Since 22 Jump Street is review proof, not in that there's nothing I can say about the movie that would quantify as any sort of meaningful criticism because these movies "aren't supposed to be taken seriously" but in that anything I have to say about the movie would just be spoiling it on why it works and why the movie is just so damned funny.
So, let's do a one off thing! Are you looking through all of those Netflix titles and thinking to yourself "Man! There are just too many options. I don't know what to watch." Well, let me point out some of the more interesting titles. I can't guarantee that you'll like every one of these movies, but they are all "different" enough to warrant some kind of viewing.
I'm going to start off with a movie that's a little more simple. Not very many people went to see Dredd when it came out but, as far as action movies go, this one outshines even the biggest blockbusters. It's one of those movies that "goes big" by going small just by having the entire movie take place in one building. But, having everything feel contained is what works in the movies favor, much like in The Raid, as all of the stakes revolve around the main characters and it's not about some "end of the world" macguffin that tries to hide the fact that the makers didn't know how to actually put a story into there movie. So, it's really no wonder why a movie this small hits the mark better than most summer action movies with a wide scale in destruction. I think the most effective way to describe this movie is Die Hard but with Judge Dredd.
And, no, it's NOTHING like that one Stallone movie.
Once again, trying to keep things a bit simple here and to guarantee that what you'll watch is going to be something enjoyable. But Bernie goes for incredibly hard biting commentary on the life style in a small town and what was going through the mind of the person who committed an actual murder that happened in real life. Bernie mixes between this sort of faux-documentary style with actual movie story telling, but the transitions are seamless and it's engaging all the way through as it is funny. The fact that the movie can go into a true story with this sort of black comedy angle takes guts and skill; this movie has both.
So, how would a film play out where Elijah Wood plays a serial killer and the entire movie takes place in a first-person perspective in the eyes of said serial killer? If nothing else, the provocative nature of this movie is what makes it memorable but I'd go so far as to say that it's also just really, really good. Yes, the movie isn't going to be for everyone. Yes, the film is very dark, gruesome, and disturbing. But a film that's this bold and audacious plays out to be more than just a standard "slasher" movie. The movie is intimate on Elijah Wood's character while also having no problem with saying that, yeah, what he's doing is wrong.
At the same time though, it's definitely not for somebody with weak stomachs. I really liked this movie but be warned that this isn't really a fun movie to get into even if you are into this kind of stuff.
Only God Forgives
Directed by the same person behind Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn, this one is more interesting on a visual level more than anything else. I think it also might be fair to say that it's kind of indulgent as well, not in the sense that this guy just likes to see violent imagery and people getting killed in some horrific ways but in the way of how the director likes to film his movies. He's all about playing with the audience on this one with long visual cues and scenes that I'm not even sure if they really make any sense. However, I think I did like this movie even if I didn't completely understand it.
God Bless America
When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I was shocked, horrified, and even scared. A movie where a guy decides he's had enough with the sick trends and the blatant worshiping of being an anti-intellectual, so he decides to kill everyone who's a part of the problem? I mean, I agreed with the things that the main character was saying but I wasn't sure if I could handle the fact that he was going out killing people because of it.
But, after my trip to California, I feel a lot more okay about this movie than I did earlier. I think it really had a lot to do with being exposed to more reality TV than I would have like to have been(IE any reality TV at all). The movie is about as pitch black as a comedy as you can get with the movie still having a light hearted feeling to it. I guess that's about the only way you could really approach this movie without it seeming like a threat to most of humanity.
And, honestly, I think I did really like this movie.
This about the goofiest movie I've ever really seen anyone attempt. Yes, it's even more off the walls than either of the Anchorman movies. A young man wants to live out his dream as a daredevil and, as you know, hilarity ensues. But the movie goes a step further by not just having its jokes be about the main character failing spectacularly but by also having all of the characters act in all of these bizarre ways in incredibly bizarre situations.
After showing this movie to my brother, he said it was pretty stupid even though he did laugh through a lot of the movie. And yeah, this movie does seem to aim for that kind of humor, but it does so with skill. It's not a smart movie but it's smartly made and these guys know how to tell their jokes.
So, cool beans!
Robot and Frank
A man with Alzheimer's is forced to have a robot helper because his son is really worried about him. Also, this guy likes to go off and steal as a hobby. It would have been easy to just have the movie be about a guy who's showing in his years and finally finds the strong friendship with his robot pal, but the extra turnaround where Frank actually doesn't really have a clean hobby and manages to get his robot to help him out is what makes the movie a little more complex than how it could have been. This movie has the ability to show that what Frank is doing isn't right while also being able to make us care for the character as it takes you along for a heartfelt ride. It might hit a little too close to home for some people but this movie really is quite a watch.
Fat Kid Rules the World
You know what I hate about some recent movies? How they try to frame one of their characters as an outsider, outcast misfit and it just becomes absolutely stupid because they are no different than any of the other actors in the movie. Movies like the terrible Carrie remake, the terrible Amazing Spider-Man movies, and the somewhat decent The Spectacular Now all fall into this problem where we're supposed to believe that the main character or one of them is supposed to be "weird" or someone that no one would want to be around for some reason.
Fat Kid Rules the World is pretty much the antithesis of that terrible drudgery. The main character is passive, alienated, hateful towards himself and others, but he is really sympathetic throughout the whole movie. However, something happens(I'm not going to say what) that ends up with him getting dragged around by a kid who wants to start him up in a punk rock band, even though the kid doesn't know how to play anything. I was a bit disappointed by the end of the movie when it the movie takes a shift onto the kid who's dragging the main character around because he has problems of his own. I mean, they give the main character an arc on how he starts taking a more proactive role in life, but, since this is one of the few times where I actually related to character, it kind of wasn't enough for me. However, the movie is really well written and well directed.
There were a couple of other movies I wanted to talk about but I wasn't sure if they were really "good enough." The two that stick out in my mind, and are actually kind of similar in strange ways, are Cash Back and The Lifeguard. Interesting in some parts but also sort of mind boggling in how they "miss the mark" as well. Maybe you'll see me talk about them later, who knows.