Category Archives: Long Reviews (>400 Words)

Are Home Alone 4 (2002) and Home Alone 5 (2012) Cinematic Travesties? — 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 are looking at the final two sequels in the Home Alone series of films: Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House and Home Alone 5: The Holiday HeistHome Alone 4 was a made-for-television film. It served as the November 3, 2002 premiere for the 47th season of Walt Disney’s anthology television film series, then titled The Wonderful World of Disney. Home Alone 5 functioned as a part of ABC Family’s Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas programming block.

[Caution: Minor Spoilers Ahead, mostly involving Home Alone 5. But let’s be honest, there’s no need to be watching these movies]

 

Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House

  • IMDb: 2.6/10 (31,990 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 1.2/5 (7,766 ratings)
  • Nielsen Rating: 7  | Share: 11 | Viewers: 12.5 (m)

Continue reading Are Home Alone 4 (2002) and Home Alone 5 (2012) Cinematic Travesties? — Diamonds in the Rough

In Defense of Home Alone 3 (1997) — 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, court is in session, as I will be defending Raja Gosnell’s 1997 sequel Home Alone 3.

 

Home Alone 3

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 29% (24 critics) | 27% (448,875 user ratings)
  • IMDb: 4.5/10 (101,483 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 2.0/5 (24,174 ratings)

 

Recently, given our current state of pandemic, the good ol’ boys at The Worst Idea of All Time podcast decided to watch Home Alone 3 every Continue reading In Defense of Home Alone 3 (1997) — Diamonds in the Rough

Is The Oregonian (2011) an “Unknown 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 Oregonian from director Calvin Lee Reeder (The Procedure). [Caution: Spoilers Ahead]

 

The Oregonian

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 44% (9 reviews)
  • Metacritic: 46 (4 reviews)
  • IMDb: 4.2/10 (617 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 2.7/5 (436 ratings)

 

Calvin Lee Reader made the fart movie. Two of them, as a matter of fact. Perhaps this is worth mentioning. I dunno.

The second most popular review for The Oregonian on Letterboxd is Continue reading Is The Oregonian (2011) an “Unknown Masterpiece?” — Diamonds in the Rough

Mr. Jones (2020) Movie Review

In Mr. Jones, the eponymous Gareth Jones (James Norton) is a Welsh freelance journalist who travels to the Soviet Union in 1933 to interview Joseph Stalin. But the film begins outside of this man’s story, instead landscaping a pastoral farm—animals milling about, fields of grain waving with the wind. Jones, in his journalistic pursuit, stumbles upon a nefarious truth behind Stalin’s Five Year Plan—the Holodomor, in which Ukraine’s grain was exported in vast quantities that caused mass, genocidal starvation in the region.

Director Agnieszka Holland directs some great sequences in Mr. Jones—this opening sequence; a woozy, heroin-fueled party; a quiet, haunting interlude on a train. Still, stretches of the film are rather staid. The first act relies on undercurrents of tension stemming from Continue reading Mr. Jones (2020) Movie Review

Mope (2020) Movie Review

[Warning: this review contains references to sexually explicit acts and therefore is not suitable for those under the age of 18]

mope (/mōp/), noun, “a bottom-tier porn performer willing to do the dirtiest, most depraved work in the business.”

Mope, the directorial debut from Lucas Heyne, begins with a football huddle-style chant of

Continue reading Mope (2020) Movie Review

The King of Staten Island (2020) Movie Review

Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson) is a 24-year-old resident of Staten Island who lives at home with his mother (Marisa Tomei); is still not over his deceased father; suffers from ADD, depression, and Crohns disease; spends his days smoking weed, although it no longer gets him high; and finds it difficult to come to terms with his mother’s new boyfriend (Bill Burr), while also being emotionally incapable of holding a meaningful romantic relationship of his own. His highest aspiration in life is to open a tattoo parlor/restaurant.

The King of Staten Island finds its focus in the Continue reading The King of Staten Island (2020) Movie Review

The Goldfinch (2019): The “Biggest Box-office Flop of the Year” — 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 adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch from director John Crowley (Brooklyn, Boy A).

[Normally, Diamonds in the Rough reviews go into full spoiler territory, but this one does not. This is a spoiler-free review of The Goldfinch]

 

The Goldfinch

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 24% (214 reviews) | 72% (1,404 user ratings)
  • Metacritic: 40 (41 reviews) | 6.9/10 (71 user ratings)
  • IMDb: 6.2/10 (11,396 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 2.9/5 (15,048 ratings)

 

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch proved massively successful in 2013. The novel spent numerous weeks on bestsellers lists and went on to win Continue reading The Goldfinch (2019): The “Biggest Box-office Flop of the Year” — Diamonds in the Rough

2020 — The Year without a Blockbuster

[Update, 6.12.20: A day after this piece posted, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Wonder Woman 1984 had moved its release date to October 2, and that Tenet had pushed back two weeks to a July 31 release date. This alters some of the context of this article—namely, that now (at least for the time being) Disney’s Mulan has the earliest release date of any major studio release, not Tenet. But these changes also reflect the main argument raised in this article: It is becoming increasingly uncertain whether any major release will see substantial theatrical exhibition for the remainder of 2020]

 

Marvel’s Black Widow was scheduled to release on May 1.

That was over a month ago. Now in mid-June, we have watched many high profile film releases slip away like sand between fingers. The decision in March to hold off on the release of the new James Bond film, No Time to Die, was the first domino to fall. Since then, theaters have shuttered, and although cities across the United States have begun to re-open, most theaters’ doors remain closed.

The largest of these theater chains, AMC (which is owned by Dalian Wanda Group), have plans to reopen all of its U.S. theaters in Continue reading 2020 — The Year without a Blockbuster

Tommaso (2020) Movie Review

Willem Dafoe’s title character in Tommaso is conspicuously similar to the film’s writer-director Abel Ferrara. Tommaso is an American of around Ferrara’s age living in Rome with Nikki (Cristina Chiriac), a wife half his age, and their young daughter (played by Ferrara’s real-life wife and young daughter). He is a writer-director trying to crack the code of his next movie, which sounds like a heavily meditative, self-reflexive piece (not unlike Tommaso itself reads).

Dafoe, no stranger to Ferrara after multiple collaborations over the years, is primed to fill this role. In an early scene at an AA meeting, Dafoe monologues expertly about Continue reading Tommaso (2020) Movie Review

Becky (2020) Movie Review

Becky, from directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott, is about as barebones as a thriller can get.  A group of White Supremacist prison inmates are being transported down a county road when they spring a plan to break out. The mastermind behind the plan, Dominick (Kevin James), leads them to a lake house in search of a mysterious key. But they come up against the obstacle of a family spending the weekend at the house—a father (Joel McHale), his daughter, Becky (Lulu Wilson), his girlfriend (Amanda Brugel) and her son (Isaiah Rockcliffe).

The bloody mayhem that unfolds from this straightforward plot is Continue reading Becky (2020) Movie Review