The Month in Theaters January 2023
Some light housekeeping first. I neglected to add Firestarter to the bottom 20 in my year in review article. It would have placed somewhere in the bottom 10 of that, but not the top spot. I also forgot to state how many movies I saw in theaters for the entire year. 96 for the year 2022. Didn’t quite hit triple digits. I only think I managed that one year ever, 2019. For January, I managed to see eleven movies in theaters, with one repeat, along with forty-three movies otherwise, with three repeats, for a total of fifty reviews. This may be a personal record for me. Quite a lot to get through to put it mildly, so let’s kick things off.
Brendan Fraser deserves that Best Actor Oscar, that’s for sure. While an incredibly depressing film, his performance is a level above all the rest nominated. I give this an A-. Beyond the depressing nature of the enterprise, the film is also at times difficult to watch. The opening scene includes something the movie really didn’t need. A film about an incredibly fat dude who is probably dying of congestive heart failure (but refuses to go to the hospital) trying to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter is touching, but the aforementioned difficult scenes are hard to stomach. I hope the makeup team wins the Oscar if The Batman doesn’t snag it out from under them.
A Man Called Otto
Movie of the month goes to this delightful film with a lot of heart. I didn’t expect much from this movie going in, but it delivered hard. I teared up probably three to five times during it. This is the film I saw twice. A+. As a 2022 release, it made it into the top ten of that year in my opinion. The lead single of the soundtrack, “Til You’re Home,” is absolutely phenomenal. It’s a love song about missing your soulmate. David Hodges, an artist I had never heard of, did such an amazing job. I bought the song on iTunes before I had even left the theater. I have listened to it dozens of times since. Although it ended up not being nominated, it was on the shortlist for Best Original Song at the Oscars, apparently. The trailers left out most of the plot, thankfully. There’s a certain plotline that gobsmacked me in the face. Did not expect it at all. I highly recommend this film.
A PG-13 horror movie released in January should not be this good, but Jason Blum delivered again. A-. This is almost surely getting a sequel that will probably come out in less than 18 months (unless it’s shooting for that glorious Halloween season money.) The plot is going to go exactly where you think it will, but the journey is fun. This was cut to make it PG-13, as the director has already revealed, so I would like to see the “unrated” cut with the gore added back. Very bloodless kills. Creative in their way, but we don’t really see the follow through. The Chekhov’s Gun we get early into the movie is very satisfying when it comes back. The M3GAN robot itself is creepy in that Uncanny Valley way they clearly leaned into. The basic plot is that Brian Williams’ daughter plays the aunt of a girl whose parents stupidly drive in the mountains during a heavy snowstorm without an all-wheel drive vehicle and then die. Because the aunt just can’t be bothered to actually parent her new responsibility, and she’s a tech inventor for a fictional company that makes smart toys primarily for children, she stupidly decides to create a learning robot child to parent in her place. It goes about as well as you’d expect. This is definitely worth watching on streaming.
The Devil Conspiracy
Absolute fetid garbage, but somehow not the worst movie I saw in theaters this month. F. The logline that made me want to see it seems to be an afterthought to the plot of the actual film, almost as if the filmmakers did some reshoots to tack on a scene at the beginning. That logline? A tech company somehow managed to clone famous dead people using DNA; Satanists steal the Shroud of Turin in order to clone Jesus Christ as a sacrifice to Lucifer. The problem? The clones have to gestate and are babies that age normally. This ends up being a lazy version of The Omen, a movie I still need to see. I had in my mind a massive battle between a randomly shirtless Jesus against Satan when, like, Leonardo da Vinci shows up in his floppy helicopter or something to give aid. And then some evil historical figures could have shown up to help the Devil. That could have been an excellent B movie, sort of like what could have happened with Death House (another awesome idea that failed in execution.) Instead, we got this horrendous POS film. So bad and unknown, not only was it gone from my local AMC by the following week (I was the only one in the theater the Thursday night I saw this,) the film does not even have a Wikipedia article. And it is technically a 2022 movie, so off to the bottom 20 it goes.
Con Air if the pilot was the protagonist, essentially… And that pilot is Gerard Butler. And the antagonists are a separatist terrorist group off an island in the Philippines. A hard R ‘90s-style action film that is truly fun. Mike Colter (Luke Cage) plays the on-board criminal that teams up with Gerard Butler to save the passengers of the plane — a weirdly tiny amount of people considering it was an international flight on New Year’s Eve. A. This was the third-best movie I saw in theaters this month. Even my fiancée and mother enjoyed it. It keeps your attention, most definitely. The action scenes are very well done.
This was the second-best movie I saw in theaters this month. A to A+. A sort-of sequel to 2018’s Searching, it follows a similar conceit. The entire film takes place completely on screens: computer, phone, security camera. In this movie, a teenage girl is looking for her mother, who has gone, well, missing. Funnily enough, in the margins of the screens in the recommended articles and videos on YouTube and news articles, a side story from Searching continues. As both movies take place in the same reality, the seemingly unnoticed alien invasion is still happening (even though this likely takes place at least a year after Searching,) with a seeming twist that the aliens are becoming doppelgängers and replacing people. That’s always fun. An alien invasion movie with this film series’ conceit would be interesting, especially if it followed like a conspiracy theorist guy or something. Back to the actual plot… The tension is palpable, and the mystery twists and turns in delightful ways. It’ll definitely keep you guessing. Don’t want to spoil much else. This is definitely worth seeing.
A horror movie made for $15,000 with an above 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Two other people were in the theater when I saw this on a Friday night. This was awful. Worst movie I saw in theaters in January. But not by a lot. As a 2022 movie, it definitely made the bottom 20. F. The female of the couple that was in the theater with me remarked similarly how terrible the movie was after the end credits started rolling, surprised it even cost $15,000 to make. Of the many problems with the movie, the largest is how awkwardly it is shot. There are virtually zero camera angles on anyone’s face throughout the entire film. The camera is mostly pointed at the upper walls of the house the movie takes place in. Or feet or the backs of people’s heads or bodies. It’s like by not having to show mouths, they’d save money on dubbing the dialogue. And most people talk very quietly, and weird things keep happening; making it difficult to follow the story, especially without seeing the characters actually do anything, due to the camera angles. Thank God for that Wikipedia plot synopsis. The basic plot, from what I could gather, is that two children and their parents are in a house where the doors and windows magically just disappear, so they can’t leave. The parents don’t seem to be troubled by this entrapment for some reason. A demon or something (we never really find out) starts torturing them with weird things and demands they do stuff or face punishment. The parents dissolve away (the effect looked so cheap, and it was done several times) pretty early into the film and one of the children does the same about halfway through. The remaining child, a young boy, sticks a knife into one of his eyes after being commanded to do so. (I remember the command as the quiet talking is aided by subtitles many times throughout the film.) But the ending just kind of happens with little resolution as to what is really going on or the fate of anyone involved. Skip this crap.
A horror movie (there were a lot released in my local area this month) that didn’t particularly impress me but didn’t offend me. This is a C+. The rapper T.I. (who also produced the movie) is the only person I recognized by name. A bunch of friends in the middle of the pandemic (this was shot in August of 2020 apparently and kept getting its release date bumped) have a surprise birthday party for one of them at what is clearly a creepy and haunted bed and breakfast mansion. Mass hysteria breaks out based on each of their biggest fears (a very ham-handed scene at a fire pit early in the film allows them all to verbalize what these are for the audience,) and we’re off to the races. The evil spirits or whatever that are doing all this stuff to the people are represented by some really bad CGI, but that didn’t bother me much. The swiftness of the deaths did. Like four people die in like ten or fifteen minutes, which constitute the first deaths of the movie. The buildup to that was too long, is what I’m saying. Those could have been spread out. Weirdly, a newsposition news story at the end of the film miscounts the number of people who died, which means maybe one of them survived. Or it’s a major mistake on the part of the graphics department and/or continuity editor. I doubt this gets a sequel, although it almost surely had a bargain basement budget, so I have a feeling it was just an oversight.
A weird movie, but that should be expected from the son of David Cronenberg. C to C+. It has a bajillion production studios behind it. The opening studio logo crawl was endless. It’s just so overwhelmingly weird with a very pointlessly artistic and “poignant” ending that just felt stupid and out of character. And there’s a Chekhov’s Gun early into the movie that just doesn’t deliver outside of making the cinematographer cream his jeans. The primary antagonist, as it were, is played by Mia Goth, the actress who headlined X and Pearl last year. The plot is confusing at times, but mostly the conceit is just weird. In some random fictional country with nice beaches, a couple goes to a resort which they are told not to venture beyond the borders of said resort. It turns out, in this corrupt and crime-ridden hellhole of a country, foreigners who commit crimes (most of which result in a death sentence without a trial or any real legal system) are given the option to pay to clone themselves so that the clone may be killed in their place. But then they are forced to watch the clone get offed. And given an urn with their clone’s ashes in it afterward. The main character, the Skarsgård who was in The Northman, is a writer whose first book flopped hard who is married to a nepo baby whose dad is a loaded media mogul. He feels unfulfilled, obviously, as his wife clearly wears the pants in the relationship. The plot gets rolling after he accidentally runs over and kills a local while driving beyond the bounds of the resort. The twist we get late into the film is bad. I never need to see this again. It’s just too weird. And not in a good way.
80 for Brady
This was being shown for some reason on the Tuesday before its release date at my local Regal, allowing me to get in one more movie in theaters before the end of the month. It’s OK, let down by the fact that most of the good jokes in the film were spoiled in the trailer. C. The chemistry between the four female leads is great. You really believe their friendship. Tom Brady is also in the movie for a few scenes and even produced it. The highlight cameo is Guy Fieri. He’s great. Billy Porter, the dude who is just in things now, is also good for the two scenes he gets. As is Ron Funches. Rob Gronkowski’s scene in the movie is about ten seconds and barely longer than what was shown in the trailer, again ruining a decent joke. A comedy I didn’t need to see, but also one that didn’t overstay its welcome. I will likely never see this again, but it did not annoy me or piss me off. The issue is that the film is mostly just a ramshackle journey from one contrivance to the next.
I finished Succession as it stands right now. Good cliffhanger going into the fourth season, which will premier sometime this year. The Bad Batch finally came back. One of the best Disney Star Wars things. The movies I watched that I have already discussed here at some point in the past were American Underdog (enjoyable film,) Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (watched it with family,) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (again with family.) I watched quite a lot of movies outside of theaters. This is gonna be a very long article. I sincerely apologize to whoever has to edit this.1
A movie I greatly enjoyed when it originally came out that still holds up: The Nutty Professor, the Eddie Murphy remake, is incredibly fun with that sophomoric comedy that works well because I saw it for the first time as a child. One of the first movies he made after fulfilling his Paramount contract, Eddie Murphy is in fine form. I haven’t watched the sequel that did not fare as well critically or commercially as the first in at least ten years, but I will probably watch it again in the near-ish future. This is an A to A+.
I expected The Wild Bunch to be better than it was. B- to B. The action is good, but there’s just not enough of it. The acting is also pretty good from the handful of main characters that managed to maintain the spotlight after this. But there are some bad acting performances and plot choices that do irk me. They introduce this crazy dude member of their crew early into the movie, as it opens on a heist. He gets killed off within five minutes or so of being introduced. I wanted more of him. As a Western goes, there are plenty of better examples. Maybe Western ensemble films just don’t strike a cord with me as much as lone protagonist ones do.
Lucas was fine. It’s about a nerdy kid who skipped some grades who wants to be a high school football star. It takes quite a long time for the plot to settle on that, so it meanders a bit building up the characters, which I felt was laid on a little too thick. The parody of this in Not Another Teen Movie was better than the entire movie. C to C+.
I was curious about this movie when I saw it listed on HBO Max, so I finally watched Ride Along. It’s very average, but made enough to get a sequel. C to C+. The action is nice when we get any, but the twist is easy to see coming. And they have a really good cameo near the end, but they spoil it in the opening credits. I would have rather that been a surprise, as I guessed who he was playing long before he showed up.
Zero Dark Thirty was not as good as I wanted it to be. Like Saving Private Ryan, basically none of the people in this movie actually existed. That’s more excusable in this movie, as it was made almost immediately after we got Osama bin Laden. Most of the people involved are a secret that we probably won’t learn about for a few decades when the intelligence gets declassified. I think it’s a thirty-year timetable for that. The problem with this movie is that we’re all waiting for the exciting assault on the compound. That’s in the last half an hour of the movie, but it is both not as exciting as I expected it to be and takes way too long to get there. The intelligence gathering for the mission takes up a lion’s share of the runtime. And most of that isn’t very interesting. The acting isn’t bad from all involved but it also isn’t anything to write home about. C+ to B-.
I rewatched one of my favorite comedies from my high school days, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Funny story: The title refers to the original ending. The point of that was for the heroes to lose. Most real-life underdog stories are poignant failures, not successes. The new ending is better, as it is incredibly funny, but the director was not happy. He much preferred the original ending. The second Ben Stiller’s character eliminated Vince Vaughn’s, the end credits would start. Without the new ending, we don’t get fat suit Ben Stiller and all the resultant memes from that. The post credits where his character directly addresses the audience might as well be the director. The chest with their gambled winnings at the end actually has “deus ex machina” on it. The director was gonna get in as many swipes as he could. This is an A+.
I had heard about this movie for years as being quirky fun. Colossal tries to be that, but doesn’t fully succeed. Primarily, this is due to a character making a hard villain turn in a way that really doesn’t feel earned. And the other is I just can’t be made to care about the main character’s struggles. Dan Stevens has a small part that he does good work with, but most of the movie is on Anne Hathaway’s shoulders, and she just doesn’t bring enough to the table not to crumble a bit under the weight. Mixed metaphors aside, the special effects on the kaiju (plural, as it is the same spelling as the singular) are excellent considering how small the budget of the movie was. This is a C+ to B-.
Next is Safety, a Disney+ original sports movie based on a true story. A struggling college football player takes sole custody of his younger brother and raises him while balancing school work and the responsibilities to his teammates. The key hook of the story is the inability for NCAA football players to benefit financially from being a football player (this has been thrown out in recent years, for the better) without the school getting into big trouble. I never need to see this again. It’s fine; it just doesn’t have enough heart to match the true story it is based on. News articles about him are better than the movie itself. C.
I had somehow never seen Real Genius. Outside of “Yes, it’s true, this man has no dick.” William Atherton, Val Kilmer and Jon Gries (Uncle Rico) are the only three actors that really amounted to anything from the cast. This is a fun movie, but it could have been tighter or wackier throughout. I give this a B+ to A-.
I avoided this movie for years because the trailers made it look awful. We’re the Millers was much better than I expected it to be. If I had known it was R-rated, I probably would have checked it out earlier. It is definitely funny. B+.
The Pale Blue Eye is a period piece drama Netflix original movie with Christian Bale as a fictional detective tasked with solving a series of murders at West Point with the help of Edgar Allen Poe. That’s a weird conceit, but the movie mostly works well. It takes some liberties with Poe’s real life for narrative simplicity, but the ending twist is really bad. Oddly enough, John Fetterman has a non-speaking cameo as a dude in the foreground during a tavern scene. He lights a candle or something. This is a B- to B.
I had never seen this movie from start to finish (such is the days before streaming,) but I finally watched to completion Arachnophobia. A black comedy horror movie, which surprised me. This movie scared my eldest sister so much. I had a touch of arachnophobia as a child, so I didn’t seek out this movie growing up. I enjoyed this quite a bit. A. As life is strange, I watched this a couple of days before it was reported that Julian Sands, the spider research scientist in this movie, had gone missing while hiking. As of this writing, he has not yet been found. It’s been more than two weeks, so there’s a better than even chance he is not alive at this point. Prayers for his family.
This movie sucked. Fanboys is one of the casualties of Harvey Weinstein being terrible, as he forced many changes on the director as studio notes, delaying the movie greatly and butchering the story the director wanted to tell. Familiar studio notes various celebrities brought up in the aftermath of Weinstein’s career destruction. More sex stuff, for one. The plot isn’t a terrible idea, just the execution left much to be desired. A group of hardcore Star Wars fans suffering from extreme delayed adolescence hatch a crazy plan to invade Skywalker Ranch to steal an early cut of Episode I because one of them is dying of cancer. It’s mostly a road trip movie, which is why it fails. The acting from all involved also isn’t great. They got permission from George Lucas himself for it after showing him, as it so happens, a rough cut of the movie. He doesn’t actually appear himself, which would have been a nice cameo. Instead, we get Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, of Jay & Silent Bob fame, instead. Very out of place cameo, which is largely due to it being filmed after the majority of the film was already completed. This is an F, but not too strongly so.
The Pursuit of Happiness is a movie I had seen before, in theaters, but my fiancée had not. I saw the man this story was based on, Chris Gardner, at a talk he gave before this movie came out. I was in high school at the time. My high school best friend had just encouraged me to join one of his after-school clubs. This event was the only field trip that club did (that I went to.) This is one of Will Smith’s better dramatic performances. Jaden Smith did a stellar job, but it’s a performance he would never match again. B+ to A-.
I did a double header Clint Eastwood war movie. Sister films, the first of which is Flags of Our Fathers. This movie isn’t very good. The disjointed non-linear narrative really hurts the film. They could have just done the battle of Iwo Jima and then done the stuff that happened after it. I was not aware of the story behind the flag raising at Iwo Jima (it happened early in the battle and not at the end.) I also didn’t realize the battle was a war of attrition that went on for nearly two months. This is a C-.
The companion film, Letters from Iwo Jima, in contrast, was excellent. Showing the Japanese side to the battle, this one is mostly linear. Opening in modern times before kicking back to the build up to the battle with one flashback otherwise during it. Since the oral history of the battle is sketchy at times, there are events that occur with little proof, but narrative license is fine if the movie itself is good. This is an A. The battle sequences are phenomenal. The tension is so well crafted. How Eastwood made two movies about the same battle at the same time with such broad differences in quality is something I just don’t understand.
The 13th Warrior sucked. I didn’t realize until after I started watching it that it is one of the biggest box office bombs of all time. John McTiernan, who directed Die Hard and Predator, made this movie as well. It’s supposed to be a sort of adaptation of Beowulf. I wouldn’t have really gotten that without checking Wikipedia. The acting isn’t bad, but the plot sucks. The final battle is nice, but not long enough. The reason for Antonio Banderas’ character to even be involved in the plot is so tenuous that I just wonder how bad the script was. F.
The 1997 television movie adaptation of Cinderella isn’t bad, but it ain’t great either. Jason Alexander plays a funny butler. The prince character is Asian while his mother is Whoopi and his father is Victor Garber. Continuity wasn’t their primary concern, but that makes no sense. Brandi is fine as Cinderella, while Whitney Houston is great as the Fairy Godmother. The rest of the cast is just there, although Bernadette Peters is fun as the awful stepmother. C.
This dumb as Hell direct-to-video stealth parody action film was a load of fun. Poolboy: Drowning Out the Fury even has Steel Panther doing the opening credits song, which has functionally nothing to do with the movie at all, which might be the joke. A lot of action movies in the ‘80s and ‘90s had opening credits or end credits songs that were probably not written for the films they appeared in. Not a credits song, but “Glory of Love” was not written for The Karate Kid Part II. This is a Kevin Sorbo vehicle, a dude who has gone off the deep end with his Boomer conservative politics in the last decade or so. But the movie is ridiculous in that off the wall absurdity that the best parody has. Richard Karn of Home Improvement even has a cameo, as does Jason Mewes of all people. Danny Trejo plays the bad guy, although he’s not in much of the movie. This is a fun one to check out if you can. A.
My fiancée had never seen Knocked Up, so we watched it. It’s a movie that works because of the humor, as the chemistry isn’t really there between the two leads. Seth Rogen is really punching above his weight in that relationship, especially since he plays a complete loser. But he grows as a man and takes on adult responsibility. The supporting cast is really good, with all of his roommates having character names the same as their real first names, which was probably done to make the likely adlibbed dialogue easier to do. This is a B+ to A-.
I finally finished Moonrise Kingdom. I had watched some of it on a streaming service while visiting family a couple months ago, but that had commercials. I got it for cheap on DVD, so I watched it that way, starting from the beginning. This is one of Wes Anderson’s better movies. The ensemble cast is all excellent with a great story. I give this an A.
So many movies…
I watched the original My Bloody Valentine. The twist is not the best as to who the murderer is, but the kills are pretty good. It’s obviously a low budget horror movie in the early days of the slasher craze, so it has not aged the best. I don’t think I recognized basically anyone in this movie by name, although I’m sure I’ve seen at least one actor in this somewhere else before. This is a C+ to B-.
So, I watched a Pauly Shore movie… Son in Law is not a great movie, but it isn’t terrible. C- to C. Lots of early ‘90s talent in this movie, including a Brendan Fraser cameo, playing his character from the previous year’s Encino Man for some reason. The love story is incredibly unbelievable, so I won’t waste your time. Carla Gugino can definitely do better. The weird thing about the movie is Carla’s character’s boyfriend at the start of the movie is cheating on her with the wife from White Collar who is also her best friend. This tryst never comes out, so the wife from White Collar gets to remain in good standing with her friend and the rest of the characters even though she probably shouldn’t have. These are the things I think about.
I finally saw The Quiet Man, but I didn’t like it that much. John Ford got his fourth Best Director Oscar for this movie, but it’s a very simple love story with a fun third act. The plot is otherwise very predictable, and I don’t buy the chemistry John Wayne has with the female lead. You know the second her character shows up that she’s the love interest, as she doesn’t like him at all. The “frigid [FEMALE DOG]” trope for female love interests is in peak form here. The plot is also pretty razor thin. It’s not a bad movie, but I don’t consider it one of the greatest love stories in film history. B. That cinematography is excellent, though.
Cliffhanger is a dumb Sly Stallone action movie with a British accent-sporting John Lithgow as the antagonist. Michael Rooker, Yondu/Merle, plays his best friend. I didn’t recognize any of the rest of the cast by name, although I do recognize a few of the bit players from other things. The action is fun, the villain deaths are brutal, and the cinematography is pretty cool. This is a B+ to A-.
Another movie with Michael Rooker (randomly seeing two movies with the same actor seems to be a trend this month,) The 6th Day is not as good. An Arnold sci-fi film involving clones again. Terry Crews’ first movie, oddly enough. The plot is fun, the thriller aspect is a little overcooked, and the action is cool. This is a B+.
This Boy’s Life is based on a writer’s memoir of his early childhood. Leo stars as the kid, while DeNiro plays his abusive stepfather. Carla Gugino shows up again. The acting is good, but it really takes some time for it to get to the meat of the plot. B- to B.
This is fun romantic comedy I like, although the romance story is subpar on a rewatch. Four Weddings and a Funeral is a really fun time. The love story really sucks, though. Hugh Grant meets the woman from Groundhog Day (I’m actually writing this very sentence on Groundhog Day!) at the first of four weddings and sleeps with her, doing the same with the second wedding, although he knows at that point that she is engaged. I don’t see how a relationship that starts in such a way will succeed, but movie’s gonna movie. A. The ensemble supporting cast is excellent, including Rowan Atkinson.
My fiancée had also never seen The 40-Year-Old Virgin, so we watched that too. This is better than Knocked Up as the chemistry is so much better. Steve Carell really shines as does Paul Rudd. Funny story, Stormy Daniels of all people has a cameo in both this and Knocked Up. A. The theatrical cut is much better than the unrated version. I’m glad that fad has mostly died. Nearly every comedy movie of the ‘00s that was theatrically PG-13 seemingly got one of these unrated cuts on physical media for some reason. Virtually all of them were inferior to the theatrical version.
Air Force One is one of my favorite action movies of all time. Excluding superhero films, it probably makes the top five. Harrison Ford is at the top of his game as a helicopter pilot Vietnam War veteran Medal of Honor winner who is also the President. Xander Berkley continues his typecasting as a limp-wristed PAB. Gary Oldman is amazing as a post-Cold War Russian terrorist, with that one Russian leader side character from the first Austin Powers as his second-in-command. Glenn Close and William H. Macy also put in great work. Great film from start to finish. A+. It’s Die Hard on the President’s plane!
Save the Last Dance was OK. A paint-by-numbers teenage romance. This is C+ to B-. Apparently, interracial dating was frowned upon in ‘90s Chicago, at least if this movie is to be believed. Thank God I live in modern times.
Another action film, this time more of a thriller filmed and set in Pittsburgh, Striking Distance stars Bruce Willis as a former homicide cop working the river rescue detail of the PD who is dealing with alcoholism and the serial killer who got away, although he’s the only one who believes he got away. The twist as to who the serial killer is is sort of predictable, but I can’t be too mad at it. This is a B+ to A-.
I was recommended this movie and did not like it very much. Clay Pigeons is a C- to C. The plot takes quite a bit of time to go anywhere after the opening. The movie doesn’t even have a full plot synopsis on Wikipedia. Joaquin Phoenix is the main character, although early Vince Vaughn is in it too. I just don’t have much to say about it.
Probably the worst action movie I saw all month, The Cutter is actually the first leading man Chuck Norris movie I’ve ever seen. It was direct-to-DVD for good reason. It sucks. The plot isn’t terrible, but the action is few and far between, Chuck Norris is not the right person for a story involving the Holocaust, and the villain’s plan is dumb as Hell. F.
A Blu Ray I bought at Big Lots for $3 because it was advertised on the box art as Quentin Tarantino’s favorite film of the year it came out, Big Bad Wolves does not live up to that. The twist near the end of the film is not great as the audience is already aware of the bones of the twist like an hour before it is revealed. It’s an Israeli film, so it is subtitled, which meant I had to pay attention harder than I would have had it been in English. The movie did not reward me for this. This is a B- to B. A man kidnaps who he believes kidnapped, raped, and murdered his young daughter in an attempt at revenge and closure, as the cops bungled the investigation so the man is not behind bars. That’s heavy subject matter. I believe an English-speaking remake could do more justice to this storyline.
This is the sixth of seven movies I watched in one day. I needed some levity after the last film, so I turned to the free-to-watch movies on YouTube. I landed on The Promotion, a 2008 Stifler vehicle that also stars Pam from The Office, Fred Armisen, and John C. Reilly. It’s a boilerplate workplace comedy where two guys battle for one job. The antics they get up to trying to trip the other up end up being pointless in the end, which hurts the movie. It is funny, though. B- to B.
This is an incredibly odd and flippant movie. Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife has an interesting cast, most of whom seem to be related to or married to someone else in the cast. Patrick Wilson and Turk from Scrubs are the two most people will recognize, although there’s also Greg Grunberg and the antagonist from Scream 3 playing the main character, who also wrote and directed the movie. The titular murder is done by said main character as a crime of passion mostly. The rest of the movie is the coverup involving the group of friends and their wives. And then just sort of ends with them all being OK with it and getting away with blatant murder. The subject matter is so flippantly handled. And the three women that make up the main cast are all really badly written, as well as a female side character. Everyone other than maybe the cop neighbor they fool is a terrible person. This is a C because of how weird it is. Worth one watch. It’s free on YouTube right now. It was in the recommended for the previous movie I watched, which is the only reason I even know this movie exists at all.
One of the greatest comedies of all time, The Jerk was Steve Martin’s first starring vehicle. Bernadette Peters shows up again. Directed by Rob Reiner’s father, it’s just such a fun absurdist comedy. Absurdist comedy is hard to nail, but they do that in spades here. A+. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Classic of the genre through and through.
My fiancée loves The Disaster Artist although she has never seen The Room. I will fix that at some point. James Franco excels as Tommy Wiseau right before Franco got MeToo’d! and has yet to reemerge (which is why he won a Golden Globe but then the movie got shut out at the Oscars as the scandal broke before the end of Oscar nominee voting.) He slept with multiple students while he was teaching a college course. That’s just ick. This movie, though, great. A+. Read the book the movie is based on. It’s awesome. Same title.
The final non-theater movie I watched in January was The Sea Beast, a Netflix animated movie starring Karl Urban and Lane from Mad Men. It’s real fun with stunning visuals. The message of the movie is a little on-the-nose, and the child along for the ride doesn’t really need to be there, but I enjoyed myself. B to B+.
I’m finally done… Catch you guys later.