Saturday, October 19, 2019

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, 2019 - ★★★½

This movie didn't need to be made. We didn't need to see the follow-on moments as Jesse Pinkman fled from the authorities after Walter White died on the last episode of Breaking Bad (spoiler alert). Vince Gilligan didn't care if we wanted this film or not but now we have it. It's methodical and slow at times like an episode of Better Call Saul, but it's still a Gilligan film through and through and it's well worth watching. The scenes in the apartment where Jesse tries to find Todd's (Jesse Plemons) stowed money are gripping and classic Breaking Bad drama.

The constant guest appearances from memorable BB characters from Cranston's White to Krysten Ritter's Jane are fun to see but seem like forced call backs to the Breaking Bad series. Still, this movie is interesting and paced properly with a perfect platform to show off Aaron Paul's acting as Jesse. He runs the gamut of emotions in this performance through present day scenes and flashbacks. He really loves playing this character and you can tell he takes portraying Jesse on-screen very seriously.

I'll watch anything that Vince Gilligan does and hopefully he isn't done exploring this type of film experiment.

Between Two Ferns: The Movie, 2019 - ★★★½

Hilarious at times, this is nothing more than extended series of Ferns sketches that give us a ton of celebrity cameos and a few very good laughs.

Gemini Man, 2019 - ★★½

This is little more than a technical experiment. Ang Lee delivers a bland by-the-book spy "thriller" that stalls at times and really doesn't add much character development. The action sequences are well engineered and watching this in 120FPS was pretty cool, but really this is just a showcase for a particular kind of technical innovation. De-aging.

We've seen de-aging in other Marvel movies recently and while done well, nothing has approached the heights seen in Gemini Man. Will Smith's younger clone looks nearly identical to his Fresh Prince self. Some of the combat sequences where young Will is running and jumping make it seem like "yes this is a CGI person". But there are other scenes like the one where young Will confronts the individual that cloned him (his "father" Clive Owen), where we see tears and real emotions on the de-aged Smith that it really does seem like a physical younger version on-screen.

The problem with this movie is that the technical wizardry is really all that's redeeming about the experience of watching Gemini Man. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Dr. Strange's Benedict Wong are just under developed side characters that help service the story. The government conspiracy that surround the plot is laughable and forgettable. I found myself not really caring about the "DIA" (I mean they really couldn't use CIA in this film?).

Is this worth a ticket spend to see this on the big screen? Maybe not. But this film might be remembered most for blurring the lines between real and CGI even further. Who knows, in 10 years we may no longer need physical actors in our big-budget films.