Notes on Recent Viewings

An experiment in "Blah Titling"
  1. Logan
    After so many mediocre X-Men movies, we get this, a full-on classic. Hugh Jackman brings his long history as Wolverine to perfect closure in a modern western. Honestly, I'm still at the rapture point where solid critical analysis is futile. But I feel very fortunate Logan exists. I'll probably see it again soon.
  2. Get Out
    God, I loved this movie. A horror film where the villain is white people. Written and directed by Jordan Peele, of Key & Peele (which is like Will Ferrell directing Halloween - only much, much better.)
  3. A Cure for Wellness
    What a pleasure to see a film so fully designed. The photography, production design, costumes, music, it was all perfectly calibrated to deliver a feeling of weird menace. Too bad they took 2.5 hours to tell a boring story that would be thrilling at 85 minutes. As it is, perpetually sleepy 10-year old Dane DeHaan does his best to escape from a clinic where the patients get sicker.
  4. I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore
    Just watched this on the 'flix. Lonely nurse Melanie Lynskey's house is broken into, and this violation is the catalyst that pushes her to re-engage with life. She's joined by Elijah Wood, whose performance feels a little inconsistent. Good, though, worth a look if you want a scuzzy yet charming indie crime flick.
  5. Blue Ruin
    This one's a few years old. I watched it because it stars I Don't Feel's director Macon Blair. Revenge plots are a movie mainstay; Blue Ruin looks at what revenge would be like in the real world. Incredibly suspenseful and perfectly executed, this is the work of an expert. (Director Jeremy Saulinier - Hitchcock of the Heartland - also made last year's Green Room.) Exhibit A on why not to hold grudges.
  6. 50 Shades Darker
    I'm not supposed to like this. And I don't. But maybe I do? It's no worse than any number of 80s/90s "erotic" thrillers (a favorite genre of mine, right or wrong). Sure, it's deeply cheeseball. But at the core of the story was a messy, human dilemma I'm still thinking about: what if someone was trying to control you, and you, to your own horror, were into it?
  7. Officer Downe
    The pun-nier the title, the better the movie has to be to break even, in my view. This one just barely makes it. Officer Downe is a freak of science, programmed by the LAPD to serve and protect, FOREVER. Based on a graphic novel, this feels like a remake of Death Wish directed Jared Leto's version of the Joker.
  8. Making the Grade
    This was one of the first R-rated movies I ever saw, but I didn't remember anything about it. The other week I bought it on impulse from Amazon. Turns out some bodies should stay buried. However, it does have a great, remake-ready premise: a rich screw-up pays a homeless small-time crook (Judd Nelson) to impersonate him for his senior year at a new private school. Slobs vs. snobs comedy ensues, or could have.