2015 log (5)

(1 May) Mad Max 2 A.K.A. The Road Warrior (1981, George Miller) 85
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(5 May) Ex Machina (2015, Alex Garland) 86
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(6 May) Montage of Heck (2015, Brett Morgen)
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(7 May) Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985, George Miller & George Ogilvie) 41
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(8 May) This Means War (2012, McG) 29
[ It starts like a James Bond knockoff, with a couple of secret agents (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) in Hong Kong hitting on girls, then getting into a fight/shoot-out with a terrorist (Til Schweiger). Then it cuts to Reese Witherspoon in what looks like a bright and bubbly romantic comedy about a single woman looking for love, who winds up dating both Pine and Hardy at the same time. Spy action meets rom-com? That sounds like “True Lies”, but McG is obviously no James Cameron, as he already proved with “Terminator Salvation”. “This Means War” is not even as good as “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”, another “True Lies”-style spy rom-com that was also written by Simon Kinberg. Heck, I think I liked “Knight and Day” better! Reese is adorable as usual and Hardy is surprisingly sweet for someone who usually plays tough guys, but Pine comes off like a total dick, which makes the love triangle lopsided. And why did Witherspoon’s BFF have to be played by the obnoxious and unfunny Chelsea Handler, especially when the wonderful Jenny Slate is wasted in a nothing role? This is a pretty dumb, watchable, but ultimately forgettable flick. ]

(10 May) The Three Stooges (2012, Peter & Bobby Farrelly) 26
[ The prologue with the Three Stooges as kids is pretty tedious, despite featuring Larry David as a grumpy nun. Then we get to them as grown-ups and the nicest thing I can say is that Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe), Sean Hayes (Larry) and Will Sasso (Curly) certainly commit to their roles, endlessly mugging and chewing scenery, while the Farrelly brothers orchestrate all kinds of silly slapstick, complete with cartoonish special effects. I understand that this is true to the original “Three Stooges”, which I’m not very familar with, but it failed to make me laugh, not even once. This is my least favorite Farrelly flick by a good margin. ]

(13 May) Open Windows (2014, Nacho Vigalondo) 55
[ This whole movie takes place on the computer screen of the protagonist (Elijah Wood), a blogger who’s obsessed with an actress (Sasha Grey) he’s supposed to have dinner with in Austin during Fantastic Fest… But instead, he ends up having a mysterious hacker (Neil Maskell) give him access to her phone (including the camera) and being able to watch and listen to her… And then he gets access to a whole lot more, while sordid things happen… So this is kinda like a digital “Rear Window”, a tale of voyeurism for the Internet era, which quickly starts feeling almost like sci-fi more than anything, as the mysterious hacker is able to do some rather impossible stuff with technology. So if you’re all about plausible plots, this film ain’t for you. But if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief (a lot!), this is a pretty clever and effective exercise in style, for a while anyway. It’s a bit odd how it eventually turns into one long car chase and it falls apart during the extended climax. But like I said, for a while, it’s involving enough. ]

(14 May) Mad Max: Fury Road (2015, George Miller) 95
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(15 May) We Bought a Zoo (2011, Cameron Crowe) [ review ] 92

(16 May) Untitled a.ka. Almost Famous (2000, Cameron Crowe)
[ review ] / [ review 2.0 ] 100

(19 May) Spring (2015, Moorhead & Benson) 81
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(21 May) Vanilla Sky (2001, Cameron Crowe) [ review ] 93

(24 May) Jerry Maguire (1996, Cameron Crowe) [ review ] 84

(26 May) Where Paradise Is Home [Wayward Pines pilot] (2015, M. Night Shyamalan) 90
[ Shyamalan is one of the executive producers of this new series and he also directed this first episode, which is the best thing he’s done in oh, roughly 10 years. Tight, gripping, atmospheric, unpredictable… This feels like vintage Shyamalan. Matt Dillon stars as Ethan Burke, a secret service agent who wakes us, injured and confused, in the woods near Wayward Pines, Idaho. Through a bit of skillfully nonlinear storytelling, we slowly start piecing together what happened to him. At the same time, it becomes increasingly clear that the town he’s found himself in is creepy as hell! Unless it’s Ethan who’s losing is mind… or dead? (Vintage Shyamalan, I tell you!) Dillon is great and he’s surrounded by a wonderful supporting cast (Melissa Leo, Juliette Lewis, Terrence Howard, Toby Jones, Carla Gugino, etc.). Of course, I also have to give lots of credit to series creator/writer Chad Hodge and to Blake Crouch, whose novels this is based on. But Shyamalan brilliantly establishes the setting, keeps things moving and milks every moment for all it’s worth. ]

(26 May) Elizabethtown (2005, Cameron Crowe) [ review ] 90

(28 May) Aloha (2015, Cameron Crowe) [ review ] 89

(30 May) Piranha 3D (2010, Alexandre Aja) [ review ] 74

(31 May) Kung Fury (2015, David Sandberg)
[ Les hommages aux mauvais films d’exploitation de l’époque grindhouse ou VHS sont innombrables depuis une dizaine d’années et franchement, un bon nombre d’entre eux sont peu inspirés, répétitifs et fastidieux. Ce court métrage de David Sandberg à propos d’un policier ninja nettoyant les rues de Miami en 1985 est toutefois franchement jouissif. Les bonnes mauvaises idées fusent de toute part et de même, le film est parfaitement bien mal fait, des étonnants effets spéciaux à la musique ultra années 1980. Une machine d’arcade qui prend vie, un flic à tête de dinosaure (Triceracop!), Hitler qui sème à nouveau la terreur, des guerrières vikings avec des mitraillettes, une séquence en dessin animé… ]

(31 May) The Cheap Detective (1978, Robert Moore) 70
[ In writer Neil Simon and director Robert Moore’s follow-up to “Murder by Death”, the great Peter Falk stars as a private eye who becomes entangled in a complicated case involving the murder of his partner, stolen diamonds and missing documents as well as three or four femme fatales. “The Cheap Detective” is a witty spoof of classic Humphrey Bogart movies (“Casablanca”, “The Big Sleep”, “The Maltese Falcon”, etc.), which fans of absurd comedy will certainly enjoy. ]

April / June