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March 27, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Us

There’s a lot to unpack in “Us.” But I’ll keep it…simple

Does it have the same affect that “Get Out” created in 2017? I don’t think so. Did Jordan Peele create another socio-political horror film about how the poor are marginalized and cast away while we as an American society put on a happy face even though, deep down inside, we’re ashamed of the unabashed consumers that we’ve become while living a soulless existence? I think that’s a little more accurate.

“Us” is a nice SWITCHAROO for an audience that thought they were going to see “Get Out 2: Electric Rod-a-roo.”

Sure, there’s plenty of commentary to sink your teeth into, but drilling down this is a film that is part “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” part “Dawn of the Dead” and part “The Strangers,” all while shaking up the tired horror cliche by subbing out your typical white family in danger with a black family, and making a very strong point.

Which is…

Why have horror films always just settled for white actors to be the stars horror films while marginalizing black actors to the roles of “the first to die” or “the sage-like advice giver?” Peele is making a statement that a lot of white folks probably aren’t ready for; get ready to be the new “first to die” in the horror genre.

March 22, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

I think I like being the guy that checks out movies anywhere between 3-6 years after they come out and are heaped praise by any and all movie critics; I’m TARDY if you will. But gee golly did I enjoy “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

Oscar Issac is fun playing the down-on-his-luck, struggling folk singer in 1960s New York, where he is always just one step behind. Of course, I don’t know the plight of folk singers in the 60s around the Greenwich Village neighborhood in Manhattan, but I can imagine the bohemian lifestyle.

What the Coen Brothers do here that is so special is that while there is a ton of music, and great music at that, it shows a stark contrast to what life is like when you come off the stage. Infidelity, unwanted pregnancies, lost cats, hanging out with dope fiends, and of course getting punched in the face by the husband of the person you heckled on stage.

As as whole, “Davis” is great, but man, it’s pitch black comedy, but what else would you expect from the Coens.

March 20, 2019

A Simplistic Review: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

It took me a long time to like “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” And honestly, to this day, I prefer the remake from 2003. I know that probably hurts my horror film credentials, but shoot, I also prefer the remake for “The Hills Have Eyes” as well as the remake for “It” and a few other films that are simply better made films, at least aesthetically

1974’s “Chain Saw” is grimy, ugly, grim, but digging down created a SYSTEM for early slasher films to thrive and made people uncomfortable and was seen as pornography that was ruining society, which I can always get behind.

Perhaps watching the original “Chain Saw” with the wisdom of Joe Bob Briggs and “The Last Drive-In” helped re-open my eyes to how much this film changed the landscape of the genre and created the actual “Formula” that predates other proto-slashers like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th.”

Tobe Hooper created a nightmare landscape with some of the most memorable cannibals you’ve ever seen along a lonely, dust road in central Texas that is forever the stuff of legends.

March 11, 2019

A Special Guest Simplistic Review: Captain Marvel

Who knows you better than your best BUDDY? The ‘Other Cap’ felt like a love letter to your BFF. Which is exactly why I loved and needed Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau as a real life contrast to Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers’ wonderful but very “literal” girl power. 
Maria is what I want more of – a strong, single mother that kicks ass, flies planes and does some “simple physics”. Because to paraphrase a book I’m reading, “sometimes men want a sticker just for treating a woman like a human being.” I want to see more diverse women as equal human beings.
In “the other ladies who kick ass” category, Annette Benning and Gemma Chan do a fun job in their supporting roles.
Seeing the origins of Nick Fury, Agent Coulson and other origin Easter Eggs are also fun little nuggets.
But beware; If you troll this film just to bring down the ratings without any legitimate criticism – F**K your fragile ego. We may fall down, and hopefully first weekend numbers prove otherwise, but we will get up again and again. 
Besides the slowish start and “dance” fights – this is a solid Marvel origin story and introduction to the ‘Endgame’. 
March 3, 2019

A Simplistic Re-Review: Get Out

There’s nothing like a PUNCH in the face to wake someone up; or at least break their nose, knock out some teeth, and leave a long and personal impression. That’s what “Get Out” did just about two years ago.

It take a special person to create a film that makes everyone in the audience uneasy. “Get Out” shines a light and makes white people squirm while at the same time showing the black audience that their paranoia isn’t entirely all unfounded.

Director/Writer Jordan Peele created one of the best horror films in the last 25 years in my opinion, and it isn’t even close. The re-watchability is high as well where you can really dissect the dread of what is coming and showing this to someone who hasn’t seen it while you wait for their reaction(s) is golden.

March 1, 2019

(Ep. 117): Mystery Movie – Movie Commentary: March 2019

Today we try something new, something mysterious, something crazy! DJ and Justin watch a movie like they did so many times before. But this time it’s different. This time Justin carefully selected from the Simplistic Reviews ever growing library of shitty movies, a film DJ has never seen nor heard of.

And that’s not all. This time DJ has no idea what he will be watching, he knows nothing, just like you!

So join DJ as he is only aware of recording a movie commentary…not what movie…but…a mystery movie!

February 11, 2019

A Simplistic Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

As the kids would say; “‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ brought me here.” I’m almost positive that I’ve seen “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” be suggested to me on Netflix time and time again, but I always turned my nose up at it.

These types of films just aren’t my horror cup of tea. Not that it scares me, I just don’t care for the supernatural, scary, maybe witch, girl, who terrorizes people. Just not my jam.

But after finally giving it a chance, and despite it being just “meh” Guillermo del Toro made the CORRECT choice in choosing director, André Øvredal, to helm one of my most anticipated films in “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.”

Øvredal knows how to build suspense and you might even say that “Jane Doe” is a story cut right from “Scary Stories.” The dude has some chops and I’m looking forward, and hoping, that he doesn’t, like the adults say; “ruin my childhood.”

February 7, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Velvet Buzzsaw

Say what you will about “Velvet Buzzsaw” but the opinion will simply be in the eye of the BEHOLDER.

Much like art, whether you dig this flick will all depend on what you’re looking for, and the more I think and dwell on “Buzzsaw” I find a lot in common with modern film criticism. It’s annoying, needy, whiny, overly complicated and needless more often than not. Of course I’m skewering myself as well, but I can take my own joke and realize what kind of hypocrite I am.

Being one of like five people in the whole world that actually likes “Art School Confidential” I liken “Buzzsaw” a fun little companion piece where John Malkovich is somehow playing the same character in both and it’s wonderful.

January 23, 2019

A Simplistic Review: I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

I’m kind of in a weird spot with this review. It’s just after Martin Luther King Day and just about a week before Black History Month, but after watching “I Am Not Your Negro” it took me some time to PROCESS.

As a White, Jewish Male, there isn’t a lot for me to bring to a discussion about the mistreatment of minorities and the injustice and abuse they have all endured for over 700 years when White Europeans decided they were going to sail to a “New World” and for all intensive purposes commit genocide and kick off White Supremacy.

I feel bad I’ve not know much about James Baldwin up to this point in my life. He settled as a background guy for the likes of titans; Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Lorraine Hansberry, and Dr. King. He’s also the witness for their lives being cut short while being the interest of the FBI and living as minority within a minority.

Baldwin took the best of Lorraine, Malcolm, Martin and Medgar and created his own brand of resistance that more seem to be discovering as we are slowly degenerating back into the 1950s and 60s and fighting for a new generation’s Civil Rights.

In short, “I Am Not Your Negro” is required viewing about an unsung hero who I sadly know too little about.

January 17, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Eighth Grade

It’s hard not to CRINGE at “Eight Grade.” It’s everything you would expect a film about middle to be. Awkward, bittersweet, stomach-churning, and all together relatable.

Considering I’m about 20 years removed from middle school, I remember it being a little unbearable, but a lot has changed in 20 years and perhaps I don’t find enough to connect with in “Eighth Grade” but I admire it’s zeal for portraying the “modern” kid growing up in a technological and “me-me-me” society.

Maybe I’m sure more of a “Welcome to the Dollhouse” type of guy, but I’m also a weirdo who likes really dark shit…

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