Rate The Last Movie You Saw


Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

It becomes clear once the movie is finished just how much the entire premise is built around a series of pretty remarkable coincidences. I'm also fairly sure that one of the final revelations in the movie is, in fact, a gigantic plot hole.

But those reservations aside, the latest in the ongoing Planet of the Apes series is a fairly entertaining yarn, set roughly 300 years after the last installment, when the original Caesar's legacy has transformed into something like a religion for many apes.

Beware the latest series of TV spots, however, as they are apparently full of spoilers.

I Saw the TV Glow

I Saw the TV Glow was one of the most anticipated titles of the year for me since its Sundance debut; however I think Jane Schoenbrun's sophomore effort doesn't quite deliver on its artistic ambitions - which certainly indicate a great artistic potential.

I won't go too much into detail about the film's basic premise, which involves an elaborate analogy that, taken at face value, could have made for a reasonably engaging movie.

But the analogy in question is tortuous at best and simplistic at worst. Schoenbrun does a great job building a very unique mood, but imho doesn't know where to go with that.

From what I've read in the trades, A24 wants this to be one of their biggest horror movies of the year; personally I'm not sure that it has enough "horror" elements to even be sold this way. I'll be happy if mainstream audiences ultimately embrace the strange, atmospheric film, but I also won't be surprised if they don't.

Wake in Fright (1971)

Found a good copy of this Australian film. Young school-teacher breaks up for the Christmas holidays with the intention of seeing his girlfriend in Sydney after working in a provincial (to say the least) school. His connection is "the Yabba" where it all starts go monumentally pear-shaped after gambling himself out of any funds he had for the break. So he ends up in the arse end of nowhere and has to socialise with the rather eccentric locals through necessity. There's not really much more to it than that but it's a good romp.

5th Rewatch....Steve Martin and Carl Reiner hit a direct bullseye with this 1982 homage to 1940's film noir which found Martin playing a private eye named Rigby Reardon trying to help a beautiful client (Rachel Ward) get to the bottom of her father's murder. But the hook of this film, through amazing pre-CGI technology, Martin gets to play scenes with Humphrey Bogart, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Ray Milland, Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Vincent Price, Charles Laughton, Barbara Stanwyck, Vincent Price and many other stars of classic cinema. Constructing this story not only required state of the art technology, but an intimate knowledge of the films utilized, which screenwriters Martn, Reiner, and George Gipe prove in spades. One of Martin's most underrated films that improves upon rewatch.

4th Rewatch...Another instant comedy classic that just gets better with each performance. Oscar winner Joe Pesci plays a recent Brooklyn law graduate who is sent to the deep south to get his young cousin (Ralph Macchio) and his BFF (Mitchell Warfield) off when they are accused of a murder they didn't commit. With each rewatch, I find a new richness to Pesci's performance. Vinny is not taking this case very seriously when he first arrives, but watching the transition Vinny makes as he realizes how important what he's doing is, is a delight to watch. Marisa Tomei actually won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her brassy performance as Vinny's girlfriend, though I've never been really sure why. Did love Lane Smith as the DA and in a memorable scene stealing performance in his final film role, the late great Fred Wynne as the judge.

1st Rewwatch...the third and final entry in the original franchise finds Frank Drebin (the late Leslie Nielsen) bored with retirement and unable to conceive a baby with with wife, Jane (Priscilla Presley), coerced out of retirement and sent undercover to a prison to find the terrorists who are planning to detonate a bomb at the Academy Awards. This third entry does provide more winks to other movies like The Untouchables and Thelma and Louise, but if you liked the first two movies, there's no reason you won't enjoy this one. In addition to the regulars in the franchise, this film features a slew of cameos including Raquel Welch, Elliott Gould, Mary Lou Retton, Florence Henderson, Ann B Davis, Pia Zadora, James Earl Jones, Weird Al Yankovic, and Vanna White. This film also provided the one and only attempt at a movie career for the late Anna Nicole Smith as the femme fatale trying to stop Frank. The late Fred Ward also scores channeling James Cagney in White Heat.

Adult Adoption (2022) A young woman who has aged out of foster care seeks a parental figure online. Ellie Moon is wonderful in this and the rest of the cast are good too. The film has a quirky charm to it and some beautiful, empathetic moments.

Lilly the Little Fish (2017) Directed by Yassen Grigorov. Watched on Tubi. A family fantasy/fairy tale about a child who changes gender when you look at him/her. This was interesting. The main kids did a good job and I liked the look of the film. It relies too much on narration though and is a little too long. Worth checking out if you like a different type of fairy tale/fantasy film.

Under The Skin, 2013 (A+)

It's hard to make out what the entire movie is about, but from a purely sensual point of view, it's just absolutely outstanding. The pool scene is the most messed up thing I've seen in a movie. I never felt like that watching anything ever. I'll be watching this one a couple times again .

Wow....I recall seeing the first one as a revival already, Planet of the Apes, way back when. There's been a bunch of them since then. This one is the 9th. As I recall, when the first one was done, there were no digital FX, so real human actors played apes. Costumes and make up were first rate, plot somewhat less so. It was intended as some sort of metaphor, but was lost on me.

This year's installment appears to be mainly digital. Since they had a human cast member named for each "ape", I assume that they used real actors and digital motion capture...added fur in software renderings. The FX are pretty good, do a good job of supporting a weak plot. As we know, "chimps" are good guys, "gorillas" are big, angry bullies. Humans are just a sideline.

You can do better than this one.

Elevator to the Gallows -

This fine-tuned Swiss watch of a noir recalls one of my favorite lines from Kicking and Screaming: "how do you make God laugh? Make a plan." Julien Tavernier and lover Florence think they have all the I's dotted and T's crossed - as does everyone in their plan’s trajectory - but there's always just that one little thing, isn't there? Watching our anti-hero #1 learn this lesson firsthand is the most tense plotline to me; after all, it is in the title. This is not just due to its clever machinations, but also Ronet's performance, who makes Tavernier out to be one smug guy for how he assumes nothing bad could ever happen to him. As for the more comical story of interlopers Louis and Veronique, it could be labeled as a B one, but it's anything but. While tempered by his efforts to stick it to the man, Poujouly's Louis ends up being just as annoyingly smug as Julien, perhaps even more due to how petulant he makes him. There's also Bertin's adorable naivety and free-spiritedness, which might as well have set the standard for so many similar female characters of the French New Wave. That most of everyone's collective string of bad luck occurs in the coolest block of Paris with its jazz clubs and cafes makes it all the more enjoyable to watch all of this play out. Speaking of jazz, Miles Davis's score may be the coolest one I've heard in this genre, which also deserves credit for adding the right touch of fatalism.

One of my favorite things about noir is how it lets you show what happens if you followed through on the devil on your shoulder’s advice. Besides succeeding at laying out the consequences, this movie goes further for how it shows that your plan would still occur in the real world, inconveniences and all. For these reasons and for how elegantly it all plays out - without lacking grit or humanity, I might add - it's a noir classic, French or otherwise. Oh, and it has all this and Lino Ventura as the police commissioner, too!

Not Another Church Movie

If you're given the budget to make a film parody, it sure helps if you can even understand the concept of "parody".
Sadly, nobody seems to have checked if the filmmakers behind Not Another Church Movie had the faintest idea of what a parody is.
Aside from having characters named 'Tylor Pherry' and 'Hoprah Windfall', and a lazy "Madea" knock-off, the movie doesn't even decide what it even is that it's trying to parody.
It's as if the filmmakers just decided to have some unfunny characters, scenes in which those characters say something unfunny, and just keep going until the resulting scenes can be stitched together into a feature.
Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx is sadly stuck with what amounts to an extended cameo as God, while Mickey Rourke plays his counterpart down below.

What Is A Woman (2020) Watched on Criterion Channel. A 14 minute Norwegian short film about a discussion inside a woman's locker room. This is an intelligent, well written short film with very good performances. I loved the way it was done. It could have easily been longer and gone even more in depth.