Monday, April 29, 2019

1066. Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049
Directed by Denis Villeneuve

I am at the mercy of my Amazon Subscriptions, as I am picking out what movies to watch based on what's available for free. This would definitely not have been a top pick for me. Personally, I like my science fiction to come with a little humor, Douglas Adams- or C3P0 -style, otherwise I find it rather dull. Now I fully recognize that this is simply a matter of taste, and I resolved to be as objective as possible with this film. But sweet Jesus, it was 164 minutes.

Ryan Gosling plays K, a replicant tasked with "retiring" older models. He discovers a box on one of his missions that contains the remains of a replicant who died during a c section, thus proving that replicants can reproduce. K is ordered to kill the child to hide the truth. K also has a special sweetheart, a la the movie Her. A movie I haven't seen yet, but imagine is quite superior to this.

I will spare you my unabridged rant on the endless remakes and reboots that Hollywood is hellbent on pursuing, but suffice to say, I saw no real reason for this story. I suppose the effects are better, but just like the original Blade Runner, it was a total snoozefest, with boring, handsome actors looking grim for hours. I would guess the running time is exceptionally long because every character takes a dramatic pause before they speak. I suppose this is a way of giving weight to dialogue that is supposed to be mindblowing but is actually rather mundane.

Just totally unnecessary. Harrison, man. Have a some self respect. You're not a mascot.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Because his character was blind, Jared Leto wore opaque contact lenses. So I guess he is pretty bad at acting then? God, that guy is obnoxious.

A much longer take of the Pale Fire scene was filmed, where Gosling read out loud an eight minute staccato dialogue, but it was cut. Oh thank Zeus.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

1065. Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri
Directed by Martin McDonagh

I needed some post Strindberg therapy, as the 1001 Books Listmakers have decided it is essential for me to read books about how useless women are. I also made the unfortunate decision to binge on James Bond movies, which have just become available on Netflix. All this to say that I am ready to fuck some shit up (pardon the expression), so this movie is perfect for me.

Mildred Hayes rents three billboards from Red Welby on a rarely used road outside Ebbing, Missouri. It's a cool moment when you see what the billboards say for the first time, so I won't spoil it for you, but suffice to say that she is attempting to call attention to an unsolved crime. She calls out the Chief of Police Bill Willoughby on the billboard, which angers one of his officers, Jason Dixon (ayyy). Dixon is a racist alcoholic mama's boy, but even so, the town's citizens, including Mildred's son and ex husband, mostly agree with him that the signs should be removed.

What a wonderful, odd movie; I suspect it is the illegitimate offspring of Ethan or Joel Cohen. There are a few rural town stereotypes gleefully included, but McDonagh is just as willing to turn those stereotypes on their heads, and he does so with the perfect mixture of humanity and humor.  I was actually most struck with Sam Rockwell's performance when he was acting drunk. It seems like a simple skill for an actor to master, but I feel like a lot of times, they overdo it, or confuse alcohol's effects with those of mushrooms. Other actors (ahem Al Pacino ahem) would not have pulled off such an interesting character with that much subtlety.

Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and my man, Peter Dinklage all deserve shout outs too. I feel like there was nothing heavy handed in the movie. The world is a sucky place at the beginning of the movie, and it's a sucky place at the end, but it still made me feel optimistic. How can that be?

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

The font on the billboards is called Impact.

Frances McDormand originally didn't want the role, because she didn't think someone from her character's socioeconomic background would wait to have kids until she was 38. Her husband told her to shut up and do it.