Movie Review Weekly Roundup: August 1 – August 7, 2021

Jungle Cruise (2021) is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

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.

Jungle Cruise (2021)

DIRECTOR: Jaume Collet-Serra.
WRITERS: Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra, John Requa.
GENRES: Action, Adventure, Comedy.
LENGTH: 2h 7min.
LANGUAGE: English, German, Spanish.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Disney Plus.
STAR-SCORE | WATCHED: August 1, 2021.

Who would ever guess Disney could blend Metallica, the WWE, punny jokes, and an assistant to the devil who wears Prada all together into one movie? The musical refrain from Metallica’s ballad “Nothing Else Matters” is clearly sampled during the opening credits and then again later during an expository scene. I kept wanting to hear James Hetfield break out singing the lyrics to the band’s hit single. I was thrilled they utilized electric guitars and drums for its second music cue in the movie. Upon reflection, knowing the specific song being utilized here, I would view it as a potential spoiler for the backstory of a major character. I truly enjoyed the movie.

American Traitor: The Trial of Axis Sally (2021)

DIRECTOR: Michael Polish.
WRITERS: Darryl Hicks, & Michael Polish (script), William E. Owen & Vance Owen (book).
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Historical Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 49min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: August 2, 2021.

The movie feels a bit bland and unmotivated. The only element of it I really enjoyed was Al Pacino’s character as the court-appointed lawyer. But even then, it was just a little gold star posted on this mediocre output of another Hollywood production.

Here Are The Young Men (2020)

DIRECTOR: Eoin Macken.
WRITERS: Eoin Macken (screenplay), Rob Doyle (novel).
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 36min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: August 3, 2021.

Meh. Save yourself some time by watching Trainspotting instead of this movie. Unless you are a fan of Anya Taylor-Joy, then you could go ahead and watch this one. It is an okay drama about young adult males who are not completely sure what they want out of life as they mature into the next stage of their life.

The Long Goodbye (1973)

DIRECTOR: Robert Altman.
WRITERS: Leigh Brackett (screenplay), Raymond Chandler (book).
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Crime, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 52min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: August 4, 2021.

The movie has the dark style of a 40’s film noir and the grittiness of a ’70s cop movie. I loved it. Elliot Gould smokes like a coal-burning locomotive and mumbles his way through conversations like a person who is a few notches away from total burnout. The dialogue in the movie is delivered with a realistically casual conversational style, which is always a notable feature of a Robert Altman film. It is great to see a new take on the Philip Marlowe character. This one is more dirty and messy compared to Humphrey Bogart’s clean-cut and witty version. I love both performance versions of the character and cannot place one any higher than the other.

The Lady in the Van (2015)

DIRECTOR: Nicholas Hytner.
WRITERS: Alan Bennett.
GENRES: Biography, Drama, Comedy.
LENGTH: 1h 44min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: August 5, 2021.

This movie is a pleasant little semi-autobiographical story, based upon a published memoir written by actor and playwright Alan Bennett. I enjoyed the movie, which I would describe as a quaint and endearing story. I might watch it again at some point in the future. It has a tiny spark of charm to it that could entice me for a second viewing.

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Deep Ones (2020)

DIRECTOR: Chad Ferrin.
WRITERS: Chad Ferrin (screenplay), H.P. Lovecraft (writings).
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Horror, Science Fiction.
LENGTH: 1h 23min.
LANGUAGE: English, Finnish, Swiss German.
★☆☆☆☆ | WATCHED: August 7, 2021.

I guess my low expectations were a bit too high for this one. I was hoping for a cheeseball, low-budget exploitation movie. Instead, it turns out to be an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills where the main cast joins an occult in Los Angeles and spawns alien babies. It is only Lovecraftian in the sense that it contains crazy-looking alien figures who appear to have emerged from the deepest of ocean waters. And that is about all. I should seriously go back and read as many of H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories where I might get a bit more enjoyment and entertainment from his horrific tall tales of fantastical creatures.

Out of Death (2021)

DIRECTOR: Mike Burns.
WRITERS: Bill Lawrence.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Crime, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 35min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: August 7, 2021.

I was expecting absolute garbage for a straight-to-home video release starring an aging Bruce Willis, clearly past his prime. It turns out to be a better story than I was expecting. The story is simple, straightforward, and is not jam-packed with heavy-handed thrills. It is the perfect antithesis to the blockbuster action films filling up the cinema marquee these days. I liked it and will be guilt-free to watch it a second time.

Boogie (2021)

DIRECTOR: Eddie Huang.
WRITERS: Eddie Huang.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Drama, Sport.
LENGTH: 1h 30min.
LANGUAGE: English, Mandarin.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: August 7, 2021.

It is good while it lasts. Am I right? This movie is loosely based upon the real-life experience of its creator, Eddie Huang. The production format comes across as an episode from a television show geared towards young adults and could air on The CW network. Ahem. I am referring to you, All American. I still enjoyed the movie. It is simple. Yet also it is straightforward and well-intended. There are a couple of moments when the dialogue had me rolling my eyes at the absurdity. But it really did not set me back from appreciating the story.

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