Pencilstorm contributor Rob Braithwaite is watching 366 movies this year, so you don't have to, here is part six of his continuing 2016 rundown......
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = I can’t see giving anything that I’ve seen once five stars
★ ★ ★ ★ = get to the theater / move it up in your queue
★ ★ ★ = “three stars is a recommendation” - The Empire [magazine] Podcast
★ ★ = if the remote is too far away, you could do worse
★ = if the remote is too far away, get someone to move it closer then throw it at the TV
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) ★ ★.5
stars: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg
director: Zack Snyder
With Metropolis turned to rubble by fighting Kryptonians at the end of Man of Steel, some see Superman as a hero while others see him as threat. Lex Luthor tries to work with the government to develop a weapon to defeat Superman. When that fails he works on one himself. He creates Doomsday. Will this be the end of Superman?
“I guess that’s all right,” said a studio executive. “But, we are getting our asses handed to us by Marvel. Our days of lollygagging are over. We need to expand this DC movie universe NOW! Everyone loves Batman. Put him in it! And make sure we see his parents die again! Who else is there? The lady, who’s the lady one… Wonder Woman! Put her in it. Yes...yes! You could even have one of them watch .wav files of other super-powered people to show that there are more movies to come. I don’t care how you do it. Fit it all in.”
And that’s how a perfectly good Superman movie was ruined.
It isn’t complete garbage. I generally liked the first 90 minutes. Cavill is a great Superman, if only the movies would let him be. Affleck is a fine Batman/Bruce Wayne. However, the reason Superman fights Batman is so goddamned stupid that I watched the last hour with a hate face. And the reason Batman stops fighting Superman is so double goddamned stupid that I became embarrassed for the movie.
This could have been good. A good movie is in there. You can see it a little if you pay attention to the Superman and Luthor bits. The whole thing stinks of desperation for an expanded movie universe. They rushed it. It shows.
Also, Gotham City and Metropolis are NOT across the bay from each other.....so frustrating.
watch Kramer vs Kramer instead
[editorial edit: when BvS:DOJ was released on video later in the year, there was an extended version.]
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Ultimate Edition (2016) ★ ★ ★
DC/Warner Bros panicked when BvS:DoJ hit theaters amid harsh criticism. Normally, you don’t see deleted scenes online until promotion for the video release gets underway. But, Bam!, by the Sunday of opening weekend there was a deleted scene and a announcement of a longer, R-rated version. (Deadpool was rated R. People loved it. That will solve everything!)
I liked most of what I saw in the theater. However, the weight of what I didn’t was too great to recommend it. The idea of thirty more minutes was not appealing. More shit doesn’t cover the smell of shit. However, in this case, it kinda does.
Nearly everything added takes place in the first two-thirds. It doesn’t feel as rushed, and many of the new scenes help the plot and characters make a little more sense.
They couldn’t fix everything. Superman still doesn’t have a voice. The gymnastics that go on to get Batman, Wonder Woman and the seeds of a franchise in there are bad. But I didn’t mind this time.
The Sunshine Boys (1975) ★ ★.5
stars: Walter Matthau, George Burns, Richard Benjamin
director: Herbert Ross
The popular vaudeville duo Lewis and Clark reunite for a television special. Things might go easier if they actually liked each other.
Matthau is hilarious. Burns is one note, but it’s a great note. The problem is its outdated pacing. It drags for my modern eyes at times. I don’t think we needed to watch them rehearse their entire sketch for the broadcast. I wasn’t sure why a comedy duo had two other people in their sketch. How did that play in their prime? Odd. And Tedious.
watch My Favorite Year instead
Macbeth (2015) ★ ★ ★.5
stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine
director: Justin Kurzel
You know, that Shakespeare play.
It looks gorgeous. Everyone is talking funny.
double feature pairing: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
The Walk (2015) ★ ★
stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Clément Sibony
director: Robert Zemeckis
It’s the movie based on the documentary of the book about Phillppe Petit’s tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers in 1974.
If I hadn’t already seen the documentary, JGL’s accent would have been completely distracting. He does a great job imitating Petit’s very thick French accent and very energetic speech pattern, so it’s only slightly distracting.
The vertigo-inducing camera work (so I heard) at the end didn’t effect me much since I watched it at home. It gives you an idea of what it was like to have been on the wire. But Petit’s point of wire walking was to give people something to marvel at. Not to see what he saw. Such is the perspective of the footage in the documentary.
watch Man on Wire instead
Figures in a Landscape (1970) ★ ★
stars: Robert Show, Malcom McDowell
director: Joseph Losey
One of this movie’s strengths is it vague backstory. We don’t know why these two men were imprisoned. Or where. Or how they escaped. There are little hints throughout of a familiar world but geopolitically different.
In addition of some fatty in the patty, there are some oddities. Shaw’s character takes the time to shave his pubic hair (off screen). And both men laugh as they get diarrhea after drinking some condensed milk.
watch The Defiant Ones instead
080 The Satan Bug (1965) ★ ★ ★.5
stars: George Maharis, Richard Basehart, Ann Francis
director: John Sturges
Out in the desert lies a secret government lab where the most lethal biological weapon has been created. Someone stole it.
The lead detective on the case seems to figure things out a little too easily sometimes, a nitpick of a very good thriller that was made 51 years ago.
double feature pairing: 12 Monkeys
Cat Ballou (1965) ★.5
stars: Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, Michael Callan
director: Elliot Silverstein
Ol’ Cat Ballou comes home to find her father being pressured by a land baron. She hires a gunman to protect them. Turns out he prefers to be drunk instead.
They say it was a hit comedy and an award winner. I was bored. Kinda cool they got a horse to cross its front legs as it leaned against a wall.
watch Support Your Local Gunfighter instead
Juggernaut (1974) ★ ★ ★ ★
stars: Richard Harris, Omar Sharif, Anthony Hopkins
director: Richard Lester
The police have learned that the luxury liner Britannic is carrying seven bombs, and if £500,000 is not delivered in two days then the ship will go down like its namecousin.
This must be the inspiration for bomb squad blockbuster thrillers. It holds up too. Plenty of tension. And a chilling-turned-sweet moment comes when the activities director tries to keep the passengers on a schedule of entertainment. In fact the passengers take to the whole situation quite calmly. Maybe it’s their British stiff upper lip that keeps things civil.
double feature pairing: Executive Decision
The Invitation (2015) ★ ★ ★ ★
stars: Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, John Carroll Lynch
director: Karyn Kusama
Will returns to his former home to attend a dinner party thrown by his ex-wife and her new husband. He has reason to be on edge.
Incredibly tense. That’s all I’m going to say about it. Except, don't watch the trailer. It tips too many things off.
double feature pairing: You’re Next
Mr. Right (2015) ★ ★
stars: Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick, Tim Roth
director: Paco Cabezas
Girl meets Guy. Guy is a hitman. Girl doesn’t mind. [a quirky cannon fires]
The charm of Rockwell and Kendrick fades after a point, and the dialogue sounds more like “I am saying things that are funny now” and “Isn’t it crazy how he’s a hitman and she’s totally cool with it?!” and “Don’t worry. There’s only 30 minutes left.”
watch Grosse Pointe Blank instead
The Getaway (1972) ★ ★
stars: Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Ben Johnson
director: Sam Peckinpah
Dude made a deal to rob a bank in exchange for getting paroled. The bank is robbed, and they make… their getaway!
There are some good moments of getting away. The opening credit sequence is good. It’s always a hoot to see Slim Pickens. The misogyny is uncomfortable.
watch Point Break instead
Wendy and Lucy (2008) ★ ★ ★ ★
stars: Michelle Williams, Lucy, Wally Dalton
director: Kelly Reichardt
A chapter from a larger story, this is what happens to Wendy and her dog Lucy for a couple days in an Oregon town on their way to Alaska.
Michelle Williams is amazing. The dog is cute. Will Paton seems to be trying to channel Robert Duvall. This movie is slowly paced, which I thought was going to be a problem early on. It didn’t take long for me not to care about that. I was largely concerned that Wendy wasn’t going to [redacted because there aren’t many plot points] or [seriously, it’s a bare bones story that hits heavy on personal anguish].
double feature pairing: Into the Wild
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) ★ ★ ★.5
stars: Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Tyler Hoechlin
writer/director: Richard Linklater
It’s a spiritual sequel to Dazed & Confused that follows a freshman settling in to college life three days before classes begin. Party, party, bonding, party, baseball practice, party, bonding.
What made D&C work so well was that the story jumped around from group to group. Sometimes those groups realigned. Here, we follow one group around as they encounter other groups. It’s funny. I could like it more over repeated viewings. This first time though, I got tired of hanging with some of those dudes.
double feature pairing: Dazed and Confused (and notice the nice visual that links them)
87/366 movies (21 movies off pace 😬)
14/52 movies directed by women
THE TOP THREE