Suspect Watches Some Movies in 2021

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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds


Well, 2020 was a bust. Didn't get a chance to see too many movies and had to deal with a lot of pandemic nonsense.

2021 is a new year and a new watch schedule.

I'm aiming for movies I haven't seen, but I'll occasionally throw in something I've seen before.

Also, please feel free to nominate anything for me. I'm always open to watching films people love....or hate.


2021 Watch List


January

Jan 1st - Under The Tuscan Sun
Jan 2nd - Countdown
Jan 3rd - The Last Five Years
Jan 4th - 500 Days of Summer
Jan 5th - 12 Angry Men
Jan 6th - Birds of Prey
Jan 7th - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Jan 9th - Like Crazy
Jan 12th - The Kitchen
Jan 15th - The King of Staten Island
Jan 19th - Assassintatino Nation
Jan 20th - War, Inc
Jan 22nd - Jawbreaker
Jan 23rd - Deliverance
Jan 24th - The Velocipastor
Jan 25th - I Love You To Death
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Suspect's Reviews



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Under the Tuscan Sun





Theme: Break-up films.

For those of you that don't know, last year my friends and I started doing movie marathons over discord. We started with the Fast & Furious franchise as my one buddy had not seen any of them. We've been going strong ever since and now we are incorporating themes into our choices. This round's theme is BREAK-UP movies. We started with a classic; High Fidelity. I'm not here to talk about High Fidelity, I'd like to, but that was so 2020. I'm here to talk about how a middle-aged white lady got divorced, lost her house, her belongings and bought a villa in Italy because....why not.

This movie has a target demo and I'm not it. Despite that, the film is not a travesty. There are some elements to it that shine, specifically Diane Lane's charming performance of a woman trying to find her life again and the beautiful locals in Italy. The rest of the film tends to lean into forced romantic encounters and oddball characters who lear at our lead actress. There was a weird theme in this film that seemed to show Italian men as a little less than honest. Two men who show interest in Lane are married, 3 men harass her on the streets, another sleeps with a younger woman when they can't connect.

There's a sincere scene with her friend, played by Sandra Oh. Her lesbian partner and she have been trying to have a child and finally got lucky with attempt number five. Oh shows up in Italy to surprise Lane and she's pretty close to having the baby, it's then when we find out her partner left her because she wasn't ready to be a mother. A quick scene, but one that is sold with Oh's performance. It's the only real moment in the film, the rest plays out in a whimsical romantic comedy land.

Overall, the film is fine. There is nothing egregious here and if anything, it'll make you maybe want to take a trip to Italy.



Kinda sorta, maybe just a little like Under the Tuscan Sun is my rec for you. A film that I think is underrated and is a nice little drama/thriller set in the Mediterranean and only 96 minutes long. The Two Faces of January (2014)





28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Kinda sorta, maybe just a little like Under the Tuscan Sun is my rec for you. A film that I think is underrated and is a nice little drama/thriller set in the Mediterranean and only 96 minutes long. The Two Faces of January (2014)


Never heard of it, on my watch list now.



Never heard of it, on my watch list now.
I reviewed it if you're interested in reading it. I just did read it and really gushed about the film! And the review is spoiler free so safe to read.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Countdown




As far as dumb teen horror films post 2010, this isn't the worst offender. It certainly has its faults, which is what most people will latch onto because there are so damn many of them, but there are one or two moments of suspense that are handled rather well. I'd like to see this director work with a better script in the future and not cater to the PG-13 horror crowd, see what he comes up with.

Countdown is an app that tells you exactly, down to the minute, when you are going to die. People download it and laugh when they see they will live to be 90 some odd years old. But what happens when it says you will die in 3 days? There is no escape from the Countdown, death comes for you whether you change your plans or not.

There was a hint of a Final Destination aspect to this film that wasn't really explored, instead, they opted for the more overt supernatural demon aspect. When the time countdown, it looks like a natural death would occur, but knowing you're supposed to die in 3 minutes might make you not get into that car. If you do this, you're breaking the terms and conditions of the app and some demon guy comes after you.

There are two moments I mentioned that are rather suspenseful. Maybe I appreciated them a bit more because they were sandwiched into such a bad movie, but the use of lighting and sound worked for me. One involved a little girl hiding under her bed when a motion sensor hallway light keeps going off, the other deals with funky lights going off in the men's room. Despite those two sequences being fun, the rest of the movie is your typical teen horror cliche-filled jump scare. I'll admit, one of the jump scares got me. Maybe I had my sound up too loud?

A solid performance from the lead actress helps the viewer get through the film. The subplot involving a sexual assault feels misplaced to pad the running time. Horror Movie 101 people...when the lights flicker on and off and a morgue door slowly creaks open. Do not go look into it. Just turn around and GTFO. It's that simple. Too many characters turn on their phone lights and slowly investigate something strange when they KNOW they are being targeted by some kind of demon. So dumb.

I'm fully aware of my watching habits. I watch these horror movies knowing they are dumb, knowing they are bad and knowing I will give a low rating to them. But I watch them anyway.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
The Last Five Years





Theme: Break-up films.

Here is another break-up film on the docket, this one just happens to star two people and is a musical. A musical to the point where there is next to no dialogue and everything is done in song. I can't help but feel the complexities of the story get lost when you have to convey the story and emotions in song. It asks you to be creative for sure, but you lose something because everything becomes "whimsical". You can't sell an argument or an intense conversation while they try to rhyme.

Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan star as two people who lust after one another, start to date, get married, then break-up. One is a successful author, the other a failed actress. Of course, these issues come up in their song fights. Unfortunately, I don't remember any of the songs. They were fine I guess, but I wasn't tapping my toes or feel engaged in any of the lyrics.

The two leads lacked chemistry with their love but sold it with their hatred. I believed in their fights, not their love. So I guess the movie doesn't succeed in that aspect. None of us had ever heard of the movie before and nothing about it made me think I would remember it in the next few days.



The Last Five Years




Here is another break-up film on the docket, this one just happens to star two people and is a musical. A musical to the point where there is next to no dialogue and everything is done in song. I can't help but feel the complexities of the story get lost when you have to convey the story and emotions in song. It asks you to be creative for sure, but you lose something because everything becomes "whimsical". You can't sell an argument or an intense conversation while they try to rhyme.

Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan star as two people who lust after one another, start to date, get married, then break-up. One is a successful author, the other a failed actress. Of course, these issues come up in their song fights. Unfortunately, I don't remember any of the songs. They were fine I guess, but I wasn't tapping my toes or feel engaged in any of the lyrics.

The two leads lacked chemistry with their love but sold it with their hatred. I believed in their fights, not their love. So I guess the movie doesn't succeed in that aspect. None of us had ever heard of the movie before and nothing about it made me think I would remember it in the next few days.

I liked The Last Five Years, but I'm a big fan of musicals, and I've liked Jeremy Jordan ever since I saw him in the TV show "SMASH". The music wasn't very memorable, but I thought it was interesting the way we see the story from two different perspectives. His story moves forward through their relationship, while her story moves backward through it.

As a musical, it was lacking, but as a movie, it was interesting.
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OPEN FLOOR.



I'm looking forward to The Courier, said to be released in February. I'm a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, and I like the subject of 1960s Cold War thrillers.

I don't know if you or anyone has seen an early release of it.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
500 Days of Summer





Theme: Break-up films.

Watching this in my early 20's vs now was an interesting thing, as I viewed the film differently and lean more towards both people being a-holes. I distinctively remember being more sympathetic towards Joesph Gordon Levitt's character, as he was madly in love and she seemed distant and cold to him as the relationship went on. Again, we are viewing this story from his perspective so things might tend to lean towards him in a way. But viewing it now, I see that she was definitely upfront with him from the beginning, not wanting anything serious. Yes, she leads him on in a lot of scenes, but he ignores a lot of red flags, says a lot of inappropriate things and in a creative way, we get to see what his expectations are versus what reality is.

500 Days of Summer uses a lot of creative and unique ways to make this film stand apart from the typical movie about love. I specifically didn't say a typical love story as the film likes to point out that this is NOT a love story, but a story about love. We get to see a fun dance number after he has sex, the previously mentioned split screen of expectations/reality and the story flips randomly between those 500 days of their relationship. This is not a straightforward narrative of their time together going from good to bad, it flips almost randomly between early and late in their relationship and we see how things turn out for them straight from the beginning. I feel that takes confidence in the story and the director to tell that story; "This is how they end up, let's see the highs and lows of how they got there".

A great soundtrack boosts the "indie" cred of the film and despite me not liking it as much as I did the first time, it still has a truth to it. He's not perfect, neither is she.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)





Theme: Break-up films.

Basically how we chose these movies is if the break-up is taken out of the film, will it be the same or different? If it's the same, it's not a break-up movie, if it's different, then the break-up was essential to the story and it counts. We use that rhetoric for all themed movies, so that means Die Hard is a Christmas movie, case closed.

Onto this one. Spoiler Alert, The Joker and Harley Quinn break up. This propels the story forward as she blows up the chemical plant that changed her life forever. She views that place as "their place" and with blowing it up, it sends a message to all the low-lives in the city that she is no longer protected by the Clown Prince of Crime. So now every hoodrat in the city is after Harley, including the insane crime kingpin Black Mask.

Suicide Squad was a disaster of epic proportions. The one saving grace from that film was Margot Robbie killing it as Harley Quinn. This time around, she serves as a producer and no longer has to wear those skimpy outfits and have gratuitous scenes of her getting dressed. This time around it's the girls who are kicking asses and taking names.

Toxic cotton candy colours litter the screen in Birds of Prey. Simple explosions come out as pink and blue giving the film a unique visual style. We are now in her world and her world is bubble-gum poison. Robbie gives Harley Q a voice, and as producer here, she helps create a vibrant style that failed so hard in Suicide Squad. I think of this movie and I remember a lot of it, I think of Suicide Squad and I remember is Cara Delevingne awkwardly waving her arms and body around in a dance move that was her trying to summon some powers?

The humour hits more here, the story is clear and the film has some amazing villains portrayed by Ewan McGregor and Chris Messina as a so obvious gay couple. McGregor is having a blast playing the over the top villain that takes people's faces off if they cross him, but is grossed out if there is a snot bubble from a weeping victim. Messina is Victor Zsasz and he plays him with a mumbling intensity that you won't soon forget.

The film has a lot of missteps. The fight choreography is redundantly bad. Everything feels dialled down a bit and calculated. We can see every movement that is about to be made, this happens when you have actors who are not trained go in and do the sequences and not have their stunt doubles take care of it. The climax of the film takes place in a fun house and the fight sequences happen on some trampolines, so people are flying all over the place to hide the fact that it is bad. Another misstep is Rosie Perez.

Yet here I am with a moderately positive review on it. The villains, style and sheer fun of the film make up for it. It's nothing great, don't get me wrong, but it tries to be a little different and for that, I tip my hat to it.



Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)




Another break-up film.

Basically how we chose these movies is if the break-up is taken out of the film, will it be the same or different? If it's the same, it's not a break-up movie, if it's different, then the break-up was essential to the story and it counts. We use that rhetoric for all themed movies, so that means Die Hard is a Christmas movie, case closed.

Onto this one. Spoiler Alert, The Joker and Harley Quinn break up. This propels the story forward as she blows up the chemical plant that changed her life forever. She views that place as "their place" and with blowing it up, it sends a message to all the low-lives in the city that she is no longer protected by the Clown Prince of Crime. So now every hoodrat in the city is after Harley, including the insane crime kingpin Black Mask.

Suicide Squad was a disaster of epic proportions. The one saving grace from that film was Margot Robbie killing it as Harley Quinn. This time around, she serves as a producer and no longer has to wear those skimpy outfits and have gratuitous scenes of her getting dressed. This time around it's the girls who are kicking asses and taking names.

Toxic cotton candy colours litter the screen in Birds of Prey. Simple explosions come out as pink and blue giving the film a unique visual style. We are now in her world and her world is bubble-gum poison. Robbie gives Harley Q a voice, and as producer here, she helps create a vibrant style that failed so hard in Suicide Squad. I think of this movie and I remember a lot of it, I think of Suicide Squad and I remember is Cara Delevingne awkwardly waving her arms and body around in a dance move that was her trying to summon some powers?

The humour hits more here, the story is clear and the film has some amazing villains portrayed by Ewan McGregor and Chris Messina as a so obvious gay couple. McGregor is having a blast playing the over the top villain that takes people's faces off if they cross him, but is grossed out if there is a snot bubble from a weeping victim. Messina is Victor Zsasz and he plays him with a mumbling intensity that you won't soon forget.

The film has a lot of missteps. The fight choreography is redundantly bad. Everything feels dialled down a bit and calculated. We can see every movement that is about to be made, this happens when you have actors who are not trained go in and do the sequences and not have their stunt doubles take care of it. The climax of the film takes place in a fun house and the fight sequences happen on some trampolines, so people are flying all over the place to hide the fact that it is bad. Another misstep is Rosie Perez.

Yet here I am with a moderately positive review on it. The villains, style and sheer fun of the film make up for it. It's nothing great, don't get me wrong, but it tries to be a little different and for that, I tip my hat to it.
im glad that they did a chick flick of this movie, margot robbie did a good job.
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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Like Crazy





Theme: Break-up films.

The final film in our break up theme and one that felt pretty genuine. The set-up with these two getting together felt natural and helped the viewer feel something for them when things start to get tough. Felicity Jones plays a student who is in the states on a student visa, she falls for another student and they spent some quality time together. When it's time for her to move back to the UK, she decides to stay for the summer, thus violating her student visa. She eventually does return home for a bit and then when she plans to return to see the love of her life, she is denied. They try their best to make the long-distance relationship work, but it can be tough.

Watching this film, for the second time, I still feel lukewarm towards it. The entire thing could have been avoided had she just went back home because the wait time would have been two months. Seems pretty simple, but young love, right? I can't help but feel that these two are forcing themselves to love each other. Are they perfect for one another? Who knows? Yelchin's character starts to see an employee played by Jennifer Lawrence and they do seem like a good pair, yet he is willing to drop her like a bad habit when the thought of being with Jones comes back. These two characters treat others in their relationships like garbage, unintentionally of course.

Is a summer fling enough of a love that you're willing to ignore and sabotage other things in your life to try and make it work? Like Crazy asks those questions and ends on a "Graduate" type ending that makes you wonder if everything they went through was worth it.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
The Kitchen




First-time filmmaker Andrea Berloff tries to craft a gangster film that centres around women instead of men. No, this isn't a crusade to recast Goodfellas with women, this is a story where 3 mobsters are sent to prison and their wives have to take control of the organization before they are left behind in the dirt.

The first thing you'll notice about the film is that two of the leads are more known for their comedic timing than dramatic output. Melissa McCarthy hit it big with Bridesmaids and has ridden that gravy train into the ground. Here she loses the comedy and tries to pull on our sentimentality. She's a wife of a guy who isn't that bad (compared to the other two husbands) and they have a family together. She knows what he's up to, but does what she can to protect her family. Maybe a little too nice and naive as her actions lead to a traumatic event that changes her life forever.

The second double turn of the head goes to seeing the name Tiffany Haddish in the credits. Another person known for laughs who has hit it big recently thanks to outputs like Girls Trip, also drops the comedy act to try on some serious pants. Through her character, we get to see what happens when success gets to someone's head. Does she have her and her two gal pals' safety as priority number one? Or is it a selfish game now and the other two are just in the way?

Finally, Elizabeth Moss enters the picture as the third lead and in a role that more or less we've seen from her before. She's in an abusive relationship and when her husband goes to prison, she is actually happy. The complete opposite of McCarthy. With the violent husband out of the picture, she is able to build herself up and boost her confidence. People are now afraid of her, not the other way around.

So what happens when the husbands get out?

The Kitchen is gangster-lite. It has the language, the look and the low-key violence, but it lacks and punches that one would typically see in a film like this. There's a scene where one character is describing how to cut up a body to make it easier to dispose of in the river. This moment should make us shudder with uneasiness, but instead, we snicker at the lack of an iron stomach these ladies have...except for Moss...cause she's bad-ass now.

There are moments that the film wants to surprise you, but everything is telegraphed in a way that we, as the viewer are simply waiting for the film to catch up. It pulls the fun out of the film and makes it looks like it's trying too hard to impress. The women do a fine enough job with their roles, but they each throw on those fake New York accents that you'd think they were doing a parody.

The Kitchen feels like a misfire. Characters seem to do stupid things for stupid reasons. This isn't elevating the genre in any way, nor is it a fun addition to it. It's what you'd expect to find on a made for TV channel, but with more language. Stay out of this kitchen.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
The King of Staten Island




My least favourite Apatow directed film and once again a film that tells me he desperately needs an editor. Why are his comedies always so long? This film did not need to be almost 2 1/2 hours. It's a story than could be told in under 2hrs to be honest.

Maybe it's because I don't particularly find Pete Davidson funny or that his character here is an a-hole, but I found it hard to really connect with him. The film is semi-based on his real life. Davidson had a father who was a fireman who died. The main difference here is that Davidson's father died on 9/11. If anyone knows Davidson's humour, he routinely makes fun of the fact that his father is dead. I guess it's his coping mechanism.

I went back and forth on if I hated this character, but the moment I knew I hated this character was when Bill Burr revealed his back, full of tattoos. Davidson wants to be a tattoo artist and Burr has zero tattoos. They've had a difficult relationship in the film up till this point, but the finally come to understand each other and Burr offers his back as a sketch board for Davidson. He has a few rules though, don't do this, don't do that...which Davidson breaks. This is a character who is supposed to be growing up out of his child like mentality and finally become an adult. How are we to believe that when he does childish and inappropriate things like that? The tattoos aren't even good. It's Burr's entire back, what happened to one little tattoo? This could have been a more heartwarming and grownup moment that is ruined because Davidson wanted to cram in some weird juvenile humour.

I chuckled here and there and Apatow has a knack for this type of story, but the overall result is overstuffed with nonsense.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Assassination Nation





Theme: Movies 5.9 and under on IMDB


A modern-day digital depiction of the Salem Witch Trials. Back then there was no need for proof. If you were accused of being a witch by a man who was threatened by your beauty, intelligence, drive or general all-around being, then you were hanged or burned. Assassination Nation brings all that up to date with almost the same results. Mob mentality is a piece of filmmaking that is hard for me to watch and Assassination Nation almost got there.

The film starts off with a trigger warning and goes through a long list of things that might piss people off, so of course, it did and the film sits with an IMDB rating lower than 6.0. This film deserves a higher ranking than that. There is enough style and talent showcased here to elevate the material and the divide among audiences is enough to make the film with discussing.

People from the town of Salem get hacked and all their personal texts, pictures and videos are posted online for the world to see. This reveals many secrets the townsfolk had, such as the Mayor being a closet homosexual, a young girl sending nudes to a married father and other people cheating on their spouses. This is just the tip of the iceberg. People get freaked out and when a young girl is accused of being the hacker, the town throws caution to the wind and becomes a judge jury and executioner for her and her friends.

But these girls aren't going down without a fight.

The film drips with style and some arguments against it would be that the film is style over substance, which might be true, but there was enough meat on these bones for me to chew into. Having a kid in the age of digital devices is the most stressful thing a parent can think of. We didn't have to go through the embarrassment of what these kids are experiencing. Social Media is a bully and everyone will jump at the opportunity to be a critic behind a keyboard.

Ass Nation, as I'm referring it as, showcased my favourite shot of the year (so far). The town has found out where they are hiding and begin their intrusion of the house while they are obliviously unaware. The girls are walking al around the house as masked men with guns slowly emerge out of the shadows or from behind curtais. This is all shot in one take, from outside the house. Impressive coordination and Hitchcock levels of suspense and tension.

The film is shot for the type of audience it depicts. It's fast-paced and unapologetic. Get on the train with it, or get off.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
War, Inc





Theme: Movies 5.9 and under on IMDB


Satire is hard to do and when you have so much to say about war, the sexualization of pop-stars, western influence over eastern culture and the assault of media advertisements. That's a lot to tackle and when you try to cram it into a film you've got yourself a film that doesn't know how to balance itself. War, Inc suffers from this tremendously and it was hard for me to find my footing in the right tone this movie wanted me in.

Yes, War, Inc has a tone issue. Sometimes it's serious as we see dozens of people being slaughtered by the American army, who are high on the thrill of killing and powdered caffeine Then sometimes it becomes a parody as journalists are given the action ride experience of seeing propaganda and they full-on act out being shot because the film and movements of the seats are so immersive. There is a little too much going on and too many horrible accents that take you out of the experience. Ben Kingsly has an over the top Texan drawl that was pretty funny when he laughs. His scenes are few and far between and poorly done mostly in flashbacks. There's also Hilary Duff doing God knows what and her storyline almost reaches Oldboy levels of absurdity.

This is a classic case of great ideas, mediocre execution.



The Kitchen




The Kitchen feels like a misfire. Characters seem to do stupid things for stupid reasons. This isn't elevating the genre in any way, nor is it a fun addition to it. It's what you'd expect to find on a made for TV channel, but with more language. Stay out of this kitchen.
Agreed. Thought it was atrocious & bailed out.

The King of Staten Island




My least favourite Apatow directed film and once again a film that tells me he desperately needs an editor. Why are his comedies always so long? This film did not need to be almost 2 1/2 hours. It's a story than could be told in under 2hrs to be honest.
I liked the movie. But, as you say, it was too long.
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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Jawbreaker





Theme: Movies 5.9 and under on IMDB


I don't know if I mentioned this or not, but our next theme after the break-up section is now movies under 5.9 on IMDB. Jawbreaker here qualifies with a 5.7...

Clueless meets Heathers in this dark comedy about three friends who accidentally kill their friend when a jawbreaker gets lodged in her throat. So instead of calling the police, they simply stage her death to look like a sex act gone wrong. They get got in the act by a "loser" girl and come up with the plan to keep her quiet by giving her a make-over and making her popular.

A decent idea that could work if it really leaned into the darkness of the subject matter but it doesn't land the execution. Julie Benz does a great job of the blonde airhead follower, but the rest of the cast isn't over the top enough. Rose McGowan is particularly bland despite trying her best to be "evil".

This film has awkward transitional scenes with out-of-place sound effects and despite wearing its influences on its sleeve (Carrie for example) it never reaches those high heights. I can see why the film has somewhat of a cult status though as the film falls into the guilty pleasure category pretty quickly.