Uncut Gems (2019) – A Nerve Experience

The new Safdie brothers movie, “Uncut Gems”, tests your adrenaline in facing a formidable challenge that the protagonists face as well. Although this is my most anticipated movie especially it came from A24, I just have to say I love and enjoy this freaking movie. It’s the same as I enjoy “Good Time” too. Josh and Benny Safdie brought Adam Sandler, and his breathtaking performance ever, to plunge directly into “narrow” streets. He takes an opportunity to put his stake, debts, lives, and risky bet into hope. But, the problem is as much as he jumps into the rabbit hole, he is increasingly difficult to reach the mainland. So, he always fails at it and makes himself destroyed little by little.

There is a lot of chance in such bets. However, Adam Sandler as a douche always takes further action. He prefers to play as the red zone instead of not thinking twice whether he would get a happy ending or not. Sandler as Howard knew very well what world he was in. He felt obsessed with these bets that he sacrificed his entire family as well as his stake. “Uncut Gems” glows Adam Sandler’s character for unable to cut the look he was betting on. However, it’s about how Howard can master and cut the core in himself.

I can’t say if I was a former fan of Adam Sandler as a kid and also a teenager. He could be funny material for some people. But, he can also be one of the actors with Oscar-worthy performance. Since “Punch-Drunk Love“, or maybe “Jack and Jill” too, Adam Sandler has proven that he can too. The only thing that he can’t master is himself. He doesn’t want to let himself find a new character. Because of that, he always fell and was getting rid off of the red carpet and spotlight. It’s proving how bad an actor is not the actor itself. Instead, it’s the director’s job to craft the actor’s performance and character.

There is symbolism, also beautifully shot which reminds me of Fincher-esque, in the first sequence. We go to the inside of a black opal with a sudden transition to a hospital monitor. It emphasizes and foreshadowing what will happen at the end and what is the meaning of that sequence. There are layers in the opal but it’s not cut on its own. It’s a metaphor if, how big is the scissors and as many sharp tools as you can to cut the opal, at the end of the day, it’s worthless. There is a magnificent power that cannot be valued directly with modal.

Safdie brothers, since “Good Time”, known with their indie projects and many unique projects. This is my second view to see the directors’ work. There is a film called “Daddy Longlegs”, the most appropriate title I have ever heard in a movie. But, people know them because of “Good Time”, one of the best from the directors. Since the film also, people always assume that Safdie brothers have popularized a new genre called anxiety. However, I can’t say if “Good Time” is a film that popularized the “genre”. You can look back at “A Clockwork Orange” even though the tone of both movies were kind of different.

Both “Good Time” and “Uncut Gems” relies more on the protagonist who falls into the rabbit hole, cannot get out, and falls into the hole deeply. Both films also emphasize how to keep the audience sitting and feel uncomfortable with the choices made by the protagonist. It’s more similar and familiar when you compare the two films, especially the ending of both movies. Both of them show how the protagonist has reached the hole but then falls into the deepest hole and cannot climb back again.

Watching both films makes it hard to breathe. You try to breathe but both of them didn’t give you enough space. It’s enough to say also with “Uncut Gems” especially. Howard is a great and “bad” character. He is greedy, greedy, careless, and always takes the wrong step. Besides he has a jewelry store in a tiny space, Howard and his small world are always squeezed by a bigger world. Kevin Garnett (played as himself and I’m not kidding if he was great in this movie as well) feels connected with an uncut gem.

Garnett said that if the opal had revealed up his identity and strength in being able to help a bet, raise the bet, and achieve the highest score in basketball. Howard, without thinking, will always say yes and yes regardless he never knows what he controlled. Howard made many bad decisions and he ended himself in a bad ending in each of these decisions. All of these people, especially Howard and even his wife (Idina Menzel), really hate Howard. He just always vent his problems and desire to a young mistress (Julia Fox), hired her, took him to his apartment but she also helped in raising Howard’s bet.

When watching “Good Time”, there was so much vibe into it. A very memorable depiction of a set of retro cities in the 70s, the aesthetic, the nerve ending, everything. It’s a movie that puts more pressure on the protagonist to beat a time. No time should be wasted and if there was little, the comfortable feeling can turn into a panic attack. Similar to “Uncut Gems”, the protagonist doesn’t have much time to relax. Howard not only faces time but he faces those who haunt him. Whether he was hiding anywhere, these people always saw him.

With that said, I enjoyed it more and was more uncomfortable with the ending of this movie than “Good Time”. I might be able to prefer this movie instead of “Good Time” but both of them are great movies. It could be, it’s one of the decades I can enjoy films like this again. People might say that the theme of the film doesn’t exist. Maybe this movie is just an addiction, greedy, gambling, the underground world, and so on. But, that’s the beautiful thing about us. “Uncut Gems” is a fantasy, a delusional, a panic attack mixed with anxiety in one film and tries to haunt you to the edge of your seat. Probably, this is one of the exhilarating and breathtaking movies I watched this year.

4 out of 5 stars.

Pixels (2015) – Game Off

Chris Columbus‘ “Pixels” is actually not a bad film from all films starring Adam Sandler. I remember watching this film with all of my friends. Strangely, I really enjoy it. We laugh with Adam Sandler’s humor he spits on. So, what happens now? This is one of the best Adam Sandler worst movies I have ever starred in. “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star,” “The Ridiculous 6,” or even “Jack and Jill.” Not all his movies as bad. But, there are some who we consider as best. Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Punch-Drunk Love” is an example. Adam Sandler plays a serious character in this film. Just like Jim Carrey in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

However, I saw “Pixels” as a potential idea. Besides that, this film is just attracting more nerd and gamer audience. With an idea like this, “Pixels” isn’t Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One.” In addition, this film is said to be a copycat from one episode of “Futurama.” On the other hand, this movie presents a special uniqueness like a nerdy or nostalgic thing. It’s from our favorite classic retro games. As I said, “Pixels” don’t have so much effort and lose their potential from the start.

It’s about video game characters that invading a real world. Sounds cool, right? Actually, it’s just an alien who’s imitating as video game characters who want to destroy Earth. Why? Nobody knows and until now, I don’t even know why. Anyway, they are disguised as our favorite video games character. From Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Super Mario, Duck Hunt, Centipede, Q*Bert, all of them. The attack then made the aliens to accept a challenge for the truth of war. It turns out, not for the international game competition. Okay, this is epic.

Kevin James as the president of the United States, Will Cooper. He is looking for ways to be able to protect humanity from extinction. Now, I just can’t imagine if Kevin James got the role of president of the United States. Is that a real case or just mere sarcastic? In fact, his character doesn’t really describe how the president or other serious characters. Even though the movie tries to describe it so that it seems ridiculous, just why? Anyway, it’s getting quite complicated because normal weapons aren’t enough to defeat them.

Turns out, this isn’t the role of the military but this task is put over by a bunch of nerds. So, be proud of you! Just one question out of my mind, is it very skilled in video games means you really stick with using real weapons in reality? Is cheating in video games the same as in the reality as well as in the Pac Man scene? I mean, if I’m a “gamer” where they call it a term like playing zombie apocalypse games if there is a zombie apocalypse, in reality, it can also make you very stick with it in reality? Do you bring those ideas to reality? One word: tremendous.

Anyway, Kevin James knows someone who is an expert in this field, especially the challenge they provide in the form of video games that were so popular in the era of the 90s. He is Adam Sandler: the man, the myth, the legend. He is a former international game competition champion; ‘ex.’ The incident got complicated when Adam Sandler had to work with the military to destroy all enemies. Although there are various perspectives between nerds and militaries, nerds are finally the top of the pyramid so that the military and the world will admit that gamers aren’t the trash of society. Take that, world; because if we are all united, no one can defeat us all – in video games, not in real life.

“Pixels” as intended to reanimate a nostalgia effect for the old memories of playing video games rather than playing “Fortnite” or your favorite 4K video games. Millennials will never know the depiction of 90s generation is. The movie refers more to comedy that is so devastating than to pay more attention to aspects of the 90s video games nuances and from here, the film loses all its potential. Adam Sandler seems to stick with his trademark, his own humor as well as films he starred in and didn’t want to change and keep up with the times. In fact, he should have better understood how his audience would think about retro games, especially in the 90s. But for Sandler, he cast-off this potential so that the film was just a gimmick about video games or something like that.

The video game characters that appear in the real world are actually quite interesting at the beginning of the story. Depictions of the characterization of backgrounds such as the first opening scene and all popular video games such as “Galaga”, “Centipede”, “Duck Hunt”, “Donkey Kong”, and others. The movie is not such a case. There are so many things that really seem interesting in this film but it seems like it’s too pushy and trying so hard.

The story was so devastating and mixed in all way. At first, it was in the 80s. We see the lives of children in that year, nerds, geeky, arcade machines, and video games competitions. Until the movie skip it away in the future – not too far – where an alien invasion happens. This film is a fantasy and a bit of futuristic because of that 8-bit thing or character. But, let’s talk about the actor in this movie.

Well, what do you expect about Adam Sandler was in this movie? Apart from being a frontman along with Josh Gad and Kevin James, there is nothing interesting. Adam Sandler who portrays his character of a nerd with a reliable gamer is always out of character because of the humor that Adam Sandler spoke out. Just like other humor, Adam Sandler uses his typical style of humor in the form of sarcasm that only seems cringe.

Sometimes, the movie really sticks with it and sometimes, I find that where this movie is quite funny like Josh Gad as Ludlow Lamonsoff, I sometimes find his character so funny but the rest, it’s nothing. Peter Dinklage as Eddie is a phenomenal character, only for this film. There are not many roles that are in addition to being a supporting cast for Adam Sandler but it’s just bad this film closes and get rid of those aspects.

“Pixels” gives a nostalgic feel to a film that ruins its potential from the start. There isn’t enough about Adam Sandler in this movie. Like the films, the movie actually becomes a gimmick in the form of retro video games in front of it. The rest, it’s just nothing and nonsense of the movie. Even though I seemed to be expecting “Ghostbusters”, “Pixels” was just a disappointment and didn’t really understand the audience itself. In fact, the trailer is better than the movie. I read the synopsis in a magazine before the film premiered. There was so much hope that was wasted where it wasn’t enough to fulfill it. Adventure, fantasy, video game characters, just epic. “Pixels” is a painful slap in our butt for both nerds and geeks.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

Jack and Jill (2011) – Al Pacino as Dunkaccino

What distinguishes movies such as “The Room,” “Samurai Cop,” all Ed Wood’s works, and all Neil Breen’s masterpieces? Indeed, these films are said to be as bad but not mean bad from the term itself. Regardless of which, the movie is so enjoyable and I love that. On the other hand, we got another ‘masterpiece’ of Adam Sandler. Maybe, it’s worse than all the films he had starred himself and this might take all the cakes and cup of tea.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is “Jack and Jill.” Nope, it’s not that traditional English nursery rhyme in the 18th century but this is Adam Sandler portray twins characters with different genders. Movies like this should be so ‘scary’ for some people because I could create a new challenge entitled trying to laugh challenge, not ‘try not to laugh challenge.’ Now, we make a new challenge here. If you don’t laugh then you lose the challenge, not that until I pretend to laugh from the beginning to the end of the film – just drive me insane. “Jack and Jill” is an ‘I drink your milkshake’ movie.

It’s about the arrival of Jack Sadelstein’s sister, Jill Sadelstein. Both are played by Adam Sandler. Jill comes on vacation with Jack’s family during Thanksgiving. Even more unique, Jill has a quite interesting personality. She tends to be more passive-aggressive and never makes Jack feel at comfortable when near her. Therefore, conflict arises from this pair of twins with a problem of loyalty where Jack turns out seeing the other side of his twin sister that he will never realize before. Well, what do you expect? It’s another Adam Sandler movie so there’s no need to have high expectations.

Basically, I was a fan of Adam Sandler movie from childhood until I was a teenager. From that, I began to realize how the films always use the same format. I mean, everyone is so. Quentin Tarantino? Christopher Nolan? Tom Cruise? Mark Wahlberg? Who else? But why not with Adam Sandler? The premise is really interesting where the film illustrates how it feels to be a part of the twins. The first opening scene opened quite interestingly, showing some twins being interviewed how it felt to be part of the twins themselves. But why does this film not work at all from what the summary writes? What’s more, why should Adam Sandler show his double appearance as a woman who is so annoying and has obnoxious sound? And again, why is Al Pacino in the film? I repeat, why is Al Pacino in this film?

Honestly, I really want to really know whether there is a conspiracy behind this film and why Al Pacino must be in this film. In fact, he quotes: “Burn this! Nobody must ever see this!” I mean, it’s just… why? This film besides Al Pacino is in the conspiracy of this film, the movie is rated PG. The MPAA said the movie has crude and sexual humor, language, comic violence, and brief smoking. But is that questionable? The movie shouldn’t be for some teenagers even for children. Basically, it’s an out-of-the-box movie that has comedy in general. Dialogues that contain jokes but are so absurd and there are so many racism and sensitive humor. Distorted scenes, some stereotypical jokes that describe certain groups, and can offend some people too. Yet, I do understand the jokes used in this movie because it’s… Adam Sandler movie.

Although besides presenting a quite interesting premise yet has things that deviate from jokes or humor, the movie isn’t a movie. It’s a ‘movie’ but with a lot of advertisement. Almost all in every frame, every scene, every second, every minute, you can see the number of ads that are so clearly displayed in this film. Even though I know there are some films that try to promote something, why is this film so bad at doing this? Oh, it’s… Adam Sandler movie. “Jack and Jill” is a film full of I-M-A-G-I-N-A-T-I-O-N because it’s ‘talk less do more’ means less funny and less interesting. The more absurd things are, the funnier the movie.

The script is messed up even though Al Pacino is only given a role of promoting donut shops. I don’t care that the ‘Dunkaccino’ advertisement has many references related to Al Pacino himself. I don’t care whether it’s “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Scent of a Woman,” “Scarface,” even “The Godfather: Part II,” I just don’t really care.

The good news is that this is the first film in Razzie’s history to win all categories from Worst Picture, Dennis Dugan as Worst Director, Adam Sandler as Worst Actor and Actress, Al Pacino as Worst Supporting Actor, David Spade as Worst Supporting Actress, all if possible. I just don’t need to mention it one by one again. What an appreciation! Even Katie Holmes in this film played very well. Nope, that’s not what I meant. Cameos don’t make this film even better. There are Johnny Depp, Rob Schneider, Norm MacDonald, Shaquille O’Neal, and friends. Just enough to be one of the ‘entertainer’ parts.

So, where are we? “Jack and Jill” comes after turd, after turd. It’s like a Survival or Hunger Games, who comes out first before the movie is finished then they will die first too. This epic movie is very different from the masterpiece works such as Neil Breen, Tommy Wiseau, or Ed Wood which can’t even include between their works. Their films are good because we enjoy the aspects of it, not like “Jack and Jill.”

The story is so broken and scattered, the acting was bad, bad humor and racism elements with PG-rated, Al Pacino being the worst actor, and others. It might be the worst, I mean, the worse from Adam Sandler movie I’ve ever seen. It can’t be said as ‘so bad it’s good’ but it’s so bad that even more bad. Just out of curiosity if you want to put various ‘quote’ in this film.

0.5 out of 5 stars.