I should tell you at the top that I loved moviepass and it made me very happy to go to the theater as often as I did for approximately $10 a month, but it was never going to last, we all knew it, and even if that’s true of everything in the history of ever, it’s still sad to be going to the funeral. The company tried to stay afloat after things fell apart a year or so ago, but it was only a matter of time before the revamped/relaunched all-you-can-movie subscription service went the way of the dodo, and this time it feels less like the ending of Friday the 13th Part 6, where they tell you it’s finished, but I mean, come on, you just know Jason Voorhees is coming back to epically fight his way through a telekinetic teenager in order to slaughter a host of morally compromised teenagers before being brought down by the protagonist’s dead father who has for the last 10 years been at the bottom of Crystal Lake and reappears at the last minute for…reasons, and instead more like Logan.
I know a lot of this movie doesn’t actually make sense, but what am I, made of stone? Oh, and spoiler alert.
Anyway, now that we really are at the end, here’s a final and complete list of the movies I saw in the final few months of moviepass. RIP.
A series of badly written characters, highlighted by a protagonist without any sense of context for her actions, sinks everything in its wake and the movie collapses under the weight of its grand intentions clashing up against a near total lack of connectivity from scene to scene. It doesn’t help that many of the jokes fall painfully flat and the comedy world of late night network television is portrayed both unbelievably and as if it were taking place ten years ago. A movie that fails all the more when considering how good it could have been given the premise and cast.
Last Black Man in San Francisco
A movie with energy to burn. It doesn’t quite convincingly cross the finish line, but it balances so many spinning plates at once, it’s a minor miracle it stays upright at all.
A French movie that develops some decent tension and answers the question of what would have happened to Liam Neeson if the Taken franchise existed in reality.
An amiable journey through the back half of a woman’s oftentimes sad life. I can’t say I liked it, exactly, but it never dragged and many of the performances, including the lead, were very good.
Endzeit aka the German zombie movie with no subtitles
A minute into the movie, it was clear that me and the other three people in the theater were watching a version without subtitles, and a few minutes after that it was clear this was not a momentary snafu, but the reality of the feature presentation. Two people left at that point, but what the hell, I was already there and I’d gone to all the trouble of sneaking in my giant sandwich, so I stuck around. I can’t be sure, what with the lack of clarity on the talking parts and all, but the whole thing seemed pretty damned pretentious amidst the occasional bit of undead carnage.
Engaging enough, more than solid on the music front, but a lack of narrative drive and a willingness to devolve into melodrama kept it from hitting home.
Echo in the Canyon
A handful of good moments/music, but fairly self indulgent and it never digs deep enough for us to glean anything from the subject matter beyond a few amusing anecdotes.
Panahi’s movies are almost always interesting, if not exactly narratively gripping, but the fact he risks spending years in prison to make films at all makes the experience of seeing them a bit of a thrill. Here there’s a generational study within his typical allegorical framework, and it makes for a thoughtful, layered look into more than just the political landscape of Iran.
Very good overall. A little slow to get going, okay, a lot slow to get going, but around the halfway mark it kicks into gear and then never lets up. Beautiful visual composition and color palette throughout mostly makes up for the minimal characterizations afforded the cast.