Baby Driver
2017-11-13

Even if you think you've heard the setup of "a criminal with a heart of gold wants to quit the business after falling in love" one too many times, Baby Driver remains a bright spot amidst the crappy Summer 2017 movie season and is a must see for fans of action films.
"Don't feed me any more lines from 'Monsters, Inc.' It pisses me off!!

When it comes to the action quota, this film offers no shortage of shootouts, car crashes, and vehicular or on foot chases. It is almost non-stop action and to the filmmaker's credit, all of it ends up looking spectacular thanks to coherent editing, effective use of montages, on screen stuntwork, and fluid camera movements. A lot of recent action heavy films have a tendency of looking cluttered and messy, but this film avoids all of that thanks to a more streamlined and focused approach to the mayhem. It was a wise decision to not digitize any of the action scenes.
"The moment you catch feelings is the moment you catch a bullet."

The main draw of this film is how all of the action sequences are edited to match the rhythm and tempo of the music that the protagonist is listening to. The result is fantastic. This is a gimmick that is pulled off so skillfully and with seemingly the greatest of ease that it never wears out its welcome even when the entire film is built on this premise.
"If you don't see me again, it's because I'm dead."

For a film where music is the structural and thematic backbone, it definitely helps that the music itself is great. There is almost no original score, but the licensed music is a strong mix of top 40 hits, obscure favorites, and underrated tracks from legendary bands in Rock, Hip-Hop, Blues, R&B, and Soul. A lot of it comes off like the director bragging about his record collection, but if his taste in music is this eclectic and this consistently enjoyable to listen to, then he has earned the right to brag.

"He's a looney. Just like his tunes."

My opinion grows mixed on the characters and tone of the film, because in some ways it succeeds and in others it does not. The entirety of the cast are stock characters that you would find in a typical heist/crime film. Everyone from the young protégé who means well, the femme fatale, the angry black guy, and the naïve love interest caught in a mundane job are all to be found acting exactly how you would imagine them to be.
...must...avoid...obvious...joke....to ...hard...tempt..ing...

There just really isn’t that much going on with this cast aside from the expected tough-cute dialogue and pop culture trivia dropping. A bit of a shame coming from a director best known for a trilogy of films where the same two lead actors play dramatically different characters in each entry. This would be a huge fault in the film if it weren’t for the fact that not only is the film aware enough of its own clichés to include multiple jokes pointing them out and that the cast in general does a fine job.
Still tempted, just letting you guys know
Leading man Ansel Egort is acceptable if not really dry as the titular Baby Driver. He doesn’t converse much, doesn’t change his expression much, and he’s less of a decent guy and more of an EXCEEDINGLY decent guy with basically zero faults to his personality. These traits make him the least interesting character in the film, but they are not unintentional. His nonassertive nature accentuates the flamboyant personas of his adversaries. His constant displays of kindness are meant to show the quality of his character even when under unethical situations and it eventually leads to a karmic reward.
Back of and respect my Spacey...hehheh...fuck it

It is safe to say that the most memorable impressions come from the villains. All of the best performances, dialogue, and scenes come from Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Spacey. Even without that much depth to the characters, each man brings bold charismatic performances that elevate the film tremendously. They provide credible engaging threats to keep the audience engaged while also being able to break the tension with humorous dialogue. Whenever any of them are on screen, Baby Driver reaches the zenith of its quality and ability to entertain.
Spacy no respect private spacey as long as his privates gets alot of spaceys.... 

Also worth noting is the romantic angle with Lily James as the waitress of whom Baby falls in love with. Lily James as Debora brings a lot of likability and charm to a character that could have easily become dead weight or filler. This angle actually ended up being the aspect of the movie where we see the most characterization. Amidst all of the robberies, car crashes, and shootouts, the heart of this film lies with two young people drawn to each other by a mutual desire to escape to a better place. The romance is handled in a sensitive and natural manner, and aside from the stunning action on display is the highlight of the film. Edgar Wright has always been proficient in handling romantic subplots in his films, and Baby Driver is of no exception. The romance in this film doesn’t exactly give us anything that we have not seen before, but it remains satisfactory element nonetheless.
"Sometimes all I want is to head West on 20 in a car I can't afford, with a plan I don't have, just me, my music, and the road."

The tone is another issue that I have with the film. The film goes for some kind of “hipster Fast and Furious” feel where characters plan out heists and getaways while constantly dropping trivia involving movies or playlists. Films reference other media all of the time, but in Baby Driver there were numerous instances that I felt were too broad and took me a bit out of the film. This blatant pop culture trivia dropping is something that is heavily featured in Wright’s other films, but that works because they are more outwardly comedic. Now this film does have some great comedic dialogue and gags, but the rest of the film is earnest enough in it’s premise that it throws it off somewhat. The action and comedy is balanced well for the most part, but Wright has shown more finesse in balancing the punches with the punchlines in other films, particularly Hot Fuzz.
Idubbbz would have been to obvious by now

Aside from the remarkable action sequences, editing, and musical selection, I did not find myself that enthralled with Baby Driver, yet I can still say that I had a good time watching it. Even though it’s often too by the numbers and too adherent to heist film clichés, it is still a consistently entertaining film made by an experienced and game cast and crew.
I give Baby Driver 3/5 Golden cameras
 
Brad

Mother!
2017-11-02

Okay, I was recommended this film for a while now, I just finished watching this film, and holy mama-san was this a waste of my time.

This is a film of two halves. The first half is of a generic date night thriller, where you get enough of foreboding atmosphere and stilted dialogue delivery to realize this isn't going to be Ozzie and Harriet but there is still a complete absence of plot movement, suspense, stakes, or even character action to make you give a rat's ass about anything that occurs.
She's sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo dull jeez

There are big, long stretches where you are just waiting for something to happen, anything to happen, only for the scene to end up at nowhere at all. Conversations that lead absolutely nowhere and lengthy sequences of furniture and/or nature. These are intrusive, all too frequent, and they kill whatever tension would otherwise be built up in the film dead in it's tracks. Just when you think it would lead anywhere meaningful? WRONG, you're ending up with more small talk and literally watching paint dry.
This beats the heck out of watching Mother

For a director who usually has a dynamic visual aspect to nearly everything with his name on it, this film is seriously lacking in terms of visuals. Outside of a motif of what I think is of a beating hart that coarsens up as the film goes on, there is nothing really memorable or attention getting in terms of lighting or camera placement. For the most part everything is handled in a plain and matter of fact way. It could have been handled by just about any other director, and it would look no different. It is such a loss, because if there was something that characterized Aronofky's best work was his aggressive as hell MTV style visual design.
Brad's hot on the case!

Sadly another Aronofsky trademark that is missing is the great music. There was none. There was actually no soundtrack at all. Which made the scenes that drag seem to drag even longer than they otherwise do. Near inexcusable for the man who brought us the most devastating orchestral soundtrack of the last 2 decades.
Performance wise, you either get strong but underwritten (Javier Bardem and Michelle Pfeiffer) and normally good but the film makers forgot about them (Ed Harris and about everyone else), but for the unfortunate case for our lead actress we get omnipresent and tonally way the hell off for every occasion possible. It doesn't matter if she's happy, depressed, frustrated, angry, or hysterical, Jennifer Lawrence just seems confused and unmotivated the entire time and for a film in which she is in every scene, this is unforgivable.
Something Something Movie

It's a real shame because I seriously liked Bardem in this film. Whatever actual sense of uneasiness and terror that the film manages to get out of the viewer, come from his best scenes. Even when he's not in a bad mood, the guy can still make you tense with a laugh or a smile. As simplistic as his character may be as an obsessive poet with writers block, the film shined brightest whenever the attention went to him. I savoured the moments they had with his character. He's the most talented Latin actor since Raul Julia, and he elevates the film every second he's on screen. It's too bad that the lion's share of the acting in the film comes from wifey poo.
For other actresses in similarly themed "ingenue stuck in surrealist hell hole" movies, like Sheryl Lee in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Isabelle Adjani in Possession, or the trope codifier, Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion, they brought enough expressiveness, sympathy, emotional range,and set the sky on fire fury to sell the extreme emotions needed for their films to work. There was enough character in those leading ladies to keep the audience invested in their actions and their suffering. There was more to them than just taking abuse. Lawrence brings so little to offer with her character that all that is memorable about her is the audience anticipating what emotional or physical abuse will befall her character next and how much it will exceed the previous incident in outrageousness.
Really Brad, we're lazy shits, you're making us look bad.... -Markus å Robin

Which leads to the second half of the film. When it's done being a horribly paced and uninteresting date thriller, it becomes the World Wrestling Entertainment version of an arthouse film (unsurprising since Aronofsky directed The Wrestler 9 years earlier). And this is the reason why everyone needs to see this film, because I am still amazed that this was even a thing.
Following certain events in the film that I will not spoil (because I still insist that you need to see this film to believe it), the film goes from going nowhere at the pace of a snail to going nowhere like a Nascar smashing into a brick wall. Then we get riots, full on fist fights, shootouts, and ISIS style executions among other craziness that escalates out of pure convenience.
There's a line to the bathroom and poor Ed Harris has the runs.... interestingly enough the results made up 3 minutes of the movie

Other infamously "crazy" film directors such as David Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Terry Gilliam, David Cronenberg, and even Darren Aronofsky in other films (Requiem for a Dream) used bizarre and chaotic imagery more successfully by building up to such sequences either through lulling the action down or by developing the story and characters enough for such actions to have meaning and impact to the audience. Mother! doesn't do that, what you get is crazy crap, occurring with no sense of timing, balance, or pacing. The film thinks pace is like an on/off switch, where it goes from snore inducing to emergency caffeine high mode. For this to work, there needs to be a gradual build up in the action. Expecting random shit to start firing off isn't going to make us pay attention more, it's just going to be another dulling of the senses but for the opposite response.
BUT WAIT, THIS FILM REALLY IS DEEP YOU GUYZZZ. It's about RELIGION. Lawrence is the earth, Bardem is God, the Ed Harris family is Adam and Eve (complete with a Cain and Abel), and the rest of the guest are mankind. God is cruel, the earth is mistreated, and mankind is just as cruel as God. That's the big whoop. This is done with such painfully obvious symbolism and metaphors that I half expected Bardem's book to be titled The New Testament. Yes, there is an allegory, yes it is aiming for a subtextual reading. Unless the surface level quality of the film is good, then a subtext is meaningless. Even then, the subtext is so simplistic and is so devoid of any intellectual or philosophical statements that are interesting or worth exploring, that it might as well not exist. Was that the best they could do?
Its romantic because he's french, and cringey because he is old enough to be her poppop

This leads to another inquiry? What if I'm just here for the crazy shit? I want to see something disturbing and I hope for this film to get it's freak on! Sadly, even on that basis the film fails. You're going to be waiting a good hour and a half for anything truly crazy to happen, and even the ONE SEQUENCE that actually sounds horrific on paper, that should be the prime takeaway "holy shit!" moment, ends up having the comedic timing of a South Park gag and deflates almost immediately. The one time the film actually builds something up that could be insane and memorable, it duffs itself in the execution department. Wow guys.
Something Something, lack of audience joke

This film tries for many things, very few of which succeed as they were intended. But for a fascinating disaster of a film, look no further, as you will rarely find a disaster this ambitious and this confident.
Mother recives 2/5 GoldenCameras

 
Brad