NFLX2019 March 13th: Triple Frontier

Triple Frontier. J.C. Chandor. 2019. ☆☆★★★★

Oh deer. You’ve seen this movie a gazillion times before: Cool military guys doing cool military things with a roaming, restless camera (steadycam and helicopter footage). Every single shot is a cliché and there’s metal music to underscore how cool it all is.

I mean: War is hell. That’s what this is about. Yeah. That’s the ticket. That’s how you get to shoot all the cool scenes.

Heh heh:

Gets a little credit for not being quite as troop porny as these kinds of movies usually are.

This is basically a heist movie, so we go through all the usual plot points: First we gather the gang of people (who were out of the game, of course, but one single more heist I mean adventure), and then the build-up, and then (I’m assuming, I typing as I watch) it all goes belly up for an ending with the proper gravitas and everything is going to be so deep, man.

Let’s see… is there anything about this movie I don’t find offensively boring? Hm… the cinematography sucks… the actors do their macho thing… the footage has been colour-coordinated to a grey/teal/green tedium… the audio is murky: even pumping the volume up to 11 I can only make out about two thirds of the lines… the soundtrack consists of things that sound quite like metal and or country tracks but is like totally bad (perhaps from the Now That’s What I Call Metal & Country Non-Hits vol IV… it’s about fourteen hours too long for its plot (which is moronic)…

OK, the costume department is OK? The actors wear clothes that seem plausible for the characters?

I think that’s all I’m coming up with here.

*time passes*

After the first nine hours of exposition where I literally died from boredom (this is the ghost typing), and the (stupid stupid) heist starts… there are scenes in there that aren’t totally tedious.

But, OK, it’s probably just me. If they had purposefully designed a movie to annoy me, this would be that movie. If you like this sort of movie, I think it’s quite likely that you’d like this movie.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 March 8th: Juanita

Juanita. Clark Johnson. 2019. ☆☆☆☆☆★

Oh, I haven’t bitched about the Netflix UX yet, have I?

Let the rant commence:

I loathe it. I go to the Netflix app and it says DOUUUNNG as loud as possible. Then I start thinking about what I’m going to watch and it starts auto-playing, with full sound, whatever Netflix product it’s decided I should watch. Then I search for what I really want to watch and select the movie, and I look around for some snacks… and it starts auto-playing, with full sound, the trailer for the movie I’m about to watch, because apparently I really enjoy having all movies I watch spoiled before I watch them. And then I hit play and I get the Netflix DOUUUUNG again and then the movie starts and I’m relatively safe for the duration of the movie. Almost, because three milliseconds after the end titles start rolling, while I’m digesting what I’ve seen, it shrinks the titles to a post stamp sized window and shows me a picture of what it wants me to watch next. I hit PAUSE in desperation, but that just makes it start playing whatever that was, DOOOOUNG, and we’re off on a Netflix Original TV series and I’m AAAAAAAAH

Using Netflix is like having an enthusiastic retarded deaf hillbilly shovelling manure into my every orifice given the slightest chance.

ANYWAY.

This is a really sweet little movie. I guess you could say that it, too, like many of these Netflix flicks, seems a bit calculated to service a particular demographic. And, once again, it’s got road trip elements, as several of the previous movies.

But it’s fresh and original and has some great actors. I totally buy into the protagonist, and her fantasies about Blair Underwood (played by Blair Underwood) are hilarious.

Oh, right! Now I know what this reminds me of: Percy Adlon’s Out of Rosenheim/Bagdad Cafe with Marianne Sägebrecht and CCH Pounder. It’s got the same mixes of fantasy and reality and the same basic plot of a woman leaving home and going to a random restaurant in the middle of the middle of nowhere, where she’s the catalyst for changing the lives of the people there.

I adore Out of Rosenheim so I love that they’ve taken that as an inspiration. But Adlon is a master of heaping on the emotions without getting maudlin. Clark Johnson isn’t, so we occasionally tip over into So Much Drama. And there’s some pacing problems in the last third of the movie.

No biggie: This movie is a delight to watch.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 March 8th: Walk. Ride. Rodeo.

Walk. Ride. Rodeo.. Conor Allyn. 2019. ☆★★★★★

Oh deer. This is based on a true story?

At the start here I thought this was a quite funny parody… but then… I slowly realised… that it’s a real Based On A Real Story movie.

I don’t like to use hate speech so I’ve avoided using this phrase so far in my sojourn into Netflix Originals, but this movie, as several of the other ones, is a Made For TV Movie.

I mean, literally literally.

Netflix is TV, and the movies they produce are cheap, uncomplicated and not very ambitious.

The main difference between Netflix’ movies and, say, The Hallmark Channel, is that they make these movies for several distinct audience groups.

I’m not part of the audience group this has been extruded for. It’s maudlin and obvious and the soundtrack is awful.

On the positive side… uhm… let’s see… Oh! The cinematography’s kinda interesting. And the way the movie insists on some scenes is pretty unusual: It’s like the entire movie is just text; no subtext.

The last nine hours of this movie were the worst.

The over-sized titles are nice even if the drop shadows look janky.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 February 22nd: Paddleton

Paddleton. Alex Lehmann. 2019. ☆☆☆★★★

Uhm. Ray Romano. He’s, like, somebody I don’t like a lot.

I didn’t even recognise him before I read imdb. Well, to be honest, I still don’t recognise him after reading imdb.

This is a movie extruded to satisfy the urges of the same audience as this? It’s even got a road trip.

This is a lot better, though. It’s got cinematography and everything.

It starts off pretty promising: Gloomy, dreary and depressing. But when they set off for the road trip, the soundtrack starts up underscoring every single emotional beat. It’s so annoying.

And there’s more sit-com schtick as it progresses and they go for embarrassment humour, which is something else I don’t like a lot.

There are good scenes throughout, but the overall thing is a bit on the annoying side once it gets going… And eyeballing this that’s the opposite reaction to everybody else who’s seen the movie, so I know I’m right.

Perhaps they’re just going by that scene, which makes any criticism seem churlish.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 February 22nd: Paris Is Us

Paris Is Us. Elisabeth Vogler. 2019. ☆☆☆☆☆☆

I was totally wrong about how many Netflix Originals have been released this year: I had somehow counted 30, but there’s only 14.

Which means that I’ll probably get caught up this weekend?!

Have Netflix cut back? If they continue at this pace, there’ll be vaguely more than one per week in 2019…

Anyway!

This is the first non-American non-Indian movie from Netflix so far this year. It’s all French and stuff. You may have guessed from the title.

My take on quite a few of the previous Netflix movies have been “well, that’s quite like a thing you’d watch if you were into the thing this movie is about”. So to no great surprise, this movie is quite like a thing you’d watch if you’re into French mysterious movies about young French people.

To an almost ridiculous degree.

It’s a very pretty movie. Every single scene just looks noice. The colours, the locations, the framing… And they way they filmed parts of the movie amidst demonstrations in Paris! Noice!

Oh, and the sound and the sound editing it on point.

Wow. It has 43% on SpoiltVeggies, and 4.4 on cddb. That’s harsh. Perhaps I’m less into plot and stuff than most people, but this is totally OK by me.

If I had to compare it to something, I’d say… Donnie Darko. And like Donnie Darko, it’s almost brilliant. Perhaps I should have subtracted a star from my rating because the bit of this movie from before The Event isn’t all that, but the main section of the movie is absolutely riveting.

I have never seen such a collection of people just not getting the simplest thing about a movie in all my life.

Then again, I do like French mysterious movies, so this is perhaps a movie generated by Netflix just for people like me.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 February 22nd: Firebrand

Awesome beard.

Firebrand. Aruna Raje. 2019. ☆☆★★★★

I never thought I’d say these words but:

*phew* Finally it’s another Indian movie!

This is a somewhat strange movie. It combines the aesthetics of a lighthearted drama with a rather distressing storyline about PTSD after rape.

This is a movie that seems to have avoided attention by the interwebs. It’s got 5.3/10 from 115 votes on imdb, which you’d think is minuscule for a movie on Netflix. I guess Netflix bought it to die in obscurity? Netflix’ strategy is still somewhat obscure to me.

I like the court proceedings, but nobody else does. I think the performances are OK… and the court stuff is interesting. The psychology stuff isn’t.

In any case, I’m afraid I have to agree with the entire Internet: This isn’t a very good movie. But it’s likeable, except for the Fraudian analysis bits.

The ending of this movie is… er… original…

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 February 8th: High Flying Bird

High Flying Bird. Steven Soderbergh. 2019. ☆★★★★★

Everybody loved Steven Soderbergh after Sex, Lies, and Videotape, but then the rest of his movies happened. I mean, he’s got a bunch of blockbusters with the Oceans * movies (haven’t seen them), but he’s also done more ambitious movies, like his Solaris remake (I’ve seen it, but wasn’t… that… impressed?)

This is so not my kind of movie: It’s about sports. Some kind of American sports. You have a bunch of TV-like actors talking fast at the camera saying stuff like “I want the game”, and I’m over it.

But it’s not without qualities… the cinematography is kinda fun… and… uhm… OK, that’s it.

Oh fuck:

The film was shot using an iPhone 8 smartphone, equipped with an anamorphic lens produced by Moondog Labs.

So Soderbergh himself is up there in the actors’ faces with his tiny Iphone rig? That explains the intimate and fun (and very fish-eyed) camerawork. I like that bit.

But there’s not a single scene in this movie that didn’t give me cancer. The actors are delivering one Golden Age Of Television line after another, and it never stops.

I’ll give you a synopsis of the plot: It’s got… something… to do… with sports?

There are people who think this is a good movie. Perhaps they’re all Christian or sports fans?

But they’re wrong: This is a dreadful movie.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.