Monday, July 17, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Okja (Not Rated):
This whimsical Korean film tells the tale of a farmer girl and her giant pet pig as they become embroiled in a tug-of-war between a multinational corporation that wants to feed the world and a PETA-like group. The movie mashes an incredible number of themes and moods into its dense 2 hour running time but manages to be charming and evocative throughout, with over-the-top performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton among many others. Definitely worth a watch. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: A

Baby Driver (R):
At its core, this is just a car chase movie, but it's put together with plenty of style and just enough character development to make you care. Its use of a musical soundtrack to tie scenes together is reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy (but way better than that boring movie) and we enjoyed it thoroughly on one of our rare trips to a real movie theatre.

Final Grade: A-

Fortitude, Season One:
This entry in the "Arctic Noir" genre is a murder mystery in a remote Norwegian town, where scientists have recently stumbled upon something valuable, deadly, or both. The interplay between Stanley Tucci and Richard Dormer is a lot of fun, and the shades of grey in every character is well-explored. To an extent, it reminded me of the old Nolan movie, Insomnia. Worth catching in spite of its awful title credits music. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

House of Cards, Season Five:
House of Cards as a series suffers from Frank Underwood's rapid rise to power in the second season -- watching him try to stay afloat is much less interesting than watching him get ahead. The plot is too tangled and references too many minor details from previous seasons that I no longer remember nor care to go back and refresh my memory about. The payoff that comes in the 13th episode of this season is too slow and makes very little sense from the perspective of Frank's character. Watch for Kevin Spacey's always-great monologues, but don't expect to care much about anything that happens plotwise. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C

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