It’s finals week at Emerson, so I don’t have a lot of time to sit and watch much. I got around to watching a movie I love, one that fell between the cracks, another that’s universally loved, and one that is a theatrically successful trash heap. Here’s my week in review.
A Cure for Wellness (2016)
I had very low expectations for this one, despite my girlfriend loving it. It made barely any money in theaters and critical consensus was pretty much “meh.” By the end, it had some cool stuff going for it, but was mostly bloated and overwritten. My issues stem from knit-picked character interactions and dialogue. After almost a week (I watched it Monday), I can only really remember that the main character was unlikable and didn’t have an arc, there was a bizarre scene of masturbation, the cinematography was gorgeous, and the conclusion was actually pretty great (I absolutely did not see that coming).
If you have a few hours to burn, I would recommend it. It’s ambitious, in terms of studio releases, and the pro’s end up outweighing the con’s.
Grindhouse: Planet Terror (2007)
This isn’t art, but God damn is it fun. Planet Terror is an absolute blast because it knows exactly what it is, and goes for it. It doesn’t take a single moment of it’s perfectly succinct 105 minute runtime seriously, and it almost goes out of it’s way to create plot holes to add to the ludicrous nature of “grindhouse” cinema. I still can’t really tell if it’s an homage, or a parody. It’s a gross out zombie horror movie about a rag tag group of survivors, including the exceptional Rose McGowan as a gun legged bad ass (we don’t know how the gun shoots, but it does a great job of killing the zombies).
I highly recommend this one, especially if you like a filmmaker winking at the audience and a movie that puts fun over logic, in a genuinely engaging way.
Space Jam (1996)
Space Jam is the story of cartoon aliens stealing the talent from basketball players circa 1996, and Michael Jordan plays them in a basketball game with the Looney Tunes on his side. I think I need to watch it again. Probably the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen.
You’ve probably seen it already.
Ugh. Dwayne Johnson is here again, for what will be his first of three movies to come out this year. Rampage is as fun as the teeth drilling scene from A Cure for Wellness, which is to say: it’s not fun. Leave it to visionless Hollywood hack Brad Peyton (of San Andreas infamy, another hollow visionless drag) to make a monster movie feel like a chore to sit through. Why did the first two acts genuinely depress me? Why did they need to tell me how George’s (the albino gorilla) mother died (poachers hacked her apart with machetes, and her arms were to be used as ash trays), AND THEN SHOW THAT ON SCREEN? What a surprisingly bleak movie. The end sequence with all the big monsters isn’t even fun because the whole thing makes you feel bad for the animals.
Malin Akerman is horrible as the expository dumping machine, and Naomi Harris depressed me more than the poacher scene because she reminded me of the highs she achieved in Moonlight– you don’t need to take roles like this Naomi, you’re immeasurably talented! At least Jeffery Dean Morgan seemed to know what kind of shit show he was in, because he’s the only one who had any charisma. Other than the CGI gorilla, of course.
Unless you catch this in an empty theater and you’re with friends, don’t watch this one. It’s a big fat waste of time.