Critical MeMe

Time spent watching films, even crappy ones, is time well-spent.

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Location: Missouri, United States
    These aren't comments on ALL of the movies through which I've cried, yawned, laughed, and rolled my eyes, but just about everything I've seen since early 2002 is here plus a few from earlier. Post dates reflect my screening & parenthetical dates are the year of US release (aka Oscar eligibility).
    Yeah, a movie review blog isn't very original. But originality is overrated. Just ask Michael Bay.


I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

Ruth just wants people to be decent to each other and is increasingly ill-at-ease with the jerkiness of most humans. When she gets robbed and the police kind of shrug it off, she decides to work the case herself with the help of a neighbor.

I was really digging this movie, not in small part because my worldview is a lot like Ruth's: I don’t get the self-centeredness of most people I meet. But things got more than a little weird when we met the little crime “family” that was responsible for ripping her off. They were over the line of believability by at least three steps.



Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

It's a decent follow-up: enjoyable but not spectacular. Zac Efron may have been the best thing in it -- his aimless man-child almost made me tear up a couple of times!


The Seven Five (2015)

Documentary about a particularly corrupt cop in NY’s 75th precinct. It’s weird because he seems like such a fun, nice guy -- the complete opposite of what I’d think a “dirty cop” would be like. Well-told but it never really pulled me in.


Money Monster (2016)

Clooney is Lee, the self-involved host of a cartoony investment show (a la Jim Cramer). When one of his top stocks bottoms out overnight, people are mad. One’s mad enough to come to the station, outfit Lee in a vest full of explosives, and basically hold the studio hostage while he demands answers.

Of course the kid has a point. Of course those watching the show are siding with him. Of course Lee comes to understand and care about him. It’s serviceable but unsurprising.



The Girl With All the Gifts (2016)

Doesn't come anywhere near the quality of the book and it’s difficult to separate the two from each other. Because I know exactly what the ending means via the written page, it’s hard to know if the way the movie presented the end really “works” -- I know that neither Gary nor Nathan derived the book meaning from it (they thought the teacher was a hostage), but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I just don’t think it’s AS good a thing. Basically, my family saw it through the lens of typical dystopian tropes: the humans are the “good guys” and the zombies must be cured. The book saw the zombie children as the next -- amoral -- phase of evolution and the humans as simply a dying breed. The latter is much more interesting.



Logan (2017)

All of the best scenes in this movie had one thing in common: Patrick Stewart. The fight scenes were choreographed well but, after a while, they felt pretty same-y. It’s a diverting film but also quite a bit longer than was necessary.

This had the same effect on me that Rogue One did: it’s a diverting chapter in a series I don’t care much about.



The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1932)

French girl falls in love with an American who is called back to the states when his father falls ill and never returns. She has his child and has to find some way to support the kid.

This woman has all of the bad luck. When she lands a potential husband, he’s not interested in taking the kid. When she finds a sugar daddy who doesn’t mind the kid, he winds up being a notorious jewel thief. After being convicted as complicit in his crimes, she does 10 years and her child’s put into an orphanage. But she still isn’t allowed that happy reunion as she realizes the stigma of her name will hurt his chances of a career. So she takes to the street to trick for medical school money.

It would be fine if it were just told "straight" but it tries to go one step further by making the above into a story being told to the wife of the now grown-up son in order to keep her from leaving her driven doctor hubby. Not sure why they felt that extra layer was necessary, but the story suffers for it.


Camp X-Ray (2014)

Kristen Stewart has just been put on Army assignment as a guard at Gitmo. While there she develops a tentative friendship with one of the detainees, which makes it impossible to ignore treatment intended to humiliate him.

It’s a very small movie that packs a quiet punch. Stewart once again proves she’s one of the more underrated actors of her generation.