Movie Diary

a) 10 Cloverfield Lane
It wasn't a perfect film or anything, but I really loved everything about Cloverfield, from the rollout to the relative lack of backstory to the open ended potential for a continuing franchise. When 8 years came and went with no kind of follow up, however, I assumed that it would just remain a great little one off. So I was pretty delighted to see even just the Cloverfield name come back even if the new film's connection to the old one if purposefully vague. But 10 Cloverfield Lane is an even better film and makes me even more excited for the supposed next film coming as soon as this year. The meat of the movie is the claustrophobic thriller you see in the trailer, with John Goodman summoning all of the unhinged energy he's only hinted at since Barton Fink. But the way it ends, how far it goes beyond what you see in the trailers, that really surprised and excited me.

b) Kicks
This is a little 'day in the life' movie about a kid in the hood who gets his Jordans stolen and tries to get them back, and it's very polished and stylish, with flourishes like title cards with the names of famous west coast rap songs popping up every few minutes even though you don't actually hear the song. It kinda felt kind of dull and overly impressed with itself, though, wasn't really feeling it.

c) Suicide Squad
After all the gathering storm clouds around this movie, and then everyone agreeing it was awful and it making a ton of money anyway, I felt pretty invested in the drama of just preemptively hating Suicide Squad and wanting to see exactly how awful it was. And it's pretty stupid, Jared Leto is basically playing The Joker as Ace Ventura, and there's just this relentless pop music score where every five minutes the needle drops on a different iconic 20th century chart hit. Will Smith was at least good in that I Am Legend way where he can deploy his usual charm in small doses while acting serious and grizzled. But it cracked me up how his character was basically "this man is extremely dangerous if you give him, like, ten guns."

d) Independence Day: The Resurgence
It's odd to think that Will Smith skipped out on the sequel to his first big summer movie to do something as sketchy as Suicide Squad, but obviously it worked alright for him given how much more money Suicide Squad made. Independence Day was barely a memorable popcorn movie to me at 14 years old and I doubt it's aged well, but this sequel didn't even rise to that level.

e) Finding Dory
This was a pretty strong sequel. I always loved just the look of the animated ocean life Finding Nemo and it was fun to see them introduce so many more species and characters and just have fun with the universe it was in. My toddler loved it, I told him we were gonna watch a fish movie and he just sat there the whole time, "fish! fish!" His older brother watched Finding Nemo a hundred times when he was younger but had no interest in watching this.

f) Eddie The Eagle
I remember when this movie came out and I couldn't figure out who the lead actor was because I didn't recognize Taron Egerton at all, was totally surprised it was the same guy from Kingsman. Nice little movie, sometimes it's nice to just watch an inspiring true story underdog sports flick.

g) The Boy
The strikingly beautiful Lauren Cohan joined the cast of "The Walking Dead" after I gave up on that show so I'm glad to see her in movies now and again. This was a pretty decent creepy movie with some supernatural implications but it ultimately had kind of a stupid twist to make it all 'plausible' that wasn't really that plausible in and of itself.

h) Jimi: All Is By My Side
In theory, I have no problem with rappers experimenting with rock music or acting, but in practice, I always thought Andre 3000's music got worse the more he played guitar and sang, and thought it was really tacky the way he seemed to audition to play Jimi Hendrix for a decade before they finally got him this crappy little movie without the rights to even use Jimi's songs. It reminds me of Greetings From Tim Buckley in how they focused on the early days to try to make the lack of famous songs a nonissue, but they still proceeded the movie up into the Are You Experienced? era only showing him play covers and random faux Jimi riffs, it was pretty laughable. Most biopics will smooth over the subject's shortcomings, but this movie actually manufactured a scene of Jimi beating a girlfriend who says he never hit her, weird stuff. And Andre's performance was really flat, really didn't get the voice right, just wore the clothes and tried to look the part.

i) Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
I have mixed feelings about "Twin Peaks" as a whole and kinda felt like it was a handful of really striking, memorable episodes surrounded by nothing special. So I'm ambivalent about this upcoming revival of the show, and decided to finally check out Lynch's prequel film from the '90s, which seemed to kind of gain a better reputation over the years after flopping initially. And man, I kinda hated it, really felt all wrong to me. 
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