This Can’t Be Good: Assassin’s Creed

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Photo: © New Regency

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This might be the coldest take ever recorded on this website: They have not ever, and will not ever, make a good live-action video game movie.

Please @ me in the comments because you liked your Double Dragon VHS tape from when you were a kid or something like that, I dare you.

Assassin’s Creed is a wild success, if the film was part of a secret challenge to make two hours of unwatchable nonsense. That might seem like a harsh statement to you, but 80 minutes into the film I was so bored I literally paused it to send work emails. Not urgent ones either. Regular ones.

If that isn’t enough of a ringing endorsement, don’t worry. I have more!

I wanted to like the cast and acting here. I wanted it to be the saving grace of a terrible concept. Haha NOPE! Every line is delivered with a flat lack of emotion, and the dramatic music they use to make it seem charged doesn’t work at all.

Maybe the action scenes are good? Not even a little bit. They’re all intercut with Michael Fassbender swinging around on a metal arm like he’s on the world’s dumbest carnival ride, which accomplishes nothing except being distracting. Also, if you operate a secret prison that houses criminals trained in the way of ancient assassins, don’t arm your guards with swords. Give them guns, the much better thing that ancient assassins have never seen before. Done.

And finally the plot. Which, I mean, if you could call it a plot. If I interpreted it correctly, the Illuminati is hunting for a baseball that can destroy the world, which is protected by assassins because killing for money is good. Gotcha. The baseball contains the genetic code for free will, which is a green fog. This is how science works. And last but not least, the movie sets up for a sequel because we live in a franchise hellscape.

Please use your genetic code for free will to avoid watching this movie.

Review: Murder on the Orient Express

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Kenneth Branagh and Daisy Ridley star in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Murder on the Orient Express.”

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I know, I know. When a film critic recommends a period piece, you cringe a little bit. You ask yourself, “Is this some art-house garbage I’ll have to pretend to like to seem cultured in front of my wife’s work friend Janice?”

Well guess what, friend? Now you’ve got a perfectly good film to talk about at the holiday party that won’t make Janice scoff like she did when you told her you liked The Goonies.

Welcome to Murder on the Orient Express. Sure, you’ll spend half the movie focusing on Kenneth Branagh’s ridiculous double mustache, but if you look past the absurd facial hair you’ll find a tense, twisting thriller that will keep you guessing. A high point of the film structurally is it doesn’t suffer from the TV mystery problem–the entire cast is famous enough that anyone could be the victim, and anyone could be the murderer. The plot is a slow burn that comes to a boiling point for a climax fraught with suspense and passion.

So while you’ve never been in a first-class train car, and you might relate most to the train director who loves wine, you’ll still enjoy the movie. And with any luck, you’ll be able to ruin the ending for Janice.

Eat my shorts, Janice

Dream Streams: Gerald’s Game

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Photo: © Netflix

 

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Service: Netflix

Beware! This is not a sequel to 50 Shades Darker. This is a completely unrelated BDSM film. Yes, there are multiple. No, I don’t know why. People must be afraid of freaky shit or something.

Please practice your kinks safely and with a consenting partner. There, now I gave you good advice so you don’t come crying to me because you tried some some new things with your girlfriend and now you have to tell an embarrassing story to an ER doctor who kinda looks like your sophomore year history professor and you have to focus on that so you don’t think about the silicone radish jammed up your downstairs.

Or something like that. Just saying.

Anyway. The movie. Right.

Gerald’s Game is an enjoyable film for a couple reasons. First and foremost, the acting. Carla Gugino carries the film, and Bruce Greenwood is no slouch either. The two combine to create compelling emotional scenes in a dialogue-heavy movie that could have easily dragged if I was not so drawn into the characters.

The second reason is that the movie is deeply unsettling. It has what I would call a creeping horror. This is not a slasher horror with teens getting chopped in half on prom night. It’s a woman slowly going mad as she battles the concepts of time and death. Much of the film is so viscerally uncomfortable that if it wasn’t so worth watching I would have turned it off.

Overall this is the type of movie that will stick with you long after you watch it and pop into your head one day out of nowhere, sort of like the memory of that time you suggested that thing with the rope and candle wax and your girlfriend freaked out even though she said she wanted you to be honest with her and she went to stay at her friend Rachel’s for the night and you ate ramen out of a cup for dinner alone.

Or something like that. Just saying.

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