Swiss Army Man, The Legend of Tarzan, The BFG, The Shallows, Our Kind of Traitor, Eat That Question: Zappa in His Own Words

Swiss Army Man

swiss

This is a most unusual film starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe.  It is causing quite the stir by the critics and audiences.  We will admit it is different! Hank (Dano) is at his wits end after being stranded on a small deserted island when he spots a body washed ashore (Radcliffe).

Hank quickly realizes the body is dead but also discovers the body has been adrift for some time and is quite flatulent.  He manages to use the body as a watercraft to get back to the mainland.  (This is the first clue, this is no ordinary story!)

There is a extensive series of adventures and challenges that take place.  At some point the corpse talks so it is easy to assume everything is imagined.  The end is quite powerful, albeit confusing.

See this if you want to view great creative performances or a peek behind the creative mental and supernatural scenes that become rational under the circumstances.  Rated R with good cause.

Rating:2 globes

The Legend of Tarzan

tarzan

First, check out this cast!  Alexander Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, and Djimon Hounsou!

Next, this film cost $180 million in production!  It shows. Layers of special effects, beautiful cinematography, a classic story line and nonstop adventure.  It checks all the boxes.

That said, it is not perfect. There are too many flashbacks and digressions leaving the audience to wonder ‘what just happened?’ or ‘what is this?’.

The film does toggle back and forth in time a bit too much; from Tarzan’s childhood, life long encounters with the animal kingdom and his adult life with wife and his role as Lord back in England.

All that said, it is so well done, any Tarzan fan must give this rendition a look.

Rating:2 globes

The BFG

BFG

Disney and Steven Spielberg’s debut of The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant) apparently did not meet the industry’s financial expectation over the 4th of July weekend holiday.

No worries, this is still a creative and visual success.  It is a story about Sophie, a 10 year old orphan girl in London who meets a 24 foot giant one night and befriends him.  She travels with him back to his world where she discovers more oddities; bigger giants that love to munch on ‘beans’ (human beings actually).

The production is filled with monumental special effects.  As a whole, it is a visual cornicopia resulting in a stunning movie going experience.  It is not perfect, some of the scenes may be disturbing to young viewers (although our 8 year old nephew seemed undisturbed by it all).

Mark Rylance plays the giant.  Ruby Barnhill is Sophie.  Penelope Wilton plays a hilarious Queen of England.  On the critical side, the script was sometimes difficult to follow due to Giant’s speech impediment and the odd invented words like “fleshlumpeater”, and “bloodbottler”.

Nonethless, this is sure to become a classic in time.  See it on the biggest and best theater available.

Rating: 3 globes

The Shallows

shallows

It was interesting to read some reviews of this movie AFTER viewing it.  Generally favorable, but those that didn’t like it, really didn’t like it.  On further exploration, it was a surprise to discover many prominent news sources trashed the film.

Oh well, we thought it was well done.  Quiet surfing vacation getaway to a secluded beach to enjoy nature and decompress from some life complexity.

Disaster strikes when a really big, mean ol’ shark spots humans encroaching on his/her whale kill.  The rest you already know…  Surfers get eaten, our star, injured and trapped off shore with no one to help…

That said, it was done well, the right mix of angst and tension, surprise and suspense.  Award material?  Probably not.  But if you like this type of movie, don’t let the smack talk keep you from seeing it.

Rating: 3 globes

Our Kind of Traitor

traitor

This is a really good film.  It has all the elements of a great espionage novel.  Jaded Russian oligarch Dima is a financial genius at risk when extensive money laundering lands on the doorstep of the British Banking system.

Seeking a way out for himself and his family, Dima befriends an unlikely British man and his wife.  Together they navigate through a very dangerous mine field of corruption and deceit.

There are more twists and turns than a roller coaster.  The pace is tense, riddled with danger and lots of tension.  Somewhere along the ride we grow to care about these core characters.  And that is where it gets even more intense.

It is well acted with Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris, Stellan Skarsgard and Damian Lewis in the leading roles. Rated R for violence, some sexuality, nudity and drug use.  A very intense 107 minutes.  Beautifully filmed.

Rating: 3 globes

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

zappa

This documentary about the musical life of Frank Zappa, the famed musician and composer uses old footage to recreate the person, his music and impact on the music industry of the day.

Frank Zappa was fiercely intelligent and brutally honest when interviewed.  He was a skilled classical composer but preferred creating abstract operatic interpretations that challenged his audiences to stray from conformity.

He was irreverent and challenging but also charismatic and inventive.  This film is a rare peek behind the curtain of a truly unique and talented personality.

Personal note:  When younger, I did not care for his music or his persona; however, it was clear he was a master of his craft then.  This documentary sheds light on his life’s work and legacy.  It is well worth a look if you are a music fan.

Rating:2 globes

2 thoughts on “Swiss Army Man, The Legend of Tarzan, The BFG, The Shallows, Our Kind of Traitor, Eat That Question: Zappa in His Own Words”

  1. I’m always intrigued by what Steven Spielberg does. Thanks for that review.

    Frank Zappa? A creative genius who was 100% anti drug, he might be the only musician from the 60’s who was. Still a fascinating topic. Thanks for the review.

  2. Excellent reviews, as always. The Swiss Army man’s story line is so odd–I haven’t seen the movie but was wondering whether I should or not. Harry Potter as a corpse. Hmmm.
    I love Mark Rylance and was hoping the movie would do him justice. I will search the movie out on a big screen!
    I don’t know how you guys can view so many movies; I’m months behind you! But I have my list, thanks to you!

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