5 Quick Reviews of 5 Movies on DVD (Bad Movie Edition)

So sure. I’m calling this a Bad Movie Edition of my 5 Quick Reviews series but it’s more of a Sci-fi Fantasy Edition or a Five Movies That Are Bad But You’ll Probably Still Check Them Out Edition.

The Queens

“Did you hear that, sister? Mel wants us to check them out.” “Why aren’t you dead?”

This is a strange quintet. All five films could be considered sequels or part of a series. They all have great casting. But every single one has a fatal flaw. So maybe I should have called this the Fatal Flawed Movie Edition.

Joker

“I’ll show YOU a fatal flaw.”

But to tell you the truth, I’ve been so busy, I didn’t give it much thought. I have so many reviews on my hard-drive. I’m so far behind. I didn’t even bother to give you a recrap of these movies. Recrap is my own word. It’s when you try to do a recap of a shitty movie like it was good. Recrap. So this is the phoning it in edition. Yes! That’s it. All five directors knew, going in, that they had an audience because fans of the source material were already going to see these films. So they phoned it in.

And so did I…

This is the Phoning It In Edition.

(but honestly I’m too indifferent to get up the energy to even change the title)

To the reviews…

X-Men: Apocalypse (20th Century Fox)

X-Men Apocalypse

Directed by Bryan Singer

Written by Simon Kinberg and Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris  Based on X-Men by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Starring James McAvoyMichael FassbenderJennifer LawrenceOscar IsaacNicholas HoultRose ByrneEvan PetersTye SheridanSophie Turner & Olivia Munn

Wow! what a bad movie. Bad writing and bad directing. There’s really nothing more I can say. A disappointing display. People knock the X-Men original series but all three are better than this piece of shit. X-Men Apocalypse is awful.

X-men Apocalypse Cerebro

Love this cast. Honestly, what a group. With the welcome addition of two of my favorite young actresses; Olivia Munn and Sophie Turner. There is nothing wrong with the cast. But that’s the only thing good here. The rest is shit.

Cyclops and Jean Grey from X-Men Apocalypse

X-Men Apocalypse is the worst X-Men movie ever made. It is horrible in every way imaginable. This stellar cast deserved a lot better than this.

Skip it.

NEXT!!!

Allegiant (Summit Entertainment)

Divergent-Allegiant-Movie-Poster

Directed by Robert Schwentke

Written by Stephen Chbosky, Bill Collage, Adam Coper & Noah Oppenheim  Based on Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Starring Shailene WoodleyTheo JamesJeff DanielsOctavia SpencerRay StevensonZoë KravitzMiles TellerAnsel ElgortMaggie QBill Skarsgård & Naomi Watts

These movies are pointless but this one has some decent tech and an interesting story. I’m guessing these are better books. Allegiant is better than the second one at least but the whole idea of factions was what made the first one just a little more interesting even though it was just as bad as the next two. Am I making any sense? It’s bad. Okay?

The-Divergent-Series-Allegiant1

I’m glad it’s over. It’s over right? Tell me it’s over. I also have a strange observation. I like the actress, Shailene Woodley, but her body grew up and her face did not. She looks like a baby head on a grown woman. The body of a thirty year old well-fit woman and the head of a toddler. It’s disconcerting.

Shailene Woodley from Alegiant

That’ll be enough out of you, Divergent Series. You’ve over-stayed your welcome.

Skip it.

NEXT!!!

Everybody Wants Some!! (Paramount Pictures)

Everybody Wants Some!!

Written & Directed by Richard Linklater

Starring Will BrittainZoey DeutchRyan GuzmanTyler HoechlinBlake JennerGlen Powell & Wyatt Russell

Everybody Wants Some!! is classic Linklater and in my book that’s just fine with me. The man is one of my cinematic heroes. An artist with entirely his own style. I love everything he does. Everybody Wants Some!! is a sort of sequel to Dazed and Confused.

Everybody Wants Some Matthew McConaughey

My big problem with Everybody Wants Some!! is one of the central jokes or themes of it. In it. About it. Whatever. Everyone… Every mother fucking person in this movie is playing Matthew McConaughey. ALL OF THEM. The women. The men. Everybody is doing a McConaughey impression. It’s funny at first then becomes a bit creepy as it continues for the entire film.

Everybody Wants Some Alright Alright Alright

Everybody Wants Some!! is an amazingly entertaining film where little to nothing happens but “Life” happens. You know… classic Linklater but I need to tell you that everyone in this thing is playing a version of Matthew McConaughey from movies or appearances throughout his life and career. That’s the joke.

Everybody Wants Some

ALL of the characters are Matthew. But I still loved this quirky piece of shit. Linklater can do no wrong. The man is a god.

Rent it.

NEXT!!!

Batman: The Killing Joke (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Batman The Killing Joke

Directed by Sam Liu

Written by Brian Azzarello  Based on Batman: The Killing Joke by Brian Bolland and Alan Moore

Starring Kevin ConroyMark HamillTara Strong & Ray Wise

ATTENTION: IT HAS COME TO MY ATTENTION THAT I WASN’T PAYING ATTENTION AND I SPOIL THIS MOVIE AND THE COMIC BOOK TERRIBLY IN THIS QUICK REVIEW.

IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SPOIL THIS FILM OR DON’T KNOW THE STORY OF THE COMIC THEN DON’T READ THIS REVIEW.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

This is a mistake. You can’t screw up a great story like this. I know it’s a little too dark for the animated world but it’s the whole point of the story. Batman finally realizes that it’s pointless. Joker’s too dangerous to lock up. Too unpredictable to leave in Arkham Asylum. Too smart to underestimate. And too sadistic to let live. He paralyzes poor Barbara just for shits and giggles, so Batman kills him. Batman kills Joker. He breaks his neck at the end. You don’t have to agree with Batman’s decision but don’t change the story. Then it’s not the same story and you just piss me off.

batman-the-killing-joke-batgirl

The ending is not ambiguous in the comic book. No matter how uncomfortable it makes you because Batman kills someone, it is a great story. The only thing uncomfortable about the animated adaptation is that Batgirl sleeps with her boss. It’s kind of weird.

Barbara and her gay friend in Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke is just that… a joke; They could have really told a dark and powerful Batman story but they didn’t and it kills me. And yeah the whole first part with Barbara Gordon and her awkward relationship with The Dark Knight is strange at best but I was thinking they were adding an extra layer to the final joke. Nope. She’s annoying. Her gay best friend is annoying. And it doesn’t change the fact that they wimp out in the end.

The-Killing-Joke

I’m watching that first part thinking okay this is good they’re making it more personal so they can justify the final act. But no. But no such luck. But go ahead and rent it anyway. It’s a wonderful story after the initial 30 minutes of Bat-Girlyness are over.

Rent it.

and Lastly…

The Huntsman Winter’s War (Universal Pictures)

Huntsman-Winters-War-poster

Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Written by Evan Spiliotopoulos & Craig Mazin  Based on Characters by Evan DaughertyThe Snow Queen by Hans Christian AndersenSnow White by The Brothers Grimm

Starring Chris HemsworthCharlize TheronEmily BluntNick FrostSam ClaflinRob Brydon & Jessica Chastain and Narrated by Liam Neeson

I think I liked the first movie. I didn’t like this one very much. It plods along awkwardly. It starts off as a prequel and then suddenly turns into a sequel. It’s almost like they want you to pause the film and watch the first one because it’s easy to get lost and they just jump over the events of the first Huntsman movie and if you don’t remember it you can get a bit lost. I got a little lost but it’s gorgeous to look at.

The Huntsman Winter's War

I liked the story of Winter’s War, even the true-love elements which can seem a little corny. Like a romantic fairy-tale and that’s the point. So I don’t blame the story for the movie being bad. I blame the direction. Instead of playing up the fairy-tale elements, thus making the true-love theme fit the movie, the director plays up the epic quest a little too much and it feels like the romance is weirdly out-of-place.

The Lovers The Huntsman Winter's War

Winter’s War is a tough movie to like. But I did like the story. I just thought it was badly directed. I guess it’s worth a look. But in my opinion, the first one, with Snow White, is way better. Though Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain are both amazing.

Rent it.

So To Recap…

There were two movies about awkward love affairs between bad-ass warriors shoehorned into classic stories; Batman: The Killing Joke and The Huntsman Winter’s War. In one case I wanted to see a lot more of the romance, In the other, a lot less.

There were two movies about a group of awkward teens with special powers on the run from an oppressive government and a powerful enemy; Allegiant and X-Men Apocalypse. One of them a below average ending to a great series, the other, a welcome ending to a bad series.

And one movie where absolutely nothing happens in it. And it stars Matthew McConaughey; Everybody Wants Some!!. Except that a lot happens and Matthew McConaughey isn’t even in it. So yeah…

And that’s it.

I’m playing catch-up so there should be a bunch of posts in a row, if everything goes according to plan (but when has Everything been known to do that?)

Never, that’s when.

Jessica Chastain

Jessica knows what I’m talking about.

Wish me luck.

– 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 Film Reviews: Avengers- Age of Ultron

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

Avengers: Age of Ultron (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Avengers Age of Ultron Poster

Written & Directed by Joss Whedon  Based on The Avengers by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Starring Robert Downey, Jr.Chris HemsworthMark RuffaloChris EvansScarlett JohanssonJeremy RennerDon CheadleAaron Taylor-JohnsonElizabeth OlsenPaul BettanyCobie SmuldersAnthony MackieHayley AtwellIdris ElbaStellan SkarsgårdJames Spader & Samuel L. Jackson

What’s that sound I hear coming from the movie screen? It’s the sound of Joss Whedon trying to be funny and failing miserably. Avengers: Age of Ultron is ruined by three awesomely fantastic things. Three things I so hate to blame for this failure. But I must. I must. Those things are: The Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, The Guardians of the Galaxy movie and how much money it made & James Spader… well more accurately, James Spader’s mouth. I did not enjoy myself at the new Avengers movie… and this, my friends, is why my heart was broken.

Verdict: SPOILED

Avengers in Action

All the excitement of a Saturday morning cartoon.

SPOILER ALERT

Avengers: Age of Ultron is the opposite of the Avengers first movie. Where that movie was set up by the many solo movies of its heroes, this Avengers movie seems to exist only to set-up the next movies in each of those franchises. If the Marvel Cinematic Universe were a musical, Avengers: Age of Ultron would be a book number. Designed purely to advance the plot… not a showstopper. Whatever corporate shill who came up with the idea to make a movie that’s sole reason for existing is to set-up the plots for other movies needs to be fired.

Quicksilver and Scarlet-Witch

“We are, how you say, disposable and unnecessary, dah?”

Avengers: Age of Ultron is not Guardians of the Galaxy and Joss Whedon is not James Gunn. Nearly every intentionally funny line in Ultron is groan-inducing. The comedy is awful and not organic to the story but seemingly shoehorned in to make the movie “funny” you know like Guardians of the Galaxy (said some executive in some boardroom). That “funny” feeling I got in my stomach was me wanting to vomit every time another character pointed out that Captain America doesn’t like bad language. How is that funny? Avengers: Age of Ultron is not Guardians of the Galaxy and Joss Whedon is not James Gunn. Some one said, Let’s create a preposterously contrived romance between the green character and the pretty one you know like in Guardians of the Galaxy. Maybe it wasn’t because of the romance in Guardians. Maybe instead it was an homage to this very funny, very x-rated Avengers porn GIF with Hulk and Black Widow.

WARNING: Hardcore porn GIF featuring Hulk and Black Widow. Do not click if you do not want to see porn.

Hulk and Black Widow Hardcore Porn GIF

Captain America

“Captain America doesn’t appreciate your smut, junior. Wash your mouth out with soap.”

Question. Why are the robot’s lips moving? What the hell is that? Talk about your uncanny valley. Could that be any more creepy looking? Nope. I love James Spader. And I realize his disembodied voice on the soundtrack like so much Bane from Dark Knight Rises would have been disconcerting… I suppose, but the animated lips on the metal man were just the perfect amount of What The Fuck to take me right out of the film.

The Vision

“I’m here to help.”

So what DID I like? Vision. Vision was cool as shit. What didn’t I like? The Russian emo twins. And Elizabeth Olsen pulling the “heart” out of a robot and asking it what it felt like. No. No. A thousand times no. What did I like? The serious tone of the movie even while they tried to shove jokes into it later. What didn’t I like? Nearly every action sequence in the film, the use of slow-motion and every single time Cap and Thor did some cutesy maneuver with the shield and the hammer (after the first time they did one). What did I like? The Jeremy Renner side story that was an obvious attempt to make him the anti-American Sniper. What didn’t I like? The stupid cliché of Hawkeye going back for the kid and Quicksilver dying while trying to save them both after the two not liking each other and I expected more from Joss Whedon and the whole thing felt like corporate meddling and now I feel like they’re gonna screw up Star Wars and I’m sick to my stomach because I know Joss is better than what I just watched. Grrr Argh!

Ultron

“Stop looking at my mouth.”

So in conclusion, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a money grab designed to set-up future movies like as if the entire film was one of those after-credits scenes. It is rarely funny but too frequently tries to be. The fight scenes are overly cute and use slow-motion to hide the fact that it ain’t that exciting. The twins are way too moody. The plot and dialogue are way too cliché. The romance between Hulk and Black Widow is pointless and the robots mouth moves showing emotion like a cartoon character from a Disney movie… oh right… oops.

Hulkbuster Armor

Nice try on the Hulkbuster armor. Too bad that battle wasn’t the climax of a Hulk movie.

But we’ll always have Vision… Vision is bad-ass. My favorite part was when he looks over at Thor and has cape envy. Vision needs his own film. That’s one hot android.

“I do not have this cape envy of which you speak.”

The Vision is definitely bad-ass. And he almost saves the film… Almost.

– Mel

P.S. They showed the trailer for Ant-Man and it looks amazing. Ah-May-Zing

Avengers: Age of Ultron (Teaser Trailer)

NIce. We got an Avengers trailer to watch over and over and over and over and…

I’m a little speechless here.

I don’t know what to think of this. It looks a lot darker than the first one. And that kind of scares me. But I trust in Joss. If he thinks we have to go dark, then… fine… we go dark. However I can’t help but think that the darker tone (in the trailer at least) is a direct reaction to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and its ultra- light tone.

This is usually the point where I say I can’t wait. May 2015? (I know what someone’s getting for his birthday) But I CAN wait for this one. I’m a little scared of this one. There is a lot expected from it. And also there’s that old sophomore jinx to consider. Take your time, May 2015. Take your time.

– Mel

Best Picture: 5 Quick Reviews of 5 of the Best Movies they missed in 2013

With award season drawing to a close, there were a few notable snubs from the academy and a couple of performances that were seemingly custom-made for them.

Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaughey

There was Woody Allen, Ron Howard, Joel & Ethan Coen and Tom Hanks, just to name a few, who did great work in 2013 but were left off the Academy’s list because of so many other good movies last year. But also because they were all competing against their past work. And maybe because their films didn’t deal with politically charged subjects.

Jim and Jean

Here are reviews of three movies that are, in my opinion, better than at least two of the films on the Best Picture list… and also reviews of those two movie. Here are the amazing performances, some of them honored, some of them not, that I feel are some of the best of the year. My other picks for Best Picture that actually have a chance to win are HERE.

And I know that not every film can be Gravity. And not every performance can be nominated. But when one or two of the spots go to make a political statement or to increase box office, you leave some of the best work unrecognized.

you better recognize

I would like to recognize them now… but who am I?

I’m just a homeless guy on a public computer blogging about movies he just happened to see while trying to get out the cold, rushing to get it all down before the library closes.

No. That’s not true anymore. But just between you and me, that’s kinda how I feel.

To the reviews…

Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics)

Blue Jasmine

Written & Directed by Woody Allen

Starring Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard & Michael Stuhlbarg

Blue Jasmine is the latest sensational cinematic sob story from the great Woody Allen. It is the story of a woman, played wonderfully by Cate Blanchett, a woman who is losing her mind after the financial betrayal of her husband, played masterfully by Alec Baldwin.

Blanchett and Baldwin

As in most of Woody’s latter films, there is more than a touch of misogyny here but it is a fantastic story none-the-less. I’ve noticed that since Mr. Allen started on this, one film per year string of, not very good, not very well-made, not very well-thought-out yearly films, he still seems to knock it out of the park every three or four years. (about 1 out of every 4 films is a masterpiece). Blue Jasmine is that one (the last was Vicky Cristina Barcelona).

Blue Jasmine Still

Woody Allen is in fine form here but the film benefits greatly from Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of the title character. She is a woman in the middle of a nervous breakdown. In full denial of her life spinning out of control. And it is wonderful to watch.

Cate Blanchett is a master at her craft and should easily win the Oscar. (I love you Amy Adams but Cate carries this movie and you had a lot of help)

Cate

The main character of a Woody Allen film, male or female, is usually just a poorly disguised version of the director. Even when he doesn’t play the part himself, they all sound like him, they all act like him. Or at least most of the actors who don’t bring anything else to the role, who play it as written, play it like him. It takes an actor with a strong sense of self, and ideas of their own, to not just sound like Woody in a Woody Allen film.

Woody Allen Cate Blanchett

Cate brings so much more to the role. She is the singular reason this is not just another Woody Allen yearly offering but a great performance and a great film from a great director, who will go back to giving us another mediocre one next year.

There was a time when Woody Allen was my favorite director but that was a long time ago. Yet, it’s good to know that he still has flashes of greatness. Blue jasmine is a flash of greatness.

Cate Blanchett Bench

Rent it (If you haven’t been turned off by Woody as a person, realize that he is still a great artist and try to separate the two)

Next… I feel the need… the need for speed.

Rush (Exclusive Media, Universal Pictures, Studio Canal, Pathé Productions)

Rush

Directed by Ron Howard

Written by Peter Morgan

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara & Pierfrancesco Favino

Ron Howard has consistently made good films throughout his career. Rush is only the most recent. Ron Howard has become one of the greatest American filmmakers.

Daniel Bruhl as Nick Lauda

Rush is one of my favorite films from 2013. A true story of the competitive spirit with real-life strong characters played by two actors who bring a lot to their roles. Chris Hemsworth is fantastic as James Hunt but Daniel Brühl as Formula One superstar Niki Lauda steals the film from the pole position… from the start. He is magnificent. One of the best performances of the year.

Daniel Bruhl

Rush is a movie about a sports rivalry. Well-acted and well-written and very well directed by professionals. I’ve never put Ron Howard on any of my lists. But I’ve enjoyed all of his movies and I like that he takes on epic stories and epic challenges.

Crash

I love racing. Well… racing video games anyway. Rush was really cool to watch for me because I recognized the tracks from the games I play. I’m a regular speed freak… in my living room. Gran Turismo has been one of my favorite games since the first one.

Hunt v Lauda

But there hasn’t been that many good pro racing films. The Fast & Furious movies are a fantasy. Speed Racer had some unbelievable racing scenes but it was based on a cartoon. So in my opinion Rush is the best movie about professional racing ever made. If you know of a better one, let me know about it. I love a good racing movie.

Racing

The racing and the competition are the true stars. The drivers take a back seat because the story is real. I remember the era. I remember the commercials. It was a golden age. But the performance by Daniel Brühl is off the chain. I hated the character. You’re meant to hate the character. But he makes you love him at the same time. It’s masterful work.

Rivalry

Rent it. (Rush is one of the best movies of the year. Pure adrenaline)

Next… a good movie about another awful person.

Inside Llewyn Davis (CBS Films, StudioCanal)

Inside Llewyn Davis

Written & Directed by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund & Justin Timberlake

Inside Llewyn Davis is the story of a folk singer who is an asshole. I loved this movie. I think the Coen Brothers are the greatest artists in film right now. But how much I hated this character is hard to express. Oscar Isaac is so good in the role. Yet another actor creating an awful awful character and doing it extremely well.

Oscar Isaac

The movie opens with our hero (and I use the term loosely) getting his ass kicked in an alley and then it proceeds to show us why he deserves the beatdown. And it does. And he does. The man is a train wreck. Destroying everything he touches.

Isaac Timberlake Mulligan

Sadly, I identified with him a little too much. And because of it, I wanted someone to punch him in the face so very badly every time he expressed his ego and belittled his friends. I spent most of the movie thinking, “why doesn’t that guy just hit him?” or “Why won’t anyone slap him?” He is annoyingly anti-social and obnoxiously unaware. Oblivious to the disastrous impact he has on every other character in the film.

Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis

By the way, every other character in the movie, with little but hilarious exception (the incredible John Goodman), is a motherfucking saint for putting up with this guy. And the cat… Even THAT cat owed him a beat down or a claw in the face. Oh my god, the cat.

Llewyn has the Cat

I love the Coen Brothers but this film annoyed me. Inside Llewyn Davis is not their best by a long shot. First, it’s a drama, while I still think they are at their best with light dramedy and not this heavy stuff. And definitely not their more zany comedies, those can be hard to stomach.

Don’t get me wrong, I think everything they do is insanely good and I’m just comparing this to previous films. Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the best films of 2013.

Llewyn

Inside Llewyn Davis is an extremely well-made cinematic look at the folk music scene in the time before Dylan. I was not a fan. Folk music was too religious. Too many major keys. Too (forgive me) white. Llewyn to his credit was trying to add some blues. Bob Dylan, to all of our benefit, did so successfully.

It’s just the character reminded me so much of myself I wanted to punch him. A homeless musician with an ego and an attitude, treating his friends like doormats and making bad decision after bad decision after bad decision.

Llewyn Davis

Rent it. (But there just wasn’t enough violence in it for me. I’m kidding the movie is marvelous and the beatdown is satisfying enough)

Next up… A true story gets dressed up for Hollywood…

Captain Phillips (Columbia Pictures)

Captain Phillips

Directed by Paul Greengrass

Written by Billy Ray  Based on A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips & Stephan Talty

Starring Tom Hanks & Barkhad Abdi

Captain Phillips is intense. This movie is crazy intense. I loved the first part of the movie, a thrilling high seas pirate adventure. Tom Hanks is one of the greatest living actors and he shows off his talent once again. Based on a true story, it feels real and authentic… at first.

I am the captain now

The first half of the movie makes this one of the best movies of the year. But where Paul Greengrass loses me is on the backend. When the movie turns into a hostage drama, he tries too hard to pump up the jeopardy. In fact, I wished he would have calmed it down.

Hanks and Abdi

We know what happens in the end. We read it in the papers. We know the seal team super hero kick-ass American Cavalry comes and takes care of business. All bad-ass and shit. But he makes us wait for it.

During the wait Tom Hanks cranks up his acting to eleven. Paul Greengrass pumps up the volume to eleven and then my heart starts pumping at eleven. Everything is cranked up so high for so long that it loses my interest. It stops being entertaining and becomes annoying.

The claustrophobic life boat. The arguing pirates. The waiting for the kill shot. It was all too much.

Lifeboat

The first half is all emotion and characters and some really cool stuff with Tom Hanks matching wits with Barkhad Abdi. You meet the pirates; The impoverished fishermen that have been screwed over by commercial fishing and are at the mercy of organized criminal billionaires that force them to try and seize large vessels with only a few men, tiny boats, a couple of guns and little else for huge multi-million dollar ransoms; of which they get very little. It’s a great story where the good guys are good but the bad guys are sad and scary.

Tom Hanks

And If not for an overly drawn out third act, I would say Captain Phillips was the movie of the year. I just wanted off that lifeboat so badly. I just wanted the movie to end so badly. And the one thing I can always say about a great film, and the same with a great book, is that I never want it to end. I wanted Captain Phillips to end a half hour earlier than it did.

Pirates

Rent it. (It has a great first half and the second half goes on for far too long. But it has two colossal performances from Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi)

Next up… a movie that’s a few decades too late.

Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)

Dallas Buyers Club

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée

Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner & Jared Leto

Dallas Buyers Club is a decent movie. This is another true story. The uplifting tale of a man given only 30 days to live and how he uses his last days to help other people with AIDS to live longer. It takes place at the height of the plague, right after Rock Hudson dies.

Ron Woodruff

The performances are the stand out thing in this one because of the transformations that both Jared Leto & Matthew McConaughey go through for the movie. They are unbelievable. Neither actor is recognizable in their role. And both kick serious ass. Oscars all around.

Jared Leto

Jared Leto is extraordinary from the first moment he walks on-screen. And I was all set to see Matthew McConaughey deteriorate on camera but when you see him for the first time he is already sick and has been for some time without knowing it. He is a shadow of the buff and brawny former McConaughey. “Alright, alright, alright.”

Matthew McConaughey

MM

I was already amazed. But then McConaughey just takes that to a whole ‘nother level. He is sensational. This is the best he will ever do. And you know how the academy loves to reward the pretty people who get ugly for the part. So, to not give the Academy Award to Matt would be a crime against nature, for the body transformation alone. But he brings the goods. He is so good in this and then you add the mess he made of that gorgeous body for the role and -Best Actor. Throw your panties on the stage.

MM as Ron Woodruff

Jared Leto’s transformation is of a different sort. He becomes this transgendered drug addict with a heart of gold that rips your heart out of your chest and shows it to you. And while Matt is obviously Matt in a role. Jared Leto disappears completely. Jared Leto wins going away as well. Both Matt and Jared get Oscars. Game Over. Panties.

Dallas Buyers Cast

The movie itself, however, is a statement against the American medical system. The for-profit, treating of symptoms, and pushing of drugs, without caring about the lives of the people. It is a condemnation of our system. A system that has killed thousands upon thousands and still does (by the way, we need to do something about that).

The amount of money the Pharmaceutical companies make off of dying desperate people is obscene. There is a special place in hell for these people. Lower than the circle of traitors. To benefit off the misery of others is the greatest sin. May they burn in hell forever.

McConaughey and Garner

Rent it. (The movie is nothing special. It’s just a straightforward biography with crazy good performances, but you get to be creeped-out by how gaunt and emaciated Matthew McConaughey gets. It’s no Best Picture of the year but it’s worth a rental)

So to recap…

There were two movies about awful homeless people who wear-out their welcome: Blue Jasmine and Inside Llewyn Davis with performances by Sally Hawkins and Oscar Isaac snubbed by the Academy.

There were two movies about real life heroes who when their lives are threatened, rise to the occasion: Captain Phillips and Dallas Buyers Club that weren’t quite good enough to be Best Picture nominees but got it anyway.

And one movie about two men who go really fast but never fast enough; Rush that was one of the best films of 2013 and included one of the best performances by Daniel Brühl.

That’s all for my Oscar posts. Didn’t see Philomena or Nebraska. But I felt that their nominations were more about increasing their box office numbers. Every year a couple of spots go to good little movies that didn’t make a bunch of money but never go to good big movies that did. The Academy, it seems, hates box office success. Anyway…

My DVD folder is about to burst so plain old DVD reviews coming next.

See you guys at the movies,

– Mel