In no particular order (other than the most recent on top, which I guess now that you mention it, is a particular order), and for no particular reason (other than we watch a lot of movies and have lots of opinions, which by most measures constitutes a particular reason… gee, really should have thought this intro through) here’s a running list of what we’re watching and what we had to say about it.
Coherence is a little indy flick that made me want to throw my television out the window because the shaky cinematography is SO HORRIBLE (invest in a damn tripod). But I am glad I stuck around for the end.; the ending made me want to know what the hell happens next. The movie takes place over the course of an evening. There is a little soiree and a comet overhead. The comet causes some weird shit to happen – I won’t tell you what because I don’t want to give it away. I will say, it was a really cool idea that I know I would have loved if I wasn’t nauseous from the horrible camera work. Maybe you like vertigo with your movies. I don’t. But dammit, that ending.
Ava is a Netflix movie starring one of my favorites, Jessica Chastain. I went into this flick expecting to absolutely love it, but I ended up feeling meh about it. In a nutshell, Ava is an assassin and recovering alcoholic recruited and trained by Duke (played by John Malkovich) for an organization we really never learn much about. At this point in the review I feel like anyone who has ever watched a movie ever knows exactly what happens next. And you’re right. It’s an incredibly formulaic movie. HOWEVER, there is one shining spot in the entire flick and that is Our Lady of the Baseballs, Geena Davis. She plays Ava’s mom and in one incredible mother-daughter scene she manages to make the viewer (me) feel things. I hate feeling things. There are worse ways to spend an hour and a half of your life, but there are a lot more movies that tell the same story in a much better fashion.
Rogue City (2020)
There is a protagonist in this French action movie. The Netflix description told me so! What they kind of left out was that like everyone else in the movie, cop and criminal, he’s dirty (sure, the writers tried to base his corruption on good intentions, but still). The result is a shoot-em-up extravaganza where you’re not really rooting for anybody to make it out alive. Kind of freeing in a way to have no dog in the fight, but at the same time limits how emotionally invested you can get. That said, there’s carnage a-plenty, so it’s got that going for it.
The Turkey Bowl (2019)
Don’t get me wrong, this is watchable, and some people might conceivably find it charming. But despite what I’m sure the writers’ felt were enough alterations, this is first and foremost an obvious rip-off of the Robin Williams and Kurt Russell film The Best of Times. Even worse, the description touts it as a “riotous comedy” when frankly, it fails to deliver a single laughable moment. Everything that happens in the entire 120 minutes, including the attempts to be funny, is purely formulaic and completely predictable. To me, that makes this a lazy effort and a sub-par comedy.
I’m a sucker for a clever ending, especially the ones that make you immediately replay in your head everything you’d just watched. This film gave me that, in a futuristic, suspenseful, indie/arthouse, sci-fi flick wrapper that I very much enjoyed. Yet I’ve also seen reviews slamming the story, characters, sci-fi-ness, and yes, the ending, but I would argue that in this instance it’s a case of the movie not being what they wanted or expected it to be, which to me is invariably how some people are going to react to any story with a “gotcha” ending. I on the other hand, was simply entertained throughout and appreciated the twist.
The Guest (2014)
OK, so I have this thing where I loved the Legion TV series on FX so much, I can now only associate Dan Stevens by the character name David. As it happens, that’s also his character name in this movie, so they were headed for a positive review from the get-go. Dan-as-David does a great job of being creepy-cloaked-in-charming, and the film does a good job of not letting you figure out what’s going to happen next. Sure there’s a plethora of people making all kinds of bad decisions, but that’s basically a requirement for tales like this one. In the end, maybe not the deepest of psychological thrillers, but ample suspense to make it an enjoyable one.