Film Diary (April 17-25 2016)

“Film Diary” is a run down of the movies I watched the past week. I don’t always have time to dive deep into a film but these are some general thoughts, Some weeks will be good, some bad but hopefully there is something here that you can add to your watch list. Have a suggestion? Contact me and I’ll try and watch it. You can see what I’m watching by following me on Letterboxd.

April 25th: Temps (2016) dir. Ryan Sage

Rating: 2.0 / 10

Funny story, a girl asked me to watch this movie after we had talked on and off for the past few months. She knows me too well and felt it was easier to convey what she was feeling through film (which for me, being the dense robot I am was probably the right tactic). Turns out, things don’t exactly end well for the two leads in this movie. Message received.

What pains me though is not that she ended it, it happens, we move forward (if I was Taylor Swift I’d probably write a song about the ordeal) It’s that she chose this movie over far superior movies like the contemporary 500 Days of Summer or to go back to the classics Woody Allen’s Annie Hall that cover similar ground. If you are gonna call it quits with a movie, at least have the decency to do it with a good movie and not this watered down, incredibly generic straight to video mess.

April 24th Last Vegas (2013) dir Jon Turteltaub

Rating: 1.5 / 10

20 years ago if you said De Niro, Freeman, Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas would be in a movie together you’d think major Oscar contender, now not so much.

All four mail in this one, generic script, generally humourless and lacks any heart.  It’s hard to blame these guys for taking something like this though, they have given us so many classics over the years, why not let loose and get paid to have fun in vegas surrounded by scantily clad 20 year olds? I certainly can’t say I wouldn’t do the same…can you?

April 22nd: Vacation (2015) dir. John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein

Rating: 1.0 / 10

Hollywood is going through a phase where it likes remakes much like a teenager goes through an angsty “me against the world” phase where they think My Chemical Romance (or whatever the modern equivalent) is the greatest band in the world because it speaks to them.

Vacation is horrible and cringe worthy throughout, if you need a vacation fix watch the much better 1983 original or if you’re looking for a modern fix try “We’re The Millers” – a mediocre film that wont blow you away but is a much better usage of an hour and a half

April 21st: Walk of Shame (2013) dir. Steven Brill

Rating: 2.5 /10

This is a bad version of the Scorsese film “After Hours”, It’s Elizabeth Banks wandering downtown LA getting into mishaps and throwing out semi racist jokes / innuendo jokes along the way.

Banks gives it an effort though and the supporting cast including Gillian Jacobs, Bill Burr and Tom Welling (once again playing the hot guy that gets dumped or left for a better option – in what is his 1000th time reprising that role) make it semi watchable in the background while you are doing chores.

April 17th/18th:The Con Artists / Now You See Me (2014/2013) dir. HongSeon Kim / Louis Leterrier

Rating: 6.5/10

Rating: 6.0/10

Grouping these together because they are essentially the same, heist movies utilizing tired methods of deception, there is nothing new to see here, nothing that would make you think “wow what a twist” but they are both confident in their genericness making them decent watches if you are up for that type of movie.

It should be noted that The Con Artists is a Korean film and that resident site contributor Kevin hates Now You See Me ( Kevin loves the Fast and Furious franchise so take that with a large grain of salt)

Bonus:  Because I can’t leave you will all terrible movies here’s a quick hit on two good films I’ve seen this month

April 12th: Ikiru(1952) dir. Akira Kurosawa

Rating: 10/10

This was my second Kurosawa film (I know, I should hand in my film nerd credentials right there but I promise to see them all soon) after Seven Samurai ( perhaps Kurosawa’s most famous work) and I must say Ikiru is one of the best films I have ever seen in my lifetime.

Ikiru meaning to live is heartbreaking at times and very poignant throughout. Incredibly powerful, you see Kurosawa squeeze every ouch of emotion from his actors with great film making and great performances throughout. A must watch

April 11th: Ghost World (2001) dir. Terry Zwigoff

Rating 8.0/10

I watched this for the first time long ago when I did a run through of Scarlett Johansson’s filmography. Ghost World is young Johansson (pre Lost in Translation) with Thora Birch (American Beauty) and Steve Buscemi trying to find their way in a world that does not accept the quirky.

Buscemi is particularly good in this movie (and is underused as a whole in Hollywood for the great actor he can be when he’s not a punchline in a Sandler movie). He conveys the feeling of loneliness well and has strong chemistry with Birch. It is not a movie that tries to sugarcoat itself understanding that things in life are rarely perfect, instead we spend it searching for that thing(s) / person (people) to make it go by as smoothly as possible.

Annual Film Count: 88

Goal: 300+

Nate Lam
Nate Lam
Editor-in-chief of Before The Cyborgs. Part time filmmaker and occasional short story author. One day he hopes to be as cool as Bill Murray. Follow his latest work on Before The Cyborgs or follow him on twitter (@NateTheCyborg) to get the latest updates.



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