Category: Movies

Phantom Thread

Mr. Daniel Day-Lewis rarely works.  When he does and the rumors begin to swirl his next film or project typically hits a fever pitch upon release.  Simply put, it’s an event.  A once every half-decade moment to come together as cinephiles and revel in one of the finest actors we’ve had the privilege to see work.  When it’s announced DDL will be retiring after his next project and what he’s chosen is to reteam with his There Will Be Blood Director Paul Thomas Anderson for one last hurrah – well, they hype couldn’t possibly ascend any higher.

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The Post (Capsule Review)

Saying a film is timely always feels cheap, as I’m sure The Post would be just as timely if it was released in 2008. That said, Spielberg felt this was the right moment and using his cinema wizardry assembled the most A-list cast on my list this year to tell the story of brave journalists in the 1970’s at the New York Times and Washington Post exposing a 3-decade long conspiracy to cover up the government’s role in the Vietnam War. Hanks and Streep lead a cast of all-stars as they deftly navigate the questionable ethical landscape of their endeavor and deliver a rousing piece of filmmaking. It’s stand up and cheer type of stuff – and I’m here for it.

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My Top Ten of 2017

Let’s be honest – 2017 was a pretty shitty year on a global scale. We all dealt with it in our own ways – lashing out on social media, listening to emo music on repeat, taking our dog on a walk that was just long enough that he started to get concerned – point is, we coped. One silver lining, filmmakers seemed emboldened. Not only did the quality of blockbuster peak for the first time in a decade but this awards season has been an avalanche of class pictures.

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Downsizing

Downsizing is Director Alexander Payne’s first film since Nebraska in 2013 so of course there is reason to be excited.  Payne has always reveled in his brand of Americana – a view of the Midwest that is salty, sad and at times a bit sanguine – but nonetheless all his own.  He writes about what he knows and few Director’s have given us such assured vision and direction in the last several decades. So it pains me to report that the man that has presided over classics such as Election, Sideways and Citizen Ruth has almost completely whiffed with his most recent venture.

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The Shape of Water

It feels like ages ago that Director Guillermo Del Toro stole our hearts and made us cover our eyes with his instant classic Pan’s Labyrinth.  In fact, that was only 10-years ago and Del Toro had been working on creature features (Mimic, Hellboy) and writing extensively dating back nearly two decades.  But when Labyrinth was released in 2006 in felt like a moment – a true visionary was being born and we were going to be reaping the cinematic pleasures for years to come.  But while Del Toro has steadily worked and stayed in the public eye he has only made 3-feature films since. 

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Justice League

My entire position on Justice League may have changed if they had failed to save the world. What an interesting twist on the superhero team up movie! The band of leaguers out for…justice try to stop the big computer bad guy and they fail and are imprisoned. Like the end of Seinfeld except with silly costumes. That’s a minimum 4-star film right there.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Anger is an emotion I rarely revel in, save for two scenarios – in the car with my family or during a Seahawks game at any given point and time during a game. Anyone who indulges on a regular basis knows the power of anger, the all-consuming, overwhelming nature of it. For most of us however, this subsides with time and in my case, is usually followed by a shame spiral as I release my can of Rainier from a Russell Wilson induced rage tunnel.

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Thor: Ragnarok

I’ve somewhat given up my resistance to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  As long as Disney continues to pump money into the veins of these cash cows we’ll continue to get handsomely produced, wholly empty popcorn fare.  I’m not sure why I ever expected to see anything outside of the formula that has turned the MCU into a billion-dollar behemoth.  So, this year I vowed to give these films a chance, to try and watch them without my preconceived prejudice that years of this shit had begun to calcify on my brain.  And you know what? The MCU has largely delivered this year. 

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Suburbicon

The George Clooney – Coen brother combination has yielded wonderful results in the past. From their collaboration on O Brother, Where Art Thou? to Intolerable Cruelty to Burn After Reading to Hail, Caesar it’s a bevy of riches. The Coen’s have found unique ways to combine Clooney’s movie star charm and knack for physical comedy in a myriad of interesting and funny ways. So, it stands to reason that Clooney, working as Director, with a 30-year old script penned by the Coen’s starring many bankable stars would work just as well, right…RIGHT?

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer

I suppose even still; Greek mythology is ripe for modern translation. Every few years we get earnest sword and sandal tales like Troy that attempt to tell a very literal version of the legends we all learned in grade school. But most often the best telling of these tales come from a modern setting. The mythology is ripe with symbolism that, when applied correctly, can be a Redditor’s goldmine. Enter Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer to happily (with the most terrifying grin) fill that void.

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Brawl in Cell Block 99

Since the disastrous (and retroactively hilarious) season 2 of True Detective I have been rooting for the Vince Vaughnaissance. Much like the McConaissance in season 1 of the show it was clear Vaughn was going for a similar career bump. It didn’t work unfortunately as season 2 was saddled with myriad of problems – many of which fell at the screenwriter’s feet who treated Vaughn’s character like a bizarre mix of Tony Soprano, Ari Gold and Vaughn in swingers. Since then, he has been in a movie called Term Life (holy shit look at his hair on the poster!!) and as Drill Sergeant Howell in the Mel Gibson joint (ugh) Hacksaw Ridge.

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Blade Runner 2049

At the end of the screening of Blade Runner 2049 we were asked to wait through the end credits. As the house lights came up our wonderful public relations person read a lengthy message from Director Denis Villeneuve begging us to avoid spoilers. Not only that but to avoid basic plot, characters and other details as we gave our impressions. The funny thing is, 2049 doesn’t feel that spoilable – especially at its 2-hour and 45-minute runtime.

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