Movie Reviews

When I woke up last Sunday I just couldn’t face another day in front of the keyboard, so I spent the day watching pay-per-view. A lot of it was not stuff that would have been my first choice, but there were a couple of pleasant surprises. Since it looks like half the U.S. is going to be snowed in this weekend, I thought this might be a good time to do a movie roundup. I waded through 10+ hours of crap so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Bone Tomahawk

Holy crap, this movie was amazing. Kurt Russell’s epic moustache starred in two westerns last year, and Hateful Eight (though very good) was not the best of the them. The screenplay for Bone Tomahawk was brilliant in a lot of ways, but the first third was an absolute gold mine of deadpan one-liners. I think the reason it didn’t make a zillion dollars is that the third act was a bit too bloody for the general public. Even if you can’t stand gore, you should watch the first hour and a half—it’s that good.

The writer/director is a guy named S. Craig Zahler. He is now on my “watch whatever he does next, no questions asked” list. Actually, in researching this blog post I found out he’s a novelist as well. There’s my weekend, sorted. Anyway, my understanding is that he got Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins (among others) to appear in a movie that had a budget of something like $1.50 and sandwiches, which should tell you how good the script was.

Highest possible recommendation.

The Last Witch Hunter

This was not the best fantasy movie that I’ve seen, but it was much better than I was expecting. Admittedly, some of that might be because the movies I watched before and after were pretty godawful. I did legitimately enjoy it though.

The look was pretty darn good–it had a kind of Gaia-earth-mother thing with all the witches that I thought was pretty cool, the fights were decent, and the CGI didn’t make me want to kill myself. I wouldn’t recommend it unreservedly, but there are worse ways to spend your time.

The Final Girls

This one’s kind of a love letter to 80s horror. A bunch of movie buffs get magically transported into a (thinly veiled) Friday the 13th and have to figure out how to survive. I liked it okay, but I’m not sure it deserved all the love it got on the festival circuit.


This was a British movie about a train that gets stuck in werewolf country. I watched it last Sunday and that’s all I remember, which hopefully tells you everything you need to know.

400 Days

A bunch of astronaut candidates are spending four hundred days in an underground bunker to test their resistance to the stress of long isolation. They more or less fast forward straight to day 373, at which point something unexpected happens. It had a very Twilight Zone feel and, honestly, might have been better served in a 40 minute format. It wasn’t unwatchable, but neither was it anything I’d recommend.

Oh, and while we’re at it:

The Revenant

I’ve heard this movie compared to The Thin Red Line, and I’d say that’s pretty accurate in the sense that everybody but me seemed to like it. For reference, The Thin Red Line was the movie that caused me to change my policy was to never walk out of a movie, and is currently number two on my “least enjoyed” list, right after August Rush.

I did hate The Revenant deeply, but not quite that much. There was some action, but if you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen literally everything that happened in the entire ~300 month run time. Which reminds me–you may have heard a rumor of bear rape. I don’t believe that actually happened, but I can see where an audience member, desperate for some sort of stimulation, might have dreamed it. By about hour nine I was amusing myself by looking for shapes in the goop on DiCaprio’s lips.

There were some interesting bits–I thought it was a bold decision to have Tom Hardy deliver his lines in a dialect that no human has ever spoken, particularly as he was the only one who had any lines. The gamble paid off in the end though. By the time the credits rolled—at, I think, the middle of Month 287–we in the audience had all become fluent speakers. The two children born in the mezzanine during the second act (Sebastian, now 6, and dear little Courtney, age 4) grew up speaking it as their mother tongue.

Recommended for terminally ill patients who wish to leave the earth with relief in their hearts.

Posted in Movies, Reviews

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