In light of the recent blow to my free time I’ve suffered at the hands of my new job, I’ve decided to make use of a slightly more concise format for the occasional review. The micro-review format has worked well for many of my blogging comrades (Committed to Celluloid’s Flash Reviews, The Focused Filmographer’s Mini Reviews, The Filmster and Terry’ Malloy’s Pigeon Coop‘s Quickies), and as I’d rather post a short review than none at all it’s likely that you’ll be seeing many more Get To The Point reviews in the next few months.
It takes a special kind of movie to bring actual tears to my eyes, and usually that special kind of movie comes around once a year. Last year, it was The Perks of Being a Wallflower that finally beat my tear ducts into submission. This year, the floodgates were broken and shattered by this emotional bombshell. Fruitvale Station is a very simple film with a message that is anything but. Its 85 minute run time is one of the shortest of any major release this year, but every second of those 85 minutes contributes to the great build-up to the spectacular, gut-wrenching fall that will leave any audience members who aren’t sociopaths in a state of intense emotional turmoil. The recency and relative obscurity of the true story behind the film (compare the number of people who recognize the name of Oscar Grant to the number of people who recognize the name Trayvon Martin) heightens the movie’s impact even further, with the final footage of Oscar’s real life daughter standing as one of the most upsetting images I’ve ever seen in a film. If Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer don’t get Oscar nominations for this, the system is truly broken.
The Verdict: 9.0/10 – Incredible
+ Incredible performances from the whole cast, particularly from Jordan and Spencer
+ A strong focus on human injustice rather than just Spike Lee style racial tension
+ The real life story magnifies the emotional impact beyond the usual bounds of fiction
– This movie will make you angry; if that’s not what you want, then this isn’t for you
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
The Code is Zeek: 5/5
Fast Film Reviews: 4.5/5
The Cinematic Katzenjammer: 8.9/10
Dan the Man Movie Reviews: 8.5/10
The Average: 9.2/10 – Incredible (Highest of the year so far)
With the sheer amount of disappointments 2013 has offered us so far (A Good Day to Die Hard, After Earth, The Lone Ranger), it’s logical to assume that Newton’s Third Law of Cinema would create an equal and opposite reaction in the form of surprisingly great movies that should have been terrible. Out of every movie I’ve seen in theaters so far this year, I can’t think of a single one which I have looked forward to less and enjoyed more. Based on its marketing, You’re Next looks like a carbon copy of every other lame “They’re inside the house!” horror movie made in the past twenty years. For the first twenty or minutes or so, it seems like that is indeed the case; a group of poorly acted twenty-somethings (and their parents this time) all gather in a slightly-larger-than-usual cabin in the woods before they are slowly picked off by silent, faceless killers. Once the second act rolls around, however, things take a turn for the awesome and the “F*ck Yeah!” per minute ratio shoots off of the charts. Not only does the movie ferociously buck the trend of predictability that makes the horror genre such a critical punching bag, but it also offers up the best horror protagonist I’ve seen since in the past few years. The sense of humor is extremely dark and the occasional self-referential cheesiness will probably fall flat on mainstream audiences, but it hit a bulls-eye for yours truly. Sure, it’s not going to dethrone Evil Dead 2, Cabin in the Woods or Shaun of the Dead as one of my favorite horror comedies of all time, but that it even comes close is more than respectable.
The Verdict: 8.0/10 – Pretty Damn Great
+ A surprisingly unpredictable plot that sets it aside from horror norms
+ An intelligent and surprisingly deadly main character who is loads of fun to root for
+ An insanely dark sense of humor that will hit home for most horror-comedy fans
– A fairly typical first act that you’ll have to get through to get to the good stuff
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
The Cinematic Katzenjammer: 9.0/10
Dan the Man Movie Reviews: 8.5/10
The Code is Zeek: 3.5/5
Average: 8.1/10 – Pretty Damn Great