Posts Tagged ‘film reviews’

Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood – One Possible Interpretation

Posted 31 Jul 2019 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, UK / USA / China, 2019

Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino

In all that has already been written and said about Quentin Tarantino’s latest (and supposedly penultimate) movie, one thing that comes up again and again is the surprisingly disrespectful way in which the character of Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) is portrayed. His one really crucial scene sees him being arrogant toward stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who is doing guest work on the Green Hornet series, ultimately taking him on in a “friendly” sparring match. Cliff holds his own, which seems improbable, to say the least. One function of this scene is to foreshadow Cliff’s abilities in a later, more serious fight scene, but I believe there is something more to it. In fact, this scene may be the key to really understanding the entire movie.  Read More

The Dead Don’t Die – Your Patience Might

Posted 21 Jun 2019 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

The Dead Don’t Die, Sweden / USA, 2019

Written and Directed by Jim Jarmusch

“Humor is subjective” is a phrase I forced myself to remember several times throughout legendary independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s latest, The Dead Don’t Die, as several other people in the audience with me reacted audibly and approvingly to jokes I found relentlessly unfunny and lame.

Here are some of the bits that elicited laughter…

Farmer Frank Miller (Steve Buscemi) is introduced in a diner, wearing a bright red baseball cap with white letters in a recognizable font reading “Keep America White Again.” That’s it. That alone got a laugh, of the performative type borne not of true mirth but a desire to let others know you get the joke (or so it seemed to me, at least).  Read More

The Ambivalence of Justice – Dragged Across Concrete & The Highwaymen

Posted 17 Apr 2019 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews

By Ezra Stead

Dragged Across Concrete, Canada / USA, 2018

Written and Directed by S. Craig Zahler

The Highwaymen, USA, 2019

Directed by John Lee Hancock

It’s been a while since I attempted a double review, but these two recent movies have enough in common that I’ve found myself thinking of them both in the same “breath” fairly often since viewing them, and I certainly think there would be a significant overlap in their fans, if they manage to reach enough people to truly gain a fanbase (Dragged Across Concrete only played one week at a couple of theaters in New York City, and The Highwaymen has an – actually more advantageous for gaining viewership – almost exclusively online release on Netflix). They are both of the type of movies commonly (and usually unkindly) referred to as Dad Flicks, provided your dad is okay with some pretty harsh, abrupt violence. They each, in their own ways, evoke an earlier, more classical era of cinema – Dragged the mid-to-late ’70s, Highwaymen perhaps even earlier, to the new cinema of the late ’60s, i.e. the films of Sam Peckinpah from that era (as well, of course, as Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde). They are also two of the best movies I’ve seen so far this year.
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Pet Sematary – The Soil Is Still Stony, If Not Quite So Rich

Posted 10 Apr 2019 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews

By Ezra Stead

Pet Sematary, USA, 2019

Directed by Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer

I would never recommend reading a movie review without having first seen the movie in question for yourself, but I would also never dream of spoiling the plot of a movie I review without providing a fair warning. So if you are somehow unfamiliar with the basics of Pet Sematary (come on, you’ve had thirty years to see the original movie, and thirty-five to read the book – what are you even doing with your life?), consider this your warning to stop right here and rectify that.
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Ezra’s Top Ten Favorite Movies Of 2018

Posted 16 Feb 2019 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Here we go again! I know I say this every year, but it’s an absolutely absurd and impossible task to try to see even half of the 700+ feature films released each year, and then to attempt a ranking of the best [insert arbitrary number] of them, so that’s not what I do. Instead, I managed to see a paltry 101 movies released in 2018, and I’m going to attempt to rank my ten favorite movies out of that number. It’s still absurd and very difficult, but at least I don’t have to convince anyone these are the “best” movies of the year. They’re just the ones I personally dug the most, and your mileage will most likely vary wildly. As always, I’ve made some effort to highlight movies you’re not hearing about on other year-end lists or awards ceremonies, while not stubbornly ignoring any of those that you are hearing more about, as I did in 2016.
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Ezra’s Spooktober 2018 – Year Of The King

Posted 25 Oct 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay

By Ezra Stead 

As always, I’m far from finished watching scary movies for the month of October, and we won’t be covering everything I’ve watched this month, for the sake of your time and my sanity. In brief, I’ve caught up on some classic franchise entries (Stepfather IIDamien: Omen IIHalloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers), checked out some newer gems like this year’s The Endless and Terrifier, and revisited some old favorites, including five generally less-loved Stephen King adaptations, which is what we’re going to focus on here.

Stephen King’s Children of the Corn (1984) is not exactly a critically beloved film, but it has managed to spawn eight sequels and a 2009 TV-movie, which is pretty impressive considering the original short story that started it all runs about thirty pages in total. Meanwhile, King’s Dark Tower series, a sprawling saga that runs well over 4,000 pages, got a disappointing 90-minute film adaptation last year. As William Goldman (screenwriter of, among many others, Misery and Dreamcatcher) famously said regarding Hollywood decision-making, “Nobody knows anything.” Anyway, in this writer’s opinion, Children of the Corn is a very enjoyable B-movie worth revisiting, especially for all the scenes that really forefront the very creepy kids. Courtney Gains is especially fun to watch as Malachi, he of the most hateful face in all of cinema. Just look at that scowling bastard up there. Awesome.  Read More

Sorry To Bother You – A Fascinating Mess

Posted 28 Jul 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead 

Sorry to Bother You, USA, 2018

Written and Directed by Boots Riley

It is often lamented by casual movie fans that “Hollywood has run out of ideas.” In fact, the seeming lack of originality in the mainstream movie pool has more to do with a fear of taking chances on those new ideas, which certainly do exist. Why gamble when you can pretty much guarantee a huge opening weekend with a sequel to, or adaptation of, an already beloved existing property? With that in mind, it’s rather amazing that this debut feature from writer-director Boots Riley, a founding member of legendary Hip-Hop group The Coup, ever got greenlit. I mean this in both a good way – because Sorry to Bother You is full of original ideas, sharp satire, and great performances – and in a somewhat more negative way, because it often feels so overstuffed with interesting concepts that it can’t possibly come together as a wholly satisfying, coherent narrative.  Read More