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

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

The Last Days of American Crime (2020) Movie Review

Olivier Megaton’s The Last Days of American Crime is an ugly film. It is ugly in form, it is ugly in story, and it is ugly in spirit. The basic premise, that the government has found a way to crack down on crime by developing a signal that interrupts the brain in the process of a crime, is background noise to a dreary, hollow caper led by ugly, dour characters.

Based on a graphic novel, this premise is reminiscent of a Minority Report or an A Clockwork Orange, and in theory it is Continue reading The Last Days of American Crime (2020) Movie Review

Is Serenity (2019) The Next Great Good-Bad Movie? — 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 2019 Steven Knight drama, Serenity. [Caution: Spoilers Ahead]

Serenity

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 20% (188 reviews) | 29% (1,461 user ratings)
  • Metacritic: 37 (38 critics) | 4.5/10 (90 user ratings)
  • IMDb: 5.3/10 (31,656 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 2.0/5 (18,729 ratings)

 

To put it plainly, the Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway-starring crime mystery film Serenity is a wild one. It does not Continue reading Is Serenity (2019) The Next Great Good-Bad Movie? — Diamonds in the Rough

Shirley (2020) Movie Review

Josephine Decker’s 2017 film Madeline’s Madeline was fairly electrifying. Armed with a powerhouse performance from Helena Howard, the film resonates with such a unique energy that it is hard to shake. Decker’s latest, an adaptation of a novel about horror author Shirley Jackson, is more subdued in comparison to Madeline’s Madeline. But its energy is similarly unshakeable.

Shirley is initially framed as a biopic, if not a somewhat offbeat one. We enter into the life of Continue reading Shirley (2020) Movie Review

Space Force (2020) Season One Review

Space Force, the new comedy series from Steve Carrell and Greg Daniels, is the second television show with inaugural seasons in 2020 to feature a fictionalized space program run by professionals whose expertise range from semi-competent to entirely incompetent. The Armando Iannucci-created Avenue 5 deals in, with a farcical flavor, the struggle to maintain civil stability when people are essentially stripped of civil society and placed in an insulated environment.

Space Force, on the other hand, is about a fictionalized version of America’s Space Force (the President wants “boots on the moon”). Newly promoted four-star General Mark Naird (Carrell) is appointed to head Space Force, and he soon learns Continue reading Space Force (2020) Season One Review

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

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