Wednesday, June 29, 2016
The Nicsperiment's 2016 Summer Break Movie and TV Show Mini-Reviews
It's been too long since I've done one of these, and with 2016 halfway through tomorrow night, it's time to take account of everything I've seen. Also, for some reason, this set of reviews begins with a bunch of 9/10's. I don't know how that happened. Also, did I need two commas in that second-to-last sentence?
10 Cloverfield Lane -- 9/10
Balls out psychological suspense in a completely unpredictable film--it's a film that can go anywhere at any moment and essentially does (Ed. note, yes, that's what "completely unpredictable" means). Can't wait for more films in the Cloverfield series.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi -- 9/10
It's a shame that critics let politics get in the way of a film that doesn't. This is a noble dedication to the brave men who fought and died that night, and easily the best thing Michael Bay has done since The Rock was released 20 years ago.
The Americans: Season 4 -- 9/10
More slow burn intensity from the best TV show of the 10's.
The Angry Birds Movie -- 6/10
Drug along on family night, I was prepared to completely hate this, but beyond all of its juvenile antics are some very clever lines, i.e., "I don't think these Pigs are kosher.
The Big Short -- 9/10
Cuts between fictionalized drama and documentary to make last decade's stock market crash easily understandable...and sensationally entertaining.
Bates Motel: Season 4 -- 9/10
Bates finally becomes the great show fans always knew it could be, with focus shifting entirely to the central conflict of Bates vs Bates, and away from silly side-plots. Awards shows are popularity contests, else Farmiga and Highmore clean up this winter.
Captain America: Civil War -- 7/10
Speaking of "winter" and "central conflict," the plot of this overstuffed superhero film just doesn't work, relegating Captain America to a supporting player in his own film, and as someone who can lie to and hurt his friends instead of the moral "do what's right at all costs" First Avenger.
Central Intelligence -- 5/10
One of the most average movies I've ever seen: not bad, not good, not that funny, not that exciting, reasonably entertaining, but completely forgettable.
Deadpool -- 7/10
Not as revolutionary as its marketing department would have you believe, but a lot of fun. It makes the most out of its small budget with a couple of great set-pieces and a career-defining turn by Ryan Reynolds.
Ex Machina -- 8/10
(Starting with the same word again) Not quite the straight up masterpiece that its first 20 minutes promise, but certainly one of the best movies ever made on artificial intelligence. Can we please stop making smart robots before this really happens?
Green Room -- 10/10
Man, these reviews are feeding into each other nicely because this is absolutely a masterpiece, a violent masterclass in "trapped in a room" filmmaking. If this doesn't blast into cult status post-Yelchin's unfortunate demise, the world isn't fair...wait, crap.
The Jungle Book -- 5/10
Personality and emotion-free journey into one of the most beautifully realized CGI worlds ever created. They should have started the film when Mowgli was a baby, instead of diving in after everything that would connect you to the character has already happened.
The Nice Guys -- 9/10
Hollywood doesn't make low-key, non-CGI infected action movies like this anymore...except this one. The chemistry between Crowe and Gosling is magnificent, as they hang out, joke, try to solve mysteries, and get into scrapes and all kinds of mischief--PLEASE MAKE ANOTHER ONE OF THESE, WARNER BROS!!!
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story: Season 1 -- 9/10
A staggering work, capable of incredible empathy, and a nice redemption for showrunner, Ryan Murphy. The only thing keeping it from perfection is a single scene that (perhaps accidentally) implies that the prosecution stumbled into getting O.J. to try on the gloves because of a spurned sexual encounter between the two lead prosecutors.
Sicario -- 4/10
I just watched this overrated movie, and I can't think of anything to tell you about it. That/s about the most damning thing I can say, beside perhaps, "this movie killed my parents."
Spotlight -- 9/10
I love the metaphorical title here, as this true-story film shines a light on the Catholic Church's priest pedophile cover-ups of the last half-century. Its just-the-facts tone may lack artistry, but its clear storytelling and respect for the subject material more than make up for that.
The Visit -- 8/10
The first decent movie M Night Shyamalan has made in well over a decade. It's a ton of fun, scary...and maybe...just maybe...there's a twist.
X-Men: Apocalypse -- 8/10
Man, I am feeling at odds with the critics a lot these days...maybe these new millennial reviewers want something different from a movie than I do? I love Bryan Singer's X-Men movies, and he brings the same feelings of fun and teamwork (along with smoothly conveying the loneliness and isolation the mutants always feel below the surface) that he's brought to all of his X-Men entries to Apocalypse.
The Witch - 9/10
A low key, pitch-black horror film that isn't afraid to get as dark as it wants to be, yet is subtle throughout much of its run...til that crow starts feeding. Not a film for those who lack patience--this movie takes its time as it builds its suffocating atmosphere...this has been a good decade for horror films.
Zootopia -- 7/10
If you can get past its heavy-handed "we're all the same and carnivores don't even have to eat herbivores" moralizing, this is a fun little movie, with a great, diverse score by Michael Giacchino.