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.

9/08/2018

Hostiles (2017)

Captain Blocker (Bale) is tasked with providing safe passage to a long-imprisoned Cheyenne Chief and his family back to their land in Montana. As Blocker has spent his military career dealing with hostile Indians, he has first-hand knowledge of atrocities committed by them and does not relish the task ahead.

Early in the journey, the party comes across a woman who very recently lost her husband and children to a Comanche attack. The woman is handled with care and gentleness -- not just by the military escort, but by the Cheyenne as well. Gradually, the party begins to respect each other and to stand against threats together.

It can be a little slow in bits, but I think that adds to the atmosphere of the film. The fear, anger and grief of the party are palpable -- all performances are top-notch.

B+

9/07/2018

Whip It (2009)

High-schooler Bliss, despite being a bit of a tomboy, is a fixture on the pageant circuit, strictly to please her mother. When she sees some Roller Derby girls, she is determined to be a part of that world -- even if she has to resort to subterfuge to do so. Soon she's got some teammates, a cute boyfriend, a rival, and a reputation as the girl to beat for speed.

It wasn't funny enough, angsty enough, anything enough. Bliss gets busted by the team for being too young, found-out by her parents for secretly skating, and estranged from her best friend for leaving her behind... but there's never any question that everything will work out.

C+

9/06/2018

Peppermint (2018)

Jennifer Garner plays Riley, the kind of woman who -- though things are hard -- you can tell is "winning" because her husband is hot and her daughter is adorable.  The family is gunned down by the local cartel after the husband briefly considered earning extra money from them. Riley survives and seeks justice from a corrupt system and, when that doesn't work, goes a different way.

Bodies drop. My jaw never did. It's just there doing exactly what you expect.

C

8/25/2018

Divines (2016)

Two slum-dwelling teen girls see an opportunity to make some money by working for the local drug kingpin but get in over their heads.

There are some lovely segments and a romantic subplot with a dancer, but the story felt way too familiar. Though done well, it’s been done before.

B

A Mother's Son (2012)

A 15-year-old girl is murdered, and a mother suspects her teenage son is the culprit. Full of hand-wringing angst complicated by a newly-blended family. Not bad for a TV movie -- on par with PBS detective shows.

B-

Amy (2015)

Takeaways:

  • Some parents are toxic and it should be encouraged/applauded when a child cuts such a parent  out of their life. I’m guessing that most of Amy’s issues could’ve been avoided if she’d had a decent father figure. But, since she didn’t, she should’ve been encouraged to get a decent therapist so she could stop looking to other men (managers, bodyguards, her husband) to fill that role in her life. 
  • Paparazzi should be outlawed. Professional photographers should have to stay 100 feet away from their subjects at all times. 
  • Tony Bennett is a truly decent man. 
C+

8/24/2018

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

Got off to a really dumb/rocky start, but once the Rock went to prison we got back on track. It didn't get any smarter, but at least it got fun. And oh my word. What a cute baby.


C+

The Narrow Margin (1952)

Cop is tasked with babysitting a mob boss’s widow on the train ride from Chicago to grand jury proceedings in L.A. Solid noir with a didn’t see THAT coming twist.

B+