10:57 pm - Fair & Balanced NetFlix Reviews #25
From late spring and early summer.
LEXX S1:E2: SUPER NOVA: * *
I started watching Lexx with season 3 and really dug it, but I have to say, the original movies are really uneven - I mean, even moreso than the later season, which is really saying something. I really had to work at paying attention to what the hell was going on in this one. Least compelling Tim Curry role ever, also.
PETE'S DRAGON: * * *
Liana wasn't as into this as I thought she'd be. Doc Terminus is a great character archetype, though; I'd forgotten about him. I totally want to use that template for a bard character or something in the next D&D game I play in. Also, what was it with Disney and orphans in the 70s, anyway? (We're going to watch The Rescuers at some point pretty soon, I think.)
CONAN THE BARBARIAN: * * * * *
Every few years you need a booster shot to continue to immunize yourself against being brought down by less-awesome films. Also, every time I watch this film I think, oh yeah, there's a bit where it looks like Arnold punches a camel in the face. And then, oh yeah, he *really just totally punches that camel in the face*. Just writing this makes we want to watch that scene again. Oh, hello, YouTube!
HORRIBLE BOSSES: * * *
One of those films that looked like it would be brilliant in the trailer but actually has a really muddled and disjointed execution. Especially disappointing because it creates a setup that feels like it should resolve in some kind of perfect round-robin fashion (albeit totally not the one the protagonists expect, surely) but instead it spends too much time on one part, then hastily resolves a second, and practically handles the third off-camera. Also, sorry, but there is no way you're going to convince me that Jennifer Aniston is the least bit aroused by Charlie Day.
A DANGEROUS METHOD: * * *
After watching PROMETHEUS (* * *) in the theater, I decided to take in some more Michael Fassbender. He's pretty good here as Jung. Keira Knightley is a poor casting decision for a Russian Jew, but she goes well out on a limb with a difficult role here. Unfortunately, Viggo Mortensen even more badly mis-cast as Freud, and he's hardly even trying, sadly. Beautiful attention to setting detail.
HAYWIRE: * * * *
Another Fassbender film, albeit in a small but intense role. This film lined up a whole bunch of asses and kicked them all in rapid succession. Having Gina Carano as your protagonist means you can do some crazy-good stunt work close-in, 'cause it's really her jumping over moving cars and smashing through furniture.
CORIOLANUS: * * *
I was unfamiliar with the Shakespeare play though I knew the original Roman (probably apocryphal) historical story, more or less. I'm a sucker for modern-setting variants on the Bard, I guess, so I thought this would be a shoe-in the way Ian McKellan's RICHARD III (* * * *) was, but it was somehow lacking. (The play itself is also not that great to start with.)
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM - SEASON 8: * * * *
C actually started watching Curb, which really surprised me - I thought it would be way past her unlikeable-characters threshold. But something about the Larry David formula works for her here, so we've been watching it - lots of early episodes here and there, but also systematically through the most recent season, the high point of which has gotta be the Michael J. Fox episode.
THE BROTHERS BLOOM: * * * * *
Rian Johnson nails it again with a sort of Romantic Comedy version of a Fiasco Caper. Fun narrative approach. Lays out the rules of its ending pretty much explicitly in the voices of the actual protagonists - like, they straight up tell each other what the ending has to be, and then the story wiggles back and forth to keep you guessing whether it's going to fulfill its contract with you, the viewer, or leap away at the last minute with a surprise way out.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS: * * *
Fassbender and McAvoy pretty good together as Young Magneto and Xavier. Otherwise, more of the usual. Had its moments. January Jones as Emma Frost was not really one of them.
For consideration: next up, a couple of genuinely unenjoyable movies that I nevertheless sat all the way through, plus some fighting and a couple of foreign classics