While it's not too far from the Nolan trilogy, this one trades the over the top action for a much slower story with flashes of detective work. The cinematography is great and I loved the use of lighting, but this really needed to be rated R. To make a big deal about Batman pounding some dude's face into soup and having there be zero blood really undercuts what they're trying to say. It's not as violent as the Nolan movies, but it's darker and it really needed some realism in the fight scenes at least. Pattinson does great with what he's given, but most of the characters feel under-written. I don't know how we can have a nearly three hour movie and do so little for the characters. We get a lot of plot and I liked watching it unfold, but they take some real liberties with the source material that raise a lot of questions that they don't address. There were some bad effects (mainly during Batman's "flight") but they were mostly alright. This was a solid first entry, but if we're going to do "dark and gritty" Batman again, it needs to stand out more from the Nolan movies. Make the violence violent and spend more time developing the detective work, this time it felt like we saw the steps, but little of the process.
The book wasn't great, but it had a lot of potential. The original movie was terrible, but it was an adaptation of the book and just needed some tweaking to be tolerable. This new Firestarter isn't really an adaptation of the book. This feels like someone was listening to two strangers talk about the book in the opposite corner of a Starbucks and left five minutes into their conversation. There are very few pieces of Firestarter here and what they do use, they use terribly. They change so much that this is more "inspired by" the book than any real adaptation. Every single character is neutered (minus the mom who has a lot more power in this version for no real reason) with Rainbird being totally stripped of all his scenes and The Shop stuff being all but eliminated and replaced with a very generic version. At a certain point, it felt like they were changing things just to change them (like Andrew McGee not being his real name or giving Rainbird powers). I don't just want to rant about how terrible this is compared to the book, because this film is plenty bad in a vacuum. The acting is terrible, the effects look awful and easily the most horrific part of this "horror" film is the pacing. This movie is almost half an hour shorter than the original, but this one feels twice as long. There are no big action scenes, this new story is very generic, and the characters are super-underdeveloped. I never bought Efron as a father and I never bought the girl as a human. I'm sure they are both doing the best that they can with this terrible script, but it was all terrible. For some reason, every scene in their house looks like the room is filled with smoke, even when there had been no fires in the house for years. This isn't supposed to be a smokey within the context of the movie, so I guess it's a stylistic choice that just makes things harder to see. The score was okay, but that is the only credit I can give it. This movie is so bland and and boring. There are so many great scenes in the book that they could have plugged in, but instead we just plug along slowly towards a very disappointing ending. This was a terrible film if we treat it as an individual film, but as an adaption of the book and a reboot of the original movie, this is so much worse. Firestarter is a C+ book and the 1984 movie is a D+ movie, but this one is a solid F. There is nothing better here other than the camera quality. They eliminated all the best scenes and took all of the character out of the characters. There is nothing here that validates this movie existing.
Compared to Far From Home, this movie is a masterpiece: there is a lot less Zendaya, the story is streamlined, and the pacing is much better. I was looking forward to seeing how they continued after such a game changing event as Spider-Man's identity being revealed, but what they did was ultimately disappointing and leaves a lot of logistical plot holes (especially the ending). The multi-verse stuff was interesting, but I wish we spent more time with the "visitors", especially since this movie kind of serves as an epilogue to the Rami and Webb series. I guess I won't spoil too much (although I feel like everyone knew all the "surprises" before the film ever even came out), but I was happy with all of their acting, even ones that I really didn't care for the first time around. I did like that since this movie had so much more to do, we didn't have to spend so much time with stupid little side stories and we got a lot less MJ than the last film. Zendaya s still easily the worst part of the movie (of the entire series, really), but she's in it a lot less, so we don't have to put up with as much of her terrible acting as before. The ending is a big issue, as it opens up a whole bunch of logistical issues and I'm sure the nest Spider-Man movie is just going to ignore them and move on. I see a lot of other reviews talking about there being a lot of twists and turns, but I found this very predictable; all of the excitement came from the action and the characters, not the actual plot. Jon Watts does a terrible job again, giving us the most boring cinematography and there is a lot of weak CGI. As a whole, this is a great super hero movie (so long as you've seen the other MCU Spider-Man films), but the film making is kind of bland.
This movie is always pitched as a sick movie about a man who has a crush on his teenage daughter's friend, but it is so much more than that. There are so many characters that they develop so well and I can relate to on different levels. Each character we touch has their issues and it's much more of an ensemble movie than just a Kevin Spacey movie. The cinematography is beautiful and the pacing was just perfect. If this movie didn't come out the same year as Office Space, I would have assumed that Alan Ball had decided to make his own (much more dramatic) version. American Beauty has plenty of symbolism if that's what you're looking for, but I enjoyed it on a literal level. My only issue is that they create this mystery right at the beginning telling us that Kevin Spacey is going to die and by the end the mystery isn't hard to unravel. I'd much rather have it either been less obvious or even left open ended. The story is so expertly structured that, for me, the ending was kind of a let down.
This is easily the most uncomfortable movie I've seen. It is visually astounding with beautiful color palettes and amazing cinematography, but man, was it hard to watch. The story is incredibly cringe inducing, not in a "cringe compilation" way, but in that it constantly has you wanting to cover your eyes because you're just waiting for bad stuff to happen. For the first third, I was mostly just confused and uncomfortable and the final two thirds it got even worse. I'm sure there was tons of symbolism that I didn't pick up on and I'm sure everyone is reading this movie in whatever way they already decided it was meant to be read, but I'm just floating out here in open water, totally confused as to what I just witnessed. I went in totally blind, only knowing that it's from the director of Raw and I'm not sure if that was the best idea. Titane really feels like two separate movies that were fused together but the seams weren't polished. For the first third, I thought I was watching a crazy horror movie but then it morphs into a sick family drama. It feels like it's trying to say too much and ends up with a bowl full of word vomit. What was I supposed to get out of this? This was a very unique movie that I really enjoyed, but I don't know that I'll ever want to watch it again; it's too emotionally exhausting. The biggest disappointment is that we never get the reveal that we've been waiting for.
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.