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Blankments

Blanked Out Reviews, Y6

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July

 

He-Man IV: The Sons of the Serpent – This is all technically sound and another decent addition in the franchise. However, it felt mostly like an anticlimax to me (the scope of the last one felt a lot larger) and I feel as though the franchise is definitely growing tired. 2.5/5

Yolanda Dreams of Yogurt – very sweet. I like yogurt too! 3.5/5

The Academy – I’m really confused how the elixir supports homophobia and racism but is seemingly cool with women’s suffrage. Anyway, this is widely considered an obvious epic of terrible quality and I gotta agree. Sorry. 1/5

God of War: Kingdom Come – Not particularly good but some cool setpieces here and there. Par for the course for this franchise. 2/5

Borrasca – An overlong slog that seems to be building to something. However, what’s building towards is disgusting, disturbing, and is a twist that comes off as tryhard edginess. This is literally one of the films I regret seeing most in this game, as the ending simply becomes more and more disgusting simply for the sake of having a fucked up ending. The ending makes the buildup feel like a total waste.


What is the message I am supposed to gain from this film? It’s junk, a film happy to commodify the women in it even before the twist that makes nearly every woman in it a mere object. Let me be clear: Outside of the librarian character, every woman in this is raped and/or abused multiple times, and then the men in the story are framed either as their saviors or their captors. This is unforgiveable in any manner, especially when it’s in service of an entirely vacuous story such as this. This is a disgusting film without any point to it other than to make you miserable and upset for no clear reason.

 

As usual, Lager Pictures has given a lot of effort into a film, however, effort does not equal quality, especially with as weak a story as this has. This is a film that is merely dull before the twists and afterwards, rather quickly becomes a film with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. 1/5

Hoops 2 – Franchises are killing Hollywood. 1.5/5

De Blob – I think this is a stronger foundation for an animation franchise than most of the ones we’ve gotten from Hourglass Pictures. The wackiness is contained for the most part; the only problems are an interchangeable cast of supporting characters, the social commentary being weirdly half-assed to the point where I kept thinking “How are INKT the bad guys for wanting to remove the clear class divisions facing this city”, and a waste of hiring Richard E. Grant and distorting his voice. However, the rest of this is fairly fun and it’s an enjoyable movie for the most part. Could make a really great sequel though. 3/5

 

August

 

Schadenfreude – ehhh… I don’t think this is as bad as some people have said. That said, the ending feels remarkably forced although the central concept is very good. Disappointing. 2.5/5

Tommy – genuinely started as something I liked but somehow devolved into a total mess of nonsense and a bizarre rape scene that was never acknowledged again, wtf what this really. 2.5/5

The Ancient Magus’ Bride and the King of Cats – first off, I don’t know how hard it is to ask for a Japanese-American actress to be cast in a role very specifically written to be Japanese. Especially when family members/younger versions of that characters jump around the East Asian ethnicity area but never actually land on Japanese.


Of course, that somehow isn’t the most problematic part of this film, which never managed to fully engage me regardless. I’m of course referring to the disturbing age gap and basic mail-order-bride dynamic of the leads’ relationship. Besides this, this felt way too high fantasy for me to get into, trusting me to buy into a crazy world that threw way too much at me at once. Wasn’t a fan at all. 1/5

Hired Guns – I generally found this more compelling during the action scenes than throughout the rest of the film. I’m afraid I fall closer to Xillix on this than I normally do; as much as I like westerns, there were a lot of characters to keep track of and as such I was frequently confused. Still as the film went on, I found it easier to follow and as such, I still enjoyed it on a base level. 3/5

Wolves – You’ve seen one of these, you’ve seen them all. 2/5

 

September

 

The Feminist – This is a dull retelling of events, one that presumes we care about the characters automatically while never working for our interest in them. It very quickly devolves into white noise action. Also, that ending montage literally made me snort at the end. 1.5/5

Turbulence – Joyously stupid. Features good action and a strong central arc for this type of moronic film. Genuinely enjoyable. 3.5/5

Live2ream – just as annoyingly dumb as its predecessor, but it does have Owen Wilson as a hammy bad guy. So I’ll be a tad nicer to it. 1.5/5

All-Nighter – remarkably boring, even for a kids movie standard. Surprised they got Tim Curry though. 1.5/5

The Last Policeman – I can very easily see me digging a sequel more than this. This felt like a standard mystery to me with a decent near-apocalyptic atmosphere. I thought the central mystery was pretty boring though and I never really got into Palace as a character, which made it a hard read for the most part. It’s a film that works fine but never lives up to the potential the idea seems to offer. That said, the ending hints a sequel that is more engaged with its setup, which I look forward to much more. Seems like that might be more my speed. 3/5

Baseball Boy: The Base Thief – a deliriously joyful and wholesome tale. Hard not to smile at, this is simply infectious fun. 4/5

The Horn – this felt fine to me. I don’t necessarily think the structure entirely works but it’s entertaining enough and features Liam Neeson fighting a lion. 3/5

 

October

 

Day of the Tentacle – that guy bling gif. That’s my feeling on this movie. 1.5/5

The Trapped Keeper – a film that constantly argues that it wants to be relevant but it instead goes for a Wikipedia-esque biopic. The stylish flourishes only serve to accentuate the generic narrative going on here, and although the performances are fine, this is mostly a film that skates by on its sometimes interesting but often generic story. 3/5

Thirsty – This was extremely disappointing to me; from what I had heard, I thought this had a solid shot of being my favorite film of the year. It suffers from a lack of focus and honestly, not really a point to it all, at least to me. In other words, it’s trying to be Booksmart but it’s really just Good Boys. It’s decently amusing at points and Tatro is a real highlight, but the attempts at a thematic resonance rings hollow and there’s a lack of specificity that kept me from really getting engaged. I appreciate the ambition of this, but it needed to either rein itself in a bit for the emotional resonance to hit or go all out wacky to be truly great. As it is, it’s a solid comedy, but I can’t say it’ll stick with me long. 3.5/5

Fiesta Loca – derivative to a fault and weirdly never feels as large as it should. Definitely additionally wish Rita had a much bigger role in the film considering how important she was. This is also one of those films where we’re constantly told the main character is special, but very rarely are given a reason as to why. He’s an everyman to a fault, to the point where a sacrifice at the end to save his life feels unearned when the other character is so much more interesting.


Still, this is a semi-unique tale of Dia de Los Muertos, although, again, it mostly just spent its time reminding me of better films. The loony climax was a highlight that ultimately leads me to liking this more than being indifferent towards it. 3/5

Voicemail – I feel like it’s a typical thing for me to really enjoy the build-up in these Red Crescent horror movies but really feel crushed by the ending. Something that could’ve been legitimately great falls apart once it needs to have its big action climax and dour ending. I liked it up to then though, which is why it still gets a positive score for the most part. 3.5/5

 

November

 

Off-Road – staggeringly dumb, but I’ll be kind to it because of David Henrie. The action though is more confusing than engaging, and as such, a truly positive rating is still not in order. 2.5/5

Paradise Island – More than the sum of its parts in a lot of ways. I have irks here and there, but for the most part, this is phenomenal filmmaking that feels deep empathy for its subjects. A complicated tale where some stories get more attention than others, but it ultimately paints a humanistic portrait of crisis. I don’t have much to say here, but this is really excellent stuff. 4.5/5

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Okay, so I know this is the film where everyone has the hot takes about it either going to far or being wonderful, but I’m falling in the middle on this. THE scene is disturbing and feels very wrong; in a lot of ways, depicting this story feels wrong to the memory of not only Anne Frank but also all those who survived the Holocaust. Moreover though, I just found this to be a generic music biopic. It’s an interesting story at points but one that definitely should’ve been left not as a movie, in my opinion. 2/5

Understand – every actor has their Limit(les)s. Seriously, I wanted to like this (especially with the pandering) but it felt very derivative and the ending happened way too quickly. 2/5

One Big Family – This got bizarrely dark at the end. Typical Tyler Perry bland. 1/5

XJ-9: Rebirth – Genuinely in shock how much I enjoyed this. A thematically dense blockbuster that takes risks, captures the spirit of the cartoon while updating it, and actually takes risks. Not all of it works but that makes me like it more. It’s a go-for-broke attempt to revitalize a property that succeeds due to enthralling action and smart use of tropes and genuinely cool characters. It’s got a great emotional heart too. Dug the hell out of this; easily the best attempt to start a franchise at the movies since I’ve started playing. 4.5/5

 

December

 

Jingle Hell – I think the setup is this is totally brilliant, but sadly, the reveals really don’t live up to the initial hilarity and unnerving atmosphere of the town. This is something where for once, I would’ve liked some more permanent death or rather consequences. The film hints at Noah in particular getting brainwashed and I wanted more of that and maybe some body horror at well. It’s disappointingly tame, but still, it’s a solid time at the movies. 3/5

Bleach – stuff unrelated to the actual quality of this film: pop culture references in description are insanely distracting. Mentioning Infinity War and Men in Black while I’m trying to follow your story just makes me laugh and points out derivative qualities in your own work. Especially when every time it’s mentioned, it’s never a plot device needed to pointed out as being similar to another work.


But that’s a nitpick. I feel as though the story went off-the-rails in chapter 3 although it soon recovered afterwards, while then falling off AGAIN in chapter 5. That said, I think the episodic nature of this was a mistake; surely there must’ve been a way to tighten the narrative. Especially since it throws so much at you in the first ten minutes and then goes to a more easy pace of doling out mythology. Honestly, if I was to suggest what should’ve been done, a streamlined narrative of Chapters 1, 2 and 4 would’ve been an excellent start to this series, along with a pretty cohesive film on its own. Sadly, the movie can’t stick to that, and also commits that cardinal sin I mentioned for Ancient Magnus Bride of deciding that every East Asian actress in Japanese (especially when the post credits scene triple downs on it!?!?).


Anyway, this is just extremely disappointing because it’s rare I legitimately see a good movie hiding in a bad one. Chapters 1, 2 and 4 could easily be reworked into being something thematically consistent while developing the side characters to a better point. The end of chapter 4 is such an obvious ending that I was astounded when the film just kept going. In a lot of ways, this is one of the most frustrating movies of the year since honestly, all these mistakes seem remarkably obvious to me, and the foundation of those three good chapters is legitimately riveting. Ultimately, I can’t call myself a fan of this, although I liked it much more than I expected I would simply because of that skeleton. However, the disappointment of something that could’ve been better than it was still lingers heavily. 2/5

Gateways – Pete Docter was a weird choice for this. I’m not gonna call it a bad choice per say and nor will I knock the film down for it, but his films are very painfully detailed on building a single creative universe, and developing it as wildly as it can be. This goes out and (somewhat unnecessarily) creates settings from reference points, as Bailee and Levi journey through pop culture pastiches during their own character development. I’m not sure if any of the Pixar guys would’ve fit for this though; I’d honestly had gone with Lord/Miller or one of their acolytes.

 

However, as I already said, I’m not knocking the film for that, because of what Endless Animation has released throughout the years, this is by far the most creative (despite taking cues from several major properties and other films). It still struggles with an episodic narrative; the second half is miles more effective than the first. Yet, it’s grounded in a really nice friendship, and likable side characters.


The central world rules could be a bit more developed; it seemingly switches from being about alternate universes and alternate dimensions frequently, but this is a massive step-up in quality from what this studio usually gives us. The animation styles changing also feels like a gimmick a bit, but on the other hand, it’s cool to see a major film that’s not afraid to switch up the look. All this said, I’m reasonably impressed by this film. It’s very good, despite my reservations. 4/5


(For a little more context, I was much more forgiving in Y4 than I am today in my reviews; CYI was likely a 3.5/5 instead of the 4.5/5 I gave it then.)

The Most Wanted Man in Great Britain – Oh, yes. A really great adventure story with a true historical basis, this is a fascinating fugitive film that never lets up the excitement. If there’s a problem with it, it’s Dan Stevens’ Colonel character, who feels transplanted from another, much worse film, and whose scenes totally slow down the plot of the film. There’s some pay-off in his final confrontation, but honestly, he’s the one part of this movie that’s bad.


However, the best part of the movie is the doomed romance between Charles and Jane. This might be one of the most romantic films I’ve read in CAYOM, with their slow growing fondness for each other building to something that feels wonderfully magical, a connection that cannot stay together. Holland and Pugh are brilliant in these roles, and their final interaction with each other is quietly heartbreaking, due to the work to get there. This is the good stuff folks. 4.5/5

Guardians of the Internet – there’s not really any problems with this per say, but it’s constantly distracting how a social media site is labeled the savior of the Internet with all said toxicity on said platform is directed to a virus character. The end tag tries to address this but it’s too little too late. Still, it’s entertaining enough due to the actors. 2.5/5

Thawed – stupid, but fun. Thankfully not a stealth sequel to Frosted that I thought it might be. 2.5/5

The Neon Psalms – let’s start out with something positive: I think the world here is insanely cool. People are essentially immortal but yet don’t age, you can hack their brains or force them into a different body, and they’re differently designed robots. This is a killer setup for a dark animated movie. Unfortunately, this is bizarrely live-action and focused on theology to detriment of developing the world as is.
Let me make it clear, I am down for Christian films with interesting ideas; however, this utilizes a really cool world to tell a fairly standard story about faith in the future. It also goes bizarrely big at the end despite being contemplative. I will be nice to the film because I ultimately liked the ambition but this felt really bizarre to me. 2.5/5

Edited by Blankments
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The idea for the "episodes" in bleach was my idea to not make the film overstuffed like OPM.  The infinity war reference was to help the to provide a stronger visual sense of what @SLAM! and I were going for. 

 

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