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Leaving Neverland (2019)
Four hours of unsubstantiated anecdotes
This is it? This is the smoking gun of Jackson's guilt: two guys who've changed their stories over and over depending on the possible financial gain over the years making claims that never go anywhere but who emote for the camera. This is Last Jedi level of incompetent.
One Day at a Time (2017)
If you can't do someting original...
Modern films and TV shows have a recurring problem: they can't sell their liberal agenda on its own, so they take preexisting properties (Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Star Trek, Dr. Who, etc.) and "reboot" them using whatever cliches are hip in San Francisco and New York on that given week. This, because they know their ideas will fail unless they're associated with a beloved franchise or show. The shills will review them at 10/10 with broad-brush cliches and plenty of exclamation points!!!, which fools no one.
The original ODAAT addressed real problems affecting real lives during its run in the 1970s and early 80s. It was *relatable*. This recycling of the ODAAT title is full of flat cliches & plastic virtue signaling, and their dilemmas (choosing the right pronoun to address a transgendered person) have no bearing on 99.7% of American lives, no matter how aggressively they push them.
Total and complete genius
When I grow up, I hope to have the level of IDGAF exhibited by this crotchety old man. While I can give or take the song, the visuals of Nimoy going about his business with zero care for the feelings of people around him have elevated this to my favorite video of all time.
Great concept, poorly executed.
A biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, a surveyor, and a lesbian (which they establish right away) EMT (I think, it went by pretty fast) go into an unknown zone with NO PROTECTIVE GEAR; touch everything they can even though it's alien animal, plant and fungi; fumble around in various stages of confused (but emotionally agitated) and demonstrate they don't know how to handle guns. Leads to a conclusion meant to be scary, but is quite tedious.
They're going for "women in STEM" thing, but... no. The lack of basic discipline inherent in the sciences was apparent to even the layman. It's a therapy session masquerading as science-fiction.
Not a faithful Biblical rendition
The story of Samson from the book of Judges poses a serious problem for most Biblical storytelling. Taken literally, Samson is a serial killer with a penchant for torturing animals (setting the tails of 300 foxes on fire) who destroys another man's property for marrying his ex-girlfriend. It also demonstrates that Yahweh's blessings can be incredibly arbitrary--such as great strength tied to hair length--and that his chosen representatives on Earth are easily and repeatedly duped. In all, the character of Samson continues to be one of the oddest "heroes" in the four Abrahamic faiths' canon.
That said, the film was bland, plodding, and required a greater suspension of disbelief than one normally must put forward to believe mythological stories. It wants to be taken seriously, as if magic powers weren't the thing of fairy tales.
A couple of years ago, it appeared that a 14yo girl saw the original Star Wars trilogy and decided to re-write the original 1977 film as a fanfic with herself as an über-powered Mary Sue who instinctively had the powers of a Jedi and more of Han Solo's piloting skills than he had in his own ship. Not only that, but she had perfect skin, teeth, and hair despite living on a desert planet, orphaned at a young age and scraping by on scrap metal sales. She had no scars, body marks, burns or anything else--she was a flawless little princess in an extremely hostile (yes, I deployed to the Middle East in the early 1990s) environment. The rest of the story we know, because that fanfic was turned into a movie, The Force Awakens.
The Last Jedi is the fanfic her daddy wrote, to make all the mean people go away by playing fast & loose with forty years of preexisting lore so that it made his baby girl even more impressive. The easiest thing in the world is to look at an established lore and say "that, plus me, times infinity," which is what they did with Rey AND Snoke (which is the kind of name a child gives a snot-based villain).
We're required to believe that the First Order has all but destroyed the Resistance, but just like The Party's propaganda against Immanuel Goldstein in 1984, the former are only portrayed as clumsy buffoons against the latter's pluck and daring. I guess they were trying for a "girl power" angle on the Resistance fleet, with two women in charge. But when male villains are comically inept--and the girls still run away--it turns female empowerment into a farce because there are no real stakes against an incompetent opponent.
We're required to believe that Luke Skywalker tossed aside his father's (and later his own) lightsaber--the only remaining item of the good in the man--as immaterial.
We're required to believe that a neophyte has all (if not more than) the knowledge of a Jedi master, without training, and that she came not from force-sensitive parents but from random civilians with no unique traits. Didn't we already have this character, named Bella Swan?
There's a useless middle section about the evils of wealth and animal abuse which does not belong in the story. A single line from Laura Dern's vice admiral could have saved us this tedium. Nostalgia Critic calls this a "big-lipped alligator moment," but this is easily 1/4 of the film--it serves no purpose other than filling time.
We're required to believe that the man who led the Rebellion, destroyed the Death Star, defeated the Emperor, brought Vader back from the Dark Side, and restored order to the galaxy has become a cowardly recluse because ONE student started going bad. This is the sort of wish-fulfillment a teenager writes about himself after being kicked out of school. We also learn that Yoda was available to advise him as a force ghost, but chose instead to undermine him and destroy the legacy he spent 900 years to build. It's a bit like that godawful trend in Marvel Comics where the "classic" hero meets the new SJW version, has an epiphany and realizes that the latter is a better product, and that he (the classic) should bend the knee.
We're required to believe that the snot-based villain predates the Empire and is more powerful than Palpatine, but his evil consists mostly of saying "I knew that" and making snarky remarks at his emo apprentice, which undermines his own credibility and sets up the "your overconfidence is your weakness" strike you see coming ten miles away.
We're required to believe that the Resistance's survival will be threatened because... well, in The Empire Strikes Back the Imperial fleet couldn't bombard Hoth from orbit and sent walkers instead. But no such barrier exists here and the land-based attack just drags out the run time.
It's obvious that this poor imitation of a Star Wars film was intended to provoke emotions in people who can't maintain intellectual consistency from one moment to the next, but want to be associated with something greater than they are capable of handling.
Han's gone, Luke's gone, and Carrie Fisher can't reprise her role. That leaves Lando, Chewbacca & the droids as the last vestiges of the original series for Disney to throw under the bus for Episode IX: The Final Cash Grab.
Season one of Slasher is what happens when a creator combines the theme of Se7en with the narrative device of Silence of the Lambs and the obnoxious high school reporter from Smallville. It's largely derivative and gets boring rather quickly.
Season two is better, as the story is revealed in various flashbacks over the course of the episodes and not nearly such a copycat of other sources. I puzzled out the killer's identity around episode 3 of 8, but the story kept me interested until the final resolution--which proved me right, but not in the way I'd expected.
Hopefully S3 will be better still.
Same Kind of Different as Me (2017)
Never mess with a successful formula
Pureflix has a single story to sell: family/person in conflict, conflict gets worse, invoke the supernatural and everything magically gets resolved. SKoDaM is the same thing because they know religious people like repetition.
I won't synposize the story here... what's the point? You've already met the characters in a previous Pureflix movie, so it's repetition now. If you liked the previous installments of the family/person, conflict, worsens, magical resolution, you'll like this one.
It Comes at Night (2017)
Nearly fell asleep twice
Well that was completely pointless. The trailers sell it as a paranoid mystery, but really it's just a drama of disconnected interactions set in a never-explained crisis. There's no reason to call the film by that title.
Good cinematography and engaging score, tho.