Tripp Review: Make Mine Music

By Jon Tripp

Not much to see here, folks. Basically a collection of Silly Symphonies with delusions of Fantasia‘s grandeur. The highlight is probably the segment “All The Cats Join In”, a jazz-era romp that looks like it features the Archie gang and contains some surprisingly ribald humor for a Disney production… It almost feel like a “this is your kid on jazz!” PSA for parents.

Side note: steer clear of the Disney Gold Collection DVD, which is not only abridged (missing “The Martins and The Coys” segment) but also features an embarrassingly bad transfer and is artificially transferred into widescreen, cropping the top and bottom of the frame. All around, an underwhelming viewing experience.

Tripp Review: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

By Jon Tripp

For the first half or so, I thought, “This is the best John Wick movie!” Then he gets back to the Continental and I kinda checked out for the next 45 minutes. I know this is supposed to be the great action franchise of this generation, but I just can’t get behind it. It’s just good enough that I’ll eventually get around to watching each movie on DVD.

Rating: three stars

Tripp Review: Streets of Fire

By Jon Tripp

What even is this glorious 1980s mess?

Willem Dafoe busts up a Face To Face concert and kidnaps the lead singer (Diane Lane, apparently having left The Stains) in a scene that reminded me of the opening of Double Dragon. Rick Moranis is cast hilariously against type as her asshole manager/boyfriend. Enter Michael Paré (the Scott to Lane’s Envy), who agrees to rescue her, armed only with a shotgun that can blow up a vehicle with each shell. Also, Lee Ving is here! And Bill Paxton with a psychobilly pompadour! And the dancer from Flashdance! And Dafoe wears leather overalls, shirtless! And then there’s a rock-hammer duel! Why not!?

If you ever thought that The Warriors would be the perfect movie if only there were five or six musical interludes, or that Buckaroo Banzai would be better without the science fiction… Well, you’d be wrong both times, but at least you will enjoy the hell out of Streets of Fire.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Tripp Review: Mary Poppins Returns

By Jon Tripp

The Royal Doulton Bowl sequence was top-notch, with the animation reminiscent of the Disney Classics of the 1950-60s, a solid chase scene, and one of the best songs in the movie (“The Cover Is Not The Book”). The ending is good, too; “Nowhere To Go But Up” could easily have been an outtake from the original — it really strives for the exuberance of “Let’s Go Fly A Kite”. And the race to Big Ben was okay too I guess. But I’m sad to say, the rest was kind of a snooze. Especially the Topsy Turvy scene, during which I did actually start to doze off.

I think it needed more Emily Blunt which is certainly not a criticism I ever expected to have… After helping out at Big Ben she pretty much disappears for the last 20 minutes of the movie.

I went in hoping to love it; came out only liking it, and that’s disappointing. Definitely not my favorite London-based children’s fantasy movie of 2018.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tripp Review: Mom and Dad

By Jon Tripp

If you ever wanted to see Nic Cage try to level a pool table while listening to Reagan Youth, and then immediately demolish that pool table while scream-singing The Hokey Pokey, then boy do I have the movie for you.

Flavors of 28 Days Later, Pontypool, and The People Under The Stairs blended with a liberal dash of grade-A Cage Rage, and a good time is had by all.

Random cameo by Grant Morrison as a cable news talking head, because why the hell not.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Tripp Review: Dead or Alive

{Me after the first 4 1/2 minutes} “Oh my god this movie is 100% montage and it’s going to be GREAT!” Sadly the montage only lasted another 60 seconds(!), but the film as a whole was still a blast. After the bonkers opening, the story settles into somewhat standard cops-vs.-Yakuza fare, but with plenty of Miike’s depraved flourishes to remind you where you are. (Remind me to leave any nightclub with a kiddie pool on the premises.)

This middle portion (aka the plot) will inevitably be given short shrift in capsule reviews because it can’t possibly live up to the hype of the first 10 minutes without the audience’s hearts exploding. But it does have plenty to offer even if you have seen every other east-Asian gangster picture to cross the Pacific.
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That said, the crime drama in Dead Or Alive is pretty much like the love story in Audition: you’re going to forget all about it once it pays off with the final set piece. The last ten minutes are so hilariously over the top, I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard at bloody violence since Meet The Feebles. I hope one day to see this in a theater full of people who don’t know what’s coming.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tripp Review: Mute

Rudd was excellent, as was his mustache. Theroux was also good, and it made me wish the entire film was about the two of them. Skarsgård was adequate, though it really could have been pretty much anyone in the role; an actor with no lines needs to convey his character physically, and I don’t think he quite pulled it off. Sheehan was terrible. I cringed with every line reading.

All in all the redeeming qualities of the movie were Paul Rudd and the word “tech-tard”, but that’s not enough to recommend.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

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Skarsgarded Again! Erin Fitzgerald, Alexander Skarsgard, and Amy at San Diego Comic Con 2012. Photo by Amy Lordan, who will watch anything with a Skarsgard in it.

Tripp Review: Loving Vincent

vincent_van_gogh_-_self-portrait_-_google_art_project_454045“Every frame a painting,” indeed. An absolute feast for art-lovers and animation enthusiasts alike. Some reviewers have complained that the story is too slight, but I found it to be compelling enough. O’Dowd’s performance was particularly moving; however, I found Ronan’s segment to be lackluster (possibly because she was hiding her natural voice that I enjoy so much?).

Between this and The Breadwinner … If Boss Baby wins Best Animated Feature I’m burning AMPAS to the ground.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tripp Review: A Sound of Thunder

I had convinced myself that this was direct-to-video fare, possibly part of the After Dark line, but no; apparently, this saw actual theatrical release. Wow. It’s not very good, at all. I mean, it would have been a top-notch SyFy Original, but… That’s Ben Kingsley there. Oh well, I guess losing your director, star, and 60% of your budget will do that.

Then again, you do have a character claim to be a physicist and then in the same sentence completely misinterpret the Heisenberg principle, so you can’t blame that on production woes.

Rating: ⭐️ 1/2

Tripp Review: Vertigo

Unpopular opinion: Vertigo is not Hitchcock’s best film. It’s not even his best film starring James Stewart (that would be Rear Window). Nor does it have his best trippy nightmare sequence (that would be Spellbound).
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I can’t help but feel the story would be improved without the big reveal in Judy’s hotel room; keeping the audience in the same mindset as Scottie. [I’m not completely off-base here; even Hitch wanted the flashback omitted.]

That said, even a decent Hitchcock film is better than most films and there’s lots to like here, especially on a technical level, and also Stewart’s performance.

Scottie’s post-breakdown obsession has always bothered me (yes, I know that’s the point), but more upsetting than that is Judy’s and the rest of society’s willingness to go along with it: “Yes sir, we know what you like” as Judy is breaking down in the corner. That’s messed up, 1950s America.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2