Bob’s 2018 Retrospective: 200 Mini Reviews [Part 2: The Pretty Good and the Pretty Bad]

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The Meg

Talk about aiming at B-movie and missing. It’s just a bigger version of the cynical SyFy crash grabs And obviously cut to PG-13 from an R, so the expected carnage is missing. It leans in with “look giant shark! Hey, we’re a B-movie!”: without actually trying too much harder. Honest Trailers is right, this movie repeats itself; same movie two times.

Most Likely to Murder

Sophomoric as all hell. Had some funny parts, but showed nothing.

Open House

This Netflix original was a goddamned mess. It couldn’t quite decide how it’s own set up worked. It makes no logical sense for things to play out as they do. It’s far far far too slow for a “someone is hiding in my house” and has massive logic jumps. And it’s DULL.

Operation Finale

Oscar Issac hunting the missing orchestrator of the Holocaust, Ben Kingsley? Then a series of tense conversations between them, along with sequences to kidnap Kingsley and get him out of Argentina? Sign me up! All the points are there, but it fell through. There are some solid scenes but the script is leaden and rote. Just a let down.

Pacific Rim Uprising

Goddammit this pissed me off. I no shame love the Guillermo Del Toro-led first film. Sure, it had some issues, but it was exactly what it promised to be. This Del Toro-less follow up has far too many half baked ideas to sustain. It felt like there was a 10-episode TV show outlined, but it was decided to make the movie instead. So what were outline points become quick scenes instead. Fuck them for killing Mako Mori with little fanfare. She should have been the damned star. She was the best character of the first film and treated like shit here. And not nearly enough giant monster battle.

Rough Draft

Interesting idea, awful execution. A down on his luck man is chosen to be the new gatekeeper between two worlds. He’s given a set of rules and a set of objectives. And those are forgotten as a sort of war might happen? It’s a mess and I quickly lost track of what exactly what was happening. Characters change motivation from scene to scene, the rules of the worlds continually shift. It’s a mess. It’s pretty though, so that’s something.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Another example of a fantastic first film, and a stinker of a sequel. Any sort of uncertainty, beauty, and quiet tension of the first is gone. By removing Emily Blunt’s audience surrogate, we’re left with awful people doing awful things. Not to mention, the plot is abandoned after the first act, leading to another hour and some of stumbling around. It’s also incredibly fearful-conservative. Brown people are ready to commit terrorist and awful torture gets results. It’s such a mess.

Still/born

A woman is set to give birth to twins. One dies in birth, the other survives. But something supernatural may be going on as the mom keeps hearing the dead child and is acting weird. And the rest of the film continues as to be expected.

Skyscraper – REVIEW

This could have been ludicrous fun. Instead it’s some part of ludicrous fun, and a whole bunch of ludicrous “meh.”  There is a confusion what level of B-movie the Dwayne Johnson led Die Hard-light wants to be. In the end, it settles with a made for TNT-type. Outside of the poster image sequence, this is so made for TV. It claims to be bigger than Die Hard, but its a tiny film. 

Slice

The rare A24 misfire. There are some good ideas here – the ghosts of the dead are corporeal and treated like second hand citizens in a very odd town. There is a Troma vibe across the production. I wonder if this was a Troma film, I’d be into it more. Maybe, but it simmers through it’s oddball premise rather than going as big as it would be. It’s noted for Chance the Rapper’s involvement. Unfortunately, he’s fucking awful.

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