the best stuff. And in the end, I wanted to see the other movie. I kind of feel like had there been no mystery, had we known about the invasion from the beginning, in the end, it could have been a more interesting movie. The same psychological thriller stuff but with stories seeping in from the outside world.

I felt cheated.

– Mel