Movie Review Roundup: Dunkirk, Get Out, Logan, and Split

I’ve been sick the last few days. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I’ve had plenty of time to catch up on movies. I’m on the mend, but still in bed today. Maybe I’ll get in one or two more. Who knows? In the meantime, here are short reviews to 4 films I’ve had on my To Be Watched list for quite a while.

Dunkirk. Nominated for 8 Oscars, including Best Picture and Director. Won three, all in the editing categories. I’d heard mixed reviews. The biggest criticism I’d heard repeated is that it was hard to care about any of the characters, since no back story was given to any of them. It was all centered right in the middle of the action around Dunkirk.

I actually didn’t mind the no back story bit. If Nolan had gone the traditional route, this movie would have been at least an hour longer. Adding back stories for each of the characters means you need to add denouements for each of them as well. And a whole lot of that just writes itself. Do we really need to see the scene where we find out the pilot is engaged and supposed to be married in two days? Or where we find out the stowaway soldier is a rogue who loves to gamble? Perhaps, for some movies. I’m thinking of Saving Private Ryan, where a lot of the meat of the movie comes from the quieter moments, where we get to know the characters and understand their motivations.

Then again, I don’t think that’s what this movie was about. It was about Dunkirk. Says so right in the title. And so Nolan focused on the actions of that event, dramatizing them through three different storylines that intersect. It’s telling the movie was nominated for all sorts of Oscars, but no acting ones. The acting could have been done by anyone, really. They were pieces to show the game being played.

All that said, I enjoyed the film, but didn’t adore it. It was riveting stuff, and it made me want to find out more about the historical event, but I also discovered that not really caring about the characters does peel away a layer necessary for me to invest myself in the outcome. Still a great war movie, and an interesting approach. 8/10


Get Out. Keeping in the Oscar Nominated movies vein, I had a chance to see Get Out in its entirety. Nominated for Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Original Screenplay (for which it won its only Oscar), I knew a fair bit less about this movie going into it. I knew it was in a strange mix of genres: horror, comedy, social commentary. I knew it was about race.

What a crazy, awesome mix of a movie. I’m glad I didn’t know more, since so much of it revolves around reveals. It was thought provoking and unpredictable. The sort of movie you really want to discuss with people after the fact. Here’s the storyline from IMDB:

Chris and his girlfriend Rose go upstate to visit her parents for the weekend. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined.

Gary Oldman better have been insanely good in The Darkest Hour, because the performance by Daniel Kaluuya in this movie was incredible. Very worthy of an Oscar nomination, and I’m surprised he didn’t win. (Have to think the horror genre somehow counted against him.)

As far as horror movies goes, it’s more for suspense than gore (though there is a fair bit of blood in the movie). Lots of language earned the R rating, which I kind of wish they had scaled back from. I feel like there are a lot of people who would benefit from watching the movie who won’t watch it because it’s R, and I feel like the movie would have easily had the same impact without a bit of the blood and all of the language.  9/10


Logan. I’d heard many people say it was the best X-Men movie. It’s currently the 208th best movie on IMDB. Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. (And directed by James Mangold, who was just announced as the director for the Boba Fett movie . . .)

I’ll say one thing: “Best X-Men movie” is a bar that isn’t too hard to get over. I’ve liked some of the entries in the series well enough, but none of them have stood out to be as Completely Awesome. Logan, frankly, was also not Complete Awesome for me, but that was more from the fact that it’s quite dark, and I prefer my superhero movies to be more super. Matter of taste.

That said, I really enjoyed the movie. Ultra violent, which I know a lot of fans have been clamoring for. And when your main character is a guy with foot long adamantium claws on both hands . . . you’re kind of obligated to find out how many creative ways you can have him use those claws to kill people. I get it.

The premise is simple: years in the future, Wolverine is living a broken life. He’s borderline suicidal. Mutants are pretty much hunted out of existence. No new ones are appearing. Life is terrible. And then a new mutant girl is discovered, and it’s up to him to protect her, despite the fact that he’s the least fatherly figure you could imagine.

It’s not a movie you’re going to come out chipper from. It’s quite the downer, but it’s a good downer, so there’s that. Honestly, this is a pretty easy film to decide whether you’ll want to watch it or not. If “R-Rated dark Wolverine movie” is something you’re in the market for, here’s your huckleberry. 8/10


Split. I do not, as a rule, enjoy horror movies. (And yet here I am reviewing two of them at once sitting.) That said, I really liked The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable and (to an extent) The Village and Signs. M. Night Shyamalan has directed some stinkers, sure, but he’s got a number of movies I enjoy. Split wasn’t one I was planning on seeing, however. The main reason I watched it was because I heard it might intersect with Unbreakable somehow, and my fond memories of that movie made me want to check this one out.

I generally really dislike movies where the villain is a “crazy person.” I feel like it does a real disservice to people with mental health issues. James McAvoy plays a man with something like 23 different personalities. And of course some of them want to abduct three girls and keep them hostage for unknown reasons.

McAvoy did a fine job acting the different personalities, but I still found the whole concept kind of scummy, and I could never really invest myself in his character because of that. Additionally, my general distaste of horror made me gun shy of lots of the movie. In the end, it wasn’t a very enjoyable experience, and the intersection with Unbreakable wasn’t enough to make me happy I’d invested 2 hours of sick-in-bed time with the movie.

Though I would really love an Unbreakable sequel. Just sayin’. 5/10. I didn’t hate it, but was generally neutral on it, which is what a 5 is for me. All movies start out as a 5. They move up and down based on my response to them.


Seen any of these yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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