Review – Bottle Rocket (1996)

by Armando Vanegas

Sometimes, I get bored reviewing new movies so for some reason, I wanted to go through all the Wes Anderson movies in chronological order in the meantime. It’s just something that gives me a challenge to do and maybe there will be unexpected feelings and unique thoughts I never saw coming. So, without further delay, let’s begin with his 1996 debut, Bottle Rocket. I remember this being a movie that got a lot of play on Comedy Central back in the day and it was always the kind of movie that I never felt compelled to watch when it’s on. Honestly, I was never impressed with the bits I’d seen, but there were always interesting sequences that made the rest of the movie worth it. So, in subsequent years, I would watch bits and pieces because there was sometimes nothing to watch on cable. When I last watched this movie, I rated this movie rather highly back when I was more of a snob when it came to movies. But as anyone who has read my Phantom Thread review, I’ve decided to just to watch movies as their own individual self, judge them as their own thing no matter who’s involved in terms of the directors, the writers, or the actors. Watching this again was interesting. As a movie directed by someone who would be later become one of the most idiosyncratic and quirky filmmakers of our time, younger middle school me who watched this on cable was right. Outside of a few well directed sequences, it’s fine.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Review – High Flying Bird (2019)

by Armando Vanegas

Director Steven Soderbergh is nothing if not unconventional or unique. I may not always be crazy about the final product he might provide, but he’s at least playful with the medium. With High Flying Bird, he continues the trend of making unconventional choices by filming his second movie on an iPhone. It’s not an ideal choice, but I was willing to see what he was going to do with it. This unusual decision ends up working out in the end as it effectively fits with the narrative of the protagonist’s DIY plan to bring the game of basketball back to its players. High Flying Bird may not fully coalesce from a narrative standpoint, but the actors and the snappy screenplay by Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney help to make it a breezy watch.

Continue reading

Review – Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

by Armando Vanegas

First off, what the fuck was this supposed to be? I get that it’s supposed to be a commentary on the art world and a horror movie at the same time, but I literally don’t get what I’m supposed to get from it outside of that. There’s so many plot threads and downtime in between all the crazy parts that it causes the movie to have an inconsistent tone. Am I supposed to laugh or be scared or just think? Velvet Buzzsaw is a nearly 2 hour cocktease of a movie that has some interesting ideas, but it wants to tackle too much, and really ends up doing none of it very well. I understand the main idea though. There’s a lot of jaded pretentious art people. I got this right away and there was nothing new that the smartest comedies to even the most bottom of the barrel satires haven’t already done communicating that same idea. Art people are pretentious. It takes a large bulk of its run-time making sure we get that as we’re seeing a lot of these characters just living their life functioning around this world.

Continue reading

Review – Glass (2019)

by Armando Vanegas

M. Night Shyamalan is known for doing two things: taking risks and disappointing people with said risks. But more often than not, his hits and his misses can be interesting to vastly varying degrees. Honestly, I don’t know if I would’ve been as interested to see his new movie Glass if I didn’t see such a mixed reaction on it just because of how strong the reaction varied from masterpiece to complete dumpster fire. I even remember seeing one of his previous movies,The Village, having more or less the same kind of reaction and watching that movie is quite a ride. While it’s not a masterpiece, it was still compelling despite knowing the reveal because at least Shyamalan took chances with the material. But Glass has the advantage of being a sort of sequel to Unbreakable, a movie I remember really enjoying. Hopefully, this will mean Bruce Willis is going to decide to give a shit this time around. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Split and it seems like this is going to be a significant part of this sort of Unbreakable sequel, but the trailer looked interesting and the mixed reviews had me intrigued so let’s see.

Continue reading

Review – Fyre Fraud and Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened (2019)

by Armando Vanegas

Recently, the world has gone Fyre Festival crazy due to the release of two documentaries on that very subject, courtesy of Netflix and Hulu. Because I want to write more reviews in the new year, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and actually review a documentary (or in this case, two) for once and maybe more in the future. But I also wanted to write about these movies because this is a subject that speaks to me as a millennial and probably to many others like me. I mean, when I saw all those girls in bikinis and Ja Rule was going to be in this festival. I thought this is something I have to sell everything I own as this festival is going to be the thing that’s going to make our lives worth it, and nothing else will add up. Seriously, if I ever say those last few sentences genuinely, you’re legally allowed to give me a Stone Cold Stunner.

Continue reading

Review – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)

by Armando Vanegas

Just to start, I was very surprised with how much I enjoyed this movie as a lot of animated movies are hard to really win me over. A lot of them are okay but most are mediocre and more than happy to play to the cheap seats. This is disappointing because this is animation so anything is possible but more often than not, they’re so scared to take risks. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse understands this. Like the best kind of entertainment, it knows my time is valuable and as a result, this movie really takes advantage of that in so many unexpectedly brilliant ways. Seriously, this movie works on so many levels. It’s intense, action packed, funny, suspenseful, exciting, unique, and a lot of other words that could be used to describe how great it is. I love how much it’s willing to play with the form. More movies should do this because it’s what makes the theater experience fun.

Continue reading

Review – Widows (2018)

by Armando Vanegas

Steve McQueen’s Widows is a very entertaining time as it feels like a throwback to the older dramas that used to be a big deal before superhero movies and franchises were a thing. If you want to see great actors doing their thing while a great director does his best job at being artful while being contained in a mainstream bubble, then this is the movie for you. A lot of the ads made this look like a big action-packed heist movie and just know that it’s not that. If you’ve seen any of McQueen’s other movies, you know what to expect from him here. It’s more of a slow burn character study about how three women are forced to break out of their shells created by their now deceased husbands through their crimes by way of financial stability. While that might seem heavy, it’s engrossing from beginning to end thanks to great performances and McQueen’s directing.

Continue reading