Dec roundup, part 2

Nightmare Alley – I love GDT, so I assumed I’d love this, but I was so very wrong. I was bored throughout. The most interesting part to me was learning the mentalism tricks, but the story left met wanting. I think I know the problem tho. Del Toro is known for how much he loves his creatures/misfits/outcasts, and that passion was clear when we were with the circusfolk (I hate to call them freaks). Unfortunately, they were background characters, and our lead was a (to put it nicely) scoundrel who was (appropriately) treated with disdain. It was hard to care about him, and I simply didn’t.

The Matrix: Resurrections
– Was this as revolutionary as the OG Matrix? No. Was it as confusing and convoluted as the sequels? Not really. Did this really add a whole lot to the universe? Eh. Did I enjoy it? Yes. And what I most enjoyed was the way it played with the originals in telling it’s story, the intercut scenes and evolved characters were so much fun to watch. This film was therapeutic for director Lana Wachowski and there was a comfort in watching it. Shout out to Jonathan Groff who I need more of in my life, and a smaller shout out to NPH who chews scenery like no other.

The King’s Man
– This was so loosely tied to Kingsman with only a few hints at the organization’s origin scattered throughout. It was really an old timey spy in wartimes movie, and I wasn’t that interested. A couple of cool sequences (I loved Rasputin’s fight style combined with his costume) but nothing to make this stand out as memorable. Diminishing returns those Kingsmen have been, which is a pity.

Sing 2 – The first move is such a joy to watch, which I’d forgotten until the obligatory homework rewatch earlier in the month. The sequel is equally cute and wholesome, but loses just a touch of the charm. I think part of the issue for me was that the songs were less recognizable to this outta touch millennial, and so many of them sounded like generic poppy dance songs. Nothing can beat Taron Egerton singing “I’m Still Standing” in the first movie (even better than any Elton number he did in Rocketman, including that song) and nothing came even close to rivaling it here.

American Underdog – It’s a faith based movie disguised as a romance disguised as a sports movie. Thankfully the preachy stuff was fairly minimal, but I find even the slightest bit triggering. From there, it’s like it was aware that we all know how underdog sports movies play out, so it based most of the story on the relationship between Kurt and Brenda, which was a solid play. By making the football secondary, it made this stand out just a bit in the genre. The movie was endearing and an enjoyable watch, but nothing that’s gonna last in my memory.

The Tragedy of Macbeth – The smartest thing I’ve done movie-wise in a very long time is that I purposely chose an open captioned screening (sidebar: I love how those are starting to appear more and more). I struggle with Shakespeare, and I’ve given Macbeth many attempts to fully understand it. This time, between veteran actors who knew the material and the dialog written out beneath them, I actually followed the story! I was so proud I was giddy. This adaptation is super artsy, which lets the text shine. However, while I love this cast and they were fantastic, they’ll never beat the one man version I saw Alan Cumming perform at Lincoln Center (that eventually transferred to Broadway). Frances McDormand, goddess that she is, ain’t got nothing on Cumming’s Lady Macbeth