Category Archives: Movie Comments 2018

Comments on some films watched in 2018

5*; Baby Driver (2017)

This was on the verge of being the “Black Panther” of chase-scene movies. Panther (link to my review) was a genre-buster this year as contemporary sci-fi/fantasy I actually liked. “Baby” begins with a typical Hollywood out-of-control chase. I could have dropped it at the curb after ten minutes — especially with five of those minutes showing film credits. Yet the music and the vibe seemed promising so I stayed long enough for a story and characters to develop, which they did.

Inevitably, the story’s plausibility plummets like a car off a cliff (and before we’re done, the car does indeed cascade off the proverbial urban cliff). Of all the coffee houses in Atlanta, they descend upon that particular diner in a Casablanca gin-joint way. Shotgun blasts delivered at close range are only temporary in a cartoonish Road Runner harkening. Then comes the Fatal Attraction element, and I am checking how much time remains; thankfully it’s a show well under two hours. Alas, a film with creativity and intrigue becomes a mash-up of stolen scenes.

I was still in tune with this effort past the midway point. The soundtrack is a curated collection of classic and contemporary selections that carry scenes forward. A keen highlight was demonstrating that songs are both very personal and also connect people. I couldn’t always tell the good guys from the bad in advance of their actions. So it has positives but, oh, Baby drove me to distraction.

*(star) ratings are my own … 5*=Five stars (maximum 10 stars)

8*; The Women on the 6th Floor (2010)

An insightful French film (with subtitles). Those grand Parisian buildings project consistency on the outside. There are many different stories on the inside.

The family of Mr. Jean-Louis lives on a lower floor. Maids, his and others, live on the top floor. The two groups are far removed from each other’s lives in living conditions as well as language, culture, habits, backgrounds, and more.

Like the building, Jean-Louis has a predictable exterior drawn from his grandfather, father, work, family, and even the edifice itself. Inside him is something different. The women on the attic floor are a window to another world. The door leading to them is a passage.

Make a weekend watching “Wakefield” as well as “The Women on the 6th Floor” to escape the typical Hollywood shoot-ups and chase scenes for insight to people, portals, and personalities.

*(star) ratings are my own … 8*=Eight stars (maximum 10 stars)

7*; Wakefield (2016)

Bryan Cranston is actor, narrator, protagonist and antagonist. He dares to focus on a fleeting thought, the kind we all hear asking, “What if I …?” He double-dares to act on that thought, and then sustains the idea percolating in his head.

“What if” we acted on each impulse? Madness could ensue, perhaps resembling the image of Howard Wakefield, castaway in his garage attic. When we “come to our senses,” would the madness stop or would reentry to reality create even more insanity?

Make a weekend watching “The Women on the 6th Floor” as well as “Wakefield” to escape the typical Hollywood shoot-ups and chase scenes for insight to people, portals, and personalities.

*(star) ratings are my own; … 7*=Seven stars (maximum 10 stars)

8*; Black Panther

You got me. Experience would say that a modern superhero movie is unlikely to hold my interest. Nor is science fiction adept at providing me with intrigue like it does most moviegoers. Yet, “Panther” held my attention and had topics to ponder.

I’ll say it: “I, uh, uh, … LIKED IT!” Action scenes were prevalent, but not the whole show. Costumes were sharp. Good versus evil was only part of the premise, while the premises included real-world and computer-graphics worlds. Characters had … character!

The actress and role that stole every scene for me was Letitia Wright as sister Shuri. I wanted to give her a “best supporting” award on the spot for her portrayal, her humor, her foreshadowing, her importance to the plot, and becoming a name to remember.

*(star) ratings are my own … 8*=Eight stars (maximum 10 stars)

7*; Risen (2016)

Rise up! And fall back in your favorite chair while “Risen” brings back an era of making movies you thought had passed. This film uses dialog, setting, story and scenery like those of the 1950s or early 1960s. Kirk Douglas could have fittingly walked across the landscapes leveraged very effectively in this 2016 film.

Don’t be surprised when you’re not surprised, for you know Yeshua’s story of rising after three days in a tomb. Don’t be picky about the depictions of your favorite apostle. Don’t berate the Biblical scenes you’ve always imagined to be somewhat different.

Do, perhaps, wonder why this film is in color. Do appreciate the orderly story telling by writer/director Kevin Reynolds, who made the intensely scenic but far more chaotic Waterworld twenty-one years earlier. Do, certainly, enjoy a relaxing evening with “Risen.”

*(star) ratings are my own … 7*=Seven stars (maximum 10 stars)

4*; Dunkirk

It was supposed to be a slam ‘dunk’ but I’m more ‘irk’ed!

History has one spectacular story. Writer/Director Christopher Nolan gums it up by knitting three together like a loosely woven afghan throw with holes everywhere. Give me Occam’s Razor and CUT! That is, if there are many ways to explain something, the simplest one is usually better. “Dunkirk” is not that.

Yes, I see the inspiration of Winston Churchill’s policy speech,
“… It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air …” Continue reading 4*; Dunkirk