Welcome Exiles to your weekly What’s On the Grill? where we chat about what we’ve been watching, are watching or plan to be watching. So long as it’s cinema related because your hot neighbor doesn’t count no matter how many naked starjumps they do.
It’s been a huge week for me; the new Playstation 4 has meant some serious Netflix binging. I’ll count ’em down for you.
1. GLOW – I honestly never knew I would give the slightest damn about the true story of 1980’s women’s wrestling, but here we are. It’s great that Alison Brie can shine in this series and Marc Maron’s Sam may be one of the best characters I’ve been introduced to on TV in a good while. A.
2. After Earth – Wow, what a solid bummer. I’ll give most sci-fi a chance, but absolutely nothing clicked. Gaping plot holes, miscast characters, a yarn that tries to follow the unique fairy-tale type of storytelling that M. Night Shyamalan brings to the table but ends up feeling very contrived. Even the set production was jarringly bad. I retroactively hate Shyamalan now. F.
3. The Reef – I was honestly just a bit bored by this film. I think in the hands of another director, it could have been maybe possibly a decent true-life horror film. D.
4. Batman vs Superman – My third rewatch. For some reason, it flowed a lot smoother this time. I could appreciate more nuance. I think this movie is actually growing on me. C+.
5. Escape From Alcatraz – Eastwood is a believable bad guy. And he is a bad guy in this, it just happens that his humanity outshines his adversary, the Warden. Also, without this film I don’t think we would have gotten the masterful Shawshank Redemption. B+.
6. Maggie – The story is a bit overlong and the genre has been gnawed to the absolute dry bone, but it holds together pretty well when all is said and done. The real star if there is any doubt is Schwarzenegger, who has been giving us some surprisingly great emotional performances lately. Why did it take forty years to find out that the ex-governator can truly act. If you want your zombie movies to be a meditative consideration of parenthood, tragedy and loss, give it a go. B.
7. Orphan – While it holds it’s own as a respectable thriller, I could not shake the innate ridiculousness of the premise after the final reveal. It’s such a convoluted (and objectively hilarious) ppath to get to “creepy kid kills family” that it really should have just gone for a more traditional angle for this kind of movie. Vera Farmiga is also so familiar now in these kinds of roles that I didn’t even blink. She’s a fine actress, but her name may as well be short hand for “intimate horror film”. C.
Away from Netflix, I caught two more films:
Life – Now THAT’S how you put together a horror movie. I found myself going into the movie critically; I’m an unabashed lover of Ridley Scott’s films and have a tendency to draw comparisons in the well-worn monster-on-a-spaceship thrill rides and was shocked that even though Life didn’t stray far from the general formula it was entertaining as get-out. What would have been a predictable series of events in the hands of another director transformed into a grim parade of inevitabilities that you know is coming, but still care about. I call it the John Wick style of moviemaking. I also don’t want to hear any more about dumb scientists in a Scott film though. I think being in space drops everyone’s IQs by thirty points minimum. A.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – I’ve got nothing to add that hasn’t already been said, other than I was grinning ear-to-ear for two hours straight. A movie like that can remind you that life is pretty good. And yes, the scene with the rubble. John Watts is an incredibly aware director. Not many others would have capitalized on that moment with such skill.
Certainly not Raimi *ducks*. A.
And that’s me. How about you, Exiles?
Any TV shows you plan on starting or are wrapping up? Movies you might want to see but the scotch intake levels weren’t there yet? Finally owning up to those My Little Pony episodes you’ve been binge-watching?
You can’t just stare at naked starjump neighbor all the time.