I’ve been watching a lot of flicks lately, and there was one excellent movie I wanted to review—but I’ve forgotten what it was called! I suppose it wasn’t that memorable after all.
Instead, this post will review 2018’s Still, a movie that is difficult to review without giving away the “twist” ending. That might explain why there aren’t many reviews of it online. Like many obscure films with limited audiences, Still is on Hulu, which is proving itself a depository of hidden gems.
Lately Hulu’s algorithm—in the bleak future math problems determine our entertainment choices—has been suggesting tower-based movies to me. Yes, it is a genre: films that take place in the claustrophobic confines of apartment buildings, like the 1993 thriller Sliver, starring Sharon Stone and William Baldwin. That flick was so-so, and the character motivations didn’t really make sense, especially the dashing computer nerd Baldwin portrayed, but it was one of several Hulu has recommended lately that depends upon a high-rise for its setting.
So it was the Grand High Algorithm suggested 2015’s High-Rise, a film both set in and an homage to the 1970s, specifically the dark sci-fi flicks of the decade.
The Ghost Writer is a product of the Bush Era, when Hollywood was obsessed with Bush Derangement Syndrome—a psychological condition akin to Trump Derangement Syndrome, but which now seems quaint and cute by comparison. The plot involves a ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) hired to punch-up the boring, windy memoirs of a Tony Blair-esque former British Prime Minister. The former PM is facing prosecution for war crimes for his alleged role in illegally torturing terrorists during the War on Terror, and while he is considered a “world-historical” figure, his pro-war stance while PM has made him deeply unpopular.
With my busy schedule lately I haven’t had the opportunity to watch quite as many flicks as I was during the height of the long, cold nights of winter, which is why I skipped Monday Morning Movie Reviewslast week. That week also ended up being quite busy, as I’m putting in extra hours in the evenings to stay on top of grades and other projects.
Fortunately, I managed to carve out some time for flicks, and enjoyed a Hulu original, March 2021’s Boss Level. Boss Level is a sci-fi action movie about a man in a Groundhog Day-style time loop, except he dies every day (usually around 12:47 PM) at the hands of a team of mercenaries, ranging from a sword-wielding Chinese woman to a ballistics-obsessed midget (excuse me—“Little Person”).
Another weekend has rolled by, so it’s time for another Monday Morning Movie Review. While clicking around Hulu I stumbled upon a flick I saw some years ago, though I didn’t realize it at first.
That says something about the similarity of schlocky horror flicks out there—they all have basically the same premise and plot description. Except this one, 2013’s You’re Next, is actually quite original.
With all the gloomy weather in South Carolina over the past week (please pray for the poor folks in Texas, who are facing truly dangerous weather conditions), it’s been ideal weather for staying home and watching movies. Surprisingly, Hulu has upped its game a bit in terms of selection.
I’m running a tad behind with today’s post, so I figured rather than diving deeply into one movie, I’d give a quick round-up of several movies, with some quick notes on each.
The choice of the word “ritual” is not mere metaphor: for me, there really is a certain rhythm and order to movie-going. It’s not the same as watching a movie on the couch (as this excursion reminded me), but truly is a whole experience. The theater is the one place I’ll pay $7 for a Diet Coke, and I gladly plopped down $16 for a massive bag of popcorn and a jug of artificially-sweetened carbonated beverage this weekend.
Some movies are meant to be seen on the big screen—special effects-laden epics, for example—but some movies are simply better on the big screen. The Little Things (2021), which I saw this weekend, was one such film. It’s a movie I could have easily picked up on RedBox for a fraction of the price, but I think watching it at home would have undermined my appreciation of the film considerably. Watching on the big screen demands one’s entire attention (especially now that theaters are operating at reduced capacity, making for fewer annoying patrons); watching at home offers myriad distractions. If I’d seen The Little Things at home, I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much as I did.
Just to prove that I don’t just watch cheesy horror movies (and that Hulu actually has more to offer than such films), this Monday I’m reviewing something a bit different: the 1985 neo-noir Amish thriller Witness, starring Harrison Ford as Detective John Book, a clean cop hiding from his dirty colleagues in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country.
The movie is unique in that it contrasts the grittiness of the city with the tranquility and traditions of Amish country life. There seemed to be a vague cultural fascination with the Amish that lasted from the 1980s up to around the turn of the century (take, for example, 1996’s Kingpin or Weird Al’s hit “Amish Paradise” from the same year). The Amish are, indeed, interesting, but I’m not sure what accounts for this brief, generational curiosity in the rural pacifists.