Let’s Talk About: Evil Dead Rise

And I thought the Overlook Hotel’s elevator had a blood spill problem…

Evil Dead Rise is a supernatural horror and standalone entry in the Evil Dead series, which has completely eschewed its campier elements in favour of the sort of tone that’s designed to traumatize you for life (to be fair, everything that happened to Ash Williams in Evil Dead II was pretty traumatizing, blunted for us only by the slapstick elements and goofy delivery).

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Let’s Talk About: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Finally.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is the third and (hopefully) final installment of James Gunn’s wild and colourful Guardians saga, and the first Marvel movie I can remember seeing since Endgame (I’ve seen other Marvel movies since then, of course, but this is the first one I can actually remember). The titular Guardians have come a long way since we last saw them properly in Vol. 2 (their standout appearances in the final two Avengers and recent Thor movie notwithstanding) – Peter Quill is still reeling from the loss of Gamora, Rocket Raccoon has settled into something of a leadership role, Nebula is officially one of the gang, and Groot looks like a WWE wrestler with cardboard boxes taped to him (it’s a quaint look that probably serves as a callback to the rubber-suited aliens of classic sci-fi). Everyone is a little calmer, a little wearier, and a little more mature (a little). The plot kicks off with the sudden appearance of superpowered golden boy Adam Warlock, whose destructive attempt to kidnap Rocket at the behest of an old adversary results in him dealing a near-fatal injury to everyone’s favourite anthropomorphic trash panda. Unable to operate on Rocket due to a mysterious kill switch installed in his heart by whoever created him, the Guardians waste no time in setting out to retrieve the deactivation code and save their friend’s life.

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2019 Top Ten List – Revisited

I’ve mentioned before that one of the troubles with viewing films with the express purpose of assigning them a numerical rating and committing your thoughts to public scrutiny is that your tastes, preferences, and opinions are subject to change, sometimes very quickly. There are many films over the years that I’ve liked in the heat of the moment, only to forget about them within a few months as my enthusiasm waned. Conversely, there are numerous movies I was dismissive of or ambivalent toward upon release, only to grow to appreciate them the more I thought about them. This can make an annual Top Ten somewhat difficult to defend and even embarrassing to revisit, especially when you realize that you’ve only viewed your number one pick exactly once. 2019’s Top Ten is one such list. Though I penned it a mere three years ago, I was amazed and slightly appalled to see how I ranked the year’s best in show. As such, I thought it would be fun to revisit what I’d easily call that last good year in cinema before the world went barmy and see which films have held up in my mind. While the films themselves haven’t changed, the order in which they’re ranked has (or… has it??).

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2022 Top Ten List (For Real)

In the words of a certain animated saber-toothed cat, who’s up for round two?! That’s right, folks – since I’ve barely updated this site in the past year, you’re getting two top ten lists for the price of one. In my last post, I disclosed a few personal reasons why I haven’t been giving Snooty Film Critic much attention lately, so I feel it’s only fair and natural to open this official top ten with one more. As a younger man, I took a perverse delight in seeking out bad movies and systematically dismantling them in long online rants, mostly to annoy people who watch movies for mindless escapism or worse – enjoyment. Movies like Man of Steel, Jurassic World, Venom, and 2016’s Suicide Squad were all targets of my caustic assessments in one form or another over the years, and while taking a Critical Drinker approach to bad movies is certainly fun, there just comes a point in life when it isn’t rewarding anymore. Like the hard-drinking, chain-smoking persona I regrettably spent years enabling, trashing movies for the sake of it just isn’t really me anymore. At this stage in life, I find I’m more interested in praising and appreciating films I like rather than dismembering movies I don’t. Maybe it’s the natural benevolence that sets in after one turns 30; maybe it’s the fact that my time has become more precious as I stare down the barrel of eternity in a post-COVID world; and maybe it’s the fact that I can’t be compelled to sit through anymore bloody comic book movies.

Whatever the case, here’s my real Top Ten for 2022:

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2022 Top Ten… Blandest Movies List (Number 5 Will Bore You to Tears!)

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ll open by apologizing to my half dozen fans for the lack of snooty film critiques recently (by which I mean, since 2021). At various points throughout 2022, I intended to sit down and pen proper reviews for films I actually enjoyed such as Barbarian and The Black Phone, but alas, I lacked conviction. The reasons for my lack of attention to my snooty film critic persona are simple. First and foremost, most of my time and energy when it comes to writing these days have been devoted to serious writing, not film critiques no one reads (any agents out there looking to represent a sci-fi novel? How ‘bout two?). Second, I’m a lot healthier than I was when I first began this venture – I seldom drink anymore and I quit smoking completely (yay!), so the persona I cultivated of an alcoholic, chain-smoking, basement-dwelling, embittered film critic now seems strange and alien to me. Finally, I see so few contemporary movies nowadays, and most of the ones I do end up seeing are too nondescript for words. Hate to say it, but 2022 presented some of the most boring, forgettable, overhyped, uninteresting, nondescript, and unmemorable movies I can barely remember watching.

In order from least boring to most boring, they are:

Continue reading 2022 Top Ten… Blandest Movies List (Number 5 Will Bore You to Tears!)

Let’s Talk About: Last Night in Soho

Back in 2017, I confessed I was caught off-guard by Baby Driver’s startling deviation from the silliness, irreverence, and absurdity that had until that point defined Edgar Wright’s career. Though the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy was hardly bereft of dramatic depth (with Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End in particular conveying some surprisingly profound themes regarding maturity and responsibility, not to mention the pathetic outcome of failing to cross the threshold between boyhood and manhood), at the end of the day it was still firmly rooted in comedy territory. With Baby Driver, Wright shifted gears (heh) and delivered a fun but comparatively grounded action flick, downplaying his signature humour and rapid-fire dialogue in favour of something more stylish and altogether cinematic. In short, Edgar Wright had finally moved out of Simon Pegg’s apartment and grown up (it happens to the best of us). I eventually came around to appreciating and even admiring Baby Driver, and though I was undeniably saddened that Wright’s days of pitting a hapless Scott Pilgrim against a bonkers world were officially behind him, I found myself looking forward to what he’d come up with next.

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Let’s Talk About: Dune

Remember the Lord of the Rings films? (Try to think back – they were an obscure series of fantasy movies from the early 2000s featuring a bunch of elves and talking trees and the odd magic ring or two, all made by the same guy who directed Braindead). I was but a lad of eleven(ses) when The Fellowship of the Ring premiered, and I still vividly remember the wonder that enraptured me as I witnessed Middle Earth in all its grandeur come to life before my eyes. Images of Nazgûl astride black steeds and Uruk-hai swarming Amon Hen and Saruman trololoing atop Orthanc are burned into my memory to this day and are apt to give me goosebumps. Oh, that I could recapture what it was like to experience the tranquility of the Shire, the beauty of Rivendell, the gloom of Moria, the magic of Lothlórien for the first time! While I love the entirety of Lord of the Rings, Fellowship has a special place in my heart for introducing me to Tolkien’s world (I eventually read the books while waiting in anguish for Return of the King to grace theaters). Lord of the Rings was my first epic, a monumental technical and narrative achievement that set the lofty platinum standard for what could even be considered ‘epic’ (years later, an acquaintance decreed that 2008’s Get Smart was also ‘epic,’ which I took as a sign that some people just aren’t as bright as me).    

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Let’s Talk About: Halloween Kills

Part of the challenge of writing and posting critical assessments of contemporary films and assigning them arbitrary numerical ratings is that oftentimes you find yourself looking back on the critiques of yesteryear and asking yourself what the hell you were thinking when you praised/criticized a particular release. Tastes change, develop, and mature over time, and very often the movies that most resonated with you back in the day don’t have the same appeal or impact when you revisit them years later (and vice versa). For instance, when I recently looked back on some of my write-ups from just two years ago, I was surprised at how dismissive I was of Joker, slapping it with a paltry 4/10 and writing it off as pretentious. That same year I named The Irishman my number one pick in my annual Top Ten, which is wild because I’ve seen it exactly once, as opposed to the five times I’ve seen Jojo Rabbit. I also apparently thought so little of 2018’s Halloween soft reboot/sequel that I didn’t even bother with a Let’s Talk About, giving it a halfhearted 6/10 and comparing it unfavourably to John Carpenter’s 1978 original.

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Let’s Talk About: The Many Saints of Newark

Not to be overly critical right off the bat, but I haven’t felt this unhappy leaving a theater since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (another unnecessary origin tale with a studio-applied subtitle denoting its parent franchise, presumably so casual moviegoers know which brand is spoon-feeding them).

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Let’s Talk About Space Jam 2: A New Legacy

Continue reading Let’s Talk About Space Jam 2: A New Legacy