Movie & TV Notes, January-June 2017

Brief notes on just about everything I watched from January to June 2017. Read more reviews.

A SPECK OF DUST – Sarah Silverman’s latest Netflix standup special. The story about her sister in the bathroom is very moving.

ARENA – Space fighting on a space station.

ARRIVAL – Good science fiction. Went in with low expectations and really enjoyed it.

BABY MAMA – Sometimes I forget that Tina Fey is not Liz Lemon and I am sad when reminded. I think I saw this when it came out? Dead boring; bad acting, gave up twenty minutes in. Is there a baby in it?

BASKETS (s2) – Chip seems to be becoming less of the main character, and less interesting. I still laughed a lot, and Louie A. is great, but the show seems to be drifting a bit in a way I might not stick with.

BIG EYES – One of those real-life stories that seems made up because the characters do inexplicable things.

BROADCHURCH (s3) – It must be really stressful to live in that town.

CHILDRENS HOSPITAL – Rewatch of season one, which is like, 45 minutes long. Really one of the best things I’ve ever seen. Really really.

CHUCK JONES A LIFE IN ANIMATION – Good stuff. Nice overview of the man’s career and of animation itself.

COLONY (s1) Booooooooooored. Gave up after one episode. I had high hopes for the LOST dude’s career.

DAMNATION ALLEY (1977) – Starts with chatty small talk and moves swiftly to an artsy, orchestral nuclear annihilation. A carefree romp through the wasteland.

DARJEELING UNLIMITED – First rewatch since it was out in theaters. Wow, what a pretty movie. I like it more than I thought I did.

THE EXPANSE (season 2) – More above-average television sci-fi. I’m not too keen on government/military storylines, but I’m okay with it. Why does the spaceship have such a stupid name?

FLAKED (season 2) – The writing is veering a bit towards typical cable television storylines. “Oh look! He’s lying about something! Now he’s lying on top of that! I, the viewer, am squirming!” It’s like Mistake Porn. I can’t stomach it. Might quit. I liked season one SO much, dammit.

FRENCH CONNECTION – Saw this in the Brattle. What is up with that ending?

GHOST IN THE SHELL (original animated) – Very talky, with boobs. English dub. I’d never seen it before. It was aight.

GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017) – We watched a Japanese subtitled bootleg, which didn’t translate the Japanese guy. Mostly figured it out. SJ tries and succeeds at being stiff and weird. Some nice design stuff.

GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL – Another forgotten Wes Anderson film to be re-seen and re-enjoyed. Bought it on BluRay. Great looking, funnier than I’d recalled. Precisely timed and placed cussing.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017) – Science fiction humor is a tough racket. This is about as good as it gets.

HARD TICKET TO HAWAII – “If you go down on her you’ll be kissing the back of my head because I’ll already be there!” That quote about sums it up.

ICE PIRATES (1984) As a kid, I liked Ice Pirates. A bit Star Wars, a bit Mad Max, and a bit Spaceballs all in one. It’s also terrible. Really terrible.

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE – Rewatch after… 15-20 years, maybe? It’s watchable but not too exciting. I left just when I was getting interesting.

INTO THE BADLANDS (s1) – A dystopian future where they ‘banished guns’ so they could, you know, use swords and stuff. But there are still motorcycles and cool sunglasses, because of course. Dumb premise, disbelief unsuspended. Gave up after first episode.

IRON FIST (2017) – More like Iron Feh AM I RIGHT. Big nope. Gave up after two or three episodes.

JACK REACHER – NEVER GO BACK (2016) – I wonder who would win in a fight – Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, Keanu Reeves as John Wick, or Tom Pappalardo as who gives a shit.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 – You know how there are people who like to watch youTube videos of really good gamers playing video games? They’ll like this movie.

KRULL – Watched a dude climb a friggin mountain for fifteen minutes. The fuck was that.

LEGION (s1) – A pretty great first season. Writing, acting, direction, soundtrack all on point.

LOGAN – If I were to write a superhero movie, I’d like to think it’d turn out something like this.

MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME – In my mind, this was a terrible movie. In reality, it’s merely bad. Replace Maurice Jarre’s score and Tina Turner’s saxophone-drenched hits with some Brian May and the film would improve 150%. Dub new voices over the kids and the little dude and you’re on your way to nearly acceptable. Well, there’s still lots of dumb plot stuff, so maybe not.

MOONLIGHT (2016) – I watched an award-winning movie. It was quite good.

OH HELLO (2017) – Enjoyable stupidity in an entertaining format. I like Mulaney. I really don’t like the other guy, but I liked him in this.

OUR IDIOT BROTHER – That weird thing where you’re 99% sure you’ve seen a movie before, but can’t tell for sure. Because it’s not good enough to remember, but not bad enough to turn off. But then it turned out to be bad enough to turn off.

PASSENGERS (2016) – Woman is inconceivably wronged by a man and forgives him. The musical score strongly suggests that we’re supposed to forgive him, too.

PATERSON – This film is a fine portrait of regular creative people without judgment through a lens of capitalism/success. A remake of “Speed” without the bomb or the speed.

PLANET EARTH II (BBC) – Other than the narratives fabricated to turn footage into ‘stories,’ I enjoyed this series very, very much. Goddamned snake island or whatever. What the fuck.

THE SAVAGES – For years, I was under the impression this was a comedy it is not oh no oh no.

SHERLOCK (BBC, s4) – Uneven and mildly terrible and I don’t think they even solved a mystery.

THE SIMPSONS MOVIE – I feel there should have been closure for the SpiderPig character. You don’t let a SpiderPig into your life and then just LET IT GO.

SOUNDBREAKING – An enjoyable documentary series about music recording that is unfortunately not about music recording.

STAR CRYSTAL – In this intensely bad movie, a shuttle crew battles a damp testicle, trapped on a spaceship with a real design flaw concerning doors and hallways.

STAR TREK BEYOND (2016) A particular strain of stupid I don’t have a lot of patience for. Incoherent writing and direction. Objects smash into each other with no consequences. Death and destruction carry no emotional weight. Somehow, everything comes down to a fist fight.

SYNCHRONICITY (2015) – If you like nice looking, empty buildings, lens flares every three seconds, and being overpowered by a pseudo-retro film score, this is the film for you.

TRAVELERS (s1) – Booooooooooored. Gave up after two episodes.

TRUMBO – The filmmakers crammed a little too much plot in here, especially in the first half. Still a good, important true story, and Cranston’s great. CK played himself, basically.

UNBREAKABLE – Rewatched after eight years or so. While possibly my favorite superhero(ish) movie, time has rosied my memory and blinded me from the bad bits: The dialogue is sort of terrible, the score is definitely terrible, and the kid (actor *and* character) is double-terrible.

WHALE RIDER – I thought this film was gonna be cutesy but it was really great. Main actress was really wonderful. She plays a badass on Game Of Thrones now.

THE WIRE (s1-s3) – First rewatch in a decade. Lessons from The Wire: Shit rolls downhill, chain of command, it’s all in the game. Sheeeeeeiiiiiiiit.

YOU CAN COUNT ON ME – A sweet Kenneth Lonergan movie. It’s no Manspreader By The Sea, but I liked it. Ruffalo is really something.

YOUTH IN REVOLT – You’re better off watching the trailer. It’s an entertaining trailer. Just watch the trailer.

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