Mandy is a film by Panos Cosmatos starring Nick Cage. It is both a slow burn, 70’s style horror film dipped in acid, and a gonzo Nick Cage action film. It continually suffers from being torn in these two very different directions. A.Ron dug it, Jim wants nothing to do with it. This film boasts near universal acclaim on Rotten Tomatoes and yet is a tough one to wholeheartedly recommend. Please enjoy our spoiler free review and discussion of new trailers and upcoming films, but if you want to hear Jim and I argue about Mandy’s merits, you’ll have to be a Club Member!
Jim and A.Ron put on their brown pants tonight to go out and see The Nun, the latest installment in The Conjuring universe, but only one of us needed to. The film’s getting mixed reviews; and Jim worries that co-writer James Wan’s bag of tricks are getting played out and the movie suffers from inconsistent internal logic. Perhaps I’m the biggest wuss alive, but the movie got my hair standing up on the back of my neck fairly consistently. Your mileage may vary!
Jim and I had high hopes for the Gothic horror film, The Little Stranger, thinking it would be an ultra atmospheric mash up of The Witch with Downton Abbey. Instead, we got a commentary on upper class angst during the 1940’s as their fortunes crumbled alongside their estates masquerading as a dull, drab little ghost story. At no point does the film ever manage to generate anything but mild disquiet and malaise. Which is a shame, because all the pieces were there for genuine horror. An interesting core idea, excellent cast, excellent location, and fantastic atmosphere that were all unfortunately squandered with disinterested filmmaking.
Special thanks to our commissioner for today’s podcast, Sean Ray. You may recognize him as the man behind such classics as It Follows, and Black Rain, which if nothing else is unique. Today he selects the great A Few Good Men, where a gruff Colonel in the US Marine Corps takes issue with the USMC’s kinder, more gentler ways of discipline and organization, leading to the death of one of the men under his command. Tom Cruise and Demi Moore are effective as the counsel for the defense, and are given a lot of juicy material to work with. Written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Rob Reiner, the script is packed with Sorkinisms and shot with a steady, confident eye. The performances are phenomenal, especially Jack Nicholson’s elemental performance of Col. Jessup.
Spike Lee has thrown a very well made, very funny, and very devastating bomb into American movie theaters with his latest joint, BlacKkKlansman. To mark the occasion, we’re not keeping our full review and discussion as a Club Member. Anyone who wants to hear this can. Will White America listen to the message we so desperately need to hear, or hit “snooze” and go back to sleep. What are we going to do about the resurfacing of explicit racism in our country, that has until recent years been hiding beneath the still waters of institutional racism? What will you do with friends and family who bemoan Black Lives Matter, or offer the limp rebuttal that “both sides are bad?” As the movie asks, if not now, when, and if not you, who?
Jim and A.Ron have seen the latest “how old is Tom Cruise again?!” installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, “Fallout”, and it’s crazy. The plot around the absolutely bonkers stunt work is a bit thin, but the stunts themselves fully justify the movie. You can see ever dollar spent and bone broken literally up there on the screen, but it also must be said that these stunts are clinging desperately to the line from believable to unbelievable. And half the time they are careening over that line and land into Fast & Furious territory. Unless they can find an emotional core to build future episodes, this might be as good as a retro-futuristic spy thriller can get.
Cecily and A.Ron have seen the sequel to one of their favorite movies, Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again, and we think if you’re a fan of the original, there is a lot for you to like here. It’s too damn bad the trailers spoiled a reveal that would have otherwise brought the house down, and the first half of the movie might have you worried a little bit. But by the time you hit the half way mark you’re going to laugh and cry so much who even cares what happened in the first act! There are tons of surprises and twists and crowd pleasing moment, the cast is having way too much fun, the big musical numbers are bright and colorful and kinetic… I could go on and on, but the bottom line is we left the movie with a big smile on our faces and red rims around our eyes content. Can’t wait for the Blu-Ray to come out so I can watch it a dozen more times.
Jim and A.Ron are back with another first run Bald Move, this time taking in The Rock’s latest family friendly action flick, “Skyscraper”. Die Hard + Towering Inferno = a pretty damn engaging and entertaining action film, smarter than most, and with plenty of heart courtesy Dwayne Johnson’s charisma and chemistry with co-star (and fellow badass) Neve Campbell. You’re going to be able to predict most beats of the film from the first 10 minutes, but it’s still a pleasure to watch Mr. Johnson do his thing. The flaming 220 story building against the dramatic back drop of Hong Kong serves up several great set pieces and looks great doing it.
Cecily and A.Ron are back to discuss Incredibles 2, a sequel that’s been a long time in the making. Brad Bird returns to direct the original cast and some fun new cameos. If you liked Incredibles, this is more of it in every way. More supers, bigger action scenes, more Mr. Incredible angst, super teenage dating, and the best animal control scene in movie history. The script is literally the same script from the first, with the same twist at the mid-way point, but the plot is really secondary to the pleasure of watching the characters metaphorically and literally bounce off each other.
A.Ron and Cecily are back to take in Ocean’s 8, where Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett head up a team of shady ladies as they aim to steal six pounds of diamonds off the neck of Anne Hathaway while she attends the annual Met Gala. The movie, directed by Gary Ross, looks great, is a lot of fun, but doesn’t really cover much new ground or stray outside the Ocean’s lane that’s been well established. Still, everyone is having a lot of fun, there are a lot of cool cameos, New York looks gorgeous, the series trademark swanky soundtrack is intact, and the third act impresses enough to have us interested in an Ocean’s 9.