2017 log (3)

(4 Mar) Mad Max: Fury Road (2015, George Miller) 97
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(8 Mar) Paterson (2016, Jim Jarmusch) 92
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(10 Mar) Kong: Skull Island (2017, Jordan Vogt-Roberts) 83
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(11 Mar) Evil Dead (2013, Fede Alvarez) 90
[ Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead” being one of my favorite horror movies of all time, I was hesitant about this remake. But I loved the hell out of Fede Alvarez’ “Don’t Breathe” so that was enough to make me want to watch this earlier film of his when I stumbled upon it on Netflix. The opening scene is strikingly brutal, then the introduction of the main cast of characters is pretty good. One particularly interesting (if not entirely orignal) idea is having the weekend at the cabin in the woods actually be an intervention to make one of the young protagonists (the amazing Jane Levy) stop using heroin – addiction as possession and whatnot. But most of all, what makes this “Evil Dead” so great is Alvarez’ virtuoso direction. There really aren’t many filmmakers who are able to go to such extremes as far as tension and horror go. Believe me, this movie is scary and gory AF, and Alvarez makes the most out of every scene. I watched it alone at home and I still yelled out loud a few times. And I couldn’t get enough of the climax, a visually stunning orgy of fire and blood. The original will always have a special place in my heart, in part because there’s only one Bruce Campbell, but this is still totally worth seeing. ]

(11 Mar) The Raid 2 (2014, Gareth Evans) 95?
[ So basically, the biggest mistake of my recent moviegoing life was to skip this in theatres, for no better reason than I didn’t like the first film. Turns out that this has relatively little to do it with it… This is way more epic, way more intense, way more violent! Full disclosure: I just caught this on TV, dubbed in French, and missed the first half hour or so, so this isn’t a proper review (and hence the “?” after the rating). But what I saw was no less than some of the best action scenes of all time.The scene in the club, the scene with the girl with hammers in the metro, the scene with the guy with an aluminum baseball bat, the car chase/shoot-out, the extended final showdown… Pure genius. I hope to watch the whole thing soon. But I’ll say that I think that my favorite thing so far is how visceral and vivid and visual this is, with barely any plot or dialogue… There’s like a “Fury Road” level of action in here. ]

(13 Mar) The Raid 2 (2014, Gareth Evans) 95
[ I’ve now watched the whole thing and again… Pure genius. Turns out that there is quite a bit of plot and dialogue in the first act, but bonus: it’s awesome gangster movie stuff. So this isn’t just an all-time great action movie, it’s an all-time great movie, period. Riveting storytelling, memorable characters, hard-boiled dialogue… This is basically like an Indonesian “The Godfather” – it’s infinitely more ambitious and involving than the first film, that’s for sure. There’s quite a lot of kick-ass action early on as well (e.g., an insane prison riot sequence), but the fact remains that it’s that second half that is particularly relentless, with almost all of the plot and dialogue out of the way and just one damn fight, shoot-out and/or chase after another. Gareth Evans truly establishes himself as an action director on the level of George Miller and John Woo at their best. Even the second time, all the scenes with not-Mad-Dog, Hammer Girl, Baseball Bat Man and the Assassin thrilled me to no end. And while Iko Uwais didn’t win me over in “The Raid”, he totally did in “The Raid 2”. ]

(16 Mar) Goon: Last of the Enforcers (2017, Jay Baruchel) 75
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(20 Mar) T2 Trainspotting (2017, Danny Boyle) 62
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(21 Mar) Personal Shopper (2016, Olivier Assayas) 90
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(24 Mar) Star Trek Beyond (2016, Justin Lin) 69
[ I’m not the biggest fan of this franchise, but I do love the ensemble cast. They are nicely used here, often in pairs: Kirk (Chris Pine) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin, RIP), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and and Bones (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and my favorites, Scotty (Simon Pegg, who cowrote the screenplay) and newcomer Jaylah (Sofia Boutella). Director Justin Lin (of “Fast & Furious” fame) delivers a lot of fun, over the top action, and perhaps most important, we get to enjoy the most badass villain of the series so far, Krall (Idris Elba). ]

(25 Mar) Conan the Barbarian (1982, John Milius) 91 
[   The film opens with the Nietzche quote “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”, and Crom damn it if the brutal tale which follows doesn’t make a strong case for it.  Conan goes through all kinds of hell, watching Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) and his snake cult slaughter everyone he loves, being enslaved, pitted in gladiator death matches, bred like an animal and eventually even crucified!  Conan certainly comes out of all this suffering stronger – and mad as hell!  This is a ruthless gore-soaked revenge story, but one that unfolds through high adventure, fantasy, romance and some deadpan humor.  Add great imagery, a rousing score and a great physical performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger and you got one kick ass flick.  ]

(26 Mar) Conan the Destroyer (1984, Richard Fleischer) 42 63
[ Way cheesier and less cool than the original, notably because instead of being an epic tale of revenge, it’s just an ordinary sword and sorcery quest that happens to feature Conan. It’s still a fun, rather action-packed piece of heroic fantasy, despite somewhat ridiculous sequences like the fights between Schwarzenegger and rubber creatures. Oh, and damn: Grace Jones! ]