The Weekly SLIP Highlights Recently Watched Movies
Get your nerd on! It’s time to breakdown the weekly roundup of ‘consumed’ films.
Here’s a quick hit list to help you decide what to watch this week based on what I watched last week.
The first edition will include films from my recent #NowWatching tweets from @slipthroughnerd – and will also feature a few flicks watched over the past while.
Juggling writing and editing, I still itch for the online film pundit community. Suffering from withdrawal, here’s a quick fix remedy (for me) to help satiate my fellow movie nerds’ appetite for entertainment worth watching.
Rated on a scale of 1 – 5 VHS tapes. Oh yeah! Retro nerd love!
5 = do not let this slip/through the cracks / worth buying, 4 = worth the price of admission, 3 = worth renting, 2 = worth the risk on Netflix, 1 = let it slip
Dig in and enjoy…
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
Uninspired REGURGENCE. Nostalgic homages equate to hollow excitement. Rising talent like Maika Monroe (IT FOLLOWS) is wasted. Ridiculous finale once again hinders ‘story’. How many times can we watch the world blow up? Oh.. And no matter how you slice it: No Will Smith.
GHOSTBUSTERS: ANSWER THE CALL
Surprisingly funny despite lackluster trailers… with some cool gadgets and weaponry. SNLers once again bring the laughs to the GHOSTBUSTERS franchise. Kate McKinnon is a new big screen crush. Along with Leslie Jones, McKinnon steals the show. Unfortunately, Chris Hemsworth falls flat. His storyline weakens fun plot. That said, Kristen Wiig is hilarious as always, and Melissa McCarthy actually made me laugh. A great way to reboot the series for a new audience. Don’t believe the (negative) hype. Worth watching!
Disappointing sequel for a fan of the series. Characters aren’t all given much to work with. A lot of heroes and villains are crammed in like it was SPIDER-MAN 3 or something. Shamefully, Olivia Munn as Psylocke isn’t given much to do. Meanwhile, Professor X and Magneto tread familiar territory. There is some excitement with the action, and some cool with the sci-fi, but not enough to be truly satisfying.
Feels like a video game… because it’s based on one. Some intriguing mythos and word-building adds to the adventure. Some shoddy FX and flying Peter Jackson camerawork ultimately proves distracting. An uneven effort but better than expected. Conflict offers nothing new, but some bold choices in character work.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
Lots of fun, with over-the-top action and some solid laughs. Takes itself seriously with the drama and character work. While the villain has better motives than Marvel’s usual antagonist, he still faded into the background. Spidey and the airport sequence can’t save the weak B-story conflict (the only negative standout). To be fair, a focus on Cap and Stark would have been more compelling and worth exploring further. Also, this didn’t have the impact of the comic. However, as a popcorn munching blockbuster, this still totally delivers on the audience’s expectations.
Delivers on its expectations. A taught survival thriller with shades of 127 HOURS. This screenplay didn’t make the coveted Black List by mistake. As far as genre fare goes, this shark infested story rises above cliched tropes and the usual cardboard cutout characters. Blake Lively makes a great action hero in this contained story. Stylish and nuanced when necessary.
THE JUNGLE BOOK
A visual feast with some exciting adventure. While for children, there is enough going on to engage adults as well. Characters and story are familiar, but the execution is a vibrant spectacle. This definitely goes over the top and could have used more subtlety. Predictable, yet enjoyable. Unfortunately, the FX are the best part. This could have been more impactful with a more satisfying final act.
The idea of Michael Bay tackling a true story made me shudder; however, this action flick based on Benghazi is surprisingly good. Character work is condensed, but isn’t hollow. Action is bombastic and stylish, but isn’t overwhelming. Emotion actually fuels the spectacle. Slightly on-the-nose in its approach, the overall experience is still worth the watch.
THE FINEST HOURS
Could have been something special. Story is spread too thin across too many characters. One crew’s storyline is sacrificed over the other, unfortunately dampening the emotional impact of the finale. Verges on melodrama, reining in the chance for emotion to strike. Adequate acting from impressive actors doesn’t help this rise above familiar story.
THE NICE GUYS
Best movie of the year… before all the Oscar movies hit in the winter. Not everyone’s cup of tea, Shane Black’s sense of humour is the real highlight. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling don’t hurt either. Both are fantastic in their shady roles. Whip-cracking dialogue and escalated violence make this neo-Noir crime story a lot of fun. Incredibly laugh-out-loud funny. Tarantino fans take notice! This is a must-watch!
RIDE ALONG 2
As a fan of the original, the sequel was disappointing. A few jokes fall flat and the action movie storyline isn’t as interesting as an almost romantic focus of the original. Kevin Hart is still lots of fun when he’s tossed into the action though. Olivia Munn handles the gunfire right along with the laughs. She is ripe to star in her own action-comedy. Unfortunately, an uneven experience overall.
THE STANDFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT
Watch DAS EXPERIMENT instead… or a documentary on the infamous real-life psychological experiment. College aged men volunteer to be inmates and guards in a social experiment gone wrong. Compelling study of man’s exploitation of power doesn’t elevate this above standard drama despite the talented young actors (like Tye Sheridan and Ezra Miller). The German original is much more hard-hitting and effective.
IN THE HEART OF THE SEA
Unusual storytelling structure holds this back. A focus on the wider story weakens the emotional connection in the immediate danger of the whaling mission. One timeline may have helped keep the audience rooted in the moment, rather than an obtuse stop and start approach. Some large spectacle can’t distract from disappointing character work.
from the WAY, WAY BACK…
BAY OF BLOOD (1971)
Legendary horror director Mario Bava created the slasher genre with this retro way back cult classic. Some of the kills are directly lifted by FRIDAY THE 13th years later. Much more stylishly filmed than the 80s dead teenager flicks. More focused on drama and thrills than having ‘fun’. Impressive standout for the genre. A masterclass for aspiring horror directors and fanboys alike.
From legendary horror director Dario Argento (SUSPIRIA) comes another super stylish scarefest. Psychologically disturbing and deliberately paced, the story pushes the envelope by splitting the narrative like PSYCHO. The cinematography is a real highlight, from the theatrical compositions to the colourful lighting.
THE BURNING (1981)
A way, way back retro slasher. From today’s point of view it’s hard to tell if this ripped off FRIDAY THE 13th or inspired it. Filmed around the same time as the Jason-led sequel, this horror flick also features an unstoppable killer at a summer camp. Inspired by the Cropsey urban legend. Goofy and appropriately exploitative, this one has a lot of guilty pleasure fun. Cool kills with special FX makeup by the iconic Tom Savini (DAWN OF THE DEAD).
NERD ALERT: Written by 1/2 of the Weinstein Brothers (Miramax). Also, co-stars Jason Alexander (George from SEINFELD).
Craving more Horror Movie analysis? Check out my 3 Volume book series BOOBS, BLOOD & THE BEAST, rating the best of the genre by the 3 Bs. Each compendium is over 100 pages with full colour images. Available in Hardcover and Large Trade Paperback.