The Denim Record

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White Boy Rick (2018)





There is a lot wrong with this movie. That's okay, because there is a lot of right that outweighs it. This feels like a real family going through struggles. McCounaghey is the heart of this and does a great job. It's enjoyable to see him weak and vulnerable as opposed to a lot of the hard edge, strong man types he frequents. 80's nostalgia sealed this for me.







"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



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Mandy (2018)



Eighth Grade was probably the best movie I've seen this year. I probably won't watch it again, but it was solid and scratched that "I wanna see Something" itch. Then along comes the Elijah Wood backed Mandy and she digs her fingernails into my back.


Apparently this involves some of Carl Jung's more interesting ideas among other things. There are already a lot more insightful people dissecting this movie, but no one has addressed the mirror image scene between Mandy and Jeremiah. It struck me as a ying and yang, two sides of the same coin, but you don't know who is...



No matter what, I think everybody that would not be offended should see this.










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A Simple Favor (2018)



This was such a great movie...for about the first 20 minutes. All the great ideas from the writer's meetings went bang, bang, bang. Then the next 50 minutes or whatever happen and I'm like, let's get to the end you telegraphed so hard a nub like me figured it out. Those teeth, I told my friend "those f'in teeth" are too white. Well, they conveniently played a role in this mystery.


Anna Kendrick is like comfort food and does great lip syncing M.O.P., but she can't really carry this movie. Blake Lively is a work of art, but she's not really in this movie. Everything just got really boring for a long stretch, in this movie.












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The Predator (2018)

This movie just doesn't do anything right. Nonsensical dialogue, forgettable action, horrible looking monsters (why are their heads so big?), winnebago teleportation, leads me to smfh. It shoehorns a special needs kid in to a plot because he can control alien technology. I would prefer not to write negative stuff, but it's too easy here.




Is this Olivia Munn acting thing over now?









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Blaze (2018)



This is a hard one to describe. Ben Dickey is everything you've heard. One of, if not the best performance I've seen this year. The cameos

WARNING: spoilers below
Linklater, Rockwell and Steve Zahn

Alia Shawkat and Charlie Sexton are great, along with all that music.



I can't quite sniff out what went wrong. It came across as aimless and muddled, which I can only attribute to the director. It's a shame, feels like there was a great movie in there somewhere.





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The Sisters Brothers (2018)

Maybe I don't like westerns. For all the great actors, setting and imagery, this was a miss. Hate to say it, but the roles of masculinity and ideas of what a cowboy mean aren't things that ping when I'm watching a movie.


The high point of the film came from the sound. The gunfire struck me as a new percussion unlike those I've heard before and JG's accent was enjoyable.










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Private Life (2018)

Kathryn Hahn makes it look effortless, like she doesn't even try to act. It just happens and spills out naturally. Giamatti is as solid as ever and Molly Shannon is well served in a straight role.






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The Grinch (2018)

I was quite surprised by how good some parts looked. Photorealism without the cgi sheen. Other than that, I would say this is the 3rd best version I've seen. Then again, you already know the book is better.





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Green Book (2018)

This is the first time I remember seeing Mahershala Ali in anything and I can't wait for True Detective. He is a magnetic force that demands all attention when he is on screen. It's a good thing, because the rest of this movie is such a phone-in that it is kind of embarrassing.


Everyone outside of Ali should return the money they took to perform in this. Sebastian Maniscalco, is a great standup who is just as horrible at acting. Viggo Mortensen and his gut and Bronx accent, ugh. It is all so bad and cliched.


This movie tries to venture into some touchy subjects, but always manages to keep you out of the mud. This bad thing happens, we talk our way out of it. This unfortunate turn of events, use a "get out of jail free" card. There is no tension or belief that anything of consequence is gonna happen.


Mahershala Ali is something to behold, but that is all there is to it. This movie never gets serious enough to lend any weight to the proceedings and is the definition of trite. A missed opportunity to say the least. This could have been so much more.







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The Favourite (2018)



This movie was a pleasure to behold. The performances, costumes, set pieces and the camera work were great. I can only imagine how the camera moves to capture some of these shots. Nicholas Hoult may be overshadowed by the other performances, but his scenes offered a needed break.


I can see this being an acquired taste that I don't have. It somehow manages to be less than the sum of its parts. The score is grating and maybe that's the point. Seems like the plunking a key on a piano repeatedly to build tension has been done so many times and it became tiresome. Please just turn it off, so I can focus on the movie.

A 3 for quality, not entertainment.








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Spider-Man into the Multiverse (2018)

The first half-hourish of this was some of the best stuff I saw this year. So much content rolled up and clipping and sidestepping many of the the cliche comic origin pitfalls. There is a lot that can be learned from for the live-action films and I'm of the belief cgi can make it happen.


After that, it just lost steam for me. It felt like enough content for an hour type movie. I loved the art, the sound, voicework, but I got numb after a while. The plot seemed like a "let's do this so we can focus on Miles and the Spideys and not really iron out anymore details". I need a good villain, doing villonius things, with some dire situation. This story just didn't deliver. I would have rather seen more Miles in school and young romance than this attempt at conflict.


The "fateful" tagging scene was a bright spot along with that guy from Mandy. That'll snap your head around.





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Vice (2018)

If McKay's earlier success from the Big Short was absent, one could be left to wonder what the hell this guy is trying to do. Unconventional works when it blends seamlessly and pushes the story forward. The Jesse Plemmons angle is the biggest misfire, but there are other issues at play here. Add to that Bale seems to be on autopilot here. "sigh, heavy breathing, head nod, click the side of the mouth back, repeat". It seems like there is a better movie here, I just don't know how you get there.






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2018 Movie Retrospective

This past year was the first year I started documenting my viewing history. Not so much for you, a whole lot for me . This and every subsequent year, I will list my favorite movies of the year. These will not be movies exclusive to that year, but the movies I watched during that year. There will be no specific number and no specific rank assigned, other than the movie of the year.


I, Tonya


What a jewel this was. Many compared it to Goodfellas in its delivery, right or wrong, I loved it.


Phantom Thread


Cobyth had a line about this and how it left such an impression on him after he saw it. I had a similar experience, akin to absorbing a piece of art and the impact it leaves on your mind.


A Serious Man


Quirky, offbeat, how would you describe this? Delicious.



Game Night



There are so many "pop" movies that aim to create easily digested entertainment. It's obviously not as easy at it would seem, because this was the best "lite fare" I saw all year. Well-executed gag humor and Plemmmmmmmoooooonnnnssss.


Isle of Dogs



Thanks for bringing me back Wes Anderson.



Wind River


The more I think about it, if not for one film, this may be the best thing I saw. Natural, engaging, sad and tragic.



Mission Impossible: Fallout


Cruise in light of all the crazy, still has that primo star power. Best action movie of recent memory.



Eighth Grade


This was such a touching, emotive film. The line I love stealing that somebody else wrote, "Not all human interest stories have to be an old man trying to survive in the woods."
I may be at an age where I'm really nostalgic for my youth. That said, this film brought the middle school, on the precipice of change, BIG TIME of your life experience back to life.




Mandy

This Shht bananas!






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High Flying Bird (2019)

Are we suppose to believe that Soderbergh is doing these iPhone movies because he wants to or because Logan Lucky was box office influenza? While impressive in execution, let's not think these films are shot with the iPhone set up you have in your hand. It might work for 10 minute YouTube videos, but the fixed-shot, lack of movement/zoom creates a sense that you are watching a stage play after a while.



Aesthetic aside (and how many shots of paneled rooms and ornate backgrounds can you handle?) this offers a glimpse into the world of sports, agents, and a continuation of exploitation that exists in the world. One man and his unconventional methods show that you never really know where people stand until all the cards are on the table.


Oh yeah. Bill Duke. Come on man. Are you dead or what?










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Reign of the Supermen (2019)



I didn't think it was possible for the DCAU to make a dud, but they succeeded with ROTS. Muddled would be a good way to describe this one. Who's the bad guy, what's going on, where are ______ at? It always seemed like these movies were impossible to mess up, but this one is about as good as Batman Ninja








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Sometime in March...




Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)



Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

I think that when I finally get around to watching stuff like this, I'm mildly depressed. Gloomy outside, can't do much, let's feast on Netflix.


These are movies that I should be excited for, but I just didn't feel the need to watch. Mainly, I wanted to glimmer some small bit that would flesh out the larger universe they inhabit. That's not really a strong reason to watch.


No strong feelings, not bad, not great, would not be a travesty to miss.



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L4yer Cake (2004)

I can't remember the time period this came out, but it sure seems like it was Guy Ritchie-lite. Maybe not fair, but that's what I see.


Now the G.R. stuff may be hyper-stylized with cocaine-editing, hyperbolic dialogue and absurdity. It may be too much at times, but it wasn't boring. L4yer Cake kinda is. Sans Sienna Miller in negligee, this had no sizzle. Noteworthy to me for having a young Tom Hardy. Well-executed British gangster movie, but lackluster in script.



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The Dirt (2019)



Anytime I watch something based on the 80's, it starts with some built-in goodwill. I think that carries the movie for me. Nostalgia. There is a lot wrong going on here and I don't know if it's the material or Jackass alumni Jeff Tremaine's treatment. It seems to gloss over every reprehensible action with some sort of wink or smile.


There are some good moments, but this is on par with a made-for-t.v. movie. Not a bad thing, but a reminder of the varying levels of quality in all this Netflix content.






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Captain Marvel (2019)


This really didn't do much for me. Possibly the most boring Marvel flick I've endured. The last 20 minutes were ok, but the whole story was just really uninteresting. Nostalgia bits didn't even land and I probably owned most of that music at one time.