13 years ago J.G. and I got snowed in and spent our first Valentine's Day together watching horror movies and eating Chinese food, so that's been our annual tradition ever since. This year, we got Lucky Fortune for dinner and watched Unfriended, the movie where a girl who committed suicide after being cyberbullied comes back to haunt her tormentors through their computers. Extremely of-the-moment horror movies like this can go either way, but I'm glad movies like this and Paranormal Activity and even Oculus are incorporating technology into the plot and just having the supernatural elements override them. The whole conceit of this entire movie taking place on someone's screen seems risky, but it kind of contributes to the claustrophobic vibe that makes you feel the characters' anxiety.
Brad Bird is in a very small club of filmmakers who've directed multiple major animated as well as live action films (in fact, I don't even know who else is in the club besides George "Mad Max AND Happy Feet!?" Miller). But with this one, I get why it was live action, but it seemed so obvious how easily this could've been an animated feature with a few minor tweaks, and honestly if it looked as good as The Iron Giant or The Incredibles I would've liked it way more.
c) Get Hard
Will Ferrell past his peak still has a pretty strong sense of what a Will Ferrell movie is, and Kevin Hart movies don't have a very high ceiling of quality, but he also knows his lane pretty well. So it's depressing to see these two huge comedy stars actually find common ground that's relatively close to both of their niches, and it just all goes pretty wrong with a lot of tacky, crass, boilerplate stuff that anybody could've done.
I'm amazed that '80s-style erotic thrillers are still a thing that studios want to make and audiences occasionally want to see, in this day and age, this weird guilty pleasure fetishistic treatment of stalking and abusive relationships. This one piles on icky teacher/student stuff and trendy 'cougar' undertones, and does a pretty good job of being kind of innocuously lurid. But then, it builds to a third act that kinda got crazier than I expected it to, with some nutty dialogue and gorey twists that I kind of want to spoil -- okay, fuck it, here's a spoiler, the bad guy gets stabbed in the eye, it's awesome.
e) Reach Me
I have a weird obsession with the last two decades' constant stream of generic middling post-Pulp Fiction "sprawling ensemble movie about the loosely connected lives of Los Angeles residents" movies. This one at least has a vaguely interesting angle that makes it feel slightly less pointless and rudderless than these movies often are, but all the different storylines seem to veer wildly in tone, and it never really makes use of having a totally batshit cast that includes Sylvester Stallone, Kelsey Grammer, Nelly, and Danny Trejo.
I saw the first Sin City movie in the theater and found it to be a pretty enjoyable experience -- the aesthetic felt genuinely bold at the time, and it was a lot funnier than I expected it to be. But I don't think it's dated very well over the past decade, and they definitely waited way way too long to try to capitalize on it with a sequel. This didn't even seem bad per se, just kind of stale and anticlimactic.
I thought Kristen Wiig did a great job in The Skeleton Twins with a dramatic role, and holds down this fairly dark movie really well, with a couple of odd little moments in her performance that a more typical dramatic actor might not have been able to pull off. I didn't love the movie, but I don't know, I didn't dislike it, it was pretty good for what it was.
I dig movies like this, that kind of plunge you into the middle of the story and let you kind of figure out what's going on from there. This movie opens with Adrien Brody waking up in a car crash, the only survivor with two dead guys, in the middle of nowhere, and he can't really remember anything. So pretty much the entire movie is this grueling experience of him slowly getting out of the car with a broken leg, trying to get out of the forest, and slowly regaining his memory of how he got there. The movie keeps you guessing until the end about whether he's a sympathetic character or a pretty bad guy who deserves the situation he's in, and Brody manages to pull off the role so that it really works either way. It wasn't perfect but I really liked it and admired its dedication to the premise.