Reviews & Recommendations

Recent Movies #001

The Martian (2015)

Dir: Ridley Scott | Writer(s): Drew Goddard/Andy Weir | DP: Dariusz Wolski

This was a really great movie. I’ve read the book, but I went in trying not to expect anything. The movie surprised me. It built and relieved tension just like the book did, and it included just the right amount of events to make the pacing seem neither rushed nor tedious. I’m pretty sure that in the 2 hours given to Ridley Scott (who is a great director when it comes to sci-fi), he managed to make the best movie possible. The only way this movie could do true justice to the book is if it was actually a TV Show. 8/10

P.S. Casting was great.
P.P.S. Donald Glover was SO great.

Inside Llewin Davis (2013)

Dir: Ethan/Joel Coen | Writer(s): Ethan/Joel Coen | DP: Bruno Delbonnel

This is one of those “nothing really happens” / “Day/Week/Month in the life of” movies. It follows Llewin Davis, a not-so-popular folk musician trying to get his shit together, but it’s tense and humorous, in the way you would expect a Cohen Brothers movie to be. Also, the directing and cinematography is great, and the movie actually follows the “show, don’t tell” rule all the way through. 9/10

P.S. I really don’t like folk music, but this movie made it seem kinda cool.
P.P.S. Carey Mulligan’s character and performance is one of my favorite parts of the movie.
P.P.P.S. This scene is my favorite:

A Serious Man (2009)

Dir: Ethan/Joel Coen | Writer(s): Joel/Ethan Coen | DP: Roger Deakins

This movie is a little more high-brow than other Cohen Brother movies I’ve seen, and I think that sort of had an effect on what I think about it. The movie is about Larry Gopnik, who struggles trying to get life to slow down enough for him to catch up. As unfortunate events and circumstances hit him one after the other, he repeats “But I didn’t do anything” like a mantra that’s somehow supposed to fix everything, not realizing that the lack of action has consequences too. #Relatable There’s a lot of irony in the movie, and it’s very unusual for me to see Jewish people to be portrayed in films with humour, but not in a Woody Allen kind of way. 7/10

P.S. Can you tell I’m trying to get my shit together and finally get through the Cohen Brother filmography?
P.P.S. The movie is loosely based on the story of Job from the bible, and if I cared enough to pay attention at bible study when I was a kid maybe I would have enjoyed this movie a little more.

Crimson Peak (2015)

Dir: Guillermo del Toro | Writer(s): del Toro/Matthew Robins | DP: Dan Lausten

In typical del Toro style, this movie is very, very pretty but also very, very boring, with a few exciting scenes chopped in here and there. This movie boasts flawless set design, amazing acting by Tom Hiddleston, and pretty cool CGI ghosts, but it’s storyline is predictable and lacks any kind a of nuance. Like Pacific Rim before it, this movie is just eye candy with a huge budget. 6/10

P.S. del Toro is one of those directors that’s good when they’re working on other people’s projects (like he did for The Hobbit)

Dope (2015)

Dir: Rick Famuyiwa | Writer(s): Rick Famuyiwa | DP: Rachel Morrison

This movie is SO good! It’s funny, it’s exciting, and the pacing is perfect (except for a party montage about 2/3 into the movie). It’s full of great 90’s hip hop, humor/irony/jokes, and its approach to portraying racial issues is subtle but effective (which I can’t say about Dear White People). What I love the most about this movie is that even though it had a hilarious and exciting trailer, the movie managed to surpass that and exceed my expectations. That doesn’t happen very often anymore. 9/10

Frances Ha (2012)

Dir: Noah Baumbach | Writer(s): Noah Baumbach/Greta Gerwig | DP: Sam Levy

This is another one of those “nothing really happens” / “Day/week/month in the life of…” movies. It follows Frances as she watches her 20-something-troubles life falls apart and then slowly puts it all back together. It’s black and white, which at first I thought was a pretty pretentious choice, but about 1/3 of the way in I decided that it actually helps focus attention on the characters, rather than the picture (which is great pretty much always). This whole movie is an endless well of tumblr-friendly quotes and gifs, because it’s kind of scary how much I could relate to all the characters. Also, I really liked that this movie sort of did a “full circle”, where the characters come back to where they were before, but they’ve changed. Very Dan Harmon-y. 8/10

While We’re Young (2014)

Dir: Noah Baumbach | Writer(s): Noah Baumbach | DP: Sam Levy

An old-er couple is boring, becomes friends with a 20-something couple that is too hipstery and perfect to be believable, rediscovers the joys of youth, and is happy. Honestly though, who still uses VHS? Sure, using tapes for music is still cool (and will always be), but VHS? Come on! And how can they afford that huge studio apartment if he’s an aspiring filmmaker and she’s… What does she do? Ben Stiller is Ben Stiller, Adam Driver is Adam Driver, and watching them interact is entertaining. It’s a nice chill movie if you just want to relax and giggle a few times while trying to decide if you’re more like the 40-something couple or the 20-something couple. 5/10

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