Thursday, July 28, 2022

Nope (Jordan Peele, 2022)


("--Will this little piece keep key details and plot twists hidden from those who haven't seen the movie?" "Nope.")

--Is this latest picture Peele's funniest?


--Is it his scariest?


--Is it a bad movie?


Friday, July 15, 2022

Thor: Love and Thunder (Taika Waititi, 2022)

Thud and blunder

Difficult to pin down Taika Waititi: he's talented and smart but apparently tone deaf, and his films keep missing the mark. Hunt for the Wilderpeople wants to be a shaggy dog story but isn't as funny as it thinks it is and the subplot of Hec (Sam Neill) being mistaken for a pedophile adds a sour note to an otherwise harmless comedy; What We Do in the Shadows is a fine conceit (vampires of different ages and races, some legendary, share an apartment) that doesn't seem to lead to much of anything other than a conscientious avoidance of cliches.

Thor: Ragnarok might be considered the spectacular introduction of Waititi's brand of whimsy and wayward storytelling to the otherwise flavorless assembly-line content of Marvel Studio, only I keep thinking of James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy movies and their brand of whimsy and wayward storytelling (Gunn's also had the better mixtape). Jojo Rabbit wants to be that rare comedy about Nazis, only I keep thinking of Volker Schlondorff's adaptation of Gunter Grass' The Tin Drum and how that was both funnier and more horrifying. I like Waititi's ambitions and his heart is in the right place, but so far he keeps fanning air. 

Thursday, July 14, 2022

The Aviator (Martin Scorsese, 2004)

The exhilarator

The general line about Martin Scorsese is that he's sold out--gone mainstream, gone soft, used his edgy visual intelligence to make products generic enough and likable enough that he'll at last win that elusive Oscar.

Thursday, July 07, 2022

The Brothers Grimm (Terry Gilliam, 2005)

Double double toil and trouble

Terry Gilliam's The Brother's Grimm received poor notices from Manohla Dargis and Roger Ebert. The common complaint: the film's tone varies wildly, from lowbrow slapstick to fast-paced action to (occasionally) delicate fairy-tale horror, that the actors playing brothers (Matt Damon as Will, Heath Ledger as Jacob) have no idea whether they are heroes or buffoons. Which makes you wonder if critics remember Gilliam's work-- his pictures have always been a mess with one thing following another, chaotically. If you don't like what's happening onscreen, just wait--in a few minutes will be Something Completely Different.