texshelters

“Yesterday”, A Good Netflix Film

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2019 at 21:42

“Yesterday”, A Good Netflix Film

Yesterday

From acsta.net

The temperature is hovering near 110 F in Tucson, so it’s the “see a movie while you have time off and it’s damn hot out!” season. So, I went to see Yesterday.

Yesterday is a quirky film that asks, “What if only one man remembered The Beatles and their music and he was an unsuccessful musician that used their songs to become famous, because as stated, no one remembers who they were or their music. I know you were all thinking that very thing.

Beside the heat, I also saw Yesterday because I am a huge Beatles fan, ever since I could remember. And I like Danny Boyle films, director of Slum Dog Millionaire, Trainspotting, and 28 Days Later. He’s no wazzock. 

The film’s set-up works, and the main actor Himesh Patel who plays the lead Jack Malik, is well cast. He is able to play the charming, humble man who, as people believe, just thought up these great songs on his own. The filming is fine and the music is great.

I am NOT an Ed Sheeran fan, but I can now say I like the lad even if I think the wanker writes shite music. Sheeran has no trouble sending up his celebrity status in the film, and it’s quite amusing. And Kate McKinnon is hilarious as always, even if her part isn’t the best written.

Lily James plays Jack Malik’s manager (Ellie Appleton) when he is unknown and soon loses the gig when his new batch of songs come out, starting with “Yesterday.” She is also, unfortunately, the anchor that holds down what is an interesting film and drags it into mediocrity. She’s window-dressing and is given the worst dialogue in the film. James is also Jack’s love interest, but works only to serve Jack. In the end, Ellie is boring like watching a turtle roll an egg around a bathtub. Actually, that would be more interesting. I worry that James won’t get any roles once her cuteness has faded and age lines appear. 

30YESTERDAY-SONGS-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600

From videoSixteenByNine

On the up side, the film has a lot of spot-on observations about the music industry. There are clever jokes added for big-time music buffs like how Oasis wouldn’t exist if The Beatles hadn’t existed. Another bonus for fans of BBC crime shows is that two major characters in the film were played by Sarah Lancashire from Happy Valley and Sanjeev Bhaskar from Unforgotten (among other shows). The film is also a reminder of how great The Beatle’s songs are. And there is a surprise near the end of the film that I would rate: “See it Twice.” It was touching and well-done bit of alternate history.

Mild spoiler section
The romance in the film is “dramatic” because it gives us a false choice between Jack becoming a huge star and leaving Ellie, or Jack choosing NOT to become a star and staying with Ellie. I have grown impatient with false choices in film. This does not work at all. It was schmaltzy and overly-sentimental. He of course chooses Ellie. How cliché is that? Why not try both?

Another issue is the choice of songs in the film. Malik is a soloist, and starts playing Beatles songs that lend themselves to one instrument, like “Yesterday.” However, the writers Jack Curtis and Richard Barth didn’t choose “Norwegian Wood” or “Blackbird.” Instead, they used some songs from their early albums such as “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” Those are boy-band songs and not their best. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD6FDkUXSZQ

Rating: Rent it/Stream it. There is nothing in Yesterday you won’t catch on the small screen. The cliché romance and derivative plot points that vomit forth from the romance nearly ruins a good film. Here’s some advice for the writers and director: get the romance right, or leave it out. Get someone who can write romance to help you avoid romance tropes and hackneyed plots and rewrite those scenes. And give the female lead better lines and more agency. 

Peace,
Tex Shelters

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Mother!  An exploitation film pretending to be art is still an exploitation film.

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2019 at 15:01
mother!, oh brother!

Mother-Movie-Reviewvanityfair.com

“mother!” is a film that is trying to shock us but it craps out into ridiculousness. Trying to make their point leads to exploitation. I started yelling Get Out! inside my head near the end of the first act when mother! was having a bad time. She just didn’t leave. Neither did I when the signs of a disaster of a film appeared.

Their house, the house of mother! and man, is in the middle of nowhere. And I don’t care. Earth is also in the middle of nowhere astronomically, if you know what I mean, and do you think inhabitants of other worlds care? I don’t think so.

Yes, “mother!” is a multi-allegory story. It looks good, but it lacks story craft and subtlety. It smacks us relentlessly in the face with drama and terrible human behavior. Or is it terrible? The behavior was obviously out of the norm. And we are supposed to accept it because it’s an allegory about the world and god. Woo hoo! It’s just stupid and obvious and not compelling at all.

Rating: I want my money back. An exploitation film pretending to be art is still an exploitation film.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Jordan Peele’s “Us”-a good horror film

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2019 at 21:25

3 Us
Us
is decent, for a horror film. I break down the three acts:

Act 1: too slow, not enough foreshadowing or poorly done foreshadowing.
Act 2: Action, action, action. Elisabeth Moss shines!
Act 3: WTF! in a good way. 

The cast was good, but Winston Duke who played Jordan…I mean Gabe Wilson the father, was the weakest. He has the comedy down, but not the drama. His “other” was the least scary of the family, though he is the biggest of them by far. Lupita Nyong’o was excellent as was their son played by Evan Alex. The daughter’s scary other is fantastically creepy, but her regular self missed the mark at times. Only Nyong’o could carry both roles well. 

The precipitating events to the horror could have been better played. More motivation for the event would have help like a mysterious noise that only the girl heard, a flashing light, a rabbit that runs on to the beach that the girl follows, would have made the events scarier and not just an unmotivated fancy of the character. Perhaps a director’s cut could put that in. 

Props to Mr. Peele for not making up a convenient fake science reason for the events in the film. There was a weird monologue by Nyong’o’s other, but that was it. Not much of an explanation was required. The filming was good, but nothing stood out was fabulous. The choice of music was at time humorous, at times, just filler.

Rating: Matinee. In the end, it’s a horror film, not a social phenomenon like Get Out. Still, if you like the horror genre, or Nyong’o, see it. 

Peace,
Tex Shelters