Suspect Goes Back To The Movies - 2020

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Perfect Blue

"Nobody cares for you anymore. You're tarnished and you're filthy."

Perfect Blue is a film I decided to watch with my friends because of the chatter about it here. Someone had nominated it for a HoF, or mentioned it for a countdown, but I finally got around to watching it.

The one thing that immediately stuck out to me is how it doesn't feel like it should be an anime. It feels more grounded in reality, lacks the sci/fi or fantasy element one would normally find. So it's no surprise for me to find out it was originally going to be a live-action film. Yet, I'm perfectly fine with it being animated, in fact I might prefer it. The sequences where we see the duality of the characters through mirrors it expertly done and who knows how well that would have come across in a live action film.

A successful pop singer leaves her singing career behind to try her hand at acting. She receives death threats for her "betrayal" and people around her start turning up dead.Her mind cracks under the pressure and she can no longer distinguish reality from dreams.

The obsessed fan motif has been done before, but Perfect Blue adds wrinkles to the elements to make it intriguing enough for the viewer to be glued to the screen. I had no idea what was real during the film when they would randomly cut to sequences being filmed for the show. We are placed in the mindset of our lead, who is losing her mind. She doesn't know what is real and neither do we.

Despite predicting who the killer was, I was off about the motive and with good reason. Perfect Blue twists and turns along the way to a relatively "obvious" conclusion, that I was questioning everything at one point.
"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews

Welcome to the human race...
It's worth noting that it's the only animated film to crack the horror countdown (and at #36 to boot) and it more than lives up to that level of distinction (I know I voted for it).

Fun fact: Aronofsky bought the remake rights just so he could reference the bathtub scream in Requiem for a Dream. Black Swan in particular definitely feels like a remake of this (though I'd contend it's not as good).
Iro is to reviews as Kubrick is to films.

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Fun fact: Aronofsky bought the remake rights just so he could reference the bathtub scream in Requiem for a Dream. Black Swan in particular definitely feels like a remake of this (though I'd contend it's not as good).
It's weird to think one has to acquire the rights to something to reference it in another piece of art. Parody is safe, but homages? Is it because it's literally a direct rip? I am trying to think of other times filmmakers have copied exact shots. Is it because it's hand drawn? Does that make a difference?

I immediately saw the similarities to Black Swan (was looking for it since I knew about the Requiem For A Dream reference).

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Your Name

"Treasure the experience. Dreams fade away after you wake up."

Your Name was on my list of could see movies if given the chance, but not one I wanted to rush out to see. As was with Perfect Blue, I'm kicking myself for not checking this one out earlier. It's a beautifully drawn picture with bright colours, relatable characters and a gripping story that pivots at just the right moment to keep you wanting more.

What starts out as your typical "Freaky Friday" storyline, Your Name manages to switch gears into another genre and takes you for a wild ride. I didn't expect to be on the edge of my seat for this film, but it got me there and then some. The race against time aspect here truly works in its favour and doesn't seem tacked on to the plot for cheap thrills. We've been with these two characters for awhile now and we want to see them succeed, but fate always seems to get in the way. A missed connection here, lost opportunity there. How on earth are these two people going to get the chance to meet up?

We root for them despite the impossible task at hand. Great writing and dedication to the animation craft will get you there. Your Name is full of laughs (a boy waking up in a girl's body will definitely grab at the breasts, the first chance they get). It was interesting to see the aftermath aspect of the change and not the change itself at the beginning. Our lead has no idea what happened to day prior because it was someone else in her body. If none of this makes sense, then just go watch the movie. It's well worth your time. I'll end the review there because you have left to go watch the movie, right?

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JoJo Rabbit

"Our Only Friends Are The Japanese And Just Between You And Me, They Don't Look Very Aryan"

There is a scene in this film that nearly tore me apart. When one walks into a Taika Waititi film about a young Nazi boy and his invisible Hitler friend (played by Waititi no less) you would think it would aim for the funny and leave it at that. Yet Waititi injects some dark moments that trip you up for a second. Some would argue it has a tone issue that it cannot balance, I disagree. The laughs are in the right places, the moments of sadness and time to pause are in the right places. Even some tense moments involving Stephen Merchant work in the right places. The initial scene I'm referring to is simply a shot of some shoes. It's something that I'll be thinking about for a few days, I'm sure.

Don't let that sombre intro fool you though, JoJo Rabbit is funny. Whether or not you think it's right to laugh at Nazi's and the time period is totally up to you, but having Hitler be played up in a parody of sorts by a Jewish man is enough of a kick to the nuts to the guy that I can't pass it up. The film never downplays the atrocities of what happened, but it does show how ridiculous the Nazi's are and stripping them away of their "powers" by showing their "Hail Hitler" salute over 30 times in one minute, among other scenes that are just as good.

JoJo Rabbit at first might seem like a Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdom companion piece, but it soon finds its own identity. There are two relationships in this film, JoJo and the Jewish girl, then JoJo and his mother. Johansson plays the mother role and there is a small bit of a Life is Beautiful vibe as she tries her best to make sure JoJo sees a brighter side to life and not the death and murder that takes place just outside their door. She even puts on a bit of a performance piece when she pretends to be the boy's father. The entire cast is good, with the exception of Rebel Wilson who just plays...Rebel Wilson.

JoJo Rabbit is obviously not a film for everyone, but it's one that knows the line and isn't afraid to jump all around it.

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Lady & The Tramp

"As my grandpappy, Ol' Reliable, used to say... I don't recollect if I've ever mentioned Ol' Reliable before?"

We finished out animated nomination process with Lady & The Tramp, a classic Disney picture that I had not seen since I was a child, so my memory of it was basically the spaghetti eating scene and the Siamese cat song.

What struck me first was how the film is presented through the POV of a dog, the human characters are mostly seen from the knees down. Very reminiscent of the first Toy Story film where we hardly ever get to see Andy's mother. It also takes awhile before we get to meet Tramp, so the picture feels slow. I doubt the ADD children of today would have the patience for a movie like this.

In addition, there is no real antagonist. We have the rat and Aunt Sarah. Of course we all hate Aunt Sarah and roll our eyes at the absurdity of a dog fighting a rat, but the overall story is more concerned with the "love" of the two dogs. Their love blossoms over a single day, I thought they might have gone on more adventures as a couple, but in reality it's very thin. The film does seem to jump around in time despite not showing us the transitions. One day it's morning, Lady goes outside does a few things, sees her dog friends next door and all of a sudden her master is coming home from work? Threw me off a few times.

The animation is well done, the film cleans up well, I watched it on Disney+. Lady & The Tramp comes off as a simple movie, no flash or excitement, just a story about the love of dogs. As a previous dog owner, I appreciated that.

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"Why do you fight for those who hate and fear you?"

I love Neil Marshall. His work is right in my wheel house. Dog Soldiers is a fun werewolf action romp, The Descent is genuinely a horrific/claustrophobic horror tale, Doomsday is a love letter to John Carpenter and Centurion is an underrated survival flick. Centurion was his last feature film back in 2010, since then he's been doing a lot of steady TV work. His most notable episodes of television include Game of Thrones (Blackwater / Watchers on the Wall), Hannibal (The Great Red Dragon) and Westworld (The Stray). So when he was picked to reboot Hellboy, I was nervously cautious. The simple fact that they were rebooting the series instead of finishing Del Toro's trilogy meant this film had an uphill battle from the start. People were ready to hate it. The first trailer didn't help things along either as the tone seemed to be mimicking Suicide Squad. Finally the reviews were trickling in and it sits at 17% for critics, whereas Del Toro's films sit at 81% and 86%.

They wanted more of a horror angle, which I guess meant more blood and guts? This reboot is bloody, which works for Marshall, but it feels misplaced. The tone of this film is wildly inconsistent. The humour is odd and doesn't land 75% of the time, the blood and dismemberment comes out of left field in a lot of sequences and the swearing seems forced to appear edgy. All this mixes into a misguided, studio steered mess of a film that isn't for fans, isn't for new eyes and becomes a joke. With all that being said...I was expecting worse.

Harbour does well for himself, he lacks the charm that Perlman brought to the role and he goes for a more animalistic and rough approach. It's neither better or worse than before, just different enough to be welcoming. The film opens with a poorly written voice over for Ian McShane to spew. That was the first and biggest red flag about this film. The opening sequence is poorly done, includes King Arthur and feels right out of another film. Some of the monster designs are interesting, more on the horror side than the Del Toro fantasy side. They mix both practical and cgi. What I felt was missing was the world building and the team aspect from the previous films. It felt like the Hellboy show and that the BPRD was non-existent. Despite having two people on his "team" towards the end, everything feels ham-fisted into a small can that it overflows with unnecessary elements.

Hellboy is bad, but it's not the travesty one would expect. I'd rank it dead last on Marshall's filmography and don't expect to see another Hellboy for some time. Shame, would have loved to see Del Toro and Perlman finish their story.

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"Don't make me drink alone, Don't make me drink alone"

Why these kids continue to go to this crazy ladies house...I just don't know.

Octavia Spencer is the titular character and her performance is what keeps this movie afloat. It's always fun to see an Oscar winner, or any actor for that matter who takes their craft seriously and delivers standout performances consistently to tackle a role like this. She seems to be having some fun and wants to bring an actual character out of a by the numbers script. She's gone on record as saying she doesn't like the bloody parts in movies so expect this one to be a little bit on the tame side. Awkward pacing and a story that stalls consistently doesn't help the film reach its potential or match her performance.

Once Ma starts showing up at the kids school, texting them or sending video messages, that should be more than enough of a cue to GTFO. Yet the story wants us to believe that the power of drinking is just too much to overcome that these kids are willing to put themselves in potential danger weekly, for a drink. We know something is off about Ma early on when she pulls a gun on a kid and forces him to get naked in front of her. She ogles his body, but the kids laugh it off as a prank. She leers at the boys constantly and has abrupt mood swings when you say the wrong thing. All red flags people. Of course if the kids in this movie acted with a brain, there would be no movie. So ignore these warnings and drink anything this crazy lady gives you. You'll be fine....

We get some flashbacks throughout the film to give us some insight as to why she is the way she is. This is an effort to garner some sympathy and the film has a little bit of a Mommy Dead & Dearest vibe that doesn't ever really flesh itself out. The climax is clumsy and has zero suspense, I was actually more bored during that scene than anything else because of how ridiculous it was.

See this film for Spencer and try your best to ignore everything else that makes this film a bad movie.

Love the review on Ma. The trailer almost sold me on the idea, but I figured it would fall into the same traps you explain haha

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Hobbs & Shaw

I'm trying to save the world, which, for the record, will be my fourth time. 'Cause I'm really good at it.

This franchise is so weird. What started out with a Point Break update involving fast cars and stolen dvd players has now become faster cars and saving the world from nuclear war. This is the first "spin-off" in the series (although some would argue Tokyo Drift is also a spin-off) and is the 9th film in the series, despite Fast 9 coming out soon. Someone thought it would be a good idea to have the Rock and Statham team up despite one of them having killed a likable character from an earlier film. But hey...let's forget about all that, right? These guys just don't like each other, but it's funny seeing them yell at each other so let's make a movie about it.

That's one of the key elements that makes this film cringe worthy. The forced comedic dialogue between these two, let's call it cheeky banter. It's terrible. The comedy bits do not land, they stall awkwardly. Seeing these two throw insults at each other is amusing in the first 20 minutes, then gets tiring, then irritating, then down right annoying. It doesn't help that they also seem to shoehorn Johnson's new BFF into the film and another odd cameo appearance from a funny action star. Seeing these recognizable faces took me out of the film every time they were on the screen.

The film wants to be a member of the MCU, introducing a faceless enemy that doesn't get captured and will come back for vengeance in a later installment..."we'll be watching you too" is Johnson's response...okay? I care why??? The filmmakers introduce motorcycles into the franchise now. They were used a bit in the first film but with no chase sequences, now we have an opportunity to bring something fresh to the series....oh, they're Transformers like machines that look incredibly fake and add no elevated sense of excitement to the action sequences? Okay, missed opportunity there guys.

The dialogue is cringe worthy, the story is your basic 'guy wants to take over the world' mumbo jumbo and the acting is what you would expect from two guys that never try to be anyone other than themselves on the screen. The one saving grace is Vanessa Kirby, she's a delight and is refreshing to see someone like her in this sausage-fest. Even Idris Elba is a little disappointing playing a half human half cyborg type character that can anticipate every move before our heroes make them.

Hobbs and Shaw didn't "ignite" the box-office so I have a sense that they might just migrate the story back to the Fast & Furious movies. They had an opportunity, even though no one asked for it, to make something a little different and they went in the wrong direction. The series has gotten significantly more absurd with each film, but they came with a sense of fun and stupidity that made them enjoyable. Hobbs and Shaw fails in this area, spectacularly.

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Honey Boy

"You wouldn't be here if I didn't pay you."

It must have been extremely cathartic for Shia LaBeouf to not only write this story, but be able to portray his father on screen. The events depicted are depressingly accurate, not necessarily to LaBeouf's life, but the life of kids in the entertainment industry. Just look at the list of childhood actors whose life has essentially fallen apart once they grew up. This is an industry that chews you up and spits you out. Some turn out pretty good, mostly likely because they have parents in their lives that know what they should and shouldn't be doing. Others have parents like the one depicted in this film; willing to physically and verbally abuse a child for the sake of fame.

Who knows how accurate this film really is to his life, but it would explain a lot about how he is now. I actually prefer LaBeouf's efforts not compared to his Transformers years, he seems to want to challenge himself creatively and emotionally. Does he take it too far at times? He was drunk off moonshine while filming Lawless, he pulled out his own tooth and didn't shower for Fury and allegedly sent Lars Von Trier a personal sex tape as his audition for Nymphomaniac.

The performances here are spectacular. LaBeouf does an admirable job playing his father. He balances a weird act of caring, but dangerous parent. When another father figure enters his sons life he threatens to kill him after throwing him in a pool at the motel they live at. The one actor playing the son is a real stand out and I expect to see a lot more of him in the future. He not only holds his own against Shia, but he is probably delivers the best performance in the film. The storyline jumps from current day rehab Otis and young actor on hit sitcom Otis. Lucas Hedges plays the older version and these sequences are not as strong as the younger segments.

Honey Boy is depressing and feels authentic. Kids in the industry simply do not have a normal childhood, no matter how you look at it.

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The Invisible Man

"He said that wherever I went, he would find me, walk right up to me, and I wouldn't be able to see him."

When Hollow Man came out the film was concerned about two things; look at these amazing special effects and look at how God-like powers can turn someone psychotic. Interesting takes and with Verhoeven behind the lens, you knew the film would dive into sex and violence. The Invisible Man seems to be more concerned with a slow burn tension and the troubles of PTSD survivors of abusive relationships, which was a surprising delight to see a horror thriller tackle a serious subject matter with maturity.

In the middle of the night Cecilia leaves her abusive husband. The days preceding, she tries to get on with her life, but has trouble coping with her new found "freedom". Then she gets word that her husband has taken his own life and she feels a weight lifted. Soon though, she can't shake this eerie feeling that someone is watching her and when she suspects that it is her late husband turned invisible, her sanity is questioned by those close to her.

Leigh Whannell was given an opportunity to see if Universal can take their "Dark Universe" films in a new and different direction after the spectacular failure of Tom Cruise's The Mummy. It's not really a gamble for them since they went for low budget horror, which always seems to turn a buck. Instead of churning out a by the numbers horror thriller, Whannell has given us a thoughtful take on coping with abuse in relationships. The Invisible Man angle seems to be a perfect analogy for women who can't seem to escape their past terrors as the feeling of their abuser looms large over their lives. Even though he is not there, his presence is and The Invisible Man takes this and turns it into a horror reality. Really good horror films usually are analogies for things in our lives.

Elisabeth Moss delivers a stand out performance. Is she crazy? As the audience we see everything through her eyes, so in her head there could be an invisible entity stalking her, but maybe it's not real. Whannell frames his shots with enough background visibility that you are constantly looking past the foreground just to see if something moved or if something is off. This gives the film a sense of tension throughout the 2 hour running time. He also reuses his kinetic camera work from Upgrade for a sequence here when poop hits the fan.

The Invisible Man is worth your time if you like tight thrillers and Moss gives a stand out performance. It'll be interesting to see if Universal does more of these "classic movie villains" as stand alone movies and not try to be another MCU.

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She's All That

"I feel just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. You know, except for the whole hooker thing."

I feel like Not Another Teen Movie did a pretty good job at summarizing how ridiculous this movie is, but it is a 90's teen rom-com and I grew up in the 90's so there is a part of me that refuses to think this movie is completely terrible. A small part.

The bastard who married my first crush is recently dumped by the most popular girl in school. He makes a bet with his friend that he is so good at being cool that he can turn anyone girl into the next Taylor, his now ex. Beefy Paul Walker picks nerdy art girl Rachel Leigh "I'm famous for two movies" Cook and he has 6 weeks to make her not ugly. Cue hair cut, losing the glasses and plucking some eyebrows and bam....she is making everyone turn heads. But will she find out about the bet? I bet she will....I bet....she....will....

Cue 90's music that when you hear it instantly takes you back to a specific time and place and dozens of up and coming stars filling out the supporting roles; Anna Paquin, Dule Hill, Matthew Lillard, Elden Henson, Usher, Gabrielle Union, Clea DuVall, Lil' Kim, The Sherminator, Kieran Culkin, blink and you'll miss Milo Ventimiglia and a small cameo by the goddess that bastard married and this cast is somewhat stacked? She's All That is a film that so many females my age "love"...but understand they shouldn't.

This was the last film that Gene Siskel reviewed in print.....he gave it a thumbs up.

Interesting tidbit regarding Siskel and She's All That. I've never been interested in the movie, but I really liked Rachel Leigh Cook in Josie and the Pussycats (which is a better movie than you'd think) and she heavily favors a chick I had a thing for in high school. I've been surprised by how positive the reactions have been to The Invisible Man, as the trailers did nothing for me, but Elizabeth Moss is usually smart about picking worthwhile projects. Definitely sounds like a 180-degree shift in approach for the Dark Universe. Hobbs & Shaw is the reason I'm slowly working my way through the Fast & Furious franchise, as the trailers reminded me of over-the-top 90's action extravaganzas and I'm fan of The Rock and Statham.

Fully agree with your take on Ma. I liked the premise, and Octavia Spencer keeps the movie from being a complete dud, but the writing and character motivations sank its potential. The Hellboy reboot was a complete trainwreck for me. I'm very curious about JoJo Rabbit, as reactions to it have been all over the place. Apparently some people think it's tasteless to mine Hitler and the Nazis for laughs, but The Great Dictator and To Be or Not to Be did it with aplomb in the early 40's, when the wounds were freshest. Perfect Blue is the best anime film I've seen, although it's not a genre I often watch. Men in Black: International is certainly a bad film, but I think I prefer it over the last two MIB sequels. (That might just be because I barely remember anything from those films.)

I'll echo your criticisms for Lego Movie 2, although I enjoyed the movie less than you. I've really dug most of Laika's films for far, so I'm looking forward to Missing Link. My friend and I tried watching What Did Jack Do? a few weekends ago while high on edibles. You'd think that would be the perfect mindset for such a bizarre short film, but we bailed after five minutes. It just seemed pointlessly random without being amusing or interesting. I've added The Guilty to my watchlist based on your review. One-character-in-one-location movies can be difficult to pull off. (I really dug Buried, but found Locke dull as hell, although I seem to be in the minority with that.)

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Child's Play

"If they don't let us play, they all go away."

I was pleasantly surprised to see how well this remake was put together. They skip the voodoo mumbo jumbo and go with an updated evil AI route. The film looks into society's reliance on technology. We use our "gadgets" to turn on lights, tvs and spying on our own kids with phone trackers. What happens when we rely on technology too much? They turn on us, muahahahaha.

A low paid worker gets fired for not programming the new Buddi dolls fast enough, so he takes his revenge on the company by disabling all the safety protocols of the last doll he helps make. This doll is returned from a customer because it doesn't work right and Andy's mother, who just so happens to work at a store that sells these dolls, takes it home for her son. When Buddi takes his "best friend" moniker a little too seriously, people end of dead.

The film is pretty bloody and doesn't shy away from some of the more ridiculous moments. It's predictably gruesome and updates a character that was ridiculous from the start. Creepy dolls are effective when used properly, here there are a few moments that really work. The film benefits from having a child as the lead character, doing stupid things because they just don't want to get in trouble. It goes to ridiculous levels where they have to hide a severed head from the adults because Chucky killed someone and left it in the kids room as a trophy.Kids get scared easy and the film uses that to its advantage.

The inclusion of Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky was an inspired choice. He does the role justice. The film is fun, but falters around some supporting characters, such as Brian Tyree Henry's detective neighbour. It just seems that the writers didn't really know what to do with him and he feels she-horned into the story, as if they simply joined two different characters into one. Child's Play is better than it deserves to be, but at the same time feels like a run of the mill remake that doesn't take any chances.

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"Bananas! Bananas! Bananas! Bananas! Bananas! Bananas! Bananas! Bananas! Bananas! Bananas!"

With a severed head jumping around biting people in the butt, it's hard to imagine that Sam Raimi did not get some kind of inspiration from this absurd film for his own absurdities in The Evil Dead.

Hausu is an art project in weirdness disguised as a film. The story line is very basic (girls go to a house, strange things happen) but the way it is presented is such a unique experience that it is hard to discount the creative, hard working and purposeful energy put into it. With each passing scene I did not know what to expect next, I was not bored and I was interested in seeing where this was going to end up. That alone make the film worth a watch, at least once, for any horror fan. I'd go as far as saying that maybe everyone should experience the film, maybe watch it instead of taking LSD, you might get the same experience.

The film seems to break every conventional rule of filmmaking and it makes it work in its favour. How? I still don't know. The film shouldn't work, but it does. I also owe the library $3 for not returning it on time...damn.

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"I don't remember you! You weren't there! You weren't there when he was born! You weren't there when she died! Where were you?"

Before he directed the God of Thunder and Hitler, Taika Waititi made a little film in his native country of New Zealand. It's a small indie film about a boy and his admiration for his father, which ends up being misplaced admiration because his father is a POS.

This coming of age film is full of laughs and heartfelt joy as our lead character, Boy, tries desperately to get some loving attention from his father, who just so happens to be recently out of jail. If Boy were to describe it to his friend, his father broke out and killed multiple guards with nothing but a spoon. Of course these are tall tales the kid tells people to impress them and when his father does show up, he falls short of being a loving parent. Why does the father show up? Does he want to try his hand at being a dad again? Or does he have ulterior motives? While the answer is pretty clear early on, Boy is blinded by his admiration for the man to see the truth. He's willing to put friendships on the line for the sake of his father.

Boy lives with his younger brother and a few cousins. They are being raised by their grandmother since his mother died during childbirth of his younger sibling. There are plenty of depressingly dramatic moments scattered throughout this film, which Waititi would employ later on in films like JoJo Rabbit to varying degrees of success. With Boy, there is a clear sense of an understanding on the subject matter and a distinct visual eye that would flourish in his later films.

Boy is a fun film that balances the realities of broken homes, failed parents and growing up all in one neat little package.