NFLX2019 November 27th: The Irishman

The Irishman. Martin Scorsese. 2019. ☆☆☆☆★★

So here it is: Netflix claim to cinematic greatness. They shovelled a whole lot more money in Scorsese’s way than anybody else would have, and they got a movie (shown in actual cinemas (for a couple of weeks)) that all the newspapers in the entire world wrote think pieces about.

I think! I never read anything about movies that I’m going to watch, so the that’s the only thing I know. Except that it’s… mafia related? As usual?

Let’s find out.

OK, it’s Robert De Niro… I like him… and those actors playing the wives are just perfect,… and…


*takes a deep breath*

OK, they’ve youngified De Niro by slapping him with some kind of CGI mask? It’s horrifying! Absolutely horrifying. It’s like the faces even don’t match up to their bodies when they move. It’s like a saran wrap strangling the actors. And seeing these … leather masks poking up off of these old, old, old bodies, standing like old bodies, is just mind-boggling.

OK, OK… suspend disbelief… suspend disbelief…

I’m sitting here wondering, scene by scene, whether the reason this particular actor’s face looks like a horrible unnatural mess is because 1) it’s been CGI’d younger or 2) it’s just a whole lot of botox going on. Which, I guess, is kinda a win for the CGI. But it’s not really helping me pay attention to what’s going on.

OK, reset! This is an animated feature, not a live action movie. OK, let’s see whether that helps.

Geez, being a mobster sure is cool. Scorsese tries to dial it back by putting in these things:

But it doesn’t really help that much. Everything they do still seems cool. I mean, when they’re rigging an election or blowing up some cabs, it’s got cool jazz playing and cool camera dolly moves.

OK, I’ve now watched the first nine hours of this movie, and I got used to the rubbery faces. Sort of. All the bad wigs, not so much. All the celebrity cameos are fun, of course, but this is mostly just kinda pedestrian. I mean, on a shot to shot basis. It feels like a New Age Of Quality TV show that’s been edited into a movie. Perhaps because the plot is so obvious? I mean, just fifteen hours after De Niro met Hoffa, it was totally obvs what’s going to happen, but then it takes thirty five hours for that to happen. So you sit there waiting.

And then it happens and it’s like “not even a twist? They just did what was obvious?”

There’s barely a movie here, which means that everything rests on the CGI faces of the cast and whether the mise en scene is great. And the rubber is too squishy and the mise isn’t. It’s all so pedestrian.

So it’s no surprise that this is the rating:

It’s very much of its time, and nobody is going to watch this movie in five years time.

There’s one very, very special thing about it: It’s the only Netflix movie that doesn’t go to previews of something else as soon as the end titles start. You usually have to hit all the remotes to make Netflix shut the fuck up a millisecond after a movie is over, but they let this one have its subtitles.

That’s how much Netflix respects Scorsese.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 November 21st: The Knight Before Christmas

The Knight Before Christmas. Monika Mitchell. 2019. ☆☆★★★★

Uh-oh. This movie starts off with that sample of an eagle er falcon that’s used everywhere. Yeah, this one:

This doesn’t bode well for the budget.

OK, this is very high concept: A knight from the thirteen hundreds (I think?) is magically transported to the present day. Hi-jinx ensues.

It’s kinda… lame? Some of the jokes are fun, but none of them are actually funny. Everything moves sooo slowly, and there’s so much wide-eyed wonder… It’s like none of the actors take the gag seriously; their faces are saying “we’re so over it already”. When you’re watching something as silly as this, it doesn’t help when you feel that the actors are giving you the stink eye for having bad enough taste in movies to actually watch this crap.

I’m really easily moved by schmaltzy movies, but all I could muster here was a feeling of vague annoyance.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 November 15th: House Arrest

House Arrest. Shashanka Ghosh, Samit Basu. 2019. ☆☆☆★★★

I think this may be the final Indian Netflix Original of the year. They’ve been more miss than hit, so my expectations aren’t high.

This one starts off really well: They’re going for a kooky, topsy-turvy aesthetic, and the actors seem charming. It’s basically a screwball comedy with everything spiralling out of control? I think? I’m only fifteen minutes in.

It obviously a low budget movie, but they’ve worked around their limitations very neatly. They’ve set everything in one (gorgeous) flat, but people call him and when that happens, we see them being “teleported” into a the background of the shots. It’s gimmicky, but it’s cheap and fun and keeps thing snappy.

So it looks good, the characters are fun and inventive (love the upstairs gangster daughter), it’s inventive and the actors are great. So everything should be fine, right? But no: Instead of zapping along and building to some crescendo, the pacing is just way off. We get way too much of the (admittedly cute) love story, and too little of the craziness that we seem to have been promised.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 November 15th: Klaus

Klaus. Sergio Pablos. 2019. ☆☆☆☆☆★

This is super sweet. It’s told in a brash, irreverent tone, but it’s a very sentimental Christmas movie about Santa Claus and stuff. If you’re easily moved, it’s full of really touching scenes throughout: It’s amazing that they keep delivering these highly emotional punches time and time again.

And the animation is really fun to watch.

So: Sweet, funny, pretty, touching. It’s a new Xmas classic.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 November 8th: Earthquake Bird

Earthquake Bird. Wash Westmoreland. 2019. ☆☆☆★★★

Man, this is a mess. I was totally on board thinking this was a really interesting movie, where ever shot had a deeper meaning. We were all “oh, this means she can see dead people! No, she’s a vampire! No, she’s dead!” but calm down: There’s no Shyamalaning going on here:

The resolution to this movie is the most boring possible thing and will make you go “really? really!? Because that’s not a twist!”


But I loved the colours here. The actors are great and it’s all very very pretty. Was this sponsored by the Japanese tourist board or something?

So in conclusion: It’s a very stupid movie that pretends that it’s smart, and that’s not ultimately fun to watch.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.