Always be My Maybe (Nahnatchka Khan – 2019) B-

A fun little find this one. A love story, likable characters (Ali Wong and Randall Park) and a real over the top and silly performance by one Keanu Reeves playing himself.

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Bad Times at the El Royale (Drew Goddard – 2018) B+

There is a type of movie that I really enjoy. A group of strangers stuck, for whatever reason, in a place. Maybe they are there for different reasons or the same reason or it’s a big explosive coincidence. The process of discovery as we learn why each is there, who is good or bad, maybe they are all horrible people, …is usually if done well a lot of fun. This one is done well and is that type of film. Our characters are all in this old hotel on the CA/NV border, so on the border that it has a line cut through it where you can stay in either state when you check in. The plot can be described as a bit slow but it held my attention due to the excellent set designs, confident story telling and really good performances by the likes of Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson and a really fun turn by Chris Hemsworth.

Homicide (David Mamet – 1991) B-

I randomly searched for David Mamet on the Criterion Collection app and started watching this. It mostly works for me as a portrait of a cop (played very well by Joe Mantegna) who seemingly does not know where he fits and what his purpose is. We follow him as he catches a run of the mill convenience store shooting that turns into a much bigger very personal case that tests his ethics, sense of self and responsibility. I did not get that trademark Mamet feel from this one though especially the fast stilted artificial (in a good way) dialogue. You see glimpses of it I suppose but I wanted more.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Chad Stahelski – 2017) B+

He’s back and it’s still fun. I saw this pretty much back to back after the first one. It’s a similar formula but digs a bit deeper into the world of Wick and the assassins “community”. We learn a little bit how things work in this crazy over the top world and about the cool Continental Hotel. Yes, we also have excellent choreography and over the top violence filmed well. We even see how he dispatches three men with one pencil!

John Wick (Chad Stahelski – 2014) B

I caught up with this franchise finally. It’s a well choreographed violent action movie. His, Wick’s played by the cool Keanu Reeves, wife is dead then they kill his damn puppy and steel his muscle car, these Russian criminals. They just did not know they are fucking with THE John Wick. Apparently everyone knows this crazy skilled assassin as we are constantly reminded, that he sows terror in the hearts of his targets, that he once killed three men with a pencil….yes, fun.

Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman – 1975) A-

A mouthful of a movie title and it is a wonder to watch if one is into watching long, meticulously scripted, low on plot (very low on plot) art house flicks. Due to its construction, it is easy to divide up into a couple of watching sessions. It chronicles a few days, and labels them, Day 2, Day 3 of the titular character. Living at this address in Brussels, it seems like a nice neighborhood and a decent place to live. She is a widow with a son in high school (or maybe college). That’s about it. We watch her doing chores, all her chores, in real time practically. She cooks, she shops for groceries, she cleans, she polishes her son’s shoes, she has sex every so often for money…She does have a few conversations with that son and they do go on walks every evening to somewhere. The conversations do not matter at all, they say nothing. We are here simply to observe. This is the ultimate dreary exercise in voyeurism on one hand and an unpolished look at a woman’s slice of life. It really lulled me into keeping up with it, appreciating the craft of the long single scripted takes until the shocking finale that came out of nowhere. This is one of those films that are certainly not everyone’s cup of tea but it worked very well for me.

Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer – 2018) B+

It’s the music, some of the music, that I sort of grew up with. I forgot how much Queen I listened to in high school. Those final 20 minutes as well were so darn good. Technically amazing and the performance of Rami Malek was excellent. Other than that it is a by the numbers movie, one that I quiet liked.