Mini-Reviews #15

2016-09-03

Another summary of (some) movies and shows I’ve watched over the past months.

Film

The Boss
*Ugh* Kristen Bell just doesn’t have any movie luck post TV’s Veronica Mars, IMHO (not a fan of House of Lies). Oh, and the rest: Main actress Melissa McCarthy is of course as awful (as always) and the storyline is crap. Laughed not once (and not even smirked slightly at the scenes that I’ve already seen in the trailer).
Deadpool
Interesting low(er) budget take on a superhero movie. Entertaining, although the main attraction (dark humor, no archetype hero) was a bit overplayed at times and the real plot of the movie was not really enthralling.
Olympus Has Fallen
Of course absolute nonsense, but not as bad as expected. Admittedly, I’ve only watched it on TV, and not really paying attention after the first hour or so (I said it was not that bad, but it’s still far from being a good movie).
Les Misérables
I knew it would be a musical, but not how bad! Looks like there’s still only one movie of this type that I can endure…
The Perfect Host
Saw the trailer for it years ago, now catched on free TV: Pretty nonsensical; skip it.
Daddy’s Home
Generic US mainstream comedy, a pretty bland affair. As usual, Mark Wahlberg in a Mark Wahlberg role and Will Ferrell doing again, whatever he did for the last ten years; and the wonderful Linda Cardellini was completely sidelined.
Kill Command/Identify
Low budget SF/Action/Horror movie from the UK; read positive review and saw an interesting trailer… but was then bitterly disappointed by the movie itself. Lacking characterization and boring plot and a cheap look: Not good.
Thor: The Dark World
One of the most banal/mundane/trite flicks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to grace our world yet — but I sure it won’t be the last, nor will it be the lowest point. Movies like this (and another one, X-Men, see below), make me wonder why I bother with superhero movies anymore at all.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Rewatched it again, after several years. Has the classic, well known funny scenes and acts, of course, but as a coherent comedy movie, it’s bad.
The Witch
Read some postive reviews, but it was absolutely not was I was ‘promised’ or led to believe by the marketing campaign. Kinda interesing approach, but not really fulfilling in the end.
Das finstere Tal
Not so bad for a german movie. Sort of a slow paced ‘Western in the Alpes’.
In the Heart of the Sea
Some unusual cinematography and the idea behind it sounded good, but the bottom line is: A rather *meh* flick.
Zootopia
Animated comedy. Very good looking (as one expects from Disney), but also giving in very much in moral themes and a political correct way of thinking (as one expects from Disney) — but that’s of course OK for a movie aimed at children.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
A sort of a visual-rich modern-day fairy-tale, if that makes any sense to you. Nice, but nothing one must watch.
Spotlight
A low key journalistic drama; could also have been a “TV movie of the week”. Adds nothing new to the genre. I’d say it got the Oscars just for the topic, not because it was in any way exceptional.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition)
So I’ve seen “Ultimate Edition” (the one with more explanatory scenes and dialogues) and that was already hard to endure; I’d rather not watch the cinema release. As usual, the dark and gritty look of a Zack Snyder film (it really begins to look like a routine by now), terrible, terrible plot (really: terrible!) and one of the worst, bland, uninspired and sensual overloaded final acts with the “antagonist” that I’ve seen for a long time. Henry Cavill is a good Superman, but the overly mopy charaterization in Snyder’s films doesn’t fit; Ben Affleck is also good as Batman (again, the overly brutal charaterization in Snyder’s films doesn’t fit) and I’m curious about what he will create in the future in the DC cinematic universe. Amy Adams and others are pretty much wasted, Jesse Eisenberg’s “Lex Luthor” is a joke and can’t understand for the life of me why everyone is praising the walking beanstalk (Gal Gadot): Neither the role nor her acting stood out in any way.
Winter’s Bone
Family drama, praised by the critics and considered to be Jennifer Lawrecence’s breakthrough role. Alright then, but to me it was a slow paced boring flick (psychographic drama or not, it was plain uninteresting). The only redeeming feature was that the geographic setting reminded me slightly of the TV show Justified (which I highly recommend, just to end this paragraph on a positive note).
Warcraft
Beforehand: I never played any kind of Warcraft game, so I don’t care how accurate they created the world. So with that out of the way, the movie had some interesting ideas, but suffered from a cheap CGI look, too much plot for one single movie and the rest wasn’t that convincing or engaging to me neither (too toothless).
The Huntsman: Winter’s War
My highest admission goes to the casting director, who somehow (via good old $$$, I guess) mananged to get Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain and Chris Hemsworth involved in this dull, mid-budget, unasked-for sequel. The approach (mixing a kind of grown-up ‘Frozen’ sisters with a Snow White myth) is weird, but I’ve seen worse fantasy movies in my time.
X-Men: Apocalypse
Back in the past, the X-Men franchise was interesting. The previous one was already grating, but this entry with the run-of-the mill storyline (end of the world because of super villain with no plausible motivation) takes the crown, in a bad way. Also: Too many characters, Magneto again oscillating bewteen good and evil, effects were so-so *yawn* nothing new under the sun.
Keanu
Supposedly a comedy, but not my style at all.
Prisioners
Again a (in my eyes undeservingly) highly praised crime drama with some interesting ideas and aspects. But those stay pretty much un(der)developed, although the running time of this film is already too long.

TV

Better Call Saul — Season 2
Things are (slowly) getting more interesting; I’ll definitely stick around for the next season.
House of Cards — Season 4
Oh well, that show is still on a downward spiral. Hope the creators have a plan to end the story arc somewhat gracefully and not milking it to death for another three seasons or so.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — Season 2
The Marvel movies are already like a high-budget TV show with two, three episodes per year (and those are almost too much), so I really don’t need this version. Good riddance!
Salem — Season 2
This show is definitely a keeper!
Homeland — Season 5
While the previous season looked like the show could establish a new foundation after the first story arc ended in season three, these episodes were mainly treading water. And then to read that the show already was renewed for several(!) more seasons gives me an unpleasant feeling (examples of shows overstaying their welcome come to mind: “Dexter”, “True Blood”, “Sons of Anarchy”, to name a few). I’ll stick with it for now, but don’t have high hopes.
Penny Dreadful — Season 3
Again, wonderful season. Not without flaws, mind you, but why bother mentioning them, now that the show was cancelled (or officially: the story the creators had in mind has been told). Yes, the main arc has run its course (not quite satisfactory in my opinion), but there were more than enough threads and plot points for the remaining characters to continue with the show; it’s a damn shame that we now will never get to see these resolved.

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