Friday Film Roundup

Our Friday Film Roundup is an attempt to share what we are reading, watching, and listening to as we head into the weekend. We plan on sharing major film news, interesting film essays/videos, good reads and recommended films you might want to check out.

Hello again friends. We haven’t exactly lived up to the “Friday” portion of Friday Film Roundup, have we? Sorry about that. These are strange times and we’d be lying if we said that Covid-19 hadn’t impact our personal lives to some degree. Even so, we’re going to try and deliver a more consistent product. Thanks for hanging in there with us.

So join me on the very first Sunday edition of our Friday Roundup.

Reading

Last week I gave some recommendations that didn’t exactly consist of uplifting material. Let’s go the opposite way this week. I haven’t really been reading much in terms of film news lately, mainly because most of it is regarding delays of upcoming releases, but there is ample time right now for film analysis. One of my favorite reads is Roger Ebert’s first entry in his Great Movies collection. It will remind of you of two things: 1) Ebert understood the medium so well and was a hell of a writer, and 2) There a lot of great films just waiting for you to discover them, regardless of your age or preferences.

Recommendation to Watch

*61 – I mentioned last week that I’m going through a bit of a sports withdrawal. The Colorado Rockies aired a live stream of past Opening Day games on Friday and I absolutely had it on for a bit. Not the same, but I always look forward to baseball this time of year and you make do with what you have.

Which is why I recommend you check out *61. The retelling of Roger Maris’ and Mickey Mantle’s historic 1961 season was an HBO original film and I don’t believe ever saw the inside of a movie theater. For that reason, it doesn’t receive nearly as much love or attention as it deserves. And I suppose that’s fitting, considering the same could have been said of Maris at the time. *61 does come off as a little hokey, but director Billy Crystal deftly guides us through his personal recollection as a fan of the Yankees.

Let’s just say that sports fans and reporters didn’t need social media to make Maris’ life miserable back then.

What I’m Watching

Love is Blind – I can’t in good conscience recommend this to anyone. It’s arguably the most ridiculous thing I’ve watched on Netflix recently, and that’s saying something considering I sat through Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Single romantic hopefuls interact with the opposite sex and go on dates without ever leaving these “pods” that they stay in or seeing the person they’re dating. Yes, there’s literally a wall between them. They then have to decide whether they want to propose to that person and they don’t actually meet until after they agreed to get married. The kicker is that there’s then only FOUR weeks until their wedding, and that’s if their relationship doesn’t totally go off the rails in the meantime.

To an introvert like me, the mere idea of any of this is completely terrifying. It’s an insane concept and makes for some cringeworthy viewing. I guess in that way it’s like a car wreck: you just can’t look away.

Upcoming Flimsy Film Posts

Welcome to New York: Mystery Film

I asked Kevin about this last week and he seemed to imply that this was going to centered around I Am Legend. If that turns out to be the case, you guys saw it here first in my roundup last week. Totally my idea.

Let’s Talk About: 100 Movies Bucket List

Yes, this is still coming. I wouldn’t share my neat movie poster with the world unless we were committed to writing about all of the movies on it. Stay tuned.

Friday Film Roundup

Our Friday Film Roundup is an attempt to share what we are reading, watching, and listening to as we head into the weekend. We plan on sharing major film news, interesting film essays/videos, and recommended films you might want to check out.

Good afternoon friends! I hope you’re all hanging in there okay as we continue to weather the storm of these unprecedented circumstances. If there’s one thing that’s well-served for getting us through a quarantine, it’s watching movies. We’ll be here to continue providing new content that will hopefully distract you from how crazy things are right now.

So join me on a Saturday edition of our Friday Roundup.

Reading

The fiance and I recently started watching the Watchmen TV series (which we’ll get to in a bit), but Kevin piqued my curiosity when he told me that the show uses the graphic novel as canon, rather than Zack Snyder’s 2009 film adaptation. I grabbed Alan Moore’s masterpiece off of my shelf, flipped through a few pages, started reading and haven’t been able to stop. Beyond just being a fan, I find a measure of odd comfort in immersing myself into a story about superheroes in the face of Armageddon.

So if you’re weird like me, I would definitely recommend giving Watchmen a try if you haven’t read it before. The Dark Knight ReturnsThe Road1984 and Old Man Logan are a few others that I’m fond of, and if reading isn’t your thing, there are film adaptations of all of those. Enjoy!

Recommendation to Watch

When done right, the threat of mankind’s extinction makes for some riveting stories, and Children of Men absolutely gets it right. This somewhat forgotten classic is available to rent on Prime Video. Here’s the trailer if you want to decide whether or not it’s worth a few bucks:

What I’m Watching

Watchmen – A faithful continuation of the beloved graphic novel. A standalone series that doesn’t require its audience to be familiar with the source material, but winks and nods at those who do. It’s not often you get an adaptation that checks both of these boxes. Two episodes in, Watchmen does. I’ll see if that changes or not as I get through the series.

Hook – Recently added to Netflix, this childhood favorite seemed like a no brainer to help kill some time during the quarantine. The fiance was thrilled when she saw it as an option. We took the trip back to Steven Spielberg’s Neverland and while the nostalgia factor will always make that a worthwhile voyage, there is absolutely no way that this film would be well-received today. Sexual innuendos in a movie about Peter Pan? The social media police would burn Spielberg to the ground if he tried that again.

But hey, maybe I’m overthinking it. Give it a watch and see if you agree.

Upcoming Flimsy Film Posts

Welcome to New York: Mystery Film

It’s possible that Kevin just wanted to do something less obvious, but if he’s looking for a New York movie with an apocalyptic setting, he could do a lot worse than I Am Legend. It’s also possible he already figured this out and has a different post coming for you soon!

Let’s Talk About: 100 Movies Bucket List

We are still planning on introducing this. Be on the lookout for it next week.

Bought It Before I Watched It: Arrival

Bought It Before I Watched It is a series dedicated to all of the blu-rays that Jesse purchased without seeing the movie first. He then watches said movie and writes a post about whether he wasted his money or not. He also interviews himself and tries not to come off as pretentious or patronizing. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

What did I buy Arrival?

Aside from being a critically acclaimed film about an alien invasion? That will earn a bought it before I watched it from me pretty much every time. However, in this case I was mainly intrigued because Arrival was helmed by Denis Villeneuve, one of the best filmmakers working today. Certain directors become so accomplished that all I need is to see their name attached to a movie and I’m hooked. Scorsese, Tarantino and Nolan are a few good examples of that.

I believe that Villeneuve belongs in the same company.

What did I think?

I knew going in that Arrival wasn’t your typical “aliens have come to Earth movie,” much to the chagrin of audiences with the predisposition that it would be another Independence Day. An actual criticism of a review I read (after I saw the film, of course) is that, “Arrival is a mystery masquerading as a summer blockbuster.” I feel sorry for anyone who felt that way, because while Arrival definitely weaves a mysterious web around its narrative, it certainly doesn’t lack for drama or tension and doesn’t pretend to be anything that it’s not. This is why I prefer to go into new movies blind, if possible, and just let the story play out as it was supposed to.

In short, I thought it was another excellent showcase of Villeneuve’s talents, and featured a particularly nuanced performance from Amy Adams. Personally, I thought it was refreshing that the hero wasn’t trying to blow all the aliens up, per normal.

Do you regret buying it?

Absolutely not. Villeneuve never lets me down. Every one of his films is different enough to stand out from the others, but the story always remains taut throughout and the visuals leave an indelible impression on me every time. Any new work from him will always be an instant purchase from me.

How often will you come back to it?

I definitely want to see it again. One idea that we’ve kicked around here is to highlight specific actors and directors, watch their most famous and underrated work and then provide you with some analysis on how these films impacted and inspired us, among other things. If we ever pull the trigger on that concept, Villeneuve will definitely be on that list.

Any parting thoughts?

Enemy with Jake Gyllenhaal is another Villeneuve blu-ray that I purchased before I saw it. Considering I still haven’t gotten to it yet, and that I just waxed poetically over how much of a Villeneuve fanboy I am, that’s going to have to be one of the upcoming entries for this series. Stay tuned.

Bought It Before I Watched It: Sorry to Bother You

Bought It Before I Watched It is a series dedicated to all of the blu-rays that Jesse purchased without seeing the movie first. He then watches said movie and writes a post about whether he wasted his money or not. He also interviews himself and tries not to come off as pretentious or patronizing. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

Why did I buy Sorry to Bother You?

I did this thing in 2018 where I closely monitored the Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes for all new films that were released. If one had a high score, I did some research on it and if I was intrigued by the plot and the talent involved, I made a note to pick it up when it came out on blu-ray. I suppose my logic is that it’s easier for me to support these films that way than going to the theaters, which may not even make any sense.

Sorry to Bother You was one that fell into this category.

What did I think?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. Kevin wrote a banger of a piece when he saw it and I could tell that I was in for something different. There’s just no preparing you for HOW different this one is until you actually witness it for yourself. But Kevin was correct in saying that Sorry to Bother You is a film you can’t shake. Regardless of how you personally feel about the plot and everything that ensues, it bores its way into your brain and remains there for days after. Weeks even.

It likely takes a rewatch or two to try and fully grasp everything. And even then, I don’t know if you can fully comprehend how squarely you get leveled by all the social commentary.

Do you regret buying it?

Not at all. I never kick myself for adding a unique film to my collection. Maybe it’s not quite my cup of tea or maybe I’m a little put off at first, but we need movies like this to keep finding their way onto our screens. I have nothing against more popular films. I adore the MCU. It’s just that for every smash hit like Avengers: Endgame, there are hundreds of new movies that fall completely under the radar and go unnoticed by popular culture. And so many of them have a daring voice and crave to be heard and seen.

How often will you come back to it?

I honestly have no idea. I’m of the belief that films evolve and change for us as we make our way through our lives. Right now, Sorry to Bother You is a weird, well-made piece of art that I admire, but we aren’t exactly going steady yet. Five years from now? I could declare this the most underrated film of the 2010’s. I have no freaking idea.

Any parting thoughts?

If your dream is to one day make films, be part of films or if you just like watching something weird every now and then for the hell of it. you have to check out Sorry to Bother You. I can’t say that you won’t regret it, but I think that’s part of the appeal. It has and will impact people in different ways, and you just won’t know until you give it a shot.

Onward: Another Feather in Pixar’s Cap

When you think of Pixar, you imagine a crowd pleasing formula: likable heroes, relatable plights and accessible humor for the whole family. You also imagine success. Years and years of success.

And to be fair, most of that is well-deserved. Pixar is the standard bearer of quality animation in film and every time you think they can’t possibly top themselves again, they set the bar just a little bit higher. But with that success also comes the added benefit of a box office safety net. The lesser Pixar entries often perform far better than they should and are typically bulletproof from too much criticism.

Which brings us to Onward. Two elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, embark on a magical quest with their deceased father’s legs to complete a spell that will bring his whole body back for one day. If that was weird to read, trust me that it felt weird to type and it all makes for a zany tale of medieval creatures living their lives in the modern world. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt are likable actors who fit their characters like a glove and there lies a certain sort of charm about embracing magic and the fantastical over our convenient technology.

All of this is to say that I rather enjoyed Onward. I’d definitely watch it again and will probably buy it at some point, despite the fact that it is sure to be available on Disney+ the second it ends its run in theaters. I just don’t know that it lives up to the Pixar standard so much as it benefits from being made by Pixar. Maybe I’m not making much sense here, so lets try a comparison.

Kubo and the Two Strings was one of the more groundbreaking animated films I’ve seen in the past five years. It featured a stellar voice cast, LAIKA’s unique style and some neat twists that I didn’t see coming. Yet in two weeks, Onward has already surpassed Kubo’s total earnings at the box office and has a higher audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Is there another reason why that’s the case beyond the simple fact that Pixar made one but not the other?

To be fair, this is more of a commentary on how people are more likely to trust their hard earned cash to an established brand than take a risk on something unfamiliar. We recently ran a piece here about going to the movies and why audiences are more inclined to stay at home and catch something on Netflix. Pixar, and really Disney as a whole, is one of the few studios immune to the convenience of streaming. The irony of it all is that I’m the one who wrote this, but yet I didn’t think twice about paying to see Onward in the theater.

I have no idea how well my point came across here. I’m a fan of this movie. I guess I just wish that every film that deserved it received guaranteed success.

(For the record, Onward‘s $45 million opening weekend is considered low for the studio. That’s still almost as much as Kubo earned in total in North America).

Friday Film Roundup

Our Friday Film Roundup is an attempt to share what we are reading, watching, and listening to as we head into the weekend. We plan on sharing major film news, interesting film essays/videos, and recommended films you might want to check out.

Good morning! You might be a little confused by our title, because it is definitely not Friday. We’re not trying to trick you or anything. Our goal is to bring you more consistent content in the coming weeks and actually have scheduled posts that go out on certain days. You know, like an actual film blog!

But we failed in that respect last week. Sometimes life just kicks you in the nuts and says, “Oh I’m sorry, were you trying to go about your day without any painful interruptions?” Rest assured that we are fine and will continue striving towards a higher level of consistency. That’s why, although it’s Saturday, I wasn’t about to change the title of this post to Weekend Roundup or anything like that.

So join me for a quick journey on the very last day in February. Hallelujah!

Reading:

This is probably cheating, since this section is typically reserved for pieces from other websites, but given the timing I think this is appropriate. I saw an ad for A Quiet Place Part II this morning and it reminded me that I haven’t seen the first one for awhile. Kevin did a quick review for that back when it came out (along with some commentary on MoviePass) and it’s worth your time:

https://flimsyfilmcritics.com/2018/04/08/my-year-with-moviepass-a-quiet-place-review/

It’s wild because that was only a couple of years ago and MoviePass has already pretty much come and gone. Amazing how much can change in the world over a very short period of time.

Watching:

Recommendation: On a recent episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (not my recommendation but I love that show and if you aren’t watching, what the hell are you waiting for?!), Christopher Nolan’s Memento was used as a running gag. One character hadn’t seen it and another character couldn’t believe it, so it turned into this whole thing.

And it made me think that most people probably know Nolan for his Dark Knight Trilogy and movies like Inception and Dunkirk, but I bet there’s a pretty large crowd out there that isn’t familiar with Memento. So do yourself a favor and check it out if you haven’t. Check it out even if you have seen it and it’s just been awhile. I doubt you’ll regret it.

What I’m Watching: My fiance and I just started binge-watching The Witcher on Netflix. I saw an article or a tweet recently saying that the show gets good after it stops trying to be Game of Thrones. Personally, I don’t know what that person was talking about. The Witcher is as wild and weird as the game was and as I’ve been told the books are (haven’t read them yet, but might do so now), and Henry Cavill is fantastic as Geralt.

I also caught the first two episodes of Better Call Saul’s latest season and as always was very impressed. I promise to watch some more movies to recommend here soon since this is technically a film blog.

Upcoming Flimsy Film Posts:

Welcome to New York: While We’re Young

Kevin’s cranking this one out and will have it to you guys next week. Tuesday maybe?

Bought It Before I Watched It: Sorry to Bother You

I picked this one up awhile ago and have yet to pop it in my blu-ray player. I’m sure once I do over the next week, I’ll kick myself for waiting so long… I hope.

Let’s Talk About: The Rise of Skywalker

This bad boy is still in the works as well. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it because of how much this one disappointed me, but it has to be done. And we’ll get it done.

Hotel Transylvania: Bought It Before I Watched It

Sometimes you have to let go of a predisposition and give something a chance. This isn’t exclusive to film by any means, but given our tendency to hold certain actors or directors in a purely negative light, I’d say it’s a pretty common thing for those of us who love movies. One of my predispositions is to actively avoid most Adam Sandler films since the early 2000’s.

This is easier said than done. Sandler has remained very much in the spotlight over the past two decades, despite starring in numerous releases that were critically panned and universally rejected. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Grown Ups, Jack & Jill, Grown Ups 2 and Pixels are just a few of his misfires. That didn’t stop Netflix from handing him a multi-million dollar deal in 2014 to make exclusive content for the streaming juggernaut, which was extended in 2017. Either there’s still a market for his outdated comedy or Sandler has blackmail on every top executive in Hollywood. Maybe both.

And while there is plenty of evidence that his best days are behind him and that our time and money are best spent elsewhere, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the Hotel Transylvania franchise. I love animation and thought the premise was fun: some of the world’s most infamous movie monsters shack up together at Dracula’s manor turned hotel, mainly because they need to avoid humans to survive. It’s also not unprecedented for certain actors to be better suited for voice acting over live-action, so I figured what the hell? I paid the five dollars to buy Hotel Transylvania on blu-ray, fully prepared to be disappointed but hopeful that Sandler might still have a couple of tricks up his sleeve.

To my genuine surprise, I actually liked the movie. Now it’s certainly not without its faults. Sandler’s trademark toilet humor still rears its ugly head, despite the fact that it should’ve been left back in the 90’s. He also brings his usual cohorts along for the ride, and while I enjoy actors like Steve Buscemi and David Spade as much as the next guy, it’s hard for anything that Sandler does to feel fresh when he works with the same people over and over. I guess that Seth Rogen and James Franco are equally guilty of this type of nepotism, so I suppose I can’t trash Sandler too much for that. Thankfully, he restrains himself just enough here to allow this fundamentally entertaining story to shine through.

It’s also boosted by the presence of Genndy Tartakovsky. Having the Samurai Jack creator at the helm of your animated project is always a good thing, and of course he is his usual reliable self. Throw in some young(er) talent like Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez, and you have all the ingredients for a perfectly watchable family-friendly movie. That’s more or less what you get here, but audiences ate it up in droves. There have already been two sequels and there are plans for a fourth installment in the franchise. Is there any actor better than Sandler at securing his next payday? I’ll give him that much.

Suffice to say, I didn’t experience anything revolutionary with Hotel Transylvania. I also laughed a fair amount and didn’t feel like clawing my eyes out at any point. That’s a win for any movie not trying to take itself too seriously, especially a Sandler one. There’s also a brilliant joke at Twilight’s expense, which alone was worth spending the five dollars.

It’s the small things in life that you treasure.