Sunday, January 23, 2022

In & Out [post]: The Power of the Dog

Then you tell them the truth. I stink and I like it.

Title: The Power of the Dog     Rating: R     Runtime: 126 mins Spolier-filled review to follow: Yes

What's it about? Two brothers run a ranch in the shittiest time and place ever, 1920's Montana. One is an absolute asshole, the other is Jessie Plemons. Plemons is a kind man, and draws the ire of his brother, Phil (the aforementioned a-hole/shitface cockmaster) when he invites his new/actual wife and her, um, quirky son to live at the ranch. Phil, when not covering his naked body in mud after reading erotic literature in his masturbation fort, is a top-tier cowboy, capable of castrating a bull in eight seconds. He's also a f--king jerk.

What works: I'm pretty sure Jessie Plemons can do no wrong, and I adored him as the moderately sullen George. I've also loved Kirsten Dunst since the day I was born, and even if she exists in a raging sandstorm that only she can see, my feelings remain unchanged. Montana/New Zealand is gorgeous, and the stark setting makes the whole affair feel like a gotdamned horror movie at times. And as much as the ending enraged me, I'm all for feeling an emotion other than blinding consternation.

What doesn't: Cumberbatch occasionally sounds like the Grinch, and it intermittently derailed how much I was scared of Phil. George's stepson, the effeminate Peter, might be too-gay-to-function, as this poor kid's existence seems like a hate-crime waiting to happen. George, read the room, man...you're one paper-flower away from stopping my heart. There's a room full of uneducated ranch hands, maybe dial it back?

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

In & Out [post]: Black Widow

I'm not the killer little girls call their hero.

Rating: PG-13        Runtime: 2 hours 13 minutes    Stinger rating: A- (Selena Meyer? Yes, please)

What's it about? Do you remember that place that turned Natasha Romanoff into a top-shelf assassin who would stop at nothing to finish the job? The same place that ripped out all her lady parts damning her to a life void of family? The place that made Jennifer Lawrence drop trou at the head of the class? Well, Romanoff does, mostly, and in the midst of running from the US government after what went down (literally?) in Sokovia, she teams up with her long-lost family to blow that place, known as the Red Room, straight to Hell. Which is extra challenging, because, you know, it only exists in the clouds. Huh-what?

What works: The action is effing ridiculous, frankly, and in the best way possible. It starts chaotic and basically never lets up. Maybe I've been watching too much Cobra Kai (honestly, any amount of Cobra Kai is too much Cobra Kai), but the budget for Black Widow seemed to be pinned at f--k it, why not? [Cobra Kai has the production values of a mid 90s porno]. From the bridge battle with Taskmaster, that dope car chase through typically narrow European streets, the prison extraction/avalanche orgy, all the way to the nauseating mid-air finale, the action is not only plentiful but all fairly inspired, too. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

In & Out [post]: Batman: Hush

There are no ex-criminals, Father, only ones who aren't breaking the law at the moment.

Rating: PG-13    Year: 2019    Runtime: 81 mins (imagine?)        

What's it about? Somebody is pulling the strings on Gotham's greatest villains, wreaking havoc and chaos all over the city. In order to thwart this seemingly endless threat, Batman teams up with (and opens up to) the lovely and mysterious Catwoman, who is juggling her own cadre of famous and infamous super, um, men? Turns out she's falling in love with Bruce Wayne...and the Dark Knight...who apparently feel like totally different dudes when you make out with them.

What works: If someone told me the next live-action Batman movie was just a retelling of this story, I'd be absolutely stoked. I don't watch a lot of these direct-to-disc releases from WB/DC but Hush was consistently intriguing and fairly action-packed. Does it hurt that every major villain ever is in this flick? No. No, it does not. And hand drawn or not, Selina Kyle is as sexy as ever, and her arc is surprisingly satisfying. Ol' Batsy ain't exactly the easiest one to settle down with, but you can't blame a girl for trying.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

In & Out [post]: The Meg

So far nothing new, my friend. It just keeps getting worse.

Rating: PG-13            Year: 2018            Runtime: 113 minutes      

What's it about? It's a giant shark movie, right? But as much as you want it to be about a giant shark doing giant shark things, it's also a story about redemption. The best deep-sea rescue guy in the world (Statham, as jacked as ever) is forced out of a life of drinking and sleeping in the sun to, perhaps unsurprisingly, lead one last deep sea underwater rescue. Turns out some billion dollar research lab led by Dwight Schrute has inadvertently unleashed a ninety-foot shark from below the bottom of the ocean floor, and that f--ker, gifted with the new freedom of open waters, is pissed. If it's not eating whales and being the biggest dick in the sea, this damn shark is destroying everything, including any and all sea craft in its vicinity. I think because it hates shiny things?

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

In & Out [post]: Encanto

You're exactly what this family needs.

Rating: PG Runtime: 102 minutes (appreciated)

With: whole squad (this now includes a 7th grade boy, so...minor miracle here)

What's it about? An extremely magical family that lives in an extremely magical house...starts to lose their magic...and their house. The outcast of the bunch, the muggle-ish Mirabel, must solve the mystery before the foundation of her family, and their casa, cracks and crumbles beyond repair.

What works: Whoa, whoa, whoa...perhaps shockingly, a lot. I don't think I ever saw a commercial for this one, and the poster politely informed me, hard pass. Turns out? That would have been a huge mistake, as this story about finding your place in the world (and the world of your family) is brilliant. The songs, the characters, the completely welcomed (and fairly consistent level of) silliness all dovetail with a fantastic story that recaptures some of that old-school Disney charm in a decidedly new-school way. 

What didn't: The roster can a get a little overwhelming at times, but otherwise, there wasn't a bit of this one that I didn't enjoy. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

In & Out [post]: The Birds

Don't they ever stop migrating?

Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 119 mins     Where: Basement

What's it about? A mysterious (and sexy) woman falls for a dude at the world's most chaotic pet store, stalks him all the way home, and somehow ends up in a bird-infused apocalypse. With him. And his entirely too-young sister. Are these satanic seagull shenanigan's this woman's fault? Unlikely, but according to a crazy woman in the local diner, everything was fine until she showed up. And if you can't trust someone having a meal with her kids at a restaurant during the middle of a school day, who can you trust?

What worked: Tippi Hedren is fine as Hell, and basically never leaves the screen, so in that regard, it's all good. The intrigue builds slowly, but steadily, which is also appreciated (the burn is fairly slow, right?). Oh, and there's enough sexual tension between Hedren and (twelve inches to a yard Hot) Rod Taylor to jettison Bodega Bay (and my pants) directly into the sun. Some of the bird chaos is pretty sweet, too, as you might swear that real birds are being tossed about.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

In & Out [post]: Don't Breathe 2

Now you're going to see what I see!

Rating: R        Runtime: 98 minutes                                              Where: Everywhere (a challenge, honestly [phone, laptop, two different televisions])

What's it about? Once again, some low-life a-holes f--k with the wrong guy (a murderous/invincible Navy Seal who may or may not be blind [he is, but still]). Big time. But instead of the rich kids collecting B&Es like Pokemon, this time around it's some meth-heads gathering human organs. Wait, what? Yeah, what starts out mysterious and shady, may ultimately be the most twisted romantic grand gesture in the history of cinema. Aww. But that's only after a dog is killed and young girl is, get this, taken. Yikes.

What works: A bad guy is doing very bad things, but we root for him regardless. And even if you're better than this (and you are, trust me), seeing a douchey henchman take a hammer to the side of his head from across the room has a certain amount of timeless charm. And as wild as it gets along the way, the ending is absolutely bonkers, with an empty pool being a particularly spirited participant in the mayhem.

What doesn't: Last time, I think I was on the edge of my seat (when not recoiling in terror/disgust [the situation in the basement has never left me]), but this go-round you can call just about everything that's going to happen before it does. It's almost like...*whispers* you can see it coming.

Friday, December 31, 2021

In & Out [post]: The Matrix Resurrections

Quietly yearning for what you don't have, while dreading losing what you do.

Rating: R    Runtime: 148 minutes                                              Where: In my basement (damn you, omicron)

What's it about? *deep breath* All the events of the Matrix have happened...in a video game. Designed by Neo. Wait, what? So everyone knows what the Matrix is, but they don't realize they are living in a rebooted version of it. This updated version of the Matrix sometimes feels like the old one, and that's before Trinity 2.0 shows up. Neo unplugs and heads back to the 'real' world, and his mission is to convince Trinity to come with him. Aw.

What works: You give me Keanu and Carrie-Anne and I'm in. Always. And as hard as it is to explain (and/or understand) what happens here, I was stoked to see them regardless. There's a lot less action than you might expect, but what we get pretty kickass. 

What doesn't: I think they managed their absences as well as they could have (it actually makes perfect sense in how they explain it [I think]), but man would I have died (or lived) to see Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving back in the Matrix. 

In & Out [post] Spider-Man: No Way Home

Is that a band? Are you in a band?

Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 158 minutes
Where: Regal West Manchester (with my 12 y/o son)

What's it about? Peter Parker, after unsuccessfully trying to navigate his private life being public (thanks, JJJ), asks Dr. Strange to make him unknown...ish. The whole plan backfires, portals are opened, and the multi-verse is unleashed leading to all sorts of good and bad/great things converging on the MCU version of NYC.

What works: Holy crap, you guys, it all works. Every bit of it. It's hard to describe how much fun it was being in the theater that day, but there was one moment in this one that was positively electric. Like, for a second, everything was okay. Amazing, even.

What doesn't: Okay, this is nitpicking, but whatever was going on with Sandman and Lizard was kind of distracting. If we're not going to really use them, why bother? Give me a bit more Electro and a lot more Green Goblin and we're good. Real good. Oh, and the fact that this whole thing could have been avoided if the spell was a bit more specific is kind of unintentionally hilarious.