Shame List Challenge: First Month Update

After the first month of the Shame List Challenge, I have seen a perfect 16 movies (we set a limit of 4 movies per week to prevent cramming, seriously underestimating the insanity of the competitors, myself included). So far it’s me with 16, Ashlee with 16, and Alistair with…9. The battle rages on.

Here are the 16 I’ve seen, ranked in order of current preference:

1 Bonnie and Clyde
2 Full Metal Jacket
3 Halloween
4 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
5 Silence of the Lambs
6 Drop Dead Gorgeous
7 Touch of Evil
8 Network
9 Caddyshack
10 Night of the Living Dead
11 Primer
12 Saving Private Ryan
13 Rain Man
14 Night of the Hunter
15 Badlands
16 The Searchers

I have at the time of this posting managed to write about exactly one of them, but you know what, nothing got written at all for like half a year, so be grateful for what you get. Or something.

Touch of Evil

touchofevilNo, I’m not breaking new ground writing about the modern cinema canon. But darn it, I haven’t seen these movies, and now I am, so I’m writing about them. And maybe you haven’t seen them either! And maybe you should! (or maybe you shouldn’t! Read the review to find out!).

This is part of a the Shame List Challenge: for details, follow this here link. Continue reading

Shame List Challenge

shame-on-youSo I was challenged to come up with my official Shame List, which is to say, the 100 movies (in this case) that I am the most ashamed/chagrined/resigned to have never actually seen. And then the project is that from June 14-September 13, 2016 (because that’s when I’m writing this), it is a challenge between me and two of my friends to see as many as we can on each of our lists. The winner is showered in honor and glory and also the two losers have to buy them a nice DVD/Blu-ray of the movies of their choice.

Here is my list, as of June 14th, 2016, to be updated as I see movies and actually, just maybe, write about them: Continue reading

Bone Tomahawk (template)

BoneTomahawkName: Bone Tomahawk
Template time! Movies get template reviews when I don’t have the time or energy or concern about writing them something longer. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them (but sometimes it does). Template reviews contain no spoilers. If no link appears to a longer review around this sentence, I haven’t written one.

Year of Release: 2015
Basic blurb: It’s a horror western starring Kurt Russell, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins. Mustaches. Horses. Plains. Cannibals.

Is there anything of note about the characters?
They’re stock, but they’re done well. Kurt Russell is excellent as the sheriff. He’s my favorite kind of by default because he’s so good, but I have a strong fondness for Matthew Fox wearing a very light-colored suit for the amount of dust and horses (and his silly mustache, but more on that in a second). And I always adore Richard Jenkins, and he’s awesome here too. He should be in everything. And I guess Patrick Wilson. I cared less about him, but I think that’s me, not the movie. Continue reading

Oblivion (template)

oblivionTemplate time! Movies get template reviews when I don’t have the time or energy or concern about writing them something longer. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them (but sometimes it does). If no link appears to a longer review around this sentence, I haven’t written one.

Year of Release: 2013
Basic blurb: In the future where we had to kill the earth to destroy the aliens, maybe life is still possible? Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough are the last humans around and they’re basically maintenance staff. Also Morgan Freeman is there.

Is there anything of note about the characters?
Not really. They’re pretty generic blockbuster scifi characters. Tom Cruise runs on several occasions and also drives a motorcycle, as he is contractually obligated to do in every movie. The male and female leads kiss, but there’s back story so it’s okay. None of this nonsense where the one main guy and one main woman who are brought together by Dramatic Action end up falling in love and it’s annoying and trite. Continue reading

Edge of Tomorrow (template)

Edge_of_Tomorrow_PosterTemplate time! Movies get template reviews when I don’t have the time or energy or concern about writing them something longer. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them (but sometimes it does). Template reviews contain no spoilers. If no link appears to a longer review around this sentence, I haven’t written one. 

Name: Edge of Tomorrow, or, occasionally, Live Die Repeat. It’s a strange thing.

Year of Release: 2014

Basic blurb: Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt do remarkably smart blockbuster scifi.

Is there anything of note about the characters?
They are good! They are, like, real people! I know, madness. Emily Blunt is a badass and that’s awesome to see, and Tom Cruise, as many people said at the time but sorry I only saw it just now, really plays on his overly charming persona well. Man, when he smiles, you get what people mean when they say someone has a 1000-watt smile. It is a weapon to be wielded carefully. And, get this, there is even character development! And Emily Blunt’s upper arms/shoulders! Which, okay, don’t develop, but damn. Every time she does the plank into up-dog (yoga terms, people) it was amazing all over again. I want to be that strong. Continue reading

The Martian

themartianThe Martian is fine. It’s fine. Just fine. It’s not the movie’s fault that I am quite hardened and like a darker, grittier, more unpleasant movie-going experience. But, as I have said to many people already on this topic, it is good to see movies I can recommend to normal people.

Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is… The Martian. He is an astronaut and through no real fault of the rest of the crew on his spaceship, he gets left behind on Mars (presumed dead). Turns out, he’s not dead! And you don’t get to Mars without being quite smart and more than a little resourceful, so he starts to figure out how to sustain his own life until someone can come back and get him (to repeat a joke from the interwebs, between Saving Private Ryan, Interstellar, and The Martian, we sure have spent a heck of a lot of money and effort rescuing Matt Damon). Continue reading


sicarioSicario sure is a deeply unpleasant film. In my page of notes, if I had 25 items, approximately six of them are just versions on “This is unpleasant” and “an intense sense of dread.”

So, good job? The movie is about Mexican drug cartels and Emily Blunt (kind of), and it is a piece of work. There’s not a particularly strong narrative throughline (or, what’s there isn’t really elaborated, and we’re kept as in the dark as Kate (Emily Blunt’s character) is), but it’s got a lot of violence, with some particular flourishes of explicit torture, and a whole whack of Disturbing Imagery. So when I first left the theater, I was kind of lost and disturbed, because it felt like all of this nastiness didn’t add up to much.

Then I talked it over with my movie-going buddy and it became obvious that that was the point. Spoiler alert: Mexican drug cartels are bad. Also, we’re not always the good guys, or if we are, we’re not always doing good things to get the information we need. Basically, the whole thing is a mess. And so the movie is like hey, this is a mess. Look at all the sadness and the extreme, oppressive violence. And so you’re like k thanks movie! I… feel much sadder now and vaguely queasy. I agree that this is very bad, and I see it much more graphically now. So… uh… thanks? Question mark? More question marks? Continue reading


tomorrowlandTomorrowland: not as saccharine as it could have been! Feel free to use that on the DVD cover, Tomorrowland marketers.

I knew nothing about the plot of the movie going in, but I knew from a podcast that was largely making fun of it that there was going to be a lot of earnestness and “Dreaming can solve everything!” So mostly I was waiting for it to be too sappy, or put too much faith in, well, faith and hope. But it wasn’t!

I mean, that’s not to say that it’s not still very PG, in a way that probably all PG movies feel like and I’m just not used to it because I don’t see very many of them. The premise of the movie is kind of “We can save the world by having good ideas and being really inventive!” Which, I suppose, is true, but it’s a very varnished kind of representation of that. But I’d still rather have Disney showing people of legitimately varied backgrounds–men, women, all colors, and all ages–contributing meaningfully to The Future than, well, not that. Continue reading

Prometheus: The Truth

p8815605_p_v8_abPer the terms of the bet, I had to write at least 300 words of a positive review of Prometheus. And I did! At least, I listed 300 words worth’ of positive things about it, which is close enough. Per the terms of that same bet, it had to be in its own post, and I could not just write three hundred isolated words about it being good and spend the rest of the time listing all the ways that it’s bad. But I can do that in a separate post! So here we are!

This post is going to suffer from the same problems as the other one, in that I haven’t magically seen the movie again in the 45ish minutes since writing the first one. Sorry-not-sorry.

So, as I said in the other post, this will be full of spoilers because it’s a terrible movie and you shouldn’t see it anyway. Continue reading