The Seagull

100 Movies before we move: #15

Emmy says:
A walk through melancholia with just enough highs to illustrate the low you are visiting. A great cast support this Russian story and bring terrible life to the humanity within. 8/10.

Jeff says:
This is not the movie I was expecting. I am aware of Anton Chekhov, but I didn’t know The Seagull at all. The trailer intrigued and the cast looked excellent … and that much was true. However, this is a story of thoroughly unlikable characters who don’t notice how damaging their actions are to the people around them. Everyone is so self-absorbed (none more so than Irina, played amazingly by Annette Benning), they even talk AT each other rather than with. I can’t say I enjoyed this film, but it was very well made and the cast did a superb job of making me hate their characters (which I think was the point?) 7/10.

IMDb

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

100 Movies before we move: #14

Emmy says:
A fun glimpse into the legend that is Vivienne. Great details with the get up and go possessed by the woman and the beliefs held by her. 8/10.

Jeff says:
An intriguing look into the story of an icon of fashion. The insight into the times when she wasn’t an icon of fashion – because the establishment didn’t want to recognise her – was fascinating. There’s a lot of material covered, but there was a lack of coherence that made it hard to follow at times. This seems to be a deliberate choice (the movie is framed around Westwood not wanting to deliver a standard biography, but it was distracting. The stories, fashions, and causes were all there though – but not all that deeply, the movie could have done with being longer to spend more time fleshing out details. Worth watching though. 7/10.

IMDb

Next Gen

100 Movies before we move: #13

Emmy says:
I’m not feeling well, so my review is somewhat limited. I enjoyed this movie, the animation was great (the flowers looked amazing), I got emotional at the parts I was supposed to get emotional at. Momo’s comic relief was very enjoyable. I’m not sure what else I can say. 9/10.

Jeff says:
This is a well-made film: the animation is well done; the cast is excellent; the stated moral is a good one. So why didn’t I enjoy this movie more? I felt the ‘technology is isolating us’ message was too heavy-handed; I felt the ‘bully antagonist who is just misunderstood’ side plot was a misstep – she WAS a horrible person, and there was no acknowledging this; the protagonist was NOT a likeable person, despite her having reasons to hate the world. This is, of course, a kids movie – but giving some robots ‘personality’ and making us see them as people while at the same time blithely destroying hundreds of others (amongst so much other destruction) seemed to completely undermine the point about making friends. Meanwhile, happily destroying symbols of authority (police bots) is a GOOD message for kids? A fun action ride, but at what cost to our humanity? 5/10.

IMDb

Pulp Fiction

100 Movies before we move: #12

Emmy says:
A colourful and varied ride through the underside of life. Rich characters and a non-linear timeline made it a real treat watching pieces come together, all with an epic soundtrack. 10/10.

Jeff says:
Pulp Fiction is a classic for a reason (for those that appreciate this sort of movie – I realise it’s not for everyone). Emmy hadn’t actually seen it, so that needed to be fixed, and I’m thrilled that she enjoyed it as much as I do. This was one of the first movies I remember seeing where the soundtrack was as important as the rest of the film (and I therefore needed to buy it). The action, acting, and cinematography – even 24 years later – holds up amazingly well. The inter-connecting but disparate stories admirably validate the title. Still one of the best Tarantino films. 10/10.

IMDb

Changeling

100 Movies before we move: #11

Emmy says:
A great view of archaic practices and the inability to deal with failure. This true story illustrates the damage done by the police to women they didn’t want to deal with. Lovely costumes and a beautiful script made this an intriguing tale. 8/10.

Jeff says:
A disturbing true story, this film pulls few punches in showing what policing and treatment of women was like only 90 years ago. The tight focus on a mother’s determination made an otherwise surreal crime drama into a moving and challenging story. In some ways, it’s easy to see parallels in modern society … and we really should be better that that by now. 8/10.

IMDb

Bad Times at the El Royale

100 Movies before we move: #10

Emmy says:
Going in to this movie I was disappointed with how much the trailer had spoiled. I was completely surprised by what actually happened. The writing, direction and casting come together in an almost magical way, set on a backdrop of stunningly curated music. The story grabbed me and I loved the way it was presented by different views. An absolute must see. 10/10.

Jeff says:
I have been looking forward to seeing this since the first trailer. The style was incredible to look at and I wanted to know how the film worked. Like Emmy said, the trailer was actually misleading – the story it seems to suggest isn’t actually what we got. What we got was so much better. The cast was brilliant, the late 60’s vibe was on point. The music was amazing – and that included times when it was Cynthia Erivo singing without musical accompaniment (wow, can she sing). Writer/Director Drew Goddard (who’s only other feature film directing credit is Cabin in the Woods which he co-wrote with Joss Whedon) has decided me on seeing anything he directs. This neo-noir thriller is worth everyone’s time. 10/10

IMDb

Pieces

100 movies before we move: #9

Emmy says:
My ears! The audio in this film really is something. The voices seem to be overdubbed with recordings that don’t match the speed, the music is often abruptly cut, and the heavy breathing. Well I think that’s supposed to be breathing. The film doesn’t skimp on the blood. 4/10.

Jeff says:
Cecil from Good Bad Flicks rated this quite highly in his review, albeit only for its genre: exploitation slasher horror. While he’s not wrong, there is so much that’s bad about this film that it becomes farce. I understand there’s a different soundtrack for some versions so it’s possible that we watched an inferior version. Given the number of voice acting credits on IMDb, I’m not so sure though. Some of the special effects were done well (while others were terrible), but the acting, dialogue and score were woeful. Having said all that, I’m wondering what a proper remake with a decent budget would look like? 4/10.

IMDb

Fahrenheit 451

100 Movies before we move: #8

Emmy says:
Interesting use of media and the visual displays were great. Character motivations were indistinct and emotional connection non existent. 6/10.

Jeff says:
I remember reading the novel, and finding the characters hard to engage with. It was a very ‘detached’ story (from the perspective of my teenage mind). This was present in this version … but there was only a small handful of things from the book in this film. I get the social media angle given the current day, but there were aspects of the novel that could have been retained since they’re still relevant today. I also felt let down by the end. For a moment, I thought they were going to go with a more book-faithful ending (where the knowledge was kept) but instead the technological MacGuffin was used and I was disappointed. Oddly enough, this movie does to the book what gets done to books in this movie (the ones that are ‘kept’ anyway). 5/10.

IMDb

They Live

100 Movies before we move: #7

Emmy says:
This film ran at a leisurely pace through a world full of subliminal messages. I enjoyed the measured plot and music whilst being amused at how far sound effects have come since the 80’s. 8/10.

Jeff says:
Thanks to the Kickstarter for In Search of Darkness we finally got around to watching this 80’s classic from John Carpenter. While only a little over 90 minutes, this film is a slow burn that still packs a lot in it. It’s an excellent example of the mastery of Carpenter. While the effects are dated, the story works and the details are all too prescient. The deliberate anti-commercialisation message is just as poignant today as 30 years ago. Well worth watching, and deserving of its cult status. Oh, and that fight scene was terrific. 9/10.

IMDb

The Predator

100 Movies before we move: #6

Emmy says:
Don’t look at the plot. Or the intestines. 6/10.

Jeff says:
Directed and co-written by Shane Black (who was an actor in the first Predator film), this joke-heavy entry in the franchise has a lot of problems. I would usually not want to talk about plot holes (one person’s plot hole is another person’s “obvious explanation”, but there were more than a few un-explainable events (mostly involving Olivia Munn’s character). There were, however, good jokes and the action was well shot if mostly generic. There was some good characterisation and even some unexpectedly touching relationships. However, overall the movie did not live up to the standard of the previous films that the score and callbacks desperately wanted to remind us of. I also agree with Movie BobStop trying to make us like the Predator. 7/10.

IMDb

Venom

100 Movies before we move: #5

Emmy says:
This film took a bit to get off the ground, but once airborne the ride was fun. Great visuals with host and symbiote conversation. Keen for more story now that Venom is established. 8/10.

Jeff says:
Going into this, I was expecting to end up comparing it to Upgrade. While one of the set pieces had some similarities, it wasn’t enough to be disruptive. There were other action sequences that felt like other properties – right up to (and including) the final fight scene that felt like I was watching squishy Transformers (and not in a good way). The development of characters was done fairly well, although trying to make a compelling bad (human) guy was not as successful as they might have hoped. It’s a testament to the writing that there was actually chemistry between an actor and a voice. Enjoyable, and I would be happy with a sequel, but next time I hope they dial down the CG (or the quick cuts) in the final set piece – it doesn’t work for Transformers either. 8/10.

IMDb

Incident in a Ghostland

100 Movies before we move: #4

Emmy says:
The story was complex, but not very well implemented. The unreliable narrative was difficult to go along with. This could have been a real gem, unfortunately the brutality seems to have been for the sake of brutality and the script is in dire need of a rewrite. 6/10.

Jeff says:
An interesting idea, exploring coping mechanisms and survivor guilt. However, the structure and brutality made it worse than uncomfortable. If not for reviewing it here, I would have stopped watching. A thoroughly unenjoyable film that was nevertheless very well shot. 4/10.

IMDb

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