Shazaaaam's comments

Comments 1 - 25 of 136

Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Other than the good cast, this is a very direct-to-video Disney sequel -- bad jokes, weak script, boringly generic songs, and a conspicuous lack of budget. (For example, Patrick Dempsey fights both a giant and a dragon that they have to keep mostly off-screen, and the 2-D animation in Andalusia scenes is visibly shoddy.)

Wouldn't recommend it even if you liked the first one. It's more like a Descendants movie that happens to have Amy Adams and Maya Rudolph. 3/10
1 year 7 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Surprisingly solid, grounded film closer to Paul Greengrass (United 93, Captain Phillips, etc.) than to Big Hollywood. The actual rescue was so terrifying that Howard wisely just gets out of the way and tells the story without added bombast. Bonus points for having many scenes in Thai, though I would have liked to spend just a little more time with the Thai rescue divers spoiler

8/10
1 year 11 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

This is one of those movies that makes more sense in symbolic logic than actual logic. The lives of the three women before the murder are well drawn in flashbacks, but the murder and the women's calm, celebratory reactions to it broke any sense of psychological realism for me. It's hard to think of any real life spontaneous feminist group murder that might compare, so it's more a hypothetical for the director to play with than something you can imagine actual people doing. The movie also feels surprisingly uninterested in morally interrogating that murder (the victim is a thin caricature that has only a few moments of screen time), but rather uses it as a springboard to look at how these three women suffer under patriarchy.

Still, the final courtroom scene is very good and worth fast forwarding to even if you lose patience with the rest of the movie.
2 years ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

This felt more like a grab bag of good Sam Raimi bits than a coherent movie. It's very busy and often entertaining, but for me, lacked the suspense of caring much about the characters or outcome. "Important" new character America Chavez was very bland and passive, and I was disappointed that spoiler.
2 years 2 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Pros: Some great gags, as you'd expect from Lord&Miller, and great visual imagination. Elizabeth Banks' comic timing is masterful as always. Good pace till about the third act.

Cons: The human scenes don't work nearly as well this time, and the third act plot twists are just bizarre/nonsensical--the story can't really support the allegory. Has the usual comedy-sequel problem of not knowing what to do with one-gag characters from the first movie (Benny, Metalbeard) except repeat the same schticks.

6 / 10.
5 years 5 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Once you're past the lazy comedy that makes up much of the first hour, this turns into a fantastic melodrama with some unforgettably crazy scenes (especially the climactic fight, which is too great to spoil here).
6 years 5 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

A model of how a historical drama should be done. The Post takes about 1/3 its running time to get properly rolling, but that's in part because of its admirable willingness not to dumb down or oversimplify a complicated series of events. (For the opposite approach, look no further than its Best Picture competitor, The Darkest Hour.) But the suspense soon ratchets up, and even if you know the story in detail, you'll find yourself on the edge of your seat.

Streep is fantastic as Graham, and I'd be glad to see her win another Oscar for this one. Hanks has less to do here, but does a better job with the abrasive Bradlee than I expected. And aside from a few clunky moments with Graham at the Supreme Court, it's an admirably restrained film from Spielberg, reining in the sentimentality that slightly marred some recent dramas like The Terminal or Bridge of Spies.

It's still no Spotlight, and there have admittedly been better movies this year, but I'd still highly recommend this one. 9/10
6 years 5 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Pros: Stunning direction and design; great performances, espec. by Sally Hawkins in the lead; terrific ending.

Cons: Few unpredictable or surprising moments in the plot or dialogue; Michael Shannon's cardboard villain that even his talent can't do anything with; extremely lazy 1960 "period detail" (housewives, Cadillacs, Jell-O molds, etc.).

Definitely worth a watch, but I think I'd prefer any other best picture nominee this year to win over this one. (So far I've seen 7 of the other 8).
6 years 5 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

I'm of two minds about this one. This is, without a doubt, the greatest portrayal of Churchill there's ever been on film or TV. His emotionalism and crazy sentimentality, his aristocratic pretensions and surprising crudeness, his wit and brilliance and determination... all here. But as history, it's pretty weak, from the cartoonish villainy of Halifax to the climactic, bizarre, totally fictional scene where he spoiler Why make a historical drama at all if you're going to lie about the most crucial event in it? Oldman certainly deserves an Oscar for this, but the movie around him deserves only obscurity.
6 years 5 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Great comedic performances enlivening an otherwise "meh" heist movie. Worth a watch, especially for Adam Driver.
6 years 6 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

As a Dickinson fan, I very much wanted to like this, but I found the overly mannered style rather off-putting; the characters don't so much converse as proclaim dueling aphorisms to one another. That works on rare occasions in plays like Oscar Wilde's, but A Quiet Passion has a stilted solemnity that holds it back from real comedy. The effect is more like a series of talking dioramas than a traditional film, and it never won me over.
6 years 6 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Kudos to this one for the unexpected direction it took, but that direction was so terrifically silly that I just couldn't care about the movie afterward.
6 years 7 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

The trailers for this shows were unfortunately misleading, highlighting the women of La Belle as the most important characters. That's a show I would have loved to see, and I wish the actual showrunner had had the sense to make the feminist alt-Western that those trailers had promised. Instead, Godless is a more classic Western with a few notably great female characters. Every time those female leads start to take center stage, though, the male leads Roy, Frank, and Bill push them back out of the spotlight. Pretty typical for most TV (especially Westerns), but a big disappointment because of the way the commercials oversold this angle.

Still, once Mrs. Shazaaaam and I got past that disappointment, we came to really enjoy this for its sharp characters, bullet-quick wit, and gorgeous cinematography. Jeff Daniels and Merritt Wever both deserve Emmy nominations for the way they dominate the screen; the pace never flags for a second when they're on. The show flirts with greatness without ever really attaining it, but is definitely worth a watch.
6 years 7 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

This film was very interesting for the first half hour or so, as we see Powell wrestling with his responsibility for the book's legacy. But the director's badgering of Powell becomes increasingly extreme and doesn't allow for a more thoughtful reckoning.

Personally, I don't have a lot of sympathy for young Powell's dumb ideas about revolution, and it's horrifying that the Columbine murderers or the Oklahoma City bomber referred to Powell's book. But is there any doubt that these attackers would have found this information, or something much like it, elsewhere--especially when the list of attacks goes into the Internet age? Why keep badgering Powell about his responsibility after he's already expressed remorse? Does Siskel honestly believe that if Powell had spoken out against the book more forcefully (as he repeatedly challenges Powell to do), the murderers he names--everyone from mob hit men to school shooters to Croatian terrorists--would have reconsidered their ways? I wish someone had been present to challenge Siskel's dumb ideas the same way he challenges some of Powell's early evasions.
7 years ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Pros: some terrific fight sequences, lots of charisma from Gadot and Pine, and some good fish-out-of-water humor when Diana hits London.

Cons: endless, nonsensical magical fight scene to close out the film; Steve Trevor's boring, stereotypical "squad of misfits"; long speeches about the dual nature of man that were already cliche 50 years ago.

Worth my $11 to see, but I'm surprised this has been such a critical darling.
7 years 1 month ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

You wouldn't think it from the thin plot description, but this is a movie of incredible force. The plot really is that thin, but the sharp direction and great, naturalistic performances invest every scene with power. When things come to a crisis, it's almost unbearable to watch. A genius debut--whatever Shults does next, I'm seeing it.
7 years 5 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Interesting subject matter, but I found it disappointingly one-sided. The government's rationale for confiscating Sue is never well explained and treated as laughable--yet at least one society of professional paleontologists endorsed the govt's actions and condemned this documentary, suggesting that there's more that the filmmakers just weren't interested in showing. They would have served their subjects better by at least making a pretense of balance.
7 years 10 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

A lovely, old-fashioned film that happens to have some great CGI. It's so refreshing to take my daughter to something like this instead of the frenetic nonsense of something like the Madagascar Penguins.
7 years 10 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

A slow burn of a show that builds huge emotional power by its end. It's like a six-hour apology from Haggis for his hamfistedness in Crash.
8 years 5 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

This film is hugely interesting from a historical and voyeuristic perspective--who doesn't want to be a fly on the wall when the story of the decade is breaking? But since it's made by one of Snowden's collaborators, the story's a bit incomplete. Fred Kaplan says all this in Slate far better than I could (link below), but the film doesn't seem to much care how indiscriminate Snowden's leaks were, or about his strange later relationship with the Russian government.

I admire Snowden deeply for blowing open the domestic spying story, but a more complex portrait would have pointed out that not everything about the guy seems so wise or so courageous.It's a shame Poitras couldn't find that distance.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2014/10/citizenfour_review_laura_poitras_edward_snowden_documentary.html
8 years 6 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

It's visually stunning, but also painfully earnest and dull. My three-year-old was so bored she asked to go home halfway through. I talked her into staying, but it didn't get any better.
8 years 7 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Shatteringly good. The performances, direction, and script are all brilliant, and together they're a masterpiece. Most impressive is Frances McDormand's ability to make you sympathize with a character who normally shouldn't be sympathetic in the least. (To say more might be a spoiler.)

As a footnote, this also has some of the best aging make-up I've ever seen; normally that's something I can't stand in movies, but here it always looked natural.
8 years 8 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Another oblique Spielberg take on the War on Terror (see also Munich, War of the Worlds, The Terminal). Good humor and suspense, with a solid humanitarian message at the center. And, like just about always, a great performance by Tom Hanks.
8 years 8 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Variety's 1977 review: "Gena Rowlands turns in another virtuoso performance as the troubled actress. Cassavetes’ highly personal work will please his coterie of enthusiasts, but for general audiences it will be viewed as shrill, puzzling, depressing and overlong."

I started out feeling the latter (shrill etc.) but the longer I watched, the more this won me over. This is the first Cassvetes film I've actively liked...
8 years 9 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Here's what Criterion has to say:

"The montage of Dog Star Man (1961–64), which juxtaposes its characters, principally Brakhage himself, with imagery of blood vessels and the sun, the forest and the stars, family and architecture, and explicitly erotic imagery, evokes numerous associations, from the banal to the sublime. Layers of faces and rocks and paint on film combine in multiple superimpositions, ultimately building to a meditation on one man’s place in the cosmos that can also be read, apart from its hint of a plot, as a light-poem."

If I was back in grad school, I can see how there's a thousand ambiguities you can write a paper about in this long, silent collection of images. As a human being, though, I don't see how someone can watch this and not be bored.
8 years 9 months ago

Showing items 1 – 25 of 136

View comments