Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SYNCHRONIC

How am I supposed to talk about a movie so great, that’s only in theaters right now, when I can’t really talk about it? If I talk about it at all, I’ll ruin the psychedelic trip, and I’ll ruin all the surprises. I guess I could talk about how well the story is told combined with some neat visuals that were done on a relatively small budget, but I just said it, and if I elaborated on it more, yet again, I would just ruin everything. The poster to this movie is beautiful, for some unbelievable reason the trailer doesn’t give anything away, and neither does the description of the film on IMDB: “Two New Orleans paramedics’ lives are ripped apart after they encounter a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects.” It stars The Falcon from the MCU himself Anthony Mackie and Fifty Shades of Grey’s Jamie Dornan, the former giving his best performance since The Hurt Locker, and the latter giving his best performance ever for me, even though I have never watched that critically acclaimed TV series he’s in called The Fall. It’s one of my favorite films of the year so far and while I’m glad I just went, took a chance on it, and saw it, I’m kind of depressed it was released during a pandemic. I don’t think it made shit last weekend and is likely to be out of the theaters next week if not the week after. I am just hoping upon hope that this is discovered when it hits video, ends up as something like the movie Equilibrium with Christian Bale. That film was in the theater for a week before it was pulled, but became a massive hit on home video. Maybe Synchronic’s fate will end up in sync with that.

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, just go see it, or see it when it hits your bubble. I won’t make fun of you scaredy cats this time as long as you discover and gives this a chance when you have a chance to watch it at home. The storytelling in this is perfect, it doesn’t overstay its welcome at a lean one hour and forty minutes, the visuals complement the storytelling and are even more impressive considering the budget wasn’t all that big. I’m not familiar with writer/directors Justin Benson and Aaron Morehead, but apparently they got their visual and storytelling flair with a 2017 movie called The Endless, which I’m going to try to find on streaming and give a chance soon. The movie has several deep layered messages within it that were fun and moving to discover. AAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNDDDD…shit. I’m done with my review. I mean, what more is there to say other than these two writer/directors need to make more movies, Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan need to be given more movie roles like this, and the fact that original movies are still being made and released such as this, even though its in the middle of a butt fucking shitty year, makes me happy. I wish I was hyped up on this more before hand like I was Tenet, then again, I am very happy that Synchronic took me by surprise. Let’s hope the world gets more in sync soon with regular movie releases so we can start to all get back to normal as Synchronic was a masterful trip while 2020 has been the nightmare trip of a lifetime.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SEBERG (Amazon Prime)

In the manner of which Chandler says sarcastic comments on the television show Friends: “Could this movie BE any more boring?” SEBERG is super duper boring and it shouldn’t have been with the amount of content the filmmakers could’ve pulled from real life young starlet Jean Seberg’s crazy fast life that tragically ended when she was 40. But no, the movie focuses too much on only 3 years of it, and saves the most interesting aspects to happen either off screen or saved for dumb title cards right before it cuts to end credits. And it’s a shame, because Kristen Stewart gives a hell of a performance, arguably her best yet. And it’s even more of a shame considering that Kristen Stewart is acting like she finally wants to be there in the spotlight of Hollywood’s most prestige actors/actresses, she’s just picking the wrong films to try and have a resurgence in her career. After all, she’s had to apologize for the Twilight Saga multiple times the past several years. The real problem with the movie is that it tells and not shows. The movie jumps in time a little too much and we are told, through just a couple of sentences of dialogue, what has happened to her, and as a audience we are supposed to pick up and imagine those pieces to try and catch up to the present time of where these people are at. Yeah, never ever do that in your movie. Ever.

Always try and show, especially if you have the ability to. And they very much had the ability. This is an Amazon Prime original film, and it is also gorgeously shot, showing the glitz and glamour of Seberg’s home life, with decadent giant houses filled with nice looking amenities. They had to have had the budget or could’ve asked for more, to film these certain scenes we are just told that happened (I don’t want to give these scenes away as they are spoilers to Ms. Seberg’s life, but if you looked her up on Wikipedia and then watched the movie, you’d know what I’m talking about). But no, we are just told, which to me as a film critic, is very frustrating and always almost unforgivable save if you have a low budget and can’t do much, like Amazon Prime’s other recent original movie: The Vast Of Night. I’m reviewing this film because like Just Mercy and Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, the release date is kind of blurry between late 2019 and 2020. Couldn’t not find one theater to see it in when it was out, and then just dumped on Amazon Prime mid May. Well, there is a reason for the random dump, the film isn’t that great. The film is directed by Benedict Andrews, who I’m not familiar with, but when looking at his history, he is mostly a stage play director, which makes total sense, as the whole movie feels like it could be a stage play.

IMDB.com describes Seberg as: “Inspired by real events in the life of French New Wave icon┬áJean Seberg, the late 1960s, Hoover’s FBI targeted her because of her political and romantic involvement with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal.” To elaborate further on IMDB.com’s description. Hakim Jamal was part of the Black Panther movement, which the FBI was deeply scared and paranoid would commit an act of domestic terrorism on white people at the time. The film has the paranoia down pat, and the FBI infiltrating her life is a little interesting, but other than that, it is a snooze fest, consisting of decent performances that are wasted on nothing to do. Anthony Mackie and Zazie Beetz are in this too, playing Hakim and his wife respectively, but Hakim and Seberg’s affair is kind of glossed over with two small throwaway scenes of Beetz telling Stewart/Seberg to back off. There is also a side B plot involving one of the FBI agents, played by Unbroken’s Jack O’ Connell, who actually begins to have sympathy for Seberg’s plight, unfortunately it feels like that sympathy is rushed and just shoved into the ending climax confrontation between him and Seberg. They should’ve just made a biography on her whole life, her rise and fall from fame, and made it a bit longer. This movie only clocks in at a little under an hr and 40 minutes, but it all feels really superficial. If that makes any sense to you. Reading up on her, her life was anything but superficial, and it’s a shame that this boring product is what we got from it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE BANKER (Apple TV+)

Two Avengers & an X-Men walk into a bank…I can already guess right now that more than 80% of you that read my reviews probably don’t have Apple TV+. I see their streaming service being closed after another year or two of content that doesn’t peak any one’s interest. Eh…make that 95% of you that read my reviews probably don’t have it. Even Apple is freaking out because many people that have bought a new Apple product aren’t taking them up on signing up for the service for a year for free. The only reason I have Apple TV+ is because I got a new iPhone back in December. I bet some of you didn’t even know that and have bought a new Apple product. It has (I guess, I don’t watch it) The Morning Show that stars Jennifer Aniston, it has Mythic Quest Raven’s Banquet series that was created by the It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (which I did watch all of and its the best thing the streaming service has to offer) and now it has this new original movie THE BANKER, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, and Nicholas Hoult. It has other shit, like a Jason Mamoa TV series called…See…or something like that, but it all looks like drivel to me. Now while it took about 20 minutes to really get going (out of a two hour runtime), The Banker is really quite good. And where I was thinking I’d have nothing to review for awhile, thank the Movie God’s I was wrong.

THE BANKER has a very interesting true story premise, borrowing the simple tag line on IMDB: “In the 1960s two African-American entrepreneurs hire a working-class white man to pretend to be the head of their business empire while they pose as a janitor and chauffeur.” Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson are the two entrepreneurs and Nicholas Hoult plays the working-class white man. Their business empire consists of being two of the first African American bankers in the United States. They start off by buying and owning buildings that these banks are in, that won’t give them the time of day when they need it, and then eventually sliding directly into banking itself, all while having this white man, who is not racist and considers them friends, be the face of the company. Because no one would take them seriously in the first place…because look at what unfortunate time period they were stuck in. And they also do some of their main business in Texas at the time…yikes. Anyway, like I said earlier, the movie starts off a little slow with Anthony Mackie as a genius, but again, white people judge him by the color of his skin so won’t take him seriously, but about 20 minutes in, after Mackie has met Jackson’s character and they get Nicholas Hoult involved in their scheme and try to groom him so that he can walk the walk and talk the talk, the movie gets extremely entertaining and fun.

Do yourself a favor and don’t do any research on what happened to any of the characters. I didn’t and enjoyed the movie much more that I didn’t know what was going to happen in the end. The movie is funny, entertaining, smart, and moving at times. I liked that it didn’t treat the audience like they were morons and didn’t try to explain every single thing about the math in their business or what terms meant. You either know what they are talking about or you Google it if you want to understand. Tired of movies spoon feeding information to their audience, and it seems like writer/director George Nolfi (Ocean’s Twelve, Adjustment Bureau) knew that and decided we didn’t need hand holding. I’m glad he did, as I was looking up terms left and right, trying AND wanting to understand more of what these characters were doing math and money wise. The movie is of course superbly acted. Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson do a great job as they usually do, Nia Long has a good small part as Mackie’s wife, but the scene stealer here is Nicholas Hoult, especially the grooming and conning other white men (in a way) scenes. I think this is Apple TV+’s first original movie that they bought. If they were to keep bulking up the screening service with more films of the quality and many more interesting TV shows other than Mystic Quest, they might be able to survive. Hence the word might, you can take that to the bank.