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Movie Time 2.0: TT mini reviews

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
National Lampoons Christmas vacation has been watched, as is required.

Gotta say, Brian Doyle Murray responded better to being forcefully abducted by Randy Quaid than I would have
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Continuing my unintended but somehow natural Holiday horror binge, I got to All the Creatures Were Stirring, a Shudder original that doesn't even have a wikipedia page. It really doesn't need one. The worst part of the horror anthology is that the cover is a monster coming out of a Christmas tree decoration like it was an egg and that never happens. At least Ghoulies had the good sense to put a ghoulie in the toilet for half a second.

The stories involve an office Christmas party that turns "Saw", a dude stuck in a parking lot after doing some last minute shopping with some mysterious women, a dude visited by three ghosts, a man who runs over the wrong reindeer and a surprise Christmas party that ends in an overly cheerful alien abduction. And frankly, most are too cheeseball to be either funny or scary and are mostly not that great. The worst one is the riff on A Christmas Carol that really doesn't do anything interesting or clever with it. It's obvious what it is referencing but it doesn't really subvert the messaging of the original story so... it's just kind of a shittier version of the same story. The alien abduction one has the potential of being the best, as it is about someone who loved Christmas as an outsider and Constance Wu is doing interesting things with that. The best is one that actually ends right when it feels like it starts, the guy in the parking lot. When we finally reveal the monster and it's rules we don't really get to play with it and that's a shame. I feel like Christmas Bloody Christmas, this wasn't that the creators weren't trying. It doesn't feel lazy. But it's also just not very good and not nearly as clever as it would like to be.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Glass Onion is just a delightful romp all around. It's absolutely clear everyone is having a great time and Janelle Monae in particular kills it imho.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
OK I don't wanna be doing this first thing Christmas morning but I just randomly caught Fat Man on a very late Outer Heaven rerun and it's honestly a contender for least enjoyable movie I've ever seen.

So... first let's get it right out of the way. Mel Gibson is in this. He's not just in it but this is the movie that came along and pulled him off the trash heap to try to get his career going again. He's completely terrible. Also his performance is. Really just kinda feels like he's sleepwalking through it.

Looking past that though, uh... the dialog is recorded at suitable listening levels? That's the one aspect of the whole thing that wasn't just really bad, and credit where it's due that's hard to find these days? But it's an action movie, I guess, in theory, where what action exists is super boring, and it's a movie all about having a wacky premise with a script that doesn't know how to have fun with it. Or you know, how to follow through on any of its many premises.

Like we largely start off with this bit where because Kids These Days Are Bad and are getting coal, the U.S. Government is shorting Santa on pay, and he can't make ends meet. Because I guess in this setting that's how it works? Like, some portion of the U.S. federal income tax goes to paying Santa Claus to run his workshop? And the pay sucks? And the rest of the world I guess just... doesn't contribute to Santa's budget? Oh and there's also a weird scene later about the elves' Sigma Grindset where they just eat nothing but cookies and take power naps to work for 23 hours a day. It's gross. Anyway because of this Santa has to take a side gig manufacturing control panels for fighter jets.

So... that doesn't really make sense because the cause of the problem is also the solution to the problem. And also fighter jet manufacturing is like a pork barrel thing where we just overpay military contractors so they don't sell stuff elsewhere, aren't they? Not a thing anyone actually needs? More importantly though, this goes literally nowhere at all. We establish this and then it never comes up again. Even when it would make sense to like, have a military presence to explain where there's guns coming from, no, Santa just has guns, independently.

Then there's this bit where there is an evil kid who is very evil and also weirdly boring. And he hires a hitman to kill Santa because Santa gave him coal... but also he's like, Richie Rich? So I don't see why he can't just buy things instead of relying on Santa.

So from there we mostly just cut back and forth between Santa just kinda sitting around and grumbling about money, and the hitman trying to find Santa's address. There aren't really any fun twists or turns with this it's mostly just him questioning a string of like half a dozen postal employees.

Then we finally get to the big climax where this guy just kinda calls Santa out and this would be the moment where you just call out how wacky the premise is and how eccentric your characters are with a fun dialog exchange but we just kinda don't? The hitman shouts "I've come for your head fat man!" and there's a big pause for the audience to laugh like this is the funniest thing in the world but like, it's the title of the movie? And also Santa isn't actually fat? Or at all Santa like come to think. Everyone in this just wears like, brown jackets. Anyway they have a really short anticlimactic gun fight.

Then there's a scene where Santa tracks down the kid who hired the hitman to threaten to kill him if he doesn't stop being evil.

Then the movie just... keeps going for like another 5 or 10 minutes? Like, nothing happens, at all. It's just like... B-roll puttering around the workshop scenes? Not even like trying to tie up dangling plot threads like the money problems or anything. And then the credits just kinda start.

Just... really an utterly joyless experience. Nothing to even make fun of.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Yeah watching Fatman immediately before seeing Violent Night made for a much more enjoyable experience.

Just a joyless slog
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
Greatly enjoyed Glass Onion, though the first one was probably just a teensy bit better. Clever and pleasingly twisty. It tickles me that it's both an intentional and an unintentional period piece: how fortuitous to release a movie involving a fictional dipshit tech billionaire right at a time when a real-life famous dipshit tech billionaire is very publicly corncobbing.

I never try to solve mystery stories. I just enjoy noticing things and wondering what they mean before watching the detective put it all together. And that's what these Benoit Blanc movies consistently do very well.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Glass Onion was indeed great, unfortunately slightly ruined by Mrs Phantoon spotting Miles' sleight of hand and therefore giving everything away
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
We tried to avoid watching Glass Onion while my mom is visiting because even for non-mystery movies she narrates/guesses everything that's happening. But she knew it came out on Netflix on the 23rd and was insistent we watch it. Thankfully she was fine for this one although was completely convinced the kombucha was important and would not stop talking about that. Dumb as it was the hourly dong gag made me giggle every time. I hadn't seen the first Knives Out and only vaguely knew this was a mystery movie before watching it and had a good time.

I piggybacked on her Disney+ while she was here to put in two-factor whatever and I finally got to watch Fire of Love and was a bit underwhelmed. The volcano footage is absolutely amazing, but the narration they've added is absolutely overblown and silly. It also takes a turn to be incredibly depressing at some points because they show the destruction from volcanoes which includes (spoiled for sad/gross/disturbing) dead/glassed/ashes of animals and parts of human corpses and they talk about how the government was warned by the scientists and it all could have been avoided. Even by the end of the movie there was essentially no discussion or explanation of their scientific contributions, just that they were part of the group initially understanding plate tectonics, "they made films and books" and that those eventually helped people understand volcanoes better. But I know a lot of early warning and chemical knowledge came from Katia and I think there was only one sentence about that. I really wanted to see more of the field footage and understand what they were learning and the film didn't deliver there, it focused way too much on politics for the second half. Ah well, still a lot of fascinating footage and glad I saw it.

We also watched The Fabelmans which was honestly one of the most boring and most forgettable things I've watched in a long time. I thought this would be more about falling in love with filmmaking and editing but instead I got a boring family drama that barely made any sense and went on far too long.

Anyway, three movies is more than I usually watch in a year so pretty rattled from watching three in less than a week.
 

Olli

(he/him)
Big Game is still very good. It's very minimalistic at just under 90 minutes, but manages to tell a complete and entertaining action story about the POTUS (Samuel L. Jackson) getting shot down from the sky, hunted by terrorists. He is saved by a 13 year old wimpy kid who's in the process of performing a coming of age hunting ritual. There are no big surprises or amazing twists, it's just a homage to 80s/90s action movies done really well despite a small budget.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
Glass Onion was wonderful. I greatly appreciate that Derol was just there. Like, he's a running gag and not part of the mystery.
 

karzac

(he/him)
I thought he might have been involved but also knew he's played by Rian Johnson's best friend and gets cast in all his movies
 

karzac

(he/him)
Yeah he's the drug dealer in Brick, the rival gun slugger in Looper, and the police officer in Knives Out. Don't remember who he played in Brothers Bloom because I didn't really like that movie, and I don't know if he was in Last Jedi.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
At the suggestion of @Tegan , I watched Eega (2012), the latest stop in my trip through the notable works of S. S. Rajamouli.

I love it when movies are weird. This one only got weird in the back half, finally living up to its premise of a comedy about a murdered man reincarnated as a housefly taking revenge on his murderer. The front half almost tempted me to give up; I don't usually begrudge movies taking their sweet time, but starting with 45 minutes of tepid romcom about these thin comic characters really tested my dedication to the project. All the dominoes set up in the first act did eventually get knocked down, though, and I'm glad I stuck with it.

Pretty mid, but I feel enriched for having seen it.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Just joining the echo chamber to say that Glass Onion was an absolute delight. Also I was already in love with Janelle Monae, and just knew she was too cool to die halfway through, so it was great she got so much to do in the second half. It was also pretty fun that it just turned out Benoit was actually working a different mystery than the one we thought he was there for for like half the movie.
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
I saw Glass Onion today. I was really let down by it! Miles being a brain dead fraud was more than slightly undercut by him legit beating everybody! If Helen hadn’t thrown the Breaking Bad fulminated mercury and burned the Mona Lisa, while possible killing everybody in the building, he would have won. And he still had Duke’s gun! I thought he was going to actually kill Helen for real, but these movies don’t have the courage to do something shocking like that.

The ending made me mad. Imagine if at the end of Five Little Pigs, Poirot told Caroline to just blow up the room after getting the killer to confess but not having any proof.
 

jpfriction

(He, Him)
I think the idea is that Miles was an idiot but he was good at surrounding himself with useful cowards and she had to do something completely insane to get them to turn on him. Even if she had successfully released that proof, he probably would have found a way to discredit her with their help. Harder to come back from burning up the mona lisa with the magic fuel you staked your reputation on.

Granted they could have done that 10 minutes after showing up and skipped most of the movie, but the rest of the movie was pretty fun so I’m not going to complain.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
That's right.

Blanc said that he can only give Helen the truth, not justice. There was no remaining evidence establishing Miles's motive for Andi's murder, nor that Duke's death even was homicide. He could beat these charges as long as he had people willing to defend him by giving false testimony, and he was previously established as being surrounded by such people, because they needed him for their own ambitions.

Miles had invested everything in Klear, however. He needed Klear to succeed, which is why the following week he was having a bunch of bigwigs over to be wowed about how his island was a proof-of-concept for it. To hurt Miles, therefore, Helen exposed the dangerous shortcomings in Klear in a way that would be impossible for him to bullshit his way through: by implicating its failure in the destruction of the Mona Lisa, which was only possible because Miles added an override to the safety mechanism.

With Klear doomed, Miles' hangers-on now had no reason to defend him. He was about to lose his ability to help them, so like rats fleeing a sinking ship, they turned on him, proclaiming their willingness to give false testimony against him so that he'd be convicted for the two murders and one attempted murder he committed.
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
It makes sense, yet it’s disappointing for the world’s most “performative” detective to solve a case by encouraging arson and perjury. They stooped to Miles’ level, and it didn’t feel like an earned victory. Also, the Mona Lisa is destroyed. I know it most likely saved a bunch of lives in the future, but that thing is gone.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
You might want to spoiler that.

I felt disappointed in the moment, because I really wanted a clever mystery, and the rug pull followed by a flashy, explosive finale didn’t feel great. The more I sit with it the more I like it though. It’s not what I was expecting, but it’s good in its own way.
 

karzac

(he/him)
The ending felt like it subverted genre expectations in the same way as the original. I liked it, even though I think the movie as a whole was weaker than the first one.
 

jpfriction

(He, Him)
It makes sense, yet it’s disappointing for the world’s most “performative” detective to solve a case by encouraging arson and perjury. They stooped to Miles’ level, and it didn’t feel like an earned victory. Also, the Mona Lisa is destroyed. I know it most likely saved a bunch of lives in the future, but that thing is gone.
There is some precedent to this. It felt like an homage to murder on the orient to me. Blanc just likes a mystery. He doesn’t seem terribly worried about putting people in jail.
 
Watched Knives Out for the first time, and followed it up with Glass Onion right after. Delightful films. I don't know if the mysteries were all that clever, mostly because I essentially figured them out halfway. That's not necessarily a bad thing per say, part of the fun of a good mystery is the possibility of being able to actually solve them. It just wasn't an oh wow kind of thing where I'm shocked and awed by them.

It makes sense, yet it’s disappointing for the world’s most “performative” detective to solve a case by encouraging arson and perjury. They stooped to Miles’ level, and it didn’t feel like an earned victory. Also, the Mona Lisa is destroyed. I know it most likely saved a bunch of lives in the future, but that thing is gone.
Ok. So, She didn't "stoop to his level" -- his level was murder. You could make an argument that her actions was an attempted murder-suicide. But that's not what happened. Meanwhile, he was attempting to implement an incredibly dangerous technology that would have undoubtedly killed even more people than he'd already murdered. If she had just walked away or tried to fight him in the court of public opinion, or the legal system, she would have been crushed. She would have been crushed, and he would have gone on to kill even more people for his own personal ambitions. She did the only thing she could have to stop him from continuing to hurt more people. And it was something he deserved in full. This was a man who was willing to kill people for his own ambitions. This was a man who reveled in the prospects of breaking things just to break them, damage/harm/consequences be damned. So she gave him exactly what he professed to want. Edit: I'd also argue she did the only moral thing to do in this circumstance. I don't think the mystery or the unraveling of it was nearly as good/interesting as the first film. But Glass Onion definitely had the most enjoyable and cathartic ending of the two films.
 
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karzac

(he/him)
Watched Knives Out for the first time, and followed it up with Glass Onion right after. Delightful films. I don't know if the mysteries were all that clever, mostly because I essentially figured them out halfway. That's not necessarily a bad thing per say, part of the fun of a good mystery is the possibility of being able to actually solve them. It just wasn't an oh wow kind of thing where I'm shocked and awed by them.

Leslie Odom Jr said that Rian Johnson described the movies as theme park rides, not crossword puzzles, and I think that's apt.
 

BEAT

LOUDSKULL
(DUDE/BRO)
I WATCHED A SHITLOAD OF MOVIES OF TOTALLY RANDOM GENRE AND QUALITY!

AND I KEPT NOTES IN A BIG OLD NOTEPAD DOT TXT!

OH DAM I DID IT AGAIN! ALL NOTES ARE TOTALLY UNEDITED FROM WHEN I WROTE THEM STREAM-OF-CONCIOUSNESS STYLE, EXCEPT FOR A FEW TIMES WHEN I TOTALLY EDITED THEM.

SOME OF THESE I SAW ALREADY WHATEVER DON'T CARE.

COWBOYS VS ALIENS

God I miss the days when ideas like "a western but with Spacemen here to kill everyone" could be pitched and actually show up in theaters instead of being tossed out to die on the Netflix Vine.

NOW YOU SEE ME 2

Honestly I just put this one on to see if the Card Heist was as dumb as twitter made it seem. It was dumber.

DOWNTON ABBY SEQUEL WHO'S NAME I FORGOT

Is this cozycore? I think this might be cozycore.

I don't think the stakes ever got higher than "Some of the bit characters had a bad day." and "some guy was worried for a few minutes." This is cozycore. There were months and months of people telling me "Oh my god the show is so dramatic and so cutting" and it's fucking cozycore.

SPIDER MAN NO WAY HOME

The Tom Holland Spider man movies were always pretty Mid to me. This one is elevated to "Actually really good" by being a secret Toby Maguire Spider Man. Willim Daefoe is the shit. Put him in every movie.

THE BATMAN

God this movie rules.

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

I love it. It's not an AMAZING movie and all it has in common with the short story is the title, but it's NICE, you know? Sometimes you just wanna watch a nice movie about a guy doing some cool stuff with lots of really amazing shots of gorgeous landscapes. Also Ben Stiller Longboards down a mountain. I'm here for it.

EVER AFTER

Not bad as far as feminist reimaginings of Cinderella go.

ELF

I forgot how WEIRD the ending was.

BEAST

Man that lion fucked Idris Elba up.

FALL

I was really surprised when one of the opening logos was Buzzfeed, but this is the most Buzzfeed-ass-movie I've ever seen so that makes sense.

That Gundam meme where the guy looking at FALL says "Grief makes people seek strange self-destructive gods" but the message going over their head is "Influencers are sociopaths."

The TWIST was some fucking goofy shit, as was VULTURE DINNER.

The movie would have been so much better if right after scattering the dead dude's ashes her psycho friend busted into a "THIS VIDEO WAS SPONSORED BY RAYCON" ad. Really sell just how fucking insane this gal is.

DOG

I'm kinda over dog movies where the dog can't talk. That means dog movies peaked in the 90s with sherlock bones.

Also man, fuck the army.

AN NHL PLAYER AND AN HR REP GOING ON AN AWKWARD DATE.

That certainly was a movie about an NHL player and an HR rep going on an awkward date.

Okay, my wife told me it's called "Stay the Night" I'm not gonna change the name tho. I like mine better.

EASTER SUNDAY

Decent 90 minute sitcom, by which I mean situational comedy. I liked it. It made me laugh.

THOR LOVE AND THUNDER

It's not as good as Ragnarok, but it's fine.

My wife insists that I mention Thor's Butt. She is correct. Thor's butt.

JURRASIC WORLD DOMINION

God we really should have left this series in the 90s.

Also the laser pointer that makes a raptor try to kill you is the dumbest weapon ever because we already have a way to point a laser pointer at someone and then they die. It's called a gun. It's a very effective way of killing someone by pointing at them. Probably the best ever.

LMAO There are T-rexes just marching through towns eating people I take it back this shit rules.

DADDY'S HOME 2

How the fuck is Mel Gibson still getting work?

TOP GUN

Holy shit this movie is actually really good

TOP GUN MAVERICK

Holy shit this sequel made 30 years after the first really good movie is somehow also really good.

UNCHARTED

It's actually a lot of fun! Like, a genuinely good swashbuckler throwback.

Fuck Naughty Dog Tho.

SOME MOVIE ABOUT SOME LADY WHO WANTS TO BE 70?

What the fuckle.

It's called Mack and Rita but seriously what the fuckle.

VIVO.

The Hamilton dude made a netflix movie about a singing monkey.

X-MANS APOCALYPTO

Magneto the reason nobody likes you is you keep murdering everyone. I don't know why you find this concept so difficult Magneto. It's like, you make some pretty good points every now and then, but every time you do you're on top of a giant pile of corpses and that kinda fucks up your whole message.

Also this X-Mans is kinda bad.

Also Jean Grey literally tells an obviously blind guy to watch where he's going. What a jerk.

LOL I forgot all about the bad guy doing a Global Thermonuclear Peace.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2

Sonic is a good friend who tries hard and I love him.

THE GRINCH

I guess it's okay, but in my mind all I can do is compare the fake tumblr sexyman Grinch to the tornado of chaotic evil live action grinch.

This Grinch would never swear cusses, kiss men, or powerlift a sleigh.

This is a Gunch superiority Post now.

SOME THING ABOUT KAIJU WWE

Did anyone see Real Steel? Is that the only other Combat Sports but with big huge things instead of dudes" movie, or is this a huge underground subgenre that I'm only finding out about now?

Okay I looked up the name it's called rumble. It was fine.

DOCTOR STRANGE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS

It's a real shame this movie came out after Everything Everywhere All at Once set the bar for "multiverse movie" through the fucking roof.

Also it might just be the lingering trauma of "actually trying to enjoy moon knight" but I could use less "puppeting dead bodies around" in my Marvel flicks.

Like.

Just do less weird shit with dead bodies in general. That would be fine.

LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD

I love this dumbass movie.

JINGLE ALL THE WAY

Is comedy "Ahnold does violence"? Yes. Yes it is.

VENOM LET THERE BE CARNAGE

I could watch Tom Hardy argue with his brainmonster true love forever. Had I been allowed to write Spider Man No Way Home the entire movie would have been about Venom. The entire second act would be some some shenanigans caused Venom and Tom Hardy to get separated and Tom Holland had to get them back together and the whole time Venom is just yelling in Holland's brain about how much he misses Hardy and Toby Maguire is like "oh fuck not this shit again." I am too powerful for the cowards at Marvel Studios.

GLASS ONION

Rian Johnson does not fucking miss.

DON'T WORRY DARLIN

I mean, I get it. And I agree with it! I am picking up what you're putting down, movie!

But that doesn't make you, you know, GOOD.
 
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BEAT

LOUDSKULL
(DUDE/BRO)
FALL

That Gundam meme where the guy looking at FALL says "Grief makes people seek strange self-destructive gods" but the message going over their head is "Influencers are sociopaths."
93jStA9.png
 
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