2015 Capsule Reviews – NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN

So, because I’m still making myself too busy, I also noticed that literally the only 2015 US releases I have reviewed so far have been Jupiter Ascending and Blackhat. In the same damn post.

I’m leaving this as an I.O.U. of sorts to come back to often. I intend to review each of these nine films for the next nine days, so by the ninth day past today, we will have ourselves nine brand spanking new reviews of 2015 films so I don’t feel too behind (trailing on the Lynch retrospective and my second no-longer-Women’s-Day post notwithstanding). Yippee, kind of…

Kingsman: The Secret Service (dir. Matthew Vaughan, UK) – If you like this film for the style and execution of its action setpieces – bombastic as they are – whatever. I personally did not find them overall gracing the film, but that’s fine. If you like this film for the things it tries to say about people and its story, you might be a shitty person. I dunno.

The Lazarus Effect (dir. David Gelb, USA) – I TOLD DONALD GLOVER A THOUSAND TIMES I NEVER WANTED TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!! I JUST WANTED A GOOD PICTURE!!!! YOU CAN’T BE DISAPPOINTED BY A GOOD PICTURE!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!! I HATE YOU CHILDISH!!!!! No but seriously, it was bad. And an angering waste of time. Like frontrunner so far for worst film of the year.

Maps to the Stars (dir. David Cronenberg, Canada) – Ugh…. ??? I’ve seen this film twice now (the first was when it premiered at Cannes, but the second time, a local theater I like to support was playing it) and it is ragingly funny, very subdued about its profundities towards Hollywood without really making its themes less than obvious, and the cast are all doing pretty well including a (usually unimpressive) Cusack. It just also feels like a mess and while I am aware of how it anchors itself by the poem Liberte, it doesn’t exactly clean up how it feels like a cinematic surgery gone wrong by Cronenberg.

Mommy (dir. Xavier Dolan, Canada) – Telegraphs itself way too much as a film to be very profound with its emotions or themes (and it doesn’t hide how it telegraphs itself either), but the leads make a terrific anchor to the story just enough for its final act to pack a very shocking punch.

Predestination (dir. the Speirig brothers, Australia) – Even if this movie were terrible (which it isn’t thankfully – it’s even better than the short story), Sarah Snook is a goddamned revelation. It’s like on RedBox for some reason in the US and it deserves a theatrical release. Go watch it already.

The Salvation (dir. Kristian Levring, Denmark) – Yeah, the Danish have definitely seen Death Wish. And Eva Green rescues her own respect in another not entirely impressive film. And this time, she doesn’t even need to have her top off or even speak a word.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (story by Stephen Hillenburg, USA) – Well, it’s SpongeBob. It’s about as good as classic SpongeBob has been. Which, for my book, has been fantastic.

The DUFF (dir. Ari Sandel, USA) – Surprisingly pleasant given how much I don’t take for a high school comedy. Very intelligent and mature towards its concept (which is based on being a judgmental high schooler to begin with, making that maturity a hefty feat) without feeling overtly like an adult trying to think like a high schooler (though it does get caught that way a few times in a manner Mean Girls doesn’t). I guess I can get used to high school comedies now if Mean Girls, Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, and The DUFF are indications that it can be smarter than the generic white noise.

Timbuktu (dir. Abderrahmane Sissako, Mauritania/France) – You guys already damn well know I love this movie. It was in my top 10 of ‘14. Just now I have a chance to explain it since the movie apparently had its official US release in 2015, in spite of the fact that a local theater of mine was screening it late December. Huh.


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