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.

NFLX2019 February 1st: Velvet Buzzsaw


Velvet Buzzsaw. Dan Gilroy. 2019. ☆☆★★★★

Once again, this movie seems so calculated. It’s like they put random attractive movie traits (Gyllenaal as totally gay; the art scene; horror) through a blender and came up with this without anybody wanting to make this specific movie.

That doesn’t mean that this is horrible: Any scene is like randomly switching to a new TV station and there’s something odd going on there. But nothing adds up to anything, of course, because nothing is connected.

It’s such an odd movie. The scary scenes are totally un-scary (and signalled so far in advance), and the satirical art scene scenes are totally unfunny.

This is so close to being a John Carpenter early-80s horror movie. Only not scary. I think I’m starting to see a pattern here with the Netflix movies, with their Extruded Movie Product feel. But it’s still early days; perhaps it’s just a sampling artefact.

But… it looks good, I guess? And the performances are fine? And there are scenes here that seem to work?

It’s just one of those movies where you’re left wondering just how it ended up the mess it did.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 January 25th: Polar

Polar. Jonas Åkerlund. 2019. ☆☆☆☆☆★

Oh. Jonas Åkerlund? Did he just do the film about black metal Lords of Chaos? Hm… I see; that one was made a couple of years ago but not really released until now.

Anyway, I’m expecting something stylish with an excessive amount of violence, so I’ve got my pillow ready.

And this turns out just like I expected, only longer. I didn’t think Åkerlund could keep up this level of insane glee for almost two hours.

Not everybody liked it:

On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 19 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating “overwhelming dislike”.

The plot (based on a comic book by Víctor Santos) is perhaps the most moronic thing ever since the history of ever, but that only helps with the deranged mood of the film. You can only sit in slacked-jaw awe as things unfold.

I guess you could compare this to pieces of filth like The Kingsman, in that it has some of the expected “yaaah!” beats from the audience, but this movie isn’t a crime against all human feeling like that movie is: This is stupid, sure, but it’s fun.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

NFLX2019 January 18th: Soni

Soni. Ivan Ayr. 2018. ☆☆☆☆☆★

Great! After two horrible American Netflix Originals, this is an Indian movie picked up for distribution by Netflix, so its script presumably hasn’t been auto-generated by an Eliza bot.

This movie reminds me a bit of 70s hyper-realist movies like Jeanne Dielman. 23, quai du Commerce. 1080 Bruxelles. I mean, not in depth, but in the way it places its camera in certain scenes and the lack of editing.

The camera here is handheld and very mobile, though, so just forget I said anything. NO RELATION.

It’s often the case that the less you’re familiar with what acting tradition actors are coming from, then more convincing they are. Because you can’t tell the artificiality as easy. Easily? I’ve had some wine. But my uninformed impression of these Indian actors is that they’re fabulous. I totally believe in them, and they seem totally natural to me.

Even the really, really awkward scenes seem awkwardly real to me.

I had some slight problems keeping all the different characters apart, though. “There’s a woman with long black hair, there’s a woman with long black hair, there’s a woman with long black hair…” If you get the impression that’s the only way I tell people apart is by their hair style… you’d be almost right.

It’d been nice if, as Leslie Wiener said in one of her songs, if they had wooden legs or eye patches: Easier to tell them apart.

My only problem with this is that the cop who gets into altercations all the time goes around slapping assholes instead of doing something more efficient. Hasn’t she heard that singalong song? “Target Practice” on Free to Fight?

If you choose to fight
Then remember these are the places to hit
Eyes, knees, groin, throat
Eyes, knees, groin, throat
Eyes, knees, groin, throat
Eyes, knees, groin, throat

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.