Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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I feel like it is only right to provide an appropriate buffer warning before seeing this movie. It is not for the feint of heart. If you have a weak relationship, have recently lost a family member, suffer from bipolar disorder, chronic depression, or are traveling to rural Scandinavia you might want to hold off on viewing this until it is released digitally. Midsommar is about tragedy, dishonesty, and catharsis. They try to advertise this as a horror movie, and while there are some creepy moments, It really isn't horror. This movie is going to turn off a lot of viewers. Not a lot of violence, but has very disturbing imagery, lots of implied off screen terror, up-close male and female nudity, and sexuality. It is a very slow burn movie, and spends a lot of time character building, before driving the plot. Its a very small story with not a lot there, but the artistry pushes it making it fill out the movie as much as possible, even when there is seemingly nothing going on. The cinematography though saves a lot of the slowness. The scenery is nothing short of epic. There is a lot of silence where you just take in each shot by shot. There are some amazing camera shots in this movie. The use of Double framing 2 shots in 1 with the use of mirrors is perfect from a technical standpoint is stands out as a high fidelity low tech visual achievement in this film. They use these mirror shots several times throughout the movie and it is always impressive. Also, the use of lighting, dimming, and exposing is masterful. Speaking of Lighting this is probably the brightest A24 film ever, and they "mirror" that with lighthearted character banter. Not so much that it outshines the darkness of the tone, but just enough comedic flare to show the contrast between the two cultures, and the foreboding awkwardness that is looming on the cusp of discomfort. Its as if someone has told an inappropriate joke at the wrong time, and you release a pity chuckle to break the tension. it blends in well. Florence Pugh's performance is top notch. Its very convincing and is extremely powerful. Her Character Dani, goes through a traumatic loss and is seen grieving throughout in multiple panic attacks. When she cries you feel the emptiness and the pain in each of her shrieks. It is uncomfortable, it is raw, and they capture what it feels like to lose someone, and is honestly probably the most tense sequences the movie has to offer. If you've ever gotten one of those calls, its like swallowing a rock, while watching everyone else eat banana creme pudding. The other characters outside of Dani are also given a lot of time to develop and have their intentions clear. All of them are very unlikable, selfish, and dishonest with one another for their own selfish goals. The boyfriend of Dani in particular is extremely unlikable and makes you question why she is so low power with him and in need of his affection. Some of the scenes feel slightly forced, as if someone was in the directors ear reminding him that they have to pitch this as a horror movie to get butts in the seat. And other sequences seem to have absolutely nothing to do with anything and seemed to just be approved writing drudgery. The sound design in this is also on point. The drowned out sounds of feeling numb, or the tens lingering strings of tension, the breeze of the wind against long grass and flowers. There are also some very interesting visual effects to portray the feeling of what it is to be under the influence of psychedelics. Its more of a dark thriller, with horror elements and even some black comedy. Midsommar is more of an experience than it is a movie, and because of the lack of story It is a hard pass for the average movie goer. I simply cannot recommend it. But if you like art house films, pour yourself a glass a wine, burn some incense and give this one a go. This is something very different.
Tell the girl you love you love her, and always tell the truth. Words of wisdom spoken in the film as a guide for a man to lead a good life. The plot of the film Yesterday day centers around Jack Malick, a not so young man who has been seen as a failure in life after pursuing his dreams of becoming a guitarist working part time at a department store so he can play cover songs of The Beatles at bars, and carnivals. His dilemma begins when he encounters a 12 second blackout that seemingly leaves the entire planet without knowledge of the existence of the Beatles except for him, giving him the opportunity to capitalize on a library of music that he has backed up in his memory from years of doing cover songs. The movie moves a long at a brisk pace showing Jack's struggle with his grasp on his new reality and the adjusted reality of the world he now exists in. Fame, friends, family, and love all play their part. It is frustrating watching Jack's obliviousness to the relationships he has built up around him and the obvious turmoil he puts himself through with his own decision making, but overlooking that there is a lot of charm here. It also doesn't help much that jack has two modes of play: 1.) Confused and 2.) dissatisfaction. Some of the secondary character's performances seem even more bland. Ed Sheeran for example might as well be reading from a teleprompter with his performance, and is for some reason always smirking, even when in emotional defeat. The chemistry between Jack and Ellie, however, is where the movie really drives home the importance of my first statement. The humor is also never over the top, but also doesn't really push any envelopes, and can be seen as stale at times, but relatable in an everyday slice of life type of way. They are able to frame the movie's scene's giving you the feeling of being there with the characters as the story plays out. The film focus's more on the importance of moving the plot forward with story elements rather than just being a visual soundtrack like most modern music movies, which I highly appreciate. I thoroughly recommend it.
Anna feels like it would have been a passable movie people might have bought on VHS in passing 25 years ago. It is a tired femme fatale narrative, that is executed less tightly than most. When watching the movie you will encounter reminiscence of other movies like Atomic Blonde which play out similar scenarios even better than. The story is told out of sequence and is hindered by constant time skips and jumps that at times seem unnecessary, and leads to a constant guessing game of who is actually in control of driving the plot. A Cold war thriller with a Navy Brat turned assassin caught in the middle of a secret war between the CIA and the KGB. Performances are solid. Newcomer Sasha Luss does a good job pulling off her acting and choreography during the stylized action sequences. The action itself seems to be over the top and romanticized as she pulls off near impossible feats, with seemingly no observed training or preparation whatsoever. There are also character breaking sequences, where the movie profile's her as being extremely tactical and intellectually decisive, and then forces the audience watch her do things that don't fit that mold she is supposed to be struck from. The movie does however show her extremely deadly physicality, but never alludes to any past self defense mastery ever, and I'm sorry but dropping out of ROTC Navy cadet school isn't going to cut it. Her motivation for doing anything is also unclear at points and then switch by the end of the movie into something completely different and not referenced from before. The side characters however are fleshed out fully. It is understood what they are doing and why they are doing it. Especially Helen Mirren who did a great job. The movie was riding on much her full on method acting. The movie was riding on much her full on method acting. The movie's tone also flips on a whim with inconsistency. The movie is also hurt by over and under editing, framing, and even the music selection, sounds like it was pulled from an early 90's suspense stock MIDI library, which might have been intentional given that the movie takes place in the 90's but making it feel like a 90's production would put this in line with parody more than anything. There were even moments of basic eye line camera crossing that were to obvious to overlook and sometimes didn't make sense to what the character's focus was on. I was expecting something major to happen, or an envelope to be pushed, but nothing ever happens. No stakes are raised, and their is no "wow" moment. It comes across as bland, and repetitive.
This movie is an absolute mess. This is one of the most iconic stories in Marvel history and they don't respect it in the slightest. Instead of making it about sacrifice , responsibility, death and rebirth, they make it about feminism. how progressive of you fox. Taking the liberty of modern social issues and gender politics and completely degrading the tightly written literature that therein the Phoenix Saga! Despicable. They do not delve into the lore, The Pheonix Force, what is is, how it works, or anything.. No Shi'ar empire, No Hellfire Club, No Cyclops leading the team... nothing.
Toy Story 4 is a solid movie in it's own right, but is overshadowed by the film serious previous epic stake raising gratuitousness. It pales in comparrison to every other movie in the series, but as a standalone it works, and is in no way a weak movie. It is a nearly impossible task to trump a perfect trilogy, and maybe thats where they should have ended it, as a trilogy. This movie does not mar the series in any way, but it does not live up to the hype, and feels forgettable in the same vein as other recent Pixar entries. But its hard to place that on the title because its still a great movie! The performances are felt, but it doesn't have that gut punching feels moment every other one has. There is also no musical, low tone, stop in this movie, that gives you a break and just take in the heaviness of the situation. The gravity of it all is missing from this movie and feels more like a money grab than an advancement. That being said, Still a great movie.