Quite an odd mix of movies that came my way for release on September 11, 2018. I’ll start with the one I liked the most, Goldstone. This Australian noir-ish/western reminded me of the underrated Wind River from last year. This finds a small town cop dealing with a crooked mayor, a mining company and a federal agent looking for a missing Asian girl. Aaron Pedersen and Alex Russell are both very good in it and you can never go wrong with Jacki Weaver. The location and cinematography are breathtaking with beautiful backdrops and long sweeping shots. The shoot out in it reminded me of Wind River’s and it’s just a solid film. If this was a Hollywood film with stars like Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt it would have been nominated for awards. A nice little surprise that mixes scenic shots I like from westerns with a crime drama with good corruption and payoff. I definitely recommend this one a lot.
Second we have the surfing documentary Between Land and Sea. There have been some great surfing documentaries in the past so what separates this one from others? Ireland. Yep who knew there was surfing in Ireland? I didn’t. If you think about it it makes perfect sense. Ireland is an island surrounded by water, but I never put much thought into the fact that it could have surf towns and professional surfers. This is a year in the life of a surf town that closes in the winter and reopens around Easter. There are surf schools and people who love to surf including surfers who toured the world and had sponsors. The surfing cinematography is breathtaking and is just as good as some of the world-renowned surfing documentaries I’ve seen before. You get an in-depth look at the surfers’ lives, their families, how they make money, one has a farm, and how the town opens and closes with the weather. This was a cool flick that opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed and makes me want to visit this little surf town when I go to Ireland.
Sticking with documentaries, third we have the absolutely fascinating Filmworker. Leon Vitali was an actor in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon who was so enamored with the director he left acting to work with Kubrick in any way he wanted. For decades he worked for Kubrick, but he wasn’t just an assistant. He did editing, casting, acting coach, location scout, sound engineer, color corrector, A.D., promoter, and eventually restorer of Kubrick’s films. On The Shining he helped young actor Danny Lloyd learn his lines, stay focused and kept him occupied in between takes. R. Lee Ermey got his part in Full Metal Jacket because of Leon. Leon himself played multiple roles (behind masks) in Eyes Wide Shut. Not only that, but he cut trailers, cut and edited film, color corrected and more in post production. Now he handles remastering of Kubrick’s work including a 4K remastering of 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you are a fan of film especially the work of the master Stanley Kubrick, this is a must watch. Vitalis had a promising acting career and family he put behind his work for Kubrick. Absolutely fascinating film.
Scorpion: The Final Season finds its way onto DVD this week. This is a show I should have liked more, but just never got into. I only watched it when it hit DVD, but my parents watched it when it aired. My mom liked it more than my dad. The show revolves around a bunch of super nerds who have to solve problems and are lead by Robert Patrick. I find them to be too stereotypical like The Big Bang Theory, but the older crowd (my parents) think all nerds are this way. This fourth and final season finds them working with nemesis Mark Collins to stop the world from an extinction level event, saving a pregnant deer, the team gets kidnapped at a tech convention, searching the sewers for a device that prevents nuclear meltdowns, a renaissance faire, getting trapped in a bunker with an AI, helping a teen pilot fly when power is lost in Los Angeles, a helicopter crash on Valentine’s Day, a softball game and heading to Northeast Africa. It wasn’t a great show, but it did well on CBS.
Next is Mambo Cool and I have no idea what the point of this movie was. It is literally 62 minutes of people talking about cocaine, salsa dancing, rats and other stuff. I have no idea what I was supposed to take away from this movie other than cocaine is bad, but shouldn’t we know that already? The only positive is that it’s short. I don’t know if these people are real actors and I don’t care enough to even look it up. It was pointless. It’s just people talking about cocaine, talking about rat meat, salsa, a guy wears a silk shirt, how pure cocaine is better and blah blah blah. Movies have a narrative, this is pointless. I don’t get it.
There’s another documentary for us this week, Revolution: New Art for a New World which takes a look at art that survived Stalin’s Soviet revolution. If you read me you know I don’t know much about art, but this is just as important for history as it is art. It reminded me of another documentary I watched recently, Hitler’s Hollywood, which looked at films before and during Hitler’s reign in Germany. These artists, names like Chagall, Kandinsky and Malevich, would go on to become world renowned names and the style would shape artists to come and also find itself in propaganda pieces against the regime. It was pretty interesting how a lot of this work had never been seen or hadn’t been seen in decades. We are talking about works of art going back 100 years that survived wars, Socialism and so much more. Stalin wanted to stop this free-thinking, artistic mindset and artists were even killed because of it. So if you are like me and don’t know much about art, you’ll at least get a history lesson out of it. If you like art, well you’ll enjoy this too.
Last we have Found Footage 3D. This actually came out last week, but I didn’t get it until Friday so here it is now. If you know me you know I loathe, LOATHE, found footage horror movies. I think they are the absolute lowest, most gimmick-y crapfest you can find in horror. I understand they are cheap to make, but I hate them. So why did I want to watch a movie with found footage in its title? It looked like it was going to be a spoof of all the clichés you find in this terrible genre. Not like Scary Movie spoof, but the trailer shows people talking about the terribleness of found footage, they question why people record everything and why they keep recording when things go wrong. So I thought this would be good, making fun of something I hate. I was half right. It starts out as a film within a film, super meta type thing and then it becomes a found footage movie itself. Yep the genre it is making fun of ends up being the genre the movie is. It is actors playing actors making a found footage movie, but in 3D! because it’s never been done in 3D. They even question why personally shot video would be in 3D and make up an excuse for it. So I liked that part. I liked them mocking what I hate. Unfortunately while making their “movie” there is a creature and people get hurt and it’s shaky cam and all the nonsense I hate. So despite it wanting to be meta, it becomes what it’s making fun of. I guess it’s ok for one watch, but it’s not the movie I was hoping for.