2019 was a great year for movies and there are so many movies I still want to watch, but before I get to those I have seen a couple 2020 movies I wanted to talk about that wouldn’t normally warrant a full article, so I’m copying myself and doing the same concept for movies that I did a few days ago for games.
I’ll start with Birds of Prey: It’s…fine. Not really my type of movie, so I don’t normally get too disappointed with superhero movies and aren’t really impressed by them all that often anymore. Birds of Prey is just like any other decent superhero movie I’ve seen over the past couple of years; I enjoyed it while it lasted and won’t ever think about it again as soon as I leave the theater. There are some excellent performances as usual and in this case the standouts were Margot Robbie, Ewan McGregor, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, as well as some great directing especially for the comedic elements of the movie, but beyond that I’m not really all that passionate about the movie in any way. I understand that people who care about those characters will be more invested in the movie, as well as female viewers finally being appropriately represented should mean a lot to every movie-goer, but despite that I don’t feel like this movie brings anything new or interesting for this genre. The action is very well shot, but still feels formulaic; there’s definitely a strong style that permeates throughout the movie, not only in visuals, but also for the score and the way everyone talks and behaves, which was hit or miss for me (sometimes it adds to the feeling of watching a “crazy”, over-the-top movie, and sometimes it annoys me). Still this is a very worthwhile movie that is a ton of fun and mostly, I’m just on the outside in this genre that seems to mean so much to so many people, wanting to come in and share the fun, but nothing really hit for me the way I wanted it to for the past decade – with some exception like Thor: Ragnarok.
The other movie I watched from this new decade was Gretel and Hansel, a horror adaptation of the famous story of Hansel and Gretel. This is a weird movie and, unfortunately, not in a good way; as horror experiences go, this adaptation works surprisingly well as the movie keeps building this sense of unease and the anxiety of watching something you can’t truly comprehend how it works and why, but you can definitely tell how dangerous it is. My biggest issue is that the protagonists are at worst unlikeable and at best neutral to me; Hansel, in particular, I found to be very annoying until he is not and suddenly becoming the voice of reason. I get that this is one of those movies that everything is a metaphor for something else and none of it should be taken literally, but that’s not my issue; the movie works exteremelly well when it sets up and delivers on the stakes of the story, but completely fails in making me care about the characters, so nothing that happens to them (no matter how horrifying it is) is truly scary for me. My other major gripe with it is that, the movie is weird, in ways that confuse and disorient you from the parts that you should be focused on; like shots of houses are so strongly stylized that it mostly made me look at other parts of the screen, rather than what I should be focused on, or that the movie is projected on a 1.55:1 aspect ratio (?) as well as having a nostalgic driven logo for the opening, but nothing about this movie feels like it was shot in the 60s or 70s like those nostalgic nods to old school cinema would seem to suggest. Don’t get me wrong though, this isn’t necessarily a bad movie or something that was made as easily as possible to make as much money; Sophia Ellis is, once again, great in this movie, and director Oz Perkins has certainly shown he is creative and effective, but the script was not meant to be that weird. This is one of those situations were a lot of the effort should have went to make the movie look effortless and ‘natural’, rather than making every scene as interesting or creative as possible; they certainly are that, but its more distracting and annoying rather than interesting and fun. I certainly don’t think this movie is bad, but I wouldn’t recommend it over most other movies; the most interesting thing about this movie and the only thing it made me think about was the creative choices and the reasoning behind them, but nothing relating to the actual movie itself, so if that sounds like your thing, then you could have some fun watching it.
Anyway, I still haven’t seen all the movies I wanted to see from 2019, but I’m getting there and I’ll have some stuff to say on those and hopefully more good stuff are on the way in 2020 that I’ll have to talk about.