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Aronofsky's mother! will be hated by many, but loved by a precious few
Horrifying. Just.. horrifying. Aronofsky really got me with this one. Not only did he manage to grab me on an intellectual level, but also on an emotional one. This movie is going to be hated by many, I know that now. But for me, this is, hands down, the movie of the year. Every shot, cut, and scream is perfectly constructed to make an immersive atmosphere that never relents in it's uncomfortable feeling, and the acting is seriously award worthy. Javier Bardem is absolutely wonderful, and Jennifer Lawrence... oh man... her performance is absolutely top notch. At first I couldn't quite relate to her character, but as the film progressed, her mindset became my mindset, and we essentially merged into one force of fear and terror that was absolutely unstoppable until the ending. I cannot praise her performance enough in this review. Her emotions leaked from every frame she was in, and it broke my heart and scared me witless the whole way through the film. Aronofsky's pacing is immaculate as well, the whole movie feeling not a second too slow or quick, the events rolling on naturally and in a way that felt very satisfying. The whole way through, I was riveted and invested by the acting and cinematography, which is definitely Aronofsky's best I've seen so far. The entire film is gripping, horrifying, heartbreaking, and absolutely wonderful. Nothing about this movie pulled me out of it. Watching this in a theater was like being in a bomb shelter while the world ended, every sound apocalyptic and every camera shake filling my view. If you can, watch this on the biggest screen you can with the best surround sound you can afford. If you only watch one movie this year, make it this one. This movie is incredible. This is why I study the movies.
Beautiful Movie, Undercooked Story
Viewed 4K Theatrical Screening
My main problem with this film is the story, which I feel is inconclusive, even for a "dreamlike" movie. David Lynch does a much better job at fully providing catharsis for his dreamlike films, Terrence Malick also isn't half bad with ending his films, which have a very free-floating way of approaching narrative, and even Hard to Be a God, a film I wouldn't necessarily say is good, has a better way of ending than this film. I'm a fan of the Coens, but even I can recognize they aren't all that great at ending their movies, opting for a sharp cut to credits. Well, this movie doesn't even have THAT, opting to just let the credits roll over the final shot. Also, the story is really not that interesting besides that ending. I didn't really care what was happening because I guessed what the narrative was going to do in the beginning. And you know what? I guessed correctly, removing the majority of mystery from the film. ALSO also, I wasn't that enamored with the lighting/cinematography. I mean, it's beautiful, but beautiful visuals and an amazing soundtrack does not a masterpiece make. ALSO ALSO also, I don't think I came at this wrong. I just wanted a really colorful, well paced "horror" film, but I got a really colorful, so- so paced "horror" film. I'm willing to get down with a dreamlike movie, but this film is far too caught up in certain things that just didn't grab my attention. I was paying attention, but more so to the scattershot dubbing than the actual information. It's really good... but it's no quintessential picture.
Miami Vice (2006)
Michael Mann's Idiosyncratic Masterwork
Viewed Theatrical Cut
As luxurious as it is beautiful, Michael Mann's Miami Vice is one of the most bizarre movies I've ever seen. Not necessarily in content, but more so in how that content is shot, scored, and cut together into a film. The cinematography is beautifully strange, utilizing hand-held in a way similar to Hard to Be a God(or should I say Hard to Be a God is shot in a way similar to this?), and the way the film is edited is so unorthodox is scene structure and narrative flow that it made me think that Michael Mann was warming up to Terrence Malick's method of jagged editing, deciding to use it in a police procedural, of all things, to make a wholly original experience. The film manages to have a luxurious pace that also has a very consistent flow to it, keeping the plot running while developing character and atmosphere simultaneously, making every single second count. It's astonishing the way the film manages to apply this editing style to something so seemingly foreign, and make it all gel together. The performances are extremely strong as well, with Jamie Foxx giving one of his best performances I've ever seen from him, as well as Colin Farrell bringing a multifaceted character to life beautifully in the course of the narrative. One thing I did notice was a distinct lack of action, but what I realize now is that this isn't even really an action movie. It has 3 great action sequences, but it's really about the way the characters function with each other and with their environment in Miami. It's all so idiosyncratic, yet unmistakably successful, that the entire film feels like an entirely foreign world from ours despite the level of realism that the film captures. I don't have anything else to say about this beast of a film, unfortunately; it's greatness eludes me. For now, just know that I loved this movie, and although not everyone will love it(there's no surprise that this film and Knight of Cups have nearly the same rating on IMDb, they practically share the same textures), those who will will find they have discovered a small/big masterpiece.
Ash vs Evil Dead: Bait (2015)
Builds upon the first episode incredibly well.
Everything good from the first episode, but with even less of the bad. It's all here, the crazy cinematography, the explicit gore, the great humor, and Bruce Campbell's amazing performance holding it all together. The supporting actors are much better this time around, bringing the center of the show home and bringing a lot of personality to the show along with Ash. I'm still not quite sold on the parallel plot with the cop, but it looks like it could be headed somewhere interesting. We'll see.
Ash vs Evil Dead: El Jefe (2015)
A solid re-introduction into a world of gore and hilarity.
Pretty solid opening. Pays appropriate tribute to it's source material. Can't say that I dig how expository it is, but I can say that I understand why the decision was made. You have to introduce neophytes, I get it. However, for lovers of the original franchise, it's kinda stale to revisit. Also, the two supporting actors aren't that great in this episode. However, Bruce Campbell murders it as Ash. It's incredible how charismatic he still is, even as an asshole. It's great to see him back in the role he's legendary for. The cinematography is pretty sweet, but I want some more gonzo stuff, like they did at the end of the episode. Those gore effects sure do look purty, showing how much better their budget is from when they were making the originals. Sam still has his signature flourishes, but they feel a little diminished from the originals. Also, that soundtrack is pretty dope. And that CGI doll looked pretty terrible.