Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 93 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

Yeah, I'm late catching up on this.  I figured a Sunday matinee near the end of the movie's run would result in a quiet show.  Nope.  Nearly a sellout.  Loads of little kids.  And they seemed to like it.  Me, not so much.

The main character, Arlo, isn't very likable until the end of the movie, when everything is wrapped up in a warm and fuzzy.  But getting to that point isn't all that interesting and seriously lacks Pixar's usual cleverness.  The animation wasn't up to snuff either.  The scenery was well done, but the characters weren't.  The dinosaurs in Disney's "Dinosaur" from 2000 looked better.

Really felt like a phoned-in effort.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Joy (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 124 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

Supposedly loosely based on the story of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano, this is...well...the story of Joy Mangano.  Except the Mangano family members are all only referred to (and credited) by their first name and the mop is never referred to as the Miracle Mop.  Was there a rights issue here?  Is Mangano getting screwed?  Given the focus of this story, that'd be ironic.

Anyway, the big problem is the whole thing is wrapped up way too quickly.  Which honestly is probably for the better, but you still feel a little cheated.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Rated: R - Runtime: 187 min (70mm roadshow version)
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

I saw the 70mm roadshow version on a multiplex screen that had no business whatsoever projecting 70mm film.  That was literally a novelty experience.

I'm not exactly an expert on westerns, though my grandmother made sure I saw my share (even if they were edited for television versions). My favorite is "Once Upon a Time in the West". Years ago, I wrote an Amazon review where I said "If Quentin Tarantino made a western, this would be it. Same music, same actors, same shots, same script."

So here we are, and Tarantino has his western, and it's certainly not "Once Upon a Time in the West". But it is a fun and unpredictable watch. There's no clear hero. You really have no idea who will be left standing in the end. The music that sets the tension when the action starts picking up is really well done. And dropping Crystal Gayle's "Ready for the Times to Get Better" onto the intermission trail is classic Tarantino. I'd completely forgotten about that song and wanted to go out and buy a copy immediately.

The movie is not without its flaws, unless Wyoming had assembled a Department of Transportation in that era and plowed stagecoach paths.