I can absolutely respect the craft that went into Bardo as it has some of the most exciting cinematography and camera movement of the year, Darius Khonji did a really fantastic job with the cinematography and really deserves a huge round of applause. Everything else is a huge mixed bag unfortunately, Alejandro González Iñárritu clearly has a lot of talent but the writing just did not come together all that well here. Daniel Giménez Cacho gave a great performance and there were parts of Silverio Gala’s story that were pretty investing, there’s some chaotic energy to the movie that is pretty neat and very welcoming. But for the most part the movie is way too self-indulgent for it’s own good and never settles on what it’s trying to say themes of Mexican culture identity, filmmaking, journalistic ethics In documentary filmmaking and more were explore but not nearly enough to give the idea of what Iñárritu is trying to really say here. The 160 minute running time doesn’t exactly help either, there’s times where the viewer becomes very tired and checks the nearest watch. It’s unfortunate because I’m sure there is a good movie here it’s just not showing up unfortunately.
Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is exactly what you expect it to be, it’s basically yet another take on the classic story by Charles Dickens. And it pretty much plays out all of the events of the story you expect to, only this one is a musical. The songs are surprisingly very charming and are by far some of the best parts of the movie, there’s a ton of energy to them and the singing voices are quite great as well, unfortunately what does bog the movie down is the character designs. Which really looks like those mobile game ads you commonly see, the three ghosts are exempt from this which they actually have some pretty neat designs and are voice very well! Olivia Colman voices Ghost of Christmas Past while Trevor Dion Nicholas voices Ghost of Christmas Present, both do a really solid job and bring so much charm to their roles, plus the two are actually pretty funny. Luke Evans as Scrooge is fine enough, he gets the job done but it’s nothing really to write home about. As I said before the story plays out exactly how you expect it to and if you can past the character designs you will find a genuinely fun movie here. It’s probably not something that you will ever revisit but for what it is it’s not half bad.
Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is available on Netflix.
A Hollywood Christmas is HBO Max Christmas movie number four (not even halfway through December yet). This is not as bad as expected but good lord is this the definition of bland, it’s essentially about a movie director who wants to make a Christmas movie and wants to keep the Christmas formula until some network executive threatens to halt production. The premise itself actually leads to a couple moments that got a laugh out of me and I’ll give the movie credit it actually tried to use it’s premise in a interesting way. Well at least at first…it slowly but surely starts to evolve into the bad Christmas type of movie we all know and it does very little to recover. The writing is very forgettable, the characters aren’t anything to write home about and the rest of the movie is sort of a mess. A Hollywood Christmas isn’t offensive or anything, it’s just another very forgettable Christmas movie that after the credits roll you won’t ever come back to.
When you take a look at the war film genre you often don’t see too many anti-war films, it’s a type of film that I really appreciate it because it has an entirely different perspective plus it really shows the tragedies of war. Plus how nobody really wins at the end, two most recognizable ones are Come and See and All Quiet On The Western Front. All Quiet On The Western Front is based off of a 1929 book of the same name written by Erich Maria Remarque, the book was later adapted into a 1930 film of the same name which would go on to win best picture at the Oscars. Fast forward to 2022 and we have a new adaption that is just as powerful and meaningful as the 1930 film from all those years ago. For starters as soon as the film begins the film immediately grabs the viewer’s attention with its cinematography there’s so much attention to detail here which only adds to the gory and disturbing battle shots that show up in the film later on. The cinematography also has this perfect war like atmosphere that truly hits home the point of how terrible war really is, it hits all the beats necessary to get the viewer into a state of terror and tragedy. The performances are absolutely masterful with every sense of the word, especially from Felix Kammerer who plays Paul so well that it’s truly captivating, the very beginning really captures this well. With Paul and his friends being sent out to war, some of his friends not knowing truly how serious war really is and only hits them harder and harder when they see lives being taken. The film isn’t afraid to show how war mentally effects the people involved and how it can really kill you on the inside as well, it can completely lead people to many states such as completely shock and trauma which we the viewers get to see a lot with Paul and the others. We see the differences of how the soldiers have to survive and hopefully get to go home to their loved ones where as the generals don’t really have the same worries, I mean sure something could happen to them but they are normally very well guarded where as soldiers like Paul have to fight to survive. The film does a fantastic job of showing this by cutting back and forth between the chaos on the battlefield and dialogue scenes of the generals, a lot of this is really shown at full force during the final act of the film where Felix Kammerer’s performance get’s even more powerful. It completely blossoms into this brutally honest performance that still has not left my mind since I saw it a 2 weeks ago, it’s truly one of the best performances of the year and one that will leave you with goosebumps. The film itself is a brutally honest one, it doesn’t sugarcoat anything it’s a film that lays out the tragedies of war and tells the viewer that in the end nobody really wins during a war. Lastly there’s the atmosphere of the film which combined with the cinematography is truly striking, there’s so many scenes that capture the horror of war and add so much terror to it. Overall All Quiet On The Western Front completely nails the message of the book and the original film, it’s definitely hard to watch but it’s a very necessary watch that truly hits all the right notes.
All Quiet On The Western Front is available on Netflix.
The Good Nurse is based off of a 2013 book of the same name by Charles Graeber which the book is about serial killer Charles Cullen. The true story of The Good Nurse is quite disturbing and I highly recommend reading about the case as it is very interesting. Right off the bat Jessica Chastain gives a really strong performance, she puts a lot of heart and emotion into the role that really captures her role. Eddie Redmayne is actually quite great here, it’s been awhile since he’s given a very solid performance but he really hits out of the park during the third act where he actually becomes very intimidating. It’s a great transformation of his performance that goes from being kind enough to downright chilling, while the writing during the first two acts isn’t anything to write home about. The third act on the other hand really pushes the movie into a thrilling atmosphere that invests the viewer quite well, the movie is just barely over 2 hours which does start to drag a bit during the second act. But luckily the movie quickly does get a lot better as it goes on, overall The Good Nurse is a solid enough crime drama with some very thrilling moments that I would recommend.
Luckiest Girl Alive has the right material to be a really interesting movie on some very heavy subjects but the way the movie is crafted leaves it very disjointed. Mila Kunis does a really great job it’s definitely one of her best performances in awhile, the movie taking on subjects such as rape and school shootings comes as a surprise from this movie. On the surface it seems like it’s going to be another Netflix mystery movie that falls in line with what they usually release. But when these subjects do come up and are shown it comes as a shock, when the film does tackle these subjects it does a pretty good job of nailing down the point. However mixing these important subjects with a very subpar story is when the movie starts to fall apart, the cutting from the past and present is very messy plus it does not give the viewer nearly enough time to fully digest what exactly happened despite being almost two hours long. Lastly the movie juggles way too many ideas at once, between trauma, the mystery element, school shooting and rape it does well with certain ideas but leaves a lot more to be desired about others. Luckiest Girl Alive isn’t a bad movie it’s just a disappointing one that could have really been a home run.
I do want to start this review out by saying that this film is not for everyone, which should be a given considering a lot of what the film contains. It’s a very depressing and dark film that really doesn’t hold back some of which I will be getting into. Also I want to point this out now because it’s not being said enough, Blonde is NOT a biopic it’s based off a book of the same name that came out in 2000 written by Joyce Carol Oates. It’s also a fictionalized take on Marilyn Monroe’s life and career. Although sadly some of the stuff in the film aren’t far from the truth such as the abuse she went through, to start off Ana De Armas is absolutely incredible as Marilyn Monroe, she truly captures a lot of Monroe’s actions, her voice and her overall personality. Which ultimately makes the film that much more tragic down the road, the use of black and white, cinematography and the editing are all quite fantastic. They create this nightmare inducing film that really hits the viewer harder and harder as it goes on. Each of the three create hauntingly stunning scenes that capture a lot of dread, tragedy and depression, from the very first scene the film establishes the tone and that the film isn’t going to sugarcoat anything. We see Norma Jeane Mortensen as a child and how the film sets up it’s start into a huge nightmare. As the film progresses we see a lot of abuse, many people treating Monroe like she isn’t human and so much more. Ultimately what Blonde is showing is a tragedy of someone who wants to make it big, how fame is truly evil and how the industry uses it’s actors or actresses. It’s to the point where it becomes a horror film about fame and how it can damage someone who simply just wants fame and to star on the big screen. The ending is truly depressing and wraps the film up as terrifying as it can be, Monroe was someone who did not have an easy life at all and there is much to this day we do not know about her and quite frankly we may never will. It’s a truly dark film that is going to stick with me for a very long time.
Athena is one of those films where after you finish watching it you sit in silence just thinking of what you just saw mainly due to how powerful and striking the film is. Talk about a film that is aiming to be as raw as possible, after a kid is killed by the police everything completely slams down in France, particularly in Athena where chaos, protests and violence take place. The cast is truly fantastic for starters each performance is as raw as they can possibly be it genuinely feels like you are watching chaos happen in real time, the cinematography combined with the setting and atmosphere is truly top notch. The film immediately brings the intensity from the beginning of the film and keeps it for the rest of the film, combine that with such a striking beginning and you truly have a film that is one of the best portrayals of a huge rebellion. The direction from Romain Gravras is truly raw in every single way possible, there’s this huge factor to it that really blends in with the rest of the film. It’s truly hard hitting film that you must experience for yourself.
Entergalactic is one of the most beautiful films so far of 2022, I didn’t know what to expect going into this film but wow this definitely impressed. The cast does quite a fantastic job particularly Kid Cudi, Laura Harrier and Jessica Williams, they all put their heart and soul into their roles and really make the characters all the more interesting. By far what sticks out the most is the imaginative and beautiful animation, it feels like a hybrid of 3D and 2D animation but done in such a unique looking way. It makes the film pop out really well and adds quite a lot of flavor to it, there’s certain scenes that completely take you into the film’s own little dream like setting and invests the viewer with it’s visual style. Although the story itself is a very simple love story that has been done before, it still ends up being incredibly charming Kid Cudi’s character Jabari is a character that the audience could easily see themselves as. He’s an everyday citizen who goes through some quite beautiful arcs, the cast easily connecting with their character is what really makes the film standout, there’s truly something wonderful when you see how effortlessly the cast can connect to their characters and create a story that’s truly investing. Lastly there’s the music that just feels like a natural fit to the film the film actually serves as a visual companion piece to Kid Cudi’s album of the same name, which I have to give credit where credit is due. The film manages to standout on it’s own while also being a companion piece. Overall Entergalactic is truly fantastic despite some familiar love story elements the film is truly well done. Check this one out.
Rob Zombie’s The Munsters is a prime example of a movie where I can see what the director was going for but didn’t end up fully working. It’s clear that Rob Zombie wanted to capture what made the original show so great and at at times he actually did. Some of the sets were quite great and some of the humor actually worked pretty well. There’s some puns in there that made me laugh (I might be biased because I love puns and dad jokes) plus the cast was actually not terrible here, Daniel Roebuck as The Count was hands down the standout. He really did a great job of capturing the character while making the role his own, Jeff Daniel Phillips and Sheri Moon Zombie aren’t bad but every time they share a scene with Roebuck he completely steals the scene, but as I said they aren’t bad in fact they are decent in their own ways. What kills this movie is mainly the pacing and the color that gets to be way too much to the point where it becomes distracting. The color often feels very cheap and feels like it’s about to sell you the newest Halloween costumes at your local Party City, the pacing is dreadfully slow that completely kills a lot of scenes. There’s some scenes that drag out for way too long and end up not really adding anything to the plot, there was definitely charm and some passion put into the movie, but it’s not enough to save The Munsters from being way too slow paced and not very well written.
A Jazzman’s Blues is Tyler Perry’s best film in a very long time, while the movie is very flawed I do have to respect him for getting a film that he considers a passion project that he wrote back in 1995 out there. Having that said the movie definitely shows that it was written back in the 90s, mainly through the script that while does have some pretty powerful moments ends up being empty in some areas. The movie tackles racism in the Deep South in the 20th century, plus you have a forbidden love story thrown into the mix as well. A lot of the movie kind of repeats things a lot of other movies have already done and far better when it comes to this topic, the jazz scenes are definitely electrifying and a lot of fun to watch as well. The performances are all around pretty solid especially during the last half of the movie where it gets brutal in one particular scene, the first half of the movie is a bit rough writing wise. While there some moments that build the Leanne (Solea Pfeiffer) and Bayou (Joshua Boone) as characters and their chemistry. A lot of other moments feel like they exist just to draw scenes out, the last half is definitely the strongest especially the conversations between Bayou and Ira (Ryan Eggold). Overall A Jazzman’s Blues is definitely not a bad movie by any means, it’s just one that had the writing been a lot stronger could have been much more.