Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
I’ve been a fan of the Coens for a long time now, but lately for me their films have been very hit or miss. This one, sadly, was a monumental miss. The previews hinted to a story about 1950s Hollywood, and the behind-the-scenes of a Roman epic being made at a studio, starring a character played by George Clooney; Josh Brolin played the studio head who discovers Clooney has been kidnapped. Well, this was only a very small aspect of Hail, Caesar!; most of the movie involved a myriad of other stories that just weren’t that fun, funny, or interesting. And surprisingly, there were several musical numbers that, for whatever reason, were allowed to play out in their entirety! I really had high hopes for this one; to say I was disappointed would be quite the understatement.
No, we don’t! I really enjoyed Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, and I was looking forward to this ‘spiritual sequel’ to that film, set four years later in 1980. Somehow I got the idea that the young baseball player in Dazed and Confused was now entering his first year of college on a baseball scholarship, and I assumed his character name would carry over. Well, I wasn’t even close: as far as I could tell, there was no connection between the two films, and Everybody Wants Some!! was basically a series of vignettes centering on a bunch of obnoxious jerks—who all looked to be in their thirties—who played for the university baseball team and spent their time chasing women and acting like idiots. Even the baseball scenes were ridiculous, and the characters and situations bore no resemblance to any college baseball I’d ever seen. A complete waste of time.
A neo-noir action comedy set in the 1970s, starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, and written and directed by Shane Black, the guy who also wrote and directed a favorite of mine, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. What could possibly go wrong? Well, just about everything. I wasn’t expecting this to win any Academy Awards, but I never imagined I’d be so flat-out bored with it, and would dislike most every character in the film, including our two leads. The story was unnecessarily convoluted as well: Gosling was a private detective, I think Crowe was a thug for hire, and they joined forces to find someone who was missing. There was also something about an auto show, but beyond that, there’s not much more I remember. The preview trailer made the movie look pretty good; I suggest watching those two minutes instead, and not waste two hours on the movie.
Normally this list focuses on three movies I was looking forward to seeing in a particular year, and was unexpectedly disappointed by or which fell far short of my expectations. But I thought I should mention Zoolander 2, which I was not looking forward to seeing, and which I had zero expectations for, and was by far the worst movie I saw in 2016. Shallow, lazy, moronic, and lacking any signs of humor (intelligent or otherwise), this sorry excuse for a comedy garnered eight Golden Raspberry Award nominations, with Kristen Wiig winning for Worst Supporting Actress. To read my blistering review, click here.
Captain America: Civil War
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story