I watched a few movies on my flights to the States in January and back to Korea in February. Thought I'd post a few thoughts on them.
This one was more or less what you'd expect. Crime in New York City. Shaft's the bad motherfucker who knows what's going on, and can set things right. I did like the bits where they showed (SLJ) Shaft to be a terrible father, and (RR) Shaft to still have it at 80 years old. A predictable character arc for grandson Shaft, though, nothing surprising about that at all. An enjoyable enough popcorn flick for a slow weekend or rainy afternoon. Nothing to write home about.
I saw this in Korean but with Japanese subtitles (I flew Japan Airlines). Luckily I now speak enough Korean and my Japanese reading ability hasn't degraded enough that I could follow it. I thought it was an interesting critique of late-stage capitalism and Korean culture, and I understand why it won so many awards. It's an interesting movie with interesting characters, conflicting motivations, and a theme that resonates without being preachy (because ALL the characters are assholes). The final act was a bit of a mess, but one I liked. Definitely worth seeing. I'll try to watch it again some day with English subtitles because I probably missed a detail or two.
Hmm, still not sure how I feel about this movie. I'd had some bits of it spoiled by my students last semester, and a few of the twists were things I guessed a mile away (the dates for example). It sets up a lot of questions, and I guess the ending is supposed to leave you questioning. But honestly, when it was over, I wasn't interested in trying to work out the answers because they didn't matter. I guess it's hard to take a character like The Joker and try to give them an origin story that makes them sympathetic to the audience and KEEP it that way. I was sympathetic to him in the first act or so, but was not by the end. Everyone's pretty much seen this one anyway, but if they hadn't, I'm not sure I'd really recommend it.
Terminator: Dark Fate
So anything involving time travel opens itself up to exploration of multiple timelines. This movie tries to answer the question "what would have happened if the Terminator had killed John Connor?" Oh, sorry, that's a spoiler. The answer is, "In order to make more Terminator movies, his life or death really was insignificant." OK, so the AI making terminators is no longer Skynet, but the robots are pretty much the same. Hollywood milking a property for more money. Just rewatch T1, T2, and the Sarah Connor Chronicles if you want a good Terminator property. Or if you're running a Terminator based RPG, you might want to watch this to mine some ideas. Otherwise, not really worth it. It's again mostly fan service callbacks to the good Terminator movies.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
This one was interesting. I found myself enjoying it, even though it's a bit more like a Coen Brothers film in feel than a Tarrantino film. The story is basically reveling in all things 60's Hollywood, slightly alt-historical, and in the end a story with very little purpose other than to say "Hey, wouldn't it have been cool if this had happened instead of what really happened?" It lacked the snappy dialogue that made Quentin famous, it was too long, but in the end it was fun to watch. I found myself caring about Rick and Cliff by the end, although not really caring one way or the other about Sharon, which was a let-down since the movie is really about her. Far from Tarrantino's best, but not his worst, either.
I'm not regretting the time spent watching any of these movies, but I'm also not regretting that I didn't go see any of them on the big screen. Yeah, some critically acclaimed, some award winning. None were bad (Terminator came close, but was just interesting enough a premise to save itself from falling squarely in the bad category) but other than Parasite (which does have some problems) none were squarely in the good category, either.
10 hours ago