This article will have shorts reviews for the following films in this order: The Dark Tower, 20th Century Women, Baywatch, Free Fire, and Dude.
The Dark Tower was even worse than I predicted last year. The dialogue was truly atrocious and the directing was as bland as it possibly could’ve been. I don’t mind if a book adaptation’s unfaithful, Annihilation has proven that you can keep solely the atmosphere, change practically everything else and still create a very good film when the director is talented and has something to say, but if you’re going to change key character motivations, the main character, the main story, the ending and the lore, just to dumb it all down and make it fit in 90 minutes, I do mind. Scenes went over in scenes but lacked coherency, each character was very plain and one-dimensional, the action was uninspiring and so were the sets. The rich world the book creates for Mid-World, was thrown away to give us a glimpse of the same environment you can find right outside of your bedroom window, rather than a unique and special place. I absolutely adored how badly they handled Walter; it was hilarious to see him use magic on screen and try to act menacing and failing miserably at it. They made his character evil for the sake of being evil and it didn’t work out at all. The final battle that’s supposed to have some emotional payoff was laughably bad and looked incredibly stupid.
Well-chosen, bright and vibrant colors, mixed together with well-composed shots and some creative directing make up for a beautiful looking indie film about a group of women and two men, going through their everyday lives. During the snipped that we get, their characters are explained to us in the most a creative manner and they are explored into their finest details. The thing though, that brought these wonderfully written characters to live, were the incredible acting chops from everyone involved. Each actor gave an equally as layered performance as their characters were written. The lack of plot in 20th Century Women didn’t bother me, as the characters and creative storytelling were able to entertain me for the two hours it lasted. They were all imperfect, flawed human beings, yet everyone had a redeemable aspect that made them interesting to watch. It’s truly a remarkable film, with an amazing soundtrack and some carefully and realistically written pieces of dialogue. It’s a film about humans, ambitions, life, how fast it can pass by and about the unexpected secrets it has for us. It’s beautiful.
With a director on board who’s not competent enough to pace his scenes right, it’s hard to make a decent comedy. The script itself wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t something that couldn’t’ve been saved with the right comedic timing, though when there’s an inexperienced director behind the wheel, things can end up being quite bad. Even normal scenes, especially in the beginning, were edited horribly and were constantly shown with an already overplayed and mostly terrible song playing in the background. The director also didn’t do anything visually interesting either, except if you were to see those atrocious PS2-looking special effects as something visually creative. Other than those complaints, I didn’t entirely hate Baywatch. The acting was fine and the chemistry between the cast was also quite good. The story was stupid and simple, but it fitted this film extremely well and I have to admit that there were a hand full of moments where I chuckled, though mostly I didn’t. It’s just fine.
While there were some aspects that I really liked, there were also some that I found to be lacking, like the directing, for example. The shootout as a whole could’ve been brought more creatively because what we have now is quite a simple shot film. The lack of wide shots made it hard to place where everyone was located in the warehouse, but it also caused for some repetitive shot compositions, which made the film itself feel quite repetitive at times. Other than that, Free Fire is a really fun ride; the writing was terrific and all of the performances were great, as was the soundtrack. It’s funny, it’s stupid, but all in a good way.
To my surprise, Dude wasn’t solely a “Lmao weed”-film. It had some depth and it dealt with some serious and interesting topics. The problem, though, is that some of these topics weren’t that well. There’s one in particular that they bring up, which is a relevant issue and that’s in need of being discussed, but the way they resolve it felt rather disrespectful. The story wasn’t really all that good either. There isn’t a whole lot going on, which made the film quite boring at times. Its structure’s quite predictable and the ending was quite a cliché clusterfuck, though the trip we take to get there is something special, in which we get to know a group of people really well, even if there are some dull moments here and there. The characters were all developed thoroughly, with Lucy Hale’s character being the one to which the most time was devoted, which is evident, as she’s the protagonist. It’s also evident that Hale gave the best performance out of the bunch, due to her having the most material to work with. Not to say that everyone else was bad; they were all great, except for a select few. The humor didn’t always land with me, but the writing as a whole was fine, especially in the previously mentioned character category. The writer/director just should’ve spent more time figuring out how to present some of the topics she wanted to discuss in a more respectful and meaningful way.
Also: what a terrible title