Week Of 05.02.2021 Movie Reviews
Reviewing The Mitchells VS The Machines, Things Heard & Seen, And Without Remorse
A week after the Oscars (Congrats to Nomadland!), a few quiet weeks for new releases, and another big event film releasing last year, this week we get three new streaming films with Netflix’s animated The Mitchells VS The Machines And their new small subtle horror thriller in Things Heard & Seen; Plus Amazon’s new Tom Clancy flick Without Remorse.
But first, a reminder of what my grading system for movies works like
- S Grade; 5.0 Stars: The Best Film I’ve Ever Seen, Everyone Has An S Graded Film
- A+/A- Grade; 4.0/4.5 Stars: One Of The Best Films Of The Year, If Not All-Time
- B+/B- Grade; 3.0/3.5 Stars: Worth A Trip To The Theatre For First Viewing
- C+/C- Grade; 2.0/2.5 Stars: Watch From Home For First Viewing
- D+/D- Grade; 1.0/1.5 Stars: Don’t Bother Watching This At All If You Can Help It
- F Grade; 0.5 Star: One Of The Worst Films Of All-Time
- Reminder: Reviews For These Films Can Change Over Time And Will Be Reflected Over At Our Letterboxd
With all that out of the way, lets get to the reviews already...
- The Plot: A quirky, dysfunctional family’s road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity’s unlikeliest last hope.
- The Review: The number one thing you can praise about this film is that its a beautifully animated film with great character designs. In a day and age when Pixar and others of its ilk have played it safe with the same animated style, its always refreshing to see such amazing art direction.
Now as for the film overall itself I can’t say I’m as willing to praise. The movie has a lot of the same issues as last year’s Willoughbys did for me. It tries to rely so heavily on just animated physical gags and both repetitive jokes and repetitive sentimental moments to the point the movie even calls itself out about it.
But at the very least Willoughbys had some interesting characters where as I really didn’t care for this family as a whole. So overall it just came off to me as a very forgettable drive by animated story with incredible and amazing animation designs and art direction.
This was originally meant to be a theatrical Sony release but after the pandemic delayed it, Netflix bought up the distribution rights. I’m thankful because I would have seen this as one of the bigger waste of a theatrical visit of the year, but at least its a straight to streamer Netflix film to watch instead.
Overall I’d say this was worth the rental but nothing more than that but at least again you can watch it via streaming. C+ for THE MITCHELLS VS THE MACHINES. Another seemingly beloved animated film that just doesn’t do much for me past great animation and art direction.
- The Plot: Catherine Clare reluctantly trades life in 1980s Manhattan for a remote home in the tiny hamlet of Chosen, New York, after her husband George lands a job teaching art history at a small Hudson Valley college. Even as she does her best to transform the old dairy farm into a place where young daughter Franny will be happy, Catherine increasingly finds herself isolated and alone. She soon comes to sense a sinister darkness lurking both in the walls of the ramshackle property—and in her marriage to George.
- The Review: Granted I’m trying to be more selective in what films to bother with this year, but I was feeling good about the fact that so far this year no film has been below a C- for me. That means I wouldn’t say any of these movies are completely skippable for me. Or at least that was until I watched this two hours of wasted lifetime.
On paper there’s a lot here that could have worked better. A film about a couple with secrets in a new eerie town, living in a haunted home with an actual curse and backstory, and potentially interesting characters to populate this town.
But what we get are a bland female protagonist played by an academy award nominated actress who is trying her best with mediocre material, an incredibly unlikable and hateable male protagonist, and a town filled with characters that just serve as sort of plot devices. The hauntings in the house don’t do much for me, and by the time things ramp up in the third act what should seem horrifying just starts to come off like uncomfortable torture porn.
This could have been a well paced spooky ghost story, but instead we got a dreadful and depressing film that just left me angry at the end. I know this is based on a book and if this is how the book plays out as well, I can’t say I’d be a fan if I read it. This flirts with an F a lot, but ultimately I found this to be a movie I would advice you run away from and not even give a watch as a straight to stream for no extra cost Netflix film. You can’t even poke fun at it its so bad. D- for THINGS HEARD & SEEN, the early contender for worst film I’ve seen this year.
- The Plot: An elite Navy SEAL uncovers an international conspiracy while seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife.
- The Review: I had been looking forward to this as a potential hidden gem for the year given Amazon studios delivered two of my top films for last year (One Night In Miami and The Vast Of Night). But I just ended up coming away from it feeling like I just saw something that wasn’t terrible, but didn’t stand out as memorable either.
Michael B Jordan in the lead role is as fine as he can be with the material given to him. He comes off as a legitimate badass with the action sequences and is seemingly trying to elevate a lot of trope subplot and character motivations. He definitely gave it his all in trying to make this a fun action packed film.
And to be fair the action sequences are great, some of these would have been tons of fun to watch play out on the big screen. The big problem comes in with the rest of the film where the plot is predictable, the characters are all tropes, and the movie feels a bit out of place in what time it takes place. Furthermore, it feels like it takes itself a tad too serious and I think more comedic moments could have helped the movie.
Overall this felt like an okay enough but not particularly special action flick that is fine as an Amazon Prime watch, but thankfully I didn’t have to waste a theatre experience on this. I’d say this is worth a rental at best, but again at least its available on a streaming service for no extra cost. C+ for WITHOUT REMORSE. Not a terrible movie, but not one I’ll really remember down the road.