BitingMovieJunkie

IMDb member since April 2020
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Reviews

Duck Soup
(1933)

Marx Brothers' finest masterpiece -- Hail, Hail Freedonia!
What can we say? Apart from the obvious. And that's to say that "Duck Soup" is the most brilliant of all the Marx Brothers' films, their finest masterpiece, the zenith of their unmistakable delirious and exhilarating comedy. It's a movie so full of visionary inventions, laugh-out-loud moments, memorable one-liners that you simply can't help but it burst into laughter.

It's a movie so full of genius and so ahead of its time (it even anticipated Chaplin's "The Great Dictator") that even if back in the days, maybe because of this precise reason (and maybe because its cynicism may have not been the most well receivable sentiment in the midst of the Great Depression), it was kinda ignored or criticized or marginalized, it can still be seen today and it can still resonate and - let's say it again - make you laugh your guts out while, at the same time, make you reflect upon certain matters (for example about the sadly never-out-of-fashion warmongering craziness of the powers-that-be.)

The Four Brothers, their gagmen and screenwriters, and the director expertly and wonderfully mix together anti-militarist satire, physical comedy and - of course - the usual unforgettable Groucho's one-liners, producing a caustic, chaotic, grandiose, wild and fast-paced roller-coster of a movie, that never shies away from launching sarcastic gibes left and right, in so doing banning any pretense of political correctness (if we are to use an anachronistic definition.) That's a good thing: because, clearly, political correctness, moralism and prudery are the death of satire. And what we have here is the pinnacle of satire: to this day it's still quite impressive to see just how fine and refined and hard-hitting the satirical comments are in this 1933 movie.

Produced in a period when the most obnoxious and devastating tragedies of the 20th century were to some degree yet to come, "Duck Soup" is interwoven with slight allusions to the likes of chemical weapons, mass slaughters, future apocalyptic wars to be provoked by the hate and irrationality of delirious rulers (especially proto-fascist rulers...) and their cohort, exceptionalist, jingoistic and extreme rhetoric brought to their most awful ("Hail, Hail Freedonia", so much a land of "the brave and the free" to throw itself head and toes in a stupid and preventable war.) What we have said puts this movie on the same level as the Chaplin's one but also, for example, on the same level as Kubrick's unforgotten masterpiece "Doctor Strangelove".

The freshness and novelty, and the infallible pace, owe something to the ability of McCarey who - in contrast with previous and even subsequent Marx Brothers' movies - "decides to get rid of most of the standard and expected vaudevillian musical moments, to give more room to Harpo's pantomimes, to restrain Groucho's logorrhea, and to ultimately confer the story a surreal and zany style" (F. Di Giammatteo) devoid of any useless time wasting gibberish and packed with a never-ending string of comic inventions more often than not crazy and hilarious (two examples: the mirror scene, which echoes Max Linder's "Seven Years Bad Luck", and the absurd visual gag concerning a certain peculiar "presidential vehicle" that's able to "travel while never getting anywhere").

There's really not much there left to say: at this point I can only repeat myself. "Duck Soup" is the apotheosis of cinematic comedy, specifically of the Marx Brothers' peculiar blend of it. It's an all-around masterpiece of social-conscious satire and entertainment. It's a masterpiece, period. An unmissable milestone.

Duck Soup = Dope Soup, everyone!

Il mio corpo vi seppellirà
(2021)

A great and entertaining Sicilian-style western. Another gem coming from Italy
In a post Italian unification Sicily that feels really much like the Far West, two different "Italies", two different worlds and two (but maybe more) different ways of life clash, run along, chase and when they meet even kill each other in this thrilling Italian-style "neo-western" which proudly eludes categorization ---and which "exudes" of the cinema of Leone and Tarantino.

The setting couldn't be more distant from the "typical", mythical, ferocious, brutal, unforgiving and death-ridden "Great American West" but the feeling you get is the one that only comes with those great genre flicks that just happen to fortunately pop up from time to time. What I'm talking about is that feeling of, let's say, "adventure" that - in this case - is coupled with the firm intention of not passing on on history and its violence and continuous bloodshed even while retaining a component of pure entertainment (just like in - say - "Django Unchained").

And the "ingredients" are all there standing in plain view in this amazing and majestic movie: you have the violence, the idea of a frontier, gunslingers, bandits, stagecoach attacks, bounty hunters... you have it all. This movie is an exercise in style that must be considered the most unusual venture coming from contemporary Italian cinema (other examples of recent Italian movies that shy away from the usual tropes are: "I Can Quit Whenever I Want", "Jeeg Robot", "Italian Race" and - of course - "The First King").

It's a welcome surprise: an adventurous, pulpy and chronologically non-linear film with great performances (especially from the likes of Truppo, Abela and Calcagno) and pretty good production values (even if it certainly didn't cost a lot, the costumes, special effects and period design in general are utterly convincing, while the warm and mellow cinematography expertly "underlines" the Sun-bathed settings and - metaphorically - the incendiary atmosphere).

Splatter and frantic, ironical and exaggerated, "My Body Will Bury You" - thanks to La Pàrola's good direction - presents a series of sometimes eye-watering actions scenes, it's a fun and exhilarating movie that manages to keep you hooked for the entire running time till the grand-guignol conclusion.

The narrative may not be the most unpredictable out there, but the film never gets boring or tiring, thanks in good part to the wonderful locations, to the razor-sharp one-liners, the almost-never-stopping action and the line-up of memorable characters (from "the Butcher" who looks pretty much like "the Hound" from "Game of Thrones" to the sadistic colonel who just can't help it but repeating "that's good, that's good" all the time).

The brigand's life is depicted while not concealing its most violent dealings, the backward and vane world of aristocratic latifundists is represented with the just share of outraged sarcasm and - in the end - the Savoy (the ones who carried out Italy's unification with help coming from the "One Thousand" men led by Garibaldi), or at least some of their representatives serving in the army in Sicily, don't quite stand out as saviors themselves. In a nutshell: there's nobody to be forgiven and nobody's innocent in this fast "Sicilian-style neo-western" that doesn't ever slow down.

It may very well be considered a movie of pure and easygoing entertainment, and that's true --but, oh boy, wouldn't we like to see more of this kind of entertainment? Fresh, fun, distinguishable and uncompromising? As I already said: we're in the presence here of a beautiful, little gem coming from contemporary Italian cinema that - just like any other kind of cinema - gives its best when it moves away from the usual stereotypes. Great!

Zack Snyder's Justice League
(2021)

Please: this is not a great movie!
Zack Snyder's Exhausted League.

"Same problems, longer outcomes". I'd say that - years from now - what's going to be remembered, well that would be the exaggerated movement which led to this movie's release rather than the movie itself that is, quite frankly, a bit trashy and ridiculous.

What this "Snyder's Cut" ultimately does is confirming to everybody who happens not to be a fanboy just how deep down Hollywood superhero blockbusters have sunk in the last few years. We went all the way from "The Dark Knight" to "WW84" and this new abomination. But there's something more: this movie is also so long and overblown that it gets boring pretty soon. Pretty, pretty soon. Snyder should maybe learn to "zack zack" (read: cut) more while in the editing room.

Now, the impression I got was that the real - gigantic - problem behind the 2017 theatrical cut wasn't actually (as a lot of those well-known loyal "followers" would like us to believe) the unbalanced combination of lighthearted (and somewhat stale) comedy and comically serious wannabe tragedy, but the very narrative, built upon the so-called "foundations" of a paper-thin script which was - and still remains - so poor that it produces in any case a never-ending string of implausibilities and silly moments that much embarrassing in places that you just have to look the other way not to notice them.

And there really is a whole lot of unintentionally ridiculous moments in this movie, trust me. That's most probably one of the reasons why it looks like we were fed a rough cut rather than a polished and refined movie. A 4-hour-long rough cut with so-to-speak "completed" CGI that got released only because of insistent fans pressure and because in this particular pandemic situation which obviously plagued the movie business Warner Bros. Needed something to stream on their Hbo Max service so as to lure some subscribers in.

So, now we have a movie full of what we can reasonably conceive as scenes that would've been cut for the most part in a normal post-production, 'cause they're useless or - as I already suggested - kinda ridiculous while desperately trying to be serious and profound (but c'mon how can you take that seriously a movie with a man who swims like he was a torpedo and a villain from another universe who looks like a giant shiny ram?). And - by the way - the least we talk about the pretentiousness of using the 4:3 format the better (I even read somebody comparing the B/W version to a Kurosawa movie... Which arouses the question: have you ever actually seen a Kurosawa movie?).

Anyway, thanks to the aforementioned "screenplay" we're doomed to repeatedly hear and watch actors trying to deliver without laughing cringey lines that sends literal shivers down the spine owing to their banality (one example: in a fighting scene Steppen the Ram - sorry, Steppenwolf - says something like "This one will be mine" while on the verge of attacking, and Wonder Woman answers: "I belong to no one"... Now, how would anybody come up with something like that in such a situation? Again: c'mon!).

That's not the end of it: the screenwriters also felt the need while writing to continuously explain every small thing like if this "ZSJL" was one unpredictable whodunit full of plot twists and turns. And not just another trite superhero blockbuster.

So it went that being introduced to the wondrous world of "Magical Intergalactic Boxes", Darkseid who mysteriously appear to belong to the Dark Side (who would've guessed that, huh?), "Silver Rams" in techno-suits who keep on making service calls with the management, "Parademons" (the hell?) that look very much like giant intoxicated flies I really couldn't help it but burst into laughter, and that in spite of the absurd seriousness by which this and other baloney is presented.

On top of that other things to be noticed are:

  • The excessive amount of slow-mo sequences;
  • The dark and gloomy cinematography thanks to which sometimes you can't see a thing during the action scenes (and to add to the confusion we have the most "curious" editing choices that produce situations in which one movement is repeated between cuts);
  • The abominable soundtrack (just look at the Flash-saving-the-girl sequence: sloppy song and - to further the ridiculousness - flying hot dogs... OK...);
  • The sometimes badly rendered computer graphic;
  • The unconvincing performances (Cavill, Gadot, Affleck and Momoa are most probably the worst on this regard).


In one sentence: blood, noise, CGI and thinly written plots. Here you go: what passes for "great entertainment" nowadays.

In conclusion I only have one more thing to say, to all the fans out there praising this motion picture and wanting the "Snyderverse to be restored" and so on: "ZSJL" is not by any chance a masterpiece (it's amazing that I really need to point it out) and you giving 10-starred reviews here on Imdb is not going to change that.

This movie is not going to be remembered and it's most certainly not going to be regarded as one of the greatest entertainment blockbusters of all time. Go take another look at "The Dark Knight" and then you'll hopefully finally realize that, while also realizing at the same time how in fact an outstanding entertainment movie is made even while having to deal with majors, marketing and big money and pressure.

Oh, boy. Let's really hope we're done for good with the Snyderverse this time.

Mulan
(2020)

What is this?!!
I'll tell you what it is: one of the worst Disney movies ever. And that could pretty much seal it. This "2020 style" re-enactment of 1998 "Mulan" is really obnoxious, unbearable, to the point of being unwatchable. A true mess. Another useless and unasked for "live action remake" of an animated classic. In short: another bump. And something more: one of the worst bumps out there (and you gotta bear in mind that competition is hardcore on that regard...).

If you'll ever have the guts to watch this, I guarantee you'll keep asking yourself over and over again "Why am I still sitting here? Why am I still watching this stuff?" So quickly it becomes an exercise in pure masochism. An act of total abnegation. Bearing through this movie should be considered an heroic enterprise. And that because "Mulan" is complete garbage (I know, I know, I'm getting a little repetitive here, excuse me very much).

Lemme briefly tell you why. First and foremost I'd like to start by generally stating that the writers and the producers managed to strike out pretty much everything that worked in the animated classic and for reasons unbeknownst to the most of us replace it with... roll the drums... nothing. Absolutely nothing worth noticing or tuning in for. I mean, Mushu, the comic relief, the feminist undertones, the all-around amusement... all that stuff... gone, just like that. So we are "gifted" (for a competitive 29.99$ sum) with a "brand new movie" made out of:

  • Zero suspense and zero emotions. And that's pretty much self-explanatory, isn't it? In a nutshell: this is a hollow movie. Compared to which even Warhol's massive 8-hours-long "Empire" proves itself to be one of the most intoxicating and exhilarating movie experiences ever;
  • Awful dialogues and screenplay. The reasons why the movie gets ridiculous and unbearable fast, really really fast;
  • "Curious" editing choices. Take - for example - the avalanche scene. Well, there you have it: a cut right in the middle of the action. In the next frame, Mulan has already magically "teleported" herself behind the enemy lines, has already placed a line of helmets like Flash-speed style and is already on the verge of shooting the arrow... Whoah, people! The things you can do with that "qi"...;
  • Bad directing. Just look at the action scenes. In those scenes the makers are clearly desperately trying to imitate wuxapians and Hong Kong action movies' choreography, and - guess what? - they fail miserably. Five seconds of let's say "House of Flying Daggers" are radically better that this entire wannabe epic Disney fare;
  • Cringy rhetoric. We keep being fed all the usual "family, honor, homeland, true men" rhetoric. And that's rich for a movie ostensibly "feminist". It's like some kind of a reverse cautionary tale that's basically saying to us: you must always serve and revere your family and your country, no matter what, no matter the cost, no matter your own ideals and dreams, no matter if they constantly try to subdue you and harness you. Wow.
  • That "qi". Thanks to which Mulan becomes some sort of a 6th century Wonder Woman. That means: no more struggle, no more hardships, no more fatigue under the training process. She's already all-powerful. She's already unbeatable. She's already a superhero. (Of course they did that for the realism. Out of respect for a millennial culture, it's obvious.)


Were it all not enough, there's a final issue. Of the major ones. I'm talking about the aforementioned self-described feminism that - the producers would like us to believe - is supposedly behind some radical changes made upon the original movie (think of the exclusion of Li Shang, for instance). I'll be straight: there's no trace of feminism whatsoever in this feature. The 1998 movie was not only far more intriguing and epic and endearing, it was also widely more modern in nature if you get what I mean. Simply put: widely more feminist, layered and up-to-date. And that's for another episode of "the dangers of political correctness", everyone.

Tenet
(2020)

Tenet is neither mind-bending nor brilliant. But it'll keep you entertained
To all the fans out there: please, don't downvote my review just 'cause I dared to give a 6-grade to a movie directed by Nolan. Read it first, thank you very much.

OK, so, what is there to say about this "Tenet"? Well, first and foremost, lemme tell you that the movie isn't "bad" in any way, shape or form. In a blockbuster world populated by "Avengers", "Transformers", awful Disney animated classics' remakes and the likes, you can't seriously go around sayin' that "Tenet" is bad entertainment without being scorned. It's definitely passable entertainment.

But its director is really, really sly, and being such he managed to convince a lot of people (and especially a lot of critics) out there that he created a very profound and complicated movie, when in fact he did not. 'Cause "Tenet" is pretty much a Bond movie going backwards half of the time. The plot is really that simple and predictable - half an hour into it and you'd already grasp pretty much everything there is to grasp. I'm not being arrogant here, please believe me: go watch the movie and you'll realize that yourself. Guaranteed. Now that we have put that aside, I'll go on by laying everything out plain and simple:

PROS:

  • Great direction. That's a given: Nolan knows how to put the camera to best use and knows how to keep you hooked most of the time;
  • Effective soundtrack. It's not by any chance memorable, but it nonetheless contributes a lot to the movie's overall atmosphere;
  • Dark cinematography. Again, very effective and in line with the movie' "serious" tone;
  • A couple of great action sequences. And the "backwards special effects" are really a treat to behold.


CONS:

  • Mediocre dialogues and screenplay. I mean, a lot of times the dialogues are either cringeworthy or purely explanatory (and the bad guy has the worst lines of them all). On top of that, the screenplay tries the best to conceal its simple narrative, but can't quite manage to convince you that it's phenomenal and brilliant, or that in the end it's isn't just a matter of a banal spy story. And - by the way - the overall theme is too close to blatant fatalism for me to like.
  • Cardboard characters. Every single one of them is a total "spy movie" cliché: from the "Protagonist" to the ridiculous villain. They're completely underdeveloped and so there's no chance that the viewers can indentify with them.
  • Unconvincing main actor. Of course he's isn't on par with his father Denzel - but that's obvious. The problem is that he also isn't on par neither with Pattison nor especially with Branagh. Really a bad casting choice over here.
  • Lack of pathos. You're not gonna feel any empathy towards the characters ('cause, as I said, they're not actually characters: they are puppets, cardboard puppets with no interesting personalities). Nolan himself doesn't seem to care about that, lost as he is in his "entropy gimmick".


Here you go. In conclusion - to sum it up - I'd say that "Tenet" is definitely a movie to be seen on the biggest screen possible. It's a decent blockbuster full of every kind of action and vaguely intriguing in its premise. It's also - however - let down by a predictable storyline and mediocre dialogues. It lacks pathos and presents us with a main actor who is not really that good. But at the very least Nolan with this new movie is trying to do something different from the majority of other big budget productions and we gotta hand it to him. Anyway, his movie isn't by any standard a great one. That's all I had to say. So long folks, and may the "Sator square" be with you!

Project Power
(2020)

Project Ordinary -- No new ideas, no too entertaining results
2020. First we had >Extraction. Then we had >The Old Guard. Now, here it is. The "next step" in the string of mediocre Netflix blockbusters: >Project Power. Ordinary as they go just from the title. To put it plain and simple, this movie is basically the zenith of dejà vu. Everything it shows we have seen before (>Limitless being the most obvious source of "inspiration").

So, the realm of originality is somewhere far beyond reach. Anyway, when you have taken into account the ordinary and derivative nature of it all, you can almost enjoy yourself. Almost. Because, given its somewhat good premise, the movie could have been much much better and very much more entertaining. But, being the end result as it is, it's just a matter of a pretty sad list:

  • The plot. Well, the plot is just as much predictable as you could imagine and it's furthermore just a pretext;
  • The script. It doesn't seem to know where to go at times, it "gifts" us with wanna-be funny one-liners and with a series of never-so-much one dimensional characters (especially the bad guys);
  • The direction. It's simply a drab and can't quite manage to handle the action scenes, which are always messy or standard;
  • The acting. It seems rather listless. There certainly are good actors like Foxx and Gordon Levitt here, but they don't seem all that interested (and given the material they had to work with you can understand why).


There you go: the zenith of deja vu coupled with the apotheosis of the generic and sometimes stale.

>Project Power seems at the very least intriguing at first (in the beginning, till the "Human Torch" scene), but the more it goes on the more you can't help yourself but wonder what it may have been if it had been written and directed by a better director and a better screenwriter. In that case maybe a 6 or 7 could've been reached.

But - as the saying goes - you don't make history with the "ifs". As I already suggested, being the movie as it is, it's just mediocre. "Watchable" if you want, but mediocre nonetheless. And a tad little bit nonsensical if you ask me (and maybe it's really just me, but I'm thinking right now: why the hell would anybody want to take a pill that they don't even know if it's gonna work, how it's gonna work and that could pretty much disintegrate them right away?).

Ofrenda a la tormenta
(2020)

Offering to the Storm screenplay, narrative and coherence
Finally it comes to an end. After >The Invisible Guardian and >The Legacy of the Bones, the "Batzan Trilogy" is waving us goodbye with this last outing. The only problem being that it's not such a great ending. Lemme start by saying that the movie is actually "marginally better" than the previous one, which was a truncated effort with no real ending, too many plot holes, zero suspense and a frustrating second half.

Now, this final movie at least improves upon the suspense factor (to some degree), but it's not able to improve that much in the screenwriting department, given the large amount of plot holes or loose ends that still plague the narrative, like too many times before.

We gotta hand it to the filmmakers that they managed to produce a more fascinating and suspenseful feature than they ever managed to, even though it's twenty minutes longer than the previous movie. There's a sense of dread that permeates this >Offering to the Storm for much of its running time that we never sensed before, till the ending that almost succeeds in ruining it all.

To be honest, problems start way before in the second half when the main character begins to act - like always - in a totally erratic and nonsensical way. For some obscure reasons, she all of a sudden falls for the "Magistrato" even though up to that moment she always resisted his "avances".

But that's not enough, because she also happens to meander back and forth back and forth always by herself (thanks we should suppose to some hidden suicidal instincts of hers, who knows) without doing any real police work. She's really one of the most obnoxious and incoherent detectives ever - and don't get me wrong: not 'cause she is a woman - but 'cause she's a bad detective period.

Her assistant does much of the work. Actually, if it wasn't for him, her investigation would have been nice and dead. Kaput. But, y'know, in spite of all this, she fails to even recognizes his assistant's contribution (-----SPOILER: till something happens to him END SPOILER------).

But, as I hinted, the biggest problems come to the surface in the final act, where obviously the narrative has to be concluded, and all the dots have to been connected together, so to speak. Well, big surprise: the movie fails to give us a satisfying ending. On the contrary, even before the end credits start rolling you'll certainly find yourself wondering what the hell the authors were thinking when they made it.

-----SPOILERS AHEAD: So, the cult followers did what they did because they believed sacrificing new born babies would have somehow improved on their lives. And, as far as the narrative goes, it's true. I mean: they get rich and all. It's like: oh, great, so Imagumba or whatever its name is really exist and awarded them because of their sacrifices?

Well, maybe it was all in the cult leader actually: he was filthy rich and so maybe he was the one actually making his followers filthy rich themselves. Probably true, but it's never clarified. In fact, the movie seems to suggest some kind of "Faustian pact" with a "demon older than Christianity"... Again lingering on the esoteric while pretending to be very rational (as the scenes with the priest testify...).

And of course the cult leader he's still alive and on the run, because maybe they're gonna make another movie about that. Another loose end/plot hole: where did the all freaking Aloisious narrative go? Where is he? What happened to him? In general: why bring something to the viewers' attention to never talk about it again? Well done right there screenwriters!

I could go on but I'm tired and, by the way, I guess you get the picture: the cult plot is "resolved" too quickly in the end and the least we talk about everything else (the detective, Aloisious, the totally incoherent romance and so on and so forth) the better. -----END SPOILERS

So, to sum it up I would say that movie isn't able to give us a convincing ending and in the final act drags a little to much while leaving some plot holes along the way, seemingly unnoticed by the screenwriters. The cinematography is dark and gloomy and the atmosphere for the most part captivating, but that's not enough to make a good movie and it never will. Also the detective is still one of the most incompetent ever and the movie could easily been cut down to 2 hours or even less. It's very disappointing. The all trilogy is.

If you wanna watch a really great, suspenseful and surprising Spanish mystery feature I'd suggest you give a chance to Contratiempo (aka >The Invisible Guest).

Shaonian de ni
(2019)

Longing for a better life to come
Young runaway thug meets little bullied student. Now, you may be thinking: cliche, cliche, cliche. Well, it may look that way, at first sight. But, matter of fact, the end result is - on the other hand, and by all means - utterly surprising and especially convincing. Never trite, never simplistic, never needlessly tear-jerking, never rhetorical (with the sole exception of the finale, but we'll get there...). An almost-masterpiece of social conscious drama.

Even though - you know, because of the all-encompassing censorship - the movie has to proceed by "suggesting" and "implying", it still manages to convey an interesting point, in a manner which is never - I repeat, never - dull or silly. The movie manages to picture a complex everyday reality for an ever-to-large number of students, to picture an oppressing and uncompromising environment, full of every kind of pressure: scholastic, familiar, societal... Competition at all costs and unrestrained pursue of academic excellence are matched by a society which generally entails full-blown individual oppression. In such a context, there's little room left for hope and little hope left in the possibility of changing things for the better.

Edge-of-your-seat gripping and memorable, "Better Days" crawls you in to never let you go, and as I said it compels you to see and investigate, and not ignore (which is always too easy to do). You will see with your own eyes what it means to grow up in a strictly hierarchical society, where you are from a very young age "put into the right pace" and "educated" to the most complete abnegation and the most fatalistic acceptance. Compelled to always be on-the-top-of-your-game, compelled to never fail, never slow down. Because failing is not an option, failing just one test may complete ruin your future existence. Of course, there's consequentially no time for compassion, no time for any kind of distraction, no time to really socialize (and empathize), no time to play, no time to fool around. You must be always perfect. Perfect. Again: at all costs.

I mean, the unbearable pressure which Asian's students have always be subjected to reaches almost paroxysmal levels (for another example of this state of things, I'd strongly suggest you also give a chance to the chilling Korean movie "Pluto", 2012).

By suggesting and implying "Better Days" seems to have been able to elude censorship to some degree. Yes, the finale is clearly false: the last ten minutes or so have most probably been added because of censorship. But - almost incredibly - this finale doesn't really ruin the good work done in the two hours plus before it. Because it's very critical and very hard-hitting, and not by any chance consolatory or reassuring or uplifting, with all due respect to the propaganda agency.

So, in the end, to sum it all up I would say that the movie doesn't make any new point and doesn't really cover any new ground, but it's able to face its topical subject matter with assurance and ability, and great technical gift, as made clear by the excellent directing, the dark gloomy cinematography and great acting (the two protagonists really have a unique chemistry).

"Better Days" is a great movie. Realistic, poignant and thought-provoking. A little gem. Don't miss it.

Sanyangeui sigan
(2020)

Time to Track Down some Competent Screenwriters
Finally on Netflix after the resolution of the rights issue, Time to Hunt sadly proves itself an example of a movie good on paper but pretty much disappointing once made.

'Cause it reveals itself to be just an exercise in style over substance, very very intriguing and convincing visually (thanks to a dark, atmospheric cinematography and to the wonderful production design creating a city that it's almost as gloomy, "claustrophobic" and oppressing as the Blade Runner's one), but very very disappointing narratively.

A mediocre movie that it's also totally self-indulgent in its "enormous" runtime, which is clearly unjustified given the thinness of the plot. Time to Hunt ultimately it's just an ordinary caper and chase action movie that it's content in basically jump back and forth between one location and the other, maybe to show off the results reached in the production design and special effects departments thanks, we should suppose, to a more robust budget than usual. And, not surprisingly, said locations are usually pretty much evocative, even though they are not exactly original (to make a couple of examples: look at the almost nightmarish dark and empty hospital or at the giant palaces encircled by rampant weed...). The problem is that the movie as a whole well, it's not. It's not very evocative, or very interesting for that matter. It's just frustrating.

The heist sequence manages to pump up the rhythm for a while (even though it's almost implausible), but from there on the movie keeps on going following the predictable "run-bad guy arrives-another furious run" scheme that wears out pretty soon. And so monotony prevails. (And, by the way, the movie could have concluded after the first run, but for some reasons: SPOILER: the villain lets the guys escape, 'cause he finds it really, really amusing END OF SPOILER).

Matter of fact, all the characters seem condemned to do all the bad decisions possible (they don't turn off cellphones, they separate with no logical reason whatsoever etc. etc.), the villain is of course indestructible like Terminator and, well, the so-called ending manages to definitely drag the movie down ('cause it's actually a cliffhanger and 'cause it's just stupid).

So, to conclude I'd say that Time to Hunt it's a disappointing feature (but, if you reached this point, I guess you already grasped that). A shallow movie that wastes the talents involved (the actors, the director, the director of photography, the production designer). It's happy in just offering us mediocre entertainment while it could have been much, much more.

Jipuragirado japgo sipeun jimseungdeul
(2020)

People that wear themselves out for nothing -- A great thilller
I have to agree with one previous reviewer: whoever gave this movie just 1 star clearly didn't even watch it.

'Cause, you know, you give one-star reviews to such crap as, I don't know, Look Who's Talking Too, Sausage Party or - to stay with recent releases - Cats or Extraction (aka Tyler Rake). You don't give such god-awful ratings to a movie like this. You may not like it, and that's okay, obviously. But you can't seriously be telling us you consider this one of the worst movies ever made.

Of course it's not perfect, of course it's no masterpiece but c'mon! Given the fact that this is a first-time outing well - it's a pretty damn good one. An edge-of-your-seat thriller that keeps you hooked for the entire running time. It may not be all that original, we can agree on that account, but it anyhow manages to pull off same good scenes and even - to same degree - some interesting points of social satire. What else should we ask for?

The title in itself it's already pretty much revealing as the whole plot centers around a bag full of money and the lenghts the characters involved are able to go to put their hands upon it. They got different reasons and not all of them act out of pure greed. But, in the end, this simple narrative mechanism is perfectly functional to show us the way money controls and directs our lives. The absence of money, of course, but also the excessive amount of it.

As I already mentioned: nothing original in here. But the director has the skills and so he manages to keep us interested. Till a totally sneering conclusion that seems to give us some sort of "cosmic justice" if you pass me the term. Or, most probably, it's just another delusion and the whole bloody affair will repeat itself again and again and happiness will never be reached.

So, yeah, I'll say Beast Clawing at Straws is a solid thriller, tightly written and directed and wonderfully acted (and a special mention, on this regard, goes to Jeon Do-yeon: as soon as she enters the scene well, she just steals the show).

Mong-ta-joo
(2013)

A "montage" full of wonders
So, here we go: another great thriller coming (not surprisingly) for South Korea. Wonderfully written and well directed by Jeong, Montage is hands-down one of the best South Korean movies of 2013 (on par with features like Miracle in Cell No. 7, The Berlin File, New World etc.).

Montage presents a well-rounded script that triggers a mesmerizing narrative mechanism, full of almost unbearable suspense (especially in the last half-hour). We are in the presence of an excellent movie that will leave you on the edge of your seat and will definitely immerse you in its narrative till the very end (and the totally unpredictable final plot twist of a long series of them)

The effectiveness of the plot is due to its clever way of twisting viewers' expectations by playing with the "montage of the timeline", that always comes back and forth between the present and the past... I cannot say more to avoid spoil anything to you.

I'll just say that you should not let yourself be lead astray by the seemingly conventional beginning 'cause as it goes on the movie becomes more and more interesting and gripping and starts to pack some real plot twists that'll almost ever leave you astonished. Montage is the work of a clever screenwriter that knows how to masterfully play with a lot of genre tropes just to, as I already said, deceive the viewer.

And, even though its main purpose may very well be pure entertainment, it anyways somehow manages to convey some interesting points of social critique in the way it portraits the lengths we are disposed to go (or, sometimes, forced to go) as to try to survive in a ruthless world where, when there is a crisis, the ones paying the highest toll are always the weakest and the poorest. And, apart from direction and screenwriting, Montage is also well-served by a gloomy cinematography and a perfect acting ensemble.

So, to sum it all up: if you're in for a masterful thriller that will leave you constantly guessing and will amaze you over and over till a final plot twist that it's totally unexpected well, hurry up and give Montage a try.

Legado en los huesos
(2019)

The Legacy of Bad Thrillers
Man, what a letdown! Even >The Invisible Guardian wasn't all that compelling, we have to admit that. The problem is that, with this new feature, the authors simply kept on doing the same mistakes as before. They learned nothing. And so, being things as they are, we are presented with a so-called mystery feature film that not only doesn't make all that sense but also doesn't really come to an end, given the final cliffhanger that leaves us questioning (or maybe just wondering whether it's worth to watch another 2-hour movie like this one that would probably not make any sense either...).

To sum it up, I would say that, just like in the previous movie:
  • The main character, the detective, well... she doesn't seem to do all that much: she just basically keeps on wandering without doing any real police work. Work that she lets her colleagues do while she keeps herself busy by making Skype calls with her "FBI friend", breast-feeding and listening to some "sensations" of hers.


  • The "witch/black magic" plot it's not only cliched but "ominously" ridiculous, and of course had to have something to do with the crazy mother of the detective (you'll see that coming if you have seen the previous movie...)
Furthermore, like in >The Invisible Guardian the esotheric is just basically thrown in as to try to make things more interesting and thrilling but just ends up dragging the all movie down minute after minute. It's confusionary and very much left unexplained (Why the scene at the beginning? Why little town of Betzan is supposed to be riddled with witches and dark cult followers? And, by the way, who the hell are this cult followers that some old friend of the detective's mother suddenly bring to her attention and then disappear from the narrative (we should suppose because they want to make the next movie about them...)? We could go on with examples of unanswered questions for another hour.

This is a truncated movie with no real ending. It's a frustrating feature because of its sometimes lackluster plot and frequent plot holes and unfinished narrative. Also because of the bad acting and the almost total absence of suspense (the only exception to this being the last few minutes).

So, if you wanna see an unfinished and convoluted thriller that'll leave you lingering 'till the next movie comes out well, help yourself. You'll be well served. But, on the other hand, if you like well-rounded thrillers that pack real surprises and that are able to connect all the dots together nicely, that are able to wrap the all narrative up in a satisfying and logical way well, give this movie a pass.

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