This is a great website that offers spoiler-free reviews of movies, and, ironically, spoiler-free reviews of trailers (which are always spoiler-laden). There are fun, interesting articles, indie news and video reviews; I could stay on this site for at least five weeknights. So please, rejoice with me, and check out my reviews of Twitch.com’s reviews of three movies and a trailer:
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION Review by Pierce Conran
Plot: Ethan Hunt was on assignment hunting down “the syndicate” when the CIA called him in and fired him because he’d broken one too many rules. Ethan, never one to quit the good fight, goes rogue and continues (with the help of the gang) to go after the syndicate; meanwhile the CIA is going after him.
Bottom Line: It’s great, and that’s without the CGI high-tech action in most adventure movies today: Following right on cue from Mad Max: Fury Road, Rogue Nation breathes a modern tempo and some technical pizzazz into old school, tangible thrills, setting itself apart from this summer’s wearisome CG-heavy tentpoles.
More info: Conran says that the movie does what other action movies dare not do–start the movie off with a monumental action scene (involving a plane that some of you might have seen in every trailer or ad), which sets the bar for the rest of the movie. He did not see that as a problem whatsoever. The rest of the movie lived up to the first moments.
SOUTHPAW Review by Peter Martin
Plot: Boxer’s wife (Rachel McAdams) is concerned that Boxer (Jake Gyllenhal) is “losing his marbles” due to taking too many blows in the head. “He’s an active volcano inside the ring, erupting regularly with rage. Outside the ring, however, Billy is a dim sad-sack, completely reliant upon Maureen, and capable of little more than juvenile expressions of emotion.” They have a young daughter whom Billy is emotionally distant from Boxer.
Spoilers skimmable? yes!
Bottom line: definite, solid MEH: “neither sufficiently rousing nor markedly distinctive….(it) runs away from nagging narrative issues in search of an easier, more crowd-pleasing resolution.” Furthermore, he says it’s formulaic.
Twitch extra: reviewer Peter Martin does not focus solely on the director and actors. He notes the good work of many of the artists behind the scenes:
…Southpaw is never less than a watchable enterprise. Mauro Fiore’s cinematography is a joy to wallow in, lit appropriately for the occasion….John Refua’s editing is spot-on, keeping the action scenes propulsive and the dramatic sequences lively, and the production design by Derek R. Hill makes every setting look and feel exactly as needed. James Horner contributes one of his last musical scores, enhancing the drama without calling attention to itself.
Interesting Tidbit: Southpaw was “originally conceived as a star vehicle for pop star Marshall Mathers (aka Eminem) by writer Kurt Sutter.”
(Can rappers be lumped together as “pop stars,” along with the likes of Taylor Swift and Rihanna?)
LISTEN TO ME MARLON Review by Jason Gorber
Plot: documentary about Marlon Brando that uses his own “personal recordings, interviews, self-made hypnosis tapes and even answering machine recorders….”
Spoilers skimmable? Yes! FINALLY, a review of a documentary that does NOT tell the whole story; this one holds back, making us actually want to go and learn for ourselves. Hallelujah!
Bottom line: it’s fabulous! “Hypnotic, energizing, and astonishing, Listen To Me Marlon speaks in eloquent ways to the complex talent that was Brando, a bundle of impulses, contradictions and accomplishments….
Twitch eloquence: this is like an archaeological excavation of a hoarder, one whose compulsion is to self document. Rather than Facebook postings or the haikus of a thousand tweets, Marlon had his tapes, and that voice, that mumbling mid-western drawl that’s both soothing and unsettling.
MOVIE TRAILER: QUEEN OF THE EARTH Review by Ben Umstead (opens in limited release on August 26th)
Movie Plot: “Elisabeth Moss and Katherine Waterston are two old friends who find respite at a secluded lake house.”
Spoilers skimmable? Yes. There are no spoilers in the review–in direct contrast with the trailer itself.
Bottom line: the trailer is great fun: The “deep-throated voice-over” gives it “an old school psychological thriller vibe,” which is “some kind of wonderful.”
Warning! Spoiler-reel: Do not fall into the trap that I did! The review is so good I decided to check out the trailer, which is under the article, but I had to turn it off almost immediately.