Rental Roundup: Lots o' Stuff
As a companion piece to my theater roundup from Monday, here's a quick list of all of the movies over the last couple of months that I've rented/downloaded/streamed and watched in the comfort of my own home/computer, while I farted at my leisure and got melted popsicle sugar all over my sweatpants. Ahhh, the advantages to not going out to see a movie... Anyway, this finally gets me caught up on my backlog of terribly punctuated (what's with the semicolons, dude?), heavily under-thought ramblings about what movies I've seen lately.
What is this crap? It's that Johnny Depp movie where he becomes a super computer and tries to automate the world to maximum efficiency. Talk about a control freak, am I right?! I'll get through this magazine at my own pace, Johnny!
Is it worth renting? Well, I watched it on an airplane on my laptop, and my super old headphones decided to stop working on that day (conveniently), so I watched this movie in silence with the subtitles on, while repeatedly getting interrupted by the flight attendant's PA announcements. So I MAY have not watched it under the best circumstances possible. However, an honest assessment from me would be that it offered a lot of interesting ideas in the last 30-40 minutes, but the first hour was kinda (really) boring. So I wouldn't rent it for anything less than free.
What score would you give it? 5 out of 10
They Came Together
What is this crap? A return to form for David Wain and his usual crew; this is a spoof of romantic comedies starring Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler. It touches upon just about every dumb cliché of every dumb romantic comedy, while keeping all the weirdness you'd expect from Wain.
Is it worth renting? Oh definitely. This is probably one of the funniest non-Leslie Nielsen spoofs I've ever seen. But it might also be an acquired comedic taste. If you are a fan of Wet Hot American Summer, you'll love this, too. You also have to be a fan of fiction books, which very few people are. The basketball scene killed me. Swish!
What score would you give it? 9 out of 10
All This Mayhem
What is this crap? A documentary about Australians Tas and Ben Pappas, who were apparently two of the best pro skateboarders in the world (I don't know anything about skateboarding), until their stereotypical Australian personalities started to ruin their lives. Just kidding, but they definitely took a lot of drugs.
Is it worth renting? Yes. This documentary made me super interested in something as dumb as skateboarding, much in the same way The Crash Reel made me super interested in something as dumb as snowboarding. For two hours, I was completely invested in the outcome of several years of the X-Games, which I never thought I would be. And much like The Crash Reel did in creating a villain out of Shaun White, All This Mayhem made Tony Hawk seem like a conniving little crybaby. The story takes a few good abrupt turns as well, AS LIFE WILL DO. (kickflips skateboard into a 1080 ollie) (I said I didn't know anything about skateboarding)
What score would you give it? 8.5 out of 10
Only Lovers Left Alive
What is this crap? In either the best premise for a vampire movie, or easily the worst, Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton play a married vampire couple who have been alive for centuries and have succumbed to their greatest adversary: white intellectual boredom! Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Oddly takes place in Detroit.
Is it worth renting? Yeah, maybe. I liked it. But it is definitely a talky movie with a lot more style than substance. I think I was in the mindset to enjoy a minimalist movie at the time I watched it, so it worked for me, but I could see it being lame to normal moviegoers. I hope you like watching brooding vampires read books while Charlie Feathers songs play in the background. I kind of did.
What score would you give it? 7.5 out of 10
What is this crap? It's an entire movie that takes place in a car?! Tom Hardy? More like Tom CARdy! What...? Oh.. Ok... I'll see myself out. Can I do a Bane joke first? No? Fine...
Is it worth renting? Yeah, it's worth renting once, but I don't see much replay value in it. It does a pretty good job providing an interesting enough story that I didn't get bored with cinematography that is essentially the same five shots over and over again. And it stayed interesting without resorting to the cheap tactics that the Ryan Reynold's "stuck in a coffin" movie resorted to. Locke is easily, EASILY the most intense movie ever made about planning a concrete pour.
What score would you give it? 8 out of 10
What is this crap? It's a dramatization of the near perfect documentary Paradise Lost, about the West Memphis Three case, which is about those three teens in Arkansas who were wrongly convicted of murder because they dressed kind of angsty and listened to Metallica.
Is it worth renting? No. Just no. Forget this exists and rent Paradise Lost instead.
What score would you give it? 3.5 out of 10
Oldboy (the Spike Lee one)
What is this crap? A remake of the Korean film of the same name, a movie I didn't really like to begin with, but had that two memorable scenes involving a hammer fight, and a dude eating a live squid. Spike Lee got involved somehow, and now it stars Josh Brolin.
Is it worth renting? I wouldn't rent it if I were you, unless you like terrible stories with incoherent themes.
What score would you give it? 4 out of 10
What is this crap? A comedy about life after the rapture, where all of the people who didn't get into heaven just sort of live on Earth in a state of annoyance and fear. Lots of penis jokes.
Is it worth renting? Probably not, but you *might* get something out of it. I laughed at a handful of one liners, mainly from Craig Robinson (who plays the devil), but mostly it plays like a rip-off of This is the End and Warm Bodies. It also stars the main character from Freaks and Geeks, who just looks weird now as an adult.
What score would you give it? 5.5 out of 10
Doc of the Dead
What is this crap? A documentary that covers everything about zombie culture, from its cultural history, to its cinematic/television relevance, to its impact on pop culture as a whole.
Is it worth renting? If you're into zombies, sure. It's sort of weird in the way that it is heavily dumbed down so that people who know absolutely nothing about zombies going in can still understand it, while at the same time still having a lot of super specific nerd-out moments that only people who are into zombie culture would be at all interested in. Regardless, it really did cover just about every single aspect I could think of about zombie stuff (even if it didn't go too deep into any one subject), and the interview subjects were surprisingly of good quality.
What score would you give it? 7.5 out of 10
Saving Mr. Banks
What is this crap? Walt Disney is trying to get some uptight old bitty to sell the rights to Mary Poppins. But she hates Disney, and she hates cartoons, and she hates music! What will Tom Hanks do?!?!
Is it worth renting? Yeah, it's ok. It's an enjoyable movie for old people who like conventional stories, I assume. It's a pretty harmless movie in every way. But I thought the parts about 1960s Disneyland were like 50x more interesting than the forced parallel story about P.L. Traver's childhood with her dad (Colin Farrell). Like, I understand *why* they included it in the screenplay, but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy it.
What score would you give it? 7 out of 10
What is this crap? First, Psycho made everyone scared to take a shower. Then, Jaws made everyone scared to go swimming. Now, You're Next makes people scared to walk by a window. Or else you might get an arrow shot through your neck! (side note: nothing says "precision crossbow accuracy" like aiming it while looking through tiny slits on a plastic animal mask)
Is it worth renting? Maaaaaaybe, if you're *really* into murdery horror movies. It's not bad for its kind, and actually had a few moments of good cinematography; but it's pretty much, at its core, what you'd expect it to be. Lots of people getting things jammed in their eyeballs, and getting stabbed in the back (literally AND symbolically!)
What score would you give it? 6 out of 10
What is this crap? A super dark comedy (I think) about a rich couple who befriend two guys who need money and pay them money to do embarrassing or dangerous things for increasing amounts of money, simply for their demented amusement.
Is it worth renting? Perhaps. I didn't know what this was and watched it on a whim on Amazon Prime, thinking it would be a good background movie, but it caught my attention so much that I just ended up watching it intently. I'm pretty sure they stole the idea from an episode of The Simpsons, but they naturally progressed the story really well, and created a lot of great scenes of tension and twisted comedy. It's definitely low-brow, but it's pretty thought-provoking low-brow. IT'S NOT FOR EVERYONE.
What score would you give it? 8 out of 10
[Scott Roberts] " Yeah, it's ok. It's an enjoyable movie for old people who like conventional stories, I assume. It's a pretty harmless movie in every way."
I was going to include this in a write-up of "Not As Bad As I Thought It Would Be / Not As Bad As I Remember" movies. I liked this one a little better than you did -- maybe 8.5, maybe a 9 -- but I really, really like the framework of the thing. That is, I agree that the Colin Farrell stuff was stretched a bit thin, but understanding the real-world roots of Mary Poppins was really interesting.
I was also dumbstruck by the way the title is EXACTLY the point of the movie -- and indeed the book -- and I STILL didn't get it until like two-thirds of the way through the movie.
Speaking of which, I hate to say it, but HAVE YOU READ THE BOOK? What a kick! It's easy to see why the author was hating on the adaptation. I love them both, but they really have little to do with each other.
The movie shows her so exasperated (and exasperating) that she insists her story meetings be tape recorded. And in one of my favorite bits, one of those real-life recordings gets played over the end credits.
I'd put this on the "definite" list, but as you note, it's a very conventional piece. A "family" movie in the better sense of the word, meant much more as an encouragement to watch than as a warning to avoid. But I do get the impression that some of you folks will take it as a warning no matter what. :-)
"Only Lovers left" looks like a replay of "The Hunger", but maybe not as stylish?
/Never heard "Lakme': the same way again after Susan Sarandon./
In regards to Saving Mr. Banks. I think everyone in our line of work should watch it for the reason of seeing a "client" that is hard to deal with. If you have a client who is hard to work with this movie should make that client seem not so bad. The thing that surprised me about the movie is how depressing the part of the movie is when they go back to her childhood.
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