Quick Reviews, Winter 2017: Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends), Get Out, Logan, Kong: Skull Island, The Belko ExperimentRead Now
Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)
Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) (2017): A documentary on the band on stage at Let Bataclan during the attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015.
HBO and Collin Hanks are the first to take a crack at a documentary on the band Eagles of Death Metal after their names were immortalized by being on stage at Le Bataclan during the Paris terrorist attacks in November of 2015. As much as I was emotionally moved by this documentary, and as much as it tells a story that needs to be told, I also believe its release comes too close to the events themselves to be of any real value. I think we are still several years away from the true documentary on Eagles of Death Metal and these terrorist attacks. However, this is still an excellent documentary that does nail showing the raw emotions still felt by the band. The story is told primarily through the eyes of frontman Jesse Hughes and his best friend and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Joshua Homme. These are two of my favorite bands, so it didn't take much for this retelling to pluck my heartstrings. As I said easily the best thing this documentary does is capture the raw emotions that are still being felt by Hughes and Homme and everyone else in the band, but it does also glance over some of the more incendiary remarks made by Hughes since the attacks. So, ultimately, while this is a good first attempt at retelling this traumatic story, its failures to truly encapsulate the event and explain the ramifications because of how quickly its being told hold it back from being the documentary that this band and the victims of these attacks truly deserve.
My Number: 7/10
Get Out (2017): A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend's mysterious family estate.
Ok. Let me get this out of the way: Get Out is a good film, but it's definitely being over-hyped. It falls just short of greatness for me because of it's massively predictable script. Now, I know with this genre an unpredictable story is hard to come by, but I shouldn't be able to guess what's going to happen before the movie even starts. BUT. Besides for the fact that this slasher goes exactly where you expect it to go, I still had a grand ol' time on the journey. There are a lot of genuinely creepy moments during this film, and it's well-acted. Actress Betty Gabriel stole the show for me as Georgina. Man is that role a far cry from her role in The Purge: Election Year. There's some good editing that takes place here as well, and all of this is sprinkled over a very smart and on point statement on systemic racism today. There's a moment in the final few minutes of the film that was as devastating as it was entirely because of race, and it was, for me, the most thought-provoking moment of the film. But if you're into slasher flicks, this is certainly the best one to come out since The Purge: Election Year, but hopefully it will not be the best slasher film of 2016. You're still in for a good time, (films like this are exactly why I love seeing a film in a dark movie theater with a bunch of strangers) but it's certainly not a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes kind of film. Temper your expectations. Slightly.
Also I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to look at milk the same way again.
My Number: 7/10
Logan (2017): In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.
Ahhhhh it's good to see a good X-Men movie again. Seriously, guys, what happened last year with X-Men: Apocalypse? Anyway, Logan is a grittier superhero movie than we're used to, and is the further development of distributors finally embracing the idea of a hard-R superhero movie. There is a LOT of blood in this, which is nice to see! It's nice to see a superhero movie where the hero kills someone and it actually looks somewhat realistic. There's also a lot of curse words, though some of them were definitely unnecessary. However the central calling card of this film is the Wolverine and Laura, played by the wonderful Dafne Keen. While Laura's story arc is one of the weaker parts of the film, it's still well executed, and her relationship with Wolverine leads to a climax that will emotionally devastate you. It is the best moment of the film, and it may even be a contender for one of my favorite movie moments of 2017. Patrick Stewart is also excellent in this, reprising his role as Dr. Charles Xavier one last time as well. Outside of some liberties taken with Laura's character, I did have some quarrels with the third act I won't mention here, but it certainly centered around the film's shameless attempts to setup future installments with a new generation of X-Men. Despite it's troubles though, this is a strong installment for the franchise and brings back memories of Days of Future Past, which is my personal favorite superhero film not named The Dark Knight. Any film that can be used in the same sentence as that one is pretty dang good in my book.
My Number: 7.5/10
Kong: Skull Island
Kong: Skull Island (2017): A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.
Feels like the summer blockbusters are coming earlier and earlier every year, eh? Logan kicked it off just one week after the Oscars and now Kong: Skull Island is here. It's odd, too: this film is the quintessential summer blockbuster. It's a big, stupid action movie that would be perfect to go see on a hot summer's day to escape the heat and turn the brain off for 2 hours. Don't get me wrong....as much as this film was trying to be something more than a popcorn flick, it accidentally does the popcorn flick quite well. If you go into this film wanting to see a giant gorilla fight giant lizards with shameless one-liners from the cast, that's what you're going to get. As well as a chance to see Loki and the future Captain Marvel on screen together. (Don't worry....they're the best part of this movie) But don't go into it looking for anything other than that because man....this script is a total disaster. From the WB-mandated surface level pop song every two freaking seconds, to the film changing it's tone on a dime multiple times a minute, this script may find itself receiving the "Worst script of 2017 award." I just gave up after a while, and instead had a blast watching a giant gorilla beat stuff up. This is by no means a good movie, (heck I may even have to label it a guilty pleasure at some point) but if you go into it ready to turn the brain off and have a good time....(even at the film's expense) you're gonna have a good time.
My Number: 5/10
The Belko Experiment
The Belko Experiment (2017): The IMDB description is too long. This movie sucks.
What the heck happened here? This movie is an absolute trainwreck. It has shallow characters, incredibly slow pacing, (despite its brief 88 minute runtime) and is overall just messy. This film was written by James Gunn too! The dude is the brainchild of what I think is the best MCU film, Guardians of the Galaxy, so I know he can create some fleshed out characters. What was this? Did he write this script just for the paycheck? So many characters have no real arcs, and the only one that does (Danny, and she's not even a main character) has the most unsatisfactory conclusion outside of the actual ending imaginable. Oh ya! And at the end, when we get the whole "What was it all for" discussion, the response is a shrug and the ol' "We're not at liberty to say" excuse. No. F U. Such lazy storytelling. Also most of this film is just a straight ripoff of the great The Cabin in the Woods, right down to them having an eerily similar pothead providing "comedic relief." Only this time the pothead does not have the coolest bong ever. There is a loooooooot of blood and gore in this film, (fair warning-it was a little much for even my tastes) and even if it is accidental and surrounded by a lot of stereotypes, the idea itself is pretty interesting. So I guuuuuuuuuess it has that. But Jesus is this script a disaster. There aren't nearly enough slasher flicks out there, so our pickings are slim, but I would say don't even bother with this one. Watch The Cabin in the Woods and any of The Purge films again. They're all better than this one. Yes, even the first Purge film. This movie sucks.
My Number: 2/10
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