Review – Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)

by Armando Vanegas

I’ll never forget where I was when I first saw David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. I was 13 years old in a pre-streaming world with the movie being the easiest way to access the show thanks to cable television. Seeing parodies of the show and the fact that I was a dedicated TV Guide reader, where the magazine often touted it as one of the great shows of our time, made me more curious about checking it out. When I finally sat down to finally enter this world on a late summer night in 2006, I despised it so much that I wished that I was in a theater with a drink so I could throw something at the screen with the nonsense I was being shown. Little did I know, for David Lynch’s stuff, being weird and nonsensical was a constant in his filmography.

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Review – Captain Marvel (2019)

by Armando Vanegas

Captain Marvel is the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the unforgettable events that occurred in Avengers: Infinity War. Since Infinity War left things in a way that made the audience curious about what would happen next, it was interesting to see what they come up with. All things considered, the next movie had to be something notable and memorable to leave the audience wanting more. Being that Captain Marvel was their first solo female superhero movie, I wanted to see what they could do with this material, and see if this would satisfying my appetite until Endgame came out. DC did a good job in creating an entertaining movie with Wonder Woman, which handled similar material of women who are able to be fighters in their own world and struggling to find their place and humanity in ours. While it’s admirable that Marvel finally put a female superhero at the forefront in one of their movies, this is still a “by the numbers” origin story that you’ve seen time and time again. Still, it’s watchable and it will be pleasing for those just wanting a movie that just cuts to the chase to provide a mostly standalone Sci-Fi action adventure movie. Marvel competently made a movie that seemed to hit the mark for a lot of people and that’s cool. It will be most agreeable for those who are either the most casual Marvel fans or the diehards who always rewatch all the movies leading up to their latest chapter.

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Review – Rushmore (1998)

by Armando Vanegas

With Bottle Rocket being a critical hit, it only made sense for another studio like Touchstone Pictures to come calling and give Wes Anderson the skills to become the filmmaker that he is today. Due to its larger budget and higher profile, it’s no doubt that Rushmore is truly a Wes Anderson movie. I remember it being the movie that introduced me to Wes Anderson. Because of his unique style, no movie was like it at the time to me. Not to mention that it stood out from many other high school movies of its time such as Can’t Hardly Wait or American Pie. He knows how to use his style to create an immersive world that’s so meticulously detailed that he’s able to flesh out the characters and the story in a more convenient and subtle way than other filmmakers would probably do. Watching it now was somewhat unexpected. While I don’t think I can tout it as the masterpiece I once did, it was still an entertaining movie.

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Review – Patriot Season 1 & 2

by Armando Vanegas

Amazon has a streaming service called Prime Video or Amazon Prime Video or Amazon Prime or whatever they’re calling it now. I don’t know if you know that. How else would you know that? Unless you read your monthly bank statement that says they took money from you if you ever bought a subscription to them. On the one hand, Amazon is wonderful for purchasing products of all kinds. On the other, they really gotta do some work in promoting their streaming service because it has some great content. It was just blind luck that I came across Patriot, a brilliantly surreal and hilarious spy comedy from Steven Conrad, the writer of the Will Smith drama The Pursuit of Happyness (probably the furthest removed from his style), the similarly surreal Nicolas Cage dramedy The Weather Man, and the just as surreal John C. Reilly/Seann William Scott buddy dramedy, The Promotion. Even though I liked those aforementioned movies, I didn’t know what to expect as the trailer didn’t exactly grab me. Neither did the trailers for their other shows. I just wanted to try some Amazon programming and this was the one that seemed relatively interesting to me. What the show accomplishes by the end should make it a must see for people wanting something weirder and more out there in their TV choices.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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