Grant's Movie Log

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"Luck don't live out here."
Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Director: Boots Riley
Writer: Boots Riley
Stars: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler
Production Company: Cinereach

Sorry to Bother You is a comedy that has what I thought would be a fairly unimaginative premise: a black guy starts using a white voice at his telemarketer job and starts landing lots of sales. Is there potential for laughs in this premise? Yes, but I can't say my expectations were very high past that. However, I was very, very surprised by this film. There is a fair bit of office comedy and at times it feels like an episode of Atlanta, but there is also a lot of clever social commentary in here that also makes you laugh. And, frankly, I think that's the best way to fit social commentary into a film. Expect to spend a decent portion of the film trying to figure out exactly how this film it going to end, because it really takes an interesting, and weird, turn towards the end of the story. I can't divulge too much information about it without getting into spoilers, but it's a twist I didn't see coming and I was very satisfied with it.

However, this film is not for everyone. The humor won't land with everyone, and how weird the story gets will certainly put some people off. If you don't like when a film leads the story in a certain direction for most of the film before pivoting to a completely unexpected direction, this film ain't for you. There is also a lot of adult content in here so, uh, don't bring your kids.

Overall, this film takes a lot of risks and not all of them work out, but I really enjoyed what the team behind Sorry to Bother You was able to accomplish. It has a fun, weird, and unpredictable story with interesting characters and an equally intriguing world.
My Letterboxd

"Luck don't live out here."
Films I plan on watching within the next month or so:

- I Kill Giants (2018)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
- Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot (2018)
- How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2018)
- Leave No Trace (2018)
- Skyscraper (2018)
- You Were Never Really Here (2018)
- The Equalizer 2 (2018)
- Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

I've also recently watched Metropolis (1927), It Happened One Night (1934), Gone with the Wind (1939), and Citizen Kane (1941). All of which I enjoyed.

I was disappointed that 'Sorry to Bother You' didn't seem to be playing in theaters near me...I'll have to catch it somehow

"Luck don't live out here."
I was disappointed that 'Sorry to Bother You' didn't seem to be playing in theaters near me...I'll have to catch it somehow
It doesn't seem to be getting a super wide release. Even at the theater it's playing at near me, it only has a couple of show times per day. Hopefully you can find a way to watch it.

"Luck don't live out here."
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Director: Peyton Reed
Writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pe˝a
Production Company: Marvel Studios

Ant-Man and the Wasp is the follow-up to 2015's Ant-Man, which I liked. It was a solid super hero movie, although fairly typical and not really anything new and inventive. I feel very much the same about Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Story: Ant-Man and the Wasp picks up after Captain America: Civil War, and basically Scott isn't doing Ant-Man stuff anymore because he's under house arrest for two years due to his part in the airport fight. He still has the suit and everything, but his days are primarily spent entertaining his daughter and helping Luis with their security company. Eventually, he has a vision of Dr. Pym's wife and he calls him, which results in Hope (the Wasp) knocking him out and bringing him to their lab because they want to rescue Mrs. Pym from the quantum realm. He then eventually gets back into the Ant-Man suit and that's where the film really kicks off. I found the story of this film to be completely and utterly okay. I was entertained. However, I think that this is one of the weakest Marvel stories that has been portrayed on the big screen since perhaps the first Ant-Man. Take Paul Rudd's humor out (which I really do enjoy) and this story is frankly kind of....meh. Our heroes spend a fairly large portion of the film trying to obtain a part of technology necessary to their mission, and then finding a spot to set up the lab and complete the mission, but the villain gives them some trouble along the way. The villain, while somewhat relatable, is once again weak and the other "bad guy" portrayed by Walton Goggins is about as cookie cutter as it gets. There's never really a sense of danger. The villains seem more like annoyances that the heroes have to deal with, and it's always known that they will complete their mission by the end of the story. I can respect that this film does seem fairly self-contained apart from the after-credits scene that ties it in to Avengers: Infinity War, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's just an okay story.

Characters: I do really like the character of Scott Lang. His humor is very wholesome and genuine, and he is one of the more relatable heroes in the current MCU. Hope is also a solid partner for him both on missions as the Wasp and otherwise. Also, while a lot of people seem to really like Luis (Michael Pena), I can't stand him. I find him entirely unfunny, and every time he took control of a scene I was just waiting for him to be off screen.

Overall: I had a good time watching Ant-Man and the Wasp. It provided what I have come to expect from Marvel films: entertainment. Is it fairly typical? Yeah. Will it go down as one of my favorite Marvel films? Nah, but I can't say I won't pop it into the Blu-Ray player every once and a while when I'm in the mood for a Marvel film a couple of years from now.

"Luck don't live out here."
I Kill Giants (2018)

Director: Anders Walter
Writer: Joe Kelly
Stars: Madison Wolfe, Zoe Saldana, Imogen Poots
Production Company: 1492 Pictures

I Kill Giants is a young adult drama with some fantasy elements that follows a girl, named Barbara, who believes that she hunts and kills giants. This film isn't quite as fantasy centric as I expected after seeing the poster for it. The main focus of this film is to show how Barbara deals with her fears and the problems she is currently facing. She's often bullied and referred to as the "weird girl" when she is at school, but when she is outside of school she seems rather outgoing and brave in her quest to "save the city" from the giants that she believes are coming to destroy everything. However, there are not really any giants. The giants are from her imagination and they represent something that has been looming over her for some timeľa fact, which is revealed later in the film, that she does not want to accept. It is with that revelation that I came to sympathize with Barbara, because up until that point she really hadn't earned it. She is clearly smart, and I hate seeing anyone get bullied, but there were plenty of times outside of when she is getting bullied where she basically shoots herself in the foot. She creates problems for herself that could have been avoided. So while I was rooting for her all the way through, I couldn't help but get a bit frustrated with her as well. I do think that the final act of the film wrapped up well, though, and I was on board with the message this film is trying to get across.

However, I do think that the fantasy and real world elements could have been more properly balanced and well blended. There are plenty of plot holes and some elements of the story just don't tie in well together. I also believe that this film would have benefited from the character of Barbara coming off as more likable through the first half of the film. Furthermore, this is a young adult drama but I think it would have a tough time holding the attention of a young adult audience. It's slow at times, and if the audience went in expecting lots of fantasy elements, or lots of action, they'd be quite disappointed.

Overall, this is a young adult drama that might be more fit for an older audience, but the problem is that an older audience is going to see the problems with the story and characters much easier. That puts this film in a tough spot, and I think that's why it has gotten such a mixed reaction from people who have watched it. However, I will say that if this ever makes its way to a streaming service it might be worth a shot for you to try it out if you're into young adult films.

"Luck don't live out here."
Skyscraper (2018)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han
Production Company: Legendary Entertainment

Skyscraper follows Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) as he is invited to the a new building, which happens to be the world's tallest, to do a security check that will allow for them to open up the residential portion of the building. We soon learn that the person who got him the job set him up, and then he gets lured away from the building and roped into what is essentially a heist story. The building is set on fire, and his family and the bad guys are in the building, so he jumps off of a crane to get back into the building to beat up some bad guys and save his family. That's basically it. This is a 90s-era action flick released in 2018. Clearly the team behind this film knows that, too, as one of the posters they put out while marketing the film had a 90s theme to it. Unfortunately, this isn't the 90s anymore and really this isn't even a good 90s action flick. The action is mediocre and honestly this isn't the best character Dwayne Johnson has played in his recent onslaught of the box office. He's charming, but humor is one of his strengths and there isn't a lot of it in this film. It's mainly him doing unbelievable thing after unbelievable thing until he achieves his goal of getting to his family. The story also takes a few leaps towards the end that I just couldn't get behind, most notably something related to how the fire containment system works at the beginning of the movie compared to the end. There's also some odd pacing in this story that we're supposed to just ignore because it's an action movie, but some of it is just so unbelievable I couldn't help but laugh. Don't expect any great dialogue here, either, as the script is mediocre at best.

But, is it entertaining? That is usually the saving grace of this kind of movie. And, well...yes, it's entertaining. This is a film that will allow some people to turn their brain off for nearly two hours, eat some popcorn, and enjoy the show. It's incredibly forgetful, though, and I don't think I'll ever watch this one again.

28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
You see a lot of new films. I wish I had that kind of time these days.
"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews

You see a lot of new films. I wish I had that kind of time these days.
I go in spurts. Usually summertime and then awards season. I've only seen like 4 films in theater this year.

"Luck don't live out here."
You see a lot of new films. I wish I had that kind of time these days.
There are a lot of folks on here that review old films very well. I like a lot of older films, but I very much prefer newer films. So even if I watch an older film, I don't usually review it.

Anyway, yeah, I am lucky enough to currently be a college student with a sports journalism job that allows me to work remotely. Being able to schedule my classes however I want, and work whatever hours I want as long as the work gets done, provides me with plenty of time to visit the theater multiple times per week if I want. I'm enjoying it while I can, because after college I won't have all of this free time anymore.

28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
There are a lot of folks on here that review old films very well. I like a lot of older films, but I very much prefer newer films. So even if I watch an older film, I don't usually review it.

Anyway, yeah, I am lucky enough to currently be a college student with a sports journalism job that allows me to work remotely. Being able to schedule my classes however I want, and work whatever hours I want as long as the work gets done, provides me with plenty of time to visit the theater multiple times per week if I want. I'm enjoying it while I can, because after college I won't have all of this free time anymore.
Ah, but now explain being in college and having enough money to see so many movies!!!!

"Luck don't live out here."
Leave No Trace (2018)

Director: Debra Granik
Writers: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini
Stars: Thomasin McKenzie, Ben Foster, Jeffery Rifflard
Production Company: BRON Studios

Story: Leave No Trace follows a dad, who is ex-military, and his teenage daughter who live in a public park. They live in this park by choice, not necessarily out of necessity. They have a solid camp set up, a daily routine, and while the daughter doesn't go to public school her dad has homeschooled her very well. They aren't completely isolated, either, as they go into the city whenever they need to. But, one day a jogger sees the daughter while running down the trail, alerts the authorities, and they are scooped up and taken to a government agency. Eventually, they are let go and attempt to adjust to their new way of life in an actual house. That's as far as I'll go with story details, because that is where the story really begins.

The story of Leave No Trace is not an exciting one. This is a pure drama and the true focus here is on the characters. We watch Will (the dad) attempt to adjust to living as a "normal" person in a house with a day job, while also battling his memories of war which often haunt him in the night. Living outside is all Tom (his daughter) has really ever known, so we also see how she adjusts and what she thinks about the average way of living in the U.S. Their struggle, and sometimes their inability, to adapt is what drives the story. This is a very emotional film as well. And by that I don't mean that it'll make you cry or tear up, but the emotion is so strong that it is almost a character itself. I was at full attention the entire time while watching this one. Everything just comes together in a way that easily makes this one of my favorite films of the year.

Characters: The real reason why this film succeeds so well in what its trying to do is because of the characters and the actors playing them. Ben Foster puts in what I would call an Oscar-worthy performance as Will. We sympathize with him, we see the conflict within him, but we also question him at times because of how set in his ways he is. Thomasin McKenzie also puts in a tremendous performance as Tom. As far as I can tell, she hasn't had many major roles but she is incredibly impressive with her ability to carry scenes here. She's also very strong in the more emotional scenes.

Cinematography: There are some great shots in here, but the real reason why I wanted to note the cinematography is because there is a use of symetry at the beginning and end of the story that really impressed me. It was such a simple addition, but it really helped bring everything together. Also, I loved that the director chose to use music so sparingly. There are some scenes where there is absolutely no music at all, only the sounds of the environment and dialogue of the characters.

Overall: Leave No Trace is a terrific movie that very well could end up getting an Oscar nomination or two at the end of the year. The strong performances and the gripping story really make it worth the trip to the theater.

"Luck don't live out here."
You Were Never Really Here (2018)

Director: Lynne Ramsay
Writer: Lynne Ramsay
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov
Production Company: Why Not Productions

I was more excited to see You Were Never Really Here than any other film I've seen this year. That's not to say that I expected it to be the best film of the year, but from what I heard about it it sounded right up my alley. And it was.

Story: A middle-aged, ex-military man named Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) spends his days tracking down young girls for their parents, and he's willing to get violent if they're in some kind of trouble. At night, however, he returns to his home with his mother and is a relatively good son. After starting what he thought would be a fairly simple job, an event happens that completely changes everything, and he is forced down a very interesting, and brutal, path.

This is a dark and violent story. And I say story because a lot of the actual brutality isn't shown. There's a very violent scene that's shown through security cameras, which lessens the blow of the scene. Also, a lot of the kills are also shown in ways that let the audience know what is happening but don't show them all of the blows like some other films do, such as Drive. I'm not opposed to this kind of stuff being shown on-screen, but I really respect the decision by the director to have such a brutal story but not necessarily show all of the brutality to the audience. I think a big reason for this choice is because the audience isn't necessarily meant to focus on the violence but rather on the story, and how truly dark it is. The director didn't want this to be a typical revenge story that people go to see just for the action. The path Joe ends up on as a result of this job reveals stuff that happens in the real world that we often don't want to think about. The way Joe's backstory and motivation behind what he does is incredibly well done. It's done through little flashbacks throughout the film, and we don't truly understand these flashbacks until we need to. This film also subverts expectations towards the end in a way that I initially made me think "Ah, man", but the more I thought about it the more I liked the way the story concluded.

However, I think a big reason for the mixed reaction this film has received from general audiences is because of the choices I just mentioned. People who go in expecting lots of on-screen violence? They'll be disappointed. People who can't get over the little twist towards the end? They'll really make their displeasure known. It is inevitable with films like this one.

Characters: Joaquin Phoenix once again puts in a tremendous performance as Joe, and if anything this performance gave me confidence that he's going to do the Joker justice. Sure, he's technically the good guy in this film, but there's a lot of darkness inside his character and he does a really great job of portraying that.

Script: This film won best screenplay at the Sundance Film Festival, so it's no surprise that the script is fantastic. I even went and read it after watching this film.

Overall: Like most indie films, this one isn't for everyone, but I thought it was very good. Go for the story, not for the violence.

"Luck don't live out here."
Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot (2018)

Director: Gus Van Sant
Writer: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara
Production Company: Amazon Studios

Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot is a dramedy based on the true story of John Callahan, who was an alcoholic and got into a car crash due to him and his friend being drunk, and he ended up paralyzed. The story primarily focuses on what led to his alcoholism, his desire to become sober, and why he started drawing the cartoons that he is known for. It's told in a non-linear style and we see several different parts of his life as a result. I found this film to be a treat to watch. John Callahan's character (played by Joaquin Phoenix) is truly something else and held my attention the entire time. His humor is right down my alley and his story is truly intriguing. And I know there have been other films that have tackled the subject of alcoholism and trying to overcome it, but I thought that this film portrayed the process exceptionally well while also telling us everything we need to know about John Callahan's life. Jonah Hill is also exceptional, as always. The film does run a little long, and I do think that maybe 10 minutes could have been cut, but it was another enjoyable experience at the indie theater and I can't complain. Unfortunately, this may be one of Amazon Studios' last indie films as they appear to be pivoting away from art house style films and towards more main stream content. Anyway, if this one happens to be showing near you, I'd recommend giving it a shot.

"Luck don't live out here."
The Equalizer 2 (2018)

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Richard Wenk
Stars: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders
Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corporation

The Equalizer 2 picks up not that long after The Equalizer concluded and Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is now a Lyft driver. He picks up people and takes them wherever they need to be, and occasionally he does contract work for people on the side. Eventually, one of his friends is killed and he is set onto a quest for revenge.

The Equalizer 2 is not as good as its predecessor. That's just how it is. The first 25 minutes or so of the film are used to fill us in on what McCall is doing these days and drags on far too long. There's a lot of him just driving people around during this section of the film and frankly it gets kind of boring. And really, this film should have been severely cut down in editing. It's a two hour, maybe a little over, long film that could have easily been done in about an hour and forty minutes.

Antoine Fuqua attempts to provide a more complex story than the first film, but he fails to keep it entertaining and when the "twist" comes it's not a surprise at all. It's a twist that has been done dozens and dozens of times before and most people will be expecting it. The B Story in this film feels like a side quest in a video game, not an integral or even necessary part of the film. It's meant to show us the human side of Denzel, but it never fully does its job. The action is very good when it happens, but considering the reason why most people will see this film is because of the action, it seems a bit too spread out. Sometimes that's fine, but the story here isn't good enough to warrant such long gaps in-between the action. Furthermore, the final fight should be the best part of a film like this. The entire film was leading up to it, after all. But it's incredibly disappointing and I still can't believe this but it's arguably the worst part of this film.

There is entertainment to be had here. But unless you have a theater subscription, or maybe you're a huge fan of the first one, I can't recommend spending the money to see this one on the big screen.

"Luck don't live out here."
Eighth Grade (2018)

Director: Bo Burnham
Writer: Bo Burnham
Stars: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson
Production Company: A24

Eighth Grade is about a girl named Kayla who is at the end of her time in middle school and is getting ready to start high school. This isn't the story of some kid who has it all figured out or is extremely popular, though. In fact, this is the story that many people will find very relatable regardless of what generation you grew up in. If you had an awkward experience in eighth grade or if you weren't the most popular kid, you'll relate to this one. Sure, it'll probably speak more to current students or those that have gone through middle school during the 21st Century (as I have), but while technology has changed immensely over time kids only change so much. This film does touch the idea that technology has become a huge influence over the lives of kids these days quite a bit, and it portrays it in a very realistic way. I went through middle school before social media took over (Myspace and Facebook were just starting to gain traction), but cell phones were the hot ticket and many of the notes that this film hits on regarding social media were still very relatable to me. But the real story of this film is Kayla trying to become more confident in herself, trying to make more friends, and trying to work through how awkward the world seems to her at this time in her life. This film pulls no punches. It doesn't sugar coat anything and it doesn't make middle school seem better than it is like a lot of films and television shows do. It goes where you think it wouldn't dare go, and that makes it just that much better. There are some scenes in here that will make some people incredibly uncomfortable, but that's kind of the point. Eighth grade is an uncomfortable time, and it only makes sense for a film covering it to be uncomfortable at times.

Elsie Fisher does a tremendous job as Kayla, and I have to assume that there's some of her in her portrayal as well because I believe she just finished eighth grade not that long ago, and Josh Hamilton (Kayla's dad) is solid as always.

Yes, this film is R rated even though it is about a girl in the eighth grade. However, I wouldn't discourage parents from taking their kids to see this if they're of the appropriate age (around seventh grade or older). It's primarily rated R because of language, but there are some subjects that parents may flinch at when they're brought up in a film that their kid is watching. But, they're subjects that kids are going to encounter at school anyway, and maybe it'll even provide an opportunity for discussion after the showing ends.

Everything about Eighth Grade is solid, but it's how the story will relate to people that really makes this a very worthwhile watch.

"Luck don't live out here."
Mission Impossible - Fallout (2018)

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames
Production Company: Paramount Pictures

Story: Mission Impossible - Fallout follows Ethan Hunt and the IMF team as they attempt to track down three plutonium cores that will be used for nuclear attacks. Along the way, Ethan's true identity is brought into doubt and trust between the government factions involved fractures.

The story of this film is by far the weakest part to me. And I don't say this because I think the story was bad, but because this story isn't anything we haven't seen in a Mission Impossible film before. Nuclear devices in play? U.S. Government treating Ethan as a potential hostile? This franchise has never done that before! It moves along in a way that doesn't make it seem repetitive to the point where it took me out of the film, but I just find it funny how the Mission Impossible franchise is able to recycle its storylines without really any backlash. I assume that is primarily because of the action, which I will get into in a second. Anyway, the story is serviceable and despite it getting a little trigger happy with the whole "No, I betrayed you! No, I betrayed you before you betrayed me!" concept I enjoyed it.

Action: This is what I believe has helped this film rise above previous entries in the franchise and action films in general. The action sequences in this film are superb. The bathroom fight teased in the trailer? It lived up to the hype, as did pretty much every other fight in the film. There are also a few chase sequences that are better than the Bourne films, and that's saying something. In terms of a pure action film, this is one of the best I've seen in a long time.

Acting/Characters: Everyone brings their A Game here. There is no weak link here. Tom Cruise once again proves that he apparently doesn't age and will probably play Ethan Hunt until he's 70, and Henry Cavill plays the CIA Agent who doesn't really trust Ethan very well.

Screenplay: I don't think that there's any surprise here that Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Edge of Tomorrow, Rogue Nation) wrote a terrific script for this film. One weakness that often stands out with action films is weak dialogue, but not here. It's quite good all around.

Cinematography: Camera work in this film was spot on, especially in the fast-moving action scenes. It didn't feel choppy and flowed like water down a stream.

Overall: Given a deeper story, Fallout may have ended up one of my favorite if not my favorite film of the year so far.