By: Henry J. Fromage –
Finally getting some time to dive into some of the 2017 releases I’ve missed, I discover I’ve not been missing very much.
137. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Stick a fork in this franchise, it’s done. The Pirates movies are getting so overwrought, over-CGI’d, underwritten, and inessential that it retroactively casts a pall on even the at-the-time uniquely spectacular original. If Jack Sparrow had quit after one or even three outings, he may still go down as one of Hollywood’s iconic characters. Now he’s just Johnny Depp getting his fail all over another franchise. Watch, this will still eke out a billion and another sequel, though…
Continuing my experience in garbage, I was very surprised to find this adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ acerbic cult comic to be as toothless and baby-down soft a Hollywood product as can be. Even Woody Harrelson can’t save this utterly bland, Hollywood “life lesson”-spouting pap from being the utter tone-deaf death trudge through vanilla ice cream that it ends up being. I wasn’t expecting much, but I wasn’t expecting such gross mediocrity, either.
In the year we got another Alien sequel, who knew this concept was so nice we needed it twice? A surprisingly overqualified cast and some good set design, nasty gore effects, and appropriately thrilling direction by Daniel Espinosa make this well worth a watch, especially now that you can do it via rental. It won’t feel terribly unfamiliar to fans of the genre, though, that’s for sure. If you can’t figure out the ending well before it occurs, you’re doing it wrong.
140. It Comes at Night
God, I hoped that lady who tried to sue Drive for not being the Fast & the Furious clone its trailers made it out to be watched this one, thinking she was walking into the scariest film of the year. If I was the judge this time, I’d award her the money. A horror film in only the barest sense of the word, this slow to the point of tedious post-apocalyptic exercise in tension-building was written by Trey Edward Shults after his father died. The existential despair at watching a loved one waste away in front of you, and you powerless to stop it, definitely comes through in this film, but that’s all that does. If that sounds like a fun Friday at the movies, well, my wife sure as fuck doesn’t agree with you, for one.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Now, here’s something I enjoyed watching this week- the Tina Fey-produced, perfectly cast spiritual successor of 30 Rock, may have an even higher joke hit rate, if that’s even possible with both that comparison point and the shear rate at which this show volleys jokes at the wall to see what sticks. Hidden in with all of the perfectly random jokery and callbacks is an tale of near-boundless optimism in the face of all life throws at you- we could all use a little Kimmy Schmidt in our worldview.