Last August, I reviewed several upcoming movies for a Top 5 fall blockbuster list. From a wide range of Hollywood and indie options, I settled on five movies that I thought would entertain and amaze as the seasons changed.
With the passage of time and the ability to observe and reflect, I decided to re-visit my previous list and grade myself on the predictions. You can’t get better if you don’t learn from your mistakes.
The following is my report card for fall movie predictions…
Prediction Grade: Neutral, shifting to third. ‘Cause what you hear is what you heard.
“…when you couple that (Tom Hardy’s) talent with the complex and complicated story of Venom…fireworks shall ensue.”
I think I nailed that prediction — fireworks, indeed, did ensue. Venom was a total blast, and I was rooted to the screen for the entirety of the film. However, it had more to do with adventure and excitement, and a lot less to do with the complexity of the story. I ding Venom as movie for the lack of plot and an even greater lack of investment in creating any sort of dynamic character. Grab some stock dudes, mix ’em up in a blender with a dash of alien symbiotes, hit puree. Add ice, if desired. Enjoy. Please don’t mistake the above for missing out on Venom — it is a hell of a good time. Just don’t expect to think too much.
Prediction Grade: Whiffed the 0-2 curve and struck all the way out. Sit down, you bum.
“…this Predator is going to be every bit as good as the original.”
Yikes. Not. Even. Close. This movie bordered on ludicrous, and I had trouble not wandering off and immersing myself in all that laundry that needed folding. What kept me hanging around was mostly Sterling Brown’s screen presence- that guy is one cool hombre. I also full belly laughed a few times at some sharp dialogue moments.
Aside from the few good things I can say, the creature effects were boring and the story line was a basic regurgitation of AVP: Alien vs. Predator topics — hybridization, soldiers against all odds, scientists that suddenly turn into warriors and blah, blah, blah. I had high hopes for this one, but was utterly disappointed. I should’ve just folded the laundry and went to bed early.
Prediction Grade: Nailed it!
“What we have here is a movie that’s all accelerator and no brakes, and with the jaw-dropping cast list, there’s just no mathematical or scientific formula that would find this movie to be anything but amazing.”
You’ll have to donate two and half hours of your life in order to take El Royale in, but it’s worth any sacrifice you’ll have to make. After a bit of a slow, tense start, this film heads off to the races and forgets to make sure you’re buckled in. Creepy, thrilling, and stylishly violent all at the same time is difficult to pull off, and El Royale tosses in a side order of salient dialogue delivered by masters of the craft. I would’ve appreciated someone with a little heavier hand in the editing room to cut the length of the film down, but that’s small potatoes for a film of this caliber.
Prediction Grade: Mid-range…see me after class for corrections
“If the little things come together for this film, I believe we’re talking about it during Oscar selections. It’s Danny McBride’s time to leave the world of James Franco backup and enter the stratosphere of superstar.”
The Oscar team snubbed this film for good reason, mostly including lack of cohesion and an identity. Is it social commentary? Is it a violent thriller? Is it a dark comedy? It felt a little like Sybil Dorsett was at the helm of this vessel, and a disorganized but enjoyable movie was discovered.
Danny McBride does drill it, though. His ability to deliver any line at any time with a twist of smarmy humor is hard to find. I liked this movie mostly because he was the lead — not sure if any other actor or actress could’ve pulled it off. All things considered, if you’re looking for a flick that dabbles in a few genres without settling firmly on one, like an all-you-can-eat buffet, go ahead and get yourself a plate full of Arizona.
Prediction Grade: #Frownyface
When will this finally be available? I know the theater market in the frozen tundra in northern Wisconsin isn’t what we’d call cultured, but c’mon! I haven’t seen hide nor hair of a release date for streaming, or any options for viewing on the big screen. I, for one, am getting a little tired of not watching this movie. Dragged Across Concrete has drawn most of the usual accolades for director S. Craig Zahler’s (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99) after the showing at Cannes, and all arrows are still pointing towards “must-see.”