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Memories of Murder Review

Memories of Murder is a 2003 South Korean mystery drama written/directed by Bong Joon-ho and co-written by Kwang-rim Kim/Shim Sung-bo. The story for the film was based on the unsolved Zodiac murders from the 1970s.

Story
A group of police officers try to solve a collection of sexually violent murders in the South Korean countryside. That's pretty much it as far as setup goes. According to Roger Ebert's review of the film the setup is used as an excuse to explore and critique different parts of South Korean society during the 1980s, but I never really picked up on that outside of a few instances like the constant abuse the police use in interrogating suspects and a demonstration against then president/dictator Chun Doo-hwan.

The characters are well-realized, but oddly developed. When they're first introduced they all have very definable personalities and attitudes towards their job. Detective Park (Kang-ho Song) is lazy and cuts corners to solve the case. Detective Seo (Kim …

Top 20 Films I Saw This Year

A few days ago I made a list of the films that came out this year ranked from worst to best (https://connorveenstra.blogspot.com/2017/12/films-of-2017-ranked.html). This week I'm going to discuss the movies I actually want to talk about.

2017 was the year where I doubled down on watching classic movies and movies that I just heard were great in general, which turned out to be a really good decision. However, I watched so many good movies this year that I couldn't bear narrowing the list down to just 10 entries. Thus, for this year I present to you my "Terrific Twenty (with Honorable Mentions)"!

Honorable Mentions:

Trainspotting: An important anti-drug film that will appeal to addicts and non-addicts alike.
Grave of the Fireflies: The first film to actually make me cry.
Godfather Pt. 2: Better than the first one, but still overly melodramatic and still not as convincing a decline story arc as Breaking Bad.
Don't Breathe: Tense, Hitchcockian horror/thriller.
Steve Jobs:

Films of 2017 Ranked

So, you remember all those Tumblr twats who were complaining that 2016 was the worst year ever just because Donald Trump got elected and a couple celebrities died? Don't you just wanna find those people and give them a good old face five? With a chainsaw?

2017, all in all, is what enlightened observers of history would call a "crapshoot" between sexual assault charges sweeping the entertainment industry and politics, more mass shootings than a heroin addict in church (ba dum tss) and not one, not two, but three hurricanes having their way with the entire Southern half of the continent. Where are the "worst year ever" people on this one? All I can hear are crickets chirping and an embarrassed cough.

At least the films were good this year, unlike last year when whatever wasn't a heated turd was just bland and whatever wasn't just bland was more grudgingly good than fantastic.

So as is custom with film critics with semi-regular (crappy) schedules like myse…

Logan Lucky Review

Logan Lucky is a 2017 heist comedy written (under a pseudonym) and directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film has been a hot topic of conversation among film circles, many dubbing it the most underrated film of the year.

Story
After Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) gets fired from his job as a coal miner he teams up with his brother Clyde (Adam Driver) and convict Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) to rob a NASCAR race in North Carolina.

That right there is a pretty good setup for a heist movie; interesting setup, unique location, a cast of fun sounding characters and a setup for potentially interesting commentary considering America's (let's face it) not entirely positive view of the rural South.

Unfortunately, that doesn't keep the first half of the movie from being horribly paced. The film does the barest minimum of setting itself up, blowing through plot points so quickly in the first 10 mins that we don't really have time to either absorb them or feel the impact they should be havin…

Mother! Review

Mother! is not a film that cn be described in just one word or even one cohesive description. It's too shocking and bizarre to be fully conveyed in words. It's too full of competing messages and meta-narratives that to definitively state what it's actually about would be a borderline impossiblity. It has so many twists and gut wrenching surprises that to say anything more about it other than "Go see it" would be doing the potential audience a disservice to their viewing experience. This is a film overflowing with symbolism, allegories and other overlapping stories and is likely to be a movie experience you'll never have again.

For the record, the story is of Jenner Lawrence's unnamed heroine (Mother) as the much younger wife of an aging poet played by Javier Bardem. Both of them are living in a secluded cottage in the middle of the woods with the Poet looking to reinvigorate his creative juices while Mother fixes up the dilapidated house. Suddenly, people…

Requiem for a Dream Review

After watching Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream I have trouble finding the words to describe response to what I just saw. Despite the fact that the film as a whole is a brilliant piece of emotional, spectacularly crafted filmmaking it's the last 15 mins of the movie that tumble around my head as I begin to write this, burdened by a crushing sense of existential dread and depression that the film's final shot has had the cruel courtesy to leave me with.

The film, in case you're unaware, could be described as "bizarro Trainspotting" in as much as they're both anti-drug films that dissuade substance abuse by showing just how ugly, rotten and pathetic the life of a drug addict is. However, where as Trainspotting used its set up to tell a dark comedy that ultimately encouraged its viewers that they can escape a life of crippling addiction if they're willing, Requiem has no such positivity. In fact, the film seems to intentionally be doing everything …

Cube Review

Cube is a 1997 sci-fi/drama/mystery written by AndrĂ© Bijelic/Vincenzo Natali/Graeme Manson and directed by Natali. Though the film has received a mixed response with a 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, it has gathered a large and dedicated fanbase that have turned it into a cult film.

Story
Five complete strangers find themselves trapped together in a strange labyrinth of connected rooms. Some of them are clear to pass through, but most are set with death traps that will kill you without fail if you step inside. It is eventually revealed that they are inside an enormous cube and assuming it has a door of some kind they can theoretically escape. If not, they will die.

One major thing I like about this movie is the tone, which is helped by the fact that (mild spoiler) we never actually see the cube that we're stuck in for the entire film. We don't know where it is, who built it or why and we don't even know what it looks like. This helps give the film this constant feeling of the unkno…