my thoughts on

My Thoughts On: “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”

Poor Guy Ritchie.  The guy can’t catch a break after Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (which I thought was fine).  I mean, The Man from U.N.C.L.E was unbelievably forgettable, and was such a box office disaster; I thought he wouldn’t get to make another movie for a while.  Luckily, some studio had faith in him, now we can see his interpretation of one of England’s most famous legends.  Unfortunately, you’ll be wishing they never pulled the sword from the paper mache stone after watching the end result.

To its credit, King Arthur is the most visually interesting Ritchie film (after Sherlock Holmes) I’ve seen.  Oh, I’m not talking about the F/X (which look unbelievably cheap); I mean the sets, costumes, and some of the cinematography.  Good thing too, because the characters are bland as white bread.  While Charlie Hunam gives a decent performance, I can’t remember anyone from the movie, probably because the screenwriters used token “adventure” clichés as characters.  It would be easy to list them off, but I’d rather talk about the worst one: Arthur himself.  Instead of being a bad*** swordfighter whose strong-willed, diligent personality never surrenders; Arthur is reduced to the “reluctant hero” trope.  Mhm, the most tedious version of “the chosen one” plotline is our protagonist for 2 incredibly long hours.  If that wasn’t enough, his backstory is exactly the same as the story of Moses (there is even a scene where he’s sent down a river in a basket as a baby).  Oy, these characters are forgettable.

It’s a shame really.  There are moments of classic Ritchie brilliance (an interrogation scene in particular is hilarious), the music and production is cool, and when the movie actually wants to be awesome, it is.  I don’t know much about King Arthur lore, aside from that line in Tomb Raider: Legend where Alister states that Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone were, “Two bloody different stories!”  What I can tell you is that this movie’s bland story is not saved by a neutered PG-13 rating and a lack of satisfying action sequences.  King Arthur: Legend of the Sword gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C+.

My Thoughts On: “Get Out”

Well, this one’s been a long time coming.  I don’t think anyone lost sleep over my lack of a review, so let’s skip the apology and get right down to it.

The marketing for this movie was bloody brilliant!  I could never tell if it was pure horror, satirical comedy, or both.  They interest you without spoiling anything, and it sets the tone perfectly.  Honestly, the trailers are some of the best in modern cinema, and the film itself doesn’t disappoint, even if there are a few issues.

What I don’t like boils down to two minor problems, but have a great impact on the movie as a whole.  First, the pacing.  Get Out is not a traditional horror film; it is a slow-building, suspenseful mystery with excellent attention to character.  However, there are a few scenes that drag on, and the runtime should have been cut down a bit.  Secondly, the commentary.  I’m getting tired of seeing “thought-provoking” in Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus sections.  It’s an easy way to say, “this movie talked about racial issues” no context necessary.  In reality, the “commentary” in this movie is pretty obvious (some of the dialogue spells out what the message is).  Get Out is at its best when it is subverting clichés and being unpredictable.

Despite my overly analytical mind’s efforts to predict what would happen next, I was never right.  The only predictable thing about this movie is that you know something is wrong, but the incredible storytelling keeps you guessing in dreadful anticipation.  The humor is just as competent.  Unlike in Keanu (also written by Jordan Peele), the jokes vary in setup and punchline.  You’ll be cringing in one scene, laughing in the next (the supporting cast is stellar!), and then you’ll be shocked by what the first two scenes built up to.  Trust me, this is one satisfying movie!

This is hard to say, but Get Out is better than The Visit, one of my favorite movies of 2015.  Both films are horror/comedies about someone going to see family in a very suspicious setting.  Not only is the script very spontaneous, but the humor is much better as well.  Basically, this movie deserves 90% of the overwhelmingly positive response it has received.  Allow me to add to that response by giving it Guy’s Guru Grade of an A-.

My Thoughts On: “John Wick: Chapter 2”

I hope you’re prepared for nerdgasming, because this post is going to be little more than a neon sign flashing, “GO SEE THIS AWESOME MOVIE RIGHT NOW!!!”  It is rare to come across a sequel that one-ups its predecessor, and when that happens, it is truly a sight to behold.

Stuntman/director Chad Stahelski (who also directed the first film) returns with even more visual style and intense fight sequences to boot.  I cannot understate how incredible these action scenes are!  This is due to: brutal R-rated hand-to-hand combat, impeccable stunts, camerawork that doesn’t cut or shake around, and sound mixing that packs more punches than the characters do.  The violence in this movie is akin to that of a 90s action flick without the cheesiness or over-the-top setting.  Many people will disagree with me on that aspect, but John Wick 2 makes a great effort to validate the 100+ body count (among other improbabilities).  When characters hear “John Wick,” they shudder in fear or, if he’s in their presence, treat him with respect rivaling that of Pope Francis.  He’s one of the best assassins the crime underworld has ever seen.  It would only make sense that people fear him.

Speaking of crime underworld, John Wick 2 has a stronger story than the first.  I always thought the dog’s death was a flimsy motivation, and they remedied that by expanding the incredibly interesting criminal world in this movie.  We got hints of this in the first movie, like the cleaning service, golden coins, and the hotel.  Hey wait, I just figured it out!  Literally as I write this review, it dawned on me.  They intentionally teased at the underworld in the first movie so the audience would gain interest for future installments.  Do you know what that means?  A franchise film released in the last seven years didn’t beat you over the head with sequel-baiting exposition!  Excuse me, I must sob with joy.

The narrative may not be as solid for some (although the motivations in this movie are logical).  Come to think of it, the runtime is too long, and the characters are slightly generic.  But for what John Wick 2is, I wasn’t expecting Inception, just some kick-a** thrills and Keanu Reeves proving that he can act.  John Wick: Chapter 2 gets Guy’s Guru Grade of an A-.

My Thoughts On: “The Founder”

I can’t believe we’re still in January, because the movies that I’ve seen are surprisingly entertaining.  Today we have a film that takes us through the early days of Ray Kroc; entrepreneur/salesman who had a string of failures behind his 20+ years in the business.  When he comes across a small restaurant created/run by two brothers (Mike and Dick McDonald), Kroc instantly desires to be a part of it.  After much contemplation and pitching, he convinces the brothers to turn their very successful restaurant into a nationwide franchise.  After a while, Kroc begins to take over the business as he makes decisions that the brothers disagree with.

If you couldn’t tell, this is based on a true story, and a much more engrossing one than I initially thought.  The Founder blends rich American history with detailed explanations of how the industry functions to create a film that average audiences and business-minded people will enjoy.  There is actually a lot of wisdom and knowledge to take from this movie, but none of that would matter if the lead performance wasn’t up to snuff.

I’m glad Michael Keaton is continuing to pick scripts (Birdman, Spotlight) that are packed with potential, because he can sell almost any character.  Ray Kroc is a bit of an antihero.  He neglects his wife (played by Laura Dern), backstabs the brothers, and cares very little about other people’s opinions.  However, the writing for his character always keeps him likeable.  The movie makes it very clear that he has been suffering through his career for decades and he never caught a big break.  When something this promising finally comes into his life, he takes charge and diligently works.  He’s a little like Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network; even if you don’t like him, you have to admire his tenacity and cleverness.  Did he (I use this term for the purpose of making a point) basterdize the concept?  A little, but he kept goals in sight and stuck to the core message of the iconic chain.  What helps is Keaton’s passion and intimidation.  As the movie goes on, he becomes more and more cutthroat and determined (a lethal combination); it gets to the point where you could compare him to a mob boss in terms of inspiring fear.

Sure, the editing is unnecessarily quick, and the pacing is slow, but The Founder is an important film to see if you have ever partaken of the ubiquitous brand’s culinary delicacies.  Considering how many locations there are, the odds say you have.  The Founder gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a B+.

My Thoughts On: “Hidden Figures”

First, off, sorry about the extreme lateness of this.  I was sick for most of last week, and the Mission to Mars review was the last thing I wrote before sick brain took over.  The Untouchables review was posted before this one in order to stay on schedule.  Since then, spring semester has started, and I have lots of work to do.

What makes Hidden Figures an interesting specimen is the tone.  The movie follows three black women who worked at NASA during the American/Russian battle for space control.  Because of these women, the U.S. was able to be the first global superpower to put a man into Earth’s orbit.  This took place well after the Civil War, but the tension of inequality is still present everywhere in this movie.  It could be because of the PG-13 rating, but this movie never gets really violent, profane, or gritty.  As a consequence, the dramatic heft is not nearly as impactful as other movies of this sort.  Initially I thought this was holding the movie back, but it actually works.  This movie doesn’t take place during a war like Glory, nor are its white characters as racist as the ones in The Help.  Instead, these women have to overcome prejudice in the workplace, at the school setting, and in being recognized.  Oh, there are “big” moments, and they are used at just the right times.  Honestly, I appreciate the way this movie was written.  As a positive guy, I don’t think every movie needs to have the heartbreaking dramatic heft of Glory (although we still need movies like that every now and then).

The fact that everyone was bringing their A game to this project helps quite a lot.  Every one of the actors has a unique role to play and a unique personality.  To me, the best performances come from Octavia Spencer (an overworked/underpaid leader of the “Negro computer team”), Jim Parsons (finally breaking type-casting as a prejudiced NASA manager), and Kevin Costner (the devoted director of the space project who doesn’t care about race or sex, only proficiency).  The work from these three is some of the best in their careers.  Hidden Figures is worth watching purely for the cast which also includes  Mahershala Ali, Kirsten Dunst, and Taraji P. Henson.

I didn’t like this movie as much as I wanted to.  It’s a fine biopic with a great score and more lighthearted direction than expected.  There were a few moments that dragged (to the point of feeling redundant), but I see the effort on and off-screen.  Considering how many black films we got last year, I’d say this was one of the best.  Hidden Figures gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a B+.

My Thoughts On: “La La Land”

*Sigh*  I can’t wait until I get to the point in my career when I get invited to AFI and I can see these movies before anyone else.  Then I don’t have to wait to see it at a theater in a different city that has a limited showing… in January.  That same theater that takes over 20 minutes to get through a line of 15 people and causes you to miss the supposedly “jaw-dropping opening musical number.”  Grrr.

Just like Manchester by the Sea, the positive reaction to this movie was overwhelming.  As such, it is impossible to go into the movie without having some expectations (though I keep mine in check as best as possible).  So did the movie impress me?  With the exception of the screenplay, everything is aces.

As far as musicals go, this has got to be one of the best of recent years.  The “animated musical” genre is still going strong (Frozen and Sing being two of the most popular).  However, the genre that includes Singin’ in the Rain, The Sound of Music, and The Wizard of Oz has been all but forgotten.  More “trendy” movies like Pitch Perfect and Into the Woods could be considered a subgenre of the classic musical, but they don’t come anywhere near the quality of La La Land.  Since you most likely know the plot of this movie, I’ll just get to the criticism.

There is not a word for how impressive this direction is.  Director/writer Damien Chazelle brings his passion project to life with the detail of a Kubrick film.  The tracking shots in this movie rival that of The Revenant, the performances ooze with energy and talent, the sets capture the tone and time period with panache, and the lighting/use of color is scintillating.  Not to mention the soundtrack.  Oh my gosh, the music in La La Land is amazing!  The dance sequences are perfectly choreographed, and the score elevates each frame with ease.  If you play an instrument, you’ll probably love this movie.  On a presentation level, you could mistake it for the juiciest steak from the most refined restaurant in the richest part of New York City.  Sadly, on a story level, it’s got as much substance as a Big Mac.

I like this style and I like these actors, but the script is quite clichéd.  This could be from the fact that this genre doesn’t focus on story.  Which is fine, but when you don’t care about the script at all, we get Mamma Mia! and Flashdance (forgettable characters and over-the-top scenarios serve as filler to the musical numbers).  Thankfully, La La Land has more to offer than those films.  However, there are more clichés than I’d like.  The “starving artist” the “naive/hopeful new star” the “boss of the protagonist who doesn’t like their creativity,” and the “bubbly upbeat friends of the protagonist.”  There are a 1001 different things going on with the two main characters, but I didn’t get very engaged because they didn’t stand out as much as the movie’s style does.  I could have accepted this issue, if it weren’t for the climax.

Without spoiling anything, this (mostly linear) story randomly does a few loop de loops, then goes backwards, then skips forwards, and left me utterly disappointed.  I really don’t know what is going on when this part of the story was written, but it certainly wasn’t helpful!  I spent two hours with these characters only to have some out of left field thing make all that character development seem pointless (no, nobody dies).  It also reminded me that almost every supporting character in this movie is either a hindrance or a jerk to the main characters.  I’ve never said this before, but it would have been better if the story stayed on its predictable path instead of what actually happens.

Of course I enjoyed this movie, but I do not love it (even though I really wanted to).  It is worth seeing just because more movies like this need to be made, but the story needed a rewrite or two.  La La Land gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a B.

No Thoughts On: “Manchester by the Sea”

Plot twist!  I am not reviewing this movie.  Not because I am lazy, or because I didn’t see the movie, it’s because I do not understand it.  Being 19, privileged, and a millennial, I have had very little life experience, especially with what Manchester by the Sea (or How to get Nominated for All the Oscars) displays.

Remember the critics’ reaction to Inception?  While most of it was positive, there was an unusually large amount of negative criticism that basically boiled down to, “it’s confusing.”  One of my rules of criticism (of any type) is “Understand it before you criticize it.”  Surely, I don’t have to explain why.  The point is that Manchester by the Sea is not meant for me.  It’s meant for grown adults with kids, significant others, and generally has more life issues than me.  The only thing I am confident in saying is that the acting, music, and cinematography is some of the best of 2016, no doubt.

What makes this movie different from, say, A Clockwork Orange or The Lobster (both movies that I will review in the future), is that they are both comedies.  They are also very weird movies that are not the most relatable.  Manchester by the Sea is one of those slice-of-life movies that is supposed to mirror real people in real situations with real problems.

Thank you for your understanding, my next review will be of something I definitely understand.  P.S. If you really want a grade for this movie, it would be a B (unofficially).

My Thoughts On: “Moana”

Remember the critics’ reactions to Storks and The Secret Life of Pets (“It’s ok.”)?  Well, that is about all I have to say about Moana.

Despite the fact that it is finals week, that had very little to do with my feelings to this movie.  Also, I was not as impressed with this movie’s cultural setting as much as everyone else.  You can attribute that to the fact that Lilo and Stitch (to me) is a much better film and was released in 2002.  Not to say that Moana doesn’t have its redeemable qualities.  The voice acting is earnest, the animation is some of the best of 2016, and the music/songs are amazing.  Sadly, this movie feels like your typical Disney princess fairy tale cleverly disguised with different cultures and fantasy elements.

Supposedly, this movie was going to be entirely about Maui, a demigod voiced by Dwayne Johnson (who is the best thing about the movie).  For some reason, they decided to add a princess (Moana) and make her the main character.  Why?  Either Disney executives made this decision because it would be more marketable, or because directors Ron Clements/John Musker brought us Princess Ariel, Princess Jasmine, and Princess Tiana (old habits).  Whatever the reason, Moana is way too familiar on a story level, especially with the characters.  For example, Moana herself is unhappy with her royal position in society, she desires to explore nations outside of her home, and she has a marketably adorable pet.  If even one of those traits reminds you of another Disney movie, then you have seen this character before, and since the movie wants you to care about here (like, reeeeealy care about her), it is very difficult.

By no means do I think this is a bad movie, but more effort needed to be put into the writing.  The humor was not nearly as good as it should have been, the climax is cheesy, and the second act “adventure” part of the movie didn’t feel that epic.  Even though Moana and Maui’s fun interactions kept me interested, it is not enough to make up for a copy-paste formula.  Moana gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a B.

My Thoughts On: “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”

Here’s the dealio, I have not watched Inferno because I haven’t read the book yet.  I love Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series so much; to me they are some of the best books of all time.  However, the movies don’t come anywhere near the level of greatness that the books do.  My opinion on the “books vs. movies” debate will be in my review for Inferno, because I made the mistake of watching the adaptations (which suck) before reading the books (which are much better); I refuse to allow Ron Howard to sully my expectations of Inferno before I read it.  As for, The Birth of a Nation, well that’s gonna be much later.  Today, we are talking about one of the most forgettable action movies since Terminator Genisys.

Yes, that means that this movie is blander than Triple 9 and Criminal (I bet you didn’t even know they existed).  I’ll give it this, this movie is slightly better than the first.  Jack Reacher (2012) is one of the most boring, miss-cast, illogical, generic, forgettable action movies of all time.  The humor was dumb, the action scenes were bland (and extremely sparse), and the acting, oh gosh!  I like Tom Cruise; I like most of the action movies he is in, but TOM CRUISE IS NOT JACK REACHER.  From what my Dad (and research) has told me, Reacher is tall, incredibly strong, and imposing.  Ignoring that Cruise is none of those things, his performance is just playing himself in an action movie (they should have cast Dave Bautista).  In addition, the plot is poorly executed.  The movie feels incredibly slow, the supporting cast all looked regretful of their career choice, and there are a dozen plot points that make no sense.  Despite all of that, the movie still made a bunch of money (probably thanks to Cruise’s ability to get butts in theater seats) and here we are with a sequel that, while more actiony, is even more stupid.

While you could argue that the first movie had a more original plot, Never Go Back is a hodgepodge of clichés and poorly shot action sequences.  Edward Zwick (the director) typically makes action films, so I was at least hoping for a more action-drew action movie.  We get that, but just like an Edward Zwick action film, the writing kinda sucks.  Even though I enjoyed Blood Diamond and Knight and Day (also starring Cruise), the weakest thing about them are the story.  Same goes for Never Go Back.  Essentially, Reacher is wrongfully accused and must work with a long distance friend to uncover a government plot.  Also, he must protect a teenager who is hunted by the government.  I’ll be honest, I really have no energy for this monotonous film, and I mean monotonous!  The characters all have the same personality (tough, egocentric, and whiny), the action scenes are standard (the hero has to fight a bunch of dudes in a dark alley?  Never seen that one before), and the narrative is clichéd as heck.  Most of the time, it is that one annoying escort mission from every videogame ever made.  Speaking of which, the teenage girl in this movie is the worst part about it!  The actress provides no charm, all of her dialogue is just like Robin in Batman and Robin (complaining and annoying), and the movie idiotically tries to pull a twist with her character that doesn’t work because the audience does not care about her.

I’m getting to some more… important movies pretty soon, but I figured that I suffered through this movie, might as well talk about it.  This movie reminded me of The Bourne Identity or Shooter more than it did something that was supposedly based off of some very successful (and good) books, but that’s Hollywood for ya.  Save your money for this weekend, it’s gonna be a fun one.  Jack Reacher: Never go Back gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C-.

 

Triple Feature

First of all, if you are into your school year and still make time to read my reviews, you are a terrifically nice person.  Studies show that if you read my intellectual reviews on a weekly basis, your brain is guaranteed to increase in thought processing speed after the first month.  At least that is what TMZ told me.  In all seriousness, I have a great amount of respect for people who think much more than the average Happy Madison audience member.  That is why I don’t easily tolerate stupidity in movies, and why I want thinking people as my audience; or people who just love to laugh.  Anyway, today we have a triple feature, hooray!  2016 has been such a bland year.  It feels like everything I review is the same thing.  But the movies I am looking over today are extremely different and more than worthy of talking about.  Enough talk, let’s review!

 

Jason Bourne

The Bourne Identity is an excellently executed thriller which made quite an impact.  The Bourne Supremacy is decent, but a step down due to its less than detailed direction.  The Bourne Ultimatum however, is the best of all four films.  The story is fast-paced, the acting is intense, the cinematography is sleek, and the tone is action-packed.  When I hear the term, “non-stop thrill ride” The Bourne Ultimatum is what comes to mind.  Since all the Bourne films have eerily similar stories, something has to be done differently in each film.  Jason Bourne sadly forgot that crucial detail, at best; all they did was change the title.

The biggest problem with Jason Bourne is the bland, plothole-filled, unfocused, confusing, repetitive, and predicable story.  I really want to see a parody of these films titled, The Bourne Formula.  Every dang Bourne movie is essential this: Jason Bourne trying to learn about his past, a CIA director who’s hiding something trying to kill him, an assassin asset with no character hunting for Bourne, and a token female character who’s skeptical of Jason at first, but helps him anyway.  Oh yeah, and each film is concluded with Moby’s perfectly fitting (but overdone) song, “Extreme Ways.”  Jason Bourne does have some fine acting and a few tense action scenes, but those positives are expected from a Bourne movie; except The Bourne Legacy which is just awful.  When you get right down to it, I remember Identity and Ultimatum because they were the most competently made of the quadrilogy.  What happened in Supremacy, Legacy or Jason Bourne?  I honestly don’t remember, and I watched all four of these movies in the last two months.  By the way, in addition to shaky cam, we get some extremely distracting close-ups.  Betcha didn’t expect to see every nose hair on Matt Damon, or every wrinkle on Tommy Lee Jones’ face.  Jason Bourne gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C-.

 

Don’t Breathe

Here is yet another indie film that made its way to the masses because audiences (including myself) are desperate for something different.  If you look at that subculture of film (which might as well be its own genre in 2016), you will find Hell or High Water (a modern western), The Lobster (a romantic, artsy, drama), and Swiss Army Man (an oddball comedy with a romantic twist).  Since horror is my favorite genre, this type of film should make me sequel with glee.  However, considering that I am a film critic, the many, many issues of this movie get in the way.  Admittedly, the performances are authentic, the camerawork is very active and detailed, the use of sound is creative, and it delivers the scares.  However, in the midst of everyone saying that this is the best horror movie of the year (for the record, The Conjuring 2 is the best), no one is talking about the glaring issues with the movie.  These problems are reoccurring.  For one, characters never die.  Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t survive the amount of damage people take in this movie!  It got to the point of completely breaking my suspension of disbelief, which is not something you want if your film is supposed to be a claustrophobic thriller inside a creepy house down the road.  In addition, Mr. Stephen Lang’s blind superpowers are very inconsistent.  Sometimes he can hear everything, and sometimes when someone walks right past him, he won’t notice it.  The movie largely focuses on his sense of hearing, not a bad idea but if the film utilized his senses of touch and smell, there would be a few less plotholes, and a shorter running time.  Take that clip in the trailer when he walks past one of the robbers.  He should have felt the air left by the kid against him, especially since he is wearing a tank top.  This inconsistency (along with the invincible characters) gets very distracting after a while.

Speaking of characters, this movie is filled with unlikeable characters.  Here is the best way I can describe it.  It feels like the script is trying to make everyone sympathetic and unlikable at the same time.  I guess you could count the girl as the one person you want to live, but even then her motivation is as clichéd as all heck.  No matter what type of horror film you are making, there must be a compelling protagonist of some type.  Would you give a crap about the psychological battles in The Silence of the Lambs if Clarice Starling wasn’t as dedicated or clever?  Would Halloween (1978) be as suspenseful if it didn’t have Dr. Loomis’ dialogue or Laurie Strode’s charming likability?  Would you have enjoyed From Dusk Till Dawn if the antiheros were not as entertainingly despicable?

The last thing I need to bring up is the scene that completely lost me.  I’m not going into great detail because describing what I saw will make me nauseous.  If you’ve seen the movie, you probably know what I’m talking about.  The scene takes place at about the beginning of the third act.  Essentially, this scene is a rape/torture scene.  Not on the level of A Clockwork Orange, but the gruesome detail this scene has is disgusting.  Bear in mind, you’re talking to a guy who ranted about the animated buttholes in The Secret Life of Pets; some people will not be as disgusted with this scene as I was.  Even so, the real reason why I don’t like this scene is because it serves no real purpose.  The scene is cut short, and the gruesome detail of it is entirely unnecessary (almost as if it was the director’s fetish or something).  Unlike in a Kubrick film like A Clockwork Orange, there is no artistic purpose to the scene, and considering the rest of the film isn’t that violent, it feels out of place.   Don’t Breathe is worth a watch, but not much thought, and it gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a B-.

 

Hell or High Water

Man if this year don’t get better, Hell or High Water is probably going to be the best film of 2016.  Brought to you by Taylor Sheridan (writer of Sicario), Hell or High Water is an exceptionally well-acted, character-focused, intelligent, perfectly shot, modern western.  There is nothing about this film that I don’t like.  The cinematography is excellent, the sound editing is fitting, and the action scenes are tense.  By far the best thing about this movie is the screenplay.  Sheridan, this is some of the finest work I have seen from an upcoming writer.  Heck, this movie should win Best Original Screenplay.  Hell or High Water has such an emphasis on character development and commentary that makes you weep for the rest of modern cinema.  This is one of the best films of the decade, and it doesn’t need to rely on megastars or an epic setting to get people interested.  As much as I like Mad Max: Fury Road, The Raid, and The Revenant (great movies that they are), they do lack a bit in the character department.  My movie heart will always belong to the films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Spotlight, Inception, The Imitation Game, Sorcerer, Stand by Me, and Toy Story that focus on the script and characters first.

The dialog in Hell or High Water is about as natural as you can get.  None of the actors ever look like they’re reading off of something, or were directed to be extra dramatic when something groundbreaking is said.  Each actor (especially Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster) is thoroughly convincing, and the characters they become have very distinguishable personalities and backgrounds.  If you thought the setting of this movie would be hard to embrace, fear not.  Not since Southside with You has a movie done such a stellar job of creating atmosphere.  The movie takes place in west Texas, the actors have the right accents, the wind is always blowing, and the soundtrack is filled with musical relics.  Hell or High Water is one of the best movies of 2016 (top 5 even) and it gets Guy’s Guru Grade of an A.

There you have it, my first multiple review.  Sorry about the lateness of this post, but school just started, and I had to cut back.  Here’s to hoping that you enjoyed this thing, and that 2016 (for the love of Jehoshaphat) steps up its game.  In the meantime, if you want to see more of my content, check out my Twitter page (which I am always using).