Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Blade Runner 2049

Believe it or not, there are a few people on this planet who refuse to succumb to the advancements in technology and still insist on calling me rather than texting to have an actual conversation. Now two of these people get a free pass as they are my mother and my brother but as for the rest of the scrubs out there…it better be a life or death situation or I’m going to be really pissed! I will however excuse my friend who lives in Los Angeles who calls me to help keep him awake while he’s sitting in traffic but I consider that to be my community service work for the month, so that shouldn’t be an expectation for everyone.

Well my movie nerd friend, for some odd reason, called me three days in a row! Now he also occasionally gets a free pass but only when new nude pics of Scarlett Johansson are leaked online, so he should know better. And this is just after we had a phone conversation earlier in the week, so naturally my mind starts to think the worst! Is he sick? Is he in jail? Did Taylor Swift release yet another terrible video?

I had to finally stop everything I was doing and actually attempt to be a good friend. So I called him from the gym in a rather frantic state and was like ‘Hey! What’s going on???" Here was his response "Yo! Have you seen the new Vince Vaughn movie?" The f’n new Vince Vaughn movie?!?! Are you kidding me?!?! I didn’t even realize that that dude was still alive, let alone have any thoughts or desire to keep following his movie career! Was he serious?!?!

And as he kept talking about Vincent’s new movie, I couldn’t help but think to myself, "We really need to get this dude a virtual reality girlfriend like the one Ryan Gosling had in Blade Runner." Even if he’s just getting virtually laid that has to help channel his energy to something more productive. Think about how much safer the world would be if more people had VR girlfriends that were as hot as Ana de Armas is. R. Kelly could have sex with all the 13 year old VR girls his heart desired, Donald Trump could put his fingers up as many unsuspecting and horrified women that he wanted to instead of using them to send out ridiculous tweets (and of course violating real women), and Harvey Weinstein…well sadly he’d still be Harvey Weinstein. Something tells me that that fat bastard would get greedy and somehow try and masturbate to both VR and real women at the same time. The point is, I think Blade Runner 2049 should be required viewing for every potentially dangerous male out there.

But here’s the reason why everyone else should see it too; it’s a great movie! Now, let me first say that it is a true Sci-Fi film through and through, so that alone will keep everyone from thinking that it’s great. But at its core it’s an audial and visual experience like no other, and that’s part of what makes movies so special. Yes, the storyline and the acting are key but if you can walk away from a film in complete awe of what you just heard sonically and what you just witnessed visually, that is the complete package. Now typically when the storyline and acting take a backseat to the technical aspects of a film, you get stuck with trash like Independence Day 8 but director Denis Villeneuve is able to use these sometimes secondary elements to convey the message he really wants to deliver to his audience.

He seems to have a common theme in all of his films where his characters struggle with loneliness, fear, and the ability to connect with the rest of humanity, yet he’s able to share their stories in a myriad of ways. Who would have thought that a father who becomes obsessed with finding his kidnapped son (Prisoners) would have so much in common with a language expert who’s hired to help communicate with aliens from another world (Arrival)? Or that an FBI agent who is tracking down the Cartel (Sicario) would be so similar to a Replicant hunting down dangerous and obsolete Replicants for destruction (Blade Runner 2049). Ok, that last one isn’t too much of a stretch but I’m afraid to talk too poorly of the Cartel for fear of my life the next time I roll up in Mescal bar.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but just know that Gosling is a young Blade Runner whose sole job is to track down and eliminate obsolete Replicants. Replicants are synthetic humans who are used to do manual labor. They are hated and despised by real humans and this hatred eventually leads to a war and famine that nearly destroyed the Earth. This is part of the reason why the production of them has been outlawed. (Side note: it would really help if you watched the three prequel shorts that were made for this film; at most it’s 20 minutes of your time)

But because he was able to save humanity from this famine; revolutionary inventor and entrepreneur, Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) is allowed to produce a new race of Replicants; one that only obeys its master or owner. This explains why Blade Runners like Gosling are around. Now while this story takes place 30 years after the original, Gosling, while tracking down one of the few remaining rogue Replicants, finds something that links him to one of the original Blade Runners, Deckard (Harrison Ford). And what he finds could have a drastic and irreversible impact on the world he currently knows.

As mentioned earlier, this movie’s theme speaks so much about humanity and what we feel it should and shouldn’t be while also introducing us to a futuristic world that’s both cool to look at yet chilling to contemplate when you take into account everything that’s going on. Gosling does what he does by bringing his stoic approach to the new Blade Runner and Harrison Ford showed that he’s not quite senile yet. But it’s the women who truly shine in this film. Robin Wright is solid and feisty as Gosling’s boss, Ana de Armas brings the much needed tenderness and heart that’s lacking in this cold and dark world, and Sylvia Hoeks delivers an Oscar worthy performance as the maniacally loyal assistant to Wallace.

Now you should know going in that this is a long film as it clocks in at just over 2 ½ hours but if you’re in for an actual movie experience, you will certainly get just that in Blade Runner 2049. I give this movie a rating of very FRESH! Now if you will excuse me, I’m off to go have sex with dead Tay Tay!
 
 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mother!

Maybe I’m just officially a part of the older generation but I remember when Boyz in da Hood first came out in the theater and it reminding me, along with every other Black male out there, that if you had a kid before you graduated from high school that your life was basically over! It didn’t matter how smart or how talented you were, society would never fully accept you simply for the fact that you fell right into the stereotype that had slowly evolved over the previous decades. Look at Ricky from that movie, even though he was a badass football player who ended up getting a full ride at USC, he still wound up getting shot in an alley while holding some powdered sugar donuts and a lottery scratch-off ticket. And why was that you ask? Because he had a kid! At least that’s what I took away from it.

But now, in every hip hop song that’s come out the past five years or so, every male rapper out there and their female RnB counterpart talks about either planting seeds in someone or getting seeds planted in them! What in the world happened? When did it become so cool to not pull out? Granted I haven’t seen a porn in quite some time but this can’t be the latest hotness? "Oh, I’m gonna explode so hard inside of you!" I refuse to accept this! Somewhere out there Ron Jeremy is rolling in his fried chicken batter!

Well hip hop may have finally jumped the shark as Russian weirdo Darren Aronofsky seems to have been affected by its charms. In his latest film, he examines the May December marriage between Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence. And in it, you are immediately introduced to what’s at the core of their marital issues. Bardem is a poet who is going through the worst possible writer’s block imaginable meanwhile Lawrence’s entire life seems to be centered on supporting and appeasing him. It doesn’t matter how much patience or love she shows, nothing seems to inspire him, not even the fact that his wife is singlehandedly rebuilding his childhood home from the ground up after it burned to the nothing but ashes.

But one night a stranger in the form of Ed Harris shows up at their random house in the country mistaking it for a bed and breakfast. Bardem immediately takes a liking to him and invites him to stay the night given the fact that it’s so late and he’s obviously lost. The problem however, just to name one, is that he doesn’t ask his wife if it’s ok with her and it’s soon after this that Harris starts ignoring some of her rules for the house; like no smoking inside. Now I know that on the surface that sounds like small potatoes but things start to escalate the second his wife shows up the next day. Not only does she not respect Lawrence’s rules but she also seems to have little respect for her or her privacy. Imagine if your drunk mother in law showed up to your house and had no filter; well that’s Michelle Pfeiffer (Harris’s wife) to a tee.

Now again, at first these seem like they’re just slight annoyances but things soon get out of hand the second this weird couple’s sons randomly show up and someone gets murdered. And yet even after all of this, it still isn’t enough for Bardem to ask the couple to leave. It instead somehow oddly enough triggers a passion inside of him that was nonexistent to this point and he winds up impregnating Lawrence. And it’s at this point that he once again finds the inspiration to write and what he writes is apparently good. So naturally things will get better at this point, right? Well if you thought that then you clearly have never seen an Aronofsky film.

First let me say that the first two acts were tough for me to sit through as a Black man because anyone who has grown up in a household with a Black woman knows that this film would have been over within the first 20 minutes. The second Ed Harris disrespected her, she would’ve cussed him sideways and kicked him out along with Bardem. And if Bardem had the audacity to say anything back, he would’ve been met with a swift right to the jaw and a not so friendly reminder that he was a shitty writer! "I’m up in here cooking these biscuits every day and your sorry ass can’t even write a Jack be nimble, Jack be quick? I knew I should’ve married Jerome with the good benefits! "

But once I finally got past that, I settled into the third act only to be immediately taken out again. Now anyone who knows me knows that I love artsy flicks but I hate when people are artsy for the sake of being artsy. Look, if your weirdness naturally comes out (see Thom Yorke dancing during Radiohead shows) I’m all for it but when it’s forced, it’s obvious that you’re just trying to get laid by French models who are too dumb to truly understand what’s going on. I get the visual chaos that ensues in the third act, and to be honest with you, some of it worked, but ultimately there was just too much nonsense in it that played absolutely no role in telling the story or expressing the theme behind this visual and visceral experience.

The film’s crowning moment occurs when Lawrence finally has the baby and there’s a stare off between her and Bardem. So much is said about their relationship in this moment that it honestly stands out way more than the infamous and supposedly unforgettable scene that immediately follows it. Everyone talks about that scene but in my opinion, everything that follows the stare down is just filler at that point, but I guess you have to wrap the film up in some way.

In the end, the acting is on point and the overall theme of the film is a clever take on today’s society but you just have to sift through too much trash to get to the payoff. I give this film a rating of barely FRESH!
 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

It

So I have this movie nerd friend who is getting a bit on the crusty side when it comes to age yet he still has a thing for younger girls and every now and then has these weird wet dreams about having sex with Helena Bonham Carter in a monkey suit. I’m not quite sure what exactly caused with the latter but hey, he lives in the country suburbs of Dallas and things get a bit boring out there, so I’ll give him a free pass. Well the other day he called me out of the blue to tell me that Kate Becksinsale’s daughter just posted some pics of herself online in a bathing suit. Beckinsale’s daughter is 18. Now I too am on the wrong side of crusty and I also happen to have an affinity for younger women but even that’s pushing it for me. But I am a dude so I had to at least pop in and see for myself, and just as I suspected, she looked like she was freaking twelve years old! I nearly vomited my Chuck-E-Cheese pizza!

After cussing my friend out for a bit, I came to the sad realization that I had just recently began following R. Kelly on Instagram. And it was in that moment that I began questioning some of my life’s decisions. Why was I talking to a dude who was drooling over a teen in swimwear and following #morningswithKellz on my phone? I know there’s not a law against that just yet but maybe there should be!

What’s the point of all this, you ask? I forgot how innocent we once were as kids. In the latest film adaptation of Stephen King’s creepy novel It, the story focuses on a group of outsider kids who crack funny sex jokes about each other’s moms with regularity while having to face their greatest fears through the eyes of an insane clown. I remember making similar jokes as a kid when I’d say something like "Oh, I have a black pen you can borrow but it only writes in white ink" but I had no idea what it really meant at the time. Or maybe I did and I’ve always been a twisted individual; either way, it was great reminiscing about the good ole days, when sexual harassment started at a young age even if you had no clue what you were really talking about. Okay clearly I’m joking, I would never condone that kind of behavior but in It, you do see how sex is always on the brain of boys even at a young age.

Now most people know the story of It at this point but for those who may have forgotten, it’s about this creepy clown who appears in this small town in northeast America to prey on little kids and their fears. He tricks them into getting close enough to him to eat them without leaving any trace of their existence behind. And apparently everyone in the town is so freaked out by these random occurrences that no one takes the initiative to figure out what’s really going on. Well one kid, Bill (St. Vincent, Midnight Special, and The Book of Henry’s Jaeden Lieberher) refuses to give up on his little brother who’s also gone missing, so he rallies his band of misfits who include his close friend Richie (Stranger Things’s Finn Wolfhard) and his secret crush Beverly to try and find the source of the town’s strange disappearances.

Well along the way, you see friendships tested as these kids are forced to grow up in a hurry in an attempt to survive this killer clown who apparently has no mercy. And you are also exposed to some pretty dark material like a sexually abusive father, a controlling mother who puts Kathy Bates in The Waterboy to shame, and a small child getting his arm bitten off in a pretty gruesome scene. But having said that, the film itself isn’t so much scary as it is creepy. Don’t get me wrong, every scene with the clown will stick in your mind for quite some time but any scene with zombies falls kind of flat due to the fact that we’ve been exposed to better makeup and gorier scenes on The Walking Dead on a weekly basis.

But this is by far the best Stephen King adaptation that has ever made it to the big screen. It’s fun, funny, and serves its purpose as a great appetizer to get you ready for the Halloween season. I definitely recommend popping in as I give it a rating of very FRESH!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Wind River

As I woke up this past Saturday morning to the look, feel and sound of pounding water hitting my window, I eventually came to the realization that it wasn’t the gin swirling around in my head like a snow globe that was causing this alarming experience, but it was in fact Tropical Storm Harvey announcing its arrival. I had already prepared myself for a long weekend of hunkering down by stocking up on my new favorite terrible beer in Montucky and 2 lbs. of fajita meat so I could relive my days as a Black hick in Victoria, TX. You see, growing up in a town like that, you’re used to doing nothing but getting drunk and watching terrible movies mainly because it beat mudding in your dually truck with other hicks or chasing around the neighbor’s chickens for sport; so I was more than prepared for what these next few days had in store.

But hey, I’m not here to trash Victoria as my heart and my prayers go out to them right now. I instead want to talk about why I have this sudden fascination with the otherwise nondescript state of Wyoming. Outside of Yellowstone Park (and honestly I had forgotten that that was even there until recently), I only associate awful things with this state! My dentist went there to attend a University of Texas football game a few years ago and pretty much never came back! Did he die in the mountains after being exposed to their freezing temperatures in August or did he simply fall in love with a modern day Pocahontas, only to be killed by the locals for being the white R. Kelly? Come on now, everyone knows that Pocahontas was underage!

Well in either case, all I want to say to him right now is "My teeth hurt doc! Leave that peyote behind that you found on the reservation and come hook a brother up! I mean, it’s only a matter of time before you’re eaten alive by a bear or a mountain lion so you may as well come back to the land of shotguns and pretty women so you can live a more fulfilling life!"

But moving on, when the movie Wind River came out recently, I was there the opening weekend; and not just because it’s about the murder of a young girl in the woods of Wyoming but because it’s nice to actually see a healthy Olson girl (Elizabeth) get some screen time for a change. Why hasn’t anyone told her twin sisters that the Kate Moss anorexic look went out twenty years ago? Go get some cheeseburgers girls!

Anyway, Wind River is the story of a young and bright eyed FBI agent named Jane (Olson) who decides to team up with the local game tracker Cory (Jeremy Renner) to solve the mysterious murder of a young girl on an Indian reservation in the middle of snow covered Wyoming. Jane is from Florida, so she has no idea about how to properly dress for this type of weather and nearly dies within the first 5 minutes of being exposed to the air. It’s also a different world as it’s not only a unique culture with colorful characters but it’s an area that still feels like the land that America forgot. They have minimal public funded resources and very few opportunities for locals to escape the world they grew up in, so naturally they still harbor ill feelings towards anyone of the fairer skin.

Well even though he qualifies as someone the community would normally hate, Cory has been in the area for so long that he’s for the most part accepted and trusted by everyone. So naturally Jane relies on him to not only track clues in this rough terrain and adapt to the ways of the reservation but to also simply survive in the sometimes below zero temperatures.

This alone makes this an interesting film but what helps it stand out from other indie thrillers that have come out recently is Cory’s weird connection to the case. He not only knows the family of the girl who was found but the reason he and his Native American wife are separated is because their daughter died in a similar fashion just a few years earlier. So now he’s once again struggling to deal with the memories of this tragedy that have crept back into his life but this time around he’s hoping to find answers of some sort to provide him and his family some closure.

Writer and director, Taylor Sheridan, who also wrote Sicario and Hell and High Water, delivers yet again as he has a way of taking you into the dark underworld of humanity’s worst without relying on the parlor tricks of over exaggeration or the reliance of gruesome shock value to do so. He gives you an in depth look into issues we normally want to turn a blind eye to by helping us find something or someone we can connect with by telling their painful stories. And this is where Renner and Olson shine. We’ve all had to find a way to press on in life even if the absolute worst has happened to us or we’ve all been in over our heads while trying to make a name for ourselves in our chosen professions. And that’s what’s so great about this film, the actors that we normally see in Marvel movies seem like your ordinary next door neighbors, even if it is only for two hours.

This movie will not only scare and depress you but it will also enlighten you about a world that we typically only think about when we want to gamble; and it’s because of this that I give it a rating of very FRESH!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Logan Lucky

I know that everyone else loves him but it took me forever to appreciate what the Steven Sodomy was trying to bring to the big screen. I used to call him Sodomy because that’s what it felt like he was doing to me every time I paid money to see one of his pretentious films. His 90’s flick The Limey was nothing but a high school course on philosophy put to film and Traffic felt as though he was trying to recreate one of those awful D.A.R.E. to Keep Kids off Drugs speeches he heard while growing up in the Ronald Raegan era. I seriously almost walked out of the theater when I saw the word traffic pull up in the lower left hand corner of the screen in the film’s opening shot. I mean, can you suck your own d&*^ just a little harder dude?!?! And yes, if you’re counting, that’s two reviews in a row where I’ve quoted someone from this ridiculous administration; and I plan to continue doing so until the Russians hack my computer and make me fight the modern day Drago for my freedom.

But I eventually began to recognize the fact that he was simply trying to bring art back to filmmaking. I don’t always agree with his approach and only about half of his films are any good but I do give him credit for trying. He decided to briefly retire so that he could go sculpt in his dungeon or whatever but once he got tired of sucking the porcelain d&*^ of his own statue (ok, I promise I’ll stop), he decided to make his return to filmmaking by giving us Hillbilly Oceans 11; or as they call it in the film, Oceans 7-11.

Logan Lucky is about this down on their luck family in West Virginia who can’t ever seem to get ahead no matter what they have going for them. The film’s two main stars have noticeable marks of this as Jimmy (Channing Tatum) has a busted knee from a football injury that ended his promising college career and his brother Clyde (Adam Driver) lost half of his arm fighting in the Gulf War and thus rendered him useless in the military. Neither of them seem to be particularly bright but they are geniuses compared to their cohorts, and you’ll see evidence of this as they attempt to pull off this grand heist.

Jimmy is struggling just to make ends meet as he can’t keep a job due to his bum knee and sadly his brother is of no help as he works a dead end job as a bartender in the town’s only bar. Plus it doesn’t help matters that Jimmy has to deal with his temperamental ex-wife and her new rich douchebag husband who have full custody of his daughter, the light of his life. So one day Jimmy gets this brilliant idea to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Mecca of the South. Millions of dollars flow through there on any given weekend and because Jimmy was working construction beneath the stadium to repair the sink holes that had formed, he was somehow able to luck upon a flaw in their security system. So now all he has to do is find a way to break the town’s explosive expert, Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) out of jail while he also convincing his two idiot brothers to help him in pulling off the impossible heist.

Now as you can imagine you have to fully immerse yourself in the land of Never Never Land to believe that these hillbillies have the mental faculties to pull this off but to Sodomy’s credit there are quite a few mishaps along the way. Plus, it’s always funny to see hicks stumble and bumble over each other even if you can totally tell that it’s just James Bond and little Han-Solo trying to give their best impression of a southern accent. Sodomy’s artistic approach is on full display as he uses odd camera angles and an almost 70’s approach to storytelling to bring this fun crime film to life and in the process give us ordinary folk some hope in these dark times.

We can use some mindless entertainment from time to time and since George Clooney is 70 years old and just had twins, you may as well recruit Channing Tatum to do just that for us. I rate this film as kind of FRESH and suggest that you pop in.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Detroit

As I found myself trying to wrap my head around the tangled web that is the Game of Thrones storyline this season, I realized that I had done about 45 minutes of research into the lineage of most of the major characters and I hadn’t even cracked the surface yet. And while I was reading up on whose uncle banged whose cousin and whose daughter ran away with whose brother, I began to feel this intense pain creep up into my head! Hell, I don’t even know all of my own cousins’ names and they actually buy me gifts from time to time. These white people don’t know me at all and if by some random chance one of them actually ran into me on the street, they’d probably ask me if I was going to host the Grammy’s again this year. That’s an L.L. Cool J joke by the way, and to be fair, I do kind of look like him but I’m also about 100 lbs. skinnier; so there’s that.

The point is, actually getting to know people and who they are and where they come from takes time and effort; two things we as a society refuse to do. Yet if we confidently spew off some random nonsense on social media and get a few likes, along with some clowns who agree with us, it makes us feel as though we are well informed and somehow also justifies our laziness. "Hey, I saw a blurb on whatever network’s website the other day and it reminded me of something I saw in a Tom Cruise movie when I was a kid, so it has to be right."

It’s sad but this is the very reason why we are so divided in this country and why you have people making ridiculous statements like saying the Black Lives Matters movement is no different than the White Nationalist movement. Now I can write an entire book on that alone but that’s for another site and for a far more talented writer than I am. However the reason why I decided to point this out is because movies that give us some actual insight into our country’s real and very dark history go ignored, like the film Detroit was when it was released two weeks ago. If no one has ever been racist to you and you live in a bubble where everything is equal and fair, at least in your eyes, you don’t want to do anything that rocks the boat. You instead just go out to see Spiderman 9 while downloading the latest Justin Bieber album that came out right after he impregnated Kylie Jenner.

Well Kathryn Bigelow gives us a close and gruesome look into the events that occurred on one horrific night in the middle of the Detroit riots. Tensions had been rising for years as Black people moved up north looking for work while the white community decided to move out to the suburbs; taking most of the jobs and opportunities with them in the process. So naturally, as people start to go hungry and struggle to simply survive, anger and desperation begin to set in. And then you add in the fact that the police routinely came around to harass whoever looked at them sideways (Detroit police were known for being super aggressive back then) and you have yourself a ticking time bomb.

Now there were several incidents that occurred over a number of days that were ultimately the cause of the Detroit riots, and yes there were stupid actions on both sides (not to quote our brilliant president or anything) that caused them to go on for far longer than they probably should have, but what took place at the Algiers Hotel should have never happen in any civilized society, no matter what the situation was. Well what set the stage for this awful scene was a whacked out cop’s (Officer Krauss) reaction to what he thought was sniper fire at him and his unit, even though said gun shots were hundreds of yards away. Now his tracking down the shots wasn’t the issue, what was however was his twisted view of how he could personally help the Black community. He thought that gunning down unarmed Black males in the back who were "up to trouble" would rid the community of its dead weight and as a result would leave only the docile animals around to help save the Black neighborhoods. Well his superiors disagreed with him and put him under investigation for murder but that for some reason wasn’t quite enough to keep them from releasing him back on the streets to wreak even more havoc.

And as fate would have it, the sound of these gun shots came from the starter pistol of a resident at the Algiers Hotel who decided that he would finally get some sort of revenge for all of police brutality he and his loved ones had encountered over the years. "How about I give them a quick scare to give them just a taste of what they have done to us for decades". Not the brightest idea he’s ever had, especially considering the fact that he was in a hotel full of Black men and two white girls in the late 60’s as that’s just a recipe for disaster. But that’s still no excuse for what took place once Krauss and his crew came on the scene.

The rest I will let you experience for yourself but just know that the amount of torture, beating, and killing that took place on that night was so off the charts that even the U.S. military, who was brought in into Detroit to help restore order, decided to wash their hands of it and leave the scene. Now there were quite a few subplots that came into play that could have turned this into a four hour epic; like the fact that the lead singer of the up and coming group The Dramatics was one of these hostages or the fact that a recent war hero who had just returned home from battle was another hostage, but thankfully Bigelow chose the route of succinct yet effective storytelling when it came to providing backstory for each of the characters involved.

And while there are plenty of intense scenes in this film, she does decide to play it a little safe when it comes to making a statement. The officers were ultimately found innocent in real life, so she tries to show how these were sort of good men who had just gone astray but anyone who was involved in that night would tell you a far different story. And I think that is what keeps them very solid film from being a great one; if this is your way of exposing what really happened, then go all the way with it. All of the acting is superb in this film and I do have to say that even though this film does clock in at 2 hours and 22 minutes, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. I give Detroit a rating of FRESH but just know that this is the only way anything that is associated with that city will ever get that rating. Go Stars!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Dunkirk

It took me forever to come to grips with my feelings over Christopher Nolan’s latest offering to the public as he’s had a pretty strong track record over the past two decades. I mean, outside of his ridiculous decision to make Bane sound like Sean Connery on life support in Batman 3, he’s been pretty much on point with his storytelling, his direction, and his ability to move me emotionally. But it’s because he’s been so good at what he does it makes us slow to point out his epic failures whenever we encounter them.

It’s similar to when U2 was on top of the world; when they released War and The Joshua Tree it seemed as if they could do no wrong, that was until records like Zooropa and Pop came around, both of which were clear signs that they had fallen off the whiskey covered throne they had built for themselves. Yet people still flooded to their shows as if their ears hadn’t just been exposed to the Irish equivalent of Gerardo. Rico…Suave! I remember people saying this about that stupid song Stay (Faraway, So Close!) "It’s like, full of emotion and shit" Ok, so I may have made that last part up but I’m sure someone’s stoned uncle probably said that at some point.

The point is, there are ton of people out there who are grasping for straws in an attempt to convince themselves that Dunkirk is actually a good movie. I’ve heard people say things like "Well, you have to pay the $18 to see it in IMAX to truly get crushed physically and emotionally" or "You know what, Harry Styles wasn’t all that bad in it! He wasn’t distracting at all!" Ok, the mere fact that some terrible Brit pop star didn’t distract you from the story should tell you all you need to know about the quality of said story, especially considering the fact that he had the majority of the lines. I love Bobby Brown but the fact that I didn’t think he was the most ridiculous thing I saw on screen during Ghostbusters 2 let me know that it was probably time to put that franchise to bed.

Now don’t get me wrong, technically Dunkirk is a brilliant film as the sound, the always present but minimalist approach to the score, and the actual filming are all on point; and I’m certain that if I paid $18 to see it in true IMAX I’d be even more impressed. That however won’t make me care about anything that’s happening to the people on screen. You never really get to know anyone’s name, outside of some scrubby kid who gets punked after being on screen for like 5 minutes, and everyone seemingly only cares about themselves. And yes, I’m well aware of the fact that this is by design to show that war doesn’t really care who you are when it comes to deciding who suffers or dies. And yes, I get that when your survival instincts kick in, you naturally do whatever it takes to live (the creepy old lady in Minority report taught me that with her weird, biting plants). But if this is a story about scrubs on a beach getting rescued then you should set it up to where you actually care about the scrubs who are being rescued.

The film’s climax fell unbelievably flat mainly because the only character you could find any type of connection with was the shell shocked, desperate, and stranded soldier played by Cillian Murphy. Maybe as an American I’ve been brainwashed by all of our war propaganda films but it seems to me that if you have 40,000 soldiers on the coast of France and Germany is coming for you, you’d be able to come up with some sort of strategy to at least fight back! Yes, Germany had tanks and artillery, and all the British and French soldiers had available to them were rifles, but haven’t these people ever read the Bible or watched the movie Braveheart? There wasn’t one British general who was smarter than freaking William Wallace?

Hell, at the least come up with something better than just duck and cover when planes are dropping bombs on you. You have thousands of rifles, you couldn’t all simultaneously shoot at the plane? It may not have blown it up but it would have at least slowed it down a bit. Just do something! Man the f%&* up and fight! And you wonder why America won its independence and stole Louisiana from you!

Now was this movie all bad? No. The dogfighting scenes were cool and seemingly more realistic than anything we saw in the terrible but awesome The Last Starfighter. And the claustrophobic scene in the grounded boat where they are hiding from Germans who are using the boat for target practice was cool but 20 minutes does not make a movie. In the end, I guess it’s ok that Nolan wasn’t able to deliver on this film as he’s still batting .900 but let’s just admit that this movie sucks and move on with our lives. I give Dunkirk a rating of WEAK!