Category Archives: All Movie Reviews

Is the Steven Soderbergh-Produced Movie Perfect (2018) a Hidden Gem? — Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough (DitR, /dɪ’tər/) takes some of the most derided, divisive, controversial, financially catastrophic, and meme-worthy movies and tries to find the silver lining. Bad movies don’t always start as bad ideas, and flops aren’t always flop-worthy. DitR seeks to find the good within the bad, because the world could use some positivity. And when all else fails, making fun of bad movies is oh-so satisfying.

In this installment, we look at the 2018 Steven Soderbergh-produced, Flying Lotus-produced science fiction film from Eddie Alcazar, Perfect. [Caution: Spoilers Ahead].

Perfect

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 17% (12 critics)
  • Metacritic: 36 (7 critics)
  • IMDb: 5.5/10 (1,496 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 3.6/5 (369 ratings)

 

I should be transparent from the outset: I found Perfect to be insufferable. This is Diamonds in the Rough, though, thus I am here to mine these films for their positives. However, this one was Continue reading Is the Steven Soderbergh-Produced Movie Perfect (2018) a Hidden Gem? — Diamonds in the Rough

Did Audiences Get Killing Them Softly (2012) Wrong? — Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough (DitR, /dɪ’tər/) takes some of the most derided, divisive, controversial, financially catastrophic, and meme-worthy movies and tries to find the silver lining. Bad movies don’t always start as bad ideas, and flops aren’t always flop-worthy. DitR seeks to find the good within the bad, because the world could use some positivity. And when all else fails, making fun of bad movies is oh-so satisfying.

In this installment, we take a look at Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly (2012). [Caution: Spoilers Ahead].

Killing Them Softly

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 73% (226 critics) | 44% (121,417 user ratings)
  • Metacritic: 64 (42 critics) | 6.1/10 (290 user ratings)
  • IMDb: 6.2/10 (128,652 user ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 3.3/5 (27,687 user ratings)
  • CinemaScore: F

 

CinemaScore is a company that gauges initial reactions to newly released films. Representatives in major cities will distribute survey cards to audiences on the opening night of a movie. From this, they calculate a letter rating to represent opening day audience reception. In the history of CinemaScore (the company was founded in 1979), 21 films have received Continue reading Did Audiences Get Killing Them Softly (2012) Wrong? — Diamonds in the Rough

The Lovebirds (2020) Movie Review

Michael Showalter’s previous film, The Big Sick, was the surprise indie darling of 2017. That film, co-written and starring Kumail Nanjiani, turned the romantic comedy formula on its head. The Lovebirds, also co-starring Nanjiani, attempts a similar formulaic subversion, but screenwriters Aaron Abrams and Brendan Gall prove less savvy in this pursuit.

Jibran (Nanjiani) and Leilani (Issa Rae) meet at a party and really hit it off. We watch as their relationship flourishes, and seemingly nothing could go wrong. These two were meant to be together forever. Cut to a few years later, and Continue reading The Lovebirds (2020) Movie Review

Is Flying Lotus’s Kuso (2017) a Misunderstood Masterpiece? — Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough (DitR, /dɪ’tər/) takes some of the most derided, divisive, controversial, financially catastrophic, and meme-worthy movies and tries to find the silver lining. Bad movies don’t always start as bad ideas, and flops aren’t always flop-worthy. DitR seeks to find the good within the bad, because the world could use some positivity. And when all else fails, making fun of bad movies is oh-so satisfying.

In this installment, we look at the film debut of Steven Ellison (aka Flying Lotus), Kuso (2017). [Caution: Spoilers Ahead]

Kuso

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 36% (22 reviews)
  • Metacritic: 51 (11 reviews)
  • IMDb: 5.0/10 (1,283 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 2.8/5 (2,126 ratings)

kuso-2017-movie-review-flying-lotus-gross-out-body-horror

Critical Reception:
Dennis Harvey, Variety

“That it took a small army of animators and other craftspersons to realize Ellison’s vision only underlines the stupefying nature of its gist, which is pretty much Continue reading Is Flying Lotus’s Kuso (2017) a Misunderstood Masterpiece? — Diamonds in the Rough

Did Audiences Get The Box (2009) Wrong? — Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough (DitR, /dɪ’tər/) takes some of the most derided, divisive, controversial, financially catastrophic, and meme-worthy movies and tries to find the silver lining. Bad movies don’t always start as bad ideas, and flops aren’t always flop-worthy. DitR seeks to find the good within the bad, because the world could use some positivity. And when all else fails, making fun of bad movies is oh-so satisfying.

In this installment, we look at The Box, the third feature film from Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko). [Caution: Spoilers Ahead]

The Box

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 44% (155 critics) | 24% (359,082 user ratings)
  • Metacritic: 47 (24 critics) | 2.8/10 (228 user ratings)
  • IMDb: 5.6/10 (87,215 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 2.5/5 (13,211 ratings)
  • CinemaScore: F

 

Richard Kelly’s The Box is in the rarefied arena of Continue reading Did Audiences Get The Box (2009) Wrong? — Diamonds in the Rough

Arkansas (2020) Movie Review

Contemporary crime films are often compared to the defining antecedents to contemporary crime—critical hits from the 1990s like Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction. Generally, these are sites of contention in which it becomes easy to tear down a new film by being too directly inspired by previous, successful films. There is something to these comparisons, given a film like Pulp Fiction, which helped ring in a golden age of independent films in the 1990s, directly influenced a number of films. But this form of criticism by comparison—I’m guilty of doing it often—can come across as limiting and exclusionary in an unproductive way.

With this in mind, I am in something of a bind. Arkansas, which is due to be released on VOD on May 5, feels like an attempt to Continue reading Arkansas (2020) Movie Review

Are The Procedure (2016) and The Procedure Part 2 (2019) Hidden Gem Movies? — Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough (DitR, /dɪ’tər/) takes some of the most derided, divisive, controversial, financially catastrophic, and meme-worthy movies and tries to find the silver lining. Bad movies don’t always start as bad ideas, and flops aren’t always flop-worthy. DitR seeks to find the good within the bad, because the world could use some positivity. And when all else fails, making fun of bad movies is oh-so satisfying.

In this first installment of Diamonds in the Rough, we look at The Procedure and The Procedure Part 2, two psychological horror/comedy short films from director Calvin Lee Reeder. And boy oh boy is this a rite of passage episode! If you can get on board with these two shorts, then you can get on board with pretty much anything this series is going to contend with (although, this is no guarantee).

 

The Procedure

  • IMDb: 5.6/10 (209 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 3.1/5 (373 ratings)

The Procedure Part 2

  • IMDb: 5.6/10 (16 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 3.2/5 (36 ratings)

The narratives of The Procedure and The Procedure Part 2 are spare enough that I can outline them here in full (Content Warning: non-violent torture. Also, spoiler alert).

In The Procedure, a man leaving work (Christian Palmer) is shot with Continue reading Are The Procedure (2016) and The Procedure Part 2 (2019) Hidden Gem Movies? — Diamonds in the Rough