By: Henry J. Fromage –
As is often the case these days, there’s no real rhyme or reason to my viewing habits beyond long flights and lazy weekends grasping for rest.
79. Killing Eve
The latest Emmy/Golden Globe TV darling doesn’t fare quite as well as the indeed marvelous Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, both too focused on globe-trotting psychopath assassin fun for the dramatics to impact and too dramatic to be a full-on guilty pleasure. What it does have is two banger performances from its leads, Jodie Comer’s chameleonic assassin Villanelle and Sandra Oh’s driven law-woman on her tail. A fitting slide into the high-concept series hole Orphan Black left on your schedule. Three Beers.
The one downside to Netflix’s content shotgun approach is that legitimately awesome movies and miniseries like this one don’t always get their deserved spotlight. And this is some absolutely primo Neo-Western content, stylish and violent and impactful and just full to the gills with excellent character actors like Jeff Daniels, Merritt Wever, Jack O’Connell, Sam Waterston, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, and so many more. One of the best Westerns seen in any medium this decade, without a doubt.. Two Beers.
81. Wonder Park
It’s somewhat mind-addling to contemplate just how poorly you can take the Pixar template, a non-insubstantial if maybe not Pixar-like budget, and even some former Pixar talent and make something so lifeless and off. They often label these kinds of movies as “just for kids”, but if my full but utterly quiet theater was any indication, your kids aren’t going to be any more entertained than I was. Six Pack.
I can easily concede that heightened expectations played a role here, but I have to expect that will be the case for nearly everyone. Jordan Peele’s sophomore feature has that same tight control of imagery and thriller build-up as well as just enough humor to leaven the bread, but the story this time, nifty twist besides, doesn’t make sense in either the pure plot nor allegory sense, which dampens the impact of all of that eye-catching imagery and those keyed-up performances. Three Beers.
83. Fahrenheit 11/9
Goddammit, it’s sure starting to look like Michael Moore’s been right all along. Your mileage may vary regarding his persona and button-pushing, but the main takeaway from his latest progressive call to action is that where other progressive voices from the never terribly progressive Clintons to the often disappointingly far from progressive Obama have failed us, we need to be the change we want to see in the world. He’s never felt more timely. Two Beers.
84. Peppermint Candy
Holy fuck is Lee Chang-dong’s second film a bleak affair. And this is coming from the acclaimed director of notably bleak films like Secret Sunshine, Poetry, and last year’s Burning. Just like those films, it’s extremely good, it’s novelistic time-travelling structure allowing for a kind of simultaneous hope and despair as we travel backwards in time to see how a desperate, awful man got the way he is. It’s quite unlike any other film I’ve seen. But holy fuck is it bleak. A Toast.
85. Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days
Likely the top popcorn franchise in Korea turned out a second film last year, with even more and better special effects, a large focus on the past lives of its afterlife ‘Guardians’ that play an excuse to get a lot of slickly shot Dynasty action in the film, and another heart-tugging storyline that offers a spot for lovable lug Ma Deong-seok (the Dwayne Johnson, or at least Dave Bautista of Korea) to do his thing. Hard to follow yet entertaining, there are worse ways to spend your time. Four Beers.