It takes them seven minutes to drastically change things from the books, when they tell us Artemis's mother is dead and then it gets so much worse from there. It's there movie, so if they want to race-swap characters, fine, but there needs to be a reason. Ideally, that reason would be that they have a great actor/actress for the role that is of a different race and not because it lets them tick a box. Nonso Anozie is an okay actor, but he is not Butler, maybe a Dave Bautista, I have to believe that this guy can rip people in half; they can't just be a big guy. I am not afraid of Nonso Anozie like I would be of The Rock or Vinnie Jones. They mess the ages of characters up with Juliet being the same age as Artemis and making Short look like a little girl, the sloppily combine the first two books without really understanding what people liked about them, they change characters' motivations and personalities and even their species and so much more. I could spend hours complaining about how they ripped the source material to shreds (which they absolutely did), but let's just put that aside and talk about the movie separate from the books. They start us with Artemis just being a jerk teen that has no idea of his dad's career and legacy and having exactly zero history is espionage or criminal things but at the end he tells us that he is a criminal mastermind. They tell us Butler is this brute that is incredibly strong and intelligent, but we never real see this. There are a handful of emotional scenes that we know are emotional because they tell us they are. They never really show us anything, they just tell us instead. Can I see Artemis make a masterful plan? Can we get a scene of Butler kicking butt? No, but they'll tell us about them. They never take the time to set anything or anyone up, we just rush, rush, rush. It's the first two books amateurishly smashed into an hour and a half. Usually, this is where I would say it feels like they just read the blurb on the back of the book and ran with that, but even the blurbs have more depth and information than this film. Even the CGI was rushed as it look awful. If you aren't going to world-build, at least give us some beautiful scenes. The acting isn't any better, even though we have a few great actors: Ferdia Shaw is comically bad and clearly needed more direction, Lara McDonnell doesn't hit the right emotions, Nonso Anozie is a blank slate, Josh Gad is good but not believable, and Judi Dench is surprisingly one-note. I read a review on Taste that said it fells like they shot the movie as a long trailer and that is spot on. Artemis Fowl shouldn't have had two book in one movie and certainly not in a 90 minute movie; 90 minutes should have barely gotten us half-way through the first book. If you haven't read the book and don't know the story, it's over just after it feels like it begins. Ignoring how they just skip the middle part of every character arc from the books, the skip the meat in-between the scenes. A perfect representation of this is when they have Josh Gad narrating to us that Artemis's father told him everything there is to know about Fairies while they show Artemis flipping through a book of "fantasy creatures", each page being a poorly drawn picture followed by four or five lines about the creature. My biggest issue is how quickly they will flip the tone of a scene. It goes beyond poorly timed joke insertion. We'll be full on adversarial, full on mortal enemies and then <SNAP> "Did we just become best friends?!?!". If you have read the books, don't even bother trying to refresh your memories before watching (which you probably shouldn't bother doing) because they are just going to crap all over them. If you have zero knowledge of the series, the writers of the movie don't have much more, so prepare to be very confused, bored, and constantly asking "Why" both because the scene makes no sense and because the choices the writers and director made make no sense. There are hundreds of YouTube videos that will explain why this is a bad adaptation and even more that will explain why this is a bag movie in general. It look bad, the acting is bad, the story and script are bad, the whole damn movie is just very bad. The only value this movie has is as a "So bad, it's good" movie. if you've seen the clip of Mulch pulling his jaw apart or Artemis getting the call from Opal, you've seen the highlights of the movie. They even have the balls to tease a sequel that has a less of a chance of of happening than the fairy world being exposed in our world. If you want a few laughs at the expense of a bad movie, go for it, but if you are an Artemis Fowl fan or want to watch an actual movie with film making value, run far away.
Underwater begins like Poseidon Adventure meets Gravity, but without any of the flair those two have. Underwater is incredibly vanilla. I appreciate that we jump right into the action and shove everything into 90 minutes, but we really need some context for something. We really only have a vague idea of who these people are, what they are doing, and why any of this is happening. We keep hearing about the company that they work for, but we never learn anything about it. Nothing is fleshed out and I was begging for anything to anchor the story or the characters. It's an okay looking movie and there are some plot points I wasn't expecting, but everything else is bland; especially Kristen Stewart. I've yet to find a film where the praise she keeps getting is validated. I've only seen her play varying degrees of monotone, angsty Kristen Stewart. Sure, sometimes she stutters here, but I never got any emotion from her. The rest of the cast is okay, minus TJ Miller who really has no business being in movies at all. If you are one of those people who really enjoys big, dumb Hollywood movies, I'm not sure Underwater has enough going on to hold you attention, even for 90 minutes. If you are more interested in the technical aspects, story, or performances, you'll probably be underwhelmed. I was concerned to see the 90 minute run time (what non-comedy story can you tell effectively that fast), but it is both the biggest strength and weakness of the film. We start running within the first five minutes, but I wanted more about why we are running.
For a three and a half hour movie, The Irishman goes surprisingly fast. If it matters to you, I watched it in two parts (the first hour and then the last two and a half). Yeah, there were definitely some scenes of irrelevant dialog that really only work to establish relationships between De Niro and the other characters, but there weren't that many. Overall, the story was great, most of the acting was perfect, and it was very easy to get engrossed in the world of the movie and not really notice that it's over three hours long. I really only have three complaints. Firstly, as other have mentioned, even though they de-age the actors' faces, these are still elderly men and they walk and move like elderly men; they're too slow and clearly geriatric, but there isn't really anything you can do about that. The de-aging looked pretty good, but by my math, this mostly takes place in the 60's and 70's where De Niro's character is supposed to be in his 40's and 50's, but he still looks 60+ the entire movie. Sure, when he's in the nursing home he looks 80, but there is no way he's passing for forty during the Kennedy election. Really though, De Niro in general is my biggest issue with the film and the only thing that really drags the movie down. His character is supposed to have all these very complex emotions, but we only know that because the story makes it clear, never because of what De Niro is doing. He just makes that same stupid face the entire movie. If the idea was to have his character hiding his emotions, than congratulations because he doesn't show a single one. I've yet to see De Niro in a good role. When I watched Scarface, I though Al Pacino was pretty terrible, but he's great here and Joe Pesci is great in everything. The chemistry between any characters other than De Niro i amazing, but he actively ruins scenes for me. My only other issue is the same one I had in Goodfellas in that I feel like they are expecting me to know more about the material than I do. They do a great job laying out what is happening and how the many characters fit into the story, but way too often I'm seeing someone on screen who is clearly an important player, but I have no idea who the Hell they are. There are a lot of characters that kind of just breeze through every once in a while and if they aren't Ray Romano, I don't instantly remember who they are. Historically, it all clicks, but I was born in the 90's so I really don't have a lot of history with the JFK plot and they weren't really giving me what I needed to fully grasp what was happening; it wasn't enough to derail anything for me, but I'm still a little lost as to what all was going on in that section. Also, who is De Niro talking to? We see him in the nursing home telling this whole story to someone, but I have no idea who. I don't want to spoil anything, but there is a scene in the last 30 minutes that kind of brings the entire framing of the movie into question. Obviously, most of my issues are either nitpicky or personal preference. The Irishman is a solid ride that doesn't really feel like a three and a half hour movie (except for the last half hour where the story is pretty much over and we just circle the drain for too long). The obvious comparison is to Goodfellas and while I feel like I understood The Irishman's story better and I probably learned more here, Goodfellas is better on every other front. Goodfellas was way funnier, the story was more compelling, and I loved so many more of the characters (and there was less De Niro).
I really wanted to love this film. I've been watching a lot of "best cinematography" YouTube videos and Hero keeps coming up, so with zero knowledge of the plot, I ordered it. While I do agree that the movie is breathtakingly beautiful, everything else let me down. All of the acting is incredibly wooden and every conversation is very dry. The plot was interesting and I was on board for the first half, but the second slowed down to a crawl and I got bored. The fight choreography was pretty cool, but it quickly got goofy. I don't mind the unrealistic 1 vs 30 fights, but they lost me when people start flying. I watched the movie for the cinematography and I got what I wanted from that, but I really wanted the whole package and I really only got great cinematography.
Another movie that's incredibly hard to discuss without spoiling anything and this is definitely a movie that you want to know as little about as possible. I got The Game confused with Wall Street (not sure how, they only have Micheal Douglas in common), so it was all new to me and I wouldn't have had it any other way. It's a David Fincher film, so of course the movie is beautifully shot and there are some great cinematography moments. What is going to be debatable is the story, which is going to lean really heavily on your ability to not over think things and fully embrace suspension of disbelief. For me, it worked for the first 100 minutes and then it just pushes things way too far and I could no longer silence the alarm in my brain screaming "That's just not how things work! What about ________ and ________ and why don't they ___________ or what if _____________ had happened?". If we just end the film six or seven minutes early, we'd eliminate all of my biggest issues
The Midnight Gospel is literally just re-spliced podcasts with a few lines of newly recorded dialog that play while an entirely unrelated lazy animation plays. They tell you the premise is something similar to the Interdementional Cable episodes of Rick & Morty, where our main character picks a different world simulation to join. I love the idea, but as soon as we join the new world, they start a "data-cast" and start talking about pseudo-intellectual crap that has absolutely nothing to do with what we are seeing going on. The first episode has the main character talking to Dr. Drew about drugs and meditation while fighting of a zombie apocalypse. You almost have to review the visual and audio elements separately. The audio is taken from Duncan Trussell's podcast and the add in a few lines to mention what is happening in the episode, but 98% is the most pretentious and inane conversations I've ever heard. It's two people who know nothing stroking each other's egos about stuff they heard in a Psych 101 class and didn't entirely understand. Do you want to listen to potheads talk about how cool drugs are, magic, Buddhism, and transcendentalism? I sure don't. The actual visuals often look like beautiful black light posters you'd find in the back of a Spencer's store, but they aren't animated properly. The animation is so rough and jumpy that it feels like they need three or four times as many frames to smooth it out. The Midnight Gospels thinks that it is a super deep philosophy discussion, but it's really just a #Deep rant between two stoned High School Freshmen in their mom's basement. I wanted Interdemensional Cable animated by the Adventure Time guy and this is none of those things.
The Haunting of Hill House is hard for me to rate. On one hand, we have really great performances from almost the entire cast; even the kids did very well and I was never reminded that these are all actors ad none of this is real. The sets were really good too, whether it was the funeral home, the rehab center, or the titular Hill House, everything has well designed and as realistically creepy and unsettling. On the other hand I essentially finished only because of the whole sunk cost fallacy and the blind hope that maybe they can right the ship. Every paranormal movie essentially gets to create its own rules for how ghosts and such work, so I can't really complain about the realism of how they chose to write their rules. I will say, however, that their rule book is bullshit and the stupidest fucking mess I've ever read. I won't spoil anything, because the incredibly slow and arduous unrevealing of the mystery is really the only the story has going for it, but I found it to be purposefully obtuse and cheap. They are trying so hard to create a mind-fuck story with the constant flashbacks and (maybe) dream sequences and we never really know if people are really seeing things, if it's just stories they are replaying in their head, if it's hallucinations or if it is just that the writers are trying to give us a visual while someone is being told a story. 85% of the story is just a family drama. It's a compelling drama and the characters are great, but we were pitched and promised a horror and we barely get that. the other 15% is easily the worst part. They do a fair job creating a sense of unease, but literally every unveiling garnered a response of "Really? Fucking really? That's their explanation?" One of the last one makes sense, but one particular one really made me physically angry; it's just so nonsensical, stupid, and unrealistic even for a movie about ghosts. This did not need to be a 10+ hour series and they certainly didn't deliver on the impression of horror. If we cut out all the bullshit, we could have a solid four episode mini-series about a family dealing with loss. I really wanted to love Hill House and they have all of the pieces to make a great show, but they fucked it all up. The cast was outstanding and aside from child actor with a very minor role, everyone gave Oscar worthy performances. The ghosts and ghouls or whatever they actually were looked pretty bad, but the Hill House set looked great. If they gave the pieces to a different writer and director, Hill House could be a classic, but I hate what Mike Flanagan did with them.