Hello and welcome to the movie blog of author John DeFrank - FilmZ and Guy Sobriquet Malone - Researcher

Four Movies We've Seen Lately

What We've Seen Lately -- Thumbnails by FilmZ and Guy S. Malone, Researcher

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Writer, director, producer (along with Brad Pitt) Joe Talbot collected three Sundance awards for the film: Best Director, the Jury Award for Dramatic Film, and the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film.  It is a visual poem to the San Francisco we don't see in the travel brochures.  Jimmy Fails plays himself as a man who tries to regain a tangible piece of his broken family by reclaiming his ancestral home, a spiritually beautiful Victorian house in a gentrified neighborhood.  Along with his friend Montgomery (Jonathan Majors, Hostiles) an aspiring artist and playwright, Fails decides to exert squatters rights in the abandoned house.  This move ripples through the lives of his family and assorted neighborhood folks whom Montgomery sees as characters in the play he is writing.  Also stars Danny Glover, Omar Epps, and Finn Wittrock.  You'll find this only in arthouses.
8.5 out of 10 - Could vie for awards

The Dead Don't Die

With Bill Murray as the police chief, Adam Driver as his laconic deputy, Tilda Swinton as a Samurai funeral director, Steve Buscemi as a lunatic-fringe farmer, and Tom Waits as a hermit, this film is must-see for some, including me.  But with the fact that it is written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, a notoriously divisive director (Only Lovers Left Alive, Broken Flowers, Coffee and Cigarettes), comes the realization that any recommendation must be tempered by what you think of his style.  His style?: improvisational, which at times can seem like the film is an unedited run-through; a sense of humor that has its uproarious belly laughs but often is arid to the point of imperceptibly downbeat, a sketchy plot that seems more like notions slapped together and which relies on his casts to pull off.  In this case, we have an homage to George A. Romero--a zombie movie set in Western Pennsylvania.  Also stars Chloe Sevigny, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Rosie Perez, Selena Gomez, with zombie cameos by Carol Kane, Iggy Pop.  In arthouses.
7.0 out of 10 - strictly for Jarmusch, zombie, and Murray/Swinton/Driver/Buscemi fans

Men in Black: International

I see what you did there, Hollywood: You recognized the chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in Thor: Ragnarok and thought, now, where could we capitalize on that in a buddy film?  I know, another Men in Black.  Then, throw in Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson as MIB bosses for a touch of class, Rebecca Ferguson as a bad-girl/former love interest, Rafe Spall as a foil, and alien voice work by Kumail Nanjani.  We have to admit, it seemed like a good idea, and if you really like the cast (we do), then check it out.  This film relies on visual spectacle and the magnetism of the stars, but even the most engaging actors need a screenplay and direction.  Unlike many action spectacles, this one can wait for streaming.
6.5 out of 10

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Now, Kevin Feige, the mastermind behind  Marvel, there's a man who knows how to make an action film, even when it's set among the high school crowd, he engages superhero film lovers of all ages.  We're on a class trip to Europe with Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and crush M.J. (Zendaya), best bud Ned (Jacob Batalon), and nemesis Flash (Tony Revolori).  Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and resident S.H.I.E.L.D. badass Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) hijack the holiday when dangerous "Elemental" creatures threaten the citizenry of Venice.  Luckily, Quentin Beck, AKA "Mysterio" (Jake Gyllenhaal) is around, and with the help of a disguised Spider-Man, they defeat the creature.  As you know, though, that is just the beginning, and the game is afoot--who are these "elementals" and where did they come from?  The film also makes good use of Happy (Jon Favreau) and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) whose budding romance adds its own smiles and heart to an already humorous, heartening, and exciting film. And, in case you were wondering, it offers an adept explanation the five-year loss of so many characters (here called "the blip").  Not among Marvel's very best efforts, but even that is worth heading out to the theater to see.  [Stay until the very end--two teasers]
8.0 out of 10 based on entertainment.


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