Archive for January, 2020

Movie Mayhem – The Turning

The Turning — 2020; Directed by Floria Sigismondi; Starring Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklynn Prince, Barbara Marten and Joely Richardson

Wait. What? Um… huh? Is that it? Wait. Huh?

This is what I felt as the end credits scrolled across the screen of The Turning, the new psychological thriller/horror movie that spends plenty of time building up the odd, sometimes creepy relationships between its characters, just starts to get interesting (and a little weird — in a good way), and then abruptly ends as if the filmmakers forgot to put the last ten minutes on the reel. The more I try to put the pieces together, the more confused I am about what actually happened — and whether there was actually some clever twist at the end or if the writers just didn’t know where they wanted to go with it.

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Movie Mayhem – Dolittle

Dolittle — 2020; Directed by Stephen Gaghan; Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Harry Collett, Michael Sheen, Antonio Banderes and the voices of Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spenser, Tom Holland and Craig Robinson

Is there anything worse than a fantasy-adventure movie that has all the right pieces but absolutely no adventurous spirit? That is how I felt watching Dolittle, Robert Downey, Jr.’s first post-Iron-Man gig that feels so confused about itself, it plays like a set of short vignettes from other, better adventure stories that are being recreated by a group of juvenile actors who at no time are aware of what any other actor is doing, even within the same scene. It’s like the blind directing the blind — everyone can hear what’s being said, but the visual interpretation is all scattered across the universe.

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Movie Mayhem – Underwater

Underwater — 2020; Directed by William Eubank; Starring Kristen Stuart, Jessica Henwick, Vincent Cassel, John Gallagher, Jr., Mamoudou Athie and T.J. Miller

Underwater begins with a somber contemplation of living several miles below sea level. Kristen Stuart, in her usual worn, uninterested — bordering on haughty — gaze discusses how time can be deceiving; you can never be sure if something is real or a dream. Within a couple of minutes, noises filter throughout the locker room where Stuart’s character, Norah, is getting dressed for her shift. She forgoes putting on shoes to investigate only to come face-to-face with an unexpected leak. From then on, the movie becomes a full-steam ahead disaster flick without ever returning to the idea of dreams versus reality.

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Movie Mayhem – The Best and Worst Movies of 2019

Well, the decade is coming to a close, and with it come the end of two major eras in cinema history. Though Disney has no plans to end the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the Star Wars saga anytime soon, 2019 brought an end to what’s been dubbed “The Skywalker Saga” as well as bringing 22 interconnected comic book movies to a loving crescendo.

Including these spectacular milestones, I once again saw 125 movies in the cineplex this year, 64 of which scored an A- or higher. The movies listed as part of my best and worst lists do not include any films that premiered on a streaming service, and are only based on those movies I saw between January 1 and December 31, 2019. Now without further adieu, here are my picks for the top ten best and top five worst movies of 2019.

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