Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

I didn’t enjoy this film. There, I said it.

It’s far too slow, it doesn’t really go anywhere and Nazis appear randomly at the end. That probably sounds funny, depending on your sense of humour. At least, it’s supposed to be. Noir and Comedy are rarely two genres that cross paths. Yet that’s the very crux of this film.

Steve Martin plays Rigby Reardonm whose very motto is to stay away from women. He can screw them, but heaven forbid he cares for one. Then walks in Juliet Forrest (played by Rachel Ward), a beautiful woman that happens to faint in their first meeting.

Rigby catches her, but don’t mistake him for a gentleman, he is anything but. Kissing a woman whilst she’s unconscious is hardly romantic, but this film plays it off as a gag.

Everything is too serious in this film. They try to be funny, but without ever winking at the camera. The plot is a mess, jumping from one story to the next. Rigby gets shot several times, only to have Juliet pull a bullet out with her teeth like some sort of magician.

This happens several times throughout the film. Rigby gets drugged by women, several times as well. The romantic aspect is stale. There is very little truly exciting that ever gets this film going. Even the climax is underwhelming, with a halfhearted chase scene.

Only thing that saves this film is the way they integrate a whole bunch of older films throughout its run. It cuts back and forth between actors that today are long since dead in an interesting and sometimes funny way. I get the feeling if you’ve seen all those other older films, this one might be funnier. Without those references, it’s hard to say. I haven’t watched the majority of those 1940s and 50s films shown to know.

I think it’s an interesting gimmick that this film does, but it’s too bad it isn’t enough.

The thing is, Steve Martin is a good actor and in other roles, has been very funny. Just not in this film.

This is one you can miss, it’s stale, and with a barely noteworthy trick.

Atomic Blonde Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

This film has pacing issues. The thriller aspect lack intrigue and explains so little that it isn’t always clear who’s on whose side. That wouldn’t be a problem if was well written and not boring during the slow moments. But it was and as a result became a bit confusing. Especially since you’re not always sure why everyone is dying for the list to begin with.

They say it has important information that will prolong the cold war, but you have no idea why that is. So it leaves the struggle for it rather lacklustre.

It’s a good thing that this isn’t the only aspect of the film otherwise it’d be incredibly dull.

The action saves this film. It’s face paced, brilliantly choreographed and shot very well. It’s a thrill to watch and keeps you on your toes. The fights are unrealistic, but if you wanted that you wouldn’t be watching this film. They’re also fabulously brutal. The only criticism I have is that the hits didn’t quite land. When a punch was thrown, sometimes they didn’t connect, and thus impact wasn’t felt.

It’s a small complaint, but I think it would’ve made the action that much more hard to watch; and all the more exciting.

I also liked that Lorraine (played by Charlize Theron) was properly bruised up. It made her feel real and that much more of a badass. Also her outfits were great, very stylish.

Charlize Theron also did some nice acting, very believable as cool heroine with a gun.

The ending was the one bit of strong writing in the whole film. When all the plot threads come together very neatly with some great plot twists.

The music was good and very 80s; however I felt like this film wasn’t as much of a time piece as it tried to be. People’s hair were too normal and the fashion was too toned down for that time period.

It’s also just a good looking film, with thoughtful composition and great lighting choices.

Overall this was a fun and intriguing movie. It’s ashame that it had those pacing issues, because it was very close to being better than it was. I liked it, and it’s a recommendation from me.

A Star Is Born (1954) Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

There are three different versions of this film, soon to be four by next year. I think that’s interesting given the heavy nature of this picture. A Star Is Born is about a young woman that becomes a ‘somebody’, and even more so, it’s about her alcoholic husband.

Judy Garland plays Esther Blodgett, renamed as Vikki Lester. It’s what they did back then, to give you a more ‘Hollywood’ name. I find it interesting that this film in someways peels back the curtain. That the stars people idealise really are just like them, with their own flawed little lives. Norman Maine, her husband, is a drunk. He tries to go clean for her, but constantly makes a fool of himself.

He knows he has a problem, yet he can’t help himself. It leads to his wife, Esther, to wither. He inspired her to be a star, to really appreciate and share her talent, yet without him it isn’t worth anything to her.

It’s when he realises that he’s ruining her life as well as his own that he takes his life. The thing is, in this film we see him cry. I think that’s really interesting, because films now rarely show that. It also was in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

A Street Car Named Desire had a man wailing with raw emotion.

I find this fascinating, because I rarely find modern Hollywood films trying to hit these types of heavy emotions. Films like that are still being made, but you have to look elsewhere to find them and I think that’s ashame. Because these films are really trying to be about something, and they were mainstream.

They weren’t indie darling, these were intended for general audiences. I wonder why Hollywood doesn’t trust the average cinema goer with this type of art any more?

A Star is Born is flawed. It has too much time spent away from the main plot, making the pace inconsistent and the film far too long. There are parts that are just a bit boring. Yet Judy Garland acts splendidly in this film and sings beautifully with some real stand out songs. The Man That Got Away is a particular highlight.

You also believe their relationship. They really did fall in love and it shows. He worked hard to make her a star. She worked just as hard to save him…but some people can’t be.

When she’s grief stricken and still able to march on. You feel it.

Life is hard, but that doesn’t mean you have to be on your knees when it tries to cut you down.

I enjoyed this film, it isn’t the best of that era, All About Eve is better. Regardless this is still a good film, it’s just not perfect.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

I liked this film more than Wonder Woman. I thought it was funnier, tighter written and had more personality; yet afterwards I was left feeling empty.

I thought a lot of this film was well written, in particular the jokes. It got a good amount of chuckles out of me. It’s a movie with a smart mouth. However Peter was less goofy than the previous film with a lot of his personality lost in the process. Star-Lord and Gamora’s romance went basically nowhere, is was the weakest aspect of the film to me. Baby Groot was funny, but basically a gag character on the level of an animal in a Disney cartoon. Rocket didn’t have much of an ark, even if he was meant to have grown, it didn’t really show.

Then there’s Yondu, he’s supposed to be Peter’s father, even though the film admits he lead to many children’s death. He isn’t a good person, yet the film tries to play him off as sympathetic, he isn’t. He’s just a guy that happened to be good once. I don’t think that there can be any redemption in that, even if the film is pushing it with it’s flimsy attempt to be philosophical.

The only relationship I really bought was between Gamora and Nebula. They both were abused as children and as a result resented each other. They blamed the other for the crimes dealt to them by their father. That is incredibly human and very genuine. I liked that they looked past all that and became stronger as a result. It was the best part of the film for me.

Family is a strong theme in this movie, but other than the sisters relationship, it came across as rather superficial to me. I get that they’re a family, but other than a few points in the film, there was rarely a weight put behind those words.

Drax was the funniest character to me, a real improvement over the first film. The action was good with music accompanying them appropriately. It was very well done.

Go into this one without thinking too much and you’ll probably have a fun time.

Bus Stop Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

Isn’t it wonderful when someone so horrible turns out to be so nice?

I’m paraphrasing, but Marilyn Monroe does utter a line remarkably similar to that. By the morals of this film, abduction is fine, stalking is acceptable and if you’re in love with a stranger, it justifies manhandling the hell out of them.

Marilyn plays the dumb blonde rather well, a woman without talent, that can’t sing but wants to make it in Hollywood. The scene where she sung went for too long and felt rather painful. Cherie, Marilyn’s character, is deemed an Angel by Bo, a man that seems to think you should treat a woman the same way you do a bull.

Tie them up and bring them home.

That’s not a joke, that’s how little respect and understanding he has for much of anyone. He’s brutish, and literally doesn’t behave until it’s literally beaten into him.

Then he’s sorry. Then he wants to play nice, and because Cherie is so dumb she believes him. Even though he proves moments later he had learned nothing, because he almost kidnapped his best friend.

Bo is a man child that doesn’t respect Cherie at all. He doesn’t even call her by name. Cherry, that’s her ‘new name’. One she doesn’t even want.

So, seeing a stranger and forcing them to marry you is romantic?

What a strange message. This isn’t a bad movie, the acting is good, but the plot is nonsensical. I mean, why would everyone just grin and wave while Cherie leaves with Bo? He’s crazy. She needs someone to take her aside and say: ‘Honey, you’re better than this.”

Which is really the message of the movie. It could’ve been better, instead we got this, a dumb mess.

Tokyo Godfathers Review:

 

[This review contains spoilers]

This is the most interesting Christmas film I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. It’s about three homeless individuals: a drunk, a gay cross-dresser and a runaway girl. Each have very unique reasons for having ended up in such a horrible situation, literally living in a cardboard box.

It’s a film about family. How these three are one, and how they meet those from lives they’d lost.

The film starts with them finding an infant in the trash. It sounds horrible, and the movie suitably focuses on the horror of such an event. This leads them on a strange adventure as they search for the child’s mother; from them saving a Mafia boss stuck under his vehicle to a car chase at the end. There is a strong element of action in a film that seems to mainly focus on human connection. It’s an odd contrast, but this film is at least spiritually, a screwball comedy.

The strange turn of events shouldn’t make sense, but they do. There is a constant message of ‘Christmas miracles’, which is an interesting take from the Japanese perspective.

This is a bit of a thinking man’s film, but with all it’s comedy and action, it’s really for everyone. It tackles hard topics with a grin, with comedy always waiting in the wings to remind you of the levity in life. This is a happy story. But it does show that people can ruin their lives. That even a baby can be thrown away. That the world can be sick. But in that, you’re rarely alone.

That you have family to combat the winter.

Satoshi Kon made a great film, he’s known to do that. I hope that you look into him and his other works, because it’s criminal that he isn’t better known. It sucks that he passed before his time. This is a great film, it’s animation is wonderful. I loved the art. The script is both well written and funny. The translation, from what little I can tell, did a great job.

Check out this film, and merry Christmas.