Tag Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: AMERICAN MADE

Yes, we know Tom Cruise is a fucking psychopath with that Scientology bullshit and all the crap he has done in the past to have been extremely off putting in his public life since 2005. But ladies and gentlemen, you cannot deny that he is one hell of an actor that you can rely each and every movie on. The guys brings his A+ game to every film that he does. Every single film. Even the fucking new Mummy movie. He feels like he wants to be there, he does his own stunts, he is just an incredible actor. And he in incredible in my favorite movie of the weekend by far, AMERICAN MADE. In fact, I am willing to bet that the movie wouldn’t have worked as well as it did without Cruise.

Well, I sort of take that back, because the story in this is one hell of an awesome tale, an extremely entertaining two hours. It plays off the whole narration way of telling movies, where we have the main character speaking almost the entire film, a la Wolf of Wall Street, Goodfellas, Casino, and it completely works. I love narration movies. I’m a sucker for them as much as I’m a sucker for repeat a certain amount of time/day movies (yes, I can’t wait for Happy Death Day). Sorry off topic. The movie is about a pilot named Barry Seal, who worked for the CIA, and after smuggling drugs for the Medellin Cartel on the side, became an informant for the DEA. This guy got away with so much shit it was astonishing how much of the story was actually true.

The movie is fast paced, and quick, even for two hours. The time flies by with how much electricity this film shocks into your theater going experience. The direction is perfect, loved the aerial plane shots. The supporting acting is also perfect, with Domnahall Gleeson showing that he is destined to eventually become a star. I also loved that the film didn’t give us a Tom Cruise Hollywood ending and took a chance (even though I realize they were just retelling what really happened but you never know, I just expect a Tom Cruise kind of ending when I see a Tom Cruise movie).

But yeah, it is a shame a lot of you will not see this because you think Tom Cruise is crazy and hate his guts. But it isn’t like he is a murderer, or child molestor, or forcefully packs fudge, or something truly unforgivable. He is just in a hokey religion that is a little obsessed with control. This is where you need to separate the actor, his personal life, and his craft. If you do that, you are more likely to have a better time with this. Because this film deserves to be seen. It is that well made, and makes for a great time at the movies. Cruise to your local theater and give this a chance. I beg you. I won’t beg you by jumping on a couch but I will normal human being non Vishnu beg you.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BATTLE OF THE SEXES

Emma Stone will for sure get a Oscar nomination for BATTLE OF THE SEXES. She is quite brilliant in it. However, something about the movie was off for me where I quite can’t recommend it as the best version of the Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs tennis match that was so much more than a match. It was probably because the movie tried to focus on another big issue in King’s life than the actual match and what it meant for women around the world, where it feels like two separate movies crammed into one. This power struggle of storytelling gets in the way of showing a little more of Bobby Rigg’s life up to the match and relegates a lot of his antics to montages that should’ve been their own longer scenes. I was really hoping to love this movie and proclaim it a masterpiece, instead, it’s watchable, but I know it could’ve been so much better.

Why could’ve there have been a separate film about the life of Billie Jean King, her struggles with homosexuality, her life after the world found out, could’ve made a great biopic film. With maybe a couple of minutes with this sliced into it. Heck, they could’ve focused on events surrounding this tennis match for this film, and hire Emma Stone again to do a complete biopic tale of King. But the fact that they try to do two movies in one, just makes everything feel…well bloated. The focus on getting ready for the actual tennis match, and the match itself starts in the last 30 minutes of the movie, and the movie is two hours long.

Not that there was anything wrong with the Billie Jean King discovering her sexuality part. It was handled well and acted with perfection, I just thought tonally it was in the wrong movie and should’ve been on its own. I think that because of this storyline being in there it kind of gave the shaft to Steve Carrell and his portrayal of Bobby Riggs. I went into the movie wanting to know more about Riggs, and had questions, and I left the theater with not one question answered. I thought the movie would give equal time to both players, but nope, I felt Carrell wasn’t in the movie all that much. He was even short changed in the epilogue I thought as well. So I thought the something missing from this movie, was Bobby Riggs, even though the Battle of the Sexes match was supposed to be 50% about him.

You could argue that discovering her homosexuality fit in the storyline with women’s lib and the pursuit of equality. I thought the scenes of her basically quitting the tennis league because they were paying men more than they were woman completely belonged and worked in this film, When it which to her realizing she was a lesbian, it just felt tonally off. Like I was watching a biopic of just her, and not of the tennis match that defined a generation and not digging into the persona of Bobby Riggs. Also, the final match wasn’t shot too terribly exciting. Instead of doing some great sports shots directors have been known to get in these films, I felt bored and that I was just watching it on television. Nothing inspiring.

So in essence, two decent short films, but combining them, a feature with a lot of narrative problems. Incredible acting, directing, and the film had that great 70s feel where it feels like it was shot on film. It’s a decent one time Netflix watch, but not the film that it should’ve been. It should’ve been one of the films for feminism to watch, study, and celebrate. Instead, it will be lost in the queue, with other films more than deservedly being remembered for it in its place.


Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: VICTORIA & ABDUL

I vote Victoria & Abdul the most charming movie of 2017. I’m not saying it is one of the best, I’m saying it is one of those royalty/period piece movies that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it is quite funny, and has a lot of rewatchable value. Thank of The Prince & Me or Ever After: A Cinderella Story. If you’ve seen and love those you know exactly what I am talking about. The movie marketing company has kind of undersold this film. It is quite fun and while has some serious issues, isn’t the snooze fest anti-climatic drama you are probably thinking it is. Judi Dench at this point can act out of a paper bag, and I think she gives one of her finest performances here too, and gets to cut a little loose at the same time.

The movie is based on the real life acquaintance between Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her Indian muslim servant Abdul. He goes to India with a companion to deliver this ceremonial coin the the Queen, and when he gives her this coin, he looks at her when he isn’t supposed to, and the Queen gets curious. They become fast friends and she gives him a lot of responsibilities and the other English staff (especially the Queen’s son) doesn’t like what is going on too much. Basically their friendship has to overcome all of these outside hardships. It is a quick hour and 40 minutes of their charming time together.

Like I said, Judi Dench is always great, and will always be great, and this film is no exception. The gentleman who plays Abdul, Ali Fazal, is great as well. And if it weren’t for the chemistry between these two actors, the film wouldn’t have worked at all. Everything else about this film is quite good. The direction, the cinematography of the castle and the land around it. The acting from all the supporting players and the staff that doesn’t like what is going on is great as well. The film is a lot funnier than you think it would be. And it knows when to switch tones when everything needs to be a little more dramatic.

The film isn’t perfect. The narrative is a little clunky and the message is a little frayed when trying to get its meaning across. But this film has a ton of rewatch value. I was surprised how much a liked it. If you like these period piece movies, and maybe even the ones with a little more flair, humor, and fun, you’ll really like it too. Don’t go in expecting Pride & Prejudice, but something more akin to Ever After.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: STRONGER

STRONGER features a different side to the Boston Marathon bombing than was featured in the film Patriot’s Day. Instead of the event and the hunting of the bombers, we have the inspiring story of Jeff Bauman, a man that was right by one of the bombs, ended up losing both of his legs in the blast. Here, he is portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaul in another powerful performance that begs the question, “why in the hell hasn’t Gyllenhaul won an Oscar yet?” HE is honestly going to be the new Leo DiCaprio in about 10 to 15 years, where he’ll end up winning one for a performance that is still strong, but less than his previous work.

The movie itself is very decent, although for me there was a little something missing, and I can’t quite figure out what it is. Maybe it is the fact that I didn’t like Jeff Bauman for most of the film, considering him very lazy and too privileged, and only after losing almost everything other than his legs he starts to get his ass into gear. I thought that the story of his ex girlfriend Erin, played fantastically by Tatiana Maslany, was the more inspiring story, on how long she had to put up with his ass acting the way he was. Maybe I was a little bored throughout the movie, and it was just that the story didn’t uplift me as it was probably supposed to.

So although it is a good movie, very good in fact, I wish it was more. But if it was, I have a feeling the movie wouldn’t be as real, as I’m told that the real Jeff Bauman saw the movie and said it was pretty damn accurate. I am glad that the real Bauman turned his life together after being involved in that terrible tragedy. Just wanting to live the next day after that takes courage in and of itself. I don’t think that anything missing was any of the screenplay or direction by David Gordon Green’s fault, I just think it would make a more interesting hour documentary than a 2 hour character study.

But it is like I’m saying the movie is bad, which I’m not. Most of you will find that missing something in it and love the heck out of this film. Everything about the movie is top notch. I would probably revisit this on Netflix but it isn’t something I would buy or something I would watch over and over again. I honestly think that out of the two Boston Marathon bombing films, that Patriot’s Day is still the more harrowing of the two. It’s the performances here that does take the movie out of mediocrity, as Jake Gyllenhaul can basically spit on anything and make it about 20% better.