Every film you've watched in 2022


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Happy Death Day: Tree's growth over the course of the film is well done, especially...

Spoiler

sacrificing herself so Carter's death is undone, despite the damage done to herself by dying again.

I am normally not fond of PG-13 horror movies, but this one didn't need an R rating because of the comedic tone.

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On 1/4/2022 at 11:20 PM, James D. said:

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 

This is such a blast to watch. The Batman/Shredder fights alone are worth it, let alone everything else.

True!

On 1/5/2022 at 1:48 PM, slothian said:

Aladdin really holds up well!

The animated one, I mean. I can't stress that enough - haven't seen the live action version.

TRUE! Live Action version is mediocre at best, since you can't help but compare it to the animated classic.

 

Scream (1996):

I didn't know there was a new Scream movie coming out soon and I've heard it referenced regularly on Earth-2, so I figured it was finally time to check it out. I remember when it was a huge success back in the day.

This must've played like gangbusters in the theater. The opening sequence is very effective, being unpredictable, creepy and gruesomely violent. The randomness of this film works a lot in its favor, with Ghostface bursting out into shot when you least expect him. I was surprised as the series has a comedic reputation how dark it started off.

The rest of the film was more up and down for me. I like Neve Campbell, but this is one of those late 90s/early 2000s films where Hollywood clearly despised teenager, as they're written super-broadly, completely unbelievably and irritating to no end. And that's obviously part of the point with this one, but the transparent mean-spiritedness of it was distracting. I get that a lot of this is having fun with the Horror genre, so I'll allow for the cheeky dialogue, but the moment Matthew Lillard and Jaime Kennedy bounce on-screen, I knew this was going to be tricky sit. Not only are these actors clearly ten years too old for their roles (I know, I know, that's how it was done for decades, but I think modern shows are better about teen casting - or maybe we all age slower - shows like Riverdale don't stand out aaaaaas bad to me as something like this), but there's not a ton of actual characterization with any of them. I think the screenwriter was a first-timer, but I just wish there was more recognizable humanity and decency with the cast. Because it watches more like a Hollywood product than a story to get invested in.

It was also incredibly apparent that the movie was a Weinstein bros. production. There's a consistent, aggressive misogyny internalized in the script that was impossible to step over. So much slut-shaming to the point of the main character arriving at the realization that "Maybe my raped and murdered mom was a whore and I just need to accept it" would've been jaw-dropping, but you aren't surprised with how the script brought you there. But it's really foul throughout. 

Spoiler

I think it's most effective in the ending. I was vaguely aware that Lillard was in on the Ghostface murders, but having both him and Jughead Sr. working together answered a ton of questions and was a perfectly logical explanation for the Phantasm-like other-worldliness of Ghostface. I read how they couldn't decide if the killers should have a motive or not, so they split it, and I think that was the wrong thought process. They didn't necessarily require a motive, but the believable characterization that you could buy that they didn't need a motive. Cuz I struggle with Skeet Ulrich's explanation for why he did...all of the things. Why did they kill Drew Berrymore in the beginning? Why did they kill Principal Fonz? This is where the movie is racing to the next wink and nod before it works for its internal logic. Teenagers might reference Hannibal Lector or something in response to a motive, but to then say "My mother left me, that's why I've become Mr. Zsasz" is hard to swallow. But the creepiest bit was everyone in the kitchen and the two trading knife wounds and loudly arguing about how far to stab each other. That was really twisted. The movie trips into a few different endings with fakeout deaths and such, then ends abruptly, but the scenes after the big revelation go a long way for me.

Overall I enjoyed the movie but with a ton of asterisks. Is this meant to be the best in the series? I might go after Scream 2 next, just because I fall into film series pretty quickly.

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On 1/5/2022 at 12:20 AM, James D. said:

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 

This is such a blast to watch. The Batman/Shredder fights alone are worth it, let alone everything else.

I was shocked that…

Spoiler

Shredder beat Batman clean, 1 on 1.

And yes, great movie.

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Scream 2:

A definite improvement on character over the first, more than simply not irritating, I actually liked the cast of characters in this sequel. The writing was generally better in terms of dialogue, and even though there's some stock late 90s stereotypes like the Sorority Girls, they don't really go anywhere so it's fine. I kind of don't care about Courtney Cox and David Arquette's romance, and much of this movie was cleaning up her character. My favorite performance in all of this was Liev Schriber. I had no idea he was in these, and he plays Cotton Weary like the most true-to-life, kind of scummy but still generally understandable kind of guy. His scene harassing Sidney in the library was a highlight.

Spoiler

I didn't like the ending though. The whole thing with Timothy Olyphant teaming up with Jackie from Roseanne who turns out to be Billy Loomis' mother out for revenge came out of nowhere and reeked of a bad soap opera twist. By that point, you're just watching the movie carry on with plain wackiness. I liked Sidney beating up Olyphant, but beyond that whereas the reveal of the first movie was dicey but ultimately really entertaining, I thought the resolution to this one was flat out a mistake.

 

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Scream 3&4:

I watched both of these last night, and I barely remember Scream 3. The first Scream could be really annoying at times but the while the sequel and this were less annoying, they also are kind of bland. This is one where the cast is clearly just in service for the meat grinder, so memorable performances from Patrick Warburton and especially Parker Posey get wasted in pretty unsatisfying ways. At some point everyone gets picked off one after another, and with the reveal being a single person, that grates on me a bit.

Spoiler

This series is 2/3 with lousy villain reveals. Like the 2nd film, it turns out that one of the supporting characters is a secret relative the whole time, and for a franchise where movie cliche's are put in the crosshairs, this is even dumber than the last time they did this. At least the first sequel's reveal had Timothy Olyphant acting nuts. Here, the film director who looked like one of the South Park guys being Sidney's secret half-brother out for revenge and also responsible for Billy Loomis going crazy in the first place is the worst kind of retcon. I also wish I could enjoy Jaime Kennedy's cameo in here but at the same time it reeked of a need for the plot that was very nearly a deus ex machina.

I didn't hate Scream 3, but ultimately it's not very good.

 

Scream 4 I actually thoroughly enjoyed. The time skip into 2011 helped it's flimsy early 2000s sensibilities, and there are some seriously good performances in this. Alison Brie was made for these kinds of films, for any role, and it's always fun seeing her gleefully play a bitch. Hayden Panettiere is really good at playing a high schooler who's not a walking cliche (she looked a lot older though, almost like a young mom). The humor worked for me better as it was just self-aware enough without being cocky about it, although I hear that might be a unique opinion judging from general reviews. The Ghostface kills were much more violent, which I liked as it answers the call from the very first one in the series, which the films never matched beyond that.

Spoiler

And I thought the reveal of the killer was almost brilliant. It recalls the double-act from the first one, but not only was Sidney's teenage cousin behind everything, but that she was jealous and yearned for fame, a modern-day plot conceit which might've been overbearing at the time but only has grown in resonance in the decade since, really worked well for me. And she was fucking brutal, shooting her boyfriend in the dick before blowing his head off. That's kind of what I like seeing in these movies, because Ghostface never scares me, not once. He's impossible to take seriously after Scary Movie. But Billy Loomis, Stu, and Emma Roberts' characters being twisted and evil is honestly disturbing, and keeps this a horror film despite all the winks and the nods. I think the climax in the hospital room goes on for too long, but nonetheless I enjoyed Roberts' performance quite a bit.

I enjoyed this a helluvalot more than the last two. If I had to rank the series up to this point, it'd be...

Scream>Scream 4>Scream 2>Scream 3

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The Tragedy of Macbeth - Directed by Joel Coen of the Coen brothers. It’s dark, atmospheric, and in black and white and has few if any of the annoying quirks or baffling narrative decisions that mar many of the Coen Brothers films. Denzel Washington is one of the few American actors I know of that can pull off Shakespearean dialogue without putting on a faux-British accent and is an excellent Macbeth. Kathryn Hunter is spot-on as the witches. Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth…I’m not so sure about.

It’s in theaters now and is coming to AppleTV on Friday, but for the ideal Macbeth adaptation (especially if you want one in black and white), go see Throne of Blood.

 

West Side Story (2021) - I can’t believe I’m typing this now, but I think this actually might be better than the original (which I love dearly and was at #2 the last time I logged into Flickchart a few years ago).

Spoiler

It’s grittier and bloodier (though not gratuitously so), is more open about the racism of the Jets and the police, re-stages all the key numbers successfully (and in the process improves the weaker ones, especially “Cool”), and replicates the look and feel of the original in places while still having its own voice.

A modern remake of a beloved classic already as good as the original West Side Story shouldn’t work, and yet it totally does and the narrative is probably even more relevant today than it was in 1957, particularly a telling line Riff says in both the trailer and the movie:

Spoiler

”I wake up to everything I know either getting sold or wrecked or being taken over by people that I don’t like.”

 

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Superman Returns - First time watching.  Good lord this was boring.  And slow.  And long.  And I have issues with the massive logic gap that is that ending.  I can see why this was a one and done.  Do have to ask: were the effects good for this time?  They don't hold up, but I can forgive if they were good at the time.

 

The Rocketeer - Well that was just great.  Great acting, good action, cool costume and an all-around fun time.

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13 hours ago, Professor said:

Do have to ask: were the effects good for this time?  They don't hold up, but I can forgive if they were good at the time.

How do they compare to this (not seen Superman Returns or many other CGI-heavy films from 2006 in a while, but this film also came out that summer and I’d say its effects are competent, at least for the time)?:

 

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Dave Made a Maze: review forthcoming, but holy shit.

Split Second (review forthcoming)

Clearcut: preparations for Folk Horror February are officially under way!

The Ballad of Crowfoot: a couple short films on the Clearcut Blu Ray, this one is considered Canada's first music video. It's basically a slideshow set to this sad folk song.

You Are On Indian Land: a great 32 minute short documentary on the same blu ray that details the Mohawk action to block the highway crossing into their land. Fantastic footage.

Consumer: the only narrative short. This one ties the trauma of residential schools with the legend of Wendigo, but it is pretty ham-fisted.

Last Night in Soho: review forthcoming

Eyes of Fire: folk horror february rolls on!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: animated short film based on the book narrated by John Carradine. Pretty fun.

Transformations: a goddawful short

Backwoods: a fifteen minute short film that doesn't earn its runtime.

Leptirica: review forthcoming

Štićenik : a 45 minute "short film" on the Blu Ray but not a folk horror movie. But it's by the Leptirica director. Interesting. Wayyyyyyy too long for what it is.

Devičanska Svirka: a sixty minute movie that owes a lot to Bava but it probably should be 20 minutes.

 

  • Features: 14
  • Shorts: 7
  • Documentaries: 0
  • Rewatches: 0
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/11/2022 at 12:10 PM, Dread said:

Eden Lake: review forthcoming, but Jesus Christ!

  • Features: 6
  • Shorts: 0
  • Documentaries: 0
  • Rewatches: 0

That is a BRUTAL movie, especially the ending. The ending was effective at what it was trying to do, and I can't fault it for the execution, but I really hated it, and hated the characters. I guess that was what was supposed to happen.

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The Crazies - The main protagonist takes a knife through the right hand and and pulls the knife out in a very gruesome scene. Two scenes later he uses his right hand to throw a punch to somebody's face and completely no sells the fact that doing that should be incredibly painful. This is for the most part a very good movie, but that was STUPID.

You cannot have a character get injured and then two scenes later forget that he's been injured and act like there is absolutely no pain whatsoever from that injury. If you cannot find a way to sell the injury for the rest of the movie, take the injury out of the script. It has gotten so bad that when I see a character get seriously injured, I fully expect he will be no-selling the injury within two scenes. And I am almost always right.

In fairness, this is not just a problem with The Crazies. I see this all the time, in addition to ridiculous bumps and falls and hits that should freaking cripple someone.

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On 1/29/2022 at 8:05 PM, S-T said:

That is a BRUTAL movie, especially the ending. The ending was effective at what it was trying to do, and I can't fault it for the execution, but I really hated it, and hated the characters. I guess that was what was supposed to happen.

Yeah, it sure ain't the feel-good hit of the summer.

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On 1/31/2022 at 12:00 PM, Dread said:

Yeah, it sure ain't the feel-good hit of the summer.

Since we don't see what happens off-screen when Jenny screams, my head canon is a SWAT team arrives, rescues Jenny, and arrests the "parents" who were going to harm her. How do the police know? I don't care. We get a happy ending though.

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6 hours ago, S-T said:

Since we don't see what happens off-screen when Jenny screams, my head canon is a SWAT team arrives, rescues Jenny, and arrests the "parents" who were going to harm her. How do the police know? I don't care. We get a happy ending though.

Hahaha! You do what you gotta do.

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6 hours ago, S-T said:

Since we don't see what happens off-screen when Jenny screams, my head canon is a SWAT team arrives, rescues Jenny, and arrests the "parents" who were going to harm her. How do the police know? I don't care. We get a happy ending though.

The police followed her gross sludgy shitty footprints from the garbage can to the house.

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Tick, tick...BOOM!:

I enjoyed this. Andrew Garfield is such a reliably good actor that he can do pretty much anything and I won't be shocked by the competency, although I had no idea he could sing. I think the most effective scene for me was him and Alexandria Shipp splitting up in his small apartment cut simultaneously with him wackily singing with Vanessa Hudgens. The "Sunday" sequence with the musical theater cinematic universe was probably my favorite song showcase. IDK if I overwhelmingly loved it as much as its rave reviews exemplify for others, but it was a fun watch all the same.

Encanto: Like Raya, this is another Disney film that kind of snuck up on me, or it would've had millennial internet not gone on and on about Luisa and the film's themes of transgenerational mental health. I think this is the Disney movie with the smallest comparative conflict, with "virtually" no villain and no traveling from location to location. But maybe it's because I'm getting older, but I found the pace to be very brisk. By the 2/3rds mark it felt like the movie had just started. Not complaining, but these films used to feel so much longer when I was a kid.

But the animation is incredible. Disney has nailed realistic looking fabrics on clothing, and the body language and facial expressions are all so well realized. Even though Mirabel has that conveyer belt brand of modern Disney princess "clumsiness", I found her to be a really unique main character. I enjoyed Raya quite a bit, but the requisite sidekicks sort of bugged me. This film didn't have that, just a big family with individual personalities, hang-ups and abilities. Very much recommended.

 

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