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The Abyss (Theatrical Cut): 9/10



M3GAN (Johnstone, 2022)

Maybe I'm just coming off watching Manchester by the Sea, which coincidentally follows a similar macro-plot, but man is this film under-acted. The main cast feels like a NBC supporting crew. The supporting roles, feel like cheap commercial actors. The cameo roles seem like folks they got off the streets to read a line. I mean it's WEAK.

I'm amazed to see how strongly this has been received as a horror. Scary? I mean as scary as any doll-chase movie with a final fight sequence at the end. Built up with killings of flawed & annoying characters you don't get the chance to care much for. Splash a little shock violence, and ya it's gripping enough. About as scary as the new Chucky movie

The over-reaching fears this unpacks? Ya, they're there and you kinda think about them. AI acting for it's own good and the existential consequences or just emotional/parental. All probable, but is this really the best media to make you spit ball it? Atleast Black Mirror throws some creativity you couldn't think of on your own while chewing on all the latest tech reports.

On a positive note M3GAN is very entertaining, and a super easy watch. Helps how funny it's as well. Plenty of laughs to go around. It never takes itself all too seriously, and absolutely flies by. One of the most audience freidnly horror flicks you can find, but not much more.





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Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it



Victim of The Night
I'm surprised! I liked both Guardians movies a lot, but the first shaded the second with a much more focused ending. Was it one thing about the first one that disappointed you or the whole movie overall?
To be fair, I was very familiar with the characters and didn't love some of the portrayals of them and that nagged at me throughout even when the movie was fun.
But my own baggage aside, the things I never get over are the narrative inconsistencies and one-dimensional writing like, "Is Gamorra the 'most dangerous woman in the galaxy' or does she need to be rescued from a few regular dudes by Drax?" "Is Drax even more powerful than Gamorra (since he rescues her) or is he the guy who just gets his ass kicked later while she beats Nebula?" And Ronin, the villain, being the most one-dimensional "I seek more power, from the MacGuffins, FOR REASONS! MUAHAHA!"
Personal baggage versus the comics, like making Drax, whose most striking characteristic beyond he can and will kill virtually anyone is his humorlessness, the comic relief of the film, the indecision over just how tough Gamorra is (can she be effectively fought by Quill with his gadgets and such and need rescuing from just a few regular dudes or is she "the deadliest woman in the galaxy" which they do say... and if they mean it then what are they saying about women?), and the fact that Ronin is actually a rich, deep, and interesting character with inner conflicts in the comics and such a paper-thin POWER! MACGUFFIN! REVENGE OR SOMETHING!-villian, man it's just a slog for me every moment Rocket isn't on screen.



Victim of The Night

By http://www.impawards.com/2017/thor_ragnarok_ver2.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53738935

Thor : Ragnarok - (2017)

This was a pretty radical and wild departure from the tone of previous Thor films and also previous MCU films - I initially thought this would be a pretty big departure for Taika Waititi from his usual style, but it looks like the Marvel films are bending to his approach instead. This is the first Marvel film I'd classify as an all-out comedy, with jokes and humour really at a constant, and not all jokes really land - but enough of them do to not completely alienate me from this. In fact, I'm onboard, since something new was going to be needed to keep the series fresh. It's also (as the advertising suggests) a sparklingly colourful film, with a visual form that's wonderful to take in - there's great flair and a lot of polish to the effects and optics. The story is better than previous Thor films as well, with a lot more at stake and nobody and nothing comes through it unscathed. Mind you, the serious tone of the story doesn't quite mix with the cartoonish and absurd comedy - but considering how good the film is in an overall sense, that's a small quibble. I don't know if the series can sustain this tone for long though.

7/10
Though The Avengers will always rule my heart because of my childhood and the fact that they pulled it off, Thor: Ragnarok will undoubtedly be the MCU film I watch the most often. I just think it's so fun. And, pro tip, it's even fun when you're high! Maybe more so.
Such a damn shame the follow-up, with all the same people, gets Phase Foured and is a useless piece of shit.





H-8, 1958

Based on a real incident in which a car recklessly passed a truck on a highway at night, causing the truck to collide head on with a passenger bus, this film imagines the lives of the passengers and those in the truck in the hours before the fatal collision. This includes a doctor (Andro Lusicic) reeling from a scandal at his hospital that killed several children, a young woman (Djurdja Ivezic) yearning to find connection, and a reporter (Boris Buzancic) grappling with the ethics of how he's reported a story.

There are plenty of films that follow the format of the disaster film. H-8 sets itself apart by being almost exclusively about the events before the collision. While the film begins building suspense from the beginning---telling us which seats will hold those passengers who die, but forcing us to wait to see who will actually be sitting in them at the time of the crash--the rest of the film forces us to witness the small and large dramas that for some of the characters will be brutally cut off.

The film does cram quite a lot of high drama into the lives of its characters. I'll admit that there is some satisfaction from the way that the stories overlap, but at other times it stretches credulity a bit. What are the odds that a man would read a scandalous story about a man sitting in the seat behind him, only to find that the reporter who wrote the story is sitting just a few rows back from him?!

Much stronger and more moving are the characters experiencing smaller moments. The young woman makes a connection with a young man on the bus. Will she work up the courage to say something to him? A few seats back, a woman frets about her daughter's well-being. Over on the truck side of things, the driver and his son eat a meal together, and the son makes an adorable sales pitch as to why his father should not think about remarrying having been widowed. These struggles are not life-or-death, but somehow they do a better job of hammering home that these people should have had a chance to play out their lives.

As the film moves into its last act, the suspense really starts to ratchet up. Every time a character moves to the front of the bus or trades seats, we're on edge. In an ironic moment, the driver of the truck makes a man he's giving a lift get off of the truck for having suggested an immoral business scheme. When his son pleads that they should let the man back in the truck cab, the father relents.

The contempt for the driver who caused the accident really comes through in the last act. In reality, the driver was never caught, and all they knew about them was that the beginning of their license plate was H-8. The final shot is from the point of view of the car driver, looking out the windshield as they carry on down the highway after causing the wreck. On-screen text says that the film is dedicated to that driver. It has a similar effect of that last shot of Memories of Murder where the camera turns a similarly accusing eye on the perpetrator.

An interesting look at a tragedy that puts its focus squarely on the victims and the shame of lives interrupted.








SF = Z


[Snooze Factor Ratings]:
Z = didn't nod off at all
Zz = nearly nodded off but managed to stay alert
Zzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed
Zzzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed but nodded off again at the same point and therefore needed to go back a number of times before I got through it...
Zzzzz = nodded off and missed some or the rest of the film but was not interested enough to go back over it





Daisies, 1966

Marie (Jitka CerhovŠ) and Marie (Ivana KarbanovŠ) are two young women who decide that if the world around them is rotten, they might as well be rotten. They wander between their apartment and different other locations, doing whatever they want and leaving a trail of destruction and offended parties in their wake.

This movie is a great example of how you can critique the patriarchy and also, just, you know, have like a good time with your bestie eating cakes and doing wild arts and crafts.

I'm sure there are plenty of people here who have seen the bit from Community where Annie does a "sexy" Christmas song and dance to a confused and uncomfortable Jeff as Annie's voice goes increasingly babyish as the sexiness is supposed to derive from the singer being young and stupid.

Whenever they are in public, the Maries push the "silly girl" trope to its absolute limits, with one of the most commonly used images from the film being one of the Maries playfully sucking on her thumb. It's interesting to watch the various sequences as the people around them--and especially the men who desire them--are willing to let the behavior slide up to a certain point. As Marie messily eats cake in a restaurant, or as the girls blow bubbles in a nightclub, tolerance begins to tip into annoyance.

It's a fun way to make a point about the results of infantilizing women, and question the expectations of what exactly people in groups that are infantilized are supposed to do about it. Something a friend said about a man she'd observed talking in a group: "He kept saying he wanted to find someone who was into soccer. But then he wouldn't even respond to [other woman who knows a lot about soccer]. What he really meant was he wanted someone who knew just enough about soccer that he could explain things to her." If being naive and childlike is a virtue, at what point does that become absurd? And what does it say about people who idolize the idea of someone's attractiveness depending on them being in a lower position of power/intelligence than them?

But beyond the social critique, this is just a very playful and fun film. There are all sorts of overt silliness happening in the way that the movie is made, from the use of sound effects to color filters clicking on and off, to the frame literally cutting itself into pieces when the two Maries go after each other with scissors. The women take the idea of childlike femininity to extremes, and so the film itself takes the idea of editing and other technical aspects to extremes.

The overall effect is pretty delightful. You never quite know what to expect next, and the movie makes fun use of switching between a desaturated look and vivid colors. I really liked the repeated use of a metronome-like clicking, something that's mimicked later in the film by the girls as they take advantage of an unattended banquet.

Very enjoyable.




You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)

Assuming that Iíd seen every film in Woody Allenís output over the past 50+ years, from Whatís Up, Tiger Lily? through Rifkinís Festival, it was surprising and delightful to stumble upon his 2010 picture which I had not seen while surfing Netflix. In fact not having realized that it was an Allen movie I started watching it simply based upon the title and brief description. But as soon as the opening credits started rolling with the telltale white anachronistic font on a plain black background, while catchy ragtime/dixieland style music played, I knew it was a Woody Allen picture.

The main protagonist Sallyís (Naomi Watts) parents Alfie and Helena (Anthony Hopkins & Gemma Jones) have decided to divorce. Soon the father takes up with a much younger prostitute, and marries her, much to the chagrin of Sally. She herself is in a failing marriage with Roy (Josh Brolin), who is stalled on finishing a second novel. Helena starts seeing a medium/astrologist who advises her that she has had a past life, and tells her that she will fall in love again.

Meanwhile Roy has fallen for a lady who he has been watching across the way in another apartment, and Sally has fallen for her boss (Antonio Banderas) of the gallery in which she works. Unfortunately the boss has been smitten by Sallyís protege.

Royís novel is rejected, which eventually causes him to steal a brilliant unpublished novel by a friend of his who is thought to have been killed in a recent automobile accident. Helena has fallen for the proprietor of an occult bookshop.

This does not develop as confusingly as it sounds. Allenís writing balances and shifts these characters and their outcomes around like pieces in a fine chess set, providing both humor and frustrating outcomes for all but Helena. The story line and dialogue are presented in Allenís quintessential inimitable style.

The film is as much drama as it is comedy, and itís played out by a fine ensemble cast. Set in London, it was Allenís third picture set in that city. If you like delightful interpersonal romps this little film will fit the bill.

Docís rating: 7/10



TERMINATOR SALVATION
(2009, McG)



"I have been dead a while and I'm getting used to it."

If there's a good thing I can say about Terminator Salvation is that, at least it tried something new, regardless of the end results. Set in the post-Judgment Day future, the film follows the endless battle between Skynet and the human Resistance led by John Connor (Christian Bale). Meanwhile, Marcus (Sam Worthington), a mysterious ex-prisoner tries to figure out his place in this battle.

I'm not familiar with McG's other works, but he does kickstarts the film with a somewhat impressive "continuous" shot that follows Connor as he gets on a helicopter to pursue the enemy, only to crash. It is perhaps the only jolt of life that the direction has to offer, as the film lacks any other notable setpiece or action sequence. On the contrary, some of the action feels like a checklist of things to include: here's Guns n' Roses *check* here's "Arnold" *check* here's how John got his scar *check*

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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A Chinese Ghost Story, 1987

Sincere, timid debt collector Ling Choi San (Leslie Cheung) arrives in a town with soaked belongings and nowhere to go. Spending the night by necessity in a haunted temple, he encounters the lovely Lip Siu Sin (Joey Wang), a ghost who is forced by an evil spirit to lure men to their deaths. With the help of Taoist swordsman Yin Chek Ha (Wu Ma), Ling fights to save her soul.

This film is a glorious mish-mash of about half a dozen genres: horror, comedy, romance, action, fantasy, and drama. With a tone that manages to be at once light and sincere, it blazes along at a glorious pace full of wicked trees, stolen kisses, rapping martial artists, and absurd courtroom antics.

Leslie Cheung is absolutely adorable in the lead role, bring a sweet naivete to the role of Ling. His character's genuine spirit makes for a great match for Wang's somber, suffering ghost. The romance that builds between them through the film is sweet, pure, and just a little bit flirty and sexy.

The film is full of elements that could have felt like tired tropes, but instead feel fresh and engaging because of the magnetism of the leads and the fun staging of it all. Consider a sequence in which Ling must hide in a large bath basin in order to hide from the evil spirit and her underlings. During this scene, Ling must strategically surface for air without being noticed by the villains. At one inopportune moment, he surfaces and catches a good look at an embarrassed, undressed Sin. But before you can roll your eyes too much at this contrivance, Sin sees that he's in danger of being spotted and, plunging forward she kisses him, pushing him back under the water. This move is followed by the camera and it's a great image and gives Sin back some agency and makes her a more equal part in the burgeoning attraction between the two.

In addition to the central romance, there's also a whole slew of extravagant action sequences. Killer trees and impossibly long tongues, yards and yards of fabric and flying spirits. Every action scene has its own flavor and purpose, and they all feel distinct from one another, especially the final battle that takes place in the underworld.

The only downside for me was that a handful of moments of comedy didn't quite work for me. There's a sequence where Yin is . . . sort of rapping while he trains that I found more cringe than funny. But this is a pretty minor complaint.

This movie is just plain fun.




The Color Purple (1985): 4/10


I admit I had a bit spoiled years ago. Having said this, I found the story unfocused and meandering. Some good performances, but def not for me.



I forgot the opening line.
To be fair, I was very familiar with the characters and didn't love some of the portrayals of them and that nagged at me throughout even when the movie was fun.
But my own baggage aside, the things I never get over are the narrative inconsistencies and one-dimensional writing like, "Is Gamorra the 'most dangerous woman in the galaxy' or does she need to be rescued from a few regular dudes by Drax?" "Is Drax even more powerful than Gamorra (since he rescues her) or is he the guy who just gets his ass kicked later while she beats Nebula?" And Ronin, the villain, being the most one-dimensional "I seek more power, from the MacGuffins, FOR REASONS! MUAHAHA!"
Personal baggage versus the comics, like making Drax, whose most striking characteristic beyond he can and will kill virtually anyone is his humorlessness, the comic relief of the film, the indecision over just how tough Gamorra is (can she be effectively fought by Quill with his gadgets and such and need rescuing from just a few regular dudes or is she "the deadliest woman in the galaxy" which they do say... and if they mean it then what are they saying about women?), and the fact that Ronin is actually a rich, deep, and interesting character with inner conflicts in the comics and such a paper-thin POWER! MACGUFFIN! REVENGE OR SOMETHING!-villian, man it's just a slog for me every moment Rocket isn't on screen.
Sometimes it's so much easier coming into these films without having read any of the comics and without having specific ideas about the characters in them. I had no idea who any of these characters were, or were meant to be (aside from the Howard the Duck cameo.) I just took Guardians of the Galaxy as the light comic relief of the entire MCU, and because of that I gave it all kinds of leeway I wouldn't ordinarily have given it. I actually liked the Ronin character in spite of us not really getting into why he's doing what he's doing or his backstory - and I'm afraid to confess that he simply looked like a really cool, menacing villain with a lust for world-destroying power - and the hate to use it. Gamora however is the least interesting of the Guardians, aside from the feud she has with her sister (who is more interesting than Gamora herself.) I did think for a moment "She's meant to be a real galactic badass?" during the scenes where she needed to be rescued, but I dismissed that thought easily - like a small fault in someone you've really fallen for. Drax might be a lot different in the comics, but he's one hell of comedic element in these films - he probably gets the most laughs, so I embrace him being different in the films. I love him.

Though The Avengers will always rule my heart because of my childhood and the fact that they pulled it off, Thor: Ragnarok will undoubtedly be the MCU film I watch the most often. I just think it's so fun. And, pro tip, it's even fun when you're high! Maybe more so.
Such a damn shame the follow-up, with all the same people, gets Phase Foured and is a useless piece of shit.
I've been hearing about the massive drop-off in quality in the Marvel Cinematic Universe a lot lately - but it's probably hitting it's peak here with this imaginative Thor movie. It was a really brave departure and it works wonderfully. I fear phase four.
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I forgot the opening line.

By http://www.impawards.com/2018/black_panther_ver3.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54261761

Black Panther - (2018)

So here's another huge change of pace for these Marvel films which had really exaggerated comedic elements in Thor : Ragnarok, but much more serious ones in this, Black Panther. There's a lot at work here, and themes that touch on the use and abuse of power, race, loyalty and technology with the fictional African state of Wakanda being introduced - a nation that is more technologically and socially advanced than the rest of the world. What responsibilities, with regards to other nations and oppressed Africans come with such power? Most of the film adheres to the old comic book superhero formula, but these added elements were enough to propel Black Panther to a Best Picture Oscar nomination (it won 3 technical Oscars in the end.) Loved Michael B. Jordan in this, and yet again the person playing the bad guy has the most to work with. It's great seeing an MCU film that uses the tried and tested formula to produce different kinds of superhero films, and this was enjoyable enough while at the same time feeling somewhat familiar.

That makes it 8/8 for the Best Picture nominated films at the 2019 Oscars for me - not a great year really, with Green Book winning (a film which really should of come in at 8th place among the 8.) Other nominees were Roma, The Favourite, BlacKkKlansman, Vice, A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody. Roma or The Favourite should have won, but I would have accepted BlacKkKlansman or Vice. Green Book may actually be the strangest choice in the Academy's history.

7/10


By https://www.movieposterdb.com/desper...89017/186cbb5b, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3478918

Desperately Seeking Susan - (1985)

This is a real 1980s movie, and at the time Madonna was huge - without her this film would have escaped into the ether never to be heard of again, but just by appearing in it she made sure the film did okay. You have to face the fact that she seems to obstinately refuse to be an actress in this, instead projecting a kind of stylish star quality with an extra dose of sex. The movie just manages to be okay - it's screenplay isn't exactly the kind of thing that you'd want to put in a time capsule to preserve. Just the opposite - burn it. It's a kind of lost-memory comedy/thriller when it's not being cute or funny, with Rosanna Arquette getting bonked on the head and accidentally making off with stolen Egyptian ear-rings and all of Madonna's stuff - closely followed by villains and good guys alike. It's passable fluff.

6/10



Top Gun:Maverick - 2022

Finally watched it the other night. To be frank the first Top Gun isn't really my cup of tea. Maybe if I was born in 77 instead of 87 and I grew up with the movie it would hold more importance to me. It's a fine movie but feel like you have to be a certain age to cherish it and I was just before my time. However everyone gave it glowing reviews, plus figure I'd support Miles. Grew up in the same small county in Florida same age, we have some mutual buddies. He actually had his high school picture in his baseball uniform in the movie that was funny. Miracle coming from our county he is a movie star ha.

I gotta say I sort of enjoyed it more than the original. It took everything that was fun from the first one and slid it in this flick. Had the right amount of nostalgia and it's own authenticity to it, sort of how Creed pulled it off to Rocky. Tricky formula to pull off. Major props for that.

However I think people dug it so much because it was an actual attempt at a cinematic film experience instead of some CGI digital money grab. I felt like I was watching cinema instead of an iphone movie. Plus it never ever felt preachy at all. Just wanted to entertain. I thought it was shrewd they made the enemy faceless/nameless. Would have just been social media backlash if they made it China/Russia or whoever. Again the goal was to just entertain. Refreshing. Listen the story itself was shallow, but it didn't need to be some deep thought provoking movie. They acted like the fans of the first movie mattered and I think it paid off. Maybe the rest of Hollywood should pay attention.

Anyways will I run to watch it again soon? Nah. But I'd stop if it was on tv or if someone else wanted to watch it I'd throw it on. It was fun. Porbably a solid 3 but I'll give it an extra half just for actually attempting to make a cinematic experience.


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101 Favorite Movies (2019)



Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2015


My feelings on the Marvel films are pretty well established at this point. I like some things about them, while overall finding the whole "universe" thing overwhelming and the runtimes chronically about 30-45 minutes too long. Despite having some mixed feelings about certain elements of it, I actually enjoyed this one overall.


I'm not sure what the general consensus is on this one, but it definitely had a lot of the elements that I most enjoy in a film of this type and scope. Generally speaking the action scenes were to the point and easy to follow. The opening and closing battles were too long for my taste, but all of the action in between was fine. I particularly liked how many sequences were staged in smaller spaces, like the showdown at Stark's house. It kept the action from feeling too sprawling.


I also liked the character arcs at play. While I thought he could have been better developed, I liked the idea of Ultron and his twisted views on how to bring about peace. While I also thought that the twins were a tad underdeveloped, they brought an interesting dynamic to the film as their relationship with Ultron evolved through the story. I also liked the way that we see some of the fractures in the Avengers in terms of their philosophies on what it means to do their work. Using Wanda's powers to illuminate their fears was a nice way to give each character a small personal crisis to deal with.


At this point, all of the actors are very comfortable in their roles, and they are all fine. I enjoyed the addition of Wanda and Pietro, as well as the character of Vision (Paul Bettany). The supporting cast is also their usual reliable selves, like Cobie Smulders and Linda Cardellini.


But like so many of the Marvel films, this one goes on and on. I didn't feel the length as badly as in some of the other films, but still was very aware of it. I knew that the final showdown would feel bloated. Again, not as bad as some of the others, but I really start to glaze over once things have been being smashed for like 10 minutes. I will say, however, that I thought this final battle had some of the best actual stakes in terms of real consequences and character dynamics.


I also had mixed feelings about the writing. Every time the movie would get me on its side, it would do something. Oh, this banter between the group is kind of fun! Oop! Tony Stark just made a joke about being able to legally rape women. Awesome. Hey, this fight scene is kind of fun. Oop! The Hulk just face-planted into Black Widow's cleavage. Hilarious. (Sidenote: this film was so cleavage obsessed. Just looking right down shirts the whole time.)


While my feelings on the film are generally positive, I can't score it much higher than most of the other Marvel films I've seen, despite it feeling like a notch above them. I would say, though, that this is one of the only ones I could actually imagine rewatching.
Yeah, I can agree with most of this; I actually prefer it to the original Avengers, since, while it was still fundamentally disposable on the whole, it still had more style/personality than the original, which felt like a pretty generic Superhero movie to me, even with the novelty of seeing all these heroes together for the first time onscreen. And that's a fair point about the "man falling on top of a woman" gag (which Whedon reused in his version of Josstice League with Wonder Woman & The Flash), which felt kind of hypocritical on the movie's part, taking advantage of Scarlett's sexiness by having her wear these sexy necklines, only to essentially mock her just for having breasts later (and of course, despite my positive feelings towards it on the whole, Utron still doesn't have the substance to compensate for that objectification as much as something like this does: )

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj5zvVwAmQI



Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets -


Not quite fictional and not quite a documentary, this movie chronicles the final day of operation of fictional Las Vegas dive Roaring '20s. From frame one, it follows Michael, a former actor, the most devoted customer and the one with possibly the most depressing story as he spends all day there, his interactions with the other regulars ranging from funny to sad to contentious. As morning becomes early morning on the following day, the movie plays out per an observation a co-worker and I made during my retail days when I worked evenings: "the later it gets, the stranger the customers and we get." Oh, and things gets a lot sadder, too.

I discovered that this movie is fictional after finishing it. To elaborate, the bartenders and barflies are all performers - with Michael appropriately being the only professional one - and what's more, the bar is not in Las Vegas, but in suburban New Orleans. My initial reaction was one of betrayal, but as I thought about what I saw even more, it turned into appreciation for how convincing it is. Michael even hints at this in one of his rants about his days as an actor about the importance of capturing the truth in his performances. He's not the only one who does it - I especially liked the work of the two veterans and the single mom bartender - but I also have to call out the MVP, which happens to be an inanimate object: the TV. I should have known that the proceedings are not real based on how well-timed the programming on it is in relation to the customers' topic of conversation, with much of it involving luxuries that are only available to the very few such as game shows and tips for going on a cruise. As such, from the stories ranging from broken dreams to the lack of appreciation for veterans to resentment towards baby boomers, it's a very American story. Thankfully, it's one that manages to find the humor in topics like these, my favorite being the scene where the drunkest customer's employer calls the bar to tell him to go to work since they know that's where he probably is.

Despite the movie's unique presentation, not all of the situations in it are unique. The stories involving a ruffian who is always trying to pick fights and a few of Michael's monologues about his regrets and feeling like a failure seem a bit clichťd, for instance. It remains a movie worthy of praise for again, convincing me that what I was watching actually happened, and for managing to tell stories that are relevant to these times even though theyíre ones that have sadly been told several times in my country's history and likely will be told again. In sum, as the font in the end credits indicates, it comes across like an attempt at making a more realistic episode of Cheers, and itís one at which directors Ross and Ross IV very much succeeded.



Victim of The Night

Ok, so my favorite new watch of the year (Rockers) was from 1970s Jamaica until it got bumped by... this movie from 1970s Jamaica.
I am actually left a little bit confused, I've grown up from a teenager to a 50 year-old, thinking of this movie as some low-budget cult-film, just a curio for stoners and Reggae fans.
I actually think this movie should be on the Sight & Sound 100.
This is the story of Ivan (Jimmy Cliff), a young man who comes to Kingston from the country when his grandmother dies. Perhaps innocent when he arrives, the harshness of life in the Jamaican slums turns him first to work for the local preacher and then to the only real employment there is, to try to make a record.


And he has a great song (you still hear it on the radio today), but when he's cast out by the Preacher and exploited by the producer, he turns to a life of crime that just gets worse and worse as Ivan's ambition turns him into a dangerous outlaw and a self-made urban legend.


Like Rockers, The Harder They Come is made for a small budget, about $200k, and features the grittiness of life in the slums of 1970s Jamaica. Like Rockers, it has fantastic music. And like Rockers, it is a fantastic movie. Unlike Rockers, which has almost a kind of sweetness to the way the community pulls together to help one of their own and fight The Man in the face of extreme poverty, THTC shows the dark side Kingston's slums, drug-dealing and violence and murder, while spinning an outlaw tale for the ages.
I saw a few very good movies in 2022 but, admitting the possibility of recency bias, I have to say I think The Harder They Come was my favorite first-watch of the year and possibly my favorite film I saw this year.




Victim of The Night
On that topic, these are Wooley's Favorite First-Time Watches Of 2022 (in no order):

The Harder They Come
Memoria
Rockers
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
Nope
Malatesta's Carnival Of Blood
Alphaville