What’s On The Grill? September 13th – 19th

WELCOME once again to What’s On The Grill?, the segment where I blab about my weekly viewing and then turn the mike over to you guys to do the same!

This week I caught Kong: Skull Island, The Forgotten, Olympus Has Fallen, Garfunkel and Oates: Trying to be Special AND The Lone Ranger!

Let’s count ’em down with a brand new format.

KONG: SKULL ISLAND – D-

I wanted to like this movie. Like a lot of folks I wasn’t especially thrilled with Godzilla, but there was plenty of decent stuff going on, not the least of which that it was being played deadpan straight. That must’ve gotten too hard for the second installment in the Monsterverse and Kong definitely happens in a comic-bookish world where this stuff is allowed to happen.

That’s not to say that the film doesn’t shoot for some brutal moments, but basically it turned into the CG monsterfest that I guess everyone wanted, with not much substance to back any of it up. Hearing that this movie was going to involved Vietnam-era soldiers gave the creators license to push out every single movie trope they could think up and duct tape that mess together without context or need. Hiddleston pushes out a passable action-guy and Sam Jackson sure is a through-and-through Army man. I’m still not sure why everyone seems to love Brie Larson.

But saving it from an F- were some cool monster fight scenes and again, I think that’s all anyone wanted or expected from this. Hey, it was better than most Transformers movies.

The ForgottenC

The curse of the blue tint. I’d compare this movie to 2007’s Invasion in that it’s a great concept with pretty good performances throughout, but feels as though it meanders with scenes blurring into one another under the curse of a dulling blue light. While undoubtedly meant to portray in metaphor the emotional trauma that comes from losing a child, I loved how unknowable and all-powerful the Forces at work are.

The film feels adequately claustrophobic, the characters are insects under a microscope in a world that’s suddenly not theirs any more. Julianne Moore’s Telly is impassioned and barely sane given her circumstances. This isn’t a great film, but I’ve found myself watching it a few times over the years.

Olympus Has FallenC-

I made the mistake of watching the sequel London Has Fallen first a few months ago and couldn’t stop laughing at the super-serious chest thumping tone.

The original was a little better but never lets up telling you that This Is Serious Dammit. As I said in the Kong review, I’m a huge fan of commitment to a stupid premise and this film certainly does that right. The plot feels as though it was researched by a writer familiar with the subject matter (or just read and reread every Tom Clancy novel back to back) and we get a badass stabby hero in Gerard Butler.

Hilariously obvious foreshadowing gives us a villain in Dylan McDermott and Aaron Eckhart is suitably Leader-Of-The-Free-Worldish. Look, it’s a humorless action flick that should be ashamed of the Die Hard scene it artlessly mimics. Better to watch White House Down which also artlessly mimics Die Hard, but everyone seems to be having a lot more fun doing it.

Garfunkel and Oates: Trying To Be SpecialB

I’m a fan of the folksong-spinning duet of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci; they have a tone which is a unique mix of comedy, song, existential anguish and an Etsy wishlist. Setting up the premise for their comedy special as being the set up for their comedy special, the girls run through a live performance intercut with clips from when they were traveling around the United States, half finished song ideas and the occasional anecdote.

It doesn’t feel ambitious or novel or ahead of any particular curves, but it’s a great slice of their work and the charm that makes them worth your time.

I lol’ed.

I have definitely been here before.

The Lone RangerF+

Probably my favorite Johnny Depp film is called Dead Man, which is about an East Coast dandy who finds himself in the brutal Wild West; killed by cruel men, he somehow simply fails to die and is guided by an eccentric exiled Native American on a path of justice and preternatural revenge. It’s eerie, beautiful and haunting and cemented Depp in my mind as one of the greatest living actors, no matter how many dumb pirate movies* he makes.

So…The Lone Ranger

I don’t know if Gore Verbinksi won a bet or if Depp bought the rights to Dead Man from Jim Jarmusch, but something horrible happened and it was painful to watch this bloated mockery unfold. It redeems itself largely in the climactic scene which succeeds in being a riproaring blast of pure silver-screen wild-west goodness set to Zimmer’s typically excellent score. Horses run atop moving trains, bad guys sling hails of bullets at our immortal heroes, fists are shaken and mustaches are twirled. But that was not nearly enough to forgive the endless and long-winded set up that tried to force a work of true art into a Mickey-shaped mold.

*Okay, I don’t hate Pirates that much. But still.

 

What about you, dear Exiles? What did you get into over the last week? Any shows that grabbed your fancy or made you wonder what someone had over a producer’s family that they could get that garbage made?

Sound off below!

  • Larry Version 3

    Exactly. Most films in the romance genre have never done anything like they did with this one.
    And yeah the whole ‘stockholm syndrome’ thing was a stupid complaint. All of this stuff with the critics is ultimately what lead it to being a bomb.

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    That works too.

  • *blank stare*

    The critics were nuts.
    I heard that some claimed that it “incentivized date rape”.

    I liked it for being an original sci fi flick that was pretty brave to show a lead character at his weakest, not as a man, as a human being.
    Was really surprised that Pratt could pull that off. I’m a brutal critic of romantic movies, but I thought this one had actual substance and solid performances right through.

  • Larry Version 3

    I found the first part, especially when he was alone, rather intense and interesting to watch. Even the moral issues that cropped up later on were well done.
    If you looked at critic reviews, anybody would think it was a thoughtless, plotless romance.

  • Or you could always skip watching the film but still comment.
    I’m not saying i do that but I’m also not not saying i do that.

  • *blank stare*

    The trailer was getting slammed left and right, but it looked fun as hell to me.

  • Poppity

    Thanks, Josh! You are sweet! 🙂
    Unfortunately that doesn’t work for me, as I got the following message:

    STARZ is not Available

    Unfortunately you are not able to purchase STARZ outside the United States or Puerto Rico.

    I hate missing roasts. I could just pop-in to say “hello”.

  • I just watched the first two episodes of The Orville and hot damn was it great. A love letter to Trek in the finest form. Review tomorrow so I won’t say much, but he did it right. Discovery has its work cut out for it.

  • *blank stare*

    Verbinski’s got to pull off at least two more A Cure For Wellness-level or better flicks before I can forgive him for The Lone Ranger.

  • *blank stare*

    I liked Passengers too.

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    It’s a joke!
    I wish we can help Firefly return!

  • DropYourLinen

    That’s what gets me about Star Wars now. You have an entire galaxy to play with. You could make virtually any combination of brand new awesome characters, places, situations, et cetera. Instead we get a complete retread revolving around the original characters. And Abrams is back for the next one. Fuck Disney.

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    The Firefly club is still alive?

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    It’s online!
    I found it on Starz!
    Here is the link!
    https://www.starz.com/freetrial/movie/30636/dont-breathe
    So you don’t have to miss this roast Poppity!

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    No it’s not?
    Why would a horror film be hard to market?

  • Larry Version 3

    With you on Kong: Skull Island. Godzilla had its problems, but they went to the effort to set and a tone and stuck to it throughout. This movie just did the exact opposite in every way, and had nothing too spectacular outside of a couple of CGI fights.

    This week I watched a little.
    In movies:
    February (or The Blackcoat’s Daughter). When I saw that it was a ghost movie…I wasn’t expecting what I got XD
    Passengers: wasn’t the trash people made it out to be. Had some enjoyable moments.
    Thor: The Dark World. A better film than most people give it credit for. The villain did nothing for me really but what villain has been truly good? XD

    In TV:
    Rewatched the anime Steins;Gate.It is probably my favourite of anything including time travel. Incredible voice acting. Awesome explanations. Great character development. It was the whole package.
    I also started, and finished The Handmaid’s Tale in the space of 12 hours. It was a great show but I genuinely do not think season 2 is necessary.

  • William Dhalgren

    Skyrim. It was just the sort of mindless activity I needed to get thru a rough time. Now I’m over it. 😝

  • Brown coats forever

  • DropYourLinen

    Bittersweet melancholy that it ended too soon but wasn’t forced to go on past its prime and driven into the ground.

  • Sweet. Any perks to being part of the club?

  • DropYourLinen

    This is a magical week for you, my friend. Welcome to the Firefly club.

  • TheDeadFellow

    Power Rangers, The Lost City of Z and Death Note (2017) for me.

    Out all of what’s listed here, Z was easily the best. A near masterpiece of storytelling, craftsmanship and surprisingly emotion. From its dream like cinematography to incredible performances and deliberate but never boring pacing, this is easily one of the best films of the year bar none. I just couldn’t get over at how good it was and I can’t help but feeling repeating viewings will be in order, especially ones where I won’t have to split the damn thing into parts lol.

    On the flipside, Death Note was a bunch of stylized schlock that was overstuffed, not faithful and TOO faithful to its source material. Only Willem Dafoe and the surprisingly cool synth soundtrack make it out of this mess alive. Meanwhile Power Rangers was dumb and obviously flawed but it had a decent amount of sincerity behind it for me to give it a pass. Bryan Crantson and Elizabeth Banks were easily the best performers for different reasons: The former for actually committing to the role while the latter hams the shit out of it GLORIOUSLY.

  • Like five or six episodes. So about half done. Picked up Serenity yesterday as well to watch once I’m done.

  • DropYourLinen

    Nice. How deep in are you?

  • Poppity

    Congrats to Linda for getting her film chosen!
    I would love to roast Don’t Breathe but it doesn’t seem to be available online, which is my only outlet.

  • Indeed it is.

  • DropYourLinen

    First viewing?

  • I wrote the same thing and then saw your comment lol

  • Lucky bastard!

  • What were you playing?

  • Firefly. It’s not too shabby.

    Did you pull a fast one on us by making us think The Lone Ranger was going to be the best of the bunch and then slapped it with a F+?

  • Alright! An 8PM EST Sunday I am down for that! I think I got Don’t Breathe with me as well.

  • King Alvarez

    I’m now a casual listener. Everything after Downward Spiral was all pretty similar to me.

  • sailor monsoon

    I agree with all of that.
    But the bar was set so low, that even if it was just ok, it was a success.

  • King Alvarez

    It sure was. And I have Afghan Whigs on Friday, Quicksand next Wednesday and The Descendents on 10/7.

  • William Dhalgren

    Sounds like an awful lot of NIN fans stayed NIN fans. I am not one of those fans.

  • William Dhalgren

    It’s VERY safe and there are parts of it that just kind of bother me now. Some of Rey and Fin’s scenes together seem off somehow. Like the chemistry is forced or something. I also find myself wondering how Rey is able to do all of this sophisticated shit without a lick of training. Maybe it’ll be explained. Whether it’ll make any sense at all is another question. Biggest complaint is how similar the story is to Star Wars. I just think too many filmmakers these days are absolutely consumed with REcreating what they loved as children rather than CREATING something new for others to love.

  • William Dhalgren

    Damn, that’s a shitload of music!

  • sailor monsoon

    I think TFA is well made but poorly written.
    It’s the worst parts of fanboy worship.
    But there’s parts i really like, like the villain.
    I’m about 50/50 on it

  • William Dhalgren

    Sidenote: Has anyone been down the Star Wars toy aisle at your local department store lately? There’s some spoilery shit out right now.

  • William Dhalgren

    Well, I’m off my video game kick and slowly getting back to doing something constructive in the evenings: watching movies and TV.

    This week I watched a bunch of shit I’d already seen:

    Dune
    Fire Down Below
    The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension
    The Force Awakens

    I napped through that last one. TFA is not aging well in the short term for me.

  • sailor monsoon

    That film is impossible to market.
    Whether you love or hate the film, It’s extremely hard to market

  • King Alvarez

    I’m in the city proper, everything outside of that is jibberish to me. Smart kid, people are crazy.

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Im outside of Chicago around Niles and Des Plaines.
    Will never tell you where I live.
    Because reasons.

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Celebrated my 17th and @DBMI:disqus birthday by roasting both 16 Wishes and Buckaroo Banzai.
    I also roasted Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers which makes me not want to have any cats anytime soon.
    Next week’s roast is Don’t Breathe chosen by Linda Owino at the normal times of Saturday at 8PM EST and Sunday at 2PM EST and 8PM EST. Let’s roast this so that it Don’t Breathe!
    Also saw mother! and loved it.
    Why did this film flopped at the Box office!?
    I blame Paramount’s marketing and not putting this film in August.

  • sailor monsoon

    I think reilly’s character alone is better than anything about those other two

  • King Alvarez

    I’m an oldish man who has no interest in what Paramore has to offer. Sorry bud, I just cant get into them. Where in the Chicagoland area are you?

  • *blank stare*

    I’m zany

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    I know you hated mother!
    Im just wondering why you hate it so much?

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    You live in Chicago?!
    We should hang out once in a while because I also live in the chicagoland area.
    I wished I had the chance to see NIN. I heard Paramore was also good as well! You should have went to that show. Paramore is fantastic and their new album is great!

  • sailor monsoon

    You liked Olympus has fallen and the forgotten more than kong: skull island!?
    That’s extremely interesting

  • Poppity

    LOL You’d enjoy Swing Time because it had a jazzy orchestral soundtrack throughout much of the film, like they played during the silent films. I didn’t overly go into detail because it would have been a book but that’s one it’s interesting transitional qualities. 🙂

  • *blank stare*

    Haha, I don’t trust those newfangled Talkies. You can’t hear the orchestra.

  • Poppity

    Oscar winner Trent Reznor! You see, I will never forget that one! 🙂

  • Poppity

    Here in the Stone Age, I’m quite disappointed that they are no longer showing re-runs of “Hart to Hart” on the Sunday afternoon. Making fun of Robert Wagner was one of the joys of my family’s weekend. Other than that, the lastest “new” movie I watched was from 1936. I’m totally with the times.

  • Mother! on Sunday
    Football
    Ken Burns’ Vietnam War

  • you lucky bastard!

  • King Alvarez

    It was pretty fantastic. I hadn’t gone the last 3 years, due to 2014’s setup being a shit show, but they moved locations after that and smoothed out some kinks. It was a rough 3 days, but it was definitely worth it!! NIN was unbelievable, as was QotSA and Jawbreaker.

  • *blank stare*

    Okay, so that sounds amazing. I saw some backstage pics on the NIN fb page, it looked staggering.

  • King Alvarez

    I was at Riot Fest all weekend here in Chicago. I saw Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, New Order, Buzzcocks & Death from Above on Friday. Dead Cross, Bad Brains, The Lawrence Arms, Mike D, New Found Glory, At the Drive in, Wu-Tang Clan, Taking Back Sunday & Queens of the Stone Age on Saturday. Hot Water Music, Dessa, that dog., Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Menzingers, Cap’N Jazz, Pennywise, TV on the Radio, Dinosaur Jr, Prophets of Rage & Jawbreaker on Sunday. Holy crap was I tired. Last night I finished season 1 of The Tunnel. And after I found out it was a remake of a Scandinavian show called The Bridge, which was also remade and cancelled on FX.