The Adam Project Review

The Adam Project passes the Netflix algorithm test.

Maybe Watch It?

It’s been a little while since I have watched a Netflix original movie. What I remembered from the last few I watched were they felt like they were created by an AI that just looks for the buzz words it can find from viewer patterns. I figured though, why not check out The Adam Project. Director Shawn Levy makes fun movies, and I enjoy the Ryan Reynolds humor. Well, this movie still feels like it was made by the Netflix AI checklist, but with the exact things I just described.

The Adam Project is a solid, unoffensive, pre-teen adventure movie. It has a simple sci-fi plot about time travel, which gives the excuse for some flashy special effects. It has very clear lines of good, Ryan Reynold’s Adam Reed, and bad, Catherine Keener’s Maya Sorian. It even gets MCU alums Mark Ruffalo, and Zoe Saldana in the mix to give it a little more star power. It’s simple, the plot moves quickly with little time to really think about what’s going on and isn’t really trying to do anything that will stick in your brain. Typical Netflix content.

I won’t waste time nitpicking the plot because the movie isn’t trying to blow your socks off in that department. It’s simple stuff, think of an even more bland version of simple MCU plots and you get the idea. The most interesting about this movie which happens to be the heart of the movie is the dynamic between Reynolds’ adult Adam Reed with Reed’s twelve-year-old self played by Walker Scobell. Reynolds has a very specific kind of humor and Scobell does a pretty great job nailing that style but in a young boy’s delivery. They have solid chemistry and honestly if it wasn’t for that this movie would be a slog to get through.

What you get is once more another by the numbers movie that you can put on with the family or have on in the background to pass the time. Do you NEED to watch this movie? Not at all, but if you enjoy simple action-adventure movies for families or family-friendly Ryan Reynolds you might want to give The Adam Project a watch.


Velvet Buzzsaw Review

Netflix’s Velvet Buzzsaw is an odd horror film where you will actually root for the supernatural forces to catch their targets.

Score: 3/5

Director Dan Gilroy and Jake Gyllenhaal’s previous collaboration, Nightcrawler was one of my favorite movies of 2014. It was both unsettling and interesting at the same time, and Gyllenhaal’s performance was one of his best in my opinion. Velvet Buzzsaw see’s the two pair up again and the results are interesting.

This film, like Nightcrawler before it, bathes in the subject matter of the film. This film dives deep into the world of art, focusing on the industry of greed around art and not the actual art itself. It’s in this world that we are introduced to a series of just terrible people. Each one just as self-absorbed as the last save for one poor young woman who just can’t catch a break. Where Nightcrawler felt disturbing because it wouldn’t be a stretch to see such a series of events actually happening, Velvet Buzzsaw takes the supernatural route and thus lessens that nasty feeling in the pit of your stomach.

In Velvet Buzzsaw a collection of artwork is stolen from the dead artists apartment and is getting sold around by the art collecting elite. The problem? The artist’s paintings are essentially cursed. This leads to a series of Stephen King horror moments as these paintings brutally murder these would be profiteers. This movie differs in the normal horror tropes because honestly, these larger than life characters are begging to meet their demise.

It’s as this point that the movie somewhat feels more comical than what I imagine was the original intention of the movie. That said, I didn’t dislike what I saw, I just wish the film would have went all in on the bonkers side of things or would have doubled down on the horror end.

Moving past these points, cast wise Velvet Buzzsaw delivers in giving us some interesting characters to watch. Jake Gyllenhaal continues to prove that he is a master character actor. This can be said for the majority of the cast, as I can’t think of anyone that stood out on a negative end. Visually, this film does a great job of selling the horror/unsettling vibe that was clearly the aim for the film.

By the end of the film, I felt like what I got was a component Netflix film, which has been a rare thing for myself. It doesn’t pack the punch that Nightcrawler did for me five years ago, but this does give me hope that more Netflix films will up their quality on producing interesting films over generic commercial ones.


Polar Review

Polar fires stylized gorgeous color with a brashness to match to give the assassin genre the Netflix touch.

Score: 2.5/5

Netflix does a scary good job creating a great trailer. Big name actor? Check? Interesting shots? Check. Pop-y song? Check. A great movie though? There haven’t been many as far as I’m concerned. So going into Polar, a Netflix film based on a Dark Horse graphic novel I wasn’t sure what I’d get. Strangely enough, I was getting exactly what the trailer promised and then some. The problem? It may have been a bit too much.

Let me get this out of the way right now, Polar is an edgy as hell movie, with a focus towards gratifying violence and nudity. It’s Netflix flexing it’s anything goes muscle with source material that felt the same way. It creates over the top psycho assassins, a mustache twirling villain, and the not so bad but kind of bad guy hero.

To the good first though, Mads Mikkelsen as a bad ass John Wick style assassin is and always will be awesome. In fact, I kind of wish he would be in a John Wick movie because THAT would be an amazing movie. Netflix pay Keanu stupid money and make it happen please. Mikkelsen’s character is code-named the Black Kaiser, and he sure lives up to that name in his brutal efficiency at taking out targets. I could easily watch another Polar following more of these crazy moments. Mikkelsen’s no nonsense, dry humor delivery gave the movie some much needed flavor to keep scenes where he is not murdering people interesting. The other thing that is a joy to watch is just the style that oozes from every shot. They focused on capturing and brightening color along with just gorgeous shots that felt on point as a graphic novel adaptation. It kept my eyes pleased even during scenes that made my ears and brain hurt. And that happens a bit more than I wished.

My major problems with this movie come about with the absurdly annoying villain, Blut, and just the need to be edgy for no reason beyond, let’s push this MA rating as far as possible Blut’s motivations of greed make sense, but everything else about him is just too much. He’s too evil because… cue the evil laughter. Yeah, I don’t know why, and neither does the movie. He’s over ridiculous evil because this story’s over the top style demands that he be. It makes ZERO sense why someone who knows so much about Mads’ Duncan Vizla would ever feel confident on trying to kill the man.

It’s sad that the characters that could have been interesting, his elite A-Team style assassins team and his second in command Vivian (played by the badass Katheryn Winnick from Vikings) get tarnished by having to be involved with this absolute batshit weirdo. Everything about the bad guys in this movie goes super cartoonish, which works for the A-Team group, but just feels so out of place everywhere else. This movie could have been so much more interesting without Blut. They could have replaced him with a heartless corporate board and bam! All the sudden it doesn’t feel crazy stupid as to why these events are taking place. As for the edginess, well I guess it’s a personal taste thing. For me it crosses the line into pandering way more often than clever.

I could keep going and going about ways they could have made this more bearable but the reality is that wasn’t what we got. when it comes down to it, I both loved and hated the extremes of this movie. If it wasn’t for the stylish visuals and Mads Mikkelsen this would have been so bad I wouldn’t know if I could watch the whole movie. These factors save the movie from being a waste of time, but I’d find it hard to recommend to anyone unless they watch the trailer and understand that anything crazy you see is just the tip of the cocaine iceberg. If you are down for that, then you might like Polar.