Movie Review Weekly Roundup: June 6 – June 12, 2021

Soul (2020) is directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, starring Jamie Foxx.

The following is part of a weekly compilation of movie reviews from The Buzz Track staff. These movies were watched in the previous week, and the reviews were originally posted on Letterboxd.

Soul (2020)

DIRECTOR: Pete Docter, Kemp Powers.
WRITERS: Mike Jones, Pete Docter, Kemp Powers.
GENRES: Animation, Musical, Adventure, Comedy.
LENGTH: 1h 40min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: June 6, 2021.

This movie is such an entertaining story with beautiful animation. Some of the spiritual worlds are inspired by classic painters. Pablo Picasso comes to mind as one specific example. As with many other Disney and Pixar movies, this one hopes to engage the viewers with a moral or point of inspiration. Which in this case, it centers around the topic of one’s own purpose in life. Does it lean into the concept of predestination? Yes, it does. But the movie strives to connect on an emotional level with the evergreen question about the spark of humanity and self-fulfillment.

Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021)

DIRECTOR: Taylor Sheridan.
WRITERS: Michael Koryta, Charles Leavitt, Taylor Sheridan.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Drama, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 40min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or HBO Max.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: June 9, 2021.

I like the actors in the movie. I like the guy who directed it. But this movie seems formulaic and bland. It does not excite me or intrigue my interest from start to finish. Even the action sequences are feeling pretty tame and could not get me going. This might be one of those movies I would randomly put on the television to play as background noise while I chip away at some other work around the home.

Where Eagles Dare (1968)

DIRECTOR: Brian G. Hutton.
WRITERS: Alistair MacLean.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Adventure, War.
LENGTH: 2h 38min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: June 11, 2021.

The story and action are okay. The runtime is too long, and Richard Burton’s character talks too much. I need less gabby Burton and more grimacing Eastwood, please. And what is the deal with the choice of film stock and color processing? It looks dark and mushy with a limited color palette. Hopefully, this issue can be attributed to a bad film-to-video transfer that I was watching.

Pinocchio (2019)

DIRECTOR: Matteo Garrone.
WRITERS: Matteo Garrone and Massimo Ceccherini (script), Carlo Collodi (book).
GENRES: Drama, Family, Fantasy.
LENGTH: 2h 5min.
LANGUAGE: Italian.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: June 12, 2021.

The computer-generated effects in this movie creeped me out. The wooden skin of Pinocchio is photo-realistic, but the facial expressions are also believably human that it does not blend well with the perceived rigid texture of his skin. Then the creepy realism carries on to the other supporting characters and figures appearing on screen. The extremely depressed tuna fish with a human-like face swimming around in the stomach of a shark (“whale”) is fuel for childhood nightmares. I applaud the attempt by the production crew in creating a beautiful rendition of Pinocchio’s world, but it’s just too creepy scary, and I would not want to show it to any young kids.

Land (2021)

DIRECTOR: Robin Wright.
WRITERS: Jesse Chatham, Erin Dignam.
GENRES: Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 29min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: June 12, 2021.

The movie is visually beautiful with the scenic shots of Wyoming’s mountains. The story is mediocre. A middle-aged woman moves out to a rural area to live out the remainder of her days alone after tragically losing her loved ones. Almost the entire first act of the movie is just her reacting to the crazy elements in her new lifestyle. I decided to watch all the way through to the end of the movie mainly for the beautiful photography more than the story itself.

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