Movie Review Weekly Roundup: December 26, 2021 – January 1, 2022

Highlander (1986) starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery.

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.

2036 Origin Unknown (2018)

DIRECTOR: Hasraf Dulull.
WRITERS: Gary Hall (script), Austen Atkinson (dialogue), Hasraf Dulull (story).
GENRES: Sci-Fi, Thriller, Action.
LENGTH: 1h 34min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: December 30, 2021.

The story is derivative. There are many elements in this movie that I have seen elsewhere, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, for example. Katee Sackhoff does a solid job with her acting performance despite the physical simplicity of her workspace. A majority of the movie occurs on a single production set where she spends a large portion of that time acting against computer screens and a robotic eyeball. Despite the many flaws of its simplicity, I still was entertained enough to continue watching the movie from start to finish.

Highlander (1986)

DIRECTOR: Russell Mulcahy.
WRITERS: Gregory Widen (story), Peter Bellwood, Larry Ferguson (screenplay).
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Adventure, Fantasy.
LENGTH: 1h 56min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: December 30, 2021.

There is not very much I could bring to this review that has not already been said numerous times before me. “There can be only one!” Also, there is plenty of mismatched casting. A Frenchman portrays a Scotsman. a Scotsman portrays an Egyptian, and so on. I cannot believe the irony of a poorly aged homophobic insult written into the dialogue, while the music soundtrack features numerous songs performed by Queen. The highlight of the entire movie for me is watching Clancy Brown portray the full-fledged ’80s New York City punk of a villain. He knocks the performance right out of the park. “It’s better to burn out than to fade away!”

Black Narcissus (1947)

DIRECTOR: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger.
WRITERS: Rumer Godden (book), Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger (script).
GENRES: Categories.
LENGTH: 1h 41min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: December 31, 2021.

I am subtracting a point for the use of brownface. Why is it even necessary? It is a glaring mistake, in my opinion. The rest of the movie is perfect. I loved the use of matte paintings, miniature sets, lighting design, acting performances, and so on. For those who want a fresh interpretation of the story, I would recommend the 2020 mini-series. It stars Gemma Arterton in the leading role.

Across the Universe (2007)

DIRECTOR: Julie Taymor.
WRITERS: Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (screenplay), Julie Taymor (story).
MPAA RATING: PG-13 – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Drama, Musical.
LENGTH: 2h 13min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★★ | WATCHED: December 31, 2021.

I love listening to music from The Beatles. This movie is chock full of lyrics and Easter Egg references. Periodically, I must watch this movie. And I try not to sing along too loud every time. If only Julie Taymor would do a similar project with the music from The Rolling Stones.

Title (Year)

DIRECTOR: Roger Corman, Francis Ford Coppola.
WRITERS: Leo Gordon, Jack Hill.
GENRES: Horror, Thriller, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 21min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: January 1, 2022.

Every once in a while, I will watch this gem of a movie. The final product came out rather nicely for a hodgepodge movie production involving multiple directors, re-purposed sets, and an incomplete script. It contains several elements that I appreciate: Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson, Roger Corman, and Francis Ford Coppola. Who could ask for anything more?

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