one word reviews of Movies and TV

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Simplistic Review: The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

Not one holiday has more films dedicated to it then Christmas. From "It's A Wonderful Life" to "Black Christmas" there is a Christmas film for everyone. So when a new Christmas flick comes around, it just seems like white noise, and while "The Christmas Chronicles" takes it's cues from films like "Elf" with a dash of "Adventures in Babysitting" and the cutesy CGI of "Trolls" there is something QUAINT about it.

He's played Elvis...three times, Wyatt Earp, and a cartoon dog, but seeing Kurt Russell ham it up as Santa Claus, is truly a lot of fun. Much like Tim Allen in "The Santa Clause" Russell is doing his best to put his stamp on the role of Jolly Old Saint Nick for a new generation, and it works.

Will this be a new Christmas classic? I certainly think you can put this in your holiday film rotation going forward and have a pretty good time. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Simplistic Review: The Big Lebowski

I guess this review felt slightly appropriate only because this is the only film that I can think of that features a clip of a speech from George H.W. Bush, but it also features the ICON that is The Dude in "The Big Lebowski."

Watching this film made me come up with the weird parallel that The Dude is Kuwait and his life has been invaded by Iraq who you could call either Jackie Treehorn of The Nihilists or even the real Jeffrey Lebowski. Weird, but think about it...

I remember reading a review by Rene Rodriguez from "The Miami Herald" who really bashed this film. It's always been a vivid memory of mine. But I consider this the very best that the Coen Brothers have done with the craziest cast of characters they've created. It's damn near perfect.

Friday, November 30, 2018

(Ep. 113): The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: November 2018

Don't count your turkeys before they're clucked...that's a saying, right? The Simplistic Reviews Podcast for November comes right under the wire just in time to tell you what happened to Harry Potter, explore the career and voice of Kathleen Turner, discuss the filmography of Steven Seagal and create a brand new Pokemon. The boys test the limits of reality with the return of Believable Or Bullshit. Justin reveals which classic '70s show he'll be watching next on TV Roundup. And we flip Hollywood on its head with another edition of Simplistic Switcheroo. All that and more on the award-winning Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

Hard To Kill
HPV Michael Douglas
Detective Pikachu
Michael J. Fox on Curb

Fast Times By Idols
Sun Traces By Isaac Joel
Gold Medal By Sounds Like Sander
Runaway Ghost By Travis Loafman

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Simplistic Review: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

In the cesspool of Netflix Original films, very few standout. For every, "Beasts of No Nation" you have five versions of "Tau." Sure, things have gotten a lot better in 2018, and the pinnacle for me is "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," a film very much in the vein of the BINGE culture we all know and loathe...i mean love.

Composed of six tales of the Old West from wagon trains on the Oregon Trail, bank robberies gone wrong and of course a little gold prospecting, the Coen Brothers have created some very special here and re-ignite the mythic quality of westerns, and perhaps it helps a little that the western genre is back in vogue again with the titanic success of "Red Dead Redemption II."

Plenty of classic Coen Brothers charm, gallows humor and a great cast, "Ballad" can be viewed all at once, or even as six little episodes to enjoy in bite size treats.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Simplistic Review: Game Night (2018)

Somewhere in a multiverse, or alternate dimension, every film that Jason Bateman has appeared since 2011 are somehow related. When you see a Jason Bateman movie you pretty much know what you're in for. From "Horrible Bosses" to "Bad Words" there is a certain tone and feel you get with this films, and perhaps that's what I expected from "Game Night" but this SLY little ditty kind of breaks the mold.

In those aforementioned films, there is a certain meanness and ickiness to them, but "Game Night" is light and breezy and has the always charming Rachel McAdams in one of her funniest roles in a while, if not ever.

I didn't think I would like "Game Night" but it's one of those unsung heroes from the 2018 film scene.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Simplistic Review: Suspiria (2018)

Remake, reboot, homage, inspired by, retake, re-do, call it what you will, there will always be criticism and comparisons especially when you have a film by the same name released that holds a place in group's collective heart. Here we have "Suspiria" the 2018 film "inspired" or a "homage" to the 1977 giallo classic from Dario Argento.

Luca Guadagnino creates a version of "Suspria" with so much DEPTH that its likely to alienate the old guard, but creates something new, different, and fresh that mirrors our current dark societal problems, embraces dread, and cuts through the glammed up Euro-horror of it's 1977 predecessor.

The reason so many remakes get slammed is for obvious reasons; its the idea that people are simply cashing in on a named property, ie, "Ghostbusters." But "Suspria" takes a title and while still using the same names and places, fleshes out a world that is scary, gloomy, and keeps you invested and on the edge even with it's bloated 152-minute runtime.

Word to the wise, try to divorce yourself from the Argento version and enjoy this as a film that takes cues from Miike, Von Trier, Cronenberg, Hitchock, and Aronofsky.

Monday, November 12, 2018

(Ep. 112): If Looks Could Kill - Movie Commentary: Novemeber 2018

If Looks Could Kill

1991 Action Comedy 1hr 28m

Before he can graduate, cocky high school student Michael Corben (Richard Grieco) travels to France on a school trip to earn a missing French credit. But when a British intelligence agent mistakes Michael for a spy of the same name, they rush him to headquarters and assign him to capture the evil Augustus Steranko (Roger Rees), using a plethora of espionage gadgetry. Michael has the time of his life -- until he crosses paths with two assassins (Tom Rack, Carole Davis) who want him dead.

Director: William Dear
Story by: Fred Dekker 

 Why? Because why not! Open that bottle of wine you keep thinking about and spend a lovely evening with DJ, Matt, Justin and the God that is Richard Grieco. Feast your eyes upon the Grieco and say goodbye to your family, because looks can kill!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

'Mid90s' and What the Hell Happened to Us?

Pontificating about "Mid90s" for about three weeks, considering we were a little busy on the site with Halloween reviews and all that other fun and spooky stuff, geez man, this flick is probably going to be my #1 film of 2018.

Jonah Hill brings to life a lot of things that I went through either from a FAMILY aspect, and things I might regret I did, as well as the culture of being a latch-key kid where you would leave for the day and come back when the sun went down. It was a simpler time that still had some innocence attached and the highest stakes you had to deal with is whether you were going to get beat up by the older junior high or high school kids.

20 years after I lived my "mid90s" life it makes me think, and gets me a little depressed, how dramatically the world has changed. The abundance of mass shootings, the rapid reemergence of White Nationalism, calls that everything you hear from the News and Reporters are lies and "Alternative Facts" are an accepted form of currency, and just the overall decorum of our civility with each other.

There was a time when you could leave the house on your bike or skateboard and not worry about making it home. Sure, danger exists, like Al Pacino said "...get killed walking your doggie." But I know we like to bemoan the idea of "the good old days," and I'm at a point in my life, especially after my experience with "Mid90s," where I ask "What the Hell Happened to Us?"     

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

31 Films of Halloween: Terror in the Aisles

If you want a quick EDUCATION on horror, suspense and sci-fi, you can look no farther than the original YouTube clip montage video, "Terror in the Aisles."

From "Nighthawks" to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," this pseudo-documentary with Nancy Allen and Donald Pleasance doing the talking is fun, scary and is the perfect little 82 minute clip show for the horror film novice.

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