This week Big Tuck is bringing you some of the best, brightest, and most bizarre picks from the streaming verse! To Stay UP TO DATE on all of his reviews, feel free to follow him on Letterboxd here.
It’s been a bit of a film slump for your dear reader this summer. Between travel, sports, and concerts, I had a lot of the good movies in theaters slip past me and have been just trying to knock off some streaming options off my “want to watch list”. I also noticed I’ve had a weird trend recently of seeing a bunch of films that are ALMOST great, but definitely not bad. So, I present the ATTACK OF THE 3.5/5+’s!!!!
It’s TRULY amazing that this humble spy-thriller set off a film series that would not only be one of the most popular but one of the biggest tent-pole series ever made, rivaled only by Disney (don’t even get me started) and the Fast & Furious series (also shocking). Interestingly, the original may also be one of the weaker entries into the series – forgetting MI:2 which we all should – and is way more grounded (yes I know) than where this went off.
If you look at Ethan Hunt (the protagonist for the five out there who don’t know) in the recent films, he’s effectively a demi-god – besting people YEARS younger than him in combat, grabbing onto airplanes, holding his breath for 10 minutes, or whatever. In this entry, he’s clearly extraordinarily intelligent, physically fit, and clever, but the situations he is presented with are MUCH more grounded or believable. That being said, the stunts and performances are still VERY well done (trust me, the wire scene still holds up) and you can see where the savvy Hollywood types could see the long future run of this IP. It does fall into a lot of typical ’90s tropes that don’t really hold up great which keeps it short of greatness, with very solid performances of the ancillary characters and great directions from de Palma.
— Side note, after watching many de Palma films in between my first viewing and now, this is DRIPPING with his style. If you are into his work, I would HIGHLY recommend the documentary on his oeuvre, find out where to watch it here.
RATING: 3.5/5 +
This one had been on the list for a WHILE and kept getting shuffled around between different streaming services before finally landing on Prime. Since it was a slow day at the “office”, I decided to pop it on before it gets wiped from the server verse permanently a la Bugs Bunny (slight spoiler?).
Annnnnnddddddd my expectations were pleasantly met! As I said in my Letterboxd review, these ’70s thrillers all have a sort of same “feel” about them – especially The Conversation, which if you watched in a double-feature you would think was a weird fever dream of each other – and are certainly relics of their time. Remember when you could SMOKE on airplanes????
I also have a fairly large gap in my filmography of Warren Beatty performances (put this fact in your pocket, it WILL pay off), and I gotta say he actually can bring it pretty well. This plays out a bit like a Noir (almost saved it for Noirvember), what with the former alcoholic crack investigative journalist taking on the BIG BAD GUYS TM in a cross-country journey where you can’t REALLY trust anyone, can you??? Quickly getting over his head, will our intrepid hero make it out alive? Tune in to find out!
For reals, this was a fun romp with a cool guy and his amazing head of hair. Even this jaded critic didn’t even put the pieces together for the last big set piece, which is a rare sight indeed!
RATING: 3.5/5 +
As you can probably tell, I usually start these reviews with a loose theme AT BEST, and I didn’t even realize that we were going 2/3 with the Beats-man!
I believe a lot of critics define this as a “classic”, as did the person I watched it with, however, I’m not COMPLETELY convinced. There’s a weird trend of movies that are unnecessarily overly long, which is why most classics and TBH a lot of recent big blockbusters feel lackluster to me, and B&C definitely falls into this bucket. I think that the idea of their “gang” going from Town to Town, robbin’ and eatin’, is definitely a feature not a bug, but I feel like there are a couple of scenes that could have probably stayed on the chopping block.
HOWEVER, I have to give credit where credit is due. This is literally one of the most disturbingly violent movies I’ve ever seen, which makes sense after some research to find out it was one of the FIRST movies to get a full R rating!! (For those interested, 1968’s “The Split” was the first ever released R movie #InfoTainment) Heads are shot open, people are grievously wounded, cops firing automatic weapons on full blast, and PERHAPS the first EVER on-screen BJ hinted/shown briefly! It certainly is an interesting curio in the history of film gratuity which I CERTAINLY didn’t expect.
Even with all that, this is a very fun date night movie, and the appearance of Gene Hackman halfway through was a very welcome surprise!
RATING: 3.5/5 +
— Big Tuck is desperately trying to find his next 5/5 star movie, and is BEGGING anyone out there reading to help!