The Vidiot Reviews March 2019
A Star is Born
The best things about sleeping with a famous singer are the costume changes and pyrotechnics. However, the vocalists in this drama are both gifted so sex gets pretty smoky.
After a concert one night, rock-star Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) inadvertently catches a performance by emerging artist Ally (Lady Gaga), and is so impressed by her vocal range that he offers to help refine her singing and song-writing talents. But as Ally’s star begins to rise and she garners accolades and awards, her mentor – now husband – descends into drink and a deep depression.
Although this is the fourth remake of the 1937 original, first-time director Bradley Cooper and his leading lady Gaga both make stunning debuts, which helps the dated material feel relevant. While it’s darker than previous versions, this adaptation has the added bonus of original songs.
Incidentally, marriage is a lot easier for rock-stars because they have roadies.
Nowadays anyone who steals from the rich to give to the poor takes a 20% handling fee. However, English outlaws, like the one in this action movie, simply enjoyed the notoriety.
Conscripted into the Crusades by the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn), Lord Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) returns home to find his ladylove married to another (Jamie Dornan) and that his vast fortune was confiscated for the war-effort. Now under the tutelage of an Arabian warrior (Jamie Foxx), Robin hopes to learn the longbow proficiently enough to topple the sheriff’s regime.
While this origin story focuses on a younger bandit than has been featured in the plethora of Robin Hood productions before it, this youth oriented adaptation is packed with historically inaccurate action scenes, lazy quips and a laughable performance from Foxx.
Besides, smart outlaws steal from the rich and loan to the poor at a high interest rate.
When a band is named Queen don’t be surprised if all of their songs are about Welsh Corgis. And while the group in this biography doesn’t dwell on dogs their output does run the gamut.
Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) goes from fan to front-man when he replaces the singer of his favourite band. Backed by the original guitarist, drummer and new bassist, Freddie christens the band Queen and they release a successful album. However, Queen’s eclectic sound makes them a hard sell, while Freddie’s alternative lifestyle makes him a media darling.
Framed by their 1985 Live Aid performance and sprinkled with their timeless tunes throughout, this behind-the-scenes look at the legendary band skims over the important parts and instead focuses too much on the nominal contributions of the other members and their qualms with Mercury.
Nonetheless, without Queen the only music played at sporting events would be the national anthem.
The key to being a great artist is the ability to sketch the nude form without being arrested or sued. The crimes in this horror movie however are being committed by the artwork itself.
An up-and-coming art agent uncovers captivating canvases painted by a dead neighbour that she takes to her gallery owner boss (Rene Russo) and to her ex-lover (Jake Gyllenhaal), L.A.’s top art critic, for appraisal. While the collection is eventually deemed priceless and curators (Toni Collette) begin to clamour for pieces, everyone who has viewed the paintings has subsequently been killed in artistic fashion.
Backed by an impressive cast playing unlikable characters and a unique concept that is never fully realized, this cerebral shocker never strikes the right balance between the visceral horror and the highbrow elements it keeps adding to the pot.
Nevertheless, with murderous artwork hanging in your gallery you’ll never need a security system.
Zombies never allied with the Nazis during WWII because even zombies aren’t that inhuman. However, this horror movie depicts a history where the world’s worst teamed up.
The day before D-Day a squadron of US paratroopers (Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, John Magaro) are secretly dispatched over France to dispense of a German radio tower. But as the regiment attempts to complete their mission, they stumble upon a church where they discover the Nazis are conducting experiments on the locals. With time running out and the dead coming back to life, the soldiers must make the ultimate sacrifice to save humanity.
While the idea of meshing the two powerhouse villains has been explored many times before in cinema, this cartoony American addition from producer J. J. Abrams doesn’t bring anything all that new to the genre besides a few impressive scenes early on.
Furthermore, zombie veterans would just ruin Remembrance Day ceremonies.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web
If hackers are going to rig elections why not just elect them to office?However, the cyber-terrorist in this thriller has her fingers in something more illicit.
While she currently crusades against criminals as a masked vigilante, Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) occasionally does hack-and-grab gigs like the one an ex-NSA agent (Stephen Merchant) just hired her to undertake. Unfortunately, the nuclear launch codes she stole for him have now made her the target of an active agent (Lakeith Stanfield) and a secret cabal called the Spiders.
Not only does this continuation of the Millennium series reduce its intricate lead to an action movie cliché, but this adaptation of the 4th novel also softens the edges of the risqué series creating a sterile knock-off that pales in comparison to both of its American and Swedish predecessors.
Incidentally, the only people on earth who can safely date a hacker are the Amish.
The Front Runner
When having an affair with a presidential hopeful be sure their not the candidate you want to win. Case in point, the philandering front runner found cheating in this political drama.
With his good looks and supportive wife (Vera Farmiga), Colorado senator Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman) expects to secure the Democratic presidential nomination that eluded him in 1984. While the media and public at large feel the same way, Hart’s hopes are soon dash after he encourages the press to scrutinize his private life. What they discover however is that the saintly senator is cheating.
While Jackman turns in a decent performance in this timely depiction of actual events, the rest of the talented cast is wasted on a floundering script that is more focused on analyzing Hart’s actions than constructing an effective political allegory.
Besides, smart candidates get their spouses to cheat on them so they can get pity votes.
The easiest way to ruin Christmas is to redirect all Amazon shipments to the Third World. Thankfully, the party-pooper in this animated movie lives a cave with no WiFi.
A green hermit named The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) watches over Whoville from his mountaintop with much disdain, particularly for its obsession with the yuletide. To quell the joyous season this year, The Grinch hatches a plan to impersonate Santa so he can pilfer all presents and decorations from the neighbouring township. Meanwhile, a Whoville child hopes to capture Claus so she can make a wish for her overworked mother (Rashida Jones).
Outside of the sappy single mom storyline, Cumberbatch’s nasally performance and some slick animation, this adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ children’s book pretty much follows the same narrative of the far superior 2-D animated TV special.
Moreover, if The Grinch hates Christmas so much he should just convert to Islam.
The best thing about going to a school run by witches is that clothing is optional. That said the crones in this horror movie prefer to keep their coven undercover.
Despite no formal training, American Susie (Dakota Johnson) is not only accepted in to a prestige German Dance Academy, but she’s also chosen as the lead in their upcoming production. Meanwhile, some students within the school have started accusing the Three Mothers and their instructor (Tilda Swinton) of being in league with Satan.
With elaborate dance routines, Swinton in multiple roles and a soundtrack supplied by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, this remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 masterwork certainly shoots for the fences. Unfortunately, the muted tones, the lack of scares and lengthy run-time derail any hopes this update has of besting – or even matching – the original.
However, witchcraft does explain why there are so many dance shows on television.
Without their husband around wives would be forced to nag strange men on the street. Or, they could do like the women in this thriller and commandeer their partner’s business.
When their husbands (Liam Neeson, Jon Bernthal, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) are murdered amid a million dollar heist and the man they stole from comes looking for repayment, three widows (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki) have no choice but to settle the score by pulling off their own robbery. Meanwhile their mark (Robert Duvall) and his son (Colin Farrell) vie for control over Chicago.
An engaging caper that flips the typical masculine narrative on its ear and outfits it with a social and political edge, this adaptation of the British television series is updated with enough twists and strong performances to warrant its big screen retelling.
Moreover, with all of their panty hose it just makes sense for women to steal.
The upside to being a servant in America is you never understand what your boss is yelling at you. Unfortunately for the maid in this drama, her employer speaks perfect Spanish.
Introvert Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) works for Mrs. Sofia (Marina de Tavira) maintaining her family home in the heart of Mexico City’s richest neighbourhood as well as helping her raise her four children while their father is away on business. The family dynamic begins to shift, however, when Sofia’s husband’s absences begin to grow longer and a deadbeat rebel fighter impregnates Cleo.
Slow yet startling, subtle yet spirited, writer/director Alfonso Cuarón lovingly retells the tales of his affluent childhood through the eyes of his family’s improvised maid in this black-and-white Netflix import that is beautifully shot against the social unrest of 1970s.
Best of all, when you clean up after rich kids you know exactly where they hide their allowance.
He’s a Gadfly on the Wall. He’s the…
VidiotA Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, Overload, Robin Hood, Roma, Suspiria, The Front Runner, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, The Grinch, Velvet Buzzsaw, Widows