Through its unique narrative effect, I’m Thinking of Ending Things creates an abstract tapestry of human relationships that runs the gamut from the darkest corners of romantic encounters to the most idealistic and fantastical movielike romances. The result is a relentless descent into multiple facets of human relationships that proves to be gripping from the word go and does not let up.
Son of Kong’s light-hearted tone, while enjoyable, does little to elevate the weak script. Little Kong’s action sequences do get the job done fairly well. Ultimately though, the lack of substance to the storyline of this sequel is its downfall. You’ll find little to latch onto and even with a short runtime (an hour and ten minutes), the lack of a clear plot drags the movie to a crawl. There are more complete monster movies available. Son of Kong leaves little to admire.
Tesla doesn’t seem to know what kind of biopic it wants to be. On one hand, it attempts the recent trend of having a character break the 4th wall to infuse cheap modern humor into an otherwise stuffy narrative. And on the other hand, well, it’s a stuffy narrative about the trials of tribulations of Nikola Tesla. Unfortunately, the film is a dud on both of those fronts. It leaves its audience with a dull, lifeless recounting of Tesla’s life that doesn’t seem too concerned about or focused on much of its subject. Meanwhile, the humor feels forced and falls flat every time.
King Kong maintains itself as a strong early example of both an adventure film and a monster spectacle picture. Though the effects are as dated as one would expect from a film from its era, there’s more substance to King Kong than meets the eye.
Mixing a unique throwback vampire aesthetic with a modern psychological horror bend, Climate of the Hunter guides its audience through the paces of its macabre story in a way that will keep you engaged throughout. The film weaves its tale of horror through the story of two women at a family cabin who are competing for the attention (and potential affection) of a man from their past who has returned after a long absence. As their interactions with him heat up, the tension between the sisters bubbles up and his true intentions are called into question.
Since it’s poorly repurposing such a fantastic Japanese film, much (if not all) of Godzilla, King of the Monsters feels like a waste of time meant to dumb down a good story for an American audience.
Making its world premiere at Indy Film Fest 2020, HUM is a cerebral dance through an ethereal landscape of grief, regret, and the doubt that’s cast by overwhelming existential uncertainty.
Currently screening virtually at Indy Film Fest 2020, The Last Christmas Party takes a vérité approach to its telling of intersecting romantic dramas playing out over one college Christmas party. Through three central couples, the film examines meaty relationship quandaries such as casual vs serious dating status, who’s really in love with who, and how individual decisions can wreak havoc on long-term relationships. The Last Christmas Party brings these elements together to form a worthy and contemplative entry in the tried and true subcategory of film that is the one night existential crossroads movie.
The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 323 – Ebert’s Great Movies Part 2: Tokyo Story (1953) & Network (1976) – Indy Film Fest 2020 Preview, Ben’s Happy Valley Essays, and Yes God Yes – Guest: Ben Sears
In the latest installment of our Ebert’s Great Movies Review Series, our contributor and friend Ben Sears joins me to discuss the Yasujirō Ozu masterpiece Tokyo Story (1953) and Sidney Lumet’s prescient satire Network (1976) from Ebert’s “Great Movies” list. We also chat about Indy Film Fest, currently underway virtually, Ben’s thoughts on Yes, God, Yes and more.
Released just six months after 1954’s original Godzilla film, Godzilla Raids Again is not nearly as well-executed and nuanced as its predecessor. However, there is a lot of fun to be had in this movie and, in at least one case, it actually eclipses the original.
Netflix’s Project Power gives summer 2020 movie audiences a much needed infusion of blockbuster entertainment and superpowered action. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jamie Foxx, and Dominique Fishback make up a strong triumvirate in a story that’s exciting and filled with varied big-budget set pieces. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman create impressive action sequences and Mattson Tomlin’s script provides an engaging plot with sympathetic yet flawed characters, despite some missteps along the way.
Sputnik, the new Russian sci-fi horror film from IFC Midnight directed by Egor Abramenko, infuses elements of creature and body horror with the humanity of a compassionate protagonist.
In a sense, Boys State acts as a document of the political climate of today. It shows the passion and fervor of those who seek elected office while also showcasing the lengths to which people will go to win; whether it’s in the name of their political party or if they are seeking office for themselves. The fact that this depiction of our democracy is filtered through the perspective of 17 year old boys creating a mock government over the course of a week gives Boys State a prescient energy. Seeing the potential next generation of politicians navigate an ultra conservative group and play to the whims of the general populace helps peel back the curtain on the democratic process while also exposing the less savory aspects of the political machine.
The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 322 – Palm Springs (2020) & The Old Guard (2020) – Fekkes’ COVID Experience, Mulan and the Rise of PVOD, The Green Mile, and Bowfinger
This week, Fekkes makes his return to the podcast for a review of Palm Springs and The Old Guard. We also discuss Fekkes’ experience having COVID-19, Disney’s decision regarding Mulan and the future of cinemas and round out the episode with some Potpourri.
An American Pickle’s concept should be a delightful fish out of water story around which to build a movie. For the first 20 minutes or so, it achieves this well enough. However, it soon abandons that concept in favor of a satirical look at capitalism and the pursuit of the American dream in the age of social media mob rule. Unfortunately, it isn’t as interesting or as funny as the premise that it leaves behind in its first act, which itself was only skating by on the charisma of Seth Rogen’s performance.