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Filmspotting Message Boards => Movie Talk => Topic started by: Bondo on January 01, 2017, 01:25:19 PM

Title: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 01, 2017, 01:25:19 PM
Train to Busan (2016)

My filmic resolution this year is to watch more international cinema. I used to watch a fair few things but in the past couple years have fallen out of the habit to a larger extent. To make it even easier to get started, I found out that Amazon has a deal right now where if you enter the code "MOVIE99" you can get most digital rentals for 99 cents (though looking at my receipt, I think I got it for free). Apparently this also works for Google Play, which I might try out later today.

Train to Busan is a very solid entry into the zombie horror category, playing up the claustrophobic nature of the train setting much the way Snakes on a Plane did, but actually as a good movie. In the process of providing thrills, it is an emotionally effective piece seemingly critiquing Korean modernization to the extent it has led to a more individualistic/greedy approach, which has torn the fabric of both the community and the family.

I did feel like there was a natural end point about 85 minutes in and was surprised when it I clicked and found it had 30 minutes remaining. That final 30 minutes felt distinctly weaker and pulled the film down an increment in the process. One other aspect that wasn't entirely clear and thus effective was the source of the zombie outbreak, which seems to be identified by the end but the discussion was confusing in terms of culpability of some characters. Still, quite a strong film that supports the reasoning behind my resolution.

B
Title: Re: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 01, 2017, 01:53:29 PM
How did the effects strike you? When they showed the deer at the beginning I relaxed immediately because it couldn't possibly be a real deer but the movements were very natural and it blended into the real world seamlessly.

Also, do you agree that the escalator was a clever idea with the people being pulled downward towards the zombie mob?
Title: Re: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 01, 2017, 02:12:29 PM
I found out that Amazon has a deal right now where if you enter the code "MOVIE99" you can get most digital rentals for 99 cents (though looking at my receipt, I think I got it for free).

Let me know if it works on a second movie from Amazon. The article I read just now implied that it was a one-time-per-customer deal at Amazon, and also at Google (separately). I sort of hope that's true. Otherwise, I threw away about $10 last week.

pixote
Title: Re: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 01, 2017, 02:42:09 PM
Correct, it is a single-use credit (per account). I'm assuming you can use it once at each place because I don't know why Amazon and Google would be working in conjunction (or since they are different accounts, how they'd know).

ETA: I can't sort out how to make the Google one work...either through Google Play Store or through youtube.

How did the effects strike you? When they showed the deer at the beginning I relaxed immediately because it couldn't possibly be a real deer but the movements were very natural and it blended into the real world seamlessly.

Also, do you agree that the escalator was a clever idea with the people being pulled downward towards the zombie mob?

The effects were mostly good. Sometimes the zombie face make-up...one of the latter ones in particular, was a touch lacking. And yes, the escalator was cool, though I'm pondering if it could have been more effective. I suppose it makes sense with a mass of people that it played out how it did, but it also means you lose someone actively running up the down escalator, not knowing if they'll make it.
Title: Re: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 01, 2017, 08:21:19 PM
Okay, figured out the Google Play discount, thus I present:

Evolution (2015)

As this film progressed, I went back and forth from feeling like the placement of Lucile Hadzihalilovic's prior film, Innocence, in my top 10 all time was going to be a millstone around its neck or that it will make me more lenient in recognition of my trust in her filmmaking. Indeed, it was the latter that seems more likely as I could easily see myself blasting this film as not amounting to much...staying too vague in its weirdness. It is an oddity that lives in the world of Cronenberg or Eraserhead.

Between this world and that of Innocence, Hadzihalilovic could be called a builder of uncanny worlds, much like Yorgos Lanthimos. These are worlds that seem a lot like ours but are queered in one way or another, in theory to draw out a metaphor. This one sets us in a coastal village where adult women tend to boys nearing the onset of puberty. Innocence was pretty clear as metaphor of how girls are groomed rather cruelly to make it in the world. Maybe it is a mistake to try to view this as a mirror image, a film about the ills of boys becoming men in society. If anything, it feels like the community enacts a form of revenge for historic subjugation of women. But the point is, as effectively creepy as the images and mood of the film evokes, it leaves too much unsaid. This doesn't doom it as a reasonable piece of craft, but it certainly keeps it far away from the transcendent place of Innocence.

B-
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (restarted 1/2017)
Post by: MartinTeller on January 01, 2017, 10:50:02 PM
I have that one on deck, hoping to get to it soon. I still have high hopes for it, though seeing a fellow Innocence fan have a lukewarm reaction gives me pause.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (restarted 1/2017)
Post by: 1SO on January 02, 2017, 12:13:57 AM
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
* *

There's a bit of dialogue in Ratatouille about how the great Chef Gusteau would always do something unexpected. That was his job, but it was the job of the other chefs to follow the recipe. Tom Cruise has made a number of action movies, including some of the best of the last 30 years. With the right director, Cruise can be counted on for something unexpected. Unfortunately, Edward Zwick only knows how to follow the recipe.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (restarted 1/2017)
Post by: Bondo on January 02, 2017, 07:05:25 AM
I have that one on deck, hoping to get to it soon. I still have high hopes for it, though seeing a fellow Innocence fan have a lukewarm reaction gives me pause.

You are more of a Lynch fan though, and thus might be less put off by the mystery of it. I mostly need you to watch it so we can open a spoiler thread.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on January 02, 2017, 08:04:51 AM
My wife and I have had a Harry Potter Weekend, and even though it has only been a few years since the last time we marathoner the films, my opinions continue to shift and solidify a bit more each time I see the films. Still have 7b on deck for today, but I can now say with confidence that the adult casts save the first two films, which are rather average and buoyed by those performances I mentioned and also the great sense of adventure which comes from the books. Azkaban is still marvelous, and Order of the Phoenix has maybe become my favorite of the bunch now (joining the club here). It is great in so many ways. Half-Blood Prince (my previous favorite) has some script issues, and lacks focus at times, but is still a darn beautiful film to look at (the main reason it was my number one before. 7a is great too. I really appreciate seeing the story progression over the films, as it gets progressively darker and more dangerous. It is telling to see the child performances evolve over the series as well. Radcliffe has the promise throughout, with some very nice moments even early on. Grint is always there with good comedic timing, but even has a few nice moments later on. Watson is the best evolution, because she is fairly wooden and delivered in her performance early on, but eventually is able to rival Radcliffe in natural performance. So it's no surprise she has continued that evolution past the series to be the most successful, with Grint nowhere to be found.

Here is how I would probably rank them today:

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 02, 2017, 08:18:14 AM
Couldn't find a word of disagreement to respond back with, but wanted to respond since I've watched all these films many times over. Thrilled to see you join the club on Order > Azkaban.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 02, 2017, 08:40:23 AM
That's the worst club. The best club is the one where we all recognize that Goblet of Fire is actually great and the best of the non-Azkaban ones.

Grint does have good timing... but not much else. He does fine in Deathly Hallows Part 1 I suppose, but he's clearly the weaker of the three by a country mile.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on January 02, 2017, 08:40:43 AM
It's crazy that my girlfriend, son and I did the same thing this weekend (couldn't get to the last 2, though). Still haven't seen either of the last two films and am really excited to this weekend.

I think I still have Azkaban over Phoenix, though.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on January 02, 2017, 09:38:16 AM
Goblet of Fire is the best book, fwiw.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on January 02, 2017, 11:33:50 AM
The best club is the one that recognizes Azkaban is the best. All the other clubs are just clubs full of people who like to be wrong about things.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 02, 2017, 11:38:24 AM
I belong in the wrong-headed Phoenix club, then.

Great use of a New Year's weekend, Corndog and Matt!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 02, 2017, 11:55:01 AM
The best club is the one that recognizes Azkaban is the best. All the other clubs are just clubs full of people who like to be wrong about things.
Looking at your Criticker, we're talking about a difference of 4 points. And like you say, "The casting of Luna Lovegood is perfect, and of course Imelda Staunton is excellent as Umbridge." Order has Grawp, but Azkaban has the lengthy Screaming Shack sequence that has to explain everything.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 02, 2017, 12:01:40 PM
New year or not, some things never change around here.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 02, 2017, 01:33:34 PM
Toni Erdmann
Contains a number of the funniest scenes I've experienced in a long time. The naked party is an all-time classic sequence.

The Handmaiden
The flat-out most entertaining film I've seen of the 2016 releases. An expertly crafted thriller with a tremendous sense of humor and eroticism.

Keanu
Some funny moments, but focuses on plot over laughs too often.

The Wailing
Has a number of mystery and horror elements I really liked and some very good performances, but the final act is a mess.

Postcards from the Edge
Incredibly wry and witty (as you'd expect from Carrie Fisher) with a strong performance from Streep and an even better one from Shirley MacLaine.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StarCarly on January 02, 2017, 01:44:09 PM
Goblet of Fire is the best book, fwiw.

This is correct. I love the movie, but it's the worst one to compare its book  :-\
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 02, 2017, 05:15:07 PM
Rewatched the original Star Wars trilogy to start the year. Bumped both ANH and ESB up half-a-star in my ratings, whatever misgivings I had about the original in particular are dissipating. Jedi is still rough and uneven, but the good parts are so good that I still enjoy it. ESB is clearly above anything else in the franchise in pretty much all aspects : direction, writing, cinematography, score, production design... TFA might have it beat on acting I suppose.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: CarnivorousCouch on January 02, 2017, 07:06:09 PM
I hope to write a review of it at some point, but until then, Toni Erdmann is amazing! Sandra Huller is my best actress of the year, which is really saying something because Natalie Portman was incredible in Jackie. Peter Simonischek is superb too. The fact that both aren't mortal locks for Oscar nominations is baffling. The critics calling this an epic are right and that's not a mere facet of its length. You come to know the two lead characters so fully in this movie, in a way that is rare for even the best character studies. In that particular regard, this one deserves to be included in the same company as Boyhood and Blue Is the Warmest Color. Even masterpieces like Moonlight and Manchester By the Sea, with their tremendously rich and detailed character portraits, come second and third to Toni Erdmann in that department. Toni Erdmann is the kind of film that needs a second viewing just so it can be seen with the full understanding of who these phenomenally nuanced people are. I'll be thinking about Ines and Winnfried for the better part of the week. And, yeah, it's hilarious too! Thank you to both this film and Manchester By the Sea for allowing soul-sickness, grief, and emotional exhaustion to coexist so harmoniously with hilarity. Both made me feel like I'd just gone to film yoga and discovered some muscle I never knew existed. Here's hoping more filmmakers follow their lead and find new ways to combine the belly laugh with the choked sob.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (2013-2016)
Post by: EpiphanyinBaltimore on January 02, 2017, 09:57:10 PM
Hey all... I love Filmspotting, the podcast, and just heard about this discussion board. I just wrote this review of Fences (with bits of Moonlight sprinkled in), on my blog at http://epiphanyinbmore.blogspot.com. It's not a film review site, but I do have some film reviews on it.

Black Lives Matter in Denzel Washington's Adaptation of August Wilson's 'Fences' and Jenkins' 'Moonlight'

Two of the best films of 2016 are Moonlight and Fences, both films about black characters from black writers and directors. Despite that similarity, both films are quite different in style and execution. Barry Jenkins' Moonlight (which I wrote about here and here) features strikingly beautiful and poetic cinematography, and much of the conflict comes from a lead character who is so repressed that you ache for him. In contrast, Washington's direction of Fences exchanges Moonlight's dreamy fluidity for a sturdy realism. The color palette is much more subdued, and the gregarious protagonist is more oppressed than he is repressed.

But a striking similarity between both films is their collective proclamation that black lives matter. The characters in both Fences and Moonlight are coping with the traumas of both their pasts and the legacies of slavery and American racism. They are remarkable not because they are superheroes or historical figures or have amazing things happen to them, but because they strive and struggle to overcome a world stacked up against them, and, in these filmmakers' hands, this struggle depicting the endurance of black people in America is both painful and beautiful.

Washington's take on August Wilson's classic 1987 play is as reverential an adaptation of a source text as one is ever going to find. After 16 years of teaching the play multiple times a day, and a half-dozen times seeing it on stage, I know the play (my favorite) well: "like the back of my hand," I tell my 9th grade students before I score their performances, which must be memorized. I relate this to say that I don't think Washington (or the late Wilson, when he wrote the film script) changed the play's script at all. I noted a couple of lines added when Troy tells Cory to put on his helmet and strap it up after he throws the helmet at Troy, and another brief one I describe later, but this is it. It is almost word for word.

Along with this faithfulness to the script, Washington's direction itself also propels August Wilson's words to the forefront. Most of the action takes place in the Maxsons' tiny backyard and small house -- all packed with remarkable period details -- and any temptation to create scenes away from the house are mostly avoided. There is no flashback to the white furniture salesman or a fantasy sequence of Death with a white robe on; there is no Alberta courtship moment or a dramatic hospital childbirth scene. A scene in which Troy is waiting to speak to his bosses about the discrimination black garbagemen face is added, and effectively: away from his home, Troy's largeness is subdued, the barriers he faces in his life more pronounced. In that building, Troy seems small. Additionally, scenes in a bar (presumably Taylor's) and on the cramped streets reflect the working-class black neighborhood in which the Maxsons reside.

Despite his many accolades for playing the role on Broadway, I still had some reservations about Denzel Washington as Troy. This clip comparison between Washington and the great James Earl Jones (a clip comparison I use every year teaching) shows a vast difference between the two interpretations of the character. It might be the audience, but there's a sense of fear in that scene that I think Jones establishes, whereas Denzel mocks his son and gets laughs. For me, that's not Troy Maxson. I was much happier with his other scenes on Youtube, though, and was pleased to watch the trailer of Fences and Denzel performing that same "Liked you?" monologue with the gravity that I think the moment requires, though, and, honestly, there is no one else working today would would be as well-cast as Troy.

By the end of the film, any reservations I had about Denzel Washington playing Troy Maxson were gone. When I think of the performances of this movie, though, Denzel's strikes me as the 4th or 5th best performance, which I think is a sign of his great direction and handling of his actors. Denzel's Troy Maxson is many things I want Troy to be: bitter, funny, charismatic, sad. I still think he's too smiley and comfortable and, for me, never disappears from being Denzel Washington, though it's still a powerful and soulful performance.

However, it's Viola Davis who still registers the most, even four days after I've seen the film, as I've replayed in my mind the choices she makes with that role time and time again. Her performance as Rose Maxson is so commanding that I can imagine a whole other film from her perspective; Wilson is sometimes accused of underwriting roles for women, but Davis's take on Rose shows her to be as fully fleshed out a character as Troy is. Her performance of the "I've been standing with you" speech is revelatory; it's not just the naturalistic snot on her face that we are used to from powerful Viola Davis performances, but it's the other touches as well -- the movement, the subtle weakening of her legs (I gasped), the eye contact. Her Rose is a force of nature, relegated to and barely contained within her repressed role as a black woman in the 1950s.

When Rose screams, "What about my life?" to her husband, we are confronted with what I think is one of Washington's theses for this film: the affirmation and celebration of the dignity of black lives -- not only of a flawed and ambivalent man in Troy Maxson, but also of a black housewife who Viola Davis dares Troy, and us as the audience, to write off. With this film, that's not happening.

This movie certainly made me weepy, and the tear ducts started working with the appearance of Gabriel, who first appears in the play in Act I, Scene 3. Mykelti Williamson's performance is superb and subtle, playing a character who could have come off as a scenery chewer or Oscar bait. Instead, we feel the man's pain as well as his brain damage; Williamson eschews any desire to go over the top. The performance of the last scene is heartbreaking and triumphant, just as it should be. But the even bigger revelation for me was Jovan Adepo's performance as Cory. I'm often disappointed with "Cory"s in stage productions. Chris Chalk played Cory in the 2010 Broadway production, when he was around 32 years old; in the clips I have seen, it looks like he's in his 30s, which is double the actual age of Cory. On the other hand, while I can't find Adepo's age online, he looks like he's around 20 years old, able to play 16/17 years old as well as 25 years old, as the role necessitates.

But it's not just age appropriateness that makes Jovan Adepo's performance so terrific; it's that he just kills the scenes he is in. He does great playing off Denzel Washington in the climactic father-son fight scene, but my favorite moment of his is in the last scene of the play, when he's singing on the front porch with his impossibly cute kid sister, Raynelle. This is an important moment in the play, because it's when he decides to go to his dad's funeral, to not "play host" (as Wilson writes in the epigraph) to his father's sins. Adepo's breakdown during the moment captured everything we needed that character to feel in that moment, and was the first time during the film where my tears became a flood. In addition, earlier, there's a brief scene in which Cory decides on pursuing a career in the military; the characters of Gabriel and Cory really don't have any interactions in the play, but the film's inclusion of this moment creates a powerful parallel between uncle (his Uncle Gabe had half of his head blown off in the war, and the government only gave his family $3000 to live on after this happened) and nephew (Cory takes the same path as his uncle), and helps emphasize Wilson's theme exploring the cyclical lack of options for black men in America.

I'd also be remiss not to mention Stephen McKinley Henderson as Bono, and Russell Hornsby as Lyons. Both actors convey the disappointment and love they have for Troy Maxson in soulful, unexpected ways. Henderson's rotund appearance and inability to move too quickly somehow makes him sadder, and makes those later scenes tragic (the scene between Troy and him in the bar is a classic stage 3 of Aristotle's tragic hero cycle), whereas Hornsby's heartbreaking eyes crystallize the rejection Lyons feels after his father refuses to watch him follow his dreams and play music, and, later, his own disappointment with himself for following the incarceration path of his father's that he had hoped to reject.

Washington's painstaking faithfulness to Wilson's script was the right path for this film, but this is far from merely a filmed stage play. The cinematography is fluid and the prominent use of the backyard and cramped house quarters help emphasize the barriers that Troy and the rest of the Maxsons endure in their lives. And it's only through words -- sometimes Troy's ebullient stories, sometimes Rose's demands to be heard, sometimes Troy's confrontations with death -- that can both illuminate these characters' endurance and represent pathways to overcome.Wilson's language is put to the forefront here, and it's a poetry of tenacity and vitality.


Indeed, this tenacity and vitality of black people is celebrated by both of these masterful film collaborations between black playwrights and directors. With Moonlight, Barry Jenkins and playwright Tarrell Alvin McRaney compel us to emphasize and ache for Chiron, the protagonist; his fortitude and the defensive walls (fences) he builds around himself -- which crumble, ever so haltingly and heartbreakingly, in that last scene -- are why the film is so powerful, and why this protagonist, the likes of whom we have never seen on film before, is so worthy of our empathy. Similarly, in Fences, the collaboration between Washington and Wilson underscores the dignity of these working class black characters, of a man -- Troy Maxson -- who has seen life and racism put obstacle after obstacle in front of him, only then to subsequently put obstacle after obstacle between himself and the people he loves. The fences in Moonlight are (somewhat) traversed with honesty, connection, and, perhaps, love; in Fences, these barriers are overcome through the redemption that Troy achieves from the forgiveness of his wife, his son, his brother, and from perhaps God. His son's ability to reject some of the pain of American racism that his father passed on to him is ostensibly part of what get Troy into heaven.

Fences explores the generational influence of American racism on the life of men, and how women have to endure through it; Moonlight does the same, but adds drug addiction and the false safety of heteronormativity and tragic masculinity into the mix. Both celebrate the dignity of this struggle and the beauty and strength of black people in America.

Black Lives Matter in these films: everyday black lives, because the struggle for survival in America is that profound and worthy of examination. What a great year for film.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: karlwinslow on January 02, 2017, 11:08:39 PM
Goblet of Fire is the best book, fwiw.

The end of Goblet of Fire movie version is really great. Takes a real dramatic turn that the next 4 movies follow well. Having rewatched it somewhat recently I was really struck by the juxtaposition of the joyous celebration for the tri-wizard champion and the reality of the situation. Handled really well and felt appropriately shocking.
Title: Re: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (2013-2016)
Post by: Sandy on January 02, 2017, 11:09:23 PM
Welcome, EpiphanyinBaltimore!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on January 03, 2017, 12:11:30 AM
I hope to write a review of it at some point, but until then, Toni Erdmann is amazing! Sandra Huller is my best actress of the year, which is really saying something because Natalie Portman was incredible in Jackie. Peter Simonischek is superb too. The fact that both aren't mortal locks for Oscar nominations is baffling. The critics calling this an epic are right and that's not a mere facet of its length. You come to know the two lead characters so fully in this movie, in a way that is rare for even the best character studies. In that particular regard, this one deserves to be included in the same company as Boyhood and Blue Is the Warmest Color. Even masterpieces like Moonlight and Manchester By the Sea, with their tremendously rich and detailed character portraits, come second and third to Toni Erdmann in that department. Toni Erdmann is the kind of film that needs a second viewing just so it can be seen with the full understanding of who these phenomenally nuanced people are. I'll be thinking about Ines and Winnfried for the better part of the week. And, yeah, it's hilarious too! Thank you to both this film and Manchester By the Sea for allowing soul-sickness, grief, and emotional exhaustion to coexist so harmoniously with hilarity. Both made me feel like I'd just gone to film yoga and discovered some muscle I never knew existed. Here's hoping more filmmakers follow their lead and find new ways to combine the belly laugh with the choked sob.

It's pretty special and very tough to write about coherently! You can forget about Oscar acting nods though, hopefully it sneaks a nom for foreign language film.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 03, 2017, 06:30:46 AM
Rewatched the original Star Wars trilogy to start the year. Bumped both ANH and ESB up half-a-star in my ratings, whatever misgivings I had about the original in particular are dissipating. Jedi is still rough and uneven, but the good parts are so good that I still enjoy it. ESB is clearly above anything else in the franchise in pretty much all aspects : direction, writing, cinematography, score, production design... TFA might have it beat on acting I suppose.

It might be recency bias, but at the moment I am leaning on Rogue One being the best directed movie of the franchise, at least where visuals are concerned. Abrams is better at acting direction (or maybe it's just the cast) but Gareth Edwards was brilliant at handling gigantism - I think 1SO made the point originally and my rewatch confirmed it. In almost every set-piece of the movie there is one spectacular shot ; not to mention the other innovations where the handling of spectacle is concerned.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 03, 2017, 08:47:45 AM
Avril et le Monde Truqué
Franck Ekinci, Christian Desmares (2015)


There are obvious Ghibli influences here. Tardi animated looks a lot like the studio's characters at times, especially when they make big angry faces. The ecological themes also have obvious smells of Myiazaki and steam punk anime. The animation is wonderful but the plot is not much novel. There is an interesting bad guy motivation for a second but it is immediately discarded for cliché worldicide that lessens the movie. The film relies a lot on its characters, and the best ones are unfortunately not the main ones: Darwin and the grandfather. It's lovely but not great.

7/10

A Bigger Splash
Luca Guadagdino (2015)


The friends on vacation trope plot takes a disastrous turn in the last act of the movie. What survived so far through terrific acting and some strong character moments crumbles into something far cheaper.

6/10

Spaceballs
Mel Brooks (1987)


I liked this much more when I was 10. Maybe because I could predict almost every joke before it happened, but I barely laughed at all this time. Maybe Mel Brooks is not for me after all.

6/10

Don't Think Twice
Mike Birbiglia (2016)


A character story coated in some weak improv' scenes. Some of the characters are likeable but their arcs are not compelling enough to carry the movie.

6/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: don s. on January 03, 2017, 09:38:47 AM
Hey, EpiphanyInBaltimore, I'm Cowboy Don from the original NPGWHs on Facebook. I post about as much here as I do in the Tigers group on FB, but I hope you'll stick around. Nice to see a familiar face.

I also saw Fences on Friday and loved it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 03, 2017, 05:42:19 PM
Arrival

Beautifully done and contained numerous moments that elicited the strongest emotions of any of the 2016 releases I've seen so far. I thought the climax was a bit underwhelmingly handled (cutting to a montage of news reports), though the build up was excellent. Adams is an actress whom I've always bumped up against. I always see her performance not just a character, but  she is great here.

The Birdcage

Timeless and timely. So many lines that apply directly to our surreal political climate in 2017. The performances are wonderful throughout. Though I found the son to be a real prick expecting his parents to pretend to be something their not for his fiance's terrible parents. I also couldn't help but feel this movie couldn't even get made today. Especially after reading the other week about the harassment Kimberly Pierce experienced at a screening of Boys Don't Cry at a college in Oregon.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 03, 2017, 07:24:13 PM
La jeune fille sans mains / The Girl Without Hands (Sébastien Laudenbach, 2016)

Took the opportunity to see this, mostly because of goodguy FYCing it and rating it highly on LB (which seems pretty rare). 2016 was a really great year for animation, especially for showing the variety within the format. I'm not sure how to describe the style, so here are some images :

(http://i.imgur.com/9PtQNNd.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/FQ39ijI.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/COom2V9.png)

It's a Grimm fairy tale without the Disney filter, which means it gets pretty bloody very early on, bordering on horror (a hint : the girl does not start out without hands). I was surprised to learn it was an actual Grimm adaptation as opposed to a Grimm-style story, because the film feels very modern in its approach to female agency (or lack thereof) in a patriarchal society. I don't love some of the voice acting, but it's an interesting film, worth seeing for its visual uniqueness alone, but not just that.

7/10

Also, because I'm in Paris for the week I'm trying to get to some classic screenings...

Viskningar och rop / Cries and Whispers (Ingmar Bergman, 1972)

Speaking of visual uniqueness... I thought Suspiria was the pinnacle of the color red in cinema, but this easily beats it. Life on Earth as hell and endless suffering, or is it ? In my marathon I tended to enjoy the Bergman using faith as a background (Fanny and Alexander and Smiles of a Summer Night) more than his obviously philosophical work (Seventh Seal, Winter Light and Shame), but I think this one works really well. The performances are great as always (Andersson and Ullman particularly), and I love the structure, as didactic as it may be. The film feels almost cathartic for Bergman, as if he was finally able to express his trouble with desire and human warmth as seen through the prism of protestantism. I think there's so much more there than in Seventh Seal particularly, it's a tremendously focused film, it feels vital, essential to Bergman in a way that none of the others I've seen do, really.

8/10
Title: Re: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (2013-2016)
Post by: EpiphanyinBaltimore on January 03, 2017, 09:42:22 PM
Welcome, EpiphanyinBaltimore!

Thank you!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: EpiphanyinBaltimore on January 03, 2017, 09:43:11 PM
Hey, EpiphanyInBaltimore, I'm Cowboy Don from the original NPGWHs on Facebook. I post about as much here as I do in the Tigers group on FB, but I hope you'll stick around. Nice to see a familiar face.

I also saw Fences on Friday and loved it.

Hi Don! Good to see you!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oneaprilday on January 03, 2017, 09:48:15 PM
La jeune fille sans mains / The Girl Without Hands (Sébastien Laudenbach, 2016)

Took the opportunity to see this, mostly because of goodguy FYCing it and rating it highly on LB (which seems pretty rare). 2016 was a really great year for animation, especially for showing the variety within the format. I'm not sure how to describe the style, so here are some images :
Those are gorgeous.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 04:54:15 AM
La jeune fille sans mains / The Girl Without Hands (Sébastien Laudenbach, 2016)

Took the opportunity to see this, mostly because of goodguy FYCing it and rating it highly on LB (which seems pretty rare). 2016 was a really great year for animation, especially for showing the variety within the format. I'm not sure how to describe the style, so here are some images :
Those are gorgeous.

Second that. How plot-driven is it?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 04, 2017, 05:05:32 AM
La jeune fille sans mains / The Girl Without Hands (Sébastien Laudenbach, 2016)

Took the opportunity to see this, mostly because of goodguy FYCing it and rating it highly on LB (which seems pretty rare). 2016 was a really great year for animation, especially for showing the variety within the format. I'm not sure how to describe the style, so here are some images :
Those are gorgeous.

Second that. How plot-driven is it?

Very ? I don't know exactly how to answer that without sounding reductive : this is a fairy tale in which a lot of things happen, and the runtime is pretty short (under 80 minutes).
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 05:09:06 AM
You say very plot-driven like it's a bad thing...
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 05:52:48 AM
Most depressing day at the movies in a really long while.

Saint Amour
Benoît Delépine, Gustave Kervern (2016)

Cringe humour is for some, maybe many, but not me. It does not necessarily make me uncomfortable but it rarely makes me laugh either. At best, I am annoyingly bored. Saint Amour starts off with cringe tones and that remains the principal tone of the movie for most of its duration. Had I known, I would probably have avoided it. I did not, so I did not. I knew there was wine in it, and had heard something about good comedy. I am not able to judge. There are some moments of good, non-cringe humour, but they are few and far between.

The second ubiquitous reality of the movie is that of the almost unendurable sadness of one of its main characters, and the considerably more tolerable sadness of the rest of the cast. Poelvoorde, usually a recommendation in a comedy, plays a man so intolerably pathetic it is quite impossible to empathise with him. Ironically, he is the one alcoholic in a movie that features Gérard Depardieu, who delivers a competent performance.

The movie takes a turn in its last act that is both wholly unexpected and not entirely welcome. The three main characters, all lonely in ways that are more reminiscent of an outlandish SNL sketch than a relatively realistic movie, engage in a surprising relationship with a woman who wants to become a mother. There is a message behind the last scenes of the movie that is, if not intellectual, at the least emotional. Some people will love it; I find it absurd at the best of times.

5/10

Lion
Garth Davis (2016)

The plot description had me believe the entire movie would essentially be the main character wandering around India with a smartphone and his wits, trying to find his way home. It is not. Rather, the actual travelling part of it is so short as to be virtually nonexistent. The movie is about the 25 years that lead to that: from Saroo's getting lost to his deciding to find his genetic family.

Instead of an emotionally driven adventure in the depths of India we are thus presented with the emotional journey of a lost five year old who gradually becomes a not lost not five year old. Saroo's story stands as an example of one of those 80,000 Indian children who are lost every year, one that, with all its tragedies, is not even that tragic - for that you can look towards his adoptive brother.

In a way, the story is interesting in that it shows you the realities of an underdeveloped country in the 1980s, where children have to get up at night in secret to work to help their mother, where lost children in train stations are treated as pests instead of assisted by passers and staff, where orphans are likely to be abused wherever they go. Unfortunately, the film decides to be too emotionally manipulative in ways that are so obvious you cannot help getting irritated.

When Saroo gets adopted, he gets an emotional arc before finding his mother that probably takes too long. You know it's coming. Naturally, it needs to take time, it is a process rather than a decision; it need not have been so developed though. When he does make his way back to his village though, there is one scene of emotional payoff that provides a both hugely satisfying and heartbreaking payoff to the movie.

6.5/10

I say this tentatively, but I think Sandy might love this one. (above)

The Light Between Oceans
Derek Cianfrance (2016)

The film had not been spectacular so far, but it definitely lost me when two normally intelligent adults failed to remember that most children come with a full set of parents. After that scene, the entire movie is terribly predictable and you find yourself waiting for it to check those boxes, one after another, at tedious pace, in a process made about as interesting as DMV bureaucracy.

One of the failures of the movie as a drama is the lack of chemistry between two characters who only feel real when holding their child. Fassbender acts marvellously but the script has him alternating between sullen veteran mode and dad mode. Vikander is not quite as good, particularly in some of her displays of emotion.

5/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 04, 2017, 05:59:25 AM
I did not care all that much for Saint Amour either, but I did like the three performances a lot. I think it's the main appeal of the film really, seeing three generation of French (well, Francophone) actors playing off each other. Lacoste is nowhere near Depardieu or Poelvoorde yet of course, but he's prolific and promising I think.

I'm curious about your comments on cringe humour, because you love Le dîner de cons, right ? What makes that work much better for you ?

You say very plot-driven like it's a bad thing...

Well... It's not a bad thing, but it feels reductive.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: goodguy on January 04, 2017, 06:27:05 AM
La jeune fille sans mains / The Girl Without Hands (Sébastien Laudenbach, 2016)

Took the opportunity to see this, mostly because of goodguy FYCing it and rating it highly on LB (which seems pretty rare). 2016 was a really great year for animation, especially for showing the variety within the format. I'm not sure how to describe the style, so here are some images :

(http://i.imgur.com/9PtQNNd.jpg)
...

It's a Grimm fairy tale without the Disney filter, which means it gets pretty bloody very early on, bordering on horror...

Glad you liked it. I really hope this gets some exposure beyond France and the festival circuit.

You mention the lack of the Disney filter, which extends to a refreshingly mature, unfussed and casual handling of nudity, very different from both Disney's puritanism and the fetishism of certain Japanese anime trends.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 06:35:52 AM
the fetishism of certain the right Japanese anime trends.

fyp

I'm curious about your comments on cringe humour, because you love Le dîner de cons, right ? What makes that work much better for you ?

I don't even understand how LDDC could be constructed as cringe. It's not. It's laugh out loud silliness with qui pro quos and tomfoolery. Where do you see any cringe?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 06:48:44 AM
I forgot to mention the outstanding scene in Saint Amour where a girl has a panic attack about the unsustainability of french debt and starts listing parts of the well fare state she is ready to live without, in a most unfrench manner. Hilarious, if only because it subverts two of the viewers expectations.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on January 04, 2017, 08:26:20 AM
(http://i66.tinypic.com/35irjfa.jpg)
Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)

In a culture which embraces spectacle, the great big superhero movies set in an expansive universe, sequels and prequels and huge $100+ million budgets, reboots and remakes with more explosions than conversations between characters, sometimes it refreshes the soul to see a movie like Paterson from indie director Jim Jarmusch. That's not to say I don't love the Marvel movies, or the Star Wars movies. I do. But on the other end of that is the type of quiet, reflective film like Paterson that is almost understated to a fault, and I absolutely adore that about this film, Jim Jarmusch, and the film's star, Adam Driver (who also plays Kylo Ren in the new Star Wars trilogy by the way). This diversity in range for Driver and just in general for my love of movies is what keeps me coming back to explore and experience new things at the cinema.

Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey. An amateur poet, Paterson spends his lunch hour and other quiet moments reflecting on the little things in his life, like the Ohio Blue Tip matches he has at home, where his eccentric partner Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) spends her time saturating their modest home in everything black and white (black and white shower curtains, black and white cupcakes, black and white cabinets, etc.) The highlight of Paterson's day may just be when he takes their lovable bulldog Marvin for his nightly walk, allowing him to drop into the local bar for a drink where he shoots the breeze with the bartender (Barry Shabaka Henley) and is witness to the aching love of a friend.

Paterson comes and goes rather uneventfully. There is no conflict, there is no plot device that truly drives things forward. The most exciting thing that happens is when the dog does something that dogs tend to do (trying not to spoil, well, nothing). And yet, despite very little happening or really going on, Paterson is one of the more enjoyable films of the year. It's not easy to put my finger on it, but perhaps I just enjoyed spending time with the simplicity of Paterson's life. He carried no cell phone, he watches no television. He writes poetry, as he observes his ho-hum life in a ho-hum town with a ho-hum job. There is beauty in the everyday things, I truly believe that, and Paterson is the film which celebrates that. Adam Driver's performance in the title role really helps to make this film enjoyable, make Paterson himself enjoyable, even as he seems so standard, so boring almost.

There is just enough substantive reflection involved in the film, just enough structure to allow Jarmusch the ability to explore some very existential themes and ideas. The film follows Paterson in a week in his life, with each day pointed out on screen. Each day starts the same, as Paterson awakes next to Laura, gets dressed, eats his cereal, walks to work, writes poetry, walks the dog, etc. We get the same structure nearly every day. It's mundane. So any variance on this structure becomes exciting, it becomes the meat of the movie so to speak. When we see Paterson working on a new poem, or continuing one he started the previous day, there is a certain amount of joy, of encouragement.

The poetry is okay, as far as poetry goes. I'm no expert. But the quality of the poetry is secondary to what Jim Jarmusch is trying to accomplish here. He is not interested in the finished product as he is with the process, which is what I love the most about this film. One of my favorite mantra's, corny as it may be, is that the journey is the destination. Paterson, much like its title character, is not interested in anything more than a few quiet moments in the day to reflect upon everything that is right with the world, everything that is right with this life. It's an escape, in many ways, back to the mundane charm of a rather drab every day existence. It's an escape from the escapist films we've become so accustomed to, while also avoiding the sad reflections of neo-realism. Paterson is a little bit of happy nothing.

***1/2 - Great
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 10:31:28 AM
Would you recommend that to someone who does not typically like Jarmusch? Which movie would you compare it to?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on January 04, 2017, 11:25:07 AM
I haven't seen enough Jarmusch to answer that question to be honest. Sorry.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 04, 2017, 01:04:34 PM
Elle
Bold and audacious and incredibly unpleasant. Huppert gives a fantastic performances and this pitch black farce is incredibly funny at times (and probably more so on a re-watch), but I'm not sure I'd care to see it again. It handles the brutal subject matter in surprisingly nuanced ways, but every character in it is just so awful.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on January 04, 2017, 01:36:28 PM
Silence

there could have been an interesting movie here but this one is not it. 
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 04, 2017, 01:43:15 PM
Silence

there could have been an interesting movie here but this one is not it.

This movie makes me want to post in the Top 5 Movie Chores thread.

I'm kind of dreading Elle, too.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 04, 2017, 02:07:31 PM
Cafe Society (2016)

Woody Allen is rather fond of F. Scott Fitzgerald, never more so than in Midnight In Paris where his stand-in meets him. They tell similar stories of elite society. This film takes on a further F. Scott Fitzgerald bent in that he had a brief stint in Hollywood, complete with turbulent romance. I'm a bit cool on Fitzgerald and I am decidedly icy about Allen these days. The dramas of the rich do not speak to me. To be honest, if not for Kristen Stewart's presence, I might have opted out of this completely.

It is curious that some of the most noted roles in Woody Allen films have been women's roles. Recently Cate Blanchett and Penelope Cruz have gotten attention from the Oscars (not to mention Samantha Morton from the Retrospots). And looking at the female characters here, especially Stewart's Vonnie, I can't take great issue with their depth. Yet it is increasingly difficult to abide his male characters. The first scene with Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg) interacting with a woman, he is being unrepentantly cruel to a prostitute with little provocation. I as much as anyone appreciate the angst of love, but there are so many lines here that take on a sinister tone, such as Veronica (Blake Lively) in being courted by Bobby, talking about how pushy Jews are sexually (if this wasn't from a Jewish screenwriter, it undoubtedly would be considered offensive).

So this is the paradox of Allen films now. He's enough of a craftsman and capable enough in developing parts for women that there is something on offer, but the bothersome tone of autobiography (of character if not facts) always brings it down.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 02:30:00 PM
Elle
Bold and audacious and incredibly unpleasant. Huppert gives a fantastic performances and this pitch black farce is incredibly funny at times (and probably more so on a re-watch), but I'm not sure I'd care to see it again. It handles the brutal subject matter in surprisingly nuanced ways, but every character in it is just so awful.

I am sure I will gleefully rewatch this in years to come. I have no idea what you're calling unpleasant here, I had a ball from start to finish.

Are Teproc and I the only ones who love this one so far?

Cafe Society (2016)

As always, I have to disagree about Stewart. She does not deliver in the seduced-two-guys-at-the-same-time department. I completely agree about Allen's ability to write good female parts but I think you're a bit hard on the Eisenberg one. He's not cruel as much as awkward and incompetent.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 04, 2017, 02:46:46 PM
DH, there are certainly a few scenes in Elle you can remember being unpleasant ? I nonetheless want to rewatch it, and it's not as harrowing as people might expect, but it's not the easiest film to watch either.

As for Le dîner de cons... it's been so long since I've watched it, but that film is the very definition of cringe, isn't it ? It's a character being taken advantage of while blissfully unaware, and every laugh in that film relies on inherently uncomfortable situations (not just the main one either).
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 03:08:46 PM
There is no scene in Elle that had me being uncomfortable. None. I stand by that.

Le Diner de Cons is certainly making fun of someone, but not in a cringy way. It doesn't put you in that situation of him doing something sad or pathetic and having to look at him just dig his hole deeper. You look at him, he does/says something dumb, Thierry Lhermitte makes an aghast expression, you laugh, no cringiness at all.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 04, 2017, 03:14:55 PM
There is no scene in Elle that had me being uncomfortable. None. I stand by that.

Wow, I am so incredibly impressed with your fortitude.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 03:18:51 PM
There is no scene in Elle that had me being uncomfortable. None. I stand by that.

Wow, I am so incredibly impressed with your fortitude.

I know you are being sarcastic, but why don't you just explain to me what made you uncomfortable instead so I understand where you're coming from?

You know, conversation.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 04, 2017, 03:26:37 PM
I never used the word "uncomfortable," I said "unpleasant." And, for me, four or five scenes of brutal sexual assault, on top of a cast of characters designed for maximum selfishness and cruelty, was unpleasant.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 03:31:09 PM
The first sexual assault is the worst one but it is ambiguous enough that you're not sure what is going on. The later ones are all part of a perverse game whose progression is a thrill to watch.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 04, 2017, 03:36:05 PM
What I'm getting from this is that you're not easily uncomfortable. I find Le dîner de cons excruciating (though very funny), and I'm squarely in the vast majority of people who will find at least the first scene of Elle hard to watch.

Anyway, trying to review (however briefly)everything I see this year, so...

Diamond Island (Davy Chou, 2016)

Cambodian coming-of-age drama. Pretty good overall, looks nice. Has an interesting setting - the titular island is an island next to Phnom Penh that's being quickly developped as a modern city from scratch - that allows it to comment on the changing Cambodian society : the Khmer Rouge are only namedropped once ! Exclamation point because it seems like there's a space for a director like Chou to explore new things... and he does here to an extent, but a lot of it remains in the background, or even literally offscreen. Not a great film, but exciting in some ways. It appears to have done well at the local box-office, so we'll presumably get to see more from Chou.

6/10

Kimi no na wa. / Your Name (Makoto Shinkai, 2016

Speaking of local box-office success... I knew going in this was anime, but it's... anime. Like, there's a song in the middle of it that almost plays like a "Previously on", easily the lowest point of the film. The first 30 minutes or so generally have pretty clunky exposition. It's also gorgeous, and as melodramatic as it can get, I was quite taken with it. It's also pretty funny at times. You might have heard of its bodyswapping premise, but it goes much crazier from there, and I liked the way it kept surprising me, though I was not entirely sure what to make of it by the end.

7/10

A Monster Calls (J.A. Bayona, 2016)

As much as I can be mixed on Spielberg, I much prefer him to his imitators. I guess I like this more than E.T. (which this directly quotes not once but twice), but that's not particularly hard... I like Liam Neeson's Big Grooty Giant and the animated sequences, but this is a clunky, clunky script. I think directors make the mistake of thinking they need to explain their themes three times when their intended audience are children, which is utterly stupid. Children don't notice themes in movies anyway : they get imbued with them (if done right) and may include them in their visions of the world, but they do not need to be conscious of this, at all. In fact, the worse thing chidlren's entertainment can do is to feel like it's trying to teach kids something. Anyway, this isn't bad for the most part, it's just kinda mediocre.

5/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 03:55:03 PM
I described Monster as a movie that was useful to help children through trauma and little else. Sorry you paid money to watch that.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 04, 2017, 04:12:54 PM
I described Monster as a movie that was useful to help children through trauma and little else. Sorry you paid money to watch that.

Well, I didn't technically pay money since I have a monthly card thing. I guess I didn't think of it from that angle, but there's gotta be better movies than this for that purpose. I don't know, does Pete's Dragon count ? Probably not I suppose.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 04, 2017, 08:20:21 PM
Pete's Dragon is much better ; and it's not even that good.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Bondo on January 04, 2017, 11:13:04 PM
Morris From America (2016)

Not so much feeling this one. Terrible girl is terrible. Morris may be worse.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: smirnoff on January 04, 2017, 11:14:34 PM
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Remember when Shaun of the Dead came out? For me, and I imagine for a few of you, it was seemingly out of nowhere. And yet how sharp was it? Line and after line was landing just boom boom boom.... it was like who the CINECAST! just walked up to the plate, and two seconds later they're crushing balls? Perfect comedic cuts, perfect comedic camera moves, perfect comedic music... whoever it was obviously had a great sense of how to combine humour and film. They just seemed to know what to do at every turn.

I felt all the same things watching Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

Early on I thought "this is really good... is it going to last?" Last hell! It got better! It crosses the finish line with gas left in the tank! Pretty rare for a comedy. I'll be recommending this to everyone I know.

Watch it tonight and smile! Filmspots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ;D

(http://i.imgur.com/d5bK9Fz.png)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: oneaprilday on January 05, 2017, 12:20:36 AM
It's really great. :)  (I didn't expect that gut-punch early on though. Loved Bella so much. )
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: smirnoff on January 05, 2017, 12:22:54 AM
It's really great. :)  (I didn't expect that gut-punch early on though. Loved Bella so much. )

Me either! What a great character. So short a time on screen, but so memorable! Did you watch it with the fam? Was it a crowd pleaser? :)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 05, 2017, 04:54:34 AM
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

(http://i.imgur.com/d5bK9Fz.png)

Did you watch What We Do in the Shadows ?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on January 05, 2017, 06:53:53 AM
I also thought of Edgar Wright when watching Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Taika Waititi is quickly becoming one of my favorite comedy directors.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: oneaprilday on January 05, 2017, 10:09:39 AM
It's really great. :)  (I didn't expect that gut-punch early on though. Loved Bella so much. )

Me either! What a great character. So short a time on screen, but so memorable! Did you watch it with the fam? Was it a crowd pleaser? :)
Yep, movie with the fam, excluding the youngest, who is 7. A hit with everyone! :)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Teproc on January 05, 2017, 08:19:01 PM
Continuing the "a week in Paris, get to see old movies on a big screen" theme...

Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)

To think that, just a month ago or so, I had seen no Bergman films. This is my 8th, and he keeps surprising me. The first five minutes are like his remake of Un chien andalou, and nothing in those 7 other films had prepared me for that... I'm not entirely sure about the actual content of it (aside from the boy grasping at the woman's picture), but it certainly sets a tone. Liv Ullmann is the name I previously associated the most with Bergman, and she's great here but Bibi Andersson is at least as important, I wonder why she seems to get the short shrift. Anyway, this is a great, great film. It reminds me a lot of Solyaris in that I don't think I "get it", but I'm so fascinated that it doesn't matter. I do have a theory (Bibi Andersson doesn't exist / Liv Ullman is suffering from schizophrenia), which I'm sure is nothing new or original, but I like it.

Regardless of thematic interpretation, this seems like Bergman's most visually impressive film. He still uses dialogue to bluntly adress his themes (in a very play-like manner here, which is of course appropriate given Ullman's character), but a lot is communicated visually. The shot of the mixed face has to be one of the best shots in cinema history, and I'm still reeling from that... whatever that was, you know what I'm talking about right ? After Ullman steps on the glass and Bunuel comes back behind Bergman's camera for a minute or so. The film doesn't shift as much as I expected it to after that, but the way you watch it definitely does.

9/10

Der letzte Mann (F.W. Murnau, 1924)


It's pretty rare for me to get very emotionally invested in a film. I often care about the characters and their fates, and I'm often deeply immersed in the film, but I rarely tear up for example. This just hit me in the right spot. Emil Jannings, as an aging doorman, is displaying Chaplin-level of pathos here, to the points that I've rarely felt so deeply for a character. The epilogue is simply glorious, the most heartwarming punch in the gut I've ever seen.

I'm also left wondering why Sunrise gets talked up so much when this is right there. Three years before, too ! It's just as creative and bold visually (the fantasy sequence in the middle particularly), and the camera moves are even more seemingly ahead of their time here. It also only has two title cards, and none of them are really about plot... I'm just so impressed with this film.

The score was a very modern-sounding one, playing up the inherent other-worldliness of any silent film. It's a great score, very eerie and it elevates the simple, focused narrative to make it seem almost epic and grand, but it might have hampered the film's more comedic moments.

9/10

2017 discoveries list already in good shape.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: 1SO on January 05, 2017, 08:39:28 PM
Der letzte Mann (F.W. Murnau, 1924)[/b]

It's pretty rare for me to get very emotionally invested in a film. I often care about the characters and their fates, and I'm often deeply immersed in the film, but I rarely tear up for example. This just hit me in the right spot. Emil Jannings, as an aging doorman, is displaying Chaplin-level of pathos here, to the points that I've rarely felt so deeply for a character. The epilogue is simply glorious, the most heartwarming punch in the gut I've ever seen.
Jannings is a force of nature. His acting in The Blue Angel and The Last Command got me just as emotionally invested.

I'm also left wondering why Sunrise gets talked up so much when this is right there. Three years before, too ! It's just as creative and bold visually (the fantasy sequence in the middle particularly), and the camera moves are even more seemingly ahead of their time here.
Sunrise and Last Laugh are both in my Top 100, equally deserving of such high praise.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: smirnoff on January 05, 2017, 11:46:58 PM
Did you watch What We Do in the Shadows ?

I let that one slip by for some reason, even thought it looked good. Now I see the director connection and I'm keen to catch up with it!

I also thought of Edgar Wright when watching Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

Ah great to hear that!

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 06, 2017, 04:45:04 AM
Continuing the "a week in Paris, get to see old movies on a big screen" theme...

Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)

9/10

Der letzte Mann (F.W. Murnau, 1924)


9/10

2017 discoveries list already in good shape.

You lucky bastard.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Bondo on January 06, 2017, 11:02:58 AM
Young & Beautiful (2013)

As a minor, under French law, Isabelle is treated as a victim for her prostitution, never as a criminal. Or as the story going around American right-wing press would say, France has legalized child prostitution. This is what they are saying about a California effort to remove criminal punishment from children engaged in prostitution, under the theory that they should be considered victims and not criminals. Apparently conservatives feel we should be prosecuting these children instead.

That political thought that this film inspired aside, I was a little unsure of the film in the early going. There is a brief prelude where Isabelle loses her virginity on holiday and then when it cuts to Autumn, she's already taken up as a prostitute. It made me feel like a more apt title for the film would be "Well That Escalated Quickly." There is no real discussion of motivation, and in these early scenes the actress Marine Vacth felt too much like a model, pretty vacant as the Sex Pistols would say. Not really displaying the vulnerabilities of a 17-year-old girl involved in a fraught business.

The film really finds its footing after circumstances reveal Isabelle's activities to the police and her parents. If the film is pretty decent in showing prostitution in a rounded manner, with clear risks but not as inherently destructive, its portrayal of the stigma attached to Isabelle is phenomenal. It is in this sequence that the facade that kept me at a distance tumbles down and we really see her character come out.

So yeah, let’s just put this on my 2017 Discoveries list right now.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 06, 2017, 11:59:25 AM
Yay! I knew you'd like it.

I would say that second part post-investigation reveals some of the cogs in her psyche that led her to become a prostitute. Clearly a certain sort of independence, one that is at least in part fiduciary, is important to her. Her activities were a way to assert that independence as well as to claim her sexual individuality.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: philip918 on January 06, 2017, 04:43:40 PM
La La Land

Most of the fun was it plays like a tour of my neighborhood. I thought Gosling and Stone were good, but the whisper-singing and the songs themselves just weren't that compelling. I thought "I Ran" was the best song in the thing. The movie is good, and it certainly won't be forgotten like recent throwbacks like The Artist (seriously, have you heard anyone talk about this movie since the day after it won the Oscar?), but it pales in comparison to my favorite musical of the year about young people chasing their dreams: The Get Down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIpfWORQWhU
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Teproc on January 06, 2017, 07:37:14 PM
Closing out my Parisian week, a Jarmusch double-feature !*

Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)

It seems particularly obvious with this film to observe that, if cinema is to be a combination of all other arts, Jarmusch's films seem to take their cue mostly from poetry. Poetry is all over this film of course, most ostentatiously in the form of the main character's own poems. I'm not sure if these are necessarily all that great (I liked the girl's poem better than any of his), but I don't think they need to be : the point here is more that this is the way this character lives his life. When we follow him on his bus driving job, it seems like the most natural job for a poet : relative silence and nothing to do but look around and overhear conversations. It makes him close enough to the world to observe it, but with just enough remove to be able to contemplate it rather than directly participate. The film culminates with this wonderful scene with the Japanese visitor, and I'm not quite sure why the scene is so essential and elevated the whole endeavour so clearly for me, but it did.

The one qualm I have here is Farahani's performance. It's entirely possible my expectations were too high, as she had left quite an impression on me in a couple of French films (Les deux amis and Les malheurs de Sophie)... and I think she comes off as more annoying as she's meant to. "Quirky" has apparently become a rather loaded term to talk about characters, and she is definitely that.

It's also worth noting that this is a pretty funny film. Quietly so, but still. Everything that has to do with the dog of course, but Driver's reactions to some of his wife's excentricities are also excellent, as well as most of the supporting characters.

8/10

Stranger Than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch, 1984)


After Paterson's quiet humanism, the cynicism and general unpleasantness at play here were a bit of a turn-off... but I can't dislike a film in which a character describes Screamin' Jay Hawkins as her "main man", with a Hungarian accent to boot. That's just too cute, and those are some great uses of "I Put a Spell on You". Add to that an aunt who gleefully announces (with an Hungarian accent as well) that she's just won at some card game, agai, and I'm back in. I also enjoy the fractured structure of it, with every scene essentially being one long take and cutting to black : it gives the film an episodic feeling that - despite a relatively straightforward narrative - makes it seem, well, stranger than it really is. I don't know that there's all that much really going on underneath the surface beside the obvious "hey, places that seem paradisiac aren't magically going to make you life better", but it's funny and charming enough at times.

7/10

*read : Jarmusch retrospective happening at the same time that Paterson is in theatres.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: StarCarly on January 06, 2017, 09:55:31 PM
The Edge of Seventeen

When I was a 17 year old, upper-middle-class white girl with no problems except boys, I would have loved this movie. Now I'm 27 and disappointed in how little I got out of this. I think Hailee Steinfeld was the worst part of it. Was this mannerism scripted, or is the only reaction to any event to close your eyes and say "Oh My God"?

I loved a lot of things: Woody Harrelson, Hayden Szeto (swoon), Blake Jenner, and even Kyra Sedgwick had her moments. Ultimately I found it technically good, but the main character was too self indulgent for too long. The happy ending felt nice, but empty.

C+
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Totoro on January 06, 2017, 09:59:15 PM
SPOILERS

The Edge of Seventeen

When I was a 17 year old, upper-middle-class white girl with no problems except boys, I would have loved this movie. Now I'm 27 and disappointed in how little I got out of this. I think Hailee Steinfeld was the worst part of it. Was this mannerism scripted, or is the only reaction to any event to close your eyes and say "Oh My God"?

I loved a lot of things: Woody Harrelson, Hayden Szeto (swoon), Blake Jenner, and even Kyra Sedgwick had her moments. Ultimately I found it technically good, but the main character was too self indulgent for too long. The happy ending felt nice, but empty.

C+

...and the fact that she watched her father die in front of her eyes. And the fact that no one in her family ever truly dealt with it in a real way.

Did we watch the same movie?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: StarCarly on January 06, 2017, 10:20:15 PM
I wish there was a spoiler thread for it...I think that part was forced sentimentality. It had nothing to do with most of her issues.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: chardy999 on January 06, 2017, 11:27:16 PM
There is no real discussion of motivation

This is where the film excels. Because you cannot assign logic, or information yet unknown you are processing with a completely fresh perspective.

Really happy you enjoyed it!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Bondo on January 07, 2017, 12:13:37 AM
Ozon is a very sexual director, but I've never gotten an overt male gaze issue with his films. To some degree same goes with Julio Medem. It's hotter than anything Michael Bay could ever make because it is woman-centered sexuality.

I wish there was a spoiler thread for it...I think that part was forced sentimentality. It had nothing to do with most of her issues.

Blake Jenner was the highlight for me. I think the point of the film is her perception that everyone else is doing amazing. She's a vessel for realizing she hasn't been appreciating how not alone she was, even though she constantly feels alone. You can hold that against her as selfishness or you can feel in communion with her because we all can be a bit self-centered.

Also, I continue to be more of a teenage girl than you've ever been!  :P
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: StarCarly on January 07, 2017, 01:02:44 AM
Blake Jenner really surprised me too! I haven't seen Everybody Wants Some!!, but trust that I will now.

One of the few emotional notes that hit for me was when he and Nadine were hugging in the hallway. I have an older brother with whom I'm not that close, so I'm susceptible to brother-sister stories.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Bondo on January 07, 2017, 01:16:44 AM
One of the few emotional notes that hit for me was when he and Nadine were hugging in the hallway.

I was shipping them so hard by the end.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: StarCarly on January 07, 2017, 01:33:48 AM
It's hard not to!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Bondo on January 07, 2017, 02:12:01 AM
Don't Think Twice (2016)

Most films about funny people are about people who are supposed to be funny. This one gives you enough glimpses of them actually being funny that you believe it. It is hard to understate how important that is to vesting interest in their ambitions in the field of improv or sketch comedy. The stakes are actually about success and not about self-delusion, though there is some of that on the margins. This is a great ensemble piece that considers how different egos, loud and soft, survive in such a setting. It is something that I'm sure I'll forget shortly, but is so nice and gentle while it is going.

B
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: philip918 on January 07, 2017, 08:15:49 PM
Tickled
I found the filmmaker and the filmmaking to be incredibly annoying. It's a fascinating story, but one that could have been told in a much more engaging and artful manner. There's a big "twist" in the middle that is presented with such pomp and circumstance, and is so absolutely unsurprising, I'm pretty sure these guys have never seen Catfish or even spent much time on the internet.

By the end I was actively disliking the film.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on January 07, 2017, 08:45:14 PM
So it's no surprise she has continued that evolution past the series to be the most successful, with Grint nowhere to be found.

He was quite good in Wild Target, although he was playing a bit of a variation of Ron. And the film has Bill Nighy, always a plus. Looking at IMDB it appears he has moved to TV.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Bondo on January 08, 2017, 12:28:22 AM
Under The Shadow (2016)

2017 (Filmspot calendar) is already a pretty great year for movies. This British production, set in Iran, and in Persian, drew a lot of comparisons to The Babadook, for its motherhood horror. As one of the dissenters on The Babadook, I didn't know whether to trust the praise of this one but found it to excel. I think a large part of it is the context is more potent, set amid the Iran-Iraq War, and the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution in Iran that forces Shideh to abandon her medical school career. The horror places her torn between her professional aspirations and her sense of competence as a woman and a mother. While this anxiety manifests itself in a supernatural form, the threat of actual bombing provides a physical component to the threat that solves some of the issues I often have with supernatural horror. While it does on occasion go for quiet-quiet-bang jump scares, there are a lot of effective creepiness that harkened to how I felt watching The Sixth Sense for the first time, which I count as one of the most genuinely unsettling horror experiences I've had (in the best way). I don't see this sticking in my top-10 at the end of 2017, but it is a good benchmark for other films to top.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Junior on January 08, 2017, 01:11:07 AM
I excited to check that one out. Looks great.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: 1SO on January 08, 2017, 01:44:10 AM
(http://imgur.com/nB6AWdx.jpg)
Deranged (1974)

In 1974, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre gave a very loose interpretation of the true crime story of Ed Gein, just like Psycho had done 14 years earlier. However, the same year as Texas Chainsaw, there was another version of the Ed Gein story, one that stuck closer to the truth than any other existing version (except for having to change the names). That doesn't necessarily make for a better film, but taking the time to provide psychological reasoning for all of Gein's crimes - not just murder, but grave robbing and an an obsessive fascination with death and corpses - makes for a more unsettling and uneasy journey into the dark side. Most people will probably prefer cinematic sensationalism over reality in this case, but I have to admire this film's ability to create scenes closer to the true meaning of horror.

(http://imgur.com/hGCcoMr.jpg)
Jermaine Clement?

That's not to say this is all dry and dour docu-drama. There's a narrator who often steps into the film or lingers in the hallway to fill in some of the details. Also, getting into the reasoning of Ed (called Ezra), there's some absurdist humor and campy comedy. This is my big problem with Deranged, because I don't think this worked at all. It's confined to 20 minutes in the middle, but the film is un-recommendable during this portion. In the last 30 minutes, it makes a remarkable recovery, with some of the best moments of Horror found in my Marathon to date.
Rating: * * * - Okay, but the last half-hour is Very Good.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: pixote on January 08, 2017, 01:50:50 AM
Very intrigued. I'll have to remember to consider that one next October.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Totoro on January 08, 2017, 03:39:51 AM
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS - The most misogynistic movie of the year has arrived, Trump lovers!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 08, 2017, 04:23:19 AM
Tickled
I found the filmmaker and the filmmaking to be incredibly annoying. It's a fascinating story, but one that could have been told in a much more engaging and artful manner. There's a big "twist" in the middle that is presented with such pomp and circumstance, and is so absolutely unsurprising, I'm pretty sure these guys have never seen Catfish or even spent much time on the internet.

By the end I was actively disliking the film.

They were not professional filmmakers. The first guy was just a journalist who chose to start video-recording one of his investigations after a while. It's not high art but the story is incredible.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: philip918 on January 08, 2017, 02:43:48 PM
Bright Lists: Starring Carrie Fisher
Well, that was beautiful and devastating. Fisher and Reynolds are national treasures. Just see it.

Fences
There is such an incessant torrent of dialogue, mostly from Washington, that 25 minutes in I had to pause the movie. I was literally exhausted. Then I saw there was still nearly two hours to go, and I thought: life is too short.

Don't Think Twice
No surprise the improv group calls themselves the Commune, because they sure act like a cult. Right down to the shaggy leader who beds the young female students. The group dynamic is very effectively captured. Jacobs is very good, but her character's actions and motivations didn't make much sense to me. They seemed really forced to create extra conflict between her and Key. Overall, some funny moments, especially showing how they use humor to cope with grief. Those scenes felt the most authentic. Otherwise, I was a bit indifferent.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: MattDrufke on January 08, 2017, 04:12:42 PM
Moana (2016)
Dirs: Ron Clements, John Musker



Man, did something in this film resonate with me. Since seeing it on Wednesday, I've listened to the soundtrack maybe 4 times and have said that this is Disney's best musical since the early 90's. So many things about this film work, and it just starts with the general plot: sure, there are familiar Disney tropes here (a kingdom in trouble, an unlikely hero spurred on by the death of someone close, unlikely friends working together), but something about this film felt fresh and creative. And can we talk about how nice it is to have a Disney musical that has zero love interests? I loved not having to hear a song about what it feels like to feel feelings you've never felt.

Speaking of the songs, they are spectacular. Sure, give credit to Lin-Manuel Miranda, but also to Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa'i. Not only were these songs lyrically smart and catchy, they were covered in just the right sugary sweet syrup because they are stuck to my soul. And hey... The Rock's a pretty good singer, ain't he?

I hope this film makes all the box office money. It deserves it. It has heart and soul and music and passion. I've already told so many people to see this film and it's been great to hear them say thanks for finding what I believe is a true Disney classic. What can I say? You're welcome.

A
 
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Bondo on January 08, 2017, 04:50:11 PM
La La Land (2016)

Last time on "A Film By Damien Chazelle":

Whiplash
And not being particularly fond of jazz, that ending may as well have been Andrew standing up and masturbating on stage for ten minutes for how artful and self-indulgent it felt.

So a significant part of this film has Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) brooding over "real" jazz, burdened by feeling like he has to sacrifice his true passion to be successful. Let's just say this part did not go over that well. The film starts off bright enough with two massive production numbers, seemingly each in single takes, that scream "It's actually an award for Best Production, not Best Film." Sure, there's a shallowness to it, but it is fun, bright and big. But this opening is pretty misleading as it gets pretty mellow, pairing Sebastian's pretensions with Mia's (Emma Stone) more standard aspiring actress, filled with self-doubt.

While for much of the film I was rather disconnected, it builds to a place where there is the realization, or at least the fear, that they can't have it all. Success, fulfillment of individual dreams, and the health of their romance may not all align. This I can relate to...I'm hitting a decision point on my career that has me moving away if I want to maximize my professional opportunity, but on the other hand I've got relational possibilities that may be less portable. How do I value these two desires, how do we make sacrifices without being bitter about what we had to leave behind. At its best moments, it nearly had me convinced, but the ending rather made a hash of it in a variety of ways.

Final points:

Start A Fire is the best song, Another Day In The Sun is the best musical number, Moana should win best song but won't. Sing Street might as well not exist as far as Oscars are concerned but is the best film, the best musical, and has the best songs. Moonlight is a better film but will lose in the main categories because #OscarsSoNarcassistic.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: MattDrufke on January 08, 2017, 04:52:17 PM
Final points:

Start A Fire is the best song, Another Day In The Sun is the best musical number, Moana should win best song but won't. Sing Street might as well not exist as far as Oscars are concerned but is the best film, the best musical, and has the best songs. Moonlight is a better film but will lose in the main categories because #OscarsSoNarcassistic.

All songs from "Popstar" will get snubbed. *Sad emoticon*
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Bondo on January 08, 2017, 05:00:11 PM
You're talking to the wrong person on that point.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Teproc on January 08, 2017, 05:32:45 PM
Could you elaborate on the ending (maybe we need a spoiler thread) ? I understand people having problems with some of the middle parts, but I thought the ending was perfect and made the film feel greater than its parts, much like the ending of Whiplash in fact.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: smirnoff on January 08, 2017, 11:10:43 PM
Blue Jay (Alex Lehmann, 2016)
(https://i.imgur.com/p2x75S3.png)

It was Mark Duplass's involvement in the film that attracted me. Whether he's acting, writing, directing, or sometimes all three, the projects he's part of always seem to be better off for his being involved. Blue Jay was just another example of it.

The synopsis and poster (https://i.imgur.com/ux2CGJ6.jpg) don't do the film any favours: two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past. I wouldn't blame anyone if they looked at it and dismissed it as not their genre. If you have some confidence in Duplass though and know him as someone whose indie dramas are on a different track, you might look past your initial disinterest and find a film you can relate to.

As the two main characters reflect on their blunder years I found myself cringing and laughing along with them. It made me think about my own adolescence and how embarrassing all those things are which once seemed cool or upsetting or funny. The film and story evolved and kept my interest.

I've never had my socks blown off by a Duplass project... been left in tears, or dying of laughter. They seem to succeed in ways that don't really show on the surface.

(https://i.imgur.com/Pg483jJ.png)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Terrazine on January 09, 2017, 01:20:35 AM
Annie (1999)

It was something of a month ago when I came across this heartwrenching tune. A little girl - an orphan no less - singing about a brighter tomorrow with a stray dog in her arms. It's the stuff of heartfelt warmth. After stumbling upon that song again just yesterday, I felt compelled to finally give the famous musical film a viewing. There were two notable versions (not counting the highly panned 2014 remake),and I didn't know which one to choose from, the '82 or the '99. Being born in the '90s, however, I can't help but admit that I felt a fonder attachment to stuff from the '90s, so I went with the latter.

Regarding movie remakes, I personally dislike the most of them. As a purist, I felt that what's original shouldn't be replicated without good reasons, as those original productions were part of cinematic history and should be respected as such, not exploited for cheap earnings. However, over the years, I have came across the occasional gems that broadened my perspective about not just remakes, but universally-panned films. It helps that oftentimes, I feel more attached when I watch the remake first before the original, which is the case here today with Annie. Where the '99 remake is concerned, however, it still feels like it fell short of the mark, despite me not even having the '82 version to compare.

For starters, let's talk about the good. There are certain criticisms I've came across that I felt were rather unfair, despite being a critic of remakes myself. For example, the budget of the production is certainly obvious, but not necessarily affective. Yes, I could clearly tell it's a soundstage, but to grief about a musical film adapted from a musical that was performed on stage being replicated with a soundstage... it does seem a tad silly. I had no problems with that superficial factor. And then there's the notorious change in lyrics, from "only tomorrow" to "always tomorrow" which struck hot the fury of the original fans of the Broadway show. When I actually watched it in context, however, it seems that the change had a point to it, one you might understand by the end of the film when it's changed back to "only" again by another character singing to Annie. It was a nice change IMO, a clever one that gave the latter number more weight and emotions.

And I must talk about the song that brought me here in the first place; Alicia Morton's well-sung "Tomorrow". Watching it here again in the context of the film, it contains the appropriate charm and gentleness the song needed, and some tears were indeed shed. "I love ya, Tomorrow" indeed. It was easily the high-point of the film.

The cast of this version is both diverse and decent, albeit not amazing. I was impressed when Disney provided a diverse cast for their 1997 televised Cinderella production as well filled with a mix of Asians and African Americans, and this one change in the race of Grace Farrell felt like a nice touch too... unless you're a stickler for historical accuracy (black people being secretaries in the '30s). Their acting is functional and did tug the emotional heartstrings occasionally when it calls for it, particularly during the best and only number that I cared about, "Tomorrow". Both Alicia Morton and Victor Garber played their roles to a believable extent; Alicia felt vulnerable and sweet, while Victor's entrance as a seemingly jerkass businessman caught my attention to the story's occasional grounded nature. The movie did a decent job of what it set out to do, and that was just enough for me to accept without grievance.

But that's probably its biggest problem as well; it's only "decent", above average.

Kathy Bates was brilliant in "Misery", so one would think she could've delivered the same monstrosity that would terrify us, or at least bring some semblance of Academy Award quality performance here, but she's merely "okay" here as your typical Disney villain full of megalomania and ego. She would probably be more interesting with the drinking problem in the original '82 version. But I think the problems I had had more to do with the actual songs than any other factor - they were boring. A few of them felt superfluous, like the story could've progressed without someone suddenly breaking into a song, such as "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" (what's the point of that one?). "Easy Street" was okay, though it felt like it dragged a bit, as do most of the other songs. Aside from the catchy "It's the Hard Knock Life" and the famous "Tomorrow", I couldn't really care much for the numbers and was just waiting for the movie to reach its conclusion. The goofy change to Agatha Hannigan's fate was the final nail in the proverbial coffin that told me that I might have made a mistake.

That said, it could have been a lot worse. I mean, they could be tossing around self-aware meta-humor ("When did this city get so musical?") or aggravating pop culture references like a certain other remake... It was an average fare, but it wasn't terrible at least.

3.5/5

So, the first step towards Annie wasn't ideal, but could the so-called "original" '82 movie fare better? That's a question I'll be exploring much later, since I don't want to spoil my viewing experience by listening to those same songs so soon, getting burned out. After picking Annie for my viewing today, I had also decided to watch other (potentially) heartwarming musicals like "Oliver!" and Mary Poppins, but not before I watch "Saving Mr. Banks" in regards to the latter.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 09, 2017, 03:27:01 AM
La La Land (2016)

Last time on "A Film By Damien Chazelle":

Whiplash
And not being particularly fond of jazz, that ending may as well have been Andrew standing up and masturbating on stage for ten minutes for how artful and self-indulgent it felt.

Well, La La Land stars Gosling, so if I am going to watch a guy masturbate for ten minutes I would rather it be him. As far as I am concerned, you've just endorsed the movie.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Bondo on January 09, 2017, 04:34:45 AM
To be fair, La La Land is far less self-indulgent and a significantly better film than Whiplash.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 09, 2017, 04:55:58 AM
So no masturbation?

(http://i.imgur.com/8s6qz2l.gif)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Terrazine on January 09, 2017, 06:59:42 AM
Saving Mr. Banks - 3/5

"I know what he's going to do to her. She'll be cavorting and twinkling, and careening towards a happy ending like a kamikaze!"

Saccharine. That's a term Disney movies have often been associated with, watered down versions of the truth conjured by the whimsies of a man-child. Be it Pocahontas' appalling sugarcoating of the woman's tragic fate or Peter Pan's shallow treading of what it truly means to never grow up, Disney had always found a way to manipulate those stories somehow to serve its own grandiose favor, thereby keeping the cash machine running. It's not hard to understand why Travers and certain fans of her famous book would have a problem with Disney landing his grubby hands on her work. In fact, the sentiment was almost mutual for myself.

But there's an important reason why I chose to watch this film prior to my upcoming viewing of "Mary Poppins" (for the first time, might I add). I saw a little while ago a review of that classic film on how "Saving Mr. Banks" had convinced him to rewatch that film again, which piqued my curiosity. I knew of this pseudo-autobiography, how it, much like many of Disney's films and other autobiographical films, distorted the truth to cover up the ugly parts of reality, such as how Travers detested the adaptation of Poppins rather than be moved by it, even 20 years after its release. If anything, her hate grew stronger with the two decades' passing. She was bitter till the bitter end. She didn't win that battle, but self-indulging happy souls at the House of Mouse would prefer a more pleasant story to sell the movie. But of course, I wanted to be proven wrong, which was the whole point of watching it. I wanted to be moved and cry like how Disney had deluded imagined Travers did during the premiere.

There was a very crucial quote in the film that eventually determined how I eventually felt about Saving Mr. Banks. "Because that's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again." Yes, it's fiction - for some parts of it. Yes, perhaps the truth was something uglier one shouldn't belittle or dismiss. In the eyes of some, this film might even be self-congratulatory (a sentiment I would agree with). But, just because it's the truth doesn't mean it's all we should remember and focus on. The movie's poignant message on what Walt Disney's motivation was - to inspire hope in spite of dark times and memories - there was a sincerity to it that I could accept. It reminds me the purpose of these "saccharine", happy films, of why people need to feel that things will get brighter tomorrow, come what may. It's a very 'safe' movie, an inevitable outcome under the production of the Mouse Company, but due to moments that shine a ray of light, like the aforementioned quote this paragraph, I feel it's unfair to dismiss it as simply such. There is some magic at work in the House of Mouse even by today's cynical standards. The magic is flawed like this film, like Walt himself, but I feel it's a necessary existence.

And bringing such a flawed story to life wasn't easy for the actors either, but they managed to breathe life into it nonetheless. Both Hanks and Thompson are wonderful in their respective roles, especially on the former's part. Usually with Hanks, I feel like his performances have been more stale with his growing age, and therefore more repetitive. But with Mr. Banks, he feels quite suitable for the role indeed, playing up the eccentricities and childishness that come with Disney. Thompson is terrific, of course, but that goes without saying - I hardly knew a role of hers I didn't like. Playing a bitter old bag must've been painful, but she pulled it off regardless. Bonus points for making her likable too with her witticism mixed in with sarcasm. And Colin Farrell - god, as usual, he's a delight to watch. His breadth in acting never ceases to amaze me.

When I watch Poppins for the first time, armed with my knowledge of Travers' sentiment and Walt's naive and admirable motivations, I think I'd appreciate it more now than without this viewing. I think that's something meaningful.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Bondo on January 09, 2017, 10:21:09 AM
Chevalier (2015)

How do you say "no homo" in Greek?

In one sense, I'm the perfect target for a satire of masculinity. Unfortunately, to satirize masculinity, you have to set us among men for the duration of a film acting in an absurdly masculine way, and that sounds like my worst nightmare. Indeed, early on in watching the film I joked it would be a lot shorter if they just all got a ruler and unzipped their pants. I shouldn't have been surprised when they basically got to that. And still it went on.

Basically, a group of men on a fishing trip decide they need to engage in a competition to determine who the "best man" is, as evaluated in every aspect of their time, some events manufactured, like skipping stones, some just based on casual observation in going about their days. Naturally it gets very petty and obnoxious, hellbent on humiliating the others...basically a frat initiation. If there is one thing that is clear, any man who would win a contest as the best man is clearly the worst person. Indeed, there is a fair approximation to the GOP primary; like I said, rulers and unzipped pants.

So yeah, the struggle of a film that is theoretically on point, but just not fun to experience.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: colonel_mexico on January 09, 2017, 11:02:05 AM
EDDIE THE EAGLE 2016- I thought this was going to be one of those quirky Oz comedies, but it was a real life portrayal of Eddie the Eagle Edwards an unlikely Olympian. It has a lot of potential, with plenty of mild-smile and a few laugh out loud moments, and certainly that Rudy-sport-success-archetype feel to it, but it fails to completely develop. I was disappointed recently with THE BRONZE which goes way over the top, completely unlike EDDIE, but utilizes the failed Olympian-cum-hero-coach theme that, despite a great performance by Hugh Jackman, again feels contrived. Interestingly, this true story comes out of the same '88 Winter Olympics that the Jamaican bobsled team participated in, and there are many similarities, but this is not COOL RUNNINGS. Something I might share with the kids, though the Bo Derek analogy, while funny, is a bit R-rated.

SUICIDE SQUAD 2016- I feel like I've seen better cartoons, like THE KILLING JOKE, that are much more edgy than this mess. I saw the parody making fun of the 'bad guys' in this film not really being bad enough to be allowed into the bad guy bar, and I completely agree. Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn is serviceable, even with trailer-esque dialogue, like they filmed her scenes specifically to put into the ubiquitous trailers hyping the film. I do like Leto's Joker, certainly not Ledger's or even Nicholson's level, but I did like the attempt to make the Joker a contemporary gangster. But his scenes were not very good and felt really incomplete, mostly flashbacks that didn't have much continuity that made any kind of sense. It wasn't edgy either the romance between Joker and Harley, like the entire film, it felt like the definition of poser, a wanabe gangster. The Diablo back story I felt was stereotypical, 'when I get angry I can't control what I do', yep Mexican machismo right? The attempt at bad guy diversity was equally lame and slightly offensive. The music wasn't terrible, but it gave the film that trailer feeling, it was just one long music video with the bad girl character from the dreck QUEEN OF THE DAMNED. Lol.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Teproc on January 09, 2017, 06:25:13 PM
Fai bei sogni / Sweet Dreams (Marco Bellocchio, 2016)

Melodrama about a boy losing his mother at an early age, with the narrative jumping back and forth between different ages. The narrative device ultimately does it in I think, because the film feel very episodic, not in a good way. It's not that there aren't things to connect here : they're there and often underlined very heavily, just not that compelling. It goes pretty big in the end, which is a killer if you're not that invested, and I wasn't particularly. Needed more Bérénice Bejo, too.

5/10

Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford, 2016)


This seems like it's going to be nominated for Screenplay at the Oscars, because it has a very flashy narrative structure... but the writing really is the problem here. Not the story-within-a-story thing, that works pretty well for the most part, it's just that both stories are fulled with paper-thin characters, laughable clichés and awful dialogue. The cast is tremendous (Gyllenhaal and Shannon especially) and this ends up being much better than it has any right to be, and feels very relevant in the ways it explores urban/rural and idealist/pragmatic dynamics... not in a particularly smart way, but interesting nonetheless.

6/10

Neruda (Pablo Larrain, 2016)


This underlines how overused the phrase "unconventional biopic" is... because this actually is one. A beautiful mess, never quite sure wether it's more interested in Neruda or the meta narrative of Garcia Bernal's character. The latter is much more original and gets close to great when the film finally commits to it in earnest towards the end, but it's not quite enough to make the whole film add up to more than pretty good.

6/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 10, 2017, 03:56:07 AM
Nocturnal Animals treats rural types as violent hillbillies and take-it-into-your-own-hands second amendment folks while city people are defenceless intellectuals.

SUICIDE SQUAD 2016- I feel like I've seen better cartoons, like THE KILLING JOKE, that are much more edgy than this mess.

You've seen laundry advertisements more edgy than this mess.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Teproc on January 10, 2017, 04:14:33 AM
Nocturnal Animals treats rural types as violent hillbillies and take-it-into-your-own-hands second amendment folks while city people are defenceless intellectuals.

Yeah, but I don't think it's supposed to be a realistic portrayal of America : it's meant to make a point based on familiar archetypes. It doesn't bother me in and of itself, it's just not very well-executed on the whole.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: Terrazine on January 10, 2017, 09:04:23 AM
Er ist wieder da / Look Who's Back (2015) - 4/5

What if Hitler comes back to modern Germany?

So I was in the mood for a laugh tonight after having a rough day and decided to pop this little gem in after seeing the amusing trailer. It wasn't quite what I expected. On the surface, it looked like a quirky comedy akin to Borat, but reaching the end, it took a very dark turn that bordered on disturbing and uncomfortable - not that it's a bad thing, of course.

The parallels with modern day politics in this film is an inevitable subject that's difficult to avoid when talking about this film, regardless of whom you supported in the latest political campaign. At risk of invoking Godwin's Law, I personally find that the Hitler in this film is charismatic and compelling, convincing the people to "make Germany great again". It's an interesting perspective even if you might it an inaccurate and delusional analogy. Would people surely be so foolish as to be swayed by such obvious propaganda? It's a scary thought, but I would hope that people would be wiser than that, and let such pessimism lie in the realm of fiction, entertainment, and Larry Charles mockumentaries.

Regardless of its chilling conclusion, however, the film doesn't take itself too seriously most of the time. There's even an amusing parody of that famous "Downfall" scene, so that should inform you what kind of self-aware humor that's in store for you.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 10, 2017, 01:05:20 PM
So they basically made a spin-off of Youth? Nifty.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: karlwinslow on January 10, 2017, 08:47:47 PM
Hunt for Wilderpeople. This is just a really really lovely film. Laughed really hard a number of times. Rhys Darby needs to be in everything. Waititi might be the best comedy mind we have right now.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 10, 2017, 11:10:52 PM
Waititi might be the best comedy mind we have right now.

A solid claim, but I still put my money on Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 11, 2017, 03:21:56 AM
Edgar Wright ? That'd be my answer, but I haven't seen Hunt for the Wilderpeople yet.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 11, 2017, 03:29:48 AM
Waititi might be the best comedy mind we have right now.

A solid claim, but I still put my money on Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

I hope you're right because they're directing Han Solo. So far I have only liked their animated movies.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 11, 2017, 04:06:08 AM
Edgar Wright ? That'd be my answer, but I haven't seen Hunt for the Wilderpeople yet.

Whedon and Godard are probably those who make me laugh the most these days. You know, when they're actually making movies...I should Google what they're up to.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 11, 2017, 07:20:14 AM
Speaking of funny people...

Modern Times (Charles Chaplin, 1936)

I had seen the highlights already (the feeding machine, most scenes involving the assembly line), and those are worthy of their reputation. Very funny and effortlessly political, with men constantly trapped or otherwise impaired by machinery and the Tramp getting accidentally involved in strikes. It suffers from sometimes feeling like an excuse for a succession of loosely-connected gags, but they're generally very good, and the characters are so likable that it works. I actually wasn't familiar with the department store roller skating scene, which seems downright Keaton-esque in its thrilling audacity.

What surprised me the most though was Paulette Goddard, as the cutest (and cleanest) street orphan you'll ever see... She's impossibly endearing and adorable, which made the ending even more heartwarming to me than that of City Lights (which is also great). Happy endings are something I often struggle with in old Hollywood movies as they can feel tacked on and unearned, but those two Chaplin films certainly make the case for them as iconic and touching touches of hope in an often absurd, sometimes cruel world.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 11, 2017, 11:54:33 AM
I notice you refrained from giving the movie a rating.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 11, 2017, 12:03:41 PM
I notice you refrained from giving the movie a rating.

Unintentional. 8/10 would be my rating, same as City Lights but I'd put this just ahead of it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on January 11, 2017, 01:48:41 PM
(http://i64.tinypic.com/5vov3o.jpg)
Live By Night (Ben Affleck, 2016)

Ben Affleck has burst onto the directing scene over the past decade with impressive films, quite honestly, I didn't know he had in him after his ho-hum career as an actor. His debut, Gone Baby Gone, is a smart, tense thriller. The Town is a also a effective thriller, but what has surprised me about Affleck is his penchant for making his films feel endlessly cinematic. He has expressed a certain touch behind the camera which shows great promise, promise which was fully realized in his Best Picture winning Argo. All of this has made Ben Affleck a director to watch, and one who is boardering on must-see status each time he releases a new film. With that in mind, Live By Night is his latest, so I was understandably excited to see what experiences it had to offer. Let's call it a "down" film for Mr. Affleck, as it doesn't live up to his previous work quite as well, while also not derailing his craft enough for me to dismiss his talents going forward.

True to his roots, with Live By Night Ben Affleck has adapted famed Bostonian author Dennis Lehane's novel of the same name (as he also did with Gone Baby Gone). Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) is an admitted outlaw, son of a police chief (Brendan Gleeson) whose personal philosophy is to avoid the rival Boston mobs, the Irish led by Albert White (Robert Glenister), and the Italians led by Maso Pescatore (Remo Girone). But after falling for the girlfriend (Sienna Miller) of Albert White, Coughlin finds himself forced into the mob by Pescatore, who seeks to bring White down. Fleeing Boston after an unceremonious exit, Coughlin finds success in Tampa, Florida with his partner Bartolo (Chris Messina) while working for Pescatore. He once again falls in love with the sister (Zoe Saldana) of a Cuban rum maker, and finds trouble in the form of the precocious daughter (Elle Fanning) of the local police chief (Chris Cooper) when he attempts to open a new casino.

There really is a lot to pack into that plot description and not an easy way to sum it all up in a nice, neat little package. Whew! And that tends to be the film's greatest downfall. It's not hard to follow, to Affleck's credit as a director. He is able to keep things in order and make sense of them, but there are a lot of characters to keep track of and a lot of goings on and intertwined relationships to keep track of. Most of it seems much ado about nothing in the end. Perhaps I feel that way because Joe Coughlin is the least interesting of all of them, mostly due to a very flatlined, vapid performance from Affleck himself (I've always said he is a far better director than he is an actor). He carried with him the dichotomy of being an outlaw and a gangster while also being the protagonist of the story. Yet that film noir element of an anti-hero never hits home for me to really care about Coughlin, his misfortune, or his two girlfriends.

I was much rather interested in the dynamic between the mob bosses and their struggle for control in both Boston and Florida, or how Elle Fanning's Loretta and her father, played by Chris Cooper, play into the film noir tone of the film. Live By Night feels far too bloated for its own good, for while it features a number of intriguing characters and plot lines, it feels as though it lacks the time to sufficiently explore each of them to their potential depth, and the film is already over two hours in length. I would be curious to read Lehane's source material, to find out just how long and involved that text is. Live By Night feels like it could have been a smashing mini-series, but in its current format it lacks any clear focus or consistency. Not without its moments, its a film that feels much more miss than hit unfortunately.

Live By Night is a film that is at its best when it is focused on shootouts, car chases and other felonious activities. When the film is forced to focus on its characters and plotting, it goes awry, which is surprising given Affleck's deft touch as a director in past outings. In many ways it feels put together, as though the film had to be frantically edited in post-production to either attempt to cover up deficiencies not found during filming or simply to meet a deadline. It was the type of film that kept me on the edge of my seat as a result, for the wrong reasons. Unlike the films that keep me on the edge of my seat with anticipation, wondering with excitement what could possibly happen next, Live By Night had me on the edge of my seat with anticipation, wondering with bewilderment in what could possibly happen next based on what had come before.

**1/2 - Average
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 11, 2017, 03:29:36 PM
The Magnificent Ambersons

I've noticed that I've become one-note lately. I watched the latest Sherlock episode last night and I thought to myself They made Donald Trump into a serial killer. I watched this movie from 1942 and thought to myself They made a movie about Donald Trump's early years. I can't help but see the Orange One in every greedy bad guy on screen, and, in case you hadn't been paying attention, the greedy bad guy is a pretty common trope. I wonder if I'll be able to disabuse myself of this tendency any time soon. Let's hope so, for my sake if not yours.

Either way, this movie probably isn't about Donald Trump. Instead, it is about those titular Ambersons and their fading magnificence. In trying to determine why things get as bad as they do, one might go back as far as looking at young George Minafer (his mother's married name), played with delightful arrogance by Tim Holt. George gets between his mother and her old fling after his father dies and is generally a little shit. Unlikable protagonists are not a new phenomenon. But the film also shows us his younger days, and has one of its many interlocutors predict his entire life, seeing that his mother does not actually love her husband and would instead pour all of her love into her son, spoiling him. So maybe it's her fault that the oppulent mansion they live in becomes more and more empty.

Or maybe it's because of cars. The mother's first beau grows up to invent automobiles (in large part, according to the movie) and there's an idea from the film's script and voice over (provided by Welles himself) that the Amberson's story is just part of a larger trend towards impersonal cities rather than smaller towns, a change hastened by the new horseless carriages. It is this thread, combined with a consideration of the Ambersons broader family, which reminded me of the kind of novelistic scope that I love so much in my favorite film, Fanny and Alexander. It is a subtly large film, imbued with humor and love and a sense of nostalgia which nevertheless understands that these threads are not the only ones in a life or a family or a town.

I'm not sure a review of this movie would be complete without talking about the 50 minutes that were cut out, the re-edit, and the changed ending. While I don't hate the ending, I could imagine a better one. I could imagine even more of that quiet scope filling in the edges of the plot just as Welles fills his frames with people and set dressing. I could imagine one of the best movies ever made, if this is but a pale shadow of its full glory. But it seems like we'll never see that longer version, and so we'll just have to deal with this being Welles' best film, certainly one of the best films I've seen recently, and a great start to a new year.

Asuperplus
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 11, 2017, 04:44:57 PM
Girl Walk // All Day

If only La La Land had half the energy and warmth of this film. Plus the choreography. In an ideal world Anne Marsen is a movie star, because she has that much charisma. If there's anything to find fault with, it's the male leads, though fine dancers, pale in comparison to her. They had some moments, but I was always just waiting for her to show up during their scenes.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on January 11, 2017, 04:49:12 PM
I agree. I've come to appreciate the other two dancers since seeing the film a few times, but I still want all Anne, all the time.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 12, 2017, 05:19:19 AM
River of no Return
Otto Preminger (1954)


What a difference an aspect ratio makes! After having watched a bunch of Robert Mitchum movies in squarish ratios this year I chanced my way into River of no Return, which loudly announces in its opening credits, for those who might have missed it, its use of Cinemascope. It was almost a shock to see Mitchum in the first scene in the film, after being used to intimate close-ups of hum, be surrounded by an embracing background as the camera takes his whole body in. The feeling is odd at first, like something is not quite right, until you open yourself to the new possibilities. The format is mutch better suited to filming the outside scenery where most of the movie takes place. It allows for wide aerial shots that isolate the characters in the inhospitable landscape they must survive and is ideal for filming the action up close without discarding those outside elements.

I went into the movie knowing about Mitchum's involvement and nothing else. I found myself in a Western, with Mitchum playing his usual silent tough guy character and sharing the screen with co-star Marilyn Monroe ; a pleasant surprise. Monroe delivers an usual performance as she tries to play an actual person, quite removed from her usual romcom persona. Again, oddity. After so many roles embodying more or less empty headed blondes, watching her do something completely different is new and a peculiar. She has some good moments but clearly has trouble getting rid of her usual mannerisms.

Monroe gets a few musical scenes but the movie is hardly a musical. None of the songs are that great and they are mostly useful to set up a mood and capture some of that Marilyn magic. Always attractive, in River of no Return she exudes a particular sexuality that makes her irresistible. Maybe it's the trousers...

The plot is one of survival as well as a quest for revenge. It is equal part adventure and quieter scenes of character building and conversation. Mitchum gets a lovely twist to his usual self as he has to care for a son who he is able to show he is genuinely fond of without indulging in uncharacteristic demonstrations of tenderness. His relationship with Monroe takes up a large chunk of the movie as they get an actual arc, with words and everything, before their relationship evolves. There are some good moments of intimacy as well as a problematic more rapey scene. The action is not always very believable but there are enough Hollywood spells going on to keep you hooked, even when Mitchum kills scores of Indians without breaking a sweat.

The ending is predictable and hardly the stuff of all time great endings but it is satisfying in how it ties the knot of the conclusion you knew was coming.

7.5/10

This was a marvellous find. It's great to be able to make these discoveries thanks to movie institutes.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 12, 2017, 06:10:24 AM
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Taika Waititi (2016)


I was not much of a fan of Waititi's previous What We Do in the Shadows. There were some amazing laugh out loud moments but the overall tone of the movie left me mostly indifferent. I was thus wary of giving the director a second go.

Whereas Shadows goes for deadpan mockumentary absurdity, Hunt for the Wilderpeople relies much less on that kind of sensibility for its humour, preferring to invest its comedic efforts in sheer writing and the rapport between the characters. The deadpan moments are rarer. The result is a movie that does not deliver lines on the hilarity scale of its older brother's peaks but that works much better for me on the hole.   

The climax does delve into territories of impossibility and outrageous exaggeration but it is the only part of the movie that reaches those tones and it does so to provide an epic ending to its heroes' so far intimate quest. It has moments of greatness.

It would be interesting to dissect how the film's primary relationship would work without the humour. Are there enough serious moments between the two of them to justify their arc or does it require levity and the empathy created by laughter? In any case, the cliché "orphan bonds with grumpy old man" has rarely been done in so worthwhile a manner in recent years. The characters are not outstretched in ways that challenge our disbelief. Rather, the movie finds ways to get to that emotional satisfying conclusion while remaining truthful to them.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is genuinely touching thanks to its writing and the main performances. Elevating the emotional impact of the movie is a soundtrack that announces tone or follows it with inspired musical choices. While the editing may demonstrate more cinematographic proficiency, it is the soundtrack that propels the experience into an even better, more heartfelt one.

The one aspect that I must regret is how long the film takes to get going. While the entire portion in the bush alternates between good and very good, the set up for the plot in the first twenty to thirty minutes of the movie is on a much lower level, which lessens the overall experience to unfortunate extents.

7.5/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on January 12, 2017, 06:50:05 AM
The beginning provides a link between the two of them, which is needed to give extra weight to one of the key bonding scenes (when they deal with the ashes). I also found the beginning delightful, so was happy for it to be there.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 12, 2017, 09:43:21 AM
Seppuku / Hara-kiri (Masaki Kobayashi, 1962)

Sorrowful storytime in medieval Japan, which - if this and Rashomon are representative of it - might be my favorite genre. While it's undeniably a samurai film, this consists mostly of an old, weathered samurai (the great Tatsuya Nakadai) listening to a story and then telling his own, all of which contains very little fighting. Which is good, because the fighting is probably the weakest part of the film. When they occur, Kobayashi nails the build-up and the settings for the fight (I'd say he was influenced by Leone but this narrowly predates Leone's best-known works), but the actual fighting is somewhat lack-luster. Even in the climactic fight in which one samurai fights against many (looking pretty likely to be an influence on Tarantino for some parts of the Bride vs Crazy 88's fight), what works is the movement, the staging... not so much with the clanking of swords against each other.

But this is all nit-picking, because as I said : this is not abou the fighting. Set in the peaceful Edo period of medieval Japan (after the unification under the Tokugawa shogunate), it tells a story of soldiers rendered useless by peace, and the way social values are changing - or not - in a new world. Once you describe it as such, you can look at the date of 1962, and think about how relevant Seppuku must have been to Japanese audiences at the time : having to surrender their old way of thinking, forced from an expansionist autocracy into pacifism and democracy... view through that lens, this is an incredibly powerful story. Above all, Kobayashi seems to be attacking the idea of a society based on honor, or at least to reveal its most ardent defenders as hypocrites.

Really though, it would all be for naught without Nakadai's performance. Well, there would still be that scene with the wooden swords, but the film would falter if he wasn't so, so good. The way he handles himself in the present-day segments : stiff, determined but resigned, with an underlying sadness - contrast with his behaviour in flashbacks, in which we see him relaxed to the point that he almost seems arrogant (and this is almost only from body language) , and then the warmth he displays towards his daughter and - most adorably - his grandson... yeah, he's pretty incredible.

8/10 (which almost seems too low now that I've written this, not sure)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: oneaprilday on January 12, 2017, 01:07:35 PM
Tickled
I found the filmmaker and the filmmaking to be incredibly annoying. It's a fascinating story, but one that could have been told in a much more engaging and artful manner. There's a big "twist" in the middle that is presented with such pomp and circumstance, and is so absolutely unsurprising, I'm pretty sure these guys have never seen Catfish or even spent much time on the internet.

By the end I was actively disliking the film.
The focus on the filmmakers themselves and the "yay, us! aren't we amazing for getting you this craaaaazy material and taking such risks to do it??!" vibe reminded me a lot of Finding Vivian Maier, a similarly self-involved film, which I also thought was pretty bad. 
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched (Thread restarted in January 2017)
Post by: philip918 on January 12, 2017, 01:34:22 PM
The focus on the filmmakers themselves and the "yay, us! aren't we amazing for getting you this craaaaazy material and taking such risks to do it??!" 

Yes. This exactly.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 12, 2017, 01:38:02 PM
"yay, us!"

I haven't seen Tickled, but is it safe to say that the merest hint of self-congratulation in a film is among your biggest turnoffs, in a pet peeve kind way? That's definitely an impression I've gotten over the years.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 12, 2017, 02:33:54 PM
I feel like Girl Walk//All Day is probably a frontrunner for Film of the Forum. I certainly wouldn't have watched it if it weren't for you all and I think that has happened for many of us. And also I've never heard of anybody else talking about it.

Harvey

Dowd, Elwood P., is crazy. He sees a giant white rabbit and drinks a lot. Oh, but also the rest of the people in this movie are crazier. In fact, basically everybody not named Jimmy Stewart is kind of insufferable in this film. It's the worst kind of screwball comedy, where you get fed up with the shrill energy about five minutes into it and each passing moment increases the annoying factor exponentially. But when Stewart comes into the picture (and he's not around as much as he probably should be) things slow down to match his pace and everything gets really great. I'm not sure I've seen a bad performance from Stewart, and here he's at his easygoing best. I'm not surprised that Elwood P. Dowd has become an iconic character. It's hard to pin him down, but Stewart imbues him with such humanity and kindness that you just want to sit down and listen. I wish the rest of the movie would do so, too.

B
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 12, 2017, 03:05:26 PM
Only Yesterday

Wow. This was so lovely and so moving. The animation, even for Ghibli, is incredible. The movements are so realistic and elegant. The story is filled with small joys, wry humor, and pastoral beauty, and the two timelines come together in exhilarating fashion. I can't wait to watch it again.

I feel like Girl Walk//All Day is probably a frontrunner for Film of the Forum. I certainly wouldn't have watched it if it weren't for you all and I think that has happened for many of us. And also I've never heard of anybody else talking about it.

Same for me.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on January 12, 2017, 03:11:00 PM
Daisey Ridley's vocal performance in the English dubbed version of Only Yesterday is everything.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 12, 2017, 03:12:55 PM
Daisey Ridley's vocal performance in the English dubbed version of Only Yesterday is everything.

Huh. I know Ghibli has great English dubs, but I can't imagine watching their films in English. The Japanese voice acting is perfect.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 12, 2017, 03:16:00 PM
Daisey Ridley's vocal performance in the English dubbed version of Only Yesterday is everything.

Huh. I know Ghibli has great English dubs, but I can't imagine watching their films in English. The Japanese voice acting is perfect.

We've been over it before, but this merits to be repeated.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oneaprilday on January 12, 2017, 04:29:34 PM
"yay, us!"

I haven't seen Tickled, but is it safe to say that the merest hint of self-congratulation in a film is among your biggest turnoffs, in a pet peeve kind way? That's definitely an impression I've gotten over the years.

pixote
It's a pretty big turn off, for sure, although perhaps if I'm honest, I'll tolerate it if the material is more transcendent or I'll tolerate it with certain filmmakers? Hmmm.  I mean, Herzog, for example, is a little bit that way? . . .  But maybe his brand of filmmaking is more about self-confidence and passion; that a kind of arrogance  feels different than self-congratulation somehow. I don't know. I think all artists - anyone who creates something and has the audacity to believe other people need to see it - have a kind of arrogance and self-absorption. (Joan Didion's "Why I Write" gets at that idea, the writer/artist's self-involvement and imposition of self upon others.)  . . . But I suppose there's also an un-self-consciousness, too, that comes with the best artists - something, perhaps, that's linked to passion and doesn't care one jot about anything but the subject matter and the act of creation. Perhaps, it's that I'm turned off when I don't feel or see that unself-conscious passion as fully as I see the self-absorption. And I suppose I most appreciate art that, while "arrogantly" putting itself in front of me, also doesn't seem to need me for approval, in the same way something like Tickled and Finding Vivian Maier do.   


Here's Didion, by the way:
"Of course I stole the title for this talk, from George Orwell. One reason I stole it
was that I like the sound of the words: Why I Write. There you have three short
unambiguous words that share a sound, and the sound they share is this:
I
I
I
In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other
people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It’s an aggressive, even
a hostile act. You can disguise its qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and
evasions—with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather
than stating—but there’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the
tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the
reader’s most private space
."
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 12, 2017, 04:46:37 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I wonder if perhaps it's akin to wanting to be manipulated by a movie but not wanting to feel manipulated by a movie — i.e., something that's always there but something from which we hope the work distracts us.

Someone, somewhere, just made a joke about Fellini being self-indulgent.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oneaprilday on January 12, 2017, 04:55:13 PM
Oh, yes, nice connection, I think that's right - there's a similar desire for the manipulation to be invisible (most of the time! there are always exceptions, I suppose).
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 12, 2017, 09:48:24 PM
(http://imgur.com/i3XqO9d.jpg)

I watched La La Land again, and I think I've caught a bit of backlash. I went in hoping to like it more, wanting to appreciate it for what it does well, and there's quite a bit, but I had a growing feeling of over-hype that grew as the film lumbered on without going as deep as I wanted it to.

It started with the opening number, which is still rough around the edges. There's the one great shot of the location, but it was like watching a tightrope walker crossing a pit of alligators. I was holding my breath and nervous that Damien Chazelle was getting away with it, which is not what a good musical number usually evokes. There should be magic, a transportive feeling, but the songs and dances are more like...
"Are they about to...?"
"Yes they are, look they're doing it."
"Wow, I can't believe they're actually going there."

The praise has now built to where the film's main accomplishment is being a musical that didn't come from Broadway, where the songs are original for this movie. Okay, well there's the immediate recall of recent Disney Animated Musicals. You can strike them out for being animated, but the songs and the staging are far superior.

What about The Muppets?
"Life's A Happy Song" is the opener. It's an original song, with more cinematic staging than "Another Day Of Sun". There's even some clever dancing and lots of energy. Same with "Me Party", "Let's Talk About Me" and "Man or Muppet". And that's where I thought, Goddamn! The Muppets is a better musical and a better movie than La La Land, with songs that have more emotional importance to the characters.

And then it came like an avalanche...
Enchanted
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Sing Street - "Drive It Like You Stole It" has that effortless magic LLL never achieves.
Girl Walk//All Day

All better musicals than La La Land. All with more content and meaning, more originality and more depth. Yes, even Girl Walk has more to say about being alive and the need to create than La La Land.

Remember the end of Slumdog Millionaire when everyone performs Jai Ho? That's better than any musical scene in La La Land.

And, okay I'm not bringing Broadway into this, but La La Land is becoming the movie equal to Hamilton in terms of hype and acclaim, and Hamilton laughs it right out of the planet.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 12, 2017, 11:33:50 PM
Stipulated.

Also, I pretty much don't get the whole Taika Waititi phenomenon. Boy was pretty good but the other three I've seen have been quite lacking. I do like Flight of the Conchords, but otherwise both Kiwi and Aussie comedy has tended to come up short for me.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 12, 2017, 11:55:31 PM
I also watched La La Land again recently. I don't really disagree with your assessment but I still think it's a pretty good movie. I'd say every movie it references is better than it and several recent musicals are better than it, too, including Sing Street. But it still is good. It is neither great nor terrible and I feel like we've gotten away from that being a thing we can understand as a culture.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 13, 2017, 12:28:36 AM
It's not a bad movie and I get that my reaction is more against the buzz than the film itself. It seems to be raising a banner to announce that the Hollywood Movie Musical is not dead, when it never was and there are many better examples to prove it. I'm reminded of some dialogue in The World According to Garp.

GARP: Nobody is buying my novel. I'm starting my second, and the same nobodies are gonna line up not to buy that one too. I have just read in TIME magazine that my mother's book has been translated into Apache. Apache, Helen. Not even Shakespeare or Dickens has been translated into Apache.

HELEN: She's timely. She struck a chord women wanted to hear.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oneaprilday on January 13, 2017, 12:42:41 AM
It's not a bad movie and I get that my reaction is more against the buzz than the film itself. It seems to be raising a banner to announce that the Hollywood Movie Musical is not dead, when it never was and there are many better examples to prove it. I'm reminded of some dialogue in The World According to Garp.
I haven't seen La La Land, but it feels to me a bit like the buzz around The Artist, which purported to be a beautiful homage to the old silents, and which, for me, mostly failed both as an homage and as a film. Would you say it's akin to that at all - the buzz plus the let-down of the film?   (Note: I've been probably a bit unfairly biased against La La Land - though I plan to see it and am trying to keep an open mind. But it's hard to maintain that open mind posture: I didn't care for Whiplash much and I automatically resented the film as seeming to claim itself as a return to the musical - something you've neatly debunked already.)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 13, 2017, 01:36:06 AM
I never watched The Artist thinking it was going to revive the silent film. I thought that was used as a comic device, much like Mel Brooks' Silent Movie. From the first title card ("TALK!") to the musical finale, I thought the artist was more about getting cinema back to its basic elements - visuals, physical comedy, cinema as a place where dreams become real. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo have great silent movie faces, making it an affectionate tribute to the form. Gosling and Stone are not natural singers and dancers. He plays a piano and she can sing (though they strangely save it for only one number). They get by barely in this one film. They're not showing us new tools in their arsenal like Lin Manuel-Miranda.

It's kind of a shame a real dancer like Anne Marsen doesn't come into La La Land for a brief speciality number or a singer with the power of Idina Menzel, but they would've stolen the film.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on January 13, 2017, 02:23:13 AM
Eddie the Eagle (2016, Dexter Fletcher... the guy what played Johnny in Band of Brothers? Cool!)

This will certainly make my filmspot ballot for best surprise. I watched the trailer for it ages back and was put off by it. Then it showed up on Netflix, and the pickings on Netflix for 2016 films are so slim in Canada, I figured I might as well add it to my list. Then I removed it because I got sick of seeing it in the list. Then I added it back when I realized there was almost nothing else left to watch.  :D

I actually went back recently and attempted to rewatch Cool Runnings. I gave up on it before they left Jamaica. There's a crazy number of parallels between the two stories. The unlikely competitor, the coach with a dirty history... it even takes place at the same Olympics in Calgary. Strange how this one managed to keep me interested.

There's a scene in the second act when the two main characters are having an emotional moment... it's such a cookie cutter scene you can actually predict the notes of the score before they're played. This film follows the formula in every way. Training montage NOW, character recieves bad news NOW, character renews his motivation because of something someone says NOW. So why does this movie still work?!

It's still a good story. In spite of the absolute familiarity of the framework, there's meat on these bones. And a lot of heart in Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman's performances. And somehow, added all up, it had me feeling everything I was supposed to feel when it got the climax.

I don't know that I can recommend it... it's too easy to oversell it for something it isn't. But I had a great time with it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on January 13, 2017, 04:56:15 AM
Eddie the Eagle (2016, Dexter Fletcher... the guy what played Johnny in Band of Brothers Spike in Press Gang? Cool!)

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 13, 2017, 07:18:09 AM
Blowup (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)

As a thriller, Blowup is clever and enthralling, even disturbing. The sequences that gives the film its title is simply masterful, building suspense purely visually... in general this is a very quiet film, and Antonioni is very effective a setting this mood of existential malaise that was starting to envelop 60's counterculture. I found the the two elements we see (or think we see) in those photos to be genuinely frightening, and was very engaged by that part of the narrative.

*Spoilers below*

The conclusion works very well I think. Partly because I can come up with an interpretation that makes some amount of sense , but am not entirely sure of : pretty much the perfect scenario for that kind of ending. Also it makes me think of Plato's cave allegory, and it seems I like that in movies (see also : Room, The Matrix). Even more interestingly, I'm not entirely sure how to fit it here : it's the ending that made me think of it, because we hear the tennis ball which implies that it exists, but we're only seeing through the lense of both the camera and the sound, since we're only seeing his reaction to it. His face acts as the shadows of the allegory there... but what is real, then ?

Going back further, the photos can also be the shadows that let one see a reflection of reality (that makes a lot of sense), which enables him to see the murder... so in this scenario, photography plays the role of philosophy in alerting the protagonist that he isn't perceiving reality in its fullest sense... because he lives in a counter-cultural bubble of sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll ? I guess that works, but I also like the reverse : we hear the tennis ball but clearly it doesn't exist since they're mimes, so he's just imagining it, just like he imagine the whole murder. I suppose it just comes down to Antonioni challenging our perception of reality, one way or another.

What I enjoyed much less were the more glaring bits of social commentary, the biggest offender being the Yardbirds concert. It's an incredibly smug sequence, the cinematic equivalent of a strawman argument regarding the vacuity of youth/pop music/whatever it is Antonioni has only scorn for it. Like the opening "photography=sex" bit, it goes too far and feels too self-satisfied to be insightful... and then there's the sex (?) scene with the aspiring models (hey that's Jane Birkin), which... no. I wonder if the main character here influenced Kubrick and McDowell for A Clockwork Orange, because he often felt like a more stable, reigned-in version of Alex.

7/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oneaprilday on January 13, 2017, 11:55:01 AM
I never watched The Artist thinking it was going to revive the silent film. I thought that was used as a comic device, much like Mel Brooks' Silent Movie. From the first title card ("TALK!") to the musical finale, I thought the artist was more about getting cinema back to its basic elements - visuals, physical comedy, cinema as a place where dreams become real. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo have great silent movie faces, making it an affectionate tribute to the form. Gosling and Stone are not natural singers and dancers. He plays a piano and she can sing (though they strangely save it for only one number). They get by barely in this one film. They're not showing us new tools in their arsenal like Lin Manuel-Miranda.

It's kind of a shame a real dancer like Anne Marsen doesn't come into La La Land for a brief speciality number or a singer with the power of Idina Menzel, but they would've stolen the film.
I didn't think that The Artist would revive it either - or that it wanted to revive it - but that it wanted to be an homage and it didn't feel to me that it did a very good job. I suppose it's a matter of taste. Dujardin and Bejo's faces just didn't work for me - as silent movie faces. They were too much.

And yes, re: Gosling and Stone - I very much wish La La Land was offering dancers and singers, not actors who can dance and sing ok. (Again, haven't seen it, but I cringe at all the clips I've heard of the singing.) Still . . . trying to keep an open mind. It would be nice to be won over after all.  :)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 13, 2017, 12:08:47 PM
I had heard that Ryan Gosling was going to be the Justin Timberlake spot in NSYNC back when it was being formed...after hearing him in La La Land, and frankly just knowing his general Goslingness, there's no way he could top Timberlake as an entertainer.

Cameraperson (2016)

The early part of this film is both indicative of the film's style, and unrepresentative of the film's impact. It is a documentary largely composed of scenes shot by documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson, woven together as a "memoir" and early on feels largely random, a sequence of unrelated moments. I'm not sure it ever truly escapes this to cohere as a whole, but it does come to offer interest in some of the moments.

One insight is in the behind the scenes aspect, the interaction with subjects of documentaries that gets left behind to capture a particular on-screen moment, something that hints at the fact that even though documentaries are real life, they are still cinema, still manufactured through hundreds of distinct choices. And while sometimes this role as part of a documentary team allows for forming a real bond with those on the film, we also see moments where there seems to be an imposed professional duty to not engage, which asserts itself most distinctly when we see two young boys playing with an axe and you want to burst through the screen to stop them and scold them, or hope the cinematographer will do so.

The other observation is how her home video, shots of her family, which I assume are not related to another film project, weave into the rest to kind of hit home the opposite aspect from the manufacturing, the baseline that this is ultimately life. Whether it is happening in places all around the world, or at home, there are stories and events and emotions. This is what makes it most effectively a memoir, because you realize all these other trips were her travels away from home, away from family. However, the film is not chronological, which I suppose is not a requirement of memoir, but does make it less of a story.

I certainly recognized a lot of the films that the clips related to, many of them documentaries I rather like. As it happens, one clip was from Audrie & Daisy, which will be on my Filmspot ballot for 2016. Cameraperson, though of interest, will not. So I guess Kirsten Johnson gets represented either way.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 13, 2017, 12:12:26 PM
FWIW, I don't think Gosling and Stone's (relative lack of) song/dance capabilities hinder the film in any way. If you're expecting Broadway-type songs and Astaire/Rogers-type numbers... yeah, you'll be disappointed. So, you know, don't expect that. The film is far from perfect, but I'm getting annoyed at the complains that it isn't a "real musical".
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 13, 2017, 01:24:49 PM
FWIW, I don't think Gosling and Stone's (relative lack of) song/dance capabilities hinder the film in any way. If you're expecting Broadway-type songs and Astaire/Rogers-type numbers... yeah, you'll be disappointed. So, you know, don't expect that. The film is far from perfect, but I'm getting annoyed at the complains that it isn't a "real musical".

Agreed. They do what they need to do well enough. I cared more about their relationship than I do about most musical relationships, and better singers/dancers might not have had that ability.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 13, 2017, 01:34:27 PM
Nice review of Cameraperson, Bondo, especially the connection between the home video footage and how all the other clips represent her being away from that home life.

I won't be able to write to my own thoughts until after this weekend.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on January 13, 2017, 09:31:05 PM
Blowup (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)

I had a similar experience though it's a bit hazy now. Dated is the wrong word but it seemed trapped in that time/space/perspective. I need to get onto more Antonioni because I was a big fan of L'avventura which is both the absence and presence of purpose.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oneaprilday on January 13, 2017, 10:08:10 PM
FWIW, I don't think Gosling and Stone's (relative lack of) song/dance capabilities hinder the film in any way. If you're expecting Broadway-type songs and Astaire/Rogers-type numbers... yeah, you'll be disappointed. So, you know, don't expect that. The film is far from perfect, but I'm getting annoyed at the complains that it isn't a "real musical".
I don't think anyone here is saying it isn't a real musical? It's just that some of the reviews make it seem like it's gonna be akin to the best musicals of all time, eg. Dargis's review in the NYT is entitled "‘La La Land’ Makes Musicals Matter Again." She compares it to classic musicals, indicating the film is, finally, a return to that specific form: "I realized that this must have been what it was like to watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers during the Great Depression." (Pics of classic musicals and Cyd Charisse, Fred Astaire, etc. are included throughout the piece.) And she makes even stronger direct comparisons:  "In classic style, Mia and Sebastian somehow, amazingly, know how to dance together — they shadow each other in sync — without holding each other. As in the gazebo scene in “Top Hat,” which brings Astaire and Rogers’s characters closer and closer, the park dance in “La La Land” turns flirting into a performance, complete with a little tapping, a little twirling and several neatly executed barrel turns from Mr. Gosling."

It's lovely that Dargis enjoyed it so much. I hope I do, too. I just can't believe I'll think it's as good as watching Astaire and Ginger, like she seems to.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: mañana on January 13, 2017, 10:12:52 PM
Eddie the Eagle
Pretty disappointed this isn't an Ed Belfour documentary.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 13, 2017, 11:24:53 PM
I don't think anyone here is saying it isn't a real musical? It's just that some of the reviews make it seem like it's gonna be akin to the best musicals of all time, eg. Dargis's review in the NYT is entitled "‘La La Land’ Makes Musicals Matter Again."

That is my point. It's like how people would say that High Noon is a western for people who don't like Westerns, or how John Wayne and Howard Hawks specifically made Rio Bravo because they disagreed so strongly with Gary Cooper's sheriff asking the town for help. High Noon is a good western, but for those who have seen a lot of them, there's something off about it. It's a product from filmmakers who aren't familiar with the genre's strengths. In a way that's a plus because it does something different, but what it is not is a return to classic form or something that should stand as a pinnacle for the genre.

La La Land is a Very Good film, but the more I try to expand that to place it somewhere in cinematic history, the more I keep coming up with better modern musicals not based on Broadway shows that are even more refreshingly different and more respectful to the art of superior dancing, singing and composing great material to make these moments soar. I also think Damien Chazelle may make one of these films one day.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 14, 2017, 12:39:55 AM
Barry (2016)

I was really impressed with this Netflix original film. I'm not sure how factual the story is, I didn't get through Dreams From My Father, but it does capture the struggle for identity when one is not fully of any particular world. Devon Terrell (in his first credited role) captures enough of Obama's mannerisms to make you remember that is who it is (and you rarely hear either Barack or Obama), without it feeling like a mannered performance. Breakout Star of the Year, Anya Taylor-Joy is playing the most straightforward of her roles this year. It is a role that doesn't ask her to do as much as The Witch, naturally, but I found her incredibly compelling as the primary love interest. I certainly fell in love with her.

B+
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 14, 2017, 03:00:30 AM
Aren't you reviewing the Oscars campaign rather than the film at that point ? This is the most frustrating thing about awards : it's the same thing that happened to Boyhood. Because a film is the frontrunner and is getting exagerrated raves that are trying to argue for the film's importance (because that's what matter for winning Oscars), it's not allowed to stand on its own. Imagine a world in which La La Land and Sing Street's places are somehow reversed, and I'm guessing the backlash cycles would be the same : the film almost doesn't matter.

@oad : It is a complaint I've seen, probably by people reacting to the same pieces you're citing. I guess I'm making the same mistake of responding to you guys because I'm annoyed by random film people on Twitter, sorry.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: goodguy on January 14, 2017, 07:14:21 AM
In related news, his 2009 film Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench just passed the 500 votes mark on IMDb (La La Land: 52K, Whiplash: 440K).

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 14, 2017, 10:23:51 AM
Aren't you reviewing the Oscars campaign rather than the film at that point ?
Oh yeah. I never meant for that to be considered a review. It was a Response, which keeps with the title of this Thread, why I put that image at the top (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=14226.msg860261#msg860261) and why I didn't put a Rating at the bottom. It's the publicity campaign and the current high level of hype that brought into sharp focus the problems I have with La La Land, why I don't love it like I love so many musicals.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on January 14, 2017, 10:55:56 AM
The importance of Boyhood was too much to sustain for what felt like an awards season that was about a fortnight too long.

"Guys? Are we still doing this? Yes? Nah let's vote for Birdman."

Although the hype is similar for La La Land, the film is a little more accessible to voters and and the sentiment more likely to sustain. How it rates versus other musicals I see as a different discussion entirely.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oneaprilday on January 14, 2017, 04:08:31 PM
I don't think anyone here is saying it isn't a real musical? It's just that some of the reviews make it seem like it's gonna be akin to the best musicals of all time, eg. Dargis's review in the NYT is entitled "‘La La Land’ Makes Musicals Matter Again."

That is my point. It's like how people would say that High Noon is a western for people who don't like Westerns, or how John Wayne and Howard Hawks specifically made Rio Bravo because they disagreed so strongly with Gary Cooper's sheriff asking the town for help. High Noon is a good western, but for those who have seen a lot of them, there's something off about it. It's a product from filmmakers who aren't familiar with the genre's strengths. In a way that's a plus because it does something different, but what it is not is a return to classic form or something that should stand as a pinnacle for the genre.

La La Land is a Very Good film, but the more I try to expand that to place it somewhere in cinematic history, the more I keep coming up with better modern musicals not based on Broadway shows that are even more refreshingly different and more respectful to the art of superior dancing, singing and composing great material to make these moments soar. I also think Damien Chazelle may make one of these films one day.
Yes, this is essentially what I understood you to mean in your original post - thanks for the further clarification. Definitely interested, too, in what Chazelle will do in the future.
 

@oad : It is a complaint I've seen, probably by people reacting to the same pieces you're citing. I guess I'm making the same mistake of responding to you guys because I'm annoyed by random film people on Twitter, sorry.
No worries. :) And I really do hope I can come back and tell you I loved it!  (For the moment, recovering from Elle from last night and trying to figure out what I just saw.)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 14, 2017, 05:45:40 PM
Closet Monster (2015)

It wouldn't be fair of me to dispute the validity of the artist's experience of actually coming out, actually in Newfoundland, but I can't help but feel this struggle feels oddly dated. Maybe Newfoundland is like many areas of the U.S. that are behind the times, but even so, it portrays a degree of struggle with homosexuality that feels too heightened for modern times.

I suppose the bigger problem is I've never really been at ease with magical realism. From a talking rodent to more graphic visualizations, I don't feel the film contextualizes them in a way that earns it. Ultimately it left me almost entirely cold.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 14, 2017, 11:19:50 PM
Awwh, shucks. Did you like the soundtrack at least?

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 14, 2017, 11:49:57 PM
I should add: Your criticisms all make perfect sense to me, but I thought the film made those things work (much to my surprise), largely thanks to the assured direction and also to the lead performance by Connor Jessup, who I still think is a major future star. As for the sense of its feeling dated, I'm no doubt biased by having seen the film with a Q&A with the director and getting to hear his conviction in the story, as informed by his own experience.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 15, 2017, 12:18:02 AM
Moonlight
Everything in this film is perfect, but it rarely tugged on my heartstrings.  Perfect ensemble, perfect cinematography, wonderful script.  But it left me distant in a way that The Fits didn't.  A great film that didn't leave a great impact on me.
3.5/5

Me Too! I feel bad that I didn't love it more, especially since it's such a sweet film with its heart on its sleeve. The most memorable moment is the bit with the chair, which is the furthest the film gets from its usual mood.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 15, 2017, 01:50:39 AM
Awwh, shucks. Did you like the soundtrack at least?

Sure? I don't tend to really notice music in movies.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 15, 2017, 04:41:01 AM
Sloane
John Madden (2017)


Sloane is not a great movie but if you happen to be one of those unicorns who are both liberal and ultra cynical then this is your catnip. It's comfort food for those who find beds of nails comfortable. What's more, you get to basically look at Jessica Chastain for two hours, and at this stage she's one of the five most attractive people in Hollywood. Her presence manages to be at the same time unreachable divinity and down to earth everyday woman.

The entire film is constructed to build up to a climax at its very end which sensibly changes what could have been a straightforward story about lobbying for one issue. Instead, the lobbying is told in flashbacks interspersed during a trial (which takes up very little space) to set up a twist/reveal. A lot of the things Chastain does during the movie are outlandish and not entirely believable - in an earlier high that involves a debate, she goes into a line of reasoning no one would never voice in public because it would destroy their chances, yet she does because there is a twist coming that is supposed to justify it - and you are meant to disregard the fact that the NRA is not the richest lobby on Capitol Hill by any stretch. The climax goes further than anything before but it is so rewarding you can absolutely let that go and bask in the gotchaness of that moment.

7.5/10

This is one for Bondo.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 15, 2017, 01:56:38 PM
Vita Activa, The Spirit Of Hannah Arendt
Ada Ushpiz (2015)


I had an opportunity to patronise my local arthouse by watching this and decided to go, the subject being of some interest to me. Most people will never study Arendt's work in a class or even read her books. The movie format is probably the most palatable way to bring her insights to large audiences, and although the film came out two years ago, a 2017 projection could not have been more timely. Vita Activa, The Spirit Of Hannah Arendt closes on a thought of Arendt's: even when totalitarian regimes disappear, that doesn't mean their totalitarian tools go with them. Hannah Arendt is never not relevant, but these days we need to remember her writing more than we have had to for a very long time.

Necessary/10

I am afraid that I have been bitten by the same bug that got Junior: All movies seem to be commenting about the same issue.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 15, 2017, 05:48:14 PM
Tower (2016)

Between the Austin setting and the rotoscoped style, I couldn't help but think of Richard Linklater when watching Tower. I was a bit surprised that he doesn't seem to have been involved. Still, as Linklater has displayed, rotoscoping can be an evocative style. Indeed, I'd say this succeeds first as an animated film and second as a documentary. It does have issues of feeling a bit choppy narratively...mostly chronological through the event, but skipping around to various people, but never establishes a geography of the tower and the campus and city around it.

Of course, at a time when mass shootings are a routine, and not an unprecedented sort of event, a few things seem particularly baffling in hindsight. How does it take 90 minutes for the police to get to the point of climbing the tower? And if you want to understand why many of us are uneasy about the "good guy with a guy" means of protection, I think of the insanity of a dozen or two random people taking pot shots at the tower from distance, without much seeming chance of success, but certainly putting those responding at risk.

But ultimately, it is about how it paints an emotional picture of those who pay witness to the events. To the heroes and the cowards alike. I'd say the most affecting moments are, after a long spell with the slight cover of the animated style, it flashes to the modern version of the individual, forcing you to then be hit with the fuller impact that it felt necessary to spare earlier.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 15, 2017, 09:16:57 PM
Little Sister (2016)

Between the one character in We Are The Best and this, piety is officially punk. It isn't necessarily that atheism is the mainstream so much as a casual or potentially hypocritical religiosity being the norm. Colleen then is a bit punk for choosing the path of becoming a nun, though as a high schooler she was a punk (or more properly goth) in the more traditional sense, liking Marilyn Manson and the like. Of course, if becoming a nun is a deviation from broad society, she also represents a bit of a deviation from the social expectations of nuns, with those interests of her youth being retained in some way.

So we get a certain tension where ultimately she is using her lay interests in combination with a strong sense of people to do the sort of supportive work that would be expected for her as a nun, especially as it relates to her brother, greatly scarred from his time in the war. This is a very interesting, quirky film.

B+
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 15, 2017, 09:26:15 PM
Glad you liked it! One of the year's most pleasant surprises for me. Hadn't even heard of it until one of the year-end Filmspotting episodes.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 16, 2017, 08:28:12 AM
The Birth of a Nation (Nate Parker, 2016)

At first, I was pleasantly surprised. The first half of this seemed to point at a somewhat thoughtful exploration of faith in the face of oppression : how religion can be used to enforce and justify it (insert overused Karl Marx quote here), and how it can serve as a beacon of hope, both on an individual level (salvation) and a collective one (rebellion).

The film is at its most interesting when Nat Turner is giving those sermons to slaves from other estates : he sees what he's being used for, but proceeds anyway. Part of it is of course that he has very little choice in the matter, but I also think there is a core issue there : by giving them peace of mind even for an instant, isn't he helping them ? The hope for salvation might be the only thing they can still cling to, as well as each other, and his sermons help in both ways... but of course this also help the oppressors keep the system in place, that's the whole reason for them in the first place. There's a fascinating, complex moral dilemma here... one that I'm not even convinced the film realizes is there, given where it goes.

Complexity and nuance are not words you'd use to describe the last third of the film. Maybe you can argue that, well, slavery is a pretty clear issue, so why would there be a need for complexity ? But the question raised here isn't that of slavery, it's that of rebellion against an unjust system, even in the face of almost certain death, not only for the ones rebelling but for anyone associated with them. Now there's a complex issue... but nope. The film seems to exist only to get to a line of postscript, as a way of honoring the memory of Nat Turner and the people who died in this particular revolt and others like it. As a memorial, it is certainly effective... as a film, not so much.

4/10

Ouvert la nuit / Open at Night (Edouard Baer, 2016)


Normally I could just say this is a film made by and starring Edouard Baer, and that's about all you'd need to know. But the odds are you don't know who Edouard Baer is, so let's try this another way. This is a fun romp, as we follow the owner of a theatre in Paris the night before a premiere, as his crew is striking over unpaid salaries and various other screwball-y things are happening, some of which may or may not involve a monkey and/or a monkey suit. He is an improviser, the kind of guy who assumes that any problem can be solved just by wandering at night in Paris and trying to charm/talk people into helping him. It's, appropriately enough, a mess of a film, but a charming one... partly because of Baer of course, but more importantly thanks to the two straight (wo)men, played by Sabrina Ouazani and Audrey Tautou. They both ground the film... to a degree, and let us keep a distance with Baer's character while still enabling him comedically.

I suppose this really is the modern equivalent of a screwball comedy, so if you like that and for some reason have this film available to you, do consider it. It's a fun time.

7/10

Fuchi ni tatsu / Harmonium (Kôji Fukada, 2016)


What a dark, harrowing, almost cruel film. I don't think I have much more to say here : the emotions on display are complex, but mostly awful. And I'm not entirely sure it's all worth it... it has strong performances and some memorable shots, but I don't know that I'd really recommend it to anyone.

6/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 16, 2017, 09:14:24 PM
(http://imgur.com/F6o70cm.jpg)
Cactus Flower (1969)

The pit of cinematic obscurity gets bigger all the time to where a number of above-average crowd pleasers have now fallen in because they lack modern relevance. From within that pit there's Cactus Flower, based on a play and adapted by I.A.L. Diamond without his frequent collaborator Billy Wilder, not that this film is lack in laughs, heart or character. It stars a very improbable cast and makes a great linking film for the Six Degrees of... game. There's Walter Matthau, doing that great Matthau thing of trying to believe he has everything well in hand while the situation continues to spin out of control. Goldie Hawn plays one of the earliest versions of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She won an Oscar for it, but it's Ingrid Bergman who actually steals the show.

(http://imgur.com/M2vNcem.gif)

You generally don't think Comedy when you think of Ingrid, and you certainly would struggle to mention some of her great work past the 1940s let alone in 1969. In her early 50s, Bergman plays a late bloomer who shakes off the repression of what's polite and begins embracing the fullness of life. The story starts slight and charming, but increases the rom-com absurdity by small degrees until it gets to a sequence where the main cast is trying to keep up their own deceptions while seeing through everyone else. It's a good deal of fun. Inconsequential, but fun.
* * * - Good
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on January 17, 2017, 03:17:04 AM
Sing Street (2016) - (https://i.imgur.com/ParEz61.png)

There's nothing more dull than a film that sets up a bleak environment and then has it's characters just kind of wallow in it. A story of Job. An exercise in stacking shit on shit.

This film is great at not wallowing. It goes above and beyond! I loved it. It worked for me in everything it did, and continually topped scenes I thought might have been the highs. A film with great spirit and heart. Contagiously positive and positively contagious.


Trophy Kids (2016? Netflix says so...) - (https://i.imgur.com/VI1KjiE.png)

An infuriating documentary about the parents of athletes who are pretty much just abusing their children. It must have been hard for the documentarians to keep their mouths shut sometimes. When they did speak it didn't take much prompting on their part for a parent to go on a rant about the virtues of beating kids.

They capture everything you can possibly imagine where overly-invested sports parents are concerned. But I'm not sure who this documentary is useful to exactly... because the behaviour is so obviously wrong. Had they found milder cases it might've brought up questions of where exactly the line needs to be drawn, and prompted more self-reflection among parents and non parents alike because it would be closer to their own attitudes. But here everyone is so clearly over the line, it's more of an exercise in shaking your head in disgust.

I'm a little disappointed the documentary didn't evolve into anything more than just following these different families around to their different sporting events. You get very little interviews with coaches or people who see things for what they are. It's almost exclusively the misguided parents saying one mind-numbing thing after another. That said, the variety of bad behaviour covers the spectrum and it's kind of an eye opener to see how extreme it can get.

I know it doesn't sound like a pleasant experience, it's not really... but it was very engaging. Even though I was ready to throw everyone off a cliff after 15 or 20 minutes, and nothing really changed after that, I still felt I had to finish it. And I'm glad I did.

I haven't seen Chris Bell's Bigger, Stronger, Faster, but I did watch Prescription Thugs, which was a more personal story with a lot of his own narration. This was much better.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 17, 2017, 05:12:13 AM
And here's your child death backstory double feature for ya. People sure do have different ways of coping...

The Invitation
Karyn Kusama (2015)


If you were to take out the last twenty minutes of the movie, no one would never talk about The Invitation again. Nothing is bad per se about the first two thirds of the movie. Having said that, nothing is exceptional either. No shots are gorgeous and the dialogue, if it does go into unusual places, is no pearl of the English language. You must watch the ending to appreciate the crescendo Kusama orchestrates and how he subtly sets up the ending's events.

Classifying the movie as horror is an unfortunate giveaway that prepares the viewer to such a culmination. I wish I had had even less of an idea of what I was getting into. I also wish the movie had done with its idea. The resolution is too quick, too slasher, it provides no satisfaction to some of the more intellectual questions the film raises.

The last shot is chilling and the single most terrifying thing in the movie. There is a larger story there that could have been written, one that would maybe have made for a better watch, one that, at the very least, is intriguing enough to leave you thinking.

6.5s/10

Manchester by the Sea
Kenneth Lonergan (2016)


Where another script would have been content to take the premise of the movie and to see it through, Manchester by the Sea refuses make things easier for itself. The emotional arc it sets up is complicated enough to handle and yet it piles on extra side plots, backstories, and peripheral elements that enrich the story and elevate the characters into more living, human figures. That is what separates it from lesser, equally intimate inspections of grief and coping.

In the rare instance of the trailer not giving the entire game away, Lonergan gradually reveals that the real tragedy that looms over his film is not the one you at first expect. His use of flashbacks tends towards the excessive and is unnervingly edited in ways that make it less efficient but Casey Affleck stands is ground when the wight of the movie falls on his shoulders and delivers with constancy and talent. He can be both loud and explosive and quiet and subdued. With the help of his co-stars, he makes those pivotal scenes powerful.

7.5/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 17, 2017, 06:02:32 AM
DOCember is too far off now for me to add these there.

Cartel Land
Matthew Heineman (2015)


The rare documentary that actually teaches you something important. There is a lot to learn about the border situation and vigilantism, but the most fascinating part of the documentary is its case study of how an organisation becomes the very thing it was fighting against as it increases in size and success and is legitimised by the system.

I would have liked to see more about the US side of the issue. As is, we don't learn much at all about those independent rangers, which is a shame.

8/10

Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom
Evgeny Afineevsky (2015)


When maniacs attack nightclubs or Independence Day celebrations in France there are front page spreads in every journal everywhere and for two weeks you can read dozens of pages about what happened. When something lasts not just one night but over ninety days however, you have your odd front page article, but to know what's going on you must sustain your attention for months and look out for dispersed articles somewhere in the meanders of whatever it is you read. There is a failure on the part of the public and on the part of the media to keep an eye on long lasting situations, no matter how important they are. No one closely follows what happens in Syria ; no one was closely following what was happening in Kiev in 2014. More than anything, the documentary revealed the gaps in my knowledge about the situation: the fights I glossed over to get to another articles, the demonstrations I forgot because there were so many of them. It retraces the entire Euromaidan conflict with incredible footage of just how bad things got. It is testimony of humanity at its most disgusting and at its noblest.

I hope there will be a sequel about the Eastern Ukrainian situation.

8/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on January 17, 2017, 06:04:00 AM
Sing Street (2016) - (https://i.imgur.com/ParEz61.png)
 Contagiously positive and positively contagious.

Yes indeedy. It's irrepressible.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 17, 2017, 06:06:56 AM
Sing Street (2016) - (https://i.imgur.com/ParEz61.png)
 Contagiously positive and positively contagious.

Yes indeedy. It's irrepressible.

Like an STD then? Let's make sure we keep pixote away, he doesn't like those.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on January 17, 2017, 06:20:59 AM
Sing Street (2016) - (https://i.imgur.com/ParEz61.png)
 Contagiously positive and positively contagious.

Yes indeedy. It's irrepressible.

Like an STD then?

I've risked more for less.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on January 17, 2017, 07:54:13 AM
I caught up with two movies this weekend. Storks was something which just flew (pardon the pun) under the radar, but it's a lot of fun. No real story, but a lot of silly jokes which kept me chuckling, especially through the first half. Hidden Figures was almost the exact opposite, a really amazing and interesting story but no real character stood out for me and a lot of the performances felt very cookie-cutter. Both good films, and very watchable, just for very different reasons.

We'll call them both B-.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 17, 2017, 10:53:10 PM
Hidden Figures
* * * - Good

Hard to hate this one. Despite some obvious story beats, overdone sound cues and everyone being way too nice to believe this is really how it happened, this is a crowd pleaser centered around black women, two groups that Hollywood doesn't like to trust with its money. So glad it also happens to be a good movie, with less pulpit-thumping than The Help.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 17, 2017, 11:12:59 PM
I just saw this today. I wasn't planning on writing about it, but I appreciate your words and I'd like to echo them. :) It was a good experience and like Matt said, "a really amazing and interesting story."
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on January 18, 2017, 12:04:42 AM
And here's your child death backstory double feature for ya. People sure do have different ways of coping...

That poll was the first time I really became aware of the title! Now that I've seen it and am open to reading discussion about it, I'm learning how popular it is. :))
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 18, 2017, 05:10:48 AM
And here's your child death backstory double feature for ya. People sure do have different ways of coping...

That poll was the first time I really became aware of the title! Now that I've seen it and am open to reading discussion about it, I'm learning how popular it is. :))

I am not sure you're quoting the right bit of text there. If you are, I have no clue what you're talking about.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on January 18, 2017, 06:22:48 AM
Re: Hidden Figures

It's certainly a crowd pleaser, but I found it to be everything that type of movie ought to be.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 18, 2017, 01:24:35 PM
Deepwater Horizon (2016)

The main narrative around the explosion and subsequent massive oil leak at Deepwater Horizon was that of environmental catastrophe. It was a tale of greed spoiling nature...all that wildlife. To the degree that it was a question of human cost, it was on the Gulf fishing industries. Similarly, stories like climate change or Standing Rock are often framed in relation to the toll on nature. Now, it isn't that I don't fret for the effects on flora and fauna, but Earth's a tough bitch, she's seen more turbulent times than these and powered through. In some ways that is the weakness of an environmental message.

But each of these environmental stories carries with it a human story. It is we that will suffer for our greed and our lack of diligence to the state of nature. Deepwater Horizon is a success as a film because it realizes the human story is the powerful one. It operates in heightened tones, the corporate overseers are overt scoundrels (as only John Malkovich can play one) while the workers are complex and competent, but under the coercion of knowing their living comes from not pushing back too hard. So as much as fossil fuels have posed a problem by way of pollution, these same minerals: coal, gas, and oil, have also exacted a bitter toll on those tasked to retrieve them. As much with Harlan County, USA as today, there is a real labor issue at hand that stands shoulder to shoulder with the environmental ones. Are we just cogs of a capitalist system, to be ground down and replaced, or do we have a greater dignity? Time will tell I guess.

In any event, I wouldn't call this a masterful film by any means. Its editing is chaotic (which yes, the situation was) and like I said, very broad strokes. But it is a very emotionally affecting work and seems a fit tribute to those who died. It is the better part of what mainstream cinema has to offer. It isn't cynical and it doesn't play to our worst attributes.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Terrazine on January 18, 2017, 04:57:37 PM
Pet (2016)

Trailers have a bad tendency to spoil the movie's plot these days, and if you ever saw the trailer to this one, you'd know what I mean. When I caught a glimpse of it, I knew this was gonna be something special, but felt a bit disappointed that the damn trailer spoiled the plot twist for me. I thought I already knew what's gonna unfold.

And yet, director Carles Torrens saves his best twists for the audience.

Pet's surface takes the guise of a psychopathic loner the likes of Lustig's "Maniac" and McKee's "May". It wouldn't take long for you to see the similarities the protagonist kidnapper Seth (played by Lost's Dominic Monaghan) bears with other killers of his ilk. He's "troubled", likes to keep to himself, and people just generally don't like him all that much. He meets a girl he likes and proceeds to stalk her and, thereafter, kidnap her. Of course, as the trailer tells you, things are more than meets the eye. It might as well borrow "The Cabin in the Woods" tagline, "You think you know the story."

I'm not going to reveal too much here aside from what the trailer already spoiled. Yes, there is a reverse of role here between the kidnapped and the kidnapper, but there is a bigger twist that reveals Holly's (Ksenia Solo of Black Swan) troubled past, and I almost found myself rooting for her at one point in spite of everything she'll do that shall make you feel otherwise in the movie. There's a quote in the film that speaks of the loneliness from being different from "normal people" and pretending to fit in despite your inner madness. It's a nice little scene where two broken people share with each other an embrace of their shadow self in the Jungian sense.

Unfortunately, the film sort of ends there relatively quick. There's a lot of missed potential here to explore further its subtle themes of twisted love and the subversion of Stockholm's syndrome, but due to its lengthy screentime devoted to playing the thriller genre straight (before subverting it in the third act), Torrens merely scratched the surface. The fresh perspective of the story hearkens back to clever thrillers that subvert the role of psychopathic killers like "You're Next". It's just too bad there's not enough of it.

But given that, I like its deliciously evil ending that I found satisfying. It's a great chilling punchline to the movie's theme of mad love and martyrdom.

3.5/5
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 18, 2017, 08:37:14 PM
(http://imgur.com/Ivrkjie.jpg)
Requiem For a Heavyweight (1962)
"You're not a winner anymore, Mountain. There's only one thing left.
Let's make some money from the losing."


The script is by the great Rod Serling, but the film opens with a fantastic bit of direction. The camera is the point-of-view of our lead boxer taking punch after punch by the great Cassius Clay (playing himself.) Vision becomes blurry and soaked in sweat until we are knocked to the canvas, unable to get back up. It isn't until the Manager (Jackie Gleason) and the cut man (Mickey Rooney) hold the boxer's pulverized face up to a mirror that we get our first look at Anthony Quinn. This was made a year after The Hustler, the same year as Cape Fear. Film Noir was essentially in the past, but nobody told this film, which is so sharp, cleverly composed, intensely acted and impressively lit. It's also finds ways to become more depressing as it goes, reminding me of the bleak artistry of Alejandro González Iñárritu.

(http://imgur.com/f9FzMqw.jpg)

That's not a good thing, in fact it's the best reason not to see this movie, but then you'd be missing out on the great performances. I'm going to blow right past Rooney - reminiscent of Kevin Spacey when he self-reflects and becomes aware of his hollowed out moral code - and Jackie Gleason, matching his work in The Hustler. Anthony Quinn... Damn! This is the companion piece to Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Quinn goes for total immersion, a level of commitment and authenticity you're only used to seeing from Daniel Day-Lewis, from his hoarse voice to the various marks on his body and face that will never heal. It's a remarkable performance at the center of this incredibly depressing drama.
Rating: * * * - Very Good
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 18, 2017, 08:40:43 PM
I've only seen the earlier tv version, but that was too long ago.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 18, 2017, 09:48:34 PM
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
* *

I wanted to get away from the Horror Marathon and catch up with 2016 releases. I saw this was on Netflix, but I should've watched Under the Shadow instead. There's a nice bit at the beginning with a phone cord and a lot of visual tedium. What I don't know is if the narration just went in one ear and out the other or if it's really as empty as it sounds.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 18, 2017, 11:09:22 PM
Yeah, I didn't get anything out of that one either. The one blurry thing is cool, but they do it too often and it loses its power.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on January 18, 2017, 11:18:03 PM
I am not sure you're quoting the right bit of text there. If you are, I have no clue what you're talking about.

Oops, never mind me. Confusion!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 18, 2017, 11:39:10 PM
I know Under the Shadow gets compared to The Babadook, but is it unpopular to say that Under the Shadow is the better movie? More interesting context and more scary. The Babadook loses some tension the more we get to see the horror, but Shadow builds to a really creepy final 15-20 minutes with some great scares and disturbing imagery.
* * * - Very Good
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 19, 2017, 12:03:29 AM
It shouldn't be unpopular...I don't think it is close.

Divines (2016)

Maybe I need to fight back against my own tyranny of meaning. I do tend toward films with pretty thick metaphor at play, that doesn't leave you in doubt what it makes you want to take home. Divines may offer a couple lessons, but it is mostly an experience of just joining in with Dounia (Oulaya Amamra) and her friend and their aspirations of a glam if "hard" life. I don't want to say too much, because like I said, it is more about just an emotional experience and not as much plotting meaning, but I definitely recommend it. There are a couple particularly effective scenes that I'll contemplate for a while.

B+
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 19, 2017, 01:18:52 AM
I know Under the Shadow gets compared to The Babadook, but is it unpopular to say that Under the Shadow is the better movie?

Just accurate.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 19, 2017, 05:58:43 AM
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
* *

I wanted to get away from the Horror Marathon and catch up with 2016 releases. I saw this was on Netflix, but I should've watched Under the Shadow instead. There's a nice bit at the beginning with a phone cord and a lot of visual tedium. What I don't know is if the narration just went in one ear and out the other or if it's really as empty as it sounds.

Isn't having a long-running horror marathon in 2017 a bit on the nose? I mean, I know you started it last year, but if your life were a movie critics would be rolling their eyes and going « Too obvious. ».
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on January 19, 2017, 06:17:22 AM
I know Under the Shadow gets compared to The Babadook, but is it unpopular to say that Under the Shadow is the better movie?

Just accurate.

Then it is my next must see
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: goodguy on January 19, 2017, 08:29:19 AM
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
* *

I wanted to get away from the Horror Marathon and catch up with 2016 releases. I saw this was on Netflix, but I should've watched Under the Shadow instead. There's a nice bit at the beginning with a phone cord and a lot of visual tedium. What I don't know is if the narration just went in one ear and out the other or if it's really as empty as it sounds.

That's kinda funny, because if you ask me what I consider the two slight missteps in this film, the phone cord is one of them (the arms later are the other).
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on January 19, 2017, 09:38:18 AM
I know Under the Shadow gets compared to The Babadook, but is it unpopular to say that Under the Shadow is the better movie?

Just accurate.

Then it is my next must see

+1
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 19, 2017, 11:05:06 AM
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
* *

I wanted to get away from the Horror Marathon and catch up with 2016 releases. I saw this was on Netflix, but I should've watched Under the Shadow instead. There's a nice bit at the beginning with a phone cord and a lot of visual tedium. What I don't know is if the narration just went in one ear and out the other or if it's really as empty as it sounds.

That's kinda funny, because if you ask me what I consider the two slight missteps in this film, the phone cord is one of them (the arms later are the other).
As the film went on and I had a better understanding of the story, that moment seemed out of place to me too, but it was an effective moment of 'ghost story' suspense. I think with all our negative reviews, you're the one who got what the movie was trying to do while we were looking for it to be something else.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 19, 2017, 01:23:20 PM
Gleason  (Clay Tweel, 2016)
This very good, occasionally devastating documentary is only half about ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). It's just as much about the relationships between parents and their children. The ravages of ALS act as a catalyst for former NFL player Steve Gleason to contemplate, at a very young age, everything he'd like to tell his young son Rivers before it's too late — consolidating a lifetime's worth of parental guidance and memories into a mere instant. The documentary is thus as thought-provoking on a philosophical and spiritual level as it is touching and gut-wrenching on a emotional level. The presence of Steve's own dad adds a whole other fascinating dimension to the meditation on the bond between fathers and sons, but I won't go into that here. Gleason himself is so likable and easy to root for, just like in his playing days, when he was the undersized guy who succeeded through pure effort. His wife Michel is equally heroic through the many trials created by the disease, making the disruptive impact on their marriage doubly hard to watch. Gleason is full of great scenes, both those that contrast Steve's former athletic prowess with how his body now betrays him; and those that capture the struggle of love to endure in the face of life's greatest trials. The faith healing scene, in particular, continues to haunt me. The nice soundtrack (Pearl Jam, The Head and the Heart, Old Man Canyon) is an added bonus, and the editing is pretty top-notch as well.
Grade: B+

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 19, 2017, 02:27:15 PM
Cameraperson  (Kirsten Johnson, 2016)
One of the most interesting movies of the year, Cameraperson is something like a found footage film, with Kirsten Johnson assembling together leftover material from various docs she's done the photography for over the last twenty-five years. An introductory title encourages us to view the footage as her memoir, creating the suggestion that we are the sum of what we see. And Johnson has seen some horrible things, with many of her assignments concerned with the aftermath of atrocities (Bosnia, Rwanda, 9/11, Afghanistan, Penn State, James Byrd). Most of the individual shots and scenes are captivating in their own right, allowing Cameraperson to remain engaging just as a sampler platter of various documentary moments. Although Johnson largely avoids explicit connections between the various scenes, the main theme that jumped out at me is the way that idea that, even in tragedy, there's beauty to be seen — or even created (by the photographer's construction of a shot, for example, ripping distracting pieces of grass away from the camera's frame). Johnson speaks to this herself in her return to Bosnia, which she remembers as a beautiful place, despite having been witness to horrors there on her previous visit. Similarly, when we see KJ's home footage of her mom, diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the focus isn't on the sad eventualities of the disease but rather on a daughter's love for her mother. Only later do we learn that this footage is from years earlier and that mom died in 2007. This is the power both of memory and of cinema, keeping the past alive in the present.
Grade: B+

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 19, 2017, 02:49:26 PM
Silence

Martin Scorsese is one of those directors who wears his influences wherever he goes. His movies feel simultaneously indebted to the past and fresh because he also brings his own vision to everything he touches. The same is true for Silence, a film he's been trying to make for 20+ years. Though it is reductive in the extreme, I couldn't help but see this in part ass Scorsese's most obvious tip of the hat to filmmakers like Malick, Coppola, Kurosawa, and Bergman. Though his camera doesn't rove like Malick's, Scorsese shares here a vision of man intimately connected to nature, and a flair for combining the two sumptuously (not to mention the oft-whispered voice-over that runs throughout the film). He also matches Coppola's tight control of tone and narrative over the course of a long descent into madness in a deeply foreign land. Kurosawa's influence might be the most obvious, as his home country provides the setting and I haven't seen such a fully formed and beautiful representation of Japan since Ran. But it is Bergman who proves to the be the most telling predecessor, because Silence sometimes plays out like a slower, less funny version of The Seventh Seal. Both films are preoccupied with figuring out their protagonists' place in a rapidly changing and often hazardous world. This combination of influences from all-time great directors should entice any cinephile to the theater, though their trip might not prove as fruitful as it was for me.

More than almost any other movie I can think of, Silence demands a viewer who is willing to go on a long journey and bring their own interest in the topic or art of cinema with them or risk being left to wonder why they just spent nearly three hours watching a guy worry about God in Japan. It's not a crowd-pleaser nor is it even daring in the way that gets some movie-buffs going. This is in some ways a very standard movie, but one which will turn off people looking for any old movie to watch. There is a lot of talking and also a lot of, um, silence. There aren't many particularly exhilarating sequences or shots, but the film is also gorgeous. Scenes don't often linger, but the film lasts much longer than most people will have patience for. Character motivations are clear and often stated outright, but the film is also intensely concerned with minute changes in dispositions and relationships. It's an epic and a character study, small and large in scale at the same time.

The story is simple. Two Jesuits go in search of another, rumored to be dead at the hands of Japanese Buddhists because he was converting the locals to Catholicism. The two young priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) must keep hidden or else face the same supposed fate as their mentor (Liam Neeson). In the process of trying to find him, they help some of the converted on their faith journeys and perform various sacraments. Thing go bad. I don't want to get too much into the rest of the film except to say that the struggles Garfield's Rodrigues faces cause him to question his own faith and often ask God directly why he and his fellow Christians must suffer so terribly. It's not a new question or even a new way of thinking about it. But it is dramatically interesting, existentially important, and really really really well done. You feel Garfield's torment, you experience some part of the dread and terror that the tortured Christians are subjected to. And the silence oppresses everything.

Indeed, the movie lives up to its title. I don't remember a single bit of score to accompany the images in the way we've all come to expect. Garfield and company experience the kind of trials that would and do leave one crying out for some guidance, but none comes. Only the cicadas--those ever-present insects I first got to know through the outstanding anime Neon Genesis Evangelion--respond, but their drone only adds to the sense, stated by a villainous character in the film, that Japan really is a swamp where nothing grows. Ah, but don't we see evidence of growth everywhere? Isn't every shot shrouded in green? This is where the underlying conflict arises. Yes, this is a movie about a man's faith, but it's also a movie about imperialism. It is difficult for me to see these two European emissaries from the Catholic Church as wholly positive forces in the world. Though the movie is attached to Garfield as the protagonist who therefore gains the audience's automatic sympathy, I think Scorsese leaves at least some room for an alternate perspective, and he does so with his camera. The camera itself is often quite low to the ground and angled up at Garfield's face (among others), especially when he questions God's plans or even existence. These low angles simultaneously achieve two purposes: firstly, they emphasize the lack of communication from the divine presence; and secondly, they further connect the humans to their worldly existence. That second effect ties into the Buddhist ideas of pain and suffering as inescapable parts of existence well as connects them to the natural world. It is a remarkable but simple technique, and it works to both enhance and undermine the top-layer narrative at the same time.

I wouldn't call Silence a nuanced movie, but the effect it had on me was a subtle one. I was engrossed throughout, though also acutely aware of all the noise from my fellow theatergoers. When the movie is predicated on such a quiet mood any noise is liable to take you out of it, and my theater was not lacking loud popcorn chewers or seat-repositioners. However, oddly, that outside noise only served to heighten my awareness of the film's own silence. Never before has a less-than-perfect theater situation actually worked for the film, but lo, Martin Scorsese has accomplished the feat of making such a movie. It's quite an accomplishment. I'm still looking at the world a little differently days later, and that's the surest sign of a great film. It's a shame this looks to be going unnoticed. I understand why, I happen to have the weird confluence of factors which would lead somebody to go crazy for a movie like this one. I also think that this movie will be one of those that future Scorsese fans will discover after watching Goodfellas and Taxi Driver and The Departed 10 times each. Then they'll tell everybody that yeah, those movies are good and all, but to get the true Scorsese experience you have to see Silence, too.

A+
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 19, 2017, 04:26:22 PM
Lion  (Garth Davis, 2016)

Watching Lion, I was excited to finally have a film to root for in the Surprise category of the Filmspots. Then the hour-mark came and the film made its inevitable jump ahead in time and became the very rote story I expected originally.

The first hour is basically just beautiful shots of a small, adorable boy set against the vastness of India — his wide, bright eyes lighting some very dark corners. Sunny Pawar is really wonderfully cast, and Davis and cinematographer Greig Fraser film both him and the landscape with expertise, perhaps giving the editor too many great shots to choose from, resulting in some restless cutting. The lovely score by Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O'Halloran completes the sensory immersion into the child's nightmare, and it's all rather effective.

After the time jump, the baton of adorableness passes to Rooney Mara, but it's not her story, so that's no good. Dev Patel's role is weirdly thankless. There's little doubt what his character will inevitably do, so all his hesitations in doing it are frustrating and boring. Nicole Kidman adds a bit of emotion, especially if you're a mom yourself, but the trappings are too familiar. The flashback moments in this section aren't very well handled and a couple of them were even a bit cringe-worthy.

The ending does what's it's supposed to, and does it well even, but I wish the film could have found a different way to build to it.

Grade: B-



Hi, saltine! Here's a review by Corndog (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12547.msg857243#msg857243), too.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: saltine on January 19, 2017, 04:34:48 PM
Thank you, I read both!  It opened here today and we'll see it this weekend.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StarCarly on January 19, 2017, 05:00:52 PM
I know Under the Shadow gets compared to The Babadook, but is it unpopular to say that Under the Shadow is the better movie?

Just accurate.

Netflix automatically started Under the Shadow with English dubbed audio. Did you guys switch to Persian with English subtitles?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 19, 2017, 05:12:24 PM
Mine started in Persian with English subtitles. That's how I watched it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 19, 2017, 05:28:10 PM
Jackie  (Pablo Larraín, 2016)
I would have been more enthusiastic to see Jackie had I known it was specifically about the week after JFK's assassination. I had instead been dreading two hours of "the lives of styles of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis", but this movie isn't that at all. This is a film about grief; about grieving in public; about history and spectacle and myth-making; about, yes, about Jackie. There's thus no shortage of interesting elements, but I found the film as a whole a bit distancing. Natalie Portman gives a very mannered performance of a very mannered person, shell-shocked by loss, and moment-to-moment she's quite good, but I couldn't reconcile those moments into a complete character. That fact that I was almost always conscious that I was watching a performance seems thematically apt, given Jackie's position in the public eye, but that kind of meta appreciation detracted from my experience more than added to it. The Chilean-born Larraín approaches this very American subject with a vaguely European style that's at times clinical and at times elliptical, and it too is more appealing from moment-to-moment than taken as a whole. Mica Levi's very pronounced score also kept me at a distance from the film, despite being a wonderful piece of music on it own.
Grade: B-

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 19, 2017, 05:47:31 PM
Moonlight  (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
I hate that I have so little to say about what, to this point, is my favorite fiction film of the year (a title I hope it loses shortly). Moonlight is just one of those extra nice little character dramas that seem so effortlessly engaging that you wonder why every film can't be at least this good — the Marty of 2016. Mahershala Ali carries the film early on — in what I can only hope is an Oscar-winning performance. The rest of the strong ensemble cast takes the baton from him and runs well with it, through three eras of a man's life. The protagonist's search for identity drives the film... actually, it's really the other way around. He's a passive protagonist (which the script handles enviably) and the arc of the film is watching his identity find him. There's one big narrative stumble halfway through, where you can hear the gears of the script grinding through some forced moments, but otherwise Moonlight is a very nicely observed character piece. The color palette of James Laxton's photography is marvelous, making all skin tones equally luminous in a way that too many cinematographers seem at a loss to do.
Grade: B+

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Terrazine on January 19, 2017, 06:03:13 PM
Black Hawk Down (2001)

What a disaster.

Ridley Scott called this an anti-war film, and you could really feel it through its two hour runtime of exhaustion. The relentless violence of massacre shows just how screwed up the whole situation at Mogadishu was, and how unnecessary. Being a Scott production, the technical aspect of it is naturally top-notch. The film features an all-star cast at the top of their game, ranging from Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Sam Shepard, and of course, Josh Hartnett. The visual storytelling here is impressive and appropriately gritty, giving the film that atmosphere of death and despair. It's a very pretty film to look at that's for sure. But of course, there were controversies regarding its historical accuracies.

Personally, I could see the dehumanization of the Somalis denizens and why people were upset. It's easy to call it a self-congratulatory movie, especially when it's released shortly after the 9/11 attack and might even have been influenced by it. But I'm willing to see it as more than that, especially with the amount of bloodshed in this film. There are no American flags waving proudly in this one. There's no "Hoo-ah, we're heroes" speeches at the end. It's a very bleak perspective of war, so to call it America's pat on the back for the Mogadishu incident is insulting. I feel like it's more didactic than people give it credit for, almost a cautionary tale in regards to sending young Americans to their death. Thank god for Clinton pulling the troops out.

Unfortunately, a second generation of Bush didn't learn anything during the Iraq raid.

4/5
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 19, 2017, 06:18:02 PM
Theeb  (Naji Abu Nowar, 2014)
This film is almost worth seeing just for the whites, beiges, and browns of the desert landscape. The storytelling is fairly simple and familiar, reminiscent at times of Rabbit Proof Fence, A Time for Drunken Horses, and even Where Is the Friend's Home? — though it lacks the personality of the latter. No real great moments, but no bad ones either. Abu Nowar elicits good performances from a cast of mostly non-actors, and I like his sense of rhythm and scope, even if the screenplay takes almost half its length to really get started. He's definitely a director I'd like to see more from.
Grade: B-

Weiner  (Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg, 2016)
The virtues of this documentary are largely just the access granted to the filmmakers by Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin, during Weiner's run for mayor of New York City. The filmmakers are there to capture some very good moments and don't mess things up too much in the editing — but they don't do much to elevate the film beyond that. It feels very much like the first documentary of directors still learning the craft. It's not amateur filmmaking, but it's not fully professional either. Moments like the camera's lingering on Weiner as he scarfs down his lunch just sort of bothered me, feeling almost like a break in trust, in light of the amazing access that was granted. Mostly just a subjective response, I grant you, but there were more bombastic editorial choices that were equally annoying.
Grade: B-

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 19, 2017, 11:39:43 PM
Cameraperson

Not often does a movie come along and change the way you think about an entire genre. In editing and framing scenes from many of the documentaries she photographed as a memoir, though, Kirsten Johnson did just that. I never really thought about the people making a documentary outside of maybe the director and the subjects. But there are other people involved, and they too are important to the process of making a great movie. Here Johnson invites us to see the B-roll and unedited (or at least differently edited) scenes she filmed for others as pieces of her. There are a few more obviously personal touches here and there, mostly involving her adorable young twins and her Alzheimer's-patient mother, and they fill out a sense of family nicely. It is the other scenes, though, especially those in Bosnia both documenting the everyday lives of survivors and the brutally painful recollections of a rape victim, that really leave a mark. And the mark is what matters. "These are the images that have marked me and leave me wondering still," the opening paragraph reads. With a simple three-sentence introduction, Johnson has expertly staged a dialogue between herself and her audience. Each new scene had me wondering where the mark would come, and why she might be continuing to think and wonder at it. Some are immediately obvious, such as the long shot of a mid-west plain which is suddenly struck by lighting, eliciting a gasp from Johnson. Others, like a brief glimpse at a pre-fight boxer, doesn't pay off until much later in the film. It delivers. I couldn't tear my eyes away, delighting in the most adorable scene you'll see all year involving a young kid and an axe or welling up at a woman who feels such shame at an accidental pregnancy when she can barely afford to provide for her toddler. Johnson is everpresent, even when she doesn't speak, and it was fascinating to get a small peek into the way she sees the world. The last shot in the film says it all. Everything is interesting if you're paying attention.

Asuperplus


Under the Shadow

Motherhood is scary, y'all. I don't envy those who bear the title, especially when they're also living in a war zone. Such is the case with Under the Shadow, ostensibly a horror story about djinn, but really a horror story about trying to live under an oppressive regime and the constant threat of bombs and missiles. It's the 80s in Iran and a mother is left alone with her daughter. Or at least they think they're alone. In fact, they might be haunted by the local monster, the shapeshifting djinn that come on the wind. This movie sneaks up on you. It isn't until the 20 minute mark that you start to suspect something's up. It's much later in the film that you realize what exactly is going on, and how it relates to the cultural situation it depicts. The creature design, once it is finally revealed, only enhances this connection. I like this film a lot. It has several great scares, including a great jump-scare or two, and it feels very tightly constructed without squeezing the life out of it. I'm not quite ready to call it better than The Babadook, but it's certainly great.

A-


Money Monster

Eh, it's fine. If you watched the trailer twice you'd get most of the important bits. I hope Jack O'Connell keeps getting work, though, because he's really great here in a pretty dumb role.

C+


Deepwater Horizon

Surprisingly good film. I didn't know why this movie existed until shit started to go down. It's one thing to hear about a disaster like this one on the news, it's an entirely different thing to see it happen to real people, even when those real people are Marky Mark and Snake Plisskin. It's an intense film when things go really wrong, and it seems like a valuable piece of docu-drama filmmaking even if it does kind of neglect the environmental damage that resulted from the explosion.

B


Now You See Me 2

Does it help anybody if I say this is marginally better than the first film? Are you enticed by that statement? Me neither, though it is true. Mostly the goodness comes from a more coherent character arc for everybody, and I kinda cared about a few of them, even. Especially new-to-the-series Lizzie Caplan, who is always welcome in my book. She doesn't do much other than crack jokes, but at least they're fun and she's certainly got charisma. I'll watch the next one, I guess.

C


Sully

Love the repeated visions and versions of the event, a formal choice that pays off wonderfully in the film's courtroom scene. It's also always nice to see Tom Hanks on screen, and I think I might nominate Aaron Eckhart's moustache for best supporting actor in the Filmspots.

B+
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 20, 2017, 12:18:57 AM
Netflix automatically started Under the Shadow with English dubbed audio. Did you guys switch to Persian with English subtitles?

I had to force the switch to Persian.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 20, 2017, 04:37:45 AM
Silence

A+

Good to know. It is going to be the next thing I watch and I would hate to see Scorsese go bad. Will read your review later.

Lion  (Garth Davis, 2016)

Watching Lion, I was excited to finally have a film to root for in the Surprise category of the Filmspots. Then the hour-mark came and the film made its inevitable jump ahead in time and became the very rote story I expected originally.

The first hour is basically just beautiful shots of a small, adorable boy set against the vastness of India — his wide, bright eyes lighting some very dark corners. Sunny Pawar is really wonderfully cast, and Davis and cinematographer Greig Fraser film both him and the landscape with expertise, perhaps giving the editor too many great shots to choose from, resulting in some restless cutting. The lovely score by Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O'Halloran completes the sensory immersion into the child's nightmare, and it's all rather effective.

After the time jump, the baton of adorableness passes to Rooney Mara, but it's not her story, so that's no good. Dev Patel's role is weirdly thankless. There's little doubt what his character will inevitably do, so all his hesitations in doing it are frustrating and boring. Nicole Kidman adds a bit of emotion, especially if you're a mom yourself, but the trappings are too familiar. The flashback moments in this section aren't very well handled and a couple of them were even a bit cringe-worthy.

The ending does what's it's supposed to, and does it well even, but I wish the film could have found a different way to build to it.

Grade: B-

pixote


You didn't think the first hour pulled at your heartstrings too much? It was an excessive amount of « Hey, here's this adorable kid ; look at him get lost and sad and lonely and how very sad this all is. Look. At. It. » for me.

You're right about the second half. Too rote, too expected, too by the book.

Thank you, I read both!  It opened here today and we'll see it this weekend.

It's going to turn out that Australia-living saltine is in fact the mother in the movie, you just watch.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 20, 2017, 04:40:11 AM
Cameraperson

Not often does a movie come along and change the way you think about an entire genre. In editing and framing scenes from many of the documentaries she photographed as a memoir, though, Kirsten Johnson did just that. I never really thought about the people making a documentary outside of maybe the director and the subjects. But there are other people involved, and they too are important to the process of making a great movie. Here Johnson invites us to see the B-roll and unedited (or at least differently edited) scenes she filmed for others as pieces of her. There are a few more obviously personal touches here and there, mostly involving her adorable young twins and her Alzheimer's-patient mother, and they fill out a sense of family nicely. It is the other scenes, though, especially those in Bosnia both documenting the everyday lives of survivors and the brutally painful recollections of a rape victim, that really leave a mark. And the mark is what matters. "These are the images that have marked me and leave me wondering still," the opening paragraph reads. With a simple three-sentence introduction, Johnson has expertly staged a dialogue between herself and her audience. Each new scene had me wondering where the mark would come, and why she might be continuing to think and wonder at it. Some are immediately obvious, such as the long shot of a mid-west plain which is suddenly struck by lighting, eliciting a gasp from Johnson. Others, like a brief glimpse at a pre-fight boxer, doesn't pay off until much later in the film. It delivers. I couldn't tear my eyes away, delighting in the most adorable scene you'll see all year involving a young kid and an axe or welling up at a woman who feels such shame at an accidental pregnancy when she can barely afford to provide for her toddler. Johnson is everpresent, even when she doesn't speak, and it was fascinating to get a small peek into the way she sees the world. The last shot in the film says it all. Everything is interesting if you're paying attention.

Asuperplus

I would normally be made to want to watch a doc with that rating, but your description of it makes me believe it is not my sort of doc. It sounds very introspective in a way I wouldn't care about.

The first Now You See Me is loads better than this year's episode. Loads.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 20, 2017, 04:58:33 AM
Weiner  (Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg, 2016)
The virtues of this documentary are largely just the access granted to the filmmakers by Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin, during Weiner's run for mayor of New York City. The filmmakers are there to capture some very good moments and don't mess things up too much in the editing — but they don't do much to elevate the film beyond that. It feels very much like the first documentary of directors still learning the craft. It's not amateur filmmaking, but it's not fully professional either. Moments like the camera's lingering on Weiner as he scarfs down his lunch just sort of bothered me, feeling almost like a break in trust, in light of the amazing access that was granted. Mostly just a subjective response, I grant you, but there were more bombastic editorial choices that were equally annoying.
Grade: B-

pixote

There are a couple of scenes I wish they had left out ; then, there is the car scene with Weiner complaining about them not being the best flies on the wall that feels like a moment of self-awareness on the part of the filmmakers. I am not sure what the movie is trying to do there.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 20, 2017, 01:30:46 PM
The Birth of a Nation (2016)

How do we fight for what is right? During last year's Presidential campaign, Michelle Obama popularized the saying "when they go low, we go high," which fits in with the lofty non-violent approach of Rep. John Lewis and of Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading Lewis' March series, one sees the challenge and benefit of such an approach. In some ways, it functions as a middle ground, demanding risk, putting yourself at risk of bodily harm and social ruin, even death, without the immediate gratification of anything like revenge. And where progress is seemingly non-existent, it is understandable that someone taking on the risk might start to figure they might as well get something out of the losing battle. This is all the more true in that non-violence needs perfect coordination, as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes displays so well.

The Birth of a Nation, telling the story of Nat Turner's life and the revolt that would demand the end of that life, might ask a similar question of when is life worse than death, the state of affairs so unbearable that it is worth risking everything, but gains its satisfaction in blood. When you get the pre-credit text comparing the body counts, it sounds a lot like the Israel-Palestine conflict, where violence from the oppressed group gets rebounded ten-fold. It certainly paints a bleak picture for Turner's approach, though the film oddly connects Turner to black battalions fighting in the civil war and ending slavery, suggesting that his tactics were a vital component. So it is hard to say what the film leaves you with other than a feeling that the Bible is pointless as a source of external morality because it can be used to any end. Rather, it might be best left as a source of internal comfort or resolve...like opium.

On the other hand, I think about the graphic novel Irmina, centered on a German woman initially studying in England who circumstance pulls back into Germany during the rise of Hitler and we see the pressure that the fear of losing what safety one has as a powerful incentive to not act. It isn't hard to see why atrocity is perpetuated when alternatives are so murky, why sacrifice to no avail. This feels all too relevant in present situations and I'm honestly not sure where I've landed on a theory of change. Part of me wants to duck out, feeling lack of political efficacy, and just try to find happiness in my own life. This is a rather privileged option to be true, but if I get out and march tomorrow, will it change anything?

Ultimately where this film is concerned, it isn't that the story shouldn't be told or known, but as a purely filmic venture, I guess I prefer my revenge stories as fantasy, the heightened realm of Inglourious Basterds or, to a lesser extent, Django Unchained. Revenge is such a historically terrible tactic that watching realistic films of the nature are just too depressing and unfulfilling. Parker finds no artistry to overcome this.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 20, 2017, 01:45:47 PM
Mustang  (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)

There should really be a Filmspot category for Best Juvenile Performance, like the honorary Oscars they used to hand out occasionally from the 1930s-1960s. Filmspot voters have been very kind to kid actors in the regular acting categories over the years — too kind, in my opinion. There are exceptions, but in general I feel that the quality of many of these first-time performances is attributable more to the casting and film directors than to the kids themselves, who also seem to benefit from a lack of expectations. But that's just me being cynical, I suppose.

There have been some very impressive juvenile performances over the past year, but I haven't seen one more impressive that Günes Sensoy's turn in Mustang. She delivers one of the most natural debut performances I've seen in a long time, full of quiet, playful intensity. I can only hope that a few years down the road, Ergüven follows up this Turkish Virgin Suicides with a Turkish Hunger Games and casts Sensoy as the lead.

Mustang represents a very strong debut for Ergüven as well, and I look very much forward to watching her skills develop over the next decade. This first film lacks, for me, any sustained moments of greatness, but it's still very appealing throughout, especially tonally and thematically. Highlights included: the innocent sensuality of the scenes in the water: the progression of the house from a home to a prison, from a prison to a fortress, from a fortress back to a prison, to be escaped from; the person on the phone, when asked if a long-haired guy was there, saying, "I don't have any queer salesman," which seemed to speak so much to the cultural climate of the area, with just six throwaway words; and the fairy tale atmosphere that imbues the whole movie.

I wish I better understood where the girls' very modern sensibilities came from, along with their modern clothes and accessories. The change in their upbringing seemed so drastic, but maybe I missed a key plot point. Were they raised in the city but transplanted back to the conservative countryside when orphaned? Or are their classmates equally modern and it's just a handful of these parents and guardians clinging to the old ways? I couldn't figure that out.

Grade: B

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 20, 2017, 01:49:50 PM
I wish I better understood where the girls' very modern sensibilities came from, along with their modern clothes and accessories. The change in their upbringing seemed so drastic, but maybe I missed a key plot point. Were they raised in the city but transplanted back to the conservative countryside when orphaned? Or are their classmates equally modern and it's just a handful of these parents and guardians clinging to the old ways? I couldn't figure that out.

It seems they were raised somewhat permissivly after their parents death : the grandmother repeatedly says this is all her fault for having been too easy on them.

I don't know that I'd call their sensibilities "modern" anyway : they yearn for freedom... that's not modern, that's just human. Children rebelling against authority is nothing new.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 20, 2017, 01:56:55 PM
It seems they were raised somewhat permissivly after their parents death : the grandmother repeatedly says this is all her fault for having been too easy on them.

Yeah, I agree, but it seemed too much, I guess. Like, even with that earlier line of dialogue, I couldn't reconcile their earlier upbringing with what transpires in the film. It suited the thematics of the movie, but I couldn't convince myself that it was fully genuine.

I don't know that I'd call their sensibilities "modern" anyway : they yearn for freedom... that's not modern, that's just human. Children rebelling against authority is nothing new.

They seemed like special cases in the context of this area, though, so I wondered if it's because they themselves were yearning for freedom extra hard; or if their guardians were extra conservative; or if their story wasn't exceptional at all, but fairly true to the village as a whole.

All of which is to say, I wish I had a been understanding of the context of their story.

pioxte
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on January 20, 2017, 07:47:46 PM
The girls' have an internal confidence in their independence (perhaps in part through their like-minded dependence upon one another). Perhaps their schooling. Perhaps the distance between themselves and the grandma (and hence her values). Perhaps the advent of adolescence/puberty when primal desires usurp learnt convention. I am happy accepting a combination. When the freedom of the first is attacked they all feel it, and that builds their fortitude further, and with each subsequent liberty that is taken the reactions become stronger.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 20, 2017, 08:13:15 PM
It didn't bother me too much, but I definitely would've been interested in more context. They seemed more like they grew up in a Parisian suburb than in that Turkish village (from what we know about it), as typical kids of the information age (though we never see them on the internet at all). It just all struck me as a bit curious.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: mañana on January 20, 2017, 09:07:28 PM
The Birth of a Nation (2016)
Not suggesting you ought to have, but I'm surprised you didn't offer comment on the controversy surrounding the film.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: mañana on January 20, 2017, 09:59:51 PM
Moonlight  (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
 — the Marty of 2016.
Post of the day for sure.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on January 20, 2017, 10:28:01 PM
Moonlight  (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
 — the Marty of 2016.
Post of the day for sure.
Thanks for quoting that, I missed it because I only skim reviews of movies I haven't seen. It moves Moonlight up from "movie I should see, I guess" to "movie I'm eager to see."
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 21, 2017, 12:00:18 AM
The Birth of a Nation (2016)
Not suggesting you ought to have, but I'm surprised you didn't offer comment on the controversy surrounding the film.

It's why I didn't watch it in the theatre. Right now though I'm more disgruntled that after the well-reported controversy around this film, there has been almost no attention paid to Manchester By The Sea and Casey Affleck's own dubious history. Though I guess there he's just the actor, not the creator.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 21, 2017, 05:32:22 AM
20th Century Women  (Mike Mills, 2016)
Fences  (Denzel Washington, 2016)

For awards purposes, I went into both these films with an eye towards the performances — specifically, those of Benning, Washington, and Davis — but I came away thinking more about the influence of directors on performances in general. Historically, I've thought about that mostly in terms of the ability of directors to make good actors look great — e.g., through the compositing of a performance in the editing room via the selection of the best takes. But these two films reminded me of how directors can also detract from a good performance.

I'll start with Fences first, because it's the more obvious example. The big knock on the movie is that it's largely just a filmed play. But the critics who love it congratulate Washington on not trying to fix what wasn't broken and letting August Wilson's writing and the magnificent performances speak for themselves. There's definitely something to that. Wilson's dialogue really does sparkle, and the cast does it full justice. But the uncinematic style has a tendency to diminish the performances. To speak in the sports metaphors of the play, it's a bit like watching a baseball game at the stadium, but up in the cheap seats. You're there, in the moment, and you can feel the energy of the crowd around you, but you start to miss the immediacy of the television broadcast and being able to differentiate between balls and strikes, etc. Stage acting and film acting are different crafts, and it's not really enough to point the camera at the former and label it the latter. It has to be transformed. Washington's direction doesn't do that enough.

20th Century Women was written directly for the screen, but it has the feel of a novella of interconnected short stories. It's a hodgepodge of ideas and moments in search of structure. It purports to be about a mother enlisting two younger women in the philoposphical rearing of her teenage son (or something like that), but even the characters themselves admit that to be a sham excuse for a narrative — something thrown in there to satisfy executives. This lack of shape seems to infect Benning's performance with a similar amorphousness. In a typical minute-long scene, she'll absolutely nail her character's three of four keys moment of dialogue or emotion or reaction but then just sort of coast through the rest, as if waiting to pounce precisely on those actorly high notes. (I might have had the same criticism of her work in American Beauty.) The result, as edited, is a performance that fits the movie: a series of nice moments that don't quite cohere.

Now, I'm nit-picking here, at least a little bit, because these films both contain ensemble casts that give real quality performances. But in distinguishing the very good from the best, some nit-picking is usually required, and when it comes time to fill out my Filmspot ballot, the directors might have more say about my acting choice than seems fair, but so it goes.

As for the films themselves, they're not bad. The novella feel of 20th Century Women occasionally strained my engagement with it, but it makes for some nice nuggets of dialogue and some well observed characterizations (particularly that of Dorothea, the mom played by Benning). In its dialogue scenes, it's almost as blandly uncinematic as Fences, but in between Mills spices things up with intoxicating shots of skateboarding along windy roads and quotes from late 70s literature and archival photographs and even, somewhat randomly, footage from Koyaaniqatsi. It doesn't all work, but it feels like a fresh approach, and I appreciate the effort. I didn't care much for the dual narration, but Benning's voiceover by itself is pretty sublime, especially when she describes her character's fate.

I suspect I'd have appreciated Fences much less if I'd ever seen it performed on stage, even at an amateur level. But I haven't, sadly, and therein lies the film's main virtue: bringing August Wilson's exceptional writing to a wider audience. And it really is exceptional. His characterization of Tony Maxson is an American classic, and his ear for the rhythms of speech is second to few, if any. The film's lack of style really bothers me, to the point where I keep second-guessing my enjoyment of the experience, but the writing and the performances and just too vivid.

Grade: B- (20th Century Women) / B (Fences)

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 21, 2017, 11:41:39 AM
I understand what you're saying, pix, and I agree that directors can have an impact on performances, apart from communicating to the actors.  But I see it differently.

I'm really looking forward to Fences simply because it is a "filmed play".  For great performances, the fewer distractions, the better.  In the Before Trilogy, I loved the conversations to be held with pleasant, but basic backgrounds-- cities whose images we've seen a number of times, simple farmland, so we could focus on the dialogue and performances.  To me, it's like a microscope, focusing on these aspects of film.

What I don't care is for directors to take great performances and to give us so much else to look at that we are distracted from what is truly great in the scene.  Then I don't know if the scene I liked was the actor or the director.  A scene I didn't like, should I blame the actor when I love the actor under other directors?  I think that a simple direction highlights performances, and too much distraction is often a cover for a weak performance.

I've been thinking more about the "magic trick" of film.  How a good director can take a contradiction or a poor aspect of their film and use editing and other tricks to cover it up so we never notice it, or we don't care.  At the same time, they can certainly highlight a great aspect of their film.  For me, a bare stage is all that is necessary for a great performance.  It's like the director standing out of the way and allowing the actor(s) to just shine.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 21, 2017, 05:15:34 PM
American Honey (2016)

On SVU recently they talked about the shortcomings of finding interest in a mediocre film just because it fits into an auteur theory. American Honey certainly plays as an Andrea Arnold film: shot in Academy ratio; more faithful to Dogme aesthetics than your average film; often focused on women in poverty, or certainly in a strained situation; and often featuring women who are unable to cope with the loss of independence that comes from having children. In the initial shot, this recalls Arnold's Oscar-winning short Wasp, with Star (Sasha Lane) walking around with kids in tow, intrigued by a man (Shia LaBeouf) whose offer conflicts with her duty to the kids. As it turns out, they aren't her children, but in any event she has been put in a rather bleak place, seemingly as an orphan. What follows is a sequence of ill-advised decisions, starting with Shia LaBeouf.

That's she's prone to rash decisions isn't of itself a flaw in the film. Mia in Fish Tank was certainly rash and naive, but she also was and seemed a younger woman, she was also a more charismatic presence. Also, as motivations for bad decisions go, Michael Fassbender is quite a few notches up from Shia LaBeouf. I think another issue here is that for all its stylistic realism, I didn't find much of the narrative, this group of vagrants selling magazines. I mean, I guess the point isn't to get wealthy, but simply to subsist in a life of few true responsibilities, and more to escape from whatever else was happening in life. Given the rules laid down by the group's head, Krystal (Riley Keough), it more than once has the feeling of a madam with her prostitutes, but somehow this seems less safe and glamorous than the honest and noble act of exchanging sex for money.

Hmm, as I talk it out, I kind of start to appreciate it a little, though the experience of watching it feels entirely drawn out and a bit aimless. It certainly can't measure up to the brilliance of her first 2.5 films (counting the short) or the boldness of her not always successful adaptation of Wuthering Heights, but I suppose it is a passable entry, nothing to sully Arnold's name. Still, hope the next one returns me to the lofty heights of her early work.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 21, 2017, 11:16:53 PM
Silence is this year's Hateful Eight. I wasn't too excited by the story and really not excited by the running time. I ultimately saw each film out of respect to their director and in turn watched a film that indulged their passions even more than usual, you could easily say indulged them to a fault because both stories could be told in a less wasteful amount of time, but it would mean gutting their vision shamefully. So there are moments, shots, scenes and sequences that remind you why they are the Gods of Cinema, but I would happily trade them both for a fast, cheap and out of control genre project bearing their distinct stamp.
* * 1/2
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 21, 2017, 11:29:51 PM
I agree with the comparison, but for me it works just as well as H8ful did: a lot. Silence certainly isn't as fun, so there's that.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 21, 2017, 11:32:53 PM
If I hate Scorsese when he bros out (Goodfellas, Wolf of Wall Street), will I hate Silence?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 21, 2017, 11:37:52 PM
No, you'll hate it for different reasons. The relationship between Andrew Garfield and God would've been improved by some bro-ing out.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 21, 2017, 11:41:21 PM
Lol, I was gonna say the same thing, pix. I'm not sure you'll have a bondo of a time. Or it'll be the most bondo of a time you'll ever have.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 21, 2017, 11:47:36 PM
Was about to reply the same. Between your reasons for not liking Kurosawa and your reasons for not liking Bergman, this is simply not a movie for you.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 22, 2017, 12:21:59 AM
It's settled then.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on January 22, 2017, 12:24:02 AM
You know what movie I watched today that might very well be for you, Bondo?

Smooth Talk (1985)
I don't think I've seen a film with such an obvious female perspective in a long time. It's 90 minutes of Laura Dern being an aimlesss teenager and coming of age during a listless summer, and it does really well at keeping everything small while still evoking that feeling of importance that such things have when you're a teenager. That balance and Dern's performance make the film because it never feels slight even when it's just teenage girls giggling at the mall, nor does it feel heavy even when she's fighting with her mother. It's just some time in a girls life with ups and downs, with mostly normal and a couple of strange moments, and throughout it all we can see things clearly from her point view. Not just because she's the lead, but because everything is framed in a way to evoke a connection with her character.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 22, 2017, 12:34:15 AM
Noted and queued.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: corey.atad on January 22, 2017, 12:42:33 AM
got a little nostalgic tonight. thought i'd post in here.

Silence

difficult for me to fully express the beauty found in this film, one which asks its audience to reflect upon the nature of belief and the conviction required for that belief to be sustained in a universe where one can only really hear oneself. to find some kind of peace inside when outside all suffering begs you to abandon the notion. it's a testament (yes) to the complexity in standing for a universal truth when that truth is provable only by one's personal adherence. how do we abide by the truths we set for ourselves in an unjust world that tests constantly our patience and our strength even more? it occurs to me that Scorsese has been exploring this dynamic between personal values and societal pressures his entire career. i'm not sure he has ever so purely synthesized idea. Endo's novel provided him a perfect outlet for that exploration, and for crafting a new masterpiece. i haven't been so totally moved by a film since perhaps Inside Llewyn Davis, or perhaps The Master or Stories We Tell before that.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 22, 2017, 12:43:47 AM
I'm in a lot of agreement with you. I'm glad people are seeing it now. It's a glorious movie.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 22, 2017, 02:04:34 AM
i haven't been so totally moved by a film since perhaps Inside Llewyn Davis, or perhaps The Master or Stories We Tell before that.

Years later and still out of sync. I was moved by none of these.

Love seeing you here. Would like to think it's more than nostalgia for the past.
Title: Re: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on January 22, 2017, 02:37:55 AM
Okay, figured out the Google Play discount, thus I present:

Evolution (2015)

As this film progressed, I went back and forth from feeling like the placement of Lucile Hadzihalilovic's prior film, Innocence, in my top 10 all time was going to be a millstone around its neck or that it will make me more lenient in recognition of my trust in her filmmaking. Indeed, it was the latter that seems more likely as I could easily see myself blasting this film as not amounting to much...staying too vague in its weirdness. It is an oddity that lives in the world of Cronenberg or Eraserhead.

Between this world and that of Innocence, Hadzihalilovic could be called a builder of uncanny worlds, much like Yorgos Lanthimos. These are worlds that seem a lot like ours but are queered in one way or another, in theory to draw out a metaphor. This one sets us in a coastal village where adult women tend to boys nearing the onset of puberty. Innocence was pretty clear as metaphor of how girls are groomed rather cruelly to make it in the world. Maybe it is a mistake to try to view this as a mirror image, a film about the ills of boys becoming men in society. If anything, it feels like the community enacts a form of revenge for historic subjugation of women. But the point is, as effectively creepy as the images and mood of the film evokes, it leaves too much unsaid. This doesn't doom it as a reasonable piece of craft, but it certainly keeps it far away from the transcendent place of Innocence.

B-

I liked it a little more than you, I think. I tend to enjoy films that feel allegorical but are hard to pin down to specific allegories... like Eraserhead, for example. Or Safe, or Last Year at Marienbad. They make me want to come back for another go at them, always finding some different angle, even though no one angle ever quite fits. However, one of the beautiful things about Innocence is how nicely it does fit into the allegory of "how girls are groomed rather cruelly to make it in the world". The actions and settings are largely unexplained, but they slot very easily into clear interpretations. Evolution is quite a bit more slippery, and I found myself vacillating between being intrigued, and being a bit annoyed. Maybe because it's so easy to compare it to Innocence that I want it to have as clear a purpose. There's a little too much weirdness going on, that's more frustrating for being kind of half-explained. I saw a review that said it might be better with no dialogue at all, and I'm inclined to agree.

Mostly I was intrigued, though, and I do feel like I want to come back for another go at it. And it's a gorgeous film (although I could do without the squicky body horror bits). I'll probably pick up the Blu-Ray. For now I give it an 85
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: saltine on January 22, 2017, 03:24:55 AM
Hey, corey...

See you on Facebook but great to have you post here.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 22, 2017, 04:18:37 AM
oldkid, it sounds like you're criticising directors for doing their jobs well because you want them to take a back seat to their actors' work.

Silence is this year's Hateful Eight. I wasn't too excited by the story and really not excited by the running time. I ultimately saw each film out of respect to their director and in turn watched a film that indulged their passions even more than usual, you could easily say indulged them to a fault because both stories could be told in a less wasteful amount of time, but it would mean gutting their vision shamefully. So there are moments, shots, scenes and sequences that remind you why they are the Gods of Cinema, but I would happily trade them both for a fast, cheap and out of control genre project bearing their distinct stamp.
* * 1/2

Scorsese's gangster movie running times are rarely that short, aren't they?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 22, 2017, 06:33:26 AM
American Honey (2016)

Oh this would have been so much better had it been about prostitution.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 22, 2017, 07:04:29 AM
Storks
Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland (2016)


When you leave the realm of the animation giants, trying a movie is something of a daunting exercise in risk taking. Established studios like Dreamworks are wildly uneven at best and can surprise you in the best and worst of ways. Storks was produced by Warner Animation Group, a studio that has only released The Lego Movie (encouraging but hardly historically significant) so far, and that is partnered with the unpredictable Warner Bros. feature Animation studio. At best, watching Storks is a toss of the dice.

The movie opens like a morality tale about the benefits about corporate capitalism and eugenics, which I was pretty on board with. A few scenes in the beginning had me a bit worried but when the gang leaves the factory the film really gets going. There is no way Andy Samberg did not participate in the writing. The film reeks of him, and not just the jokes too. There are some moments of great comedic inventiveness and some genuinely laugh out loud lines. I am sure Key and Peele also provided some of the ideas.

It should come as no surprise that Storks touches on themes around family and child raising. The best thing about it is that it manages to do different things with familiar situations. The workaholic parents spend the movie having fun with their son after he brilliantly emotionally manipulates them for instance - where another film would have given them an arc of reaching an epiphany at the very end. There are some problematic scenes, like when Tulip goes into maternal instinct overdrive that can jar but they don't spoil much.

The story sets up a villain that leads it into a very disappointing ending. The pigeon is an unfortunate enough invention and I am tired to the nostrils of corporate greed being portrayed as the ultimate evil in movies aimed at children. It sends a dreadful message and at this point is more than a cliché - not to mention how convoluted Hunter's thinking is. The conclusion of Storks shuns a cold capitalist model for a more emotionally-driven activity more in touch with the storks' calling.

I wish that instead the film had explored some of the implications of the world it sets up. This movie is crazy! There is an awkward discussion in a car where son asks the parents where babies come from. Where do babies come from? Are the storks an outsourcing of baby-making activities in a sexless, overworked society? I like to think so. There was also an opportunity to see the storks deliver children to same sex couples, single parents and such that is sadly wasted.

7/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 22, 2017, 08:05:01 AM
This double feature was completely fortuitous.

Lawrence of Arabia
David Lean (1962)


There is a list of movies I must watch again on the biggest screen possible. Lawrence of Arabia figured on that list until I rewatched it at a special screening (1988 restored version). The list features the great visually stunning movies I loved but discovered on my laptop or on a small television. I won't be lucky enough to get all the movies on the list on giant screens but whenever I become aware of such an occasion I do not miss it.

Lawrence of Arabia was gorgeous enough on a handbag-fitting computer. On a cinema screen it is a rare feast. Those early desert shots are enough to disprove anyone who argues that colour photography is destined to age and look drab given enough time.

The first experience had struck me so that I never realised how deeply and inescapably cynical the movie is. Despite the visual awe it is difficult to leave to room in high spirits. David Lean is not content with refusing to create heroes who can be worshipped. He destroys all idols until every character becomes irredeemably contemptible, however virtuous they might have otherwise shown themselves, and when the story is over there are no roads that lead to salvation, no formula for a better world. To unite the Arabs is to pervert them with the corruption of western civilisation. To leave them as they are is to accept their murderous ways.

I knew how epic in scale and scope the script was. I discovered how complex, how insightful, how brilliant it could also prove itself.

9/10

What's New Pussycat?
Clive Donner, Richard Talmadge (1965)


Woody Allen at his youngest, not quite behind the helm yet, as he writes and stars in a movie that announces his work to come. The Allen persona is not fully developed yet but all the sexual inadequacy is there. Peter O'Toole and Peter Sellers are fantastic as they respectively try to stop and persevere in their philandering ways. Most of the film alternates between straight romcom and a strong absurd bent until it culminates in a vaudevillian final act. The sound handling is unfortunate but that is not enough to erase the hilarity of the jokes. I will not quote any, not to spoil them.

A wonderful good time.

7.5/10
Title: Re: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 22, 2017, 08:14:54 AM
I liked it a little more than you, I think. I tend to enjoy films that feel allegorical but are hard to pin down to specific allegories... like Eraserhead, for example. Or Safe, or Last Year at Marienbad.

Well, I do like Safe at least. Anyway, sounds like we are in a pretty similar place but like I had suspected, you were a bit more tolerant of the ambiguity. I do feel with her or other directors who make films infrequently, it's a bit like Terrence Malick (until recent) is for some people...even if it doesn't work, it's just good to have something from her.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 22, 2017, 09:41:53 AM
Scorsese's gangster movie running times are rarely that short, aren't they?
They're usually packed with enough detail to fill 10 Episodes on HBO. Silence is a more meditative pace, which fits the tone but also leads to a feeling that it is sagging in places, especially the first hour.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 22, 2017, 01:26:47 PM
Stop? Can't, won't.

Everybody Wants Some!!

Geez, white guys! I liked this a lot. I liked hanging out with these dolts because here their doltishness was harmless, even charming. These guys probably all grow up into Trump voters, but you wouldn't really be able to tell by any of the events in the film (their locker room talk is more latent homosexuality, not sexism). So while I was having a good time I also started to think about how and why that disconnect exists, and what we (and I as a hopeful educator of students like them) can do to keep the charm and eradicate the terribleness. I think the answer lies in the fun somewhere, but I'll have to keep thinking.

A-
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 22, 2017, 01:29:48 PM
What disconnect are you talking about precisely? And why do these guys have to become Trumpists? Most of them seem fairly reasonable. There are no demonstrations of xenophobia or real sexism in the entire movie. Would you say the same thing if the university had been an East Coast campus?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 22, 2017, 01:42:56 PM
The disconnect is how these guys, who as you say aren't xenophobic or sexist, might age into people who think that xenophobia and sexism are at the very least not a big enough problem to not vote for a guy. And yes, the location plays some role in my assessment, but so do demographics. You can look up the vote splits for yourself. I don't think it's such a bold declaration.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 22, 2017, 01:56:16 PM
College educated males did vote for him in their slight majority, but that's a bad generalisation. It's not like an 90-10 split like it is for the black demographic. If you factor in Texas the argument gets stronger, but it's still a grave assumption to be making.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 22, 2017, 01:57:19 PM
Plus they basically spend the film trying to grab women by the pussy.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 22, 2017, 02:01:12 PM
What's grave about it? I'm not writing them off. In fact, I'm doing the opposite, so what's the problem here?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 22, 2017, 02:11:51 PM
Plus they basically spend the film trying to grab women by the pussy.

I'd disagree with this statement. They're trying to get laid, yeah, but the women we see participating all seem to be after the same thing.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 22, 2017, 02:13:42 PM
Plus they basically spend the film trying to grab women by the pussy.

No they don't. They spend the entire movie trying to flirt and sleep with them. That's not the same thing at all. They respect the women they're with, even when they're just between guys. No one's going around bragging about how many he's conquered, there are no contests, their conversations do not slut shame or denigrate.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on January 22, 2017, 02:29:06 PM
Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Live (2016)
Dir: Who cares? Really? Honestly?


The boy wanted to watch this. All I can say is that I found a movie worse than Batman V Superman in 2016.

D-/F+
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 22, 2017, 02:47:28 PM
Plus they basically spend the film trying to grab women by the pussy.

No they don't. They spend the entire movie trying to flirt and sleep with them. That's not the same thing at all. They respect the women they're with, even when they're just between guys. No one's going around bragging about how many he's conquered, there are no contests, their conversations do not slut shame or denigrate.

Yeah, I don't agree with this "pussy grabbing" take at all. I thought the film offered an interesting look at how the pursuit of sex influences identity. I thought it made an interesting connection between biology and sociology.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 22, 2017, 02:53:03 PM
Everyone is taking Bondo's throwaway one-liner awfully seriously, lol.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 22, 2017, 03:09:00 PM
Everyone is taking Bondo's throwaway one-liner awfully seriously, lol.

pixote

I don't know, it seems the people who reacted very poorly to EWS found the guys attitude despicable, which... they definitely are objectifying women, but I didn't think anything was beyond the pale, or even close to it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 22, 2017, 03:29:49 PM
The guys' attitude toward women was normal; that's the problem. I don't consider the status quo particularly tolerable so I want to denormalize it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 22, 2017, 03:30:22 PM
Ah, right, I forgot this was a rehash of old arguments.

It's worth noting I guess what a weird political island Austin is amid the rest of Texas. Linklater himself is one or more of the characters in EWS!!, and he's for sure a Texan but not very likely to have voted for Trump.

edit: I had to add the exclamation points, since bringing Eyes Wide Shut into this discussion would've confused things. (Cruise's character definitely voted Trump, though.)

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 22, 2017, 03:38:40 PM
I hear you. There's a line of dialogue about their cultural shifts (in terms of which bars/parties they're going to) that speaks to an openness of some sort. There's also no hint of racism towards the (one) black character. But I still don't think it's a bit stretch to think along the lines I wrote about. This is one of those deeply personal reviews where I don't expect anybody else to have the same thoughts I'm having and expressing. But I still thought those things, so I thought I'd share them with you. I'm just at the beginning of the last semester of my Master's degree. I'm thinking about teaching a lot. There you have it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 22, 2017, 03:40:10 PM
I don't want to imply anything about Linklater in saying this, but it is a fair point to disconnect this particular type of male behavior from partisan alignment. There are a lot of left-leaning groups (for example the atheist community) where many of the men involved behave rather poorly toward women.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 22, 2017, 03:44:58 PM
I could (if it wasn't a break of trust/the rules) provide you plenty of essays about sexism on college campuses written by my freshman writing students. Yeah, it's not a conservative or progressive thing at all. But it is one of the things that Trump voters thought was not a big enough problem to keep from voting for him. It was also, I suspect, part of why some people felt very free to abandon Hillary. But further discussion of this should go in the politics thread if we're moving away from the actual movie.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 22, 2017, 03:57:43 PM
I understand what you're saying, pix, and I agree that directors can have an impact on performances, apart from communicating to the actors.  But I see it differently.

I'm really looking forward to Fences simply because it is a "filmed play".  For great performances, the fewer distractions, the better.  In the Before Trilogy, I loved the conversations to be held with pleasant, but basic backgrounds-- cities whose images we've seen a number of times, simple farmland, so we could focus on the dialogue and performances.  To me, it's like a microscope, focusing on these aspects of film.

What I don't care is for directors to take great performances and to give us so much else to look at that we are distracted from what is truly great in the scene.  Then I don't know if the scene I liked was the actor or the director.  A scene I didn't like, should I blame the actor when I love the actor under other directors?  I think that a simple direction highlights performances, and too much distraction is often a cover for a weak performance.

I've been thinking more about the "magic trick" of film.  How a good director can take a contradiction or a poor aspect of their film and use editing and other tricks to cover it up so we never notice it, or we don't care.  At the same time, they can certainly highlight a great aspect of their film.  For me, a bare stage is all that is necessary for a great performance.  It's like the director standing out of the way and allowing the actor(s) to just shine.

I keep meaning to come back to this. I feel like I agree and disagree with you at the same time. I'm often a defender of film adaptations of plays that don't open things up too much (A Raisin in the Sun (1961) is in my Top 100, for example), but there's still an opportunity for those films to be cinematic — and to capture performances that are equally cinematic. I don't mean flashy and I don't mean style over substance. I just mean, movies should be movies, and the performances therein should be cinematic performances. Before Sunset, for example, is a very different film if Hawke and Delpy are just sitting in a cafe the whole time, and their performance aren't set against those lovely tracking shots through Paris. I wasn't able to catch up with Titus as part of the 1999 Retrospots, but I suspect that the performances of Hopkins and Lange, as filmed there, are more cinematic — and thus better film performances — than the best performances in a BBC production of Titus Andronicus. That's more of what I was trying to get at when I said, "Stage acting and film acting are different crafts, and it's not really enough to point the camera at the former and label it the latter. It has to be transformed." It's not about the director distracting from the performances; it's abuot them enhancing those performances.

A better example — that I meant to include in my review but forgot — was imaging what 20th Century Women might have looked like had Pedro Almodóvar directed it instead of Mike Mills. I suspect that his cinematic sensibilities would have enhanced the performances of that whole ensemble, taking it from very good to great, with his colorful art direction doing nothing to detract from the cast.

(I'm in a rambling mood lately, putting no pressure on myself to make actual sense.)

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 22, 2017, 04:59:54 PM
It was a not-so-great day at the movies :

Ballerina / Leap! (Eric Summer & Eric Warin, 2016)

French animation can suck too ! This is not an offensively bad movie, it's just... the script feels like it could have been written by a computer having been fed animated movie plots from the last twenty years, and the voice acting doesn't particularly elevate the material. There just isn't any reason for this film to exist, it has a potentially interesting setting (1880's Paris, it's about an orphan girl from Britanny who becomes a ballet dancer) but doesn't do anything with it other than "hey look, it's the Tour Eiffel and the Statue of Liberty under construction... neat, huh ?". Its inclusions of Sia songs feels like a particularly desperate attempt to be hip and cool, because ballet is boring right ? It almost never goes over the top either, and thus stays painfully bland throughout.

3/10

The Great Wall (Zhang Yimou, 2016)


About what you'd expect : dumb, occasionally fun, but mostly dumb. The real disappointment here comes in the acting department : Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe, two actors I generally like a lot, are actively bad in this, Andrew Lau gets nothing to do, and Jing Tian is... fine. Pedro Pascal is the "highlight", because he's the only one who gets to relax a little and crack some jokes, some of which are pretty forced but that's still better than whatever Damon is doing. He's a mercenary with a dark past trying to become a hero... we're told, because there's just nothing going on in his performance. There is some decent action in there, especially in the first 20 minutes, the costumes are colourful and cool... but that's about it.

4/10

Kollektivet / The Commune (Thomas Vinterberg, 2016)


I don't exactly know where to begin with this. It has a great ensemble, and some strong performances across the board, especially from the central couple (Ulrich Thomsen and Trine Dyrholm)... but this isn't as much of an ensemble film as you might think. It is about what living in a commune does to this couple more than it about the commune in general, and it has some interesting things to say about private life and boundaries.

The problem though, is that this film is filled with character making very obviously poor decisions and putting themselves in intenable situations... and those situations predictably blowing up in their faces. But it also seems to want us to believe that what they're doing is good ? I get the feeling that Vinterberg likes the idea of living in a commune, but everything he shows us in this film seems to prove that is a terrible, terrible idea, at least for these characters... for reasons that are completely obvious from the start, even before affairs start happening and make everything even more awkward. Yet, it ends on a note that feels like it'd belong in a bad Sundance movie, and that stark thematic dissonance left me with a very sour taste in my mouth.

4/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Jeff Schroeck on January 22, 2017, 05:41:02 PM
Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Live (2016)
Dir: Who cares? Really? Honestly?


The boy wanted to watch this. All I can say is that I found a movie worse than Batman V Superman in 2016.

D-/F+

Was Andy Daly entertaining, at least?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on January 22, 2017, 06:23:24 PM
The Great Wall (Zhang Yimou, 2016)[/b]

About what you'd expect : dumb, occasionally fun, but mostly dumb. The real disappointment here comes in the acting department : Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe, two actors I generally like a lot, are actively bad in this, Andrew Lau gets nothing to do, and Jing Tian is... fine. Pedro Pascal is the "highlight", because he's the only one who gets to relax a little and crack some jokes, some of which are pretty forced but that's still better than whatever Damon is doing. He's a mercenary with a dark past trying to become a hero... we're told, because there's just nothing going on in his performance. There is some decent action in there, especially in the first 20 minutes, the costumes are colourful and cool... but that's about it.

4/10

Well, that's enough for me to never bother seeing this. I don't know that I was even on the fence, but I'm happy to take your word for it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 22, 2017, 08:29:44 PM
I understand what you're saying, pix, and I agree that directors can have an impact on performances, apart from communicating to the actors.  But I see it differently.

I'm really looking forward to Fences simply because it is a "filmed play".  For great performances, the fewer distractions, the better.  In the Before Trilogy, I loved the conversations to be held with pleasant, but basic backgrounds-- cities whose images we've seen a number of times, simple farmland, so we could focus on the dialogue and performances.  To me, it's like a microscope, focusing on these aspects of film.

What I don't care is for directors to take great performances and to give us so much else to look at that we are distracted from what is truly great in the scene.  Then I don't know if the scene I liked was the actor or the director.  A scene I didn't like, should I blame the actor when I love the actor under other directors?  I think that a simple direction highlights performances, and too much distraction is often a cover for a weak performance.

I've been thinking more about the "magic trick" of film.  How a good director can take a contradiction or a poor aspect of their film and use editing and other tricks to cover it up so we never notice it, or we don't care.  At the same time, they can certainly highlight a great aspect of their film.  For me, a bare stage is all that is necessary for a great performance.  It's like the director standing out of the way and allowing the actor(s) to just shine.

I keep meaning to come back to this. I feel like I agree and disagree with you at the same time. I'm often a defender of film adaptations of plays that don't open things up too much (A Raisin in the Sun (1961) is in my Top 100, for example), but there's still an opportunity for those films to be cinematic — and to capture performances that are equally cinematic. I don't mean flashy and I don't mean style over substance. I just mean, movies should be movies, and the performances therein should be cinematic performances. Before Sunset, for example, is a very different film if Hawke and Delpy are just sitting in a cafe the whole time, and their performance aren't set against those lovely tracking shots through Paris. I wasn't able to catch up with Titus as part of the 1999 Retrospots, but I suspect that the performances of Hopkins and Lange, as filmed there, are more cinematic — and thus better film performances — than the best performances in a BBC production of Titus Andronicus. That's more of what I was trying to get at when I said, "Stage acting and film acting are different crafts, and it's not really enough to point the camera at the former and label it the latter. It has to be transformed." It's not about the director distracting from the performances; it's abuot them enhancing those performances.

A better example — that I meant to include in my review but forgot — was imaging what 20th Century Women might have looked like had Pedro Almodóvar directed it instead of Mike Mills. I suspect that his cinematic sensibilities would have enhanced the performances of that whole ensemble, taking it from very good to great, with his colorful art direction doing nothing to detract from the cast.

(I'm in a rambling mood lately, putting no pressure on myself to make actual sense.)

pixote

I wish you HAD seen Titus, that's a great example.

Hopkins and Lange were masters, not because their performances were large, but they communicated both the text and what was behind the text perfectly.  Stunning.  But during their speeches, they were no distractions.  The background and context was already done.  We weren't given more to see, but we were allowed to pause and focus on them. 

The opposite happened to Laura Fraser, who played Titus' daughter.  Her performance was weak, at best.  But her scenes were filled with images that stab you through the heart and fill you with images that you can never unsee.  Frankly, I barely noticed her performance, because she was used more of a prop in a more elaborate setting.  And that is exactly as it should be. 

The great performances should be given the space to shine, but that doesn't mean that the cinematic shouldn't have a place.  Certainly it did in Titus.  But if the performances sparkle enough, I don't find it necessary.  Viola Davis already proved in Doubt that she needed nothing to make us remember her forever.  So why shouldn't we let her?

Again, I might very well agree with you about Fences.  I certainly found something lacking with My Dinner with Andre, but I needed nothing more than the bare room with The Sunset Limited or the car and cell phone in Locke.  But I bet that Denzel and Viola is all I need.   And a fence.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: don s. on January 22, 2017, 10:10:20 PM
I don't want to imply anything about Linklater in saying this, but it is a fair point to disconnect this particular type of male behavior from partisan alignment. There are a lot of left-leaning groups (for example the atheist community) where many of the men involved behave rather poorly toward women.

Obvious to the point of being trite; meanwhile, I'm actually surprised to learn that we atheists have a "community." I figured us to be the world's champion non-joiners.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: valmz on January 22, 2017, 10:42:44 PM
My (atheist) friend said that she had never been groped more in her life than at a Christian Rock concert. To don s.'s point, I've never been to an atheist music concert because that sounds like a silly place, rivaling Camelot, and I wouldn't go there.

Edit: Granted, the Stalinist purges are a great example of an atheist group being unkind to women, so there are always examples available for any broad stereotype...
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 23, 2017, 12:11:04 AM
Blair Witch

Gotta love a legacyquel. No really, I do. From Creed to The Force Awakens, I think it's a really strong way of telling a story if you do it right. There's even precedent from last year of a horror franchise doing it correctly with the excellent TV version of The Exorcist. The idea is you take a franchise that has been silent for a bit and you come back to it but you take the missing time into account and introduce new characters to continue the storyline or explore different areas of the world or whatever. In an ideal situation the new story will not be so indebted to the old that it feels warmed over. Usually that newness comes from the characters, often children of the previous characters in the series. In this case, it's the younger brother of the protagonist (antagonist?) from the original (who was four in 1999, heh). He's convinced Heather might still be alive and he goes out into the woods with his bestie from way back, the bestie's girlfriend, and his friend who just happens to be in a documentary film class and so has all the latest equipment to film everything. Remember when I said that the new film usually works because of the characters? Not so here. Everybody is fine, but nobody is as interesting as the three in the original film.

Luckily for director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett, they've got another trick up their sleeve. Since the original was one of the earliest found footage films, they can do as many cool things as they can think of for this one and have it be roughly within the realm of possibility. I'm not sure the earpiece cameras the characters wear actually exist, but they're a good excuse for getting multiple angles on a scene and later on set up some tense situations. There's a drone cam and a nightvision cam and even a guy with an old DV camera to recreate some of the aesthetic from the original film's very lo-fi look. The blend of different cameras and lighting all work to make the less interesting parts that should be filled with character a little more interesting to sit through, and they really help in the second half where all hell breaks loose.

In another change from the original, there's plenty of scares here. It's less a slow build than a full-out scare-fest, and that worked for me. I've grown into letting sequels be bigger and crazier than the originals (what's up, Aliens). Let's put it this way, the thing that happens about 10 minutes before the end of the first movie (if that) happens about 20 minutes before the end of this one, so there's a lot more time spent on the final situation. That makes it less spooky but more scary, if that makes sense. It's not about the unknown and tension building as much (though there is still quite a bit of that), no, instead it's just a thunderstorm-y, chaotic, frighteningly good time. I know I'm not going to be on the popular side of this one, but I had a great time with it.

B+
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 23, 2017, 12:23:07 AM
(http://imgur.com/DpUEIlR.jpg)

We can both be on the unpopular side. I love how all hell breaks loose turning the Blair Witch mythology into Wingard and Barrett's most chaotic rollercoaster ride.

This captures the found footage aesthetic in a raw/shaky/unfocused form that's slowly been smoothed out over the years. That's probably one of its biggest problems for many, but I thought it was a plus for this film, really returning me to those Blair Witch woods.

If you're looking for it my review is here (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=14042.msg848431#msg848431) with a couple of spoiler-y bits at the end.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 23, 2017, 03:11:11 AM
Kollektivet / The Commune (Thomas Vinterberg, 2016)[/b]

I don't think those characters can help making those poor decisions and in some way, there is a link between what makes them take those decisions and their desire to live in a commune. I believed in how they behaved. The ending though, does feel a bit odd compared to the rest of the movie, and there was surprisingly little examination of commune life compared to the main relationship.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 23, 2017, 03:14:25 AM
The guys' attitude toward women was normal; that's the problem. I don't consider the status quo particularly tolerable so I want to denormalize it.

They are teenagers trying to get laid whilst respecting the women they pursue. It's a healthy thing. What can bother you about that?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 23, 2017, 03:53:15 AM
Kollektivet / The Commune (Thomas Vinterberg, 2016)[/b]

I don't think those characters can help making those poor decisions and in some way, there is a link between what makes them take those decisions and their desire to live in a commune. I believed in how they behaved. The ending though, does feel a bit odd compared to the rest of the movie, and there was surprisingly little examination of commune life compared to the main relationship.

I guess I find some of the decisions that are made to be baffling. Without even getting into the second half of the film, from the very start it's extremely clear that this is not something the husband actually wants, and then there's the guy they let in just because he cried... I just can't help thinking that these people are just utterly stupid and blind. The performances were good enough that it didn't completely take me out of the film, but I couldn't fully get into it either, and then the ending really clarified for me how much of a mess the film is.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 23, 2017, 03:56:14 AM
As I said, I think that people who want to live in a commune like this would be the most prone to accepting the guy because of the tears session. As for the husband, there was a turning point where he made his decision that I think was sort of « what the hell, let's roll with it » and then he works at it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 23, 2017, 06:06:51 AM
The guys' attitude toward women was normal; that's the problem. I don't consider the status quo particularly tolerable so I want to denormalize it.

They are teenagers trying to get laid whilst respecting the women they pursue. It's a healthy thing. What can bother you about that?

I didn't see it as respecting them. There is an opening sequence/montage as they drive around, where the camera takes their perspective, essentially ogling all the women. And they have such a cocky, entitled attitude and don't take no for an answer, keep pestering the main gal until she goes for the guy.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 23, 2017, 06:14:05 AM
Mustang
Deniz Gamze Ergüven (2016)


I was going to start a whole diatribe about backwards oppressive patriarchal societies but that would be talking about the movie's subject instead of the movie itself. Instead, I would rather point out the specificity of Mustang in how it shows women, the victims of the abuse, participating in the perpetuation of the culture. They are watchdogs for transgressions, participants in the myriad forms of abuse and, most important of all, teachers, those responsible for ensure that the next generation of women will be as subjugated and accepting of the system.

Mustang is not so unsubtle as to paint too dark a picture of them however. The same grandmother who beats her charges at the beginning of the movie protects them from their uncle when they get seriously into trouble. Unlike the children, she is able to recognise the most egregious aspects of his tyranny but will not act to change matters. Marriage becomes both a cultural imperative and the only way to escape the bullying figure.

The girls variate between acceptance of their fate and various forms of rebellion. It comes down to how much each of them is going to suffer or benefit from it. One gets to marry her boyfriend and is content with that - her defiance is relegated to limiting herself to anal sex. Other will refuse to be disposed of in drastic displays of disobedience.

The movie is a fierce indictment of a culture that jars with the twenty first century world these girls somehow belong too. It celebrates agency and resourcefulness but is clever enough to know that lone individuals cannot win alone against an entire system and against the world. They can run and hide but it is only when there is a sympathetic, more enlightened, trucker who is ready to help that true escape can be achieved.

7/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 23, 2017, 06:24:00 AM
The guys' attitude toward women was normal; that's the problem. I don't consider the status quo particularly tolerable so I want to denormalize it.

They are teenagers trying to get laid whilst respecting the women they pursue. It's a healthy thing. What can bother you about that?

I didn't see it as respecting them. There is an opening sequence/montage as they drive around, where the camera takes their perspective, essentially ogling all the women. And they have such a cocky, entitled attitude and don't take no for an answer, keep pestering the main gal until she goes for the guy.

There are several instances of them giving up on a girl who is demonstrably not interested. They are certainly cocky but I would not call them entitled. They believe in their ability to get sex but don't display a belief in a right  to it. That's why they try so hard, try to impress and be clever. They know they have to be worthy in some way and don't just expect it to be given to them. Sure, they ogle women and objectify them, but what's wrong with that? Unless you actually treat them as objects that only means you recognise in them potential sexual partners.

I wish the sports types in my uni behaved as decently as them. I have seen people exchange impressions and ratings on girls. Guys share information that should remain private so they can brag. At parties they are pushy in ways that make this movie look like a documentary on kindergartens. I am not even from a particularly macho school either.

To come back to the don't take no for an answer thing, that can happen, but the issue is more complicated than that because perseverance is often rewarded and even excepted. It is not pestering if it's part of a flirtation algorithm that is accepted by both parties. Except that's impossible to know in advance how anyone is going to react to perseverance or any other kind of behaviour so ultimately the baseball crowd is just trying to play its cards right?

Is the movie faithful and honest about how Linklater and his friends actually behaved way back when? No idea. What it shows however is not something I have a problem with.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on January 23, 2017, 09:32:15 AM
Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Live (2016)
Dir: Who cares? Really? Honestly?


The boy wanted to watch this. All I can say is that I found a movie worse than Batman V Superman in 2016.

D-/F+

Was Andy Daly entertaining, at least?

Meh... I guess he had a line or two of (clearly) ad-libbed dialogue that hit, the same with Rob Riggle.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 23, 2017, 10:23:02 AM
I think this gets at the heart of the strong disagreement about Everybody Wants Some!! -- the attitude toward and approach to the girls.   For many, myself included, this approach to dating and sex is just wrong.  It is not respectful, for although on the surface it seems to give the women some honor or fun, since the focus is just about the end game, so to speak, then it is objectifying the women and all that they do is ultimately for their own selfish purpose.

Others see nothing wrong with the approach.  It is certainly common, and there are women who don't have problems with being approached this way and seeing the sexuality as something they appreciate and join in willingly. 

And this can make the difference between seeing the film as an enjoyable romp or remaining uncomfortable throughout the whole run.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 23, 2017, 11:28:12 AM
Life Partners (2014)

The famous saying from When Harry Met Sally is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way. At least as true is that single people can't be friends because the sex part gets in the way, namely single people become non-single people and priorities change and the friendships often just can't weather it. Here we watch as Paige (Gillian Jacobs) and her lesbian BFF Sasha (Leighton Meester) struggle with this. As someone on the wrong side of 30 to be single, I have some experience in watching people couple up and fade away.

I particularly related to Beth Dover's character in the early scenes as the broader group of lesbian friends hang around, replete with single desperation and cynical horror stories of prospective partners' deceptions, "she told me she couldn't do a monogamous relationship right now and then got into another monogamous relationship a week later."

As much as I relate to the general ideas, it is only a mildly amusing, mildly touching film that doesn't rise to any particularly memorable status. And somehow they get Adam Brody being not overly charismatic for most of it; usually he has oozed charisma.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 23, 2017, 12:02:51 PM
I think this gets at the heart of the strong disagreement about Everybody Wants Some!! -- the attitude toward and approach to the girls.   For many, myself included, this approach to dating and sex is just wrong.  It is not respectful, for although on the surface it seems to give the women some honor or fun, since the focus is just about the end game, so to speak, then it is objectifying the women and all that they do is ultimately for their own selfish purpose.

Others see nothing wrong with the approach.  It is certainly common, and there are women who don't have problems with being approached this way and seeing the sexuality as something they appreciate and join in willingly. 

And this can make the difference between seeing the film as an enjoyable romp or remaining uncomfortable throughout the whole run.

But see, you're looking at it wrong from the second sentence. This has nothing to do with dating. Only the main character's relationship with the theatre girl is an instance of dating. These are guys who are only looking for sex and getting it from the girls who equally want sex. The latter are either equally looking for it or at the least willing.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 23, 2017, 12:03:59 PM
Just a reminder that Filmspot nominations ballots (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=14267.0) are due in the next 24 hours (before Oscar nominations are announced tomorrow morning). This is the 10th year of the Filmspots, so I'm really hoping to see as much participation as possible. Let me know if you have any questions.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 23, 2017, 12:37:26 PM
Just a reminder that Filmspot nominations ballots (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=14267.0) are due in the next 24 hours (before Oscar nominations are announced tomorrow morning). This is the 10th year of the Filmspots, so I'm really hoping to see as much participation as possible. Let me know if you have any questions.

pixote


Did you get my ballot?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 23, 2017, 12:51:21 PM
Did you get my ballot?

Yes, I've received ballots from:

1SO
Bondo
Corndog
Dave the Necrobumper
dheaton
FLYmeatwad
¡Keith!
Knocked Out Loaded
MattDrufke
oldkid
philip918
saltine
shuabert
smirnoff
Teproc
Totoro

I'd like to see at least another twenty-four come in by the deadline. Is that possible? We'll see.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 23, 2017, 12:59:04 PM
That is... not a lot. I thought there were more lurkers around here.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 23, 2017, 01:01:27 PM
That is... not a lot. I thought there were more lurkers around here.

Historically, most voters wait until the final day before voting.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 23, 2017, 01:03:11 PM
That is... not a lot. I thought there were more lurkers around here.

Historically, most voters wait until the final day before voting.

pixote

Just...ten more minutes.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on January 23, 2017, 01:07:35 PM
I'll send you a ballot tonight, but it will be mostly empty. Haven't gotten around to most of the best films.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: don s. on January 23, 2017, 01:10:05 PM
I usually wait to vote on the final nominees, because it's easier, and I'm lazy. But that short list of nominators has inspired me.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 23, 2017, 01:38:54 PM
I think this gets at the heart of the strong disagreement about Everybody Wants Some!! -- the attitude toward and approach to the girls.   For many, myself included, this approach to dating and sex is just wrong.  It is not respectful, for although on the surface it seems to give the women some honor or fun, since the focus is just about the end game, so to speak, then it is objectifying the women and all that they do is ultimately for their own selfish purpose.

Others see nothing wrong with the approach.  It is certainly common, and there are women who don't have problems with being approached this way and seeing the sexuality as something they appreciate and join in willingly. 

And this can make the difference between seeing the film as an enjoyable romp or remaining uncomfortable throughout the whole run.

But see, you're looking at it wrong from the second sentence. This has nothing to do with dating. Only the main character's relationship with the theatre girl is an instance of dating. These are guys who are only looking for sex and getting it from the girls who equally want sex. The latter are either equally looking for it or at the least willing.

You mean I'm not looking at it from your narrow point of view instead of my narrow point of view.  I acknowledge what you say, but that doesn't make any difference from my perspective.  The attitudes are still disgusting, from how I see it. 
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 23, 2017, 01:43:43 PM
I wonder what the response would be to a movie about women going out to find men to have sex with in the same place and time would be like (and what the reaction would be). You could probably make it with all the same actors playing all the same characters. Would this be objectifying the men? Would we care?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 23, 2017, 01:47:53 PM
I wonder what the response would be to a movie about women going out to find men to have sex with in the same place and time would be like (and what the reaction would be). You could probably make it with all the same actors playing all the same characters. Would this be objectifying the men? Would we care?

We wouldn't. That's part of my point and it's one of the problems of the double standard. If women go out to find men to have sex with it's empowering but when men do it it becomes sordid and entitled? Surely both sexes should be allowed to search for mates in healthy ways without being judged?

I wasn't looking at things from one point of view as oldkid suggests, I was looking at it from the point of view of what the characters were looking for. I don't even know why you would insert dating into the conversation.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: karlwinslow on January 23, 2017, 01:54:10 PM
I'd like to see at least another twenty-four come in by the deadline. Is that possible? We'll see.

sent!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on January 23, 2017, 01:57:17 PM
I wonder what the response would be to a movie about women going out to find men to have sex with in the same place and time would be like (and what the reaction would be). You could probably make it with all the same actors playing all the same characters. Would this be objectifying the men? Would we care?

We wouldn't. That's part of my point and it's one of the problems of the double standard. If women go out to find men to have sex with it's empowering but when men do it it becomes sordid and entitled? Surely both sexes should be allowed to search for mates in healthy ways without being judged?
Who is we? Some wouldn't but others would. Sex and the City has many detractors as well as fans. Some people are surely offended because it's guys acting that way and would see it as empowering if it were women, and vice versa too some people surely dislike S&S simply because it's women, but some people just don't think anyone should act that way. Of course there are other variables in play like age, and setting and specific actions, and the quality of the script and characterizations, etc.

I haven't seen the movie, so I can't judge how the film works or where I would land on it, but I suspect I would agree with oldkid and probably would not feel any different if the genders were switched.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 23, 2017, 02:02:19 PM
I wonder what the response would be to a movie about women going out to find men to have sex with in the same place and time would be like (and what the reaction would be). You could probably make it with all the same actors playing all the same characters. Would this be objectifying the men? Would we care?

We wouldn't. That's part of my point and it's one of the problems of the double standard. If women go out to find men to have sex with it's empowering but when men do it it becomes sordid and entitled? Surely both sexes should be allowed to search for mates in healthy ways without being judged?

I wasn't looking at things from one point of view as oldkid suggests, I was looking at it from the point of view of what the characters were looking for. I don't even know why you would insert dating into the conversation.

Because I consider one-night stands a form of dating.

I believe that you are looking at the point of view of the characters.  But the film didn't get me to the place that I can identify with the characters.  I see them from a distance and think, "They're amusing, but I think the way they see women is awful."  And that's where I stayed.

If women did the same thing, I'd have the same attitude.  Repugnant, unfortunate, and on top of it, they are putting themselves in possible jeopardy.  No double standard.  I think that objectifying the other sex is a poor way to live. 

And I'm not judging them morally. Well, I suppose I am about the objectification bit, but I don't have issues with their sexual actions.  It's all above board and I know this is how some people live.  I find it emotionally offensive.  I wouldn't go to them and tell them to stop, because it's their choice.  But I cannot appreciate people who do this kind of thing.  Never could, from high school on.  I think it's a personality difference.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 23, 2017, 02:03:54 PM
We is anybody, and yeah, it's freaking complicated. Every little factor changes the way you feel about a situation. For me, the factors lined up on the positive side, but for others it was the negative. I don't think they're being prudes and I hope they don't think I'm a sexist because of it. Just different ways of thinking about situations and art and stuff.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 23, 2017, 02:07:59 PM
Yep, I agree, Junior.  Not a difficulty that some people got a positive vibe from the movie and others didn't.  Just different points of view.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 23, 2017, 02:57:44 PM
I'd like to see at least another twenty-four come in by the deadline. Is that possible? We'll see.

sent!

mine too!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 23, 2017, 04:24:29 PM
And I'm not judging them morally. Well, I suppose I am about the objectification bit, but I don't have issues with their sexual actions.  It's all above board and I know this is how some people live.  I find it emotionally offensive.  I wouldn't go to them and tell them to stop, because it's their choice.  But I cannot appreciate people who do this kind of thing.  Never could, from high school on.  I think it's a personality difference.

So are you saying that you disapprove of one night stands as a rule?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on January 23, 2017, 04:30:06 PM
You all got me wanting to me want to watch this now
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 23, 2017, 04:45:17 PM
Toni Erdmann

Well, here's the old question of movie moments vs a whole thing you can really get behind. I'm not sure this movie worked for me. It's too darn long for what it is doing. You can see it in the opening shot, which might have started at a delivery guy ringing a doorbell but is instead about a minute longer because we have to hear the car pulling up and then the guy opening and closing his car door, and then opening the sliding door on the car to get the package, and then walking up to the door and then ringing the bell. Maybe it's supposed to get the audience to identify with the delivery guy so that we start seeing how strange but also funny the "Erdmann" character is from the point of view of his own audience, which will then transfer onto the daughter when she joins in. But still, there's a ten second version of that which would have the same effect. Much of the rest of the film follows this kind of boring maximalist thing which diminishes much of my enjoyment/engagement with it. But then the same principle is applied to these two big scenes towards the end and it's freaking fantastic. I wasn't so turned off from the rest of the film that I couldn't get what feels like all I was supposed to get from these two scenes and I found myself laughing and being moved simultaneously, not a super easy thing to achieve. I'm not sure I would watch this whole thing again, but I do think my time was worth it to get to some of the best scenes of the year. Maybe I'm just a huge hypocrite.

B
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on January 23, 2017, 05:05:20 PM
That is... not a lot. I thought there were more lurkers around here.

Historically, most voters wait until the final day before voting.

pixote

Your inbox right now I hope

(http://i.imgur.com/fOXs2R4.gif)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: don s. on January 23, 2017, 05:31:15 PM

Your inbox right now I hope



Ditto.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 23, 2017, 09:07:59 PM
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

We'll give this the "I don't know what I was expecting" award. I knew it was about a bad singer, so I suppose I can't be surprised that it has a lot of bad singing. I can't speak to the film's quality, I can only speak to my inability to keep watching the film. I have sensitive hearing and anyone who has sat next to me during any type of band or singing performance of less than professional quality can see it written across my face as I have a bad poker face where off-pitch singing is concerned, basically feeling physical pain. So yeah, this exceeded my threshold.

P.S. Meryl Streep's overratedness is the one thing I agree with Trump on. She's been doing almost exclusively offputtingly big, mannered performances for at least a decade. I don't understand the groupthink or nostalgia that keeps getting her nominations for stuff.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 23, 2017, 10:05:46 PM
I watched In the Loop again tonight. 2nd viewing, liked it more this time.

My reasons for posting:

1. Yes, it does play different in the Trump era. The biggest echo being an indirect one, the small Steve Coogan subplot about the need to fix the wall that's crumbling into his yard. A lot of that dialogue taken out of its context can be applied to Trump's wall.

2. My favorite line is one I've found no mention of on the Boards. Had to pause the stream because the wife and I were laughing so hard. James Gandolfini discussing troop numbers needed for a war.
"At the end of a war you need some soldiers left, really, or else it looks like you lost."
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: don s. on January 23, 2017, 10:50:31 PM
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

We'll give this the "I don't know what I was expecting" award. I knew it was about a bad singer, so I suppose I can't be surprised that it has a lot of bad singing. I can't speak to the film's quality, I can only speak to my inability to keep watching the film.

Not sure whether it has been reviewed much hereabouts, but the film Marguerite, a fictionalized French take on the Florence Foster Jenkins saga, is pretty good, though the singing is just as terrible. (I see the lead performance was cited among the Filmspot nominations.) Marguerite is currently available for streaming on Netflix.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: mañana on January 23, 2017, 11:24:24 PM
Is the movie faithful and honest about how Linklater and his friends actually behaved way back when? No idea.
I think he has almost surely erased all the gay slurs that they would have been using.

By the way, I didn't find the movie offensive. I had other reasons for not liking it.  :)

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 23, 2017, 11:30:08 PM
By the way, I didn't find the movie offensive. I had other reasons for not liking it.  :)

matt couldn't help but picture Ethan Hawke lurking somewhere just off screen the whole movie, telling some girl about an interesting article he'd just read.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: mañana on January 23, 2017, 11:36:16 PM
I do at least I little resent how respectable he's made Ethan Hawke.  8)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 24, 2017, 01:57:58 AM
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

We'll give this the "I don't know what I was expecting" award. I knew it was about a bad singer, so I suppose I can't be surprised that it has a lot of bad singing. I can't speak to the film's quality, I can only speak to my inability to keep watching the film.

Not sure whether it has been reviewed much hereabouts, but the film Marguerite, a fictionalized French take on the Florence Foster Jenkins saga, is pretty good, though the singing is just as terrible. (I see the lead performance was cited among the Filmspot nominations.) Marguerite is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

It is very good, about a thousand times better than FFJ... but probably not for Bondo, because it has more of the awful singing.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 24, 2017, 09:47:41 AM
I do at least I little resent how respectable he's made Ethan Hawke.  8)

Are we supposed to hate Ethan Hawke? What has he done?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 24, 2017, 09:52:37 AM
You all got me wanting to me want to watch this now

Next time I want to promote a movie I know what to do now. Start a conversation about alpha male culture and profanity and at least two people will watch it.

(I am looking at you Sandy.)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 24, 2017, 10:03:37 AM
Mustang  (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)

I can only hope that a few years down the road, Ergüven follows up this Turkish Virgin Suicides with a Turkish Hunger Games and casts Sensoy as the lead.

pixote

I will pay to watch that if she plays the same character going back to the village armed with a rifle and explosives.

Good review.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 24, 2017, 11:15:53 AM
Next time I want to promote a movie I know what to do now. Start a conversation about alpha male culture and profanity and at least two people will watch it.

(I am looking at you Sandy.)

I'll pass on the alpha male culture, but when flirty banter is mentioned in a post, it catches my attention. :)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 25, 2017, 02:18:26 PM
Florence Foster Jenkins

(http://i68.tinypic.com/2yuhgxu.jpg)

Vainglorious or whistling in the dark? It's a triumphant and frightful thing to see how Mrs. Jenkins has chosen to navigate her way through her mortal sojourn. I manage to shout bravo!, mid wince, for who am I to judge? Where am I half as confident and undeterred? Willing to make a fool of oneself in the pursuit of a burning passion, is to be commended. Her husband comprehends and her accompanist learns to. So can I.

A word about Streep. Not only is it nigh to impossible to sing pitch perfectly off key, it's also a feat of skill to play a person who is delusional for survival sake, who continually steers her psyche into a new day of her own reality. And then to watch it crumble and tenuously be brought back is something to behold. Streep is as good as she is purported to be. There is no overrating possible in this performance. She is a thespian treasure.

pixote, is it far too late to adjust my nomination ballot? Simon Helberg would get my nod too and surprisingly, Hugh Grant as well.

Not sure whether it has been reviewed much hereabouts, but the film Marguerite, a fictionalized French take on the Florence Foster Jenkins saga, is pretty good, though the singing is just as terrible. (I see the lead performance was cited among the Filmspot nominations.) Marguerite is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

How interesting these were made so close together. I can't imagine that Florence Foster Jenkins was made because of Marguerite, since there just isn't that much time between the two.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 25, 2017, 02:22:07 PM
pixote, is it far too late to adjust my nomination ballot? Simon Helberg would get my nod too and surprisingly, Hugh Grant as well.

I'm afraid I've finalized the nominations, so the film will have to settle for the lone vote it received (for Meryl).

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 25, 2017, 02:25:51 PM
 :)

Thanks for letting me know.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 25, 2017, 02:32:38 PM
Probably for the best that Sandy doesn't follow me on twitter and see what I had to say about Streep after attempting to watch this.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 25, 2017, 02:37:08 PM
Florence Foster Jenkins

How interesting these were made so close together. I can't imagine that Florence Foster Jenkins was made because of Marguerite, since there just isn't that much time between the two.

Will you be saying the same about this year's The Jungle Book? (Or whatever it's correct title may be.)

You have me thinking about whether I should have considered Hugh Jackman for supporting character but I don't think I can be unbiased about him.

*looks into the distance daydreamingly*

I liked the movie enough but I cannot echo your praise of the Jenkins character or muster any admiration for her.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 25, 2017, 02:56:46 PM
I think I more empathize with her character, than praise, or admire her. I think she took what she had, a life of physical pain, from no cause of her own, and the ramifications of having an obscene amount of money (where people become yes men to her) and made a quite interesting psychological structure for herself. And, she managed to be endearing to those around her. I find her to be intriguing.

I don't know anything about how the Jungle Book movie's may or may not coincide. Have you read anything about it?

You have me thinking about whether I should have considered Hugh Jackman for supporting character but I don't think I can be unbiased about him.

*looks into the distance daydreamingly*

I'd like to hear more about this. :)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 25, 2017, 02:59:24 PM
Probably for the best that Sandy doesn't follow me on twitter and see what I had to say about Streep after attempting to watch this.

:D

All I know is that the movie was agonizing for your ears!

Maybe it's all my years of listening to small ones practicing piano, trumpet, clarinet... to make me impervious to such caterwauling!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: saltine on January 25, 2017, 03:00:06 PM

You have me thinking about whether I should have considered Hugh Jackman for supporting character but I don't think I can be unbiased about him.

*looks into the distance daydreamingly*

I'd like to hear more about this. :)

Yeah, me too.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 25, 2017, 03:08:04 PM
My Hugh Jackman related fantasies are between me and my psychiatrist.

I meant that if you find two movies telling the same story a couple of years apart serendipitous, wait until you get another Jungle Book movie one year after the last retelling. Or two, because apparently they moved the date up. But as far as I know it's exactly the same thing, except maybe more British, which I suppose is always a plus.

I would call the portrayal of Jenkins interesting if we spent more time on the darker sides of her, the betrayed wife, the scarred abstinent, the millionaire who can trust no one. Instead of that the movie dwells on her truly unpleasant delusional bent and destroys whatever sympathy I could have developed towards her.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 25, 2017, 03:43:42 PM
My Hugh Jackman related fantasies are between me and my psychiatrist.

:))

Quote
I meant that if you find two movies telling the same story a couple of years apart serendipitous, wait until you get another Jungle Book movie one year after the last retelling. Or two, because apparently they moved the date up. But as far as I know it's exactly the same thing, except maybe more British, which I suppose is always a plus.

I've not seen any of these iterations, so must not be the target audience. As for serendipitous, I don't know! I just find one year apart to be awfully close logistically, to pull a movie together.

Quote
I would call the portrayal of Jenkins interesting if we spent more time on the darker sides of her, the betrayed wife, the scarred abstinent, the millionaire who can trust no one. Instead of that the movie dwells on her truly unpleasant delusional bent and destroys whatever sympathy I could have developed towards her.

oooh! I would so have liked to see that movie! This one was only a glimpse and you propose a real psychological study.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: don s. on January 25, 2017, 04:54:11 PM
My Hugh Jackman related fantasies are between me and my psychiatrist.

Not exactly thrilled by the notion that same-sex attraction is necessarily a reason to seek psychiatric help.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 25, 2017, 05:00:37 PM
oh! I didn't think of it that way. I was thinking more in terms of obsession.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: saltine on January 25, 2017, 05:22:04 PM
oh! I didn't think of it that way. I was thinking more in terms of obsession.

This.

Possibly because I entertain my own.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 26, 2017, 04:12:47 AM
My Hugh Jackman related fantasies are between me and my psychiatrist.

Not exactly thrilled by the notion that same-sex attraction is necessarily a reason to seek psychiatric help.

oh! I didn't think of it that way. I was thinking more in terms of obsession.

I don't even know why you would go there, don s.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: slowpogo on January 26, 2017, 04:25:07 PM
In Order of Disappearance

Watched after it was mentioned on Filmspotting: SVU. This is kind of like a Norwegian version of Taken or a Mel Gibson revenge movie, where an aging guy is provoked into becoming a badass killing machine. But unlike Taken, Stellan Skarsgard is not ex-CIA or whatever, but a professional snowplow driver in Norway, keeping roads open in a rural area where it snows all the time. When his son is murdered by drug criminals simply for being in the wrong place/wrong time, Skarsgard tracks down the bad guys and starts taking care of them, one by one. In doing this he accidentally sets in motion a gang war between Norwegian and Serbian drug lords. Besides Skarsgard it features Kristofer Hivju (red-bearded guy from Game of Thrones), Bruno Ganz, and Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen as a decently memorable drug kingpin.

If "Norwegian version of Taken" sounds appealing (though that's not a perfect comparison) you'll probably like this. It's not really a comedy but does have sardonic sense of humor, displaying a brief epitaph with music every time someone dies, along with some "bumbling criminal"-type humor occasionally. In the end it's a well-done, somewhat elevated, if ultimately minor genre movie. Not sure what else to say about it. Kept my attention, was entertaining enough and passed the time alright, and sometimes that's all a movie needs to do. On Netflix.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 27, 2017, 12:40:20 AM
(http://imgur.com/DpUEIlR.jpg)

We can both be on the unpopular side. I love how all hell breaks loose turning the Blair Witch mythology into Wingard and Barrett's most chaotic rollercoaster ride.

This captures the found footage aesthetic in a raw/shaky/unfocused form that's slowly been smoothed out over the years. That's probably one of its biggest problems for many, but I thought it was a plus for this film, really returning me to those Blair Witch woods.

If you're looking for it my review is here (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=14042.msg848431#msg848431) with a couple of spoiler-y bits at the end.

I think you've hit it perfectly here and in your review. It ain't groundbreaking and it ain't super deep, but it is fun as all get out if your definition of fun matches, well, yours or mine I guess. I do also like the metacomentary on the evolution of the genre with the tagalong's older, crappier camera and the hand-waiving around the new tech.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 27, 2017, 09:51:54 AM
Just finished Southside With You...and think Barry is the much more interesting Obama contemplation.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: saltine on January 27, 2017, 03:44:10 PM
Just finished Southside With You...and think Barry is the much more interesting Obama contemplation.

Thanks for that recommendation.  The actor Devon Terrell grew up in a suburb of Perth, West Australia.  And, that movie is available on Netflix AUS.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: dassix on January 27, 2017, 05:09:03 PM
Watched Manchester by the Sea last night.  So happy I was able to see this movie on a weekday - I hate the crowds.

I can definitely recommend this movie.  So far top 10 of the year and will most likely stay on that list.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: sdb_1970 on January 27, 2017, 05:25:57 PM
Just finished Southside With You...and think Barry is the much more interesting Obama contemplation.

Good to hear; saw at TIFF; disappointed it never got a theatrical release; just made my 2016 top 10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 27, 2017, 08:30:25 PM
La La Land
Damien Chazelle (2016)


A movie about the virtues of negging.

Everyone is raving about how La La Land is Hollywood at its most navel-gazing. It is ; there are moments where you're ready to blurt out « oh come on » at the screen, but you don't, because there are people around and that would be rude, especially since for once no one's making noise. But if there is a masturbatory side to the movie it is in its reflection of Chazelle as a music-loving filmmaker. In a very real sense the entire plot is about him falling in love with himself.

But who cares? There is singing to talk about.

The movie opens with a big musical number but that's not where you really get into it. The scene is good but it lacks heart. It's like a pretty shot. It is only when when Stone and Gosling rib each other at a party that things get going. Chazelle uses these scenes to advance the plot and control the emotion of the movie. He demonstrates an ability to think outside the box and take the genre into new directions. The end of the film is a brilliant bit of storytelling.

This is not a film like they used to make them though, whatever that nonsensical phrase may mean. Both leads ooze charm but Gene Kelly they ain't. The singing is adequate, the dancing is good and yet it is the music that carries those numbers, along with Stone and Gosling's star power. Put Channing Tatum in here and you get a completely different dynamic. I hope Chazelle directs him someday.

The lyrics are not quite as good as the music. I don't think I'll relist to them often on Youtube. That's okay, I would have tap danced home if I knew how. And, you know, if people actually carried tap dancing shoes with them everywhere they went...

La La Love it.

8/10

As I write this, I am rewatching Sing Street and it's incredible how tender this movie can get about the tiniest things. The girl is also more insightful than I remember, miles ahead in maturity to lead-role guy. The kid is cute but the relationship is never going to work.

Also, I am fycing this for best traffic scene, which should totally be a new category.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StarCarly on January 27, 2017, 10:29:30 PM
I didn't plan this, but I ended up doing an appropriate double feature of 13th and Moonlight.

13th I avoided this for awhile for some reason, even though Netflix-produced docs rarely disappoint me. It feels didactic at times, like a Dateline special about race. Towards the end I felt more heart and ended up learning a lot. B

Moonlight - I went in with high expectations and they were all met. Beautifully shot and acted. I was especially enamored with the music, it set the tone of every scene wonderfully (which reminds me, how did the scene where Chiron hits the kid with the chair not get a Filmspot nom for Best Scene? My goodness that was satisfying.) Speaking of Filmspots, Mahershala Ali is high on my list for voting. I feel like its an amazing movie I'll only ever watch once. A

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 27, 2017, 10:59:15 PM
I would totally vote for La La Land in best traffic scene.

And I'd vote for Moonlight for most satisfying use of violence.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 27, 2017, 11:47:50 PM
I would totally vote for La La Land in best traffic scene.
That's some gerrymandering. If you called it Best Vehicular Musical Scene, there'd be competition (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZLoKbPQHy0#noembed).


Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 27, 2017, 11:50:38 PM
That's a stretch.

The Handmaiden (2016)

Not being a particular fan of Park Chan-Wook, this film was rather poised to be a surprise in the opening act. Then it shifted perspective and the whole thing came tumbling down and I rather grew to resent it. Temporally too cute by half.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 28, 2017, 12:31:47 AM
In the time since I've seen it, I've come to resent that shift even more. Fans of the film react with delight to see the story going down a different path, but the joke is being played on us.

Here's the non-spoiler description:
It's like a David Mamet film about con artists where you're asked to believe these are the best con artists of all time and also that it's very easy to dupe them. It's dishonest to the characters, but you might not notice because the complicated con is very cool.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 28, 2017, 12:51:24 AM
Ha, funny you should mention that film.

The Handmaiden

As some of you may know, I don't like Oldboy that much. The movie that broke Park Chan-Wook into the conversation (in the US) is, for me, too obsessed with getting one over on the audience that it doesn't remember to be compelling. His follow-ups, though, are delightfully weird films that made me eager to check this latest one out when I could watch it in the comfort of my own home (2.5 hours!). Would this be a Thirst-and-Stoker-ish all-in extravaganza or would it try too hard to mess with me that I end up resenting it?

Well, the opening isn't promising. Seems like this young woman is going off to be a handmaiden to a strange woman in an big uptight house. Park actually shoots most of this like a horror film, and the setup would be familiar there. Ah, but no. Instead of scares there are laughs, and instead of a haunted house there are hidden delights. No spooktacular, this. It's an erotic thriller like nothing you've seen before. Deftly woven narratives and character motivations are the name of the game, and it's a super fun game to play. I was enthralled early with the films sumptuousness, then I was enchanted with a story of secret love, then I was marveling at some bravura filmmaking, including some of the best dissolves you'll see outside of The Fall. So yeah, this is an all-in extravaganza that sustains throughout much of the films long running time. Even when the outcomes become obvious, as in one scene near the end, there's still some great dialogue and excellent visual storytelling to chew on. I never thought I'd be cheering one act in the film, but Park gets away with it through some clever plotting and, say it with me, special filmmaking. If you like all the things that movies can be, chances are you'll enjoy The Handmaiden, because it really is everything in one special package.

A+
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 28, 2017, 12:57:44 AM
Erotic would be overstating it. It pulls its punches.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 28, 2017, 01:04:56 AM
Maybe compared to Shortbus. But horror movies are still horror movies even if they aren't The Exorcist. This is, like, about sex. I think that's erotic.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 28, 2017, 01:35:18 AM
Compared to Shortbus, compared to Sense8, compared to Blue is the Warmest Color. Basically compared to things that are effectively erotic. Instead it is ineffectively erotic...too prim in the moment to convey the emotion necessary to believe the plot machinations.

Tallulah (2016)

This was a nice surprise. Ellen Page's character starts off rather unlikable and then makes an unlikable decision that in context is rather understandable and it kind of moves from there. It really comes into itself, and Allison Janney is a treasure. Not a great film, but one that resonates all the same.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 28, 2017, 01:42:11 AM
I never thought that we'd be arguing about whether a movie with this much sex and sensuality is erotic or not. Maybe we should make a poll. Bad joke alert: Or a pole.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on January 28, 2017, 04:00:27 AM
In the time since I've seen it, I've come to resent that shift even more. Fans of the film react with delight to see the story going down a different path, but the joke is being played on us.

Here's the non-spoiler description:
It's like a David Mamet film about con artists where you're asked to believe these are the best con artists of all time and also that it's very easy to dupe them. It's dishonest to the characters, but you might not notice because the complicated con is very cool.

I disagree. The characters who get duped are either not as smart as they initially appear, or smart but guilty of underestimating some people. I don't agree that he sacrifices character for the sake of plot, at all.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 28, 2017, 12:08:24 PM
Erotic is like funny-- quite subjective, and sometimes personal.  While I agree with Junior that the movie is erotic, I think I see Bondo's point that it is a bit too orchestrated to be truly sensual (although I see the same thing in Sense 8). 
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 28, 2017, 12:20:25 PM
In the time since I've seen it, I've come to resent that shift even more. Fans of the film react with delight to see the story going down a different path, but the joke is being played on us.

Here's the non-spoiler description:
It's like a David Mamet film about con artists where you're asked to believe these are the best con artists of all time and also that it's very easy to dupe them. It's dishonest to the characters, but you might not notice because the complicated con is very cool.

I disagree. The characters who get duped are either not as smart as they initially appear, or smart but guilty of underestimating some people. I don't agree that he sacrifices character for the sake of plot, at all.

Yeah, I'm with you here. Further discussion should go into a spoiler, thread, though.

Erotic is like funny-- quite subjective, and sometimes personal.  While I agree with Junior that the movie is erotic, I think I see Bondo's point that it is a bit too orchestrated to be truly sensual (although I see the same thing in Sense 8). 

I do think there's some personal preference, but that's also just a genre title. There are plenty of "erotic thrillers" that I find both less thrilling and less erotic than this film, but they're still erotic thrillers. This is the same conversation as whether The Witch is a horror film or not.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 28, 2017, 12:24:07 PM
As far as whether Handmaiden fits the general category of erotic, I don't think there's much argument there.  Whether you think it's effective or not, that's certainly the goal.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on January 28, 2017, 12:30:44 PM
Agreed!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 28, 2017, 08:41:08 PM
SPL 2: This plot got too convoluted for me. There were points where I think they were doing wire-assisted stunts and they always gave things a weightless nature that pulled me out of fight scenes.

The Beaver: Sometimes it is good to feel pain, just to feel anything at all. Not always successful as a story, but this hit me square in the feels.

The Jungle Book: I was cheering for Shere Khan. By the end of the movie Mowgli kind of proves him right, what with the bee genocide and the burning down a huge swath of the jungle.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on January 29, 2017, 09:11:45 AM
The Jungle Book: I was cheering for Shere Khan. By the end of the movie Mowgli kind of proves him right, what with the bee genocide and the burning down a huge swath of the jungle.

Yep. Humans are the worst.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 29, 2017, 01:11:06 PM
The Jungle Book: I was cheering for Shere Khan. By the end of the movie Mowgli kind of proves him right, what with the bee genocide and the burning down a huge swath of the jungle.

Yep. Humans are the worst.

You sure your name isn't "Sam"?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 29, 2017, 02:34:10 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2016/Tower.jpg)

Tower  (Keith Maitland, 2016)

A great example of a film where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I didn't like the style of the animation, I didn't like the look of the interviews (the framing, the white backgrounds), I didn't like the editing — and yet, taken altogether, it more or less works. Similar to a film like The Times of Harvey Milk, Tower's greatest strength lies in the power of its interview subjects, still raw with emotion while sharing vivid memories of a bygone tragedy. The film seems more concerned with human connections and issues of cowardice and sacrifice and guilt and gratitude than with the specific facts of August 1, 1966. We learn almost nothing about the sniper, how many rounds he fired, nor (I don't think) how long the siege lasted, even though "96 Minutes" is the name of the source article. The film is more abstractly about Terror, in the larger sense, something which comes full fore near the end as a powerful editorial by Walter Cronkite — suggesting that "it seems likely that Charles Joseph Whitman's crime was society's crime" — is intercut with footage of modern-day mass shootings. The interplay between the animation and the live-action elements is much more effective at a theoretical level than in the actual execution, which is a bit inelegant and at times even amateurish.

Grade: B-



As far as the Filmspots go, I've now seen all the Documentary nominees, and Cameraperson will definitely get my vote. I'm still hoping for either Moana or Zootopia can win my vote in the Animated Film category.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 29, 2017, 04:53:06 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2016/WinteronFire.jpg)

Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom  (Evgeny Afineevsky, 2015)

I doubt there are many recent films that are more resonant and relevant right now in America, in this very instant, than Winter in Fire, a movie which is almost more document than documentary.

Afineevsky's film capture the spirit and essence of modern revolution — of protest and solidarity and commitment and courage and fear — revolution against a corrupt elected leader with tyrannical leanings, a leader who seems more concerned with his personal relationship with Russia than with the will of his own people. It's equal parts thrilling and terrifying and inspirational. Afineevsky's camera is there at ground level, starting on day one with the peaceful gathering of protesters in Maidan Square. As things escalate and President Yanukovych tries to quash the protests with violent dispersal, the film takes the form of the most riveting embedded war reporting.

Afineevsky uses interviews with participants of the revolution to tie all the footage together, getting lots of different perspectives on the events from the side of the protesters. These interviews aren't particularly well filmed, but the content is mostly good, really contributing to the "you are there" feel of the whole movie. On a few occasions, I bristled against a few wild-sounding claims going unchecked (usually about the government's intentions, etc.), but on some of those occasions there'd then be supporting footage to shut me up pretty quickly.

My biggest criticism of Winter on Fire relates to its editing — specifically, the way in which the interviews are intercut with the raw footage of the action on the streets. On many occasions, I didn't really care who was talking; just hearing their words was enough. But with every change in interviewee, the film always includes at least a quick shot of them along with a lower third reminding us who they are, and it becomes almost a nuisance — a distraction from the main footage. There's also a sameness to the pattern and rhythm of these edits that becomes a bit numbing after awhile, robbing the film of some of its immediacy.

There's a brief bit of narration near the beginning of the film that lays out the political context in Ukraine, and it's pretty hilarious how much the narrator sounds like Galadriel in The Fellowship of the Rings. She says something about the Ukrainian people looking to the East (hoping to join the EU) but Yanukovych looking to the West (considering a pact with Russia), and all I could hear was, "Rumor grew of a Shadow in the East...whispers of a nameless fear." I doubt Afineevsky really meant to compare Yanukovych with Saruman and Putin with Sauron, but I almost wish he had. Stylistically, though, that sequence, along with the other animated maps that transition us between locations, feel more like they belong in a video game. There could have been an interesting connection there, with the largely young crowd seeing revolution like a game at first, but the documentary doesn't pursue that link.

Winter on Fire is a very good film that would demand to be watched even if it weren't so damned timely right here, right now.

Grade: B+

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 29, 2017, 05:26:30 PM
Ugh, that Winter on Fire review took way too long to write and it's not even a very good review. Some quicker hits:

Hunt for the Wilderpeople  (Taika Waititi, 2016)
A nice little movie, however slight, more amusing to me than laugh-out-loud funny. It's exceedingly well made, with highest marks going to the editing, which is not only technically sharp but also a strong source of humor.
Grade: B-

Don't Think Twice  (Mike Birbiglia, 2016)
When Don't Think Twice just freely focuses on the general camaraderie of the improv group, it's effortlessly pleasant, both in its writing and in the work of its ensemble cast. But, yikes, the story beats are all handled so poorly. "Dad, I don't like real estate," says one character, dismissively and dumbly, without no acknowledgement of his own very current real estate crisis. That moment is indicative of the script's plotting as a whole.
Grade: B-

The Fits  (Anna Rose Holmer, 2015)
A hard movie not to like, but I'm an expert. The themes seem better suited for a haiku than for a 72-minute film. It starts off in Billy Elliott territory but then meanders into Picnic at Hanging Rock terrain and flies away. It's still a weirdly admirable effort, though, despite being largely dull.
Grade: C+

Hidden Figures  (Theodore Melfi, 2016)
I'm glad this story has been told and told with wide appeal, but I couldn't muster up much enthusiasm for the means of its telling. I was actually excited for some paint-by-numbers entertainment, but this was a bridge too far (e.g,. Kevin Costner's character saying, for no good reason, "Maybe it's not new math at all," then walking away to leave Taraji P. Henson with the eureka moment that he inspired). I almost felt like the League of Their Own-style treatment of this history turned the trailblazing women at the center of the story into slightly clownish figures in need of validation from the more serious white characters around them. I'm overstating things, but there's definitely something there I found troubling. I would have preferred an Apollo 13-style treatment, or any style that took math and science at all seriously. Janelle Monae impressed me more here than in Moonlight. I wish her role hadn't been so peripheral.
Grade: C

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 29, 2017, 06:09:41 PM
Hidden Figures  (Theodore Melfi, 2016)
I'm glad this story has been told and told with wide appeal, but I couldn't muster up much enthusiasm for the means of its telling. I was actually excited for some paint-by-numbers entertainment, but this was a bridge too far (e.g,. Kevin Costner's character saying, for no good reason, "Maybe it's not new math at all," then walking away to leave Taraji P. Henson with the eureka moment that he inspired). I almost felt like the League of Their Own-style treatment of this history turned the trailblazing women at the center of the story into slightly clownish figures in need of validation from the more serious white characters around them. I'm overstating things, but there's definitely something there I found troubling. I would have preferred an Apollo 13-style treatment, or any style that took math and science at all seriously. Janelle Monae impressed me more here than in Moonlight. I wish her role hadn't been so peripheral.
Grade: C

pixote

Great insights here, pixote. That type of moment of "not new math at all" plays out in different scenes which make me wondering if a different director could have fixed the parts that were keeping me from embracing this movie more. The two that stuck out to me most are when he had Katherine take all her math work to the bathroom a half mile away. Why?! It completely took me out of the reason the scenes were there in the first place. How much math can you do in a bathroom stall? Yes, it made her look clownish. Here she is one of the most intellectual people at NASA and she is reduced to silly visual gags. The other scene is when Paul is showing geometry by way of a plastic rocket, to engineers!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 29, 2017, 06:17:08 PM
The other scene is when Paul is showing geometry by way of a plastic rocket, to engineers!

:)

Jim Parsons is the front-runner in the new Filmspot category for Most Thankless Role.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on January 29, 2017, 06:22:59 PM
 :D

He's got my vote!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on January 29, 2017, 07:00:18 PM
I doubt there are many recent films that are more resonant and relevant right now in America, in this very instant, than Winter in Fire, a movie which is almost more document than documentary.

In a literal sense that may be true. However, if I was nominating for new Filmspot category for Most Politically Relevant, I might have to go with:

Denial (2016)

Throughout my years of higher education, I've only ever had to withdraw from one class. It was a composition class that I quickly realize was being graded on the basis of how much you agreed with the instructor. She revealed herself on day one to be a postmodernist, asking questions basically of the nature of "is gravity even a thing?" I am firmly of the belief that there are such things as facts, not just perceptions. This film puts the notion of a post-truth era on trial.

David Irving (Timothy Spall) is a man at home with white supremacists, as well as a historian of dubious merits based on denying that there was an orchestrated effort by the Nazis to exterminate Jews, including gassing them at Auschwitz. Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) is a professor who studies Holocaust denial, which naturally means she's had harsh words for Irving. Exploiting the nature of British libel law, he sues her for the damage her calling him a racist and a Holocaust denier has done to him.

So we have a man who calls out the academic elite, who is supported by white supremacists, and engages in bald-faced lying and a general approach meant to undercut the very notion of truth. But because he speaks plain, maybe charismatically, he gathers rather a following. It is also notable that the nature of the case puts truth and justice on the defensive, all in the name of creating a safe space for hatred. In what is also hopefully prescient, it may be lawyers and the law that stands as the one place truth still carries weight. Of note is a conflict between Deborah and her solicitors and barristers over tactics, between direct emotional approaches (voting third party, punching Nazis) and careful logical ones.

If the film is highly relevant, it doesn't follow that it is exceptional. Denial has strong acting, as one would expect from the cast, but does feel a bit too linear and workmanlike in how it moves through the plot.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 30, 2017, 02:20:16 AM
Among the group, one of the most enigmatic and unique members is goodguy (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=15341). goodguy like to tell you what he's watching, usually with a cool, intriguing poster and an unusual trailer, rarely tells you what he thought, though there are hints (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=6317.msg782504#msg782504) on several threads. He watches more current movies in a year than I do (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=15341). There were multiple invites to take part in things like Top 100 club, but gg likes to stick to his own playbook. A regular poster, but off on his own path, coming off to me as a traveller in a parallel movie world.

Wanting to know the tastes of goodguy better, I realized I would have to walk a mile in his shoes. I know from his posts that we don't look at movies in the same way. The first recommendation I remember taking up on was La Antena and it didn't go well (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9536.msg655997#msg655997). So I can't watch a goodguy movie expecting it to be something up my alley. It's a taste for a different palate, one I have yet to acquire, but if I'm ever gong to expand my horizons, I'm going to have to walk that mile.

Cosmos (2015)
The final film by Andrzej Zulawski, a filmmaker I initially despised (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=11349.msg708890#msg708890), but have been coming around on (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=11043.msg855271#msg855271). This is one of his less accessible efforts, meaning not only does it have the enigmatic and often impenetrable dialogue, it doesn't have nearly enough of the sensationalist excess that helped make him famous. If you can wipe away the thick outer layer, there's a playful puzzle underneath, with numerous visual symbols and meta conversations to open a large and lengthy Spoiler discussion thread. It's just that I found the outer layer discouraging, which I attribute to still being someone who tolerates the director at best. If you're a fan of Zulawski, I'd think of this as similar to Inland Empire in David Lynch's career.

Kosmos (2010)
I don't know when goodguy first shared the clip of Kosmos and Neptün circling each other and behaving like a couple of wild birds, but I knew immediately I would watch this film one day. It's quite an experience, one where I can say that even though it's not my type of film, this should easily be on more Top 100 lists. This is a film like Spirit of the Beehive, where you don't know where it came from but there are some who will truly love this movie. It's difficult to describe accurately, but I love how Kosmos is seen as both a savior and a problem to be dealt with. I love how the actor has such presence, but is actually small and when he first talks, the voice is higher than I expected. I initially wasn't sure it was coming from him. The photography is also beautiful and the sound mix is unique and brings a lot to the production.  When I post in Top 100 Club I often ask why a film is in someone's list. There would be no question here. This opened my eyes a little bit, a peek at cinema still too sophisticated - but not at all snooty - for me.


p.s. Since I often write about this in the negative, I should at least mention that both films feature animal cruelty. In Cosmos it's clearly fake and largely off-camera. In Kosmos there are shots involving cattle butchered for meat. The images are better handled than other films I've seen, but it's still distressing to watch.


p.p.s. I still have L'attesa to watch, but I also have a couple of more 2016 screeners I want to watch first.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 30, 2017, 04:05:54 AM
Sunset Song
Terrence Davies (2015)


I have been putting-off watching Sunset Song for months and now I know why. It's the kind of movie where the sort of person who says things like « nothing happens in this movie » would tell you nothing happens. Plenty happens, it's just not a very interesting plenty. I managed to remain engaged for more than one hour, expecting the movie to pick up its pace and take me somewhere more compelling until its by the book nature became inescapable. The story is a series of clichés about life for turn of the century young women in the British countryside. Chris is a difficult character to empathise with because those who participate in their own enslavement do not generate much sympathy.

There is an attempt at lyricism in the part of the script that uses voice-over narration to go for some sort of transcendent themes. It is very Malickian in form but the impact is almost negligible, perhaps because it doesn't quite fit the character. There is certainly some amount of mishandling of the tone and spirit of the film, not so much because Sunset Song doesn't know what it wants to be but because it doesn't quite know how to be it.

I don't know why I found this so much less dull than Certain Women. Maybe the style. Still, credit where credit is due, it reacquainted me with the word "bonny".

5/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 30, 2017, 05:35:41 AM
This one is partly for pixote.

Robocop and Starship Troopers
Paul Verhoeven (1987 and 1997)


Apparently Paul Verhoeven has a big thing for fascism. Nifty.

I don't know where that comes from. In the case of Robocop I surmised that maybe it was inspired by what was going on in Detroit but would that mean Starship Troopers is an indictment of the US military industrial complex as a whole? Or does Verhoeven just really like fascistic imagery? Regardless, he handles that fairly well. The former movie displays, among other things, perfectly shot architecture while ST goes so far as to create a high school of aryan-like super models for the rich.

These are not movies where you empathise profoundly with the protagonists thanks to carefully managed sympathy and strategically placed moments of levity. This is not Iron Man is what I am saying. You never much care about the characters (or even remember their names). All the fun is in the progression of the plot and the action scenes, even if there are some fun levity scenes in ST. This is old school 80's action where every body part is liable to explode and there are all sorts of fluids flying every each way.

Both stories are very simple but the more recent one has more to say. You have to ignore some hideous nonsense plot-holes though, like how a couple of 19 year olds are allowed to pilot a interstellar space ship or how insects are able to throw asteroids at other planets at luminal speed.

8/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 30, 2017, 05:39:20 AM
High Rise
Ben Wheatly (2016)


finally a movie that puts the working class back in its place.

I don't know why I did not connect with High Rise. It felt like I should, especially when people start murdering each other left and right. Maybe it is because of the plot that makes no sense - or, at least, is insufficiently explained. The fact is that I didn't though.

6/10

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 30, 2017, 06:11:08 AM
I have been trying to finish this one for 10 days...

Silence
Martin Scorsese (2016)


Martin Scorsese is one of the directors I trust enough to blindly go watch any new movie he puts out. I haven't loved all of his films, whether early or recent, but the good far outweighs the bad and I am rarely averse to them. I vaguely knew Silence was about Catholic priests in feudal Japan going in, but that was about it.

If anything that much information played in favour of the movie. We really don't get enough movies about feudal Japans - or any other feudal society for that matter. I had to go all the way back to 2010 to find a movie that might have been released here (13 Assassins) and all such movies are usually about samurais. Here was a movie about a subject I love that looked at it from an angle that is almost never taken.

It is odd that I should like one of the most gorgeous movies of the year less than some drab, unremarkable fare I watched a few months ago and have already forgotten. The padres spend the movie pushing against the Japanese Inquisition (which, unlike the Spanish kind, is apparently completely expected) and coming to grips with their relationship to Jehovah. Scorsese treats his subject in a way that glorifies the fanaticism of his characters, both priestly and not, which makes it impossible to like the movie, or them. During the almost entire running time of the film martyrdom is portrayed as a noble thing, a demonstration of integrity when lying and humiliation provide a way out. The priests disagree about whether tramping on an image of Jesus is permissible but they are both intent on continuing preaching, whatever the cost visited upon their flock.

Garfield demonstrates some amount of doubt as the movie progresses and his deity remains silent. This feels more like Scorsese checking a box that everyone would be expecting than a genuine attempt to explore that corner of Garfield's psyche. I am likely wrong about that, I want to think Scorsese is better than that, but the whole thing was very much mishandled. The most egregious moments are when the heavenly powers actually speak to Garfield in audible voices.

I don't know how Scorsese lives his religiosity. I don't even know if he is religious at all. Had I not known he had directed this I would have thought the director had been fascinated by the worst aspects of Catholicism of the Jesuit variety. The last shot of the movie reveals something that demonstrates, if there was any doubt, that Silence is ultimately about faith, faith in the face of adversity and doubt. It believes such faith is a great, worthwhile thing, one that merits a two hour monument. I disagree.

The script only gets intellectually interesting during the discussions in its last third, when Garfield is confronted with the Inquisitor and Liam Neeson. There is no doubt the Japanese authorities are the villains of the story and the history, but the Jesuits are not blameless either, and it is in the allotment of blame and reason that these exchanges shine. The Inquisitor is not a barbarian fundamentalist but a learned man fighting for the sovereignty of his country. Neeson has become enlightened in the cultural realities of Japan that make it hard to preach Catholicism there. His explanation of how Garfield's converts are not real Christians is one of the movie's highlights and the kind of scene I would have loved to see more of. Garfield is deaf to most of their points. A lot of his arguments are right but he speaks out of emotion and faith, not intellectual conviction.

To my mind there were scores of superior stories that could have been told about this period and place, about this same subject even, especially with these means. I resent the film a bit for taking this marvellous opportunity and wasting it so, even if that is unfair. There is another point that I do not believe to be unfair though. Here we have a movie about Portuguese (is any of them a Spaniard?) men in Japan and all Europeans are played by Anglo-Saxons. It is not as if English-washing were anything new, but if there is ever an opportunity to play a movie in real language, surely this is it? A director's darling project, a historical piece, non-dead languages. Is this about mass audience appeal ? Is Silence supposed to attract large crowds ?

4/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Knocked Out Loaded on January 30, 2017, 08:26:49 AM
The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer, 2015).

The Fits doesn't knock you, but it rocks you in a gentle kind of way during it's short runtime. Like a meditation sort of. Storywise I never understood what the fits themselves were supposed to symbolize, but that in itself did not detract much from the experience. Well composed images and good editing were the biggest pay-offs. A curious, non-rethorical, question: does the movie say anything special about the black experience. Had we viewed it differently if it had been set within a non-black community?

60°
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on January 30, 2017, 12:40:40 PM
I have been trying to finish this one for 10 days...

Silence
Martin Scorsese (2016)


The script only gets intellectually interesting during the discussions in its last third, when Garfield is confronted with the Inquisitor and Liam Neeson. There is no doubt the Japanese authorities are the villains of the story and the history, but the Jesuits are not blameless either, and it is in the allotment of blame and reason that these exchanges shine. The Inquisitor is not a barbarian fundamentalist but a learned man fighting for the sovereignty of his country. Neeson has become enlightened in the cultural realities of Japan that make it hard to preach Catholicism there. His explanation of how Garfield's converts are not real Christians is one of the movie's highlights and the kind of scene I would have loved to see more of. Garfield is deaf to most of their points. A lot of his arguments are right but he speaks out of emotion and faith, not intellectual conviction.

To my mind there were scores of superior stories that could have been told about this period and place, about this same subject even, especially with these means. I resent the film a bit for taking this marvellous opportunity and wasting it so, even if that is unfair. There is another point that I do not believe to be unfair though. Here we have a movie about Portuguese (is any of them a Spaniard?) men in Japan and all Europeans are played by Anglo-Saxons. It is not as if English-washing were anything new, but if there is ever an opportunity to play a movie in real language, surely this is it? A director's darling project, a historical piece, non-dead languages. Is this about mass audience appeal ? Is Silence supposed to attract large crowds ?

4/10

This... 

I was bothered by this film.. and while it briefly started to explore what could have been an interesting area in what it meant to convert somebody without ever thinking do they really have any idea of what you are really preaching... it didn't go enough into those kind of debates.

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 30, 2017, 01:19:11 PM
As someone who spent years trying to preach the gospel of Adam and Josh to Asian populations, these are questions jdc feels deeply.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on January 30, 2017, 06:03:33 PM
I probably won't have time to write about Silence anytime soon, so will need to rewatch it before I get a review out...which means waiting for the blu release.

The Jungle Book: I was cheering for Shere Khan. By the end of the movie Mowgli kind of proves him right, what with the bee genocide and the burning down a huge swath of the jungle.

Yep. Humans are the worst.

You sure your name isn't "Sam"?
I adhere strongly to the doctrine of total depravity.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 30, 2017, 11:05:21 PM
(http://imgur.com/R1I1NHa.jpg)
Ringing Bell (1978)

I've been teasing this one all day, (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13256.msg863024#msg863024) and watching it I was thinking about how it plays to someone depending on what they know and expectations. If you went into it completely innocent and thinking it was a kids film, there's dialogue right at the beginning that sets this up as a Bambi experience. There are cute moments with the prancing lamb, but the threat of the wolf beyond the fence all but tells you this will contain some death. A quick loving scene between the lamb and his mom and you can easily figure out where the story is headed.

For a while, this was my problem. The film is only 46 minutes long, so there's no time to build the world or introduce characters. There's only enough time to focus on impending doom. So, if you go in cold you catch on quick and if you go in knowing what the film is really about everything is too stripped down for emotional resonance. The scene where wolf kills mom has a couple of interesting shots, but there's no real emotional gutting, no matter how much the baby lamb cries and wails. (And yeah, there's a brief moment here where I'm thinking, "why was I interested in watching this again?")

The stage is set for Tarantino's Bambi 2, but here is where things get very interesting, and Japanese in terms of questioning the path of revenge. The lamb directly confronts the wolf and asks to be trained to be a wolf and not a sheep (unsubtle metaphor). The wolf agrees, and a unique relationship forms between them that humanizes the wolf while it sharpens the sheep's anger. I'm stopping there, but I wanted to give you a flavor of what an interesting turn the story takes.

Tonally this is as consistent as a South Korean film, which is to say it's not and yet it kind of is. The brief cute moments don't match up with the Watership Down scenes of darkness and violence, but having them both in the same movie is such an interesting approach. Also, while the violence is harsh it isn't bloody, which makes it easier to take seriously and not dismiss it as being manipulative for cheap thrills.
Rating: * * * - Very Good

There's a dubbed version on YouTube which I've read is terrible. I was able to find it with subtitles.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on January 30, 2017, 11:46:24 PM
This seems VERY interesting to me, but it also seems out of the blue for you.  What caused you to seek it out?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 30, 2017, 11:53:20 PM
I found another interesting list of recommended horror movies. I'm not interested in going back in time for my chronological marathon, so I started looking with 1978, saw the poster, read the synopsis and I was immediately struck by the combination of a sweet animated lamb and the film being on a horror list.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 31, 2017, 03:21:39 AM
I probably won't have time to write about Silence anytime soon, so will need to rewatch it before I get a review out...which means waiting for the blu release.

The Jungle Book: I was cheering for Shere Khan. By the end of the movie Mowgli kind of proves him right, what with the bee genocide and the burning down a huge swath of the jungle.

Yep. Humans are the worst.

You sure your name isn't "Sam"?
I adhere strongly to the doctrine of total depravity.

fourthed
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 31, 2017, 09:38:46 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2016/GreenRoom.jpg)

Green Room  (Jeremy Saulnier, 2015)

With a little more personality, this successfully tense thriller with horror leanings (but no real overt horror elements) could perhaps have been among the year's top films. As is, it's a moderately entertaining but ultimately forgettable exercise in dread. The script has to strain to stretch out the appealingly simple premise to feature length, though it smartly does so by just briskly stating the rules of the situation and immediately moving on, without wasting time trying to turn the incredible credible. It's a good strategy for keeping the focus on the atmosphere, which the film's real strength, much more so than its story or characters. Patrick Stewart's presence is ultimately something of a red herring, the way he underplays his character. The context begs him to take over the film in bravura fashion, but the role never allows him that opportunity. I'm curious now to give Blue Ruin a look, partly to explore Saulnier more but also to see what else Macon Blair can do. (edit: I was referring to Blair's acting potential, but apparently his directorial debut just won a prize at Sundance, so never mind.)

Grade: B-

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on January 31, 2017, 09:44:02 PM
NOW, you're curious about Blue Ruin? What's held you back? Just not enough time or did you read a bad review from someone you trust?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on January 31, 2017, 09:47:03 PM
NOW, you're curious about Blue Ruin? What's held you back? Just not enough time or did you read a bad review from someone you trust?

It actually just never made it onto my radar, I think partly due to a weird association with the films Blue Car and Blue Valentine, both of which I also skipped.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: goodguy on February 01, 2017, 04:33:52 PM
Cosmos (2015)
The final film by Andrzej Zulawski, a filmmaker I initially despised (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=11349.msg708890#msg708890), but have been coming around on (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=11043.msg855271#msg855271). This is one of his less accessible efforts, meaning not only does it have the enigmatic and often impenetrable dialogue, it doesn't have nearly enough of the sensationalist excess that helped make him famous. If you can wipe away the thick outer layer, there's a playful puzzle underneath, with numerous visual symbols and meta conversations to open a large and lengthy Spoiler discussion thread. It's just that I found the outer layer discouraging, which I attribute to still being someone who tolerates the director at best. If you're a fan of Zulawski, I'd think of this as similar to Inland Empire in David Lynch's career.

Removing the outer layer of a Zulawski film to get to its inner meaning is a bit like Witold, the protagonist, looking at stains on a ceiling. He sees a tiny detail, an arrow or maybe a rake (another piece of the puzzle), but remains oblivious to the giant vulva it resembles.

The core of Zulawski's filmmaking is his ability to transform emotions and thoughts into kinetic energy, into these spiraling, frenetic, nervous, ecstatic performances. And make no mistake, as chaotic as they may seem, they are carefully controlled. If you'd ever seen footage of Zulawski directing someone, you would dismiss the notion of acting class exercises as in your Diabel review.

In Cosmos, Zulawski operates in a different register than in most of his earlier films, more farcical with bouts of pure slapstick. This might be due to his source material, a supposedly (i.e. I haven't read it) absurdist novel by Witold Gombrowicz. I honestly thought this would go over a bit better with you, as it seems overall tamer than the other films you've seen so far. Alas, we like what we like. If you're looking for Zulawski at his most calm, La fidélité is the answer. Although I'm sure there will be other roadblocks in that one.

PS: I'm offline most of the week, but wanted to quickly get in some thoughts on Zulawski at least. I'll get back on Kosmos later.

PPS: L'attesa will be easier viewing, I think. Plus the director, Piero Messina, was an assistant to Paolo Sorrentino, whom you like, I believe.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StarCarly on February 01, 2017, 07:02:45 PM
The Fits (2016)

I don't know much, but I know I didn't get this. I'm also pretty sure I didn't enjoy it. A slow movie with a short running time reminds me of that old joke wonderfully paraphrased by Woody Allen  "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." "Yeah, I know; and such small portions."


C
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 01, 2017, 09:44:45 PM
Yeah, it's one that passed right by me.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 02, 2017, 12:31:49 AM
I have 79 actor lists bookmarked on Letterboxd where Mrs. 1SO and I are planning to watch their entire filmographies. From Alan Ladd to William Powell. From the 16 features of Margaret Sullavan to as many of the 150 with Anthony Quinn I choose to watch. The one closest to completion is Fred Astaire with 34/36. (Holdouts are 1976's The Amazing Dobermans and 1977's The Purple Taxi.)

After Astaire comes...
Barbara Stanwyck 72/84 (85.7%)
James Cagney 57/65  (87.7%)
James Stewart 67/79 (84.8%)

This week I watched one featuring each of them. 3 titles from deep down in the deck.

Come Fill the Cup (1951)
* * * - Good
Cagney plays an alcoholic newspaperman who hits bottom. I was not looking forward to Cagney as a drunk, he too theatrical to play the serious side of such a disease. Luckily, the first act is about his personal rehabilitation through the help of another former alcoholic (James Gleason, in one of his best roles). Their scenes are direct and ring true, choosing honesty over melodrama. The real story involves Cagney being pressured by his boss (Raymond Massey) to detox his son (Gig Young, who was nominated for this performance, and rightly so.) I love seeing a film from the 50s that gets so much right about alcoholism, and Cagney is great playing a guy taking it one day at a time. The story with the son involves some noir elements including a gangster and some shady newspaper tactics, but that was the spoonful of sugar that helped this medicine go down. I'm marking this as a Discovery. Really curious to re-watch The Lost Weekend now.

I was so excited to find Come Fill the Cup, I pushed my luck with Cagney and followed it with Shake Hands with the Devil (1959). In this, Cagney plays an IRA terrorist in the 1920s. He's miscast but the only charismatic person in the film. Everyone else is authentic, but frightfully uninteresting.
* *


Navy Blue and Gold (1937)
* * * - Okay
Stewart's film is a sports drama set in Annapolis Naval Academy, also starring Robert Young. Even though this is early work, Stewart's persona is in full display. Sweet, serious, boyishly handsome, and in one scene as angry as I've seen him get in the Anthony Mann westerns. The film is standard, right down to the big football game finale, but this is a case where Stewart being one of and/or the greatest actors of all time makes a film like this into something worth watching.


The Gay Sisters (1942)
* *
Stanwyck plays the oldest of three sisters caught in a legal battle over their father's estate that's taken most of their lives. (The explanation of why this has gone on for so long is one of the best scenes.) The motivations of everyone fighting for the same piece of pie is interesting, but the dramatics have no life when they're played out. A rare case where I enjoyed the film more when the actors were talking instead of showing.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 02, 2017, 02:50:46 AM
I have The Purple Taxi at home. Looking forward to your review.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on February 02, 2017, 08:24:21 AM
The Fits (2016)

I don't know much, but I know I didn't get this. I'm also pretty sure I didn't enjoy it. A slow movie with a short running time reminds me of that old joke wonderfully paraphrased by Woody Allen  "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." "Yeah, I know; and such small portions."


C
Yeah, it's one that passed right by me.

It certainly didn't entrance me as much as it has others. But I also didn't hate it. It had an atmosphere that was interesting at least.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Totoro on February 02, 2017, 05:11:36 PM
THE FITS is a fantastic college thesis short film turned into a feature. It's an oddity to me. I'm pretty sure it actually celebrates gender conformity?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on February 02, 2017, 05:22:41 PM
Yeah, that's not my reading at all. I'm gonna write a proper review this weekend because I feel like everybody's missing something that I loved and I want to help people see it, if I've got those powers.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on February 02, 2017, 07:17:40 PM
Yeah, that's not my reading at all. I'm gonna write a proper review this weekend because I feel like everybody's missing something that I loved and I want to help people see it, if I've got those powers.

Yeah, strange seeing a long string of such lukewarm reviews. One of my favorites of the year.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on February 02, 2017, 07:31:45 PM
I'm positive on it, but mainly due to that last scene. A bit like Phoenix.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 03, 2017, 12:05:03 AM
Queen of Katwe (2016)

We'll just file this as part 3439 of Bondo has no heart. Painfully earnest with poorly written and acted children. I'm not even that convinced by the film's award-lineage actors.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 03, 2017, 09:31:41 AM
Totoro's for, Bondo's against. I am going to go on a limb and say I would probably side with Bondo. Off the watchlist then.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on February 03, 2017, 12:25:23 PM
(http://i63.tinypic.com/33uemhg.jpg)
The Space Between Us (Peter Chelsom, 2017)

The winter months sound cozy enough, especially when you live in the Midwest. It's cold outside, perhaps snowy, and there's nothing more you'd like to do than curl up on the coach and watch a great movie, or even to escape the weather outside in one of those new big comfy theater seats that have become popular in theaters. The problem? The winter months are notorious for "bad" movies. A proverbial wasteland of dreck which studios are just hoping to dump into release. As a result, you see more curling up on the coach with the Oscar nominations, newly released on DVD or streaming services, than you do the theater route, with very little appealing on the marquee. The Space Between Us looks promising though, or at the very least it isn't something I would blindly discard as being another horrible teen romance drama based on the cast and trailer. Oh, how very little did I know.

Nathaniel Shepard (Gary Oldman) is a dreamer. He dreams of being able to establish a colony on Mars called East Texas where humans can flourish and live. After the mission launches, it is reveled that the lead astronaut (Janet Montgomery) is pregnant, complicating matters. She dies giving birth to Gardner (Asa Butterfield) the first human born on Mars. NASA, however, decides to protect the science and potential of the mission by hiding Gardner's existence from the world. Now 16, Gardner spends his time in relative isolation on Mars, with just a few scientists to help raise him. He at least has a mother figure in astronaut Kendra (Carla Gugino), and a "pen pal" in equally isolated foster kid Tulsa (Britt Robertson). After travelling to Earth, Gardner seeks out Tulsa, and the two run amok across the beautiful landscape of the American West in search of Garner's unknown father, but Gardner's body is not conditioned to live in the atmosphere of Earth.

Akin to the sick teen romance drama of something like The Fault in Our Stars, The Space Between Us certainly has ambitions, and isn't completely trainwrecked by its premise (although an irresponsible lead astronaut getting pregnant just before the mission is a bit far-fetched). The screenplay here takes way too many chances with its characters, unrealistic twists and turns which are extremely eye-roll inducing. These don't feel like real people, which is a shame because I feel like the setup of the relationship between Tulsa and Gardner is quite strong. Asa Butterfield is likely the best part of this film, playing the fish out of water Martian to perfection as his genuine sense of wonder and curiosity about the world, about human relationships feels very real. Butterfield's reactions to some of the simplest things is a joy.

The film is unfortunately too busy trying to shock and awe at every turn that it doesn't take the time to really explore these smaller moments of appreciation about the world in which we live, about the wonderful relationships we hold with fellow human beings. The film is originally setup as this love letter to humanity, to showcase the wonderful things about the world and the people who live in it, but instead of looking inside, instead of being and introspective exploration of these simpler delights of the world, the film is too predisposed to keep the viewer guessing. Gardner's father should work as a MacGuffin, something which serves as a plot device to keep the characters motivated, but to not truly be meaningful in the end, allowing the film to become more about Gardner, Tulsa, and what it means to be human, what it means to share in the human experience. The Space Between Us really misses out on this opportunity by taking itself too seriously.

The Space Between Us has plenty of sweet "diamond in the rough" moments, which made me wonder why this film wasn't any better than it was. They pop up every now and then as markers that there may be a decent idea behind this film. However, the film is far more "rough" than it is "diamond", which makes it one to certainly skip, even if its cinematography is often gorgeous, highlighting the tremendous beauty of the natural world. It is a sharply photographed film if nothing else. Butterfield's performance does have me hopeful that he can evolve into a decent leading man in future films. He has an on screen charisma which could lend itself to much better roles. But overall, The Space Between Us is a pretty horrible film.

** - Poor
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on February 03, 2017, 12:30:20 PM
That all jives perfectly with my impression from the trailer, which led me to believe the film had about 15 minutes' worth of good stuff that would really appeal to me but wouldn't be worth the frustrating remainder of the running time.

Any great songs on the soundtrack , à la The Fault in Our Stars?

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on February 03, 2017, 12:33:25 PM
I really liked the soundtrack. Some good stuff there. Ingrid Michaelson, James Bay, Børns.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 03, 2017, 11:20:43 PM
(http://imgur.com/SRkEkgw.jpg)
L’Attesa/The Wait (2015)

You could easily call B.S. on this film's plot and walk away all proud of yourself. It's about a mother who is mourning the loss of someone when her son's fiancée arrives. The film doesn't say that the recently deceased is her son, and doesn't say that it isn't. If you choose to get caught up in the mystery, it's pretty thin and not very satisfying, but you're also missing the forest for the trees. This isn't a film about clever mind games, but about human observation and emotional contact. What's important about the answer isn't the answer, but why the mother created this question in the first place.

(http://imgur.com/ITEOoDr.jpg)

This all works quite well for two reasons. One is that the mother is played by Juliette Binoche. The film is light on dialogue and long on expressions, so casting someone of Binoche's caliber is a must. The film gives her a lot of room to be amazing, and her performance alone makes the film a rewarding experience. However, she's not alone because the cinematography is a shining example of evocative imagery. This is a film that runs on emotions, not intellect and Francesco Di Giacomo shows a great deal of flair, but he doesn't get overly-stylish. There are many static compositions as well, where the use of light and color (or the absence of it) manage to create a wonderful mood. It would be fair to call the film spellbinding if not for the relaxed pace. Another gem you can put down as a Discovery, and I have goodguy to thank for it.
Rating: * * * - Good
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 04, 2017, 12:15:18 AM
I'm walking away proud of myself without having even watched it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 04, 2017, 12:29:56 AM
Bondo doesn't like Juliette Binoche, cinema, birthdays, free stuff, kittens and puppies, bacon, pie, keyboards, Hamilton, vacation, the 90s, the internet, mom's cooking and smirnoff's gifs.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 04, 2017, 12:46:15 AM
Take that back, I love kittens and Hamilton.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 04, 2017, 05:19:08 AM
I was worried there for a while. smirnoff will be distraught though.

Your review lost me at « This is a film that runs on emotions, not intellect ».
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 04, 2017, 08:04:11 AM
smirnoff will be distraught though.

And the perfect gif to show it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 04, 2017, 08:26:38 AM
La Grande Illusion
Jean Renoir (1937)


The wistful Monsieur Gustave would have been at home in La Grande Illusion. Not only do the protagonists share his inclination for prison-breaking but the movie is also a celebration of the gentler, more civilised times he yearns for. In the midst of the barbarity of the trenches and the birth of modern warfare there was a space for civility and manners. Away from the butchery, Germans and French could deal with one another with respect and even kindliness, even separated by their roles of prisoners and gaolers. This was back when two people could go to war without believing each other to be minions of darkness, when a guard could take it upon himself to lift the spirits of an enemy confined in solitary, when two officers of opposite sides would share a moment to enjoy cigarettes and talk. It is not surprising that the movie was censored in Germany when it came out. It is a painful reminder of tenderness lost and of the bestialisation of that country during those preceding decades. Surely Renoir must be idealising to some extent ; I really couldn't care. This is how enemies should behave if enemies there must be, and whether it was ever truly real is immaterial. How far we have come when presidents consider torture acceptable. These Germans would never have fathomed it.

As I understand is the rule, much of the spirit of the movie is about class distinction. De Boeldieu and von Rauffenstein are the heart of the movie to me. They refuse to surrender their manners and refinement to war and the passage of time. They are committed to their duty but never eschew politeness in its business. Von Rauffenstein looks down on men of lesser breeding while Boeldieu befriends them and sees their valour. There always remains a distance between them however, even with the wealthy Rosenthal. Both aristocrats are vestiges of dying eras, artefacts of institutions that must crumble in democracy's unrelenting progress. No economy can provide ten pairs of white gloves for all its people ; it is the side downside of democracy that it must destroy the best in order to improve the many. It is a good thing that we should be born in societies of equals ; La Grande Illusion provides a melancholy reminder that that was achieved more by bringing the elite to the level of the people than the reverse and invites us to be the worthy descendants of those who gave the word gentleman its meaning.

The movie ends with the cutting of an orchid. 

8/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: mañana on February 04, 2017, 09:46:54 AM
Bondo doesn't like Juliette Binoche, cinema, birthdays, free stuff, kittens and puppies, bacon, pie, keyboards, Hamilton, vacation, the 90s, the internet, mom's cooking and smirnoff's gifs.
The 90s?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Terrazine on February 04, 2017, 04:47:57 PM
Caught a little Pokemon on TV today.

Zoroark: Master of Illusions (2010)

The problem with anime films that were adapted from their TV series is quite obvious. Unlike their TV-to-movie American counterparts (like "Serenity" continuing "Firefly", for example), these anime films are usually just annual promotion for the ongoing 500-episode series, and this is especially true for Pokemon over the past two decades. There's a very clear formula to Pokemon films, even:

- A megalomaniacal, power-hungry villain
- A legendary Pokemon from the next series of Pokemon games would usually appear
- There is some kind of sad scene, but don't worry - a deus ex machina will fix it all
- More than half of the times, there's an environmental message to it, as do most other anime films
- A "feel-good" pop song will appear at the end credits

Aside from the Pokemon factor, it's really not that different from the formula of others of its ilk, be it One Piece or Naruto. It's a tired formula that I got bored of seeing ever since movie 6, "Jirachi Wish Maker", the last "quality" Pokemon movie IMO. Adding to the fact that you could even see the cameo-appearance of characters from the TV series that didn't even have significant roles in the story, and you should know that you've just seen another cash-in promo from the Pokemon company, and that's not even mentioning the exclusive legendary Pokemon tie-in that you could transfer into the next series of Pokemon games (Pokemon Black and White in this case) that kids are sure to annoy their parents to pre-order immediately.

Some effort should be commended for the cast's location-hunt to incorporate into their animated setting, but a merchandising-promo like this is, unfortunately, as forgettable as they come, and it really doesn't help that most of the Pokemon films are noncanonical anyway, giving you all the more reason to forget the money you've just spent on this. It's a decent way to keep your kids occupied for an hour and a half, but nothing more.

2.5/5
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 04, 2017, 04:53:03 PM
We don't get enough Pokemon in here. Thanks.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 05, 2017, 01:11:55 AM
Hunt for the Wilderpeople  (Taika Waititi, 2016)
A nice little movie, however slight, more amusing to me than laugh-out-loud funny. It's exceedingly well made, with highest marks going to the editing, which is not only technically sharp but also a strong source of humor.
Grade: B-

I love this review. Two sentences and I relate to each of them. :)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 05, 2017, 01:14:35 AM
Green Room  (Jeremy Saulnier, 2015)

Grade: B-
NOW, you're curious about Blue Ruin? What's held you back? Just not enough time or did you read a bad review from someone you trust?
Oh snap, is that who directed Blue Ruin? Now I'm interested in Green Room. :))
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 05, 2017, 01:33:52 AM
smirnoff will be distraught though.

And the perfect gif to show it.

(https://i.imgur.com/emSWvEe.gif)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 05, 2017, 02:29:51 AM
Jason Bourne

First James Bond, then Ethan Hunt... now Jason Bourne. Of the three spy franchises driven off a cliff this year, this is the one that hurts the most. Ugh, could this have felt more stale? All the elements were tired... none more so than the main; Jason Bourne getting dragged back into another globetrotting pursuit as he learns in drips and drabs yet another "important" part of his past. Ultimatum was already getting a little tired in this formula, but worked because it felt like the resolution we had been building towards for so long. And it was! It was resolved! We're gonna dredge it back up again to learn about Jason's dad? Who gives a fart?

What BORING casting Tommy Lee Jones is. And Vincent Cassell. And that actress who I've never seen before. And they're given such boring and typical roles to play. There is nothing surprising that happens with any of them, or in any of their choices.

The scoring is a travesty. As the film first begins you are teased with terrific familiar sounds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O2aKmrTMgI#no). They are so distinctive and have always given the series a wonderful atmopshere and depth. There's SO much promise in that first 50 seconds. So much history! What a great resource for a film to be able to draw on. To bad the film abandons it, never to be heard again, and replaces it with unmemorable generic action drivel. The film, per tradition, is bookended with the equally familiar and distinctive Moby track (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftm1hiXgYsA#no). But after such an unexciting film experience that usually wonderful exclamation point felt more like a slap in the face. I yelled "UNEARNED!" when it played.

I didn't enjoy any of the sequences. Especially not the driving in Vegas stuff. What was that?

I felt the film's biggest shortcoming was in failing to give that sense of zeroing in on Bourne. All the other films are masterful in how they shoot those scenes with all the techies in front of their computers crunching data, and someone pacing around the room giving orders, and how that cuts between them and Bourne, and how it feels like a real chase. The failings here come back to Tommy Lee Jones... he is  such a statue in these scenes. I don't think he plays this part as well as Brian Cox or Straitharn or Joan Allen. He just doesn't seem to react to anything. He gets duped, nothing. He gets a new lead, nothing. He gives the scenes none of the tension needed. Seems like a directing problem. Like everyone turned up to try and crank out another film, but nobody really stopped to think about why the previous films worked.

Julia Stiles character, who I've always really enjoyed throughout the series, feels like a completely different character. Again, too much time away? I didn't like how they shoe-horned her into being a sort of catalyst for this movie, and then very predictably kill her. If felt like it was done out of simplicity. Like nobody wanted to try and keep that many balls in the air.

Mad disappointing! I can see why it isn't nom'd for anything.

In hindsight it seems like a REALLY bad sign when a film like this doesn't have a thread in the Spoiler Edition subforum. Really bad.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 05, 2017, 06:27:29 AM
Do you mean Alicia Vikander? As in Ex Machina Alicia Vikander, or The Danish Girl Alicia Vikander or A Royal Affair Alicia Vikander? If you've never seen her before I recommend you explore her filmography.

<>grumble grumble<>

My main problem with the movie was the forced internet-age global surveillance subplot. Every spy movie has been doing that for three years and this one was particularly bad, even worse than the one in Spectre.

Also, the whole « find out more about Bourne » thing was much less compelling than in previous movies.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 05, 2017, 07:05:25 AM
Watched these two in two days:

Kung Fu Panda 2 and Kung Fu Panda 3
Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni (2011 and 2016)


I did not watch these two movies earlier because of groundless prejudiced. I had liked the first Kung Fu Panda but the sequels seemed to me like cynical cash grabs in the worst typical of the worst instincts of the age of franchises. It turns out that the trilogy is an excellent example of sequels building upon the first movie to expand the world.

Instead of retreading the same paths and themes of the original, Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3 give their main character Po new character arcs and new lessons to learn. When movie 2 opens, he is already a formidable warrior and there is no need for further training montages. Overcoming his new enemy is about something more than mastering the techniques we have previously seen him learn.

Both new villains are original creations and not just upgraded versions of the tiger in the first film. Instead of operating a tricky escalation in skill the second instalment uses technology and emotional distractions to check Po. The second sequel does choose to present a more powerful figure but explains the differential by introducing a new variable into the world, one whose absence so far can be reasonably explained.

The animation is not excellent until you reach the fight scenes. The speed of the characters and the complexity of the choreograhies are impressive and could put many an anime to shame. The best shots are in the last movie when it uses a different kind of animation to mark some special scenes, like opting for a comic-book style screen split during one character introduction or using more primal colours and backgrounds in the spirit realm.

Of the two sequels, Kung Fu Panda 2 is the better, with a more dynamic and interesting plot that leaves little room to breathe. Both films are lots of fun though. They can be funny, even if they miss a Disney edge, and manage changes in tone seamlessly.

Between this franchise and How to Train Your Dragon I wonder if Dreamworks should not stick to making sequels to their better movies. That seems to work best for them.

7.5/10

Wonderful discovery.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on February 05, 2017, 09:23:31 AM
I'm so glad The Space Between Us Came out... it seems like it was the first trailer for the last, I dunno, 108 movies I saw.

Quick review:

I saw Lion. I cried during Lion. I liked Lion. You should see Lion.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 05, 2017, 09:29:31 AM
Is Lion the cabale movie of the year?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 05, 2017, 09:43:32 AM
Pink (2016)

Mainstream Indian cinema isn't known for subtlety. Thus this courtroom drama litigating an incident between a group of boys and a group of girls that boils down to a trial of victim blaming and other foul social standards toward women is rather didactic. That might lessen it as a work of art, but it doesn't really take away from its boldness as a political statement. Where it is most successful is in a turn in the trial near the end where what seemed to be the main issue in dispute is pulled away, like a tablecloth from under a full dinner setting, to force a reckoning with our perceptions.

I will say, judging based on this film, the Indian court system is an absolute mess. Apparently everyone is on trial at one time, lawyers get to monologue, huge assumptions get to be written into the record without real proof and witnesses are treated with a pretty strong contempt. This lack of procedural structure lends the film with a certain unwieldy structure as well. Of course, it is also just played weird. In the first number of scenes, you'd think Amitabh Bachchan was some kind of creeper, shown staring without blinking at the main girl, often wearing some weird breathing apparatus. It is a weird way to set up the film's Atticus Finch.

So yeah, this is a poor film that I liked more as political statement than film.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on February 05, 2017, 12:06:12 PM
Is Lion the cabale movie of the year?

About halfway through, I would've said yes. But it makes some interesting choices in the second half of the film to elevate it above HBO movie status. I don't think Kidman deserved a nomination, but Patel is really good in this.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on February 05, 2017, 01:44:48 PM
Can it be a cabale movie when it got nominated for Best Picture ? That's not very cabale-ish.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 05, 2017, 01:53:24 PM
I forgot about that. Good thing too.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 05, 2017, 02:39:55 PM
Wayne's World
Penelope Spheeris (1992)


The nineties have emerged as the decade of nostalgia. I am the right age to be able to relate to some of that feeling, but there are large swathes of the pop culture of the nineties that flabbergast me. Wayne's World is such an example. References to it are ubiquitous and I cannot fathom why. The movie is an unfunny horror. I don't know how to characterise this kind of humour but to say it courts stupidity would be an understatement. The only salvageable bits are the better fourth wall breakings and the meta scenes near the end. They are not good ; they just might have been.

3/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: goodguy on February 05, 2017, 03:09:20 PM
(http://imgur.com/SRkEkgw.jpg)
L’Attesa/The Wait (2015)

You could easily call B.S. on this film's plot and walk away all proud of yourself. It's about a mother who is mourning the loss of someone when her son's fiancée arrives. The film doesn't say that the recently deceased is her son, and doesn't say that it isn't. If you choose to get caught up in the mystery, it's pretty thin and not very satisfying, but you're also missing the forest for the trees. This isn't a film about clever mind games, but about human observation and emotional contact. What's important about the answer isn't the answer, but why the mother created this question in the first place.

(http://imgur.com/ITEOoDr.jpg)

This all works quite well for two reasons. One is that the mother is played by Juliette Binoche. The film is light on dialogue and long on expressions, so casting someone of Binoche's caliber is a must. The film gives her a lot of room to be amazing, and her performance alone makes the film a rewarding experience. However, she's not alone because the cinematography is a shining example of evocative imagery. This is a film that runs on emotions, not intellect and Francesco Di Giacomo shows a great deal of flair, but he doesn't get overly-stylish. There are many static compositions as well, where the use of light and color (or the absence of it) manage to create a wonderful mood. It would be fair to call the film spellbinding if not for the relaxed pace. Another gem you can put down as a Discovery, and I have goodguy to thank for it.
Rating: * * * - Good

I'm glad this worked so well for you. I was a bit worried, not just because of the "relaxed pace", but also wondering whether you would be able to accept the premise of the story, mystery or not. When I first saw the film, it didn't even occur to me to treat the son's absence as a mystery, and I'm inclined to say that this was more one of those marketing things - the trailer and the press synopsis were pretty cryptic, but the film isn't, really.

One thing that struck me as remarkable and that you didn't touch upon in your review is how the film steadily builds up a potential for conflict, yet refuses to act upon it - especially in that last scene between Anna and Jeanne, which becomes a moment of silent understanding instead of confrontation.

So, final tally: 1x success, 1x interesting-but, and 1x Zulawski. That's not too bad considering our overall very different tastes.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 05, 2017, 03:19:48 PM
You're right. The movie never prepared me for a big confrontation because it didn't have that tone. Silent understanding is right in line with the rest of the film, much like something by Krzysztof Kieślowski.

This isn't the kind of Forum that will lead to a Kosmos v. L’Attesa Deathmatch, but I think it would be very close and both films would be strong candidates for the annual list of Discoveries (except for Bondo.)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: wolf on February 05, 2017, 04:48:59 PM
Toni Erdmann

Well, here's the old question of movie moments vs a whole thing you can really get behind. I'm not sure this movie worked for me. It's too darn long for what it is doing. You can see it in the opening shot, which might have started at a delivery guy ringing a doorbell but is instead about a minute longer because we have to hear the car pulling up and then the guy opening and closing his car door, and then opening the sliding door on the car to get the package, and then walking up to the door and then ringing the bell. Maybe it's supposed to get the audience to identify with the delivery guy so that we start seeing how strange but also funny the "Erdmann" character is from the point of view of his own audience, which will then transfer onto the daughter when she joins in. But still, there's a ten second version of that which would have the same effect. Much of the rest of the film follows this kind of boring maximalist thing which diminishes much of my enjoyment/engagement with it. But then the same principle is applied to these two big scenes towards the end and it's freaking fantastic. I wasn't so turned off from the rest of the film that I couldn't get what feels like all I was supposed to get from these two scenes and I found myself laughing and being moved simultaneously, not a super easy thing to achieve. I'm not sure I would watch this whole thing again, but I do think my time was worth it to get to some of the best scenes of the year. Maybe I'm just a huge hypocrite.

B

Tyler Cowen makes a convincing case this movie has a major "twist" most critics are overlooking in their reviews:

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/02/toni-erdmann-misunderstood-masterpiece-full-spoilers.html

...OK, so what is the catch and major spoiler?  I say this film uses a Fight Club-like trick, though unlike Hollywood it doesn’t feel the need to tell its viewers outright.

Most of the father’s Bucharest visit to his daughter never actually takes place (some of it probably does, though we cannot quite be sure).  The father leaves Bucharest, and when the daughter supposedly runs into him again at a city bar, in his disguise, while she is talking about him to her friends, he isn’t really there.  The coincidence of the encounter is too extreme and no attempt is made to explain it.  And, after the conversation, when he leaves and climbs into the largest limousine you ever have seen (he’s a music teacher back home, not a CEO), that too is a sign this isn’t really happening.  The unreality of his continuing visit also explains the succeeding odd medley of coincidences, and that she simply doesn’t tell him to cut it out and stop ruining her career.  He is haunting her imagination, and no simple physical remedy will do.

If you do not understand this point, much of the movie will seem obnoxious and overstated, or even nonsensical.  In fact a few reviewers have made this complaint (some reviews here); if your critic is employing the word “preposterous,” beware!

In my reading of the film, the handcuffs sequence is the key scene.  The father comes along and handcuffs himself to the daughter, without having a key to open them up.  That’s how she feels about her station in life.  Eventually they find someone to pick the lock, but if you’re wondering why she tolerates this behavior, and immediately afterwards takes him to a bunch of work meetings and interviews…well, think Fight Club.  She truly does carry him with her, no matter where she goes.

Also, for further clues, listen to the lyrics of the Whitney Houston song she sings at the Romanian party.

The now-famous nude party scene reflects how the daughter feels exposed and naked out in her job, much as she feels she never can escape her father.  The appearance of the “furry creature” at the party then shows that her father — as a figment — will keep on coming back, in whatever extreme manifestations might be required.

Recall in the opening scene how the father is hiring/installing an imaginary daughter?  She is mirroring this same behavior — also in a destructive way — by installing an imaginary father.  The movie’s title, Toni Erdmann, of course refers to the father’s (supposed) alter ego, not to the father himself; that should be another clue.

People, no one gets this movie.  It does have very positive reviews, but the American and British critics are missing the boat.

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on February 05, 2017, 06:37:07 PM
Mulholland Drive

I watched it years ago and was just left with a WTF feeling.  I was so mystified that I couldn't really appreciate it.  It was time for a re-watch.  And I'm ready to put it in my top 100 now.

The vision opens with a group of kids, circa 1950s, energetically dancing the Jitterbug. The sashaying and twirling is hypnotic until the dance is interrupted by a girl with short blonde hair laughing with her companions.  And then the story begins.

A car with two men up front and a glamorous woman in back stops.  She says, “This isn’t where we are supposed to stop,” and the man in the passenger seat pulls out a gun and commands her to get out.  Just as the tensions run high, two group of kids in impossibly speeding vehicles crash into their car.  The glamorous woman crawls out of the wreckage and collapses.  Then she gets up, confused, walks off of Mulholland Drive, wanders over to Sunset Blvd and then to a high-end apartment building in L.A.

The streets remind us of other movies that take place in a secret Hollywood, the Hollywood-behind-Hollywood in which violence and sex rules the lives of the stars, directors and producers of the films we all clamor to see.  Young actors are desperate for attention, and famous actors bask in their decadence and power over others.  How much of this is real is almost impossible to say, as the gossip about Hollywood is as creative as the on-screen entertainments.  But it is in the netherworld of speculation and desire that Mulholland Dr. takes place.

The filmmaking is almost perfect.  We enter quickly into the story of Betty and her companion “Rita” who has forgotten her identity.  The acting is odd, at a distance from reality, but Naomi Watts and her co-stars are so larger than life, so melodramatic that we aren’t concerned at all.

As the story moves on, we become more confused. What causes the run of horrendous luck of the director, Adam?  Why does Adam’s wife, when caught in bed with the pool man, say, “Now you’ve done it.”  Why can Betty and “Rita” so easily enter an apartment, although it is overseen by the police and a neighbor?  Why is there a full ashtray when no one is smoking? On the surface, we might think of these as simple contradictions—not like we haven’t seen such obvious errors before in film.  But this isn’t your average filmmaker.  This is David Lynch, who eats a few contradictions for breakfast, before spitting out an analogy that clarifies them into a paradox. 

More than a plot that becomes more confusing as the film goes on, this film is almost perfect cinematically.  Every shot is distinctive, having their own flavor, as if we were if a buffet of cinematic eras.  I finish the film and want to watch it again, not just to try to grasp some of what I didn’t understand, but to simply watch the colors and textures.  To hear the sounds and to glory in the latter insanity.  This is Lynch’s mysterious masterpiece, having hints of Blue Velvet and Eraserhead, but beautifully vanquishing both.

It is funny, because my other favorite Lynch is almost opposite this, The Elephant Man.  Straightforward, black and white, but gorgeous and marvelously acted in it's own way, Mulholland Drive looks simpler, but is far more mysterious, filled with questions that I don't ever expect to have answered.  And I love it for that, even as I love Elephant Man for it's spooky noir cinematography in a powerful film of people who take advantage of the vulnerable.

I feel more confident about MD, despite the questions that still... perhaps always will... remain.  I see the film as being a conflict between desire and reality, which inevitably ends in backlash. And a film about how the dream of Hollywood so differs from the gossip Hollywood and how those two cities inevitably clash.

4.5/5
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: don s. on February 05, 2017, 08:28:07 PM
Mulholland Drive

More than a plot that becomes more confusing as the film goes on, this film is almost perfect cinematically.  Every shot is distinctive, having their own flavor, as if we were if a buffet of cinematic eras.  I finish the film and want to watch it again, not just to try to grasp some of what I didn’t understand, but to simply watch the colors and textures. …

… filled with questions that I don't ever expect to have answered.  And I love it for that …
4.5/5

Yeah. Part of its appeal for me is not knowing exactly why I find it so incredibly moving. And if I didn't have a thousand other movies to catch up with, I could probably watch this one every day.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: mañana on February 05, 2017, 11:57:18 PM
Is Lion the cabale movie of the year?
About halfway through, I would've said yes. But it makes some interesting choices in the second half of the film to elevate it above HBO movie status. I don't think Kidman deserved a nomination, but Patel is really good in this.
I don't know much about Lion, but from what I can gather from a distance, it seems like something cabalists would sneer at.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 06, 2017, 12:41:05 AM
Split
* * 1/2

There were the early flashes of genius and the mid-period disasters, now with this and The Visit, M. Night Shyamalan appears to be filling in the gap with films that remind you of the greatness, but also fall into silliness. It was slightly more okay with The Visit because the plot kept it simple and it was at times properly scary. This one's stupidity comes from any and all attempts to give the characters depth. Every time Shyamalan steers away from the main kidnapping spine with psychology or flashbacks, the film teeters right on the brink of hopeless stupidity.

It doesn't fall because James McAvoy's performance is remarkable, all the more so considering how this should have been a campy actor's exercise, much like Bruce Willis's hairpieces. McAvoy brings as much dimension as the dialogue will allow to each personality so that it's more than just a voice and a posture. In fact, his performances are best when they're not explaining themselves, or talking about the other people fighting to come out. I wish the film allowed him to just 'be' more often. There's a moment of dance in this film that is both among the worst things Shyamalan has given us to watch and something I want to watch repeatedly because of how committed McAvoy is in the moment.

It's also great to see Anya Taylor-Joy (The VVitch) again, though she's really only here to play helpless teenager. If you listened to the most recent podcast, at the very end Adam talks about the film and except for the mouse we had the same reaction, including his take on the end, which actually isn't a spoiler because it involves something not connected to Split.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on February 06, 2017, 08:37:42 AM
Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

I'm puzzled by the relative quietness that this film has been received with. Based on the muted reaction, I expected it to be middle-of-the-road, and it most definitely is not. It succeeds both as a character study of Jackie Kennedy in the extraordinary situation that was the aftermath of JKF's assassination and as a reflexion on human mortality. The only parts of the film I have trouble with are the one that are her conversations with John Hurt, as they often do little more than make the subtext into text, even though Hurt's performance does elevate those scenes, probably in no small part because we see a character played by a recently deceased actor talk about death, which inevitably adds to the emotional weight of those scenes.

Portman's performance is certainly mannered, and off-putting in a way... but this is a richly textured performance, that captures the complexity of a character who is deeply concerned with her place in History but is nonetheless vulnerable : this is the core conflict we see play out in Portman's portrayal. What Larrain and Portman are after here is, in a sense, the same idea that Herzog and Kinski explored in Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo : humanity's impossible quest for immortality.

I've kept the best for the end, and that's the score. Mica Levi is now 2 for 2. Not just in the sense that she has composed two great scores for two great movies, but also both movies rely very heavily on them, and I can't wait to see (well, hear) what she does next.

9/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on February 06, 2017, 04:22:26 PM
That score deserved a better film - constantly swelling at points of inertness. This was reinforced by the directing choice to have the film run in five timezones because the story (planning the funeral) itself wasn't enough. What does the Whitehouse tour, the John Hurt conversation, the reenactments of the death or the Billy Crudup epilogue achieve? All they do is interrupt the planning of the funeral without adding much. To be fair I did like the Billy Crudup part the best but that feels like another story.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on February 06, 2017, 04:27:16 PM
That score deserved a better film - constantly swelling at points of inertness.

Precisely why I'm apparently the only person on earth who didn't like the score at all. It's the composer's job to match the film, not the other way around. The score was imposing and a distraction to me. Really loved the film otherwise though.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on February 06, 2017, 06:14:07 PM
That score deserved a better film - constantly swelling at points of inertness. This was reinforced by the directing choice to have the film run in five timezones because the story (planning the funeral) itself wasn't enough. What does the Whitehouse tour, the John Hurt conversation, the reenactments of the death or the Billy Crudup epilogue achieve? All they do is interrupt the planning of the funeral without adding much. To be fair I did like the Billy Crudup part the best but that feels like another story.

You could probably do without the John Hurt bits, but I really like the narrative structure otherwise : it reinforces one of the central idea of the film : truth and what we remember of it, collectively. Jackie makes the point early on that television has changed the way we perceive historical truth, and the White House tour works on several levels because of that : it lets us see what Jackie was like before the assassination, but more importantly it lets us see what the world had seen of her, what her public image was, and it underlines her consciousness of historical perception as well. If anything you can accuse it of being heavy-handed, but not useless. It even works on the level of her mental state : fractured, and thinking about all these things at once as she has to make these crucial decisions
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on February 07, 2017, 03:25:12 AM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/LifeAnimated.jpg)

Life, Animated  (Roger Ross Williams, 2016)

I remember Bondo wasn't very impressed (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=14137.msg858322#msg858322) with this documentary during the DOCember marathon, and I probably let that bias me against the film a little. Looking back at his review now, I realize that his reaction to the film was highly personal and super specific to him. I have my own personal ties to autism and that no doubt impacted my experience as well, though perhaps in opposite ways. I actually would like to hang out with Owen, or at least attend the Disney club than he ran so impressively. His bursts of childlike enthusiasm are marvelous for how unfiltered they are. That doesn't really speak at all to the quality of the film, though, which I found to be a somewhat appealing, though rather slight documentary. The first half is dominated by interviews with Owen and his family, with the stories being told suffering from having been told too many times before, and thus feeling rehearsed. The second half is more observational and also more interesting, following Owen as he starts living on his own. The ordinariness and familiarity of the footage is thematically apt — autism doesn't diminish the universality of the coming-of-age experience — but represents a failing of the film, which ultimately isn't penetrative enough into Owen's world and his mind. The animated sequences (which I had thought beforehand were drawn by Owen but in fact they're just inspired by his drawings and writing) attempt to bridge the connection between his emotions and his use of Disney animated films to understand the world around him. There's one particularly nice sequence that serves as a rather beautiful culmination of the earlier tidbits, but the overall effect is a bit incomplete.

Grade: B-

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 07, 2017, 03:37:07 AM
I didn't put a rating in my review, but I did put it as a C+, so not just vastly different. My very personal reviews, in addition to often not being great for other people to determine if they'll like the film, also often aren't great at showing how much I actually liked things.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 07, 2017, 06:02:08 AM
Split
M. Night Shyamalan (2017)


You could compare this with the « trapped in a house with a crazy person » movies of 2016 but you shouldn't, because that would only make it more depressing. There was the potential for terrifying scenes with McAvoy's perfectly creepy (and surprisingly buff) kidnapper but the script for this thing takes in water from all sides and the film is done sinking by the end of the third act. Instead of focusing on the claustrophobia of the situation it opens up with scenes that provide pointless background and exposition. This is mostly done to justify the more supernatural aspects of the end of the movie ; there were other ways to do it. The constant theme of abuse is used in such a throwaway, unexamined fashion, with little to no character arc conclusions that it almost becomes offensive. Shyamalan's occasional attempts at wit (mirroring, it feels a lot like, the penchant for banter of the Zeitgeist) are so disastrous they border on pitiful.

Split's ultimate insult to the intelligence is its last scene, which undercuts the welcome ambiguity of the scene beforehand and ridiculously and pointlessly ushers the movie into the era of franchises.

Addendum: It turns out Any Tayor-Joy is a real person and not a time traveller.

4/10

Hidden Figures
Theodore Melfi (2017)


I was given to understand this was a feel-good movie. Someone will have to explain that to me. Hidden Figures played like a feel-angry story that the director wanted me to feel happy about for some reason. Anger is bad for my heart and all that, sure, but if there is one occasion where it's appropriate to be angry, surely this is it - well, this and unconstitutional grabs of power (and other kinds of grabs in fact). I don't find the breaking-the-glass-ceiling story of these three black women inspiring because I am too be busy being, once again, outraged at the idea that a country that was able to put men in orbit still practised segregation. It also doesn't help that the filmmakers have no idea how to do what they are endeavouring to achieve. The movie doesn't know where to spend its time the most egregious example of it being one of the main characters real life but story-irrelevant romance. Worse, the climaxes are all botched because no one here knows how to make a feel good movie. It is not enough to tell a nice story, you have to build those scenes. It is difficult to film maths in an exciting way but A Beautiful Mind and Good Will Hunting did it ; and how the hell do you make a space mission shrugg-offable?

I also think the movie focuses on the wrong woman out of this trio. She is the one who demonstrates the least agency. Her friends play the system to break into it while she lets everything happen to her and never tries to go for more.

EDIT: I almost forgot ; this movie thinks I am such an idiot that it needs to repeat the same mathematical baby-simple notion three times in fourty seconds if I am going to understand it. It is offensive to its viewer's intelligence and makes the NASA geniuses sound like the high school special needs class. CINECAST! you, movie!

4.5/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on February 07, 2017, 10:27:29 AM
I got significantly less interested in Hidden Figures when I heard about the whitewashing in it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 07, 2017, 10:47:49 AM
Whitewashing? This movie was whitewashed? That goes against the entire point of the movie! Now I am even allegedly angrier.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on February 07, 2017, 11:02:29 AM
https://news.vice.com/story/oscar-nominated-hidden-figures-was-whitewashed-but-it-didnt-have-to-be
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Melvil on February 07, 2017, 05:26:33 PM
That's a pretty BS definition of white-washing. There's a lot of stuff in the movie that didn't happen both in favor of and at the expense of all of the characters in the movie, white and black alike. It's not shy about being a heavily romanticized version of events, depicting amalgamations of experiences and characters rather than 1:1 recreations.

Katherine Johnson has said that most of the racism at NASA depicted in the movie was not something she actually experienced there. That is a MUCH larger fabrication that much more severely changes the perception of race relations there, so if you're only complaining about the instances of positive depictions of white characters that seems pretty petty, and makes me question the motives of the article.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 07, 2017, 07:49:10 PM
I didn't put a rating in my review, but I did put it as a C+, so not just vastly different. My very personal reviews, in addition to often not being great for other people to determine if they'll like the film, also often aren't great at showing how much I actually liked things.
I didn't review it all because I didn't want to speak negative about a film that's autistic positive, plus I figured it would come off as a Disney bias that I overall put it in the Good category, but I'm right in line with both of you. The 2nd half is better than the first, which is like a lengthy backstory.


Split
M. Night Shyamalan (2017)


You could compare this with the « trapped in a house with a crazy person » movies of 2016 but you shouldn't, because that would only make it more depressing. There was the potential for terrifying scenes with McAvoy's perfectly creepy (and surprisingly buff) kidnapper but the script for this thing takes in water from all sides and the film is done sinking by the end of the third act. Instead of focusing on the claustrophobia of the situation it opens up with scenes that provide pointless background and exposition. This is mostly done to justify the more supernatural aspects of the end of the movie ; there were other ways to do it. The constant theme of abuse is used in such a throwaway, unexamined fashion, with little to no character arc conclusions that it almost becomes offensive. Shyamalan's occasional attempts at wit (mirroring, it feels a lot like, the penchant for banter of the Zeitgeist) are so disastrous they border on pitiful.
I agree with all of this.

Split's ultimate insult to the intelligence is its last scene, which undercuts the welcome ambiguity of the scene beforehand and ridiculously and pointlessly ushers the movie into the era of franchises.
Well phrased. Adam talks about this too in the podcast. It's like M. Night believes his films make up their own Expanded Universe.

Addendum: It turns out Any Tayor-Joy is a real person and not a time traveller.
I had a similar reaction. She was SO the girl in The Witch, it's now interesting to see her playing someone else.


I got significantly less interested in Hidden Figures when I heard about the whitewashing in it.
The movie is good, no matter what the real story is.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on February 07, 2017, 08:36:43 PM
Real stories don't matter.*

*kinda


P.S. I shall be passing on Hidden Figures regardless.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 07, 2017, 11:31:41 PM
I didn't review it all because I didn't want to speak negative about a film that's autistic positive

Thankfully I then got to sing the praises of Best and Most Beautiful Things.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 09, 2017, 11:51:52 AM
That's a pretty BS definition of white-washing. There's a lot of stuff in the movie that didn't happen both in favor of and at the expense of all of the characters in the movie, white and black alike. It's not shy about being a heavily romanticized version of events, depicting amalgamations of experiences and characters rather than 1:1 recreations.

Katherine Johnson has said that most of the racism at NASA depicted in the movie was not something she actually experienced there. That is a MUCH larger fabrication that much more severely changes the perception of race relations there, so if you're only complaining about the instances of positive depictions of white characters that seems pretty petty, and makes me question the motives of the article.

I don't like the movie enough to much care about the issue, but I do have a problem with the fabrications here, especially those that portray NASA as more racist than it actually was, which for a real life story movie sort of sounds like slander of a kind. Maybe Bondo could provide some legal insight into the issue...
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on February 09, 2017, 01:10:13 PM
(http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/john-wick-keanu-reeves.jpg)
John Wick: Chapter 2 (Chad Stahelski, 2017)

When John Wick came out in 2014, it made a splash. It was a surprise hit which relaunched the action career of Keanu Reeves, who had made a name for himself within the genre with such films as Point Break and The Matrix, yet had disappeared mostly from the genre landscape. It marked the directorial debut for longtime stunt coordinator Chad Stahelski, and proved that fresh air could be breathed into the genre once more. The film has since had it's slight detractors, claiming all the accolades and attention coming towards John Wick merely serve to underscore the fact that the action genre is so consistently disappointing, inartistic and generally a lower genre of films. It's not every year we can get a Die Hard or The Matrix to come out and redefine the genre. John Wick may not be on that level, but it's a fantastic action flick more than worthy of a sequel. And John Wick: Chapter 2 delivers.

After the events of the first John Wick film, John (Keanu Reeves) finds himself wanting to retrieve his beloved car from the Tarasov family. After a thrilling romp through numerous henchmen, Wick rolls up to his beautiful home in a broken car. Thinking this was the last piece to bring himself back into retirement, an old friend, Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) visits Wick and asks for his marker, which Wick gave to him in return for his help once, to be paid up. His request? To kill his sister, Gianna D'Antonio, in Rome, which would give Santino a seat at the big table. Forced by the code of honor among criminals to honor the marker, Wick travels to Rome, but soon finds himself in an impossible situation to escape, as gangsters from all over are out to collect the reward placed on his head. He seeks refuge with the father of the code (Ian McShane), a former target (Laurence Fishburne), as he tries tirelessly to simply retire, to get out of the game and back to his new dog.

Any time a surprise hit follows up with a sequel, there is quite a bit of expectation which goes along with it, a lot of expectation which wasn't there when the first film came out and made such an impact. Sometimes this can cause the film is fold under the pressures of its audience, never being able to live up to its unrealistic expectations. I was not one of John Wick's superfans. I found the film endlessly entertaining, and a rock solid action flick. That being said, even I had some expectation for Chapter 2, which may have been the reason it took me some time to settle back into this environment and to be able to throw everything out the window, as the film does, and sit back and enjoy the hellacious ride that this film takes us on. It is every bit as violent as its predecessor, with just as much, if not more, truly unbelievable sequences. Yet I suspended disbelief in favor of surrendering myself to the film's charms, of which there are many.

I think what ultimately makes a film like this so enjoyable is its structure. Anyone can make a cool, gory, high body count assassin movie where the lead is some mysterious dude who kills a ton of baddies, but I really got into the world of John Wick with Chapter 2. The way the film explores the way the world of assassins is setup into this prestigious and honorable fraternity with high tables, rules, organizations, etc. is really fascinating. It goes so much deeper here than I would have imagined, and by creating this structure, the screenwriter, the same as on John Wick (Derek Kolstad), has built-in character reasons. We don't have to worry about why John and the other characters are forced into these otherwise unbelievable positions. They have to be. They are forced by the rules of the game. It's a subtle way to assure the movie works, but in many ways it's also genius.

At times the film has a distinct video game feel to its action, which why not given the current video game culture. But the choreography of the action scenes is also impressive, which elevates the film above some rote rehash of what the filmmakers thought made the first movie work as well as it did, which can be a common crutch of filmmakers attempting to make a successful sequel. I don't have John Wick fatigue yet after Chapter 2, and I'm sure almost all fans of the first film will feel the same way. I am sure a third installment is forth coming, and after the thrilling experience of John Wick: Chapter 2, you can count me among those who are exciting, and anticipating its release. I just can't wait to see where John Wick goes as a character, and how the screenwriters will continue to develop this fascinating criminal world.

***1/2 - Great
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Melvil on February 09, 2017, 01:15:48 PM
I don't like the movie enough to much care about the issue, but I do have a problem with the fabrications here, especially those that portray NASA as more racist than it actually was, which for a real life story movie sort of sounds like slander of a kind. Maybe Bondo could provide some legal insight into the issue...

Yeah, this discussion has actually kind of soured me on the movie because of the depiction of NASA more than anything. NASA is a pretty awesome example of an institution pushing progressive idealism and inclusiveness, so it's a shame they felt the need to invent a sordid past for the story instead of just focusing on how awesome the main characters' accomplishments really were as a part of that effort. I think there were better ways to contextualize the times.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on February 09, 2017, 01:24:42 PM
I am quite excited for John Wick 2. Might have to check that one out this weekend. I'm glad it is getting good reviews!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 09, 2017, 01:59:11 PM
Still haven't seen John Wick.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on February 09, 2017, 02:03:22 PM
You should. It's not the best thing of all time, but it's a great action movie.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Melvil on February 09, 2017, 02:33:55 PM
Yeah, I think I was a little underwhelmed by John Wick after it had been hyped up so much, but it's the kind of movie that would've been an awesome surprise to come across if it had stayed more under the radar.

I'm still a bit skeptical about a sequel though.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 09, 2017, 07:50:28 PM
I haven't seen Hidden Figures so I'm not sure what legal question is being asked. Title VII regarding employment discrimination went into effect in 1964, if that helps.

Ok, looked at context and it seems the question is more about slander? I'd expect a work of drama would get pretty broad license to make untrue allegations provided they put in broad disclaimers.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 09, 2017, 08:53:01 PM
Yeah, I think I was a little underwhelmed by John Wick after it had been hyped up so much, but it's the kind of movie that would've been an awesome surprise to come across if it had stayed more under the radar.

I was underwhelmed by it as well. I don't recall if the hype preceded my experience or not. I thought it was on par with other recent action films like Denzel's The Equalizer, or Liam Neeson's latest. Really generic, with with a couple of well above average fire fights. I never was engaged with the narrative. I'll skip Part 2.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 10, 2017, 12:42:19 AM
Do you mean Alicia Vikander? As in Ex Machina Alicia Vikander
Was that her? She was great in that. I'm not sure why she was still playing a robot in Bourne though.  :-\



Dead Poets Society

I like a good "Oscar moment". I think we all do under the right circumstances. I'm pretty convinced that watching the Oscars themselves is not the right circumstance. If you haven't seen all the films you might catch a clip of something that without the context of the film itself just seems way too big and grossly overdone. I did myself a bit of a disservice in that way with regards to Dead Poets Society in that I listened to the I Was There Too episode about it, and learned of the iconic standing on desks ending. I felt like I should've felt more in that moment than I did. But then I've never been moved to tears during a Peter Weir movie, as much as I've enjoyed some of them.

Would anyone argue that Robin Williams is not the most enjoyable part of the movie? Like when he's not on screen what are we watching? Boys goofing around. Parents being dicks. A headmaster being a hard-case. All pretty standard stuff. I'm not really that interested in following along as Knox Overstreet attempts to steal the snobby girl away from the dumb jock and all the hi-jinks that spawn from that. I mean it's not a bad story line, and the stories of the other students aren't bad either, but watching yet another scene of Neil Perry's overbearing father tell him what not to do is not what's exciting about watching this movie. It's all about what's happening in the classroom.

It's a balancing act of course. If the film were all classroom we would have nothing over which the characters are triumphing when the ending comes. I think though the balance here is a tad off. I could've done with one or two fewer student stories. Or just an abbreviated version of what's there. Or perhaps less of the reading poetry in a cave, which for me didn't amount to anything more than an extension of the "boys goofing around". I never felt like the characters that participated in that Society ever evolved in their appreciation of poetry, or surprised themselves in what reading poetry could do for them. Or looked at another way, I didn't come away from the film entertaining the idea of starting a Dead Poets Society of my own. I wasn't seduced by the idea... and I'm very easy to seduce! Take Fight Club as an example. I remember watching that film and being seduced by Tyler Durden, right along with the main character. How he seemed to have answers for things, his confidence, his genuineness. There I am a third of the way into the movie daydreaming about being in a Fight Club! Crazy, but that's how good of a job the movie is doing. Of course it goes other directions as things progress, but up to that point it's a good example of what I would've like to feel from The Dead Poets Society. A genuine attraction to the idea. An arc perhaps where the boys start out skeptical about it and then begin to take it seriously, and then get really good... or if not that progression, at least some journey. Instead I felt like it ended in pretty much the same shape in which it began... a goof in the woods.

At it's core though the movie is strong. Williams character, what he teaches, and how he teaches it is enough to make it a worthwhile experience.

(https://i.imgur.com/3mdqSnF.png)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 10, 2017, 05:00:48 AM
You should. It's not the best thing of all time, but it's a great action movie.

It's an okay action movie.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 10, 2017, 02:59:41 PM
Cameraperson
* * * - Good

For a while, I felt like I was going to be out of sync with everyone again. Some of the footage is interesting, but some of it I wondered why it was being included. It took a while, a long while before Kirsten Johnson's images added up to a montage of life, its ups and downs. So there are the obvious scenes everyone talks about (maybe my reaction to the kid with the axe was muted because everyone else told me about it) the big moments that made an impact (the boxer was interesting to see play out, and I can't believe nobody has mentioned the female director working on a doc about her mother's suicide.) and eventually all the small moments of observation. It all adds up.

I wish I had watched Zero Day closer to this film. I can't pick a favorite between the two now, but I give a slight edge to Cameraperson for the uniqueness of its concept.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 11, 2017, 09:37:15 AM
Sully (2016)

I am not sure what Clint Eastwood's intention was with this film, politically. Going into it, I had heard plenty of complaint that it sets the bureaucrats up as an enemy, giving Sully (Tom Hanks) a hard time just for being a hero. There goes big government crushing American greatness again. There is definitely some obnoxious filmmaking going on at times here, and those bureaucrats do sometimes seem painted as not just critical but unnecessarily mean spirited.

The real question comes down to, does Eastwood, and do those watching the film, consider the process to be injustice of itself. I watch the film and I see a careful, deliberate, fact-based process that through its consideration comes to the just outcome. I see the film as advocating for the system. But that is because I admire the system. I am not as sure that Eastwood admires the system. Sully isn't quite painted as infallible, but with Eastwood's tendency for hero worship, there is a sense that we know the just outcome and the hassle in proving it is itself an injustice. This starts to feel rather Trumpian...self-proved logic. Ultimately I liked the film in part on my ability to resist Eastwood's finger on the scale.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 11, 2017, 10:06:50 AM
I see the film as advocating for the individual. That in a moment of crisis we want a good, smart person to do what's right in the moment and not get hung up trying to follow proper procedure if you believe that will get people killed. Eastwood sees the need for a system, but in the end it takes the man in the moment making the right decisions. He did this with the military system in Heartbreak Ridge and dealt with the consequences of making the wrong choices in Million Dollar Baby's female boxing system (and ultimately the religious system, where he wrestles with what is the right choice.)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on February 11, 2017, 11:26:04 AM
Batman Returns

The parallels between the Penguin and the biblical story of Moses were lost on me as a kid. Pfeiffer's performance is all-time great.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StudentOFilm on February 11, 2017, 12:49:08 PM
John Wick: Chapter 2

I feel like I approached both John Wick films with a question before even walking into the theater. With the first film, it had been out for a week and I was wondering if the word-of-mouth from friends had been exagerrated. It wasn't. John Wick is an example of style over substance, but what a style (I seemed to keep with that sentiment as I watched both movies). There's this sense I get that I can't put into words, but it's about a film knowing what kind of film it is. John Wick and its filmmakers seem keenly aware of what they were creating, what they were promising and what they were delivering. I felt it when I watched the movie and I felt it from the crowd I was sitting in the theater with. You surrender to it and it works.

With the second film, I was wondering if they could possibly repeat it again? What made the first film so enjoyable is that the style, even recognizing what inspired it, felt fresh. If I were to see it a second time, I'd want more substance. Chapter 2's story is spread out a little more (I agree with Corndog's sentiment about taking a while to settle in), but then the film starts moving. It might seem repetitive, but I do think the film is aware of it. There are few tricks here and there to switch things up (there's a great scene of Common and Keanu Reeves walking in the new Port Authority subway in NYC). Just as it starts to drag, the film flows onto the next thing and tries to differentiate itself from the prior set piece. Some may find it unnecessarily unrelenting, but once again, the film and its story seems aware of it.

To be clear, there is still a substance to the plot. It might not be the most logical, but it's there. The background of the first film which was this alternate world of an assassin brotherhood is the focus here. John Wick is still reeling from a personal loss and Reeves has more strength in his silence and persona then when he is talking (I'd wager he has twice the amount of dialogue in this film as he did in the first). So it's not without its bumps and I'd still place the first film a notch higher for originality.

But this is a piece of film that sits firmly and confidently in action cinema which has a history of repitition and throwing logic out the window in the wanting of spectacle. In some ways it owes a lot to Speed and to some extent The Fugitive and Die Hard in that it makes it look sleek and counts on an active camera and the screen presence of its stars to carry some weight. There's a high body count, but Reeves isn't a lumbering mess like a Schwarzenegger or Stallone archetype. John Wick has a style to him, and so does the film. Is it enough? One could tire of it and this is why many a franchise peters out and dies. It helps that I know what I'm getting and it seems the film knows as well.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on February 11, 2017, 01:30:14 PM
I haven't seen the John Wick movies yet, so am pretending that I don't see your review yet either, StudentOFilm. :)

I see the film as advocating for the individual. That in a moment of crisis we want a good, smart person to do what's right in the moment and not get hung up trying to follow proper procedure if you believe that will get people killed. Eastwood sees the need for a system, but in the end it takes the man in the moment making the right decisions...

This is my take away from the film too and my overall take on life as well. You put it in a concise and articulate way. Give me the spirit of the law over the letter of the law any day.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on February 11, 2017, 01:34:46 PM
I think that Batman Returns is the best of the campy Batman movies.  It is about the fun but it also has interesting characters.

Looks like I will do with John Wick 2 what I did with John Wick.  Watch it on DVD and be surprised at how good it is.

And I am firmly with 1SO about Sully.  The trained and smart individual should be in charge during a crisis, and not criticized for the decisions they made-- that seems to be the point of the movie.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on February 11, 2017, 01:47:11 PM
I watch the film and I see a careful, deliberate, fact-based process that through its consideration comes to the just outcome.
Did we watch the same film? The "system" in the film is comprised of people actively trying to make Sully out to be the bad guy, and the only reason the just outcome occurs is because Sully undermines the system to get information the system keeps hidden from him and get the human simulations done, and then badgers the system more when that isn't enough and the system only relents because the room is full of press who will crucify them because what they are doing is dumb as bricks and completely illogical. The movie would be infinitely better if it was just Sully pondering his actions while the faceless system works in the background in mysterious ways and then vindicates his decision at the end with no fanfare. But the we wouldn't get amped up fake drama and Eastwood's political bias.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on February 11, 2017, 01:56:38 PM
The movie would be infinitely better if it was just Sully pondering his actions while the faceless system works in the background in mysterious ways and then vindicates his decision at the end with no fanfare.

That would be like watching paint dry. ;)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on February 11, 2017, 02:10:04 PM
The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Director: Chris McKay



In 2014, The Lego Movie came from Warner Animation with a simple message: Everything is awesome. And for Warner Bros., it certainly was. The movie was a critical and commercial success, and the studio found a franchise that they could, hopefully take to the bank. The Lego Batman Movie is the first of two Lego movies coming out in 2017, and if things go well, it's not hard to imagine a world in which the studio is cranking out one of these a year. Based on this movie, I imagine that things are going to go very well.

When I was sitting in this movie, I was really enjoying it; laughing hard and thinking what a pleasant movie it was. On the drive home, I found myself appreciating it even more. As I'm typing this, roughly three hours after the movie began, I'm somehow appreciating it even more. It would not surprise me if by dinner, I was telling everyone that this is the best movie I've ever seen.

This movie is just fun. Pure fun. I imagine the movie was a blast to make. It took so many incredibly talented and hilarious people (Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galafanakis, Doug Benson, Ellie Kemper, Jenny Slate, Conan O'Brien) and put them all in one movie, and in some instances, the same scene. It's a really great script, too: first playing with the Batman trope of a cold, dark loner as something for Batman to celebrate, and eventually turning it into something that he realizes is a liability. There are just so many things working well here: small jokes, big jokes, quick cast-asides... everything comes up Batman.

The movie did two things really well for me: it established itself as it's own film with it's own rules and understanding of how the world works while still keeping true to the spirit of what made the original Lego movie so, well... awesome. I could easily see four more Lego Batmans in the next ten years. I could definitely see another one, and I imagine there will be as every indicator is that this is going to be a huge box office success. And, when that next film comes around... I'll be there again. Just shoot the signal in the sky, and I'll come to the theater to answer the call.

A-
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on February 11, 2017, 03:37:21 PM
The movie would be infinitely better if it was just Sully pondering his actions while the faceless system works in the background in mysterious ways and then vindicates his decision at the end with no fanfare.

That would be like watching paint dry. ;)
What I described is what 90%+ of the movie already is. The investigation isn't actually a big part of the runtime, it is simply a catalyst/framing device for Sully's introspection and a way to have that silly ending. I didn't mean just a series of long shots of Tom Hanks sitting in a hotel room. Although I think he could make that work.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on February 11, 2017, 05:37:27 PM
What I described is what 90%+ of the movie already is. The investigation isn't actually a big part of the runtime, it is simply a catalyst/framing device for Sully's introspection and a way to have that silly ending. I didn't mean just a series of long shots of Tom Hanks sitting in a hotel room.

I see :)

Quote
Although I think he could make that work.

Since Castaway is him mostly sitting on an island and it's still in my top 20 favorite films, I think it could work too!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 11, 2017, 07:05:37 PM
Batman Returns

The parallels between the Penguin and the biblical story of Moses were lost on me as a kid.
Yea, one of the reasons I find Returns so fascinating. I should watch it again. Probably been at least a decade since I watched it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 11, 2017, 08:21:22 PM
Did we watch the same film? The "system" in the film is comprised of people actively trying to make Sully out to be the bad guy, and the only reason the just outcome occurs is because Sully undermines the system to get information the system keeps hidden from him and get the human simulations done, and then badgers the system more when that isn't enough and the system only relents because the room is full of press who will crucify them because what they are doing is dumb as bricks and completely illogical.

Like I said, I kind of was seeing through Eastwood's bias. I was denying him the ability to make me see things the way he wanted me to see them.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 12, 2017, 09:43:05 AM
You guys are going to get me to watch a Tim Burton movie because of a biblical allegory.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 12, 2017, 09:58:30 AM
Burton used to make good movies, believe it or not. I've enjoyed all of this films I've seen from the '90s back.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 12, 2017, 10:00:58 AM
Burton's earliest works tend to be the ones I struggle the most with; specifically, I don't like the original Batman.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MisterSir on February 12, 2017, 12:27:09 PM
The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Director: Chris McKay



In 2014, The Lego Movie came from Warner Animation with a simple message: Everything is awesome. And for Warner Bros., it certainly was. The movie was a critical and commercial success, and the studio found a franchise that they could, hopefully take to the bank. The Lego Batman Movie is the first of two Lego movies coming out in 2017, and if things go well, it's not hard to imagine a world in which the studio is cranking out one of these a year. Based on this movie, I imagine that things are going to go very well.

When I was sitting in this movie, I was really enjoying it; laughing hard and thinking what a pleasant movie it was. On the drive home, I found myself appreciating it even more. As I'm typing this, roughly three hours after the movie began, I'm somehow appreciating it even more. It would not surprise me if by dinner, I was telling everyone that this is the best movie I've ever seen.

This movie is just fun. Pure fun. I imagine the movie was a blast to make. It took so many incredibly talented and hilarious people (Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galafanakis, Doug Benson, Ellie Kemper, Jenny Slate, Conan O'Brien) and put them all in one movie, and in some instances, the same scene. It's a really great script, too: first playing with the Batman trope of a cold, dark loner as something for Batman to celebrate, and eventually turning it into something that he realizes is a liability. There are just so many things working well here: small jokes, big jokes, quick cast-asides... everything comes up Batman.

The movie did two things really well for me: it established itself as it's own film with it's own rules and understanding of how the world works while still keeping true to the spirit of what made the original Lego movie so, well... awesome. I could easily see four more Lego Batmans in the next ten years. I could definitely see another one, and I imagine there will be as every indicator is that this is going to be a huge box office success. And, when that next film comes around... I'll be there again. Just shoot the signal in the sky, and I'll come to the theater to answer the call.

A-

Can't wait to see this one!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on February 12, 2017, 02:32:16 PM
Burton's earliest works tend to be the ones I struggle the most with; specifically, I don't like the original Batman.

I saw the original Batman in the theater when it came out and I was really excited for it.  I hated it.  Yes, I even disliked Nicholson's Joker.   But Batman Returns was really a pleasure.  Not a top 100, but an excellent entertainment, great characters and says something interesting about oppression.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on February 12, 2017, 05:12:07 PM
Burton's earliest works tend to be the ones I struggle the most with; specifically, I don't like the original Batman.

I saw the original Batman in the theater when it came out and I was really excited for it.  I hated it.  Yes, I even disliked Nicholson's Joker.   But Batman Returns was really a pleasure.  Not a top 100, but an excellent entertainment, great characters and says something interesting about oppression.

What really struck me is how little Batman is even in the movie. It is really Pfeiffer and DeVito's show. Walken is great too. And there's the heavy S&M undertones:

(https://media.giphy.com/media/LQHCGkKx2dhHW/giphy.gif)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on February 12, 2017, 08:53:20 PM

 And there's the heavy S&M undertones:

Well sure.  That's why I called it a "pleasure", of course.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on February 12, 2017, 11:51:34 PM
Suicide Squad

I guess I didn't hate this. It's not good, certainly, and it's not the worst thing I've ever seen. Perhaps the biggest bomb I could lob at it is that it's pretty darn boring. It tries so hard to not be, but it so very much is. Which, I guess, is why I fell asleep in the middle. I can recommend this, because I don't know what I missed and I don't think it changed anything. More movies should have nap points. Perhaps an attempt to shade in some character but which is actually just the most boring part in a sea of boringness, painted with boring colors and with boring words coming out of boring characters' mouths, with boring consequences, if you can call them that.

Boring
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on February 13, 2017, 05:03:36 AM
Surely the most underwhelming movie of recent history given Leto's Oscar.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on February 13, 2017, 11:55:19 AM
John Wick 2

One of the most beautiful action films ever made.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StudentOFilm on February 13, 2017, 02:11:34 PM
I go back and forth with Burton.

He's a filmmaker I had written off, but he has ocassionaly surprised me. I used to think just Ed Wood, Big Fish and Sweeney Todd were his high points and everything else wasn't worth it. When I was younger, I really just disliked how he applied his style to others works. I mean how often does he work on adapted screenplays of (reasonably) well-known properties? It feels like it's all the time or that he was deliberately shying away from original material. But that's certainly an unfair criteria to judge him on.

As I started to look more at editing, production design, cinematography etc., I realized that Burton's stylings have an interesting take to them depending on the film. Regardless of the quality of the story, I do find it interesting to look at his movies from purely the standpoint of editors/cinematographers/designers (I'm thinking Lebenzon, Rousselot, Wolski, Delbonnel, Atwood etc. etc. sorry, I've been on a below-the-line kick over the past year). Then again, I found it not mattering much when I'd walk away from say Alice in Wonderland (which I've never finished) annoyed at how Burton-esque he made everything. And yet, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, Sleepy Hollow and surprisingly Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all got better after a re-watch (although my bias against his Batman work probably came from when I started reading the comics in the early 00s).

I do want to continue to look at each new film of his, but I keep my expectations in check. Big Eyes, for example, is a lucious looking film that by the end just feels like a mixed bag (although Adams is great in her part, I just think the plot structure is a little scrambled together).
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: akmoore on February 13, 2017, 04:04:34 PM
Train to Busan

Good stuff! Enjoyed the story, the characters, and the action. Putting a zombie movie on a train is a pretty brilliant idea. The only major misstep, I thought, was the strange corporate malfeasance plot line that they try to shoehorn in. I was perfectly happy to have an unexplained zombie outbreak, but instead they had to try to explain it somehow, and that seemed really clumsy. Still worth the watch. Best Zombie movie I've seen in a while (Although I'm hoping that Girl with all the Gifts will give it a run for its money.)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 13, 2017, 06:04:23 PM
Train to Busan is a solid pulp zombie movie.
Girl With All the Gifts, zombie is just one weapon in its science fiction arsenal.

If Busan is The Terminator than Girl is Ex Machina.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on February 13, 2017, 10:18:43 PM
In recent zombie movies I enjoyed the interesting take Wyrmwood took, I have Train to Busan lined up for watching in the next month (possibly tonight).
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 14, 2017, 03:37:29 AM
Busan is high on my sheer entertainment watchlist. High hopes for it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on February 14, 2017, 07:13:26 AM
I caught up with Manchester By The Sea and am still processing it. All I know is that Casey Affleck's performance is, for lack of a better word, haunting. The way he is able to portray someone who is just so dead behind the eyes was absolutely gripping and heartbreaking. It's a tough sit of a movie, but that's because his performance is so real and raw and painful.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on February 14, 2017, 07:19:07 AM
I caught up with Manchester By The Sea and am still processing it. All I know is that Casey Affleck's performance is, for lack of a better word, haunting. The way he is able to portray someone who is just so dead behind the eyes was absolutely gripping and heartbreaking. It's a tough sit of a movie, but that's because his performance is so real and raw and painful.

You're spot on. I kept waiting for the acting but it never came. It's one of the best performances of the decade.

I would contrast it with someone like Amy Adams who I am a massive fan of but who is always acting. Just acting really well.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StarCarly on February 14, 2017, 09:17:06 AM
+1 Casey was one for the ages. So real.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on February 14, 2017, 06:11:33 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2017/Tanna.jpg)

Tanna  (Martin Butler & Bentley Dean, 2015)

If you loved Moana, then you'll love Tanna! It's got strong female characters! Tropic scenery! Ethnographic curiosity! Traditional music! A five-letter title ending in a! And a volcano! Tanna even has a love story, which perhaps makes The Wedding of Palo (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12547.msg814464#msg814464) a better point of comparison (if only that film were better known). It's an impressive production, really, using a simple story and well cast non-actors to successfully bring to life a very specific setting and culture. There are shades of Romeo & Juliet, except here the conflict stems from the lovers being on same clan, creating a clash with the custom of arranged marriages between tribes. The tropical Vanuatuan scenery adds considerable beauty to the film, but the quality of the camera used for filming imposes a huge drawback, often resulting in a muddy image that begs for more lighting. Opinions on that obviously vary, though, seeing as Tanna won an award for its cinematography at the Venice Film Festival. I'm much more inclined to agree with the various Australian groups that gave the film awards for its score. Antony Partos' music elevates the film throughout, setting a maintaining the perfect mood for the story's mix of innocence, adventure, death, and romance.

Grade: B-

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on February 14, 2017, 07:52:27 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2017/IAmNotYourNegro.jpg)

I Am Not Your Negro  (Raoul Peck, 2016)

I love the measured way that James Baldwin thinks, speaks, and writes. It seems very rare that he makes any sort of definitive statement — but when he does, it packs all the more punch. He qualifies most everything, and sometimes even qualifies his qualifiers. The train of his thoughts runs on tracks spiked with commas.

I'm tempted to view Raoul Peck's film as a tribute to the comma; or, more specifically, an argument for its restoration to the language of modern political discourse. In the world of 24/7 cable news, commas have become nearly extinct — signs of weakness and muddled thinking. There's no place for commas in a talking points memo. Nuance is a political liability, and dependent clauses make for poor sound bytes.

In this context, I Am Not Your Negro is a celebration of thoughtfulness, in the most literal sense of the word. More than that, thought, it's a poignant reminder that the issues of the Civil Rights movement have lost none of their relevance over the past decades. Baldwin's words, as strongly curated by Peck and perfectly narrated by Samuel L. Jackson (in maybe one of his best performances) are so completely alive, here and now. The brief glimpses we see of recent news drive that point home with great impact.

It's a shame the production of the film isn't a bit more polished. There's some needless visible interlacing on some of the archival footage; inconsistencies in the formatting of the on-screen titles; duplicate entries in the end credits. Mostly minor things, but they still detract from the film's poetic spell.

Go see this in the theater, and join in the applause when Baldwin responds back to Yale's Sterling Professor of History on the Dick Cavett show.

Grade: B+

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 15, 2017, 03:37:33 AM
I wasn't sold on that movie, but now that I know it is an elegy of the comma I will definitely, circumstances permitting, and to the best of my ability, watch it, provided I don't change my opinion beforewards, possibly due to dissenting reviews.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 16, 2017, 10:48:37 AM
Rewatched No Country for Old Men and wrote about its complicated morality over at Movie Mezzanine (http://moviemezzanine.com/no-country-for-old-men-essay/).
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on February 16, 2017, 12:26:36 PM
Great review, Sam.  Best I've read on this film
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 16, 2017, 11:44:28 PM
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I feel like the most interesting events were skimmed over in the opening credits. We hear snippets of media coverage spanning a period of several decades. There are references to a terrible disease and wars which have wiped out much of humanity. It sets the stage for the current film well enough, but I feel like the previous film is left flapping in the wind. The two are never made to dovetail together. So when this film begins I didn't really imagine it rooted in the world of that first film. It felt like more of a generic post-apocalyptic place, with a history of famine, disease and war. And there happen to be Apes in the forest.

All of the opening recap is about what's been happening to the humans. And weirdly, for a series about super smart Apes, it hardly feels as if the apes had anything to do with the world ending up in such a state. Honestly, it's like things would have gone that way regardless. So not only are the apes absent from the montage, they're influence over world events appears negligible. And sure enough, when our human protagonists venture into the forest and encounter the apes, it appears as if the apes are pretty much right where we left them. They've established a little forest community and such, but their evolution or progress is microscopic when compared to the changes human civilization has undergone over the same time period.

And so the trajectory of the story as the film gets going is, human civilization is collapsing, and ape civilization is stagnant. When you think about where this story has to get to, a PLANET of apes, you realize we're not even close. Right now it's Golden Gate National Park of the Apes. Logically, you would think that to become a Planet of the Apes, humans will pretty well have to disappear. I mean lets do the math on it. Lets say there are a thousand Caesar-level apes in this movie, and that's being very generous. Now lets say 99% of the human population dies off. Humans would still outnumber them 74,000:1. 74,000 people need to die for every ape before we even reach equal numbers.

(http://i.imgur.com/yMNOSvN.gif)

That puts in perspective just how drastically the human population needs to be reduced if we are ever to eventually have a true Planet of apes. Except, that 1000 apes would need to grow to a number that, when dispersed over the earth, was more than a scattering. It would need to multiply by at least a 100,000 to hit a billion. To even hit a hundred million the population would need to double 17 times. Apes live anywhere from 20 to 60 years and females average under 5 offspring in a lifetime. It would take tens if not hundreds of thousands of years to achieve anything close to this!

But lets stop and tell a story about a dam that needs fixing!

(http://i.imgur.com/uN94EOr.gif)

Unlike the prologue which saw a good chunk of the human population wiped out, this story is takes place in a time of stability. There are no longer any wars being fought, and the people who are left are genetically immune to the disease that kicked off the terrible collapse. What exists is the new normal after a rough patch. There is still civilization... it's just been brought down a few notches. It's not like people are living as hunter gatherers and eating bugs to stay alive. The one community we see still enjoys a pretty high standard of living. Limited electricity, a more localized form of government, but perfectly recognizable... markets, shops, children, people smiling.

The plot of this film revolves around this one community trying to get a dam back online so that they sustain their way of life (other sources of fuel are finally running low). It's when they venture into the forest to find the dam that they encounter the apes. There's a bunch of territorial stuff, but eventually the apes agree to let the humans fix the dam, and in fact they even pitch in. There are some diplomatic hiccups along the way but eventually they get the dam online and the movie ends with both humans and apes better off  than they were.

What the hell! Not only do the humans NOT experience a further collapse, which is what needs to happen to happen to fulfill the destiny of this story, but they actually improve their position!

I just dislike the whole approach of  this film. The prologue is all about a massive collapse of human population since the previous film... but then this film starts, it slams on the brakes, and we're meant to care about this one tiny outpost of people? Like what is the point of getting to know these people so intimately? They are SO SMALL in the grand scheme of things. It's not like we're ever going to see these characters again. What the hell does it matter whether they fix this dam! I could not care less about that, or the internal politics of the community, or Gary Oldman having a sad over a picture of his dead kids. This series is not called The San Fransisco Outpost. We are not following these characters. This film is so unbelievably lost in the weeds. It has no sense of what matters in a large sense. It's just an isolated episode with blinders on.

And even if I look at the movie ignoring its irrelevance, it's still annoying. The characters are annoying. Their flaws are so simplistic and it's so predictable how it will effect things. Oh, what do you know, a hot head with a chip on his shoulder blows the peace treaty with the apes. Boring!

There is SUCH a better movie to be told here. A film about human civilization in free fall, and about how human nature is inherently unable to do what needs to be done to stop such a collapse. How there is a tipping point, and once it is reached no recovery is possible. Humanity craters and must begin anew... as intelligent apes. Not this stupid olive branch story. It's WAY too soon for that.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 17, 2017, 12:02:23 AM
Silence of the Lambs

This is not the movie I was expecting, but it was a pretty powerful experience. I don't think I have any insights share about the movie, just commenting that it worked for me and I finally caught up with it. Hopkins is something else.

Seeing this does make me want to go back and watch Copycat again. I haven't seen it in ages but I remember it being really good. I'd say there's probably only a 10% chance it holds up. Has it even been mentioned on the forum before? :))
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on February 17, 2017, 12:12:05 AM
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I disagree almost entirely. You care a lot about the times of great upheaval, but those have not been a part of this series (perhaps they are part of the the 70s versions, and with the upcoming film's title, I think we might finally see the thing you desire so much). But this has been, over the course of the two films so far, a story of an ape and a human. It's an intimate story, and those don't often work in the large context you're looking for. Franco dies between the credits of the last movie and this one, he's unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but he's ultra-important for Caesar and his understanding of the relationship between apes and man, and the society he begins to develop in this movie comes from that interaction and the respect he has for humanity it engendered.

That relationship between a man and an ape gets redone here several times over. There are parallels between the two species all over the place. You cite a hotheaded human who breaks the peace, but isn't there a similarly hotheaded ape who sows that seed of distrust (and deservingly so, given his past mistreatment at human hands). This is a complex web of human-ape interactions and relationships (at least for an action movie franchise) and it would be lost if we were focused on the larger scale collapse you want to see.

Finally, yes, this is not a Planet of the Apes yet. We're still at the Dawn (there's a reason why the film ends as it does)! There is indeed a long way to go, and I suspect we won't be there yet by the end of the next movie, either. You decry the movie skipping over the exciting stuff and getting bogged down in boring dam-rebuilding. These people are indeed small and relatively meaningless, but they are also, as you point out, the catalyst for the ape's next lurch forward, socially speaking. Were it not for the events of the film, they'd likely be stuck in the rut you rightly identified.

I think many of your problems come from an over-attachment to the human characters. I don't think that they're unimportant, I just think the apes are of equal, if not slightly more importance. They barely rate a mention in your review, except to figure out the logistics of their population growth. Did you not care about the ape characters at all? Is this the Westworld problem, where people had a hard time caring about characters that were being controlled to some degree by a computer program, even if the story was about their rebellion against the programming? Are apes just not of interest to you? (I don't think this would be a deficiency in your character or anything, just a difference between us that would illuminate our very different responses)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 17, 2017, 01:26:13 AM
I think the film is overly attached to all the characters.

Imo it's not a story about these humans, or these apes, it's about human history and ape history. The characters don't really matter that much. It would be like a series called Planet of the Humans, and it's all about Julius Caesar. It's too narrow. He's an important figure and he influenced some things in the time he lived, but human history is more than just him.

I think of 2001 A Space Oddysey... in the whole history of human evolution it doesn't just stop at a random time to watch some apes, it stops at a very important and pivotal moment. A species defining moment. And in watching Dawn I never really understood "why now"? Why stop at this time, to watch this particular ape? What is so important about the events of this film?

There is a skirmish between the apes and humans, and the final lines of the film make it sound as though some threshold has been crossed, and they there is no turning back. But I didn't see why that should be the case. It was an isolated incident. There was as many positive interactions between the species as negative. An ape saved by medicine, an orangutan given a book, etc. Both species have a sense of law and order, and understand the costs of war. And it doesn't seem as though they are competing for space or resources. I just don't see what happened that was so important we had to stop at this moment in history to see it. Honestly it felt like an excuse to have an action movie, because this happened to be a moment in time that had a fight.

A critical moment would be, say, when the apes position on the food chain finally rises above the humans, and the events surrounding that moment. That's a moment to stop and see. Or the first time an "ape" has sex with a human, and something is actually produced. Big moment!

The movie is largely occupied with the idea "they're just like us" which is fine I guess, but I didn't find it interesting. I'm 100% on board with the idea they are just like us. That they can be flawed in the same way we're flawed. That they feel love for their children as we do. I did not find these ideas any more challenging than a WWI film about soldiers who come out of their trenches on Christmas and discover the enemy is just like them.

As it happens the character I cared about most was the big ol' Orangutan. He was the most high-minded of them all. While Caesar was still caught up in the rat race of being alpha and other such pettiness, the Orangutan was so over that stuff. He was like the ape Buddha. Way more enlightened.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on February 17, 2017, 01:50:05 AM
Well, I too, would love to see more of ape-Buddha, AKA Dr. Zaius's great great grandfather. He's a cool guy, certainly not fully explored. I'd disagree that Caesar's worrying about being alpha, he's more concerned that his next-in-line is gonna be destructive not only for humans but also for the apes (hmm, now where have I seen that recently?).

I think you're right that this moment didn't necessarily have to be the turning point, though I think the movie justifies its importance in two ways. Firstly, working backwards, the conclusion sets up the ape vs. military battle that is to come, a clear escalation from this settlement (albeit defended with military tools) the apes tussled with in the current film. This is the moment that leads to that, so it's important. Secondly, and I think more interestingly and importantly, that escalation comes out of misunderstandings and prejudices, the stuff of all wars in one way or another. The film clearly outlines how both sides gear up for war through rhetoric and racial othering (again, sound familiar?). It's a fantastic depiction of that process, with sympathetic characters all around, including the villains to some degree. The human fear is understandable, they've lost everything so far and are just trying to hold on to what they've got. The apes fear the same prosecution and violence they've all experienced from humans before things went to shit. It's understandable on both sides.

I think this movie is indeed about human history and ape history. It deals with the aftermath of animal testing and, shall we say, incarceration? It also deals with the history of humanity in the constant warring between factions based mostly on the idea that they are different in one way or another. This is that history, it's just rendered into a human/ape-scale. That's part of why people called it Shakespearean. It's what Shakespeare did, he wrestled with big ideas through the human characters that represented ideas and drama greater than themselves and their interactions. It just happens to also have an ape riding in a tank.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on February 17, 2017, 10:24:31 AM
Seeing this does make me want to go back and watch Copycat again. I haven't seen it in ages but I remember it being really good. I'd say there's probably only a 10% chance it holds up. Has it even been mentioned on the forum before? :))

yep (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12547.msg755132#msg755132)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on February 17, 2017, 11:14:46 AM
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Right now it's Golden Gate National Park of the Apes.

:))

And big laughs for the Dr. Cornelius gif too!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on February 17, 2017, 11:48:16 AM
Seeing this does make me want to go back and watch Copycat again. I haven't seen it in ages but I remember it being really good. I'd say there's probably only a 10% chance it holds up. Has it even been mentioned on the forum before? :))

I actually loved Copycat as a kid. Probably watched it three or four times. You're right, probably a slim chance it holds up, but it is a movie I think about re-watching every now and then.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on February 17, 2017, 12:01:56 PM
Agoraphobic Sigourney Weaver < Blind Madeleine Stowe

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on February 17, 2017, 12:13:11 PM
Paterson

Really liked this overall, especially the structure which was simple, but wonderfully executed. However, Golshifteh Farahani didn't really work for me. Mostly because of the incredibly corny dialogue she was forced to spew. Pat and full of cliches. I love Driver as an actor and he's fine here, but isn't required to do much.

I loved the little touches like the recurring twins and their English bulldog practically steals the show. It's a nice, quiet film about the artistic work people do in their workaday lives.

I do have to say, for a movie about poetry, his poetry was really bad. Which isn't exactly important. It's about the act of making art more than the supposed quality.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on February 17, 2017, 05:32:39 PM
Quick little review of Sully, which I watched yesterday. When the movie was done, I felt like, "Oh, this was a good movie and I liked the performances enough, but man, I'm glad that movie's done. It felt like it went on for a while."

Then I looked at the running time and saw that it was something like 95 minutes. Not a good sign.

We'll call it a C.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StarCarly on February 17, 2017, 05:44:49 PM
As I mentioned in my review of Sully; it's a great story, but perhaps not a feature-length story.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 17, 2017, 06:15:19 PM
I think this movie is indeed about human history and ape history. It deals with the aftermath of animal testing and, shall we say, incarceration? It also deals with the history of humanity in the constant warring between factions based mostly on the idea that they are different in one way or another. This is that history, it's just rendered into a human/ape-scale. That's part of why people called it Shakespearean. It's what Shakespeare did, he wrestled with big ideas through the human characters that represented ideas and drama greater than themselves and their interactions. It just happens to also have an ape riding in a tank.

That's probably how it is best enjoyed, I agree. But while I wouldn't dispute the ape's rights, their linguistic sophistication does put a sort of ceiling on how deeply they can communicate their thoughts and feelings about themselves and their community to us. And so exploration of those issues is a bit limited. In other words, it can only paint in broad strokes right now.



Seeing this does make me want to go back and watch Copycat again. I haven't seen it in ages but I remember it being really good. I'd say there's probably only a 10% chance it holds up. Has it even been mentioned on the forum before? :))

yep (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12547.msg755132#msg755132)

:)) I love that review. As soon as you said "using the internet" I thought oh god, that probably doesn't hold up well at all. Then you confirm my worst suspicions, "And while I'm griping, the internet stuff is quite laughable." lol damn

I actually loved Copycat as a kid. Probably watched it three or four times. You're right, probably a slim chance it holds up, but it is a movie I think about re-watching every now and then.

:)) Three or four times! Yes! It was just the same with me. Of all the movies, I can't remember why this one got as much play as it did. And it never comes up when my family and I are reminiscing about movies we used to watch on VHS (Rainman, Mrs Doubtfire, an old Victor Borge (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEMEkNhulsI#no) stand up special...). One day one of us will rewatch it, and we'll have to report back. :)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on February 17, 2017, 06:34:33 PM
:)) Three or four times! Yes! It was just the same with me. Of all the movies, I can't remember why this one got as much play as it did.

The video store had one-week rentals so it was pretty common for me to watch the same movie a few times over the course of the week. This one I maybe re-rented to watch with friends.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on February 17, 2017, 07:44:41 PM
Oscar-Nominated Documentary Shorts 2017


(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2017/JoesViolin.jpg)

Joe's Violin
Kahane Cooperman, 2016

An effective terk-jerker, but annoyingly so. It's rare to see a documentary that captures such a genuine moment of human emotion while at the same time feeling so completely manufactured. Age, youth, music, and the holocaust are all in the mix, so if there's such a thing as Oscar-documentary-shorts-bait, this is it.

Grade: C+

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2017/Extremis.jpg)   

Extremis
Dan Krauss, 2016

From a technical standpoint, this is the most polished the nominated films. Krauss' camera is very empathetic as it films doctors and patients struggling with end-of-life care and decisions. My only criticism is that, as a short, it feels less like a complete film than an extended trailer for some future Netflix series (a series that I would no doubt watch).

Grade: B-

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2017/4.1Miles.jpg)

4.1 Miles
Daphne Matziaraki, 2016

We've now entered the Syria/refugee portion of our program. 4.1 Miles, similar to Fire at Sea (nominated for Documentary Feature), focuses on a small island community that's become one of the many focal points of the refugee crisis. The title refers to the distance between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Lesbos, which hardly has the coast guard resources to handle the flow of migrants at great risk of drowning off the coast in flimsy, overcrowded boats. Any footage you can watch of this humanitarian crisis is well worth watching, this film included, but the difficult filming conditions here don't really give Matziaraki the opportunity to capture the full scope of the scenes she witnesses. As documentaries go, it's a bit of a rough draft.

Grade: B-

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2017/WataniMyHomeland.jpg)

Watani: My Homeland
Marcel Mettelsiefen, 2016

Three years in the life of a family, from the front lines of the Syrian conflict (where dad is a freedom fighter right out of the movies) to the most idyllic-seeming German town. It's a story full of remarkable moments and indelible images that really capture the global nature of what's casually referred to as global conflict. The film is also a tribute to the resilient playfulness of children as well as the delicate balance between faith, assimilation, and acceptance. It's greatest virtue is the way it transcends any specific current events issue and speaks more to the general bonds of family and homeland.

Grade: B

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/cinepix/screenshots/2017/TheWhiteHelmets.jpg)

The White Helmets
Orlando von Einsiedel, 2016

All of these documentary shorts contain at least one really striking moment, usually of the heartbreaking variety. The White Helmets contains probably at least three. Despite those devastating moments, though, the film as a whole is less visceral of an experience than Extremis, 4.1 Miles, or Watani. von Einsiedel's documentary is let down by its editing. The structure is a bit unfocused and the interviews aren't always incorporated well, which hinders full engagement.

Grade: B-




The White Helmets seems to have a little more buzz, but Watani: My Homeland should definitely be the pick here. Three of these look to be available to stream online already: Extremis and The White Helmets are on Netflix, and 4.1 Miles is on the New York Times website (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/28/opinion/4-1-miles.html).

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 17, 2017, 11:40:13 PM
Morgan (2016)
* * 1/2
A tough film to resist no matter what the reviews are. A female variation on The Guest, centered around a morally murky figure that may be the film's hero or its villain. Need me to sweeten the pot? That central figure is played by Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch). Surrounding her are Rose Leslie, Toby Jones, Michelle Yeoh and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The film also makes room for a key scene with Paul Giamatti and Brian Cox shows up at the end. Talk about an offer that can't be refused.

The lead is Kate Mara, an actress I would've once called promising but she's become less interesting as she's settled into a groove. Like The Guest the excitement is in the build-up and mystery of the first half, where the actors elevate the material with looks and gestures between the dialogue. It's all good and tight and highly recommendable. Once everything gets crazy, it becomes more conventional with attention paid more to the editing and action than to the performances. Hence the mixed review, but like I said, if you like that cast...


The Magnificent Seven (2016)
* *
Here's a project the cast can't save. I want to like and support Antoine Fuqua, but he shows no feel for the Western as a genre. This should be all out fun, non-stop excitement from either the gunplay, the horseplay or the cast goofing off. The story is pure simple silliness, which makes it completely wrong when Fuqua tries to ground in some real adversity. This is Ocean's 11, not Saving Private Ryan, but if Fuqua maybe committed to the seriousness it might still work. Playing between the two just glazes my eyes over.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on February 17, 2017, 11:51:35 PM
The Lego Batman Movie (3D) - My wife set up a surprise evening of dinner (our favorite sushi joint) and a movie. I was hoping for Rogue One (we still haven't gotten around to that) but I wasn't thrilled to see this, I wasn't totally against it either. And it was a delight. I hate "edgy" and "dark" superheroes, and the Nolan Batman movies are mostly a huge bore to me. Guys in costumes battling "supervillains" is ridiculous, and when it comes to hero movies, I get the most joy out of the ones that embrace the silliness of it all. Deadpool was a step in the right direction, but Lego Batman hits the nail on the head. Great jokes, really fun skewering of tired superhero tropes, and enjoyable action to boot. While the message-y bits are none too subtle, I enjoyed the off-kilter yet surprisingly heartwarming take on the Batman/Joker dynamic. Good times, the first Batman movie to top the 1966 one. Pew pew! Rating: Very Good (87)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on February 18, 2017, 01:14:55 PM
Doctor Strange

Man, was this boring. There was one unique visual with thousands of tiny hands morphing into Strange's face (somebody needs to make a giph of this for Trump), but that was honestly the only thing I liked. A large part of my problem with it comes down to Marvel's continuing villain problem. I love Mads, but he's wasted here, and the big showdown with Dormamu at the end, a giant CGI face with no personality and no connection to the audience whatsoever, was completely underwhelming - though I appreciated the climax didn't devolve into cosmic fisticuffs.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 18, 2017, 01:27:32 PM
The Lego Batman Movie (3D) -  Rating: Very Good (87)

One day I will understand you Martin, one day...
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 18, 2017, 01:36:38 PM
Doctor Strange

Man, was this boring. There was one unique visual with thousands of tiny hands morphing into Strange's face (somebody needs to make a giph of this for Trump), but that was honestly the only thing I liked. A large part of my problem with it comes down to Marvel's continuing villain problem. I love Mads, but he's wasted here, and the big showdown with Dormamu at the end, a giant CGI face with no personality and no connection to the audience whatsoever, was completely underwhelming - though I appreciated the climax didn't devolve into cosmic fisticuffs.

I just rewatched this, for the first time in 2D. While that took quite a bit away from the visuals, the comedy was still as strong as Guardians of the Galaxy.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on February 18, 2017, 01:40:00 PM
I just rewatched this, for the first time in 2D. While that took quite a bit away from the visuals, the comedy was still as strong as Guardians of the Galaxy.

Have to disagree. The only thing that really stood out comedically was the cape wiping away his tears.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 18, 2017, 02:28:27 PM
(http://imgur.com/bWMxVix.jpg) - needs to be a gif

The fight in the sanctum has a lot of good cape humor, and a lot of humor with Strange not really knowing what he's doing (his shield fizzles out, Mads asking if Strange knows how to use the weapon in his hand (while calling him "Mister Doctor".))
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on February 18, 2017, 03:40:03 PM
Plus, the ending is so great. SO GREAT. It's something I mentioned in my review. Funny and well-thought out way to resolve the final conflict. My favorite ending to a Marvel film.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 18, 2017, 04:31:07 PM
Doctor Strange is my favorite Marvel flick. I get that some people didn't like that it's another origin story, but it had so much life and vitality in the writing, acting and cinematography that it felt like a comic book movie instead of another gritty thriller that just happens to have people with superhuman powers.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smooth on February 19, 2017, 02:13:13 AM
Five Easy Pieces (1970) Jack Nicholson stars as Robert Dupea, a former concert pianist who now leads a dull life as an oil worker living the same daily routine. Just when he can't handle it any longer, he gets a call from his sister that his father is gravely ill, and he sets out on a road trip with his girlfriend Rayette (played by Karen Black) to Washington State to reunite with the family and life he left behind.

Brilliant film all round. Many memorable scenes especially on the road trip home, his scenes with his father I could relate a lot to those scenes, and the ending which is powerful. Brought back some good and bad memories from my own life. One of Nicholson's more quieter, multilayered, and underrated roles.

9/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on February 19, 2017, 05:24:16 AM
One of Nicholson's more quieter, multilayered, and underrated roles.

9/10

Don't know if I'd go with quiet, but an amazing portrayal of angst and repression, occasionally manifesting in outrageous outbursts.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on February 19, 2017, 08:07:51 AM
Trolls (2016)
Dir: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn


Well, at least this isn't the worst animated film of 2016 (Suck it, Angry Birds!). But man, is this film bad. And so many other words people shouldn't associate with movies: Pointless. Confusing. Sloppy.

And just looking at this movie from a distance, it would appear to show potential. There's a great voice cast, Justin Timberlake is the executive music producer, and it's made by DreamWorks, who usually makes animated films I really enjoy. But there's just nothing going on here. The story isn't interesting or engaging (or particularly well-thought out), the jokes fall flat, the soundtrack is a mess (not even Justin Timberlake's fantastic, "Can't Stop The Feeling" (which is used horribly here) can save this messy hodgepodge or original numbers and pop songs slathered together to make... I dunno. I just don't know.

Ugh.

D
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 19, 2017, 08:10:48 AM
Damn, I had some hopes...
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on February 19, 2017, 09:14:32 AM
Me, too. I was super disappointed.

Not that it matters, but it would've been a much more fair "Best Animated" Oscar category if Trolls was off and Storks, a film that surprised me with some genuinely funny moments, was on.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on February 19, 2017, 09:52:29 AM
Me, too. I was super disappointed.

Not that it matters, but it would've been a much more fair "Best Animated" Oscar category if Trolls was off and Storks, a film that surprised me with some genuinely funny moments, was on.
It wasn't nominated for "Best Animated" Oscar, though, only for best song.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 19, 2017, 11:32:20 AM
Inferno (2016)

I'll admit that I'm an apologist for Dan Brown and, to a lesser extent, the Ron Howard/Tom Hanks adaptations thereof. I guess the main knock on the novels is the quality of the writing, but I think that kind of misses the point. They are page-turning humanities classes rather than literature. Each entry takes a city or set of cities, it lays in pretty thick description of art and architecture that lets us, through Robert Langdon, vicariously travel to these notable places. Layer on top of it some philosophical/historical notion, in the case of Inferno you have Malthusian population bomb rhetoric that sends us into Florence.

In adapting for cinema, it necessarily trims out and simplifies the plot. We get far less of the description of places and things. Arguably the advantage of cinema is that instead of description we actually get to see these wonderful settings, but in this case I feel like it never takes the time to really explore this. So it doesn't even take advantage of the one thing it should have an edge in. In this way, I feel like this is the worst adaptation in the series (I'd argue Angels and Demons, which was a much less complex novel to begin with, is the superior adaptation).

So even as a fan of the series I can't recommend this. Also, I wonder if Assassin's Creed has taken over some of the series' mantle, letting you roam historical reconstructions of these grand cities (AC2 puts you in Florence, and expansion put you into Rome). I suppose I will have to check out that adaptation to see how the film manages that feeling.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on February 19, 2017, 12:46:47 PM
Sunset Song

Well, that was lovely and heartbreaking. A gorgeous pastoral with a fine performance by Agyness Dyne anchoring the film.

Maybe my favorite shot of the year:
(http://1125996089.rsc.cdn77.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/SunsetSong00006.jpg)

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on February 19, 2017, 12:56:22 PM
Me, too. I was super disappointed.

Not that it matters, but it would've been a much more fair "Best Animated" Oscar category if Trolls was off and Storks, a film that surprised me with some genuinely funny moments, was on.
It wasn't nominated for "Best Animated" Oscar, though, only for best song.

I stand corrected. And that song is decent.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smooth on February 19, 2017, 01:22:38 PM
All Hallow's Eve(2013)and All Hallow's Eve Part 2. Babysitter discovers a tape with a few tales of terror on it linked to a murderous clown in the first one. It was really good. Nice little gory bits. Cool killer clown. 8/10.

Part 2 More of the same. More tales. More gore. Less focused and more predictable. The Pumpkin-faced killer was alright. 6/10.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on February 19, 2017, 11:21:49 PM
Sunset Song

Beautiful shot you posted, philip!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 20, 2017, 10:28:57 AM
Inferno (2016)

You eschewed to include the bananas conspiracies in your book descriptions, which are sort of a major part of them, and perhaps a bigger problem than the writing. And really, most of the humanities and arts stuff if fairly basic. Angels and Demons takes you around the most famous sculptures in Rome.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 20, 2017, 12:16:07 PM
Someone erased the half finished review I had begun writing yesterday. I don't think I can rewrite the first three paragraphs quite as well but here goes.

Your Name
Makoto Shinkai (2016)


Whenever a story is told through animation there are grounds to wonder why the movie was made so. What does animation offer that live action does not? One hopes that the director is inspired by loftier reasons than his lone familiarity with the style, that he will use it to do things that are impossible with silly real people. Too often animation is seen as a shorthand way to direct your movie at younger audiences. That allows many people to dismiss animated films as children fare and the prejudice may spread even among those who believe the form can be and often is just as much for adults as it is for crotchspawn. The intellectual rigours we visit upon movies are often lessened when those movies happen to be animated. We are more permissive of dubious leaps of logic and plot-holes. The fact that these stories are ostensibly not real also helps diminish the mind's demands for realism. Odd behaviour is not seen as poor writing but as part of the inherent quirkiness of these animated worlds, which, visibly, are not the real world. You can look at the double standard as just that, an unjustified prejudice, but it is often harmless - except in those cases where things go very awry indeed.

You may see where I am coming to. Your Name has massive, Orson Welles-sized plot-holes at its very heart. I could mostly ignore these in the beginning of the movie because they started out as minor. As the story progressed though, they grew in girth. Around the middle of the film they suddenly take enormous proportions: Citizen Kane because Chides at Midnight. My insouciance had grown into active irritation by then and I was ready to become largely negative about the movie – especially since those plot-holes could have been easily solved by placing the story a few years earlier, before there were smartphones everywhere. The movie proceeded to erase my annoyance with the brush of its singular charm.

Let me state it clearly right now: Your Name is not only one of the best animated movies of 2016, it is one of the best movies of that year too – or of 2017, if you chose to look at it that way, whatever may be released yet.

The best way I can think of to explain Your Name is to compare it to Freaky Friday meets a much better version of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Both movies are predominantly focused on romantic relationships and play with time and missed connections. These are not just plot gimmicks, they help to create a link between the characters and are fundamental for the movie to convey its ultimate message. Message is probably the wrong word; Your Name is not an intellectual movie of deep meanings and carefully worked out philosophies. It is, if you will pardon the corniness of the word, a movie of Heart. Somewhere along the lines of teenage dialogue and slapstick comedy burgeons a beautiful love story.

Technology-related plot-holes aside, the writing is admirable in its economy and efficacy. It gives you just enough of an idea to make you understand much more which permits it to do much more with its material than another movie would. As it explores the Freaky Friday side of the situation, instead of the inevitable parade of cringy situations before the characters figure out what is going on, it sets the situation and their confusion but then moves on. We are left to fill the gaps. The movie recognizes the more sultry possibilities afforded by the body-switching but does not indulge. Bless.

At one point I was hoping it actually would not devolve into a love story and would instead focus on themes of gender identity and possible alternate lives one might have had instead. I do not regret that it did not. That movie could have proved brilliant, but this one is too.

Most of the animation of the film is on the level of a fine anime series. In fact, the movie has an opening that comes straight out anime series openings. The virtuoso moments are saved for some later scenes, most of which involve a comet.  The visuals are gorgeous and striking. The entire movie is exquisitely crafted. The editing is quick paced and dynamic, with perfect transitions that culminate in two montages that perfectly set up the situations they are there to explain – with songs to shake things up a bit more. The animators knew what they were doing, and when it really mattered, they created the perfect tableaus.

Your Name is not always a happy movie. It is very melancholy and there are moments of deep sadness among all the fun.  That just makes it better.

8.5/10

This is the first of the movies I will be championing this year. I watched it on Valentine’s, picking the date through total happenstance. It was perfect.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 20, 2017, 12:31:46 PM
You eschewed to include the bananas conspiracies in your book descriptions, which are sort of a major part of them, and perhaps a bigger problem than the writing.

A problem because they aren't plausible? It wouldn't be fun if they were. But I feel the thematic concept is more important. Population bomb (Inferno) or hidden truth used to enable patriarchal use of religion (DaVinci Code) make for interesting context of bonkers conspiracy. The original Rainbow Six had as its main story a similar ecoterrorist population reduction plot.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 20, 2017, 12:38:15 PM
Lumière! L'aventure commence.
Thierry Frémaux (2016)


This movie is a treat for a film lover and a necessity for everyone. I cannot imagine a better introduction to the inception of cinema. It is a history lesson about the birth of an entire art form. You witness the progress of the brothers as they explore the world of possibilities afforded by their invention: the first slapstick comedy, the first camera moves, the first experimental shots...Lumière! is a unique case of an art form documenting itself, in real time, as it grows. It is its own testimony and the impression it makes is unlike any visit to a museum.

8/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 20, 2017, 12:40:15 PM
You eschewed to include the bananas conspiracies in your book descriptions, which are sort of a major part of them, and perhaps a bigger problem than the writing.

A problem because they aren't plausible? It wouldn't be fun if they were. But I feel the thematic concept is more important. Population bomb (Inferno) or hidden truth used to enable patriarchal use of religion (DaVinci Code) make for interesting context of bonkers conspiracy. The original Rainbow Six had as its main story a similar ecoterrorist population reduction plot.

It's not that they aren't plausible as much as how implausible they are. A terrorist plot is one thing, but Brown creates secret societies and parallel histories that go back 2000 years and the whole thing becomes preposterous.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 20, 2017, 12:56:44 PM
Brown didn't create the Knights Templar/Illuminati/Masons. They are widely established historical entities around which conspiracies circle. Brown just tied it into his plot. The Knights Templar really were part of the Crusades and the Gnostic gospels really do suggest a different history vis a vis Jesus. It isn't parallel history, it is disputed history.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 20, 2017, 01:04:11 PM
I was talking about his Da Vinci Code sect of Mary-Magdalene worshipers.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: IDrinkYourMilkshake on February 20, 2017, 06:14:32 PM
My Scientology Movie

I don't know if this has even been released in America, or how well known Louis Theroux is over there, but I have to vent this somewhere....

I wonder if I'm the only one who's a little puzzled by Louis Theroux's success. I recall the first time I saw one of his documentaries, around 15, 20 years ago - I thought it was some kind of Spinal Tap spoof, or that he was an actor, punking the subject of his films by playing some kind of Alan Partridge-style savant documentarian.

There's a moment in this where he asks ex-Scientologist Marty Rathbun if Rathbun thinks Theroux's questions are "inane"... and I wanted to be there, in the car with them, to say "I DO! I FREQUENTLY THINK YOUR QUESTIONS ARE INANE, LOUIS!!! NOT JUST TODAY, BUT GOING BACK NEARLY 20 YEARS!!!!! WHEN I FIRST SAW YOU ON TV I HONESTLY THOUGHT IT WAS A BIG JOKE!"

There are at least two moments in this where he spends what feels like an eternity simply staring silently at his subjects and then, when the silence is finally broken, he says something utterly pointless, and I just think "You're asking that? Now?"

I've heard him try to justify his style as letting the film do the talking, so that he doesnt become to subject or the focus, but God-damn it the two can at least meet halfway somewhere... and, for me, he becomes the focus by being such an odd presence in all of his films. Ned Flanders said of Woody Allen "I like his movies, but I can't stand that nervous, little fella who's always in them." Well... I like some of Theroux's documentaries, but I can't stand that awkward, gangly fella who's always in them... and you can sense Marty Rathbun become increasingly frustrated with Theroux as the documentary continues. You can certainly sense the moment Rathbun calls Theroux a "f*cking asshole".

The funny thing is that he seems to give great interviews, he just doesn't seem to know how to conduct them. I've listened to him a couple of times on various podcasts and he's always more interesting being interviewed than he is in any of his films.

Anyway, as you can probably tell, I found this an underwhelming, incredibly frustrating 100 minutes. Nothing I didn't already 'know'... cheap shots taken at an easy target.


The Brothers Grimsby

Not good. Sasha Baron Cohen does a lot of his writing with Peter Baynem, whose career in the UK began with Chris Morris, Steve Coogan, Patrick Marber and Armando Iannucci on a Radio 4 show called 'On the Hour', which became 'The Day Today' and which produced Alan Partridge, and which went on to become 'Brass Eye'. I remember watching 'The Day Today' as a 13 year old and laughing until I cried, but I always thought Baynems stuff was the weakest, or that he was the least funny presence.

That feeling is justified by this. Increasingly diminishing returns. 'Borat' was funny, 'Bruno' a bit less so, 'The Dictator' less still, and now this. I can understand Mark Strongs involvement - I can imagine there'd be at least some fun to be had for an actor in making a film like this, but I genuinely feel embarrassed for Penelope Cruz. Whatever possessed her to do this?

Not good.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on February 20, 2017, 07:14:24 PM
Louis Theroux's success comes from his non-American sensibility. A lot of his focus is American and they are unable to figure him out. I think it isn't too much more complex than that.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 20, 2017, 11:24:44 PM
Girl Asleep (Rosemary Myers, 2015)

I'd label this film as Alice in Wonderland by way of Sing Street. Greta (Bethany Whitmore) is on the cusp of 15 and just moved to a new school, with all the things both of those changes signal. Aside from the period setting and costumes, this earns its Sing Street comparison from a couple fairly joyous musical scenes (soundtrack, not performance) and its general scrappy attitude. The Alice comparison comes from its dive into the surreal to express Greta's social and psychological concerns. Of course, it also is distinctly Australian via its humor, which is what I had to fight through the most. I've not historically been a big fan of Australian (and generally New Zealander) humor, though there's some top notch dad jokes to be had.

So yeah, a perfect sort of Best "Debut" Film pick where you enjoy the time and hope the future holds more precisely pitched films. Though I realize that category generally just becomes Best Film that is a Debut and in that sense I can't imagine this being in my top 5.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on February 21, 2017, 03:31:36 AM
The Brothers Grimsby

Not good.
..., but I genuinely feel embarrassed for Penelope Cruz. Whatever possessed her to do this?

Not good.

The same thing that possessed her to do Zoolander 2 in the same year (and apparently The Queen of Spain, which has a huge 4.7 on IMDB). Not a stellar year for her.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 21, 2017, 06:51:03 AM
Moonlight
Barry Jenkins (2016)


I cannot help but compare Moonlight to the love child of Brockeback Mountain and American Honey. Jenkins' languorous pace and stylized shots assisted by careful choices of music resemble Arnold's treatment of another underprivileged teenager ; the theme of repressed homosexuality is similarly present in the Western, where masculinity rules in the same tyrannical way as in Chiron's suburb. There is another, more personal similitude to American Honey. The movie does not allow me to relate to its main character, to nurture any amount of sympathy that would make me care about what happens to him. Moonlight is just a well filmed - despite some jarringly out of focus awful shots in the beginning of the movie - succession of things that happen.

Some people argue that movies like this one are important because they talk about things rarely talked about and remind us that these stories, these people exist in real life - and in fact, abound in some places - and we need such movies to reignite our empathy towards them. I don't think we need movies to remind us that poor people, alienated people, tormented people are out there. I know they are. You have to give me more than that.

7/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on February 21, 2017, 06:53:39 AM
Lumière! L'aventure commence.
Thierry Frémaux (2016)


This movie is a treat for a film lover and a necessity for everyone. I cannot imagine a better introduction to the inception of cinema. It is a history lesson about the birth of an entire art form. You witness the progress of the brothers as they explore the world of possibilities afforded by their invention: the first slapstick comedy, the first camera moves, the first experimental shots...Lumière! is a unique case of an art form documenting itself, in real time, as it grows. It is its own testimony and the impression it makes is unlike any visit to a museum.


Seconded.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 21, 2017, 07:23:39 AM
I found Moonlight effortless in its exploration of masculinity...how society pushes boys to excise the vulnerabilities and built up a performative shell. I could relate to that, even if I'm just an observer to the more specific black experience aspect of this intersectional work.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on February 21, 2017, 07:35:51 AM
I found Moonlight effortless in its exploration of masculinity...how society pushes boys to excise the vulnerabilities and built up a performative shell. I could relate to that, even if I'm just an observer to the more specific black experience aspect of this intersectional work.

Yes. This.

The line about defining a certain term as a word people use to try and hurt homosexual's feelings is so perfect and elegant and that scene has stuck with me. I hope if my son asked me that same question that Chiron did, my answer would be just as elegant.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on February 21, 2017, 12:37:57 PM
The movie does not allow me to relate to its main character, to nurture any amount of sympathy that would make me care about what happens to him.

I mean, I'd try to argue, but if this is the place you're coming from I don't even know where to begin.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 21, 2017, 01:04:24 PM
Usually I'm the one that is failing to empathize with characters and making everyone throw up their arms...but here it was deep and immediate. Like, if the film started in Act III I could see not empathizing but I don't really get how the early part is isolating.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on February 21, 2017, 09:18:53 PM
A Cure for Wellness

Have you seen The Ninth Configuration? Did you enjoy that film's psychobabble and fun character stuff? Well, then I suggest you don't see A Cure for Wellness, which takes roughly the same setting and a similar story (generally speaking) and turns it into just the biggest mess you'll ever see. You've got a mysterious disappearance of a businessman, so Leo-Lite goes to find him. He's in the Swiss Alps! Oh no! There he finds Jason Isaacs doing fun things like talking about water a lot and probably a grand conspiracy of sorts. There's also a bunch of body horror and eels, of course. And lo, it turns out the whole movie was about racism, kinda. But, you know, with the whitest cast you're likely to see in a film. I'm not sure what any of this was supposed to be, but what it ended up being was 2.5 hours of kind of fun so long as you don't take it at all seriously and sit back and enjoy the mostly lovely visuals.

C

(Sorry for baiting you so hard, 1SO, I don't know whether to recommend this to you or not)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on February 21, 2017, 10:12:18 PM
The Secret Path (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGd764YU9yc)

An okay animation about a decent but brief story, played over a good album.  It's short, so I recommend it.

3.5/5
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 21, 2017, 10:26:14 PM
A Cure for Wellness

Have you seen The Ninth Configuration?

C

(Sorry for baiting you so hard, 1SO, I don't know whether to recommend this to you or not)

That's okay. I'm sure I'll watch it eventually. Hearing about the long run time is what turned me off seeing it immediately. (Not enough Gore and too much Verbinski).

I'm also a little bitter because I thought the freaky visuals were going to bring them in like Split and I would take the Box Office Game.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 21, 2017, 10:50:59 PM
Yea, A Cure for Wellness would be an easier sell for me with a 90 minute runtime. Now it'll be streaming material at best.

That makes me wonder, is there any horror film besides The Shining that's well over two hours and feels worth the runtime?he Wailing is a recent example that I felt could have worked much better in 90 minutes.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 21, 2017, 10:58:25 PM
Rosemary's Baby

What about Thirst?

The Conjuring 2 could've used another edit.

Dawn of the Dead (1978) is just over two-hours and is so epic I always think of it as being longer.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: mañana on February 21, 2017, 11:06:33 PM
[noembed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGd764YU9yc]The Secret Path[/noembed]

An okay animation about a decent but brief story, played over a good album.  It's short, so I recommend it.

3.5/5
How'd you hear about this, oldkid? Just curious because it's a big deal in Canada and I didn't think it had much exposure in the States.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on February 21, 2017, 11:14:40 PM
Where I find all the best movie discoveries:  Someone recommended it on the forum. 
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 22, 2017, 12:07:12 AM
Rosemary's Baby

What about Thirst?

The Conjuring 2 could've used another edit.

Dawn of the Dead (1978) is just over two-hours and is so epic I always think of it as being longer.
RB is a good one. I need to revisit Thirst. I quite liked The Conjuring 2, but yea, could have been shorter. Also, Dawn of the Dead is just barely over 2 hours. Thinking films that come close to the two and a half hour mark and beyond.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 22, 2017, 03:43:10 AM
I didn't know A Cure for Wellness was 2.5 hours long. I wasn't really considering it but now I am sure not to watch it, even before reading that review.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 22, 2017, 05:07:13 AM
I found Moonlight effortless in its exploration of masculinity...how society pushes boys to excise the vulnerabilities and built up a performative shell. I could relate to that, even if I'm just an observer to the more specific black experience aspect of this intersectional work.

Yes. This.

The line about defining a certain term as a word people use to try and hurt homosexual's feelings is so perfect and elegant and that scene has stuck with me. I hope if my son asked me that same question that Chiron did, my answer would be just as elegant.

I liked what was being said a lot but I had trouble actually believing in the scene. That this drug dealer who likely grew up in the same masculinity-obsessed underprivileged environment that tyrannized Little would deliver this eloquent, tender answer played like the pinnacle of idealization and unrealism.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 22, 2017, 05:11:41 AM
The movie does not allow me to relate to its main character, to nurture any amount of sympathy that would make me care about what happens to him.

I mean, I'd try to argue, but if this is the place you're coming from I don't even know where to begin.

Usually I'm the one that is failing to empathize with characters and making everyone throw up their arms...but here it was deep and immediate. Like, if the film started in Act III I could see not empathizing but I don't really get how the early part is isolating.

The first part of the movie is about a mute child who we never really get to know. We learn about his mother and the bullying, sure, but that's not him. The movie reduces Chiron to a repressed husk too much. We don't know him beyond that part of his personality. What does he like? What does he want? Up to his ultimate moment of rebellion, the largest amount of volition he displays is when he chooses to go someplace, like Teresa's or the beach. The film depicts a victim, not a person.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 22, 2017, 05:35:58 AM
Jackie
Pablo Larrain (2016)


There are two dissenting forces at work in a biopic such as Jackie. Because it focuses solely on one event, or rather, one very short period of time defined by an event, it is not a character study that encompasses its subject's entire life, or even her entire personality. On the other hand, that same event is meant to be a window into the first lady, the prism through which we may get to discover and know her, as events stress her to reveal shades of herself.

The biopic works best when it deals with the actual events and how Jackie dealt with them: witness her indecision, her changes of mind as she decides how to celebrate and bury her husband. There is no grading grid by which to measure the rightness of a choice and she is solely responsible for figuring out what the best thing to do is.

Unfortunately the screenplay is much less successful in tackling the business of presenting Jackie Kennedy as a real person who is not defined by these few days. We get glimpses of her smiling at a party in a very brief flashback and there are recurring edits into her tour of the White House. They hint at a character we are not allowed to meet even though the film persists in reminding you she is really there every step of the way. When Jackie alludes to her husband's infidelity to the priest - an otherwise horribly written scene - Larrain rises to unmet levels.

6/10

I tried to find Teproc's review to read a dissenting opinion but wasn't able to. Corndog compliments how well the film explores what Jackie has to go through but I suppose in this we were looking for different things.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on February 22, 2017, 06:39:23 AM
Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

I'm puzzled by the relative quietness that this film has been received with. Based on the muted reaction, I expected it to be middle-of-the-road, and it most definitely is not. It succeeds both as a character study of Jackie Kennedy in the extraordinary situation that was the aftermath of JKF's assassination and as a reflexion on human mortality. The only parts of the film I have trouble with are the one that are her conversations with John Hurt, as they often do little more than make the subtext into text, even though Hurt's performance does elevate those scenes, probably in no small part because we see a character played by a recently deceased actor talk about death, which inevitably adds to the emotional weight of those scenes.

Portman's performance is certainly mannered, and off-putting in a way... but this is a richly textured performance, that captures the complexity of a character who is deeply concerned with her place in History but is nonetheless vulnerable : this is the core conflict we see play out in Portman's portrayal. What Larrain and Portman are after here is, in a sense, the same idea that Herzog and Kinski explored in Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo : humanity's impossible quest for immortality.

I've kept the best for the end, and that's the score. Mica Levi is now 2 for 2. Not just in the sense that she has composed two great scores for two great movies, but also both movies rely very heavily on them, and I can't wait to see (well, hear) what she does next.

9/10

I guess I don't disagree that the film doesn't show us who Jackie was outside of these last few days... but that's not what it's trying to do at all. Like Neruda, it's a biopic that doesn't worry too much about the historical figure and is just a film with its own goals and themes.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 22, 2017, 08:26:07 AM
Toni Erdmann
Maren Ade (2016)


What makes Toni Erdmann so difficult to write about is that it is a quintessentially mixed movie. It alludes generalizations because its individual scenes make up an entire, uneven spectrum. The spectrum is both vertical and horizontal. Scenes alternate in their wildly inconsistent quality and in their tone. The film has been described as a cringe comedy but I don't think it is. There are many scenes of cringe comedy, certainly, but I don't know that they make up most of the movie, or even, most of the comedy. I would be at a loss to describe the rest of the humour however.

Ultimately the movie is about a lonely father trying to reconnect with his daughter who navigates her professional and personal life as well as she can, which in the latter case is not well at all one might argue - she is quite miserable. She is the easiest character to relate to because of how unpleasantly her father behaves, and yet she is the most difficult to understand sometimes.

That their relationship should play out as it ultimately does is all kinds of screwed up but not, in spite of that, unfathomable. The movie is a weird two and a half hour long journey filled with many uncomfortable moments and some extraordinary scenes that is more messy than anything else and never justifies its running time by connecting with the viewer.

6/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 22, 2017, 08:31:01 AM
Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

The only parts of the film I have trouble with are the one that are her conversations with John Hurt, as they often do little more than make the subtext into text

(...)

Portman's performance is certainly mannered, and off-putting in a way... but this is a richly textured performance, that captures the complexity of a character who is deeply concerned with her place in History but is nonetheless vulnerable : this is the core conflict we see play out in Portman's portrayal.

We can agree on this at least. I suppose I was ultimately more interested in the historic aspect of the thing than the thing itself. It is worth noting that, contrary to what the journalist says, JFK's burial is the last thing anyone remembers about it, if they are aware of it at all. I had never heard of it before ; it is for the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam and so forth that the president remains immortal.

I would totally watch a Skarsgard movie about Bobby Kennedy.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 22, 2017, 01:13:18 PM
La La Land (Rewatch)
Damien Chazelle (2016)


The technical achievement of this movie cannot be overstated. The camera choreography of the first two musical numbers is mind boggling and would deserve award recognition on its own. The art direction is stunning and the last set piece is just the icing on the cake where the cake is a carrot cake. Now that Chazelle has demonstrated his skill with music and film technique I wish he would concentrate more on the words of it all. The lyrics are the weakest parts of his songs, despite Stone and Gosling being first timers at it. I still don't understand tap dancing but their performances hinted at full on triple threat potential, with Gosling's vocals being the only real setback.

8/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 22, 2017, 01:34:39 PM
Chazelle respects the Musical like a fanboy. His true love is jazz, which creates a misrepresentation of where the film's heart is. I haven't read Chazelle making that correction, instead playing into the marketing of calling it a musical throwback. Of course, that's my interpretation based on the film's impression on me.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on February 22, 2017, 01:59:16 PM
Chazelle respects the Musical like a fanboy. His true love is jazz, which creates a misrepresentation of where the film's heart is.
This was my impression too, particularly given the context of Whiplash.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 22, 2017, 04:06:40 PM
My original review sort of alludes to that. I cannot really blame him though - yet, what would a Miranda-Chazelle movie be like? Oh the possibilities...
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 22, 2017, 04:56:48 PM
I don't see them working well together. They seem to have different interests in terms of telling a story through music. Much like how I wouldn't want Chazelle to do a Sondheim or Howard Ashman biopic.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on February 22, 2017, 08:07:56 PM
Jackie
Pablo Larrain (2016)


Junior compliments how well the film explores what Jackie has to go through but I suppose in this we were looking for different things.

I'll be sure to tell myself to have this opinion when I see it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 23, 2017, 04:15:47 AM
Damn it, I meant Corndog, sorry.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 23, 2017, 07:06:02 AM
Mildred Pierce
Michael Curtiz (1945)


Last year I realized I don't watch many remakes or multiple adaptations of the same source material. That made watching Curtiz's Mildred Pierce a particular experience because I had already watched Haynes' miniseries version previously. The differences are surprising and the comparison fascinating because each work is on one extreme of the spectrum of directors' attitudes towards adaptations. Whereas, to the best of my knowledge, Haynes is quite faithful to the original plot of the novel, developing its every beat and episode thanks to his larger time allowance. Curtiz, on the other hand, is not only less shy about amputating parts of the novel to shorten the running time of the movie, but also goes so far in reshaping the story as to alter elements, notably the ending.

That change makes the 1945 movie into a more classical noir than it would have been had Curtiz left Cain's words unadulterated. The novel was already deeply cynical and replete with vice and yet Curtiz chose to take that one step further and introduce an element of mystery to it that he then used as a framing device through voice-over narration. Concern about matters of adaptation aside, I think that makes the story and the movie worse. The flashback structure of the film is not so good it warrants such a rewrite - it's serviceable. More importantly, the story was much more interesting when it concluded simply on the absolute poisonous nature of one of its characters. The same character in the 2011 miniseries comes out as much more Machiavellian and monstrous because hers is not a criminal corruption but a moral one, which makes it more subtle and less ordinary.

Mildred Pierce is a story that is fraught with noir themes whatever its version yet that only comes off in the noir version, which creates a fantastic study case for own the genre's style plays in molding the feel of the movie. Noir revels in provocative sexuality but Mildred Pierce remains a product of its time and the miniseries is the most sultry of the two. It is more graphic and obvious, but not vulgarly so, and there is much talk of legs. When presented with the opportunity of a momentary liaison Mildred says yes when in the movie she remains chaste.

Curtiz is better behind the camera than Haynes. His is a beautiful film, shot in perfect noir fashion, with efficient, brisk editing. He captures the story and the characters with the necessary swiftness the adaptation requires. Haynes still benefits from his longer format however, which allows him to better develop the characters ; the emotional punch towards the middle of the story is much more powerful in his version.

The performances are another interesting point of comparison. Haynes gets to age his children characters by changing actresses while in the earlier movie Veda perpetually looks sixteen. The mannered style of the forties contrasts with the more realistic approach of later decades which makes it hard to juxtapose them but Kate Winslet is the best of the bunch while Joan Crawford remains quite good. The Montes are played completely differently ; I don't know which I prefer.

7/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on February 23, 2017, 08:41:30 AM
Damn it, I meant Corndog, sorry.

I don't think this is the first time Junior and I have been confused as the same person. We are homies after all.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on February 23, 2017, 10:16:08 AM
That makes me wonder, is there any horror film besides The Shining that's well over two hours and feels worth the runtime?he Wailing is a recent example that I felt could have worked much better in 90 minutes.

A few Japanese ones:

Kwaidan
Noriko's Dinner Table
Shura a.k.a. Demons
The Inugami Family
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 23, 2017, 10:31:41 AM
Never seen any of those, but I'll try to get to them eventually.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 23, 2017, 11:40:42 AM
The Lego Batman Movie
Chris McKay (2017)


I cannot predict how many people will watch The Lego Batman Movie but I will predict that its appeal will be universal for those who do watch it. It is a movie that has something for everyone:
I haven't tried but I am convinced there is no way to explain the movie to anyone who hasn't watched the original The Lego Movie without sounding insane.

« It's a Batman movie, except in a Lego World. So he can build his Batvehicles anywhere, because he is a master builder. And he is a total douche in this universe and adopts Robin by mistake. And the joker is in like hate-love with him and they totally have a romantic arc. And Batman records his own music and likes metal a lot. Joker tries to get him to tell him he hates him by destroying Gotham after being sent to the phantom zone. Oh, I almost forgot, there are references to previous Batman movies, but don't worry about the continuity, because there isn't one. Batman saves the day with the help of his other Batman'ed up supervillains and his shredded abs. And Voldemort is in this movie. »

It makes no sense, it is preposterous and silly and dumb, and I love it. It is surprising how many parts of it work. It is a genuine entry in the Batman canon - well, sort of.

It is however not as good as The Lego Movie. It might be funnier, with a higher concentration of jokes, but the writing is overall not quite as good. I cannot recall the animation of that previous movie well enough to compare them, but it seems to me it was better, and the sets more inspired. It is the McKay's first feature film and you can sense the directing is not as good as it was under Lord and Miller. What's more surprising is how less used the Lego side of it all is used, with Lego building, being reserved here almost solely to Batman and only for constructing vehicles. Finally, whereas TLM expanded into new territory in its last act, which propelled to movie to new heights, there is nothing remotely similar in its universality here.

The voice work leaves a bit to be desired too, and I was surprised at the amount of talent behind when credits rolled. I am not sure Will Arnett was the best person for the main role, although he does do a good douche. Also, why on Earth is Ralph Fiennes not voicing Voldemort too?

« Everything is awesome... »

8/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: goodguy on February 23, 2017, 11:53:57 AM
The Lego Batman Movie

... I will predict that its appeal will be universal for those who do watch it.
...
It is however not as good as The Lego Movie.
...
8/10

------- 4/10 -------
144) The Lego Movie (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1490017/)  (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)

Ah, well, you almost had me convinced there (I still might watch it anyway).

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on February 23, 2017, 01:24:04 PM
Same, although the complaint that it doesn't have some tacked on meta connection to the LEGO™ Brand building blocks is a positive for me so I may still enjoy it if it succeeds at being fun rather than preaching about the power of imagination brought about thanks to the wonders of LEGO™ Brand building blocks, available at a store near you.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on February 23, 2017, 01:30:43 PM
That makes me wonder, is there any horror film besides The Shining that's well over two hours and feels worth the runtime?he Wailing is a recent example that I felt could have worked much better in 90 minutes.

A few Japanese ones:

Kwaidan
Noriko's Dinner Table
Shura a.k.a. Demons
The Inugami Family

Not really horror but The World of Kanako has moments of horror
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 23, 2017, 01:36:55 PM
Same, although the complaint that it doesn't have some tacked on meta connection to the LEGO™ Brand building blocks is a positive for me so I may still enjoy it if it succeeds at being fun rather than preaching about the power of imagination brought about thanks to the wonders of LEGO™ Brand building blocks, available at a store near you.

A Lego movie without characters making Lego builds is like a Harry Potter without magic. That's sort of the entire point of the premise ; otherwise, you can just animate regular characters.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on February 23, 2017, 02:18:55 PM
That makes sense, and perhaps I'll agree when I watch it in a few months, but I don't think it was done well in the first film so if that's the alternative I'd rather go without.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on February 23, 2017, 06:01:38 PM
Same, although the complaint that it doesn't have some tacked on meta connection to the LEGO™ Brand building blocks is a positive for me so I may still enjoy it if it succeeds at being fun rather than preaching about the power of imagination brought about thanks to the wonders of LEGO™ Brand building blocks, available at a store near you.

I had the same problem with the LEGO Movie, and it's almot entirely absent from LEGO Batman, which is a pretty fun time.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 24, 2017, 12:18:53 AM
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

To the degree that this film succeeds, it is because of the true story that it tells. To the larger degree that this film doesn't succeed, it is because of Mel Gibson's direction. Ham handed and emotionally obvious early, excessive in violence late. It just becomes a tonal and thematic mess.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on February 24, 2017, 01:13:54 AM
That was my reaction while watching it, but then I got to wondering if maybe tonal and thematic mess is the correct way to tell this particular story. It's an absurd moral morass of a story that really makes no logical sense and the only way to really be true to its spirit is to show the absurdity of the idea that because you won't shoot a gun you're somehow absolved of participation in the horror, while also being completely sincere about the validity of that perspective. I do wish it was a story about that moral quandary, rather than a story that uses the moral quandary to heighten the tension of its battle scenes, but it's an interesting result nonetheless.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on February 24, 2017, 02:51:57 AM
That was my reaction while watching it, but then I got to wondering if maybe tonal and thematic mess is the correct way to tell this particular story. It's an absurd moral morass of a story that really makes no logical sense and the only way to really be true to its spirit is to show the absurdity of the idea that because you won't shoot a gun you're somehow absolved of participation in the horror, while also being completely sincere about the validity of that perspective. I do wish it was a story about that moral quandary, rather than a story that uses the moral quandary to heighten the tension of its battle scenes, but it's an interesting result nonetheless.

Really well put. It still could have done this a bit better though.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 24, 2017, 08:14:50 AM
I guess my objection was often more purely technical. Blood splashes onto the camera, slightly odd sound effects at times. There were moments that it felt more Kill Bill than Saving Private Ryan.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on February 24, 2017, 01:06:45 PM
(http://i65.tinypic.com/2qsw0ux.jpg)
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

Not knowing what to expect is a core principle to successful horror movies, but Get Out is different because I didn't know what to expect on multiple levels. While the narrative is full of those types of moments, the film's existence is entirely an unknown. Jordan Peele, the film's screenwriter and director, is new to the scene. You may know the name, from the Comedy Central hit show Key & Peele, where he does funny things with fellow funny man Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele is a respected comedian. Not exactly the type of name you would expect to head up a horror project, but that is what makes Get Out special and unexpected. Peele is making his debut as director, having only co-written the Key & Peele vehicle Keanu from 2016 as a writer. Peele brings a certain freshness to the genre, a unique voice which certainly intrigues me, wondering what other genre efforts he could possible master other than comedy. Only the future can tell.

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is a successful photographer who is dating a white woman named Rose (Allison Williams). When Rose decides she is ready to take Chris, who is black, home to meet her parents, the two pack up and head out to the remote Armitage estate. They meet Dean (Bradley Whitford), a neurosurgeon, and Missy (Catherine Keener), a psychiatrist, along with Rose's off-kilter brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones). After strange encounters with the groundskeeper (Marcus Henderson) and housekeeper (Betty Gabriel), and with some of the Armitage's friends at an annual social gathering, Chris becomes quite uncomfortable in the clearly latent racist atmosphere, despite being assured that Dean would have voted for Obama a third time if he could, or that Tiger Woods was a great golfer. But Chris' discomfort is only the beginning of something even more shocking.

It would be only so easy to turn this review into a recap of the direct social commentary that is so prevalent within this film, and I am sure many other reviewers and scholars will write such articles with much greater understanding, research, knowledge, wit and prose. I don't want to avoid it entirely, the racial commentary on display here is uncomfortable, just as Jordan Peele intends, but it's also quite accurate. As a white male, I'm in no position to comment on the African-American experience, as the film puts it. But the kind of comments made here by some of the white characters in order to recuse themselves of being a racist are laughable. They're also seen and heard all too often, making their presence all the more cutting and effective. Horror movie or not, Peele has crafted a film which is a very pointed and very successful critique of race relations in America today.

But this is also a horror movie, and a very effective one at that. There are jump scares, there is great use of negative space to create tension. There is a structure here where Peele the writer/director flexes his ability to create suspense, to create thrills, to create stakes. I don't know that anything in this film is revolutionary in any way, I've seen most of it before, but its marriage to the racial commentary is pitch perfect, making it a tense watch throughout, even during some of the otherwise menial scenes. But I think the greatest compliment I can give the film is how satisfying the ending ends up being. To feel that fulfilled goes to show how, over the course of the film, how invested in the character of Chris, flawed as he himself may be, and his existence Jordan Peele has managed to make me feel. I haven't felt that sort of elation and satisfaction at the conclusion of a film in a while.

There are cringeworthy moments throughout, but they are by design. The awkward interactions between Chris and the white characters, or even the moments where it becomes easy to wonder why the hell Chris is doing what he's doing all work towards the larger message being communicated by Jordan Peele. These are interactions we may all have in our heads, but fail to live them out load. For that reason, the film suspends disbelief, but it fits with the overall tone of the film, which is one which, by no surprise, is also very funny for this very same reason. It takes chances, it is very on the nose, and it manages to do just about everything very well. Peele's directorial debut shows tremendous promise for his future career as a director. Now the question is will he pursue such a career. Regardless, Get Out exists. It's a great movie. That will not change, even if Peele goes back to his comedy sketch origins for the rest of his career.

***1/2 - Great
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on February 25, 2017, 12:23:43 AM
That makes me wonder, is there any horror film besides The Shining that's well over two hours and feels worth the runtime?he Wailing is a recent example that I felt could have worked much better in 90 minutes.

Brotherhood of the Wolf (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7319.msg419732#msg419732) - 137 minutes

Aliens - 137 minutes

The Devil’s Advocate - 144 minutes

I Saw the Devil - 141 minutes
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 25, 2017, 01:18:13 AM
The Devil's Advocate?...
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 25, 2017, 01:41:15 AM
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

***1/2 - Great

How does it rank on the "I'm creeped out in my own house, and need extra lights on" scale? :)) Some of the stuff in the trailer was in-tense! Something so freaky about that part with the guy running right at the other guy in the dark! It looks like a winner of a movie.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 25, 2017, 08:21:38 AM
I consider Aliens more action than horror.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on February 25, 2017, 09:40:00 AM
Aliens is both.  When I watched it, I got all pumped up by the action.  That night I had nightmares about the alien.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 25, 2017, 10:09:59 AM
Which one?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on February 25, 2017, 10:34:04 AM
Facehugger
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: goodguy on February 25, 2017, 10:56:44 AM
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
***1/2 - Great

I wonder how this might play for people who turned Keanu off after a few minutes and have never seen a "Comedy Central hit show."

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StudentOFilm on February 25, 2017, 12:27:56 PM
Aliens is both.  When I watched it, I got all pumped up by the action.  That night I had nightmares about the alien.

This moment scared the living hell out of me when I was younger. (http://www.trapword.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Aliens-1986-Wallpapers-11.jpg) The fact that it happens so slowly is almost as terrifying as any jump-cut scare.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 25, 2017, 11:05:44 PM
Dheepan (2015)

Centered on Sri Lankan refugees in France, this feels timely given the heated debates surrounding refugees. The film itself isn't really about resistance to the refugees, though in its way it provides plot points that would satisfy both Trump supporters and decent human beings. For example, the ease into which this phony family, traveling under fake identities, is granted refugee status has one feeling some extreme vetting might be necessary. But then we get them dealing with trying to use industriousness to make a better life of it in the new land and it feels like everything one aspires for from an immigrant story.

Layered on top of this we witness drug gang conflicts in France that are contrasted with the civil war in Sri Lanka that speaks to a certain bleaker aspect of human nature and any type of us versus them construct that is liable to perpetuate violence. Just a really well crafted films and one, seemingly being 2017 Filmspot eligible, could contend for a Best Foreign Language Film nomination.

B+

I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore (2017)

Macon Blair's directorial debut, and a big hit at Sundance, the early stages of this seemed like one of those quirky, bittersweet comedies that one expects from Sundance. Turns out Blair learned a thing or two from Jeremy Saunier, as this feels like a spiritual sequel to Blue Ruin, often with the grittiness of Green Room. The ordinary person pushed into increasingly confrontational situations act works to a certain degree, but doesn't resonate to the degree of Blue Ruin, in spite of Melanie Lynskey's best efforts. I think the quirk factor kind of hinders it. And as someone who was more down on Green Room, this film similarly pushed me away as it got a bit over the top (which again, Blue Ruin avoided). Interesting enough, but just not really a success.

C
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on February 26, 2017, 02:31:32 AM
Imperium (2016)

it is more workmanlike than great,

I just caught up with this one myself. Am I wrong in saying this was not a very popular movie? I can't seem to find any reviews but yours Bondo. I agree with your summation of it.

Mostly I thought Radcliffe made it worthwhile. He's become quite a cool actor. There's a part in this where he's trying to get into the roll of a skin head to go undercover, and Toni Collette is kind of coaching him up, and we see Radcliffe going through iterations of the characters until he finally gets it. It's pretty cool seeing the adjustments happen. And in the end, he really is convincing. It's kind of like the scene (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiSxjC-Q6OE&t=1m59s#no) in Get Shorty where Travolta is coaching DeVito in a certain role. It's a joke scene, but I find what Devito does in it pretty impressive actually. Acting within acting, and then really acting.

Between the tension of the scene and Radcliffe's performance I had no problem getting through this. But on the whole it does come short of being great.

I'm really wanting to catch up with Swiss Army Man now.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on February 26, 2017, 03:39:18 AM
I Saw the Devil - 141 minutes

I watched this a fortnight ago and found the runtime more gratuitous than the content. An illogical yet generic revenge tale that dragged horribly. A nice ending though.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on February 26, 2017, 06:56:35 AM
I just caught up with this one myself. Am I wrong in saying this was not a very popular movie?

It does seem to be overlooked both here and generally, even though it is incredibly relevant. Kind of sad since we both seem to agree it is very much worth watching all the same.

Swiss Army Man on the other hand...I found that a miss and it's been getting tons of attention.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on February 26, 2017, 09:33:53 AM
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

***1/2 - Great

How does it rank on the "I'm creeped out in my own house, and need extra lights on" scale? :)) Some of the stuff in the trailer was in-tense! Something so freaky about that part with the guy running right at the other guy in the dark! It looks like a winner of a movie.

There is definitely some uneasiness throughout, but I think it's more psychological based on the racial commentary than it really is straight forward horror at times. It has good jump scares and truly thrilling sequences though too. My wife was out of town that night, so I was in the house by myself that night I watched it, and I didn't have any trouble.

Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
***1/2 - Great

I wonder how this might play for people who turned Keanu off after a few minutes and have never seen a "Comedy Central hit show."



It's so far removed from what Jordan Peele is known for that I honestly don't think it matters at all. I guess you could argue that people are being impressed by it because of his background, as opposed to it truly being a really good movie. I've seen clips of the show, and saw Keanu and was mixed on it. So I'm not super familiar other than simply knowing who he is and I obviously loved it. I will be interested to hear your opinion of it when you get a chance to see it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Terrazine on February 27, 2017, 09:54:06 PM
Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice
Caught some Pokemon last night on TV again. It was slightly better than the previous batch of movies (after Jirachi Wish Maker anyway), but that didn't make it a good movie. It's the same ol' Japanese shounen themes of courage and friendship that you could get off the bargain bin, so watching it on TV rather than renting or even the very consideration of buying it is a good choice (if there's nothing else better on the boob tube, that is).

One thing to note was that Iris didn't have too much involvement with Kyurem in the movie, a dragon-type Pokemon, despite her being a dragon master in-training and all. Yeesh. I know these movies are just lazy advertisements for the games, but c'mon.

But in the end, it's not too bad, as there's no obligatory megalomaniac villain this time, or even a significant Team Rocket appearance for once (just two very brief cameos).

3/5


Pokemon White — Victini and Zekrom
This was on-air last week, but I didn't bother to review it because, much like the last few Pokefilms, it was so bad, or at least, so mediocre. I actually think that, much like its accompanying TV series, Pokemon: Best Wishes, this was actually the worst Pokemon film prior to its release (maybe "Genesect and the Legend Awakened" would top the cake). The central plot to this movie wasn't even that focused on because the "cutesy" Victini was given most of the screentime just to please the little kiddies who would be getting their exclusive in-game Victini on their Pokemon Black and White games. It's too bad because the antagonist's motivation was actually interesting this time, going beyond simple black-and-white "world-dominating" agendas.

Oh, and you know what's the worst part? The movie is released in two versions - Pokemon Black and Pokemon White. Yeah. And there wasn't even that much difference between the two, besides one setting change in a five minute scene and a color-scheme change for a few Pokemon. I didn't bother watching the black version after this. The gimmick is cool and all considering the two versions of the accompanying games, but I wish they would have put more effort so that I would even bother considering watching the other one, but it's all for the better that I didn't, I guess.

I think it's safe to say at this point that Pokemon movies haven't been great since Jiraichi Wish Maker. I still cried yesterday listening to that lullaby theme from that movie. Sniff.

2.5/5
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on February 28, 2017, 02:17:12 AM

I think it's safe to say at this point that Pokemon movies haven't been great since Jiraichi Wish Maker.

I think that's the last one I watched.  Perhaps it's just as well.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: The Deer Hunter on February 28, 2017, 02:30:05 AM
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9e/The_White_Helmets_film_poster.png)

I feel like if i try for the rest of my life to be a good person I'll never be as good as a White Helmet.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on February 28, 2017, 03:47:58 AM

I think it's safe to say at this point that Pokemon movies haven't been great since Jiraichi Wish Maker.

I think that's the last one I watched.  Perhaps it's just as well.

At least that's a Gen 3. I could get behind that.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 02, 2017, 06:42:20 AM
20th Century Women
Mike Mills (2016)


For someone who does not typically respond much to family stories and coming of age narratives, it is odd that I should have enjoyed 20th Century Women so much, more than most of the things released in the same year that got awards. It is also odd because this movie could easily have been so obnoxious; the exploration of feminist themes could have, in other, less skillful hands, become intolerably preachy or disingenuous. 20th Century Women's best feature though is the writing and the script effortlessly avoids all obstacles and sprints towards the home run.

The film, however, is horridly named because it reduces its exquisite cast of characters to its female contingent, leaving out at least one key character who acts as the center of gravity for most of the movie. Through motherhood or friendship, most of the main relationships are between him everyone else. I am not sure if, in a film that purportedly wants to be about women, that is a strange choice, or a telling one.

I am not in the habit of summarizing the plots of movies, but here it would feel particularly pointless, because 20th Century Women is less about its arcs, which are nonetheless very much there, than it is about singular moments in the movie, that stand out for their poignancy and tenderness as much as for their authenticity. They are startlingly relateable even when you are nothing alike the characters.

8/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 02, 2017, 07:36:41 AM
Girls Lost (2015)

If I had done my due diligence, I would have seen that Alexandra-Therese Keining's previous film was a truly dreadful lesbian drama I watched a couple years ago. Instead, all I knew of this film was its gender-bending premise as three Swedish teenage girls discover a plant that lets them become boys for a night at a time. To say this premise was pitched straight in my wheelhouse would be an understatement, and I was rather jealous of their magical discovery.

But there are so many places that the film becomes a tonal mess. First off, I tend to be relatively misandrist, but this film has a very peculiarly negative view of boys, and an oddly gender essentialist one too. One of the main incentives for these girls to wish to be boys is they are picked on mercilessly (and really rather shockingly) by the boys, especially related to gym class. As a boy whose gym experience was hell, the film's contention that becoming a boy is a cure for teasing (and immediately grants one athletic prowess) seems a fantasy too far. In any event, the boys of this film are almost to a man vile, sexually violent, and generally obnoxious. They are my stereotype of men that I don't actually believe to be universal as foundational to the gender.

As things progress, the premise becomes the basis to explore trans identity and confused sexuality. It could have been interesting to explore how outward gender presentation might influence sexuality, the extent people get attracted to a person's personality compared to their physical form. But on the whole it just makes a hash of the whole thing. The fact that the main character becomes a terrible person as a boy and everyone else is like "oh, maybe you are trans and this is the real you" but not as a complaint seems to paint a negative portrait of trans identity, as does the film's ending.

So yeah, that's a pretty substantial waste of an interesting premise.

C-
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 02, 2017, 08:31:12 AM
Are you sticking to your 20% resolution?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 02, 2017, 08:42:09 AM
Right now 16 of 63 films I've watched have been from female directors, so just over 25%.

Also I had a resolution to watch more modern international cinema and 17 of 63 films have been non-English language films (though that includes two animated films I watched dubbed in English).
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on March 02, 2017, 10:11:47 AM
(http://i63.tinypic.com/b82vyd.jpg)
Table 19 (Jeffrey Blitz, 2017)

A good comedy can be refreshing. So often for me, a self-proclaimed movie buff, I find myself buried under a heap of "important", dramatic, impactful films from the beginning of the year to the end. Even some of the blockbusters which provide a bit of fun to the movie watching experience are overly serious of late and lack a true laugh. Straight forward comedies seem to be even rarer these days, films whose direct intention is to make you laugh, to bring everyday truths to the forefront and make light of them. I don't think there are any less good comedies than there have been before, I just think that my movie watching experience constitutes a smaller percentage of good comedies. So when one like Table 19 comes along with so many amazing names attached to the project, I get excited for a good comedy. Unfortunately, Table 19 only partially delivers.

Eloise (Anna Kendrick) has just recently been dumped by her boyfriend Teddy (Wyatt Russell), but that throws a wrench in the wedding plans for Teddy's sister, who had Eloise pegged as her Maid of Honor. Now rejected, Eloise is relegated to Table 19, the table of random, obligatory wedding guests which includes Jerry (Craig Robinson) and Bina (Lisa Kudrow), diner owners whose marriage is on the rocks, Jo (June Squibb), the childhood nanny of the bride, Walter (Stephen Merchant), the ex-con uncle who just got out of prison, and Renzo (Tony Revolori), an awkward young man looking to make his eligibility known to the single ladies at the wedding. Eloise and her grab bag of tablemates grapple with their table placement while she attempts to reconcile with Teddy, who's now schmoozing with the new Maid of Honor.

Indie darlings Jay and Mark Duplass, the screenwriting brothers behind the script for Table 19, bring a certain level of dramatic competency to a film otherwise being branded as a comedy. The film, which is loaded with jokes, many of which land at least partially if not completely, feels more like a drama first and a comedy second, which is neither here nor there in terms of its ability to communicate its message. Where Table 19 goes off track is by staying so much on track. It doesn't take very many risks and is very predictable, from start to finish. Instead of crafting interesting, unique characters for the audience to care about, the brothers Duplass give us cardboard cutouts. What the film does have going for it? The cardboard cutouts are very funny, especially together.

The ensemble is full of funny people, and while the collection may seem random, it fits perfectly with the randomness of table 19. Stephen Merchant in particular made me laugh any time his likable convict Walter had something to do. Merchant imbues Walter with a pleasant attitude, one in which he longs so desperately to just fit in. Craig Robinson brings his usual amount of comedy, and is paired surprisingly well with Lisa Kudrow. The two have the perfect amount of negative chemistry to convince me that they hate each other all the while also still being in love with each other. These casting choices are extremely strong, but Wyatt Russell as Teddy just didn't feel right. Perhaps the only casting misstep.

Table 19 will make you laugh, it is funny afterall. Table 19 will make you feel, it does have a dramatic heft built into its ensemble of characters. However, its staid machinations make for an otherwise uninteresting watch. It is the type of movie, the type of comedy which is nearly instantly forgettable after exiting the theater, and yet when you look back you realize you perhaps enjoyed it, or at least gained some laughs from the 90 minutes, but you also can't quite pinpoint why that may be. I would fall short of calling Table 19 a good comedy, but there will certainly be worse. It won't be the worst film you see all year, but it may be the most stale and by the end of the year you may have completely deleted it from your memory.

**1/2 - Average
Title: Re: Movies Watched in 2017
Post by: Merc on March 02, 2017, 10:20:29 PM
just saw Logan. Don't want to overhype it, but it really impressed. It's a unique "superhero flick", which in and of itself is refreshing. There's a definite The Searchers/Unforgiven style throughout. Pretty good filmmaking, cinematography, well acted, and the Rated-R features feel as right as a good shot of whiskey on a cold night. Very grimy and rough. And maybe the most emotional movie of the genre I've seen. It hit me, hard. Very much recommended.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on March 02, 2017, 11:23:49 PM
Hacksaw Ridge

This was a bore. The only part that made me feel anything was during the end credits when it talks about the real person. To be honest I was ready to quit after the first hour but I figured I'd hang in there to see the main event for which this story is special. I just don't like the characters or storytelling. Really none of it.

Had the broader story of Hacksaw Ridge been told, with a host of primary characters, of which Doss was one, I feel like I would have enjoyed this more. Like the Bastonge episodes in Band of Brothers or something (of which the medic is a semi-focal point). This was too singular a story to really grab me... maybe because Garfield himself did not engage me. Or because character interactions were all flat. It's what Doss did at Hacksaw Ridge that's remarkable, but I found the story of how he got there, and why he believed what  he believed took foreeeeeeeever to establish.

On the whole I feel pretty fair calling this film not good. This is not a film that complements Mel Gibson's uncompromising direction. It's too small a story, and too well worn a path. The result is something that feels like anybody could have made it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 02, 2017, 11:57:36 PM
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
There's no way I can properly review this film. The animated classic is in my Top 100 and I know it like my own DNA. So every time they followed the original it was a strange live action retread and every time they did something different I wondered why they made that decision. It comes down to me only having two possible opinions. Either "It's a disaster" or "It's not a disaster."

It's not a disaster, but it's not very satisfying either. I've also seen the stage production, which somehow manages to not have this issue. (I also think the new film takes some of the extra material from the theater to bulk up the running time.) Perhaps it's because live theater creates a different experience while this is about sometimes bringing the cell drawings to life and sometimes trying to be its own movie. The sets, costumes and effects are not just lavish, they're overproduced so that every image explodes and you just end up seeing too much pastel, or gold, or goth. It's like this joke (http://0.media.dorkly.cvcdn.com/33/11/ce96f862a09deabc3100c2b7c1973974.jpg) about the lightsaber in The Force Awakens. It all looks so fake, including and especially the effects. I ended up feeling like I was watching the most expensive High School production of a Broadway show ever.

So much just bugged me, and may possibly bug only me. Emma Watson looks like Belle, but she also looks nothing like the quiet village, slightly odd, bookworm that the character is supposed to be. She's Emma Watson. You might as well cast Jennifer Lopez. The performance is fine, but she's all wrong for it. Like how Josh Gad is the perfect choice for LeFou, but he plays it exactly like Josh Gad. There's no character just comedy.

A film like this is made by a committee, so I don't want to hang it all on director Bill Condon, but I wonder if he just gave up and let the Producers have their way with the project. So much money and so many images but no sign of a vision. (Here's where I think of Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, which was lavish but proper to the story.) Most shockingly, Condon's musical sequences show a terrible sense of rhythm. I'm not talking Mama Mia bad, but many of the cuts are intrusive. People breaking out into song isn't natural to begin with, but it really sticks out here, particularly during "Gaston" (the song I was most looking forward to) and "Belle". During that opening, I was thinking about how Rob Marshall did a better job opening up "Into the Woods". For all his faults, he has a basic sense of editing rhythm.

It's not a disaster, but as you can tell I'm focusing on the negatives. The fact that it works at all is a testament to the original classic.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 03, 2017, 05:54:45 AM
99 Homes
Ramin Bahrani (2015)


The first half of this movie is a fun ride into the world of real estate in the wake of the financial crisis. The intelligence of the film is that it is able to allocate blame in nuanced ways. You see the flaws in the bureaucracy as well as the irrational behaviour of some of the home owners. Michael Shannon is an asshole but this never was what he intended to do with his life. He was thrust into his current activities by the failures of banks, the government, and the home owners themselves. when he abuses the system, it is the government he swindles. He does not con anyone out of their house; they got there themselves. He profits from a system he is not responsible for and does not apologize for it. The movie shows how people can be victims of the system, but at the same time, they often refuse to take the available way out, usually because of their attachment to their houses.

It is a shame that the movie goes into full melodrama in its last arc. It destroys its previous intelligence by turning Shannon into a boogeyman who crosses the line into fraud. The director does everything to make you believe Garfield should feel guilty for his new occupation - not for the illegal parts of it either, but the government-condoned ones. There is nothing positive to take away from the film's message in its last half hour.

6.5/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 03, 2017, 08:33:26 AM
That was my favorite housing crisis message film. I'd have to do research to remember why exactly.

London Road (2015)

Might as well call this Auto-Tune The News: The Musical. Now, it is mostly (entirely) not auto-tuned as an actual musical technique, but the way the music is written definitely feels inspired by that particular YouTube sensation (also memorialized in the theme song of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). Using quotes from interviews with residents of Ipswich relating to a serial killer of prostitutes, the songs add pitch to the words, and use a heavy dose of repetition.

While this style proves effective for a few songs, maybe 30 minutes (enough time to introduce Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy), it quickly wears down. Intentional or not, this film becomes all greek chorus and no character. I come out of the film knowing almost nothing about the actual Steve Wright murders or getting any personal sense of any characters. I do think it is rather the point, making it impersonal societal critique, but it is alienating. To the degree that we grab hold of anything, it is Kate Fleetwood (familiar from Les Miserables) as the focal representative of the prostitutes, but again, intentionally left in the background.

Unlike my last review, I'd say this is less a failed attempt than just a challenging attempt. It is formally unique so it confounds expectations and foils traditional means of interpretation. Even if I didn't leave feeling enthusiastic about it, I do recommend it as an experience.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 03, 2017, 08:36:23 AM
I remember you saying that last year. It was part of why I put it on. The Big Short remains the superior alternative.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 03, 2017, 10:38:33 AM
Penguins of Madagascar
Eric Darnell, Simon J. Smith (2014)


The Madagascar movies are fairly mediocre but the penguins were always my favourite part of them. If you've never seen March of the Penguins this serves as the perfect sequel to that movie. Whilst March focused on the breeding sort of penguin, this follow-up is a study of the four other kinds that exist in nature: the leader, the mascot, the psychotic one and the Kowalski. The script is serviceably funny but otherwise unremarkable and the overall movie is just a couple of notches above the original series.

6.5/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on March 03, 2017, 11:26:47 PM
I Don't Feel At Home in This World Anymore

A charming film about normal people who have a habit of overreacting. 

Someone broke into Ruth's home, took her medicine, her grandmother's silverware and her laptop.  Now she's as mad as hell and she's not going to accept this world's assholes anymore.  So she is going to get her stuff back.  No matter what.

It took a moment for this film to warm to me.  I wasn't sure what was going on with this film full of broken people whom you aren't sure whether to laugh at or cry with.  Eventually, I chose to laugh, and when I made that choice the whole film came together.  For my first film of 2017, it was a real pleasure.

4/5
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on March 03, 2017, 11:37:52 PM
Melanie Lynskey makes any film or series 100% more interesting!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 03, 2017, 11:47:55 PM
Apparently I'm going to be the grinch where that film is concerned.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 04, 2017, 06:31:20 AM
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Albert Lewin (1945)


« ...and God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends. God help you. That's flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write a voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character. »

I know Adaptation was released in 2002, putting it out of the reach of Albert Lewin as he, at his typewriter, with no malice and even less thought, glancing at an open edition of Wilde's novel, shock-full of annotations, all of them wrong, pressed those little black keys to form the word "narrator", impressed at his own intelligence for figuring out however a movie might convey a character's thoughts. In a hurry, he punched in the last few words to his forlorn page, unable to wait a minute longer for the cracking sandwich awaiting him in the kitchen, without a second thought for the day's work.

The stupidity of the script of The Picture of Dorian Gray is baffling. It is as if it had been written at the dawn of cinema, before anyone understood how a crafty close-up, a clever insert or a well timed camera movement. It is as if the script had been meant for the radio and someone forgot to adapt it. There were actual scenes where I told myself, as the camera fixed on Gray's ominous gaze, « Oh, Dorian is conflicted right now. » just a couple of seconds before the narrator told me that, indeed, « At that moment Dorian Gray became conflicted. ».

To the incompetence of the writing you have to add the fact that it does not understand the story it tells. Either that or it has chosen to tell a different, worse story than that of the novel, which is improbable because it quotes some dialogue verbatim and otherwise makes great efforts to be closely faithful to its original material. Lewin did not understand the importance of key elements of the story and in fact I wonder if he was not working from his nine year-old son's school notes.

There are a couple of redeeming features to the film that do not begin to redeem it. George Sander's performance is the best thing in the film, even though he is playing at half his All About Eve powers. Most of his lines are word for word Wilde, as badly chosen as they are; Lord Henry is a hard character to bungle. There are also a few great shots here and there, notably at some key moments in the plot, that use shadows and composition to rise to the levels of what the movie should have been.

4/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Terrazine on March 04, 2017, 06:39:35 AM
Logan (2017)

Fox has been hitting out of the ballpark lately with bold approaches towards the superhero genre (or concept) with its recent delving into the fourth-wall breaking of Deadpool, and now, a western spiritual journey practically made for a Johnny Cash song. In spite of my reservations towards their superhero movies (Deadpool included), I have to admit that they've been keeping the genre fresh and alive more so than the tiring wisecracking slapstick of Marvel (Civil War excluded... to some extent). Logan is the latest proof that superhero isn't really a genre and can be fitted into any kind of story.

More than anything, it's a difficult movie to watch. The overall atmosphere, mood, and the soundtrack bring with them a very gloomy and bleak world. Without going into too much spoilers, let's just say that in spite of Fox's attempts to mix in moments of humor in-between, you'll probably be grabbing for that tissue half of the movie.

Alas, it's a tale one should be familiar with - loss and redemption - told many times over throughout the ages. Much like his previous work, The Wolverine, James Mangold's style isn't so much about bringing an original and refreshing style to the superhero world, but rather, to tell a story full of character growth and substance, the way great stories should be told. In spite of my concerns about the film being overhyped, given by viewers the title of "The Dark Knight of Marvel", it was quite a satisfying tale I was glad I experienced. When I said that it's a "spiritual journey", I meant exactly that. It's a very slow film with heavy themes worth pondering over by the audience throughout its two and a half hours runtime (yes, you read that right; 2h 21m to be exact). So despite the familiarity and knowing exactly how it would have ended, I think I would've regretted more not experiencing the movie once.

Unfortunately, it is a bit overhyped. Just a bit. There were two points of the movie that I felt jarring or unnecessarily lengthy. The first one was the Las Vegas scene where Logan had to leave Charles and X-23 at the  hotel to change vehicle. I felt that scene could've been cut down shorter to tighten the overall pace of the story, which I felt was affected by other minor expository moments as well. Considering that it's inspired by the "Old Man Logan" comic book miniseries, I could see why the story almost felt episodic, like there were different parts/arcs meshed together into one film. Most comic book miniseries have such a pacing problem, where the story is dragged out by "filler moments" to fill in the pages, so I'm not surprised this pacing translated directly into the movie as well.

The second one was the final appearance of Will Munson, part of the family Logan was staying with. There was this incredibly awkward moment immediately right after Will helped take out the bad guy that I won't reveal too much about, but that moment felt weird, and came off as more comedic (in a bad way) than dramatic. Finally, the truth about what happened to the old X-Men was rather badly handled IMO. It was first revealed in the background through a radio broadcast when it should've been revealed to us through an emotional confession. That jarring editing made me greatly not care when Charles finally spilled the beans on what happened back then.

Despite these minor problems, Logan is still a solid movie worth watching. One thing to note about the Munsons is that, I was worried things would have felt way too slow and even boring when these unrelated strangers showed up as our heroes were given chase by the bad guys. But it turned out to be one of the most important arcs in the story as it allowed ample time for Logan and Charles to reflect upon what they had bitterly missed since the old days of the X-Men: a family.

Logan brings a solid closure to the X-Men franchise that Apocalypse probably didn't (I never watched it). There were enough Easter Eggs and nods to the comics to please the fans while maintaining a fresh and somber tone for those tired of the superhero shtick like myself. I'm looking forward to Mangold's next production with Fox. Or rather, Marvel could hopefully buy his talents over and allow him to shine in the MCU as well.

4/5

Next week, the king returns to the big screen as I revisit Skull Island. It's a double-combo release of great movies this month!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StudentOFilm on March 04, 2017, 05:34:02 PM
Logan

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the filmmakers have been able to cross the superhero film with other genres (similar to when reading the Marvel comics). I've felt this helps keep the films from feeling too formulaic- Thor has fantasy elements, Captain America had a militaristic/espionage feel to it, Guardians of the Galaxy was Marvel's Star Wars for all intents and purposes. The X-Men series really only had that experience with a retro-feeling to X-Men: First Class, but for the most part they were derivative of Singer's original film but enlivened with additional casting/story/time period changes. Deadpool was really the first film to slide into a different style, almost to the point of where the fact that it's part of the X-Men universe is an afterthought. Logan is somewhat similar in that sense, except with the story revolving around Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Patrick Stewart's Professor X, there is a sense of the familiar.

The script for this outing allows the characters to be in a place and mindset that's unfamiliar to me watching as it is to them. Jackman, Stewart and Dafne Keen are surprising with how empathetic they can be in the middle of blockbuster. For a film that becomes so tonally dreading as time goes on, the performers still draw me in with their bright characterizations- something I've never really felt with these three particiular characters in the comics. Not meaning to compare acting and directing to writing and illustrating, but I've always felt a certain distance with Wolverine, Professor X., and X-23 in the years of source material. Unlike the previous Mangold/Jackman outing where that film had a mystery build to... well not much more then where we started, the arc is fully complete in this instance with (as any who've been following the film's promotional material would know) Jackman bringing his tenure with the character to a definitive end.

Not as notable as a take on the superhero genre as say Nolan's Batman, but there is a lot here to appreciate. It still amounts to a solid outing that takes a turn only in the final act or so into a new territory at least as far as the films are concerned. The years and years and years of comics have certainly mined this territory before, but when you have world class actors like Stewart and Jackman bringing this to life, it feels so much livelier in their familiar hands.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on March 05, 2017, 07:28:49 AM
Logan (2017), Dir: James Mangold
Get Out (2017), Dir: Jordan Peele



I caught both of these films within a few days of each other, and each time I went in, I was more than aware of the buzz. Get Out has been receiving insanely good reviews (100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). My friend who writes for ComicVine and Gamespot wrote that Logan may be the best comic book movie of all time. People are losing their minds, which is rare to do so early in the year for two films. I was curious to see if they would live up to the hype.

Let's get this out of the way: Logan is not the best comic book movie of all time. As of writing this, I'm not even sure it's my favorite movie involving X-Men. But it is a good movie; a really good movie. It's dark and brooding and makes seamless transitions between hyper-violence and touching emotional moments. Hugh Jackman is really good in this, showing the emotional wounds while a fantastic make-up/special effects team shows his physical ones. This is a fantastic swan song for him as one of comic's most beloved characters: this is his Unforgiven. I think, however, I like Patrick Stewart in this film even more. So long in these films has he been the kind, gentle voice of reason, the moral center which keeps these films afloat. Here, even more than Jackman, he allows himself to play a man past his prime, maybe past his usefulness. He has never played Charles Xavier as feeble or weak in the past, but here he lets it all pour over him. His monologue is the best part of this movie, and it's a movie with a lot of great parts.

Jordan Peele's Get Out is also a really good movie bordering on great. What I love about this film is that while Peele makes the film thrilling and eerie and creepy, he also, masterfully, keeps the film just an inch away from simply being a very dark comedy. All of the story elements are there to make this film more silly than scary (especially a wonderful performance by Lil' Rel Howry, who is just laying it on thick and making it work). But Peele knows how to hold the reins and create a tone that keeps you tense and off-ease. It's not a typical horror/thriller; there's no big jump-scares or gross-out scenes. Peele knows how to slow burn this film until it's chaotic ending when he just pours gasoline all over the place and strikes the match.

Logan: A-
Get Out: A
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Jeff Schroeck on March 06, 2017, 09:45:24 AM
Wings (Larisa Shepitko, 1966)

A defiantly triumphant moment at the end of Wings takes a perfectly fine film and elevates it into the realm of the very good, or at least it puts a positive and memorable cap on it.

The story follows a famous former fighter pilot who has settled into the unfulfilling life of a school headmistress. She is unmarried, dating a man who balks at the mention of marriage, and has a daughter who essentially ran away to marry an older man. On top of all this is the delinquent student she kicked out of school who is now missing. She tries to locate the kid, who she last saw drinking beer in a pub, in a scene with great staging, almost like a comedy sketch.

In the film's best sequence she takes a trip to her daughter's apartment and finally introduces herself to her son-in-law. The couple is having a small party, and the mom tries to insinuate herself into the group. It's a painful, comic scene that wouldn't feel out of place in a modern cringe comedy.

Throughout the film she takes trips to the airfield, where everybody remembers her fondly and she gets to bask in her former glory. There is a touch of sadness, though, as she also likes to sit in the air museum and listen to the guide talk about her and her cohorts' exploits.

4/5
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: don s. on March 06, 2017, 03:28:39 PM
Nice review. I love that film.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on March 06, 2017, 03:33:10 PM
Japan: a Story of Love and Hate

A BBC documentary that follows a couple in Japan that is barely struggling to get by and the stresses on their relationship.  Naoki was once an anarchist and later a successful business man.  But then lost everything during Japan's downtown in the early 90's. Now he only can work part time at the post office and depends on his younger girlfriend to help survive.  Often he is faced with the decision of either swallowing his pride or being homeless

Sometimes touching but often painful and not just the relationship.  Also, all good "sales motivational meetings" really just come down to sell more, work harder and don't hit any pedestrians. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH-kNnq7mFM

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 08, 2017, 08:48:37 AM
T2: Trainspotting
Danny Boyle (2017)


It is in the nature of some movies to be followed up with a sequel; for others, when a sequel emerges, it warrants justification. The Matrix series and the Star Wars trilogies were always thought as such, inter-movie arcs that would remain incomplete without the existence of the later episodes. Trainspotting, the original, was no such movie. Its arc was self-included, and satisfyingly so ; thus, T2: Trainspotting must, in the course of the story it tells, prove that it was worth it to come back to these characters.

Spoiler alert: the film does not pass the test.

Trainspotting, first of the name, concludes with a hopeful look on the future - moderated by what we have come to learn about the movie's characters and how they got here - and a life-affirming philosophy. T2 is less an expansion of its predecessor's themes than a look back. Instead of building upon it, the sequel mainly gazes back at the original, with lenses filtered by nostalgia and melancholy.

Danny Boyle seems obsessed with his past work, constantly inserting scenes of that movie into this one through flashbacks. His technique for doing so is superb: he is always able to come up with some new way to make his phantoms appear in the streets of present day Edinburgh. Unfortunately that results in a sort of navel-gazing feel transmitted by the director.

T2 cares about stories, about how to tell them and why. Spud has an entire arc that revolves around writing down his stories to overcome his addiction. This is probably a reflection of Boyle himself thinking back on his career at this point in his life. It is a nice meditation, but at no point a very insightful one.

And it certainly is not worth what it does to that twenty year old movie, now a cult classic. T2 informs our understanding of Trainspotting's open ending by filling in the blanks that should forever have remained virgin. The promise at the end of the 1996 movie is shattered by our cognizance of the wretched destinies of its characters. Hope fades into sorrowful remembrance: In their late forties, McGregor and crew mourn their youth and regret their mistakes.

I am not intrinsically opposed to melancholy movies. There is something about T2 however that is perniciously discouraging. The more you advance in the film the more it feels terrifyingly poisonous. It could not be a movie more of its time. « Where did we go wrong ? » it asks, « Remember how much promise we had ? » it laments. A 2017 film indeed. Perhaps its greatest sin is that it is contended with wallowing and proposes no escape.

6/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 08, 2017, 08:57:51 AM
Fences
Denzel Washington (2016)


Denzel Washington, talking, for more than two hours. That is basically what this movie is, an uninterrupted Washington verbal bonanza. Sure, other characters get to speak, but I would swear he has a fifteen minute streak of relentless talking at the beginning that allows no breaths.

It's too much.

There is also a story and stuff, but it's mostly a showcase for acting.

5/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on March 08, 2017, 09:41:35 AM
Denzel Washington, talking, for more than two hours.

it's mostly a showcase for acting.

You say this like these are bad things.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 08, 2017, 11:48:26 AM
It gets to be too much. During those early scenes I was praying for a breather, some seconds of audio respite. Following Washington at the speed he was going was just too exhausting.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on March 08, 2017, 12:09:15 PM
I did have that feeling of needing a breather, of there being so much non-stop dialogue that it got exhausting. I liked it significantly more than you , but it really is a filmed play... people often seem to mean that to say "there's no mise-en-scène, boo!" or "only one location, boo !", which I don't really care about, but here the never-stopping dialogue is what almost makes it feel wrong for cinema.

Trying to think of the most dialogue-heavy films, I think it works well for comedies (His Girl Friday being an obvious one), or films that aren't straight comedies but have some lightness to them (Sorkin-written films). Fences does have comedy in it at the start, but it fades away and the film as a whole is very weighty, and deals with complex issues, which I think works better if you let the viewer more time to consider them. Still, the performances really are great.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 08, 2017, 12:15:37 PM
Part of the reason I did not care for the film was also that I was not much interested in the story. I only addressed the most egregious part of the experience, the one that had me on the ropes.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 08, 2017, 12:51:41 PM
Watched this one for FS Pantheon completion and because it was short enough that I could still go to bed early.

The Evil Dead
Sam Raimi (1981)


My definition of horror is more restrictive than that of lots of people, in particular if you start googling horror movie lists and look at what is in there. I would not classify parodies of horror movies and their tropes in the horror genre for example - Young Frankenstein would not make the cut. That makes it hypocritical of me that I should resort to a comparison to The Cabin in the Woods to understand how The Evil Dead could be better.

Whereas The Evil Dead opens in media res, the res here being the road trip towards the cabin, The Cabin in the Woods allows you to get to know the characters and build sympathy for them before anything at all happens. I knew the characters of the latter better after five minutes than I knew those of the former at the end of it. It took about twenty minutes for it just to clarify who was dating whom and we only ever find out why the third wheel was there at all something like fifteen minutes before the ending. These characters are blanks and their deaths therefore unimportant. When the entire point of the movie is to keep you on the edge of your seat while the group tries to survive, that's a problem.

I lied. I did care, but not in the way you'd think. I was glad the hysteric girl was the first one to get dispensed with. That was the extent of my emotional engagement. I was also annoyed at the plot hole of the broken window being magically unbroken three minutes later. I guess that counts too. Oh, and also, amusement and the torrents of Tarantino blood spurting from every wound. Not too mention, more annoyance at occasional bouts of campiness. So I guess there were really tons of emotions in this journey.

It's a shame because there is a definitive creepiness to Raimi's filming that could have worked wonderfully if the other issues had been solved. His possessed are scarier than a good deal of similar creatures I have seen - they had a bit of a Prince of Darkness vibe. If only this had better characters. Not just characters with actual personalities, but what about people who take less than five minutes to react whenever someone screams in pain or horror? You would swear Ash & Co. run on Windows and are rebooted by loud noises...

6/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 08, 2017, 12:55:00 PM
I had a similar reaction to the beginning of Fences, wishing the film would take more breaths between the dialogue or have more conversation and less of Washington dominating everything, but after that initial burst of about 20-25 minutes the story does open up for more characters and it gets better and better as it goes along. Interestingly, my favorite moment by Denzel is the one he has by himself with nobody to talk at. That's the most insightful bit of character because he's not telling us about himself, we're seeing the real him. It also happens at a key moment where I think that's the entire plan, much like I believe you're supposed to feel overwhelmed by Washington at the beginning to bring you up to speed with how everyone else has felt about him all these years.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on March 08, 2017, 01:17:14 PM
(http://i68.tinypic.com/199irq.jpg)
Kong: Skull Island (Jordan Vogt-Roberts, 2017)

With Kong: Skull Island, I think it is safe to say that summer movie season is upon us, even if it's not quite spring yet. The major releases are just starting, and Kong is the very beginning, with many highly anticipated titles to follow throughout the spring and summer months. Usually, there are a few pretty good blockbuster offerings every year, with a number of options proving to be less than stellar. If Kong: Skull Island is any indication of the films that lie ahead in the coming months, I think it would be safe to say that we will all be treated to a very fun, entertaining and really solid blockbuster season. I'm not holding my breath though, and suspect this film to be one of the few exceptions that does it right, as opposed to the many that will wilt under their anticipation and fail to have the fun they truly deserve.

Fresh off the closing of the Vietnam War, researcher Bill Randa (John Goodman) persuades a senator to fund an exploration mission to a remote island in the South Pacific, which was just discovered by satellite imaging for the first time. Randa recruits an ex-British special forces (Tom Hiddleston) to be his tracker, a war hungry cavalry colonel (Samuel L. Jackson) to lend support, and an experienced war photographer (Brie Larson) to document the team's findings. Once on the island, however, they discover a world never before seen, full of wonderful beauty and scary , unbelievable monsters. With the help of a World War II pilot (John C. Reilly), who has been stranded on the island for nearly thirty years, the group races to meet their rendezvous and escape the island alive.

There are more than a few things I would like to praise about this film. To start, man does this film have pacing. It runs at nearly two hours long (and stick around after the credits btw) but never lulls. The filmmaking team here has really trimmed the fat, and it's obvious. The film transitions to its next idea milliseconds after concluding its last, so it should seem, which results in a taut picture which flies by while watching it. Part of what makes it fly by, however, is the amount of fun being had here. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts throws caution to the wind by making this a sneaky campy movie that never takes itself too seriously, and it shouldn't. It knows how ridiculous an undiscovered island with monsters on it is. It knows how ridiculous  Colonel Packard is. By recognizing this, Kong: Skull Island is able to be a fun romp through the jungle.

The cast is in on the camp too, with Sam Jackson doing his best Sam Jackson impersonation and John C. Reilly playing a stranded WWII airman as only he can. Hiddleston, Goodman, and Larson are never given a ton to chew on, but they are good here too, even as Larson is really only asked to looked shocked at everything she sees (and why shouldn't she be shocked) and snap a few pictures. Some of the dialogue is silly, and true, the film is not exactly breaking new ground with the places it goes or the characters it introduces, even going so far as to have the same Vietnam War soundtrack as every other Vietnam War movie, but it does it well, and as I said, very efficiently.

It certainly has some connections to a film like Apocalypse Now, due to the connection to the Vietnam War and even down to the fairly beautiful cinematography. Vogt-Roberts clearly drew inspiration from Coppola's great film (Packard/Kurtz and Conrad), but he doesn't try to rival it, and he doesn't try to recreate its magic. Kong: Skull Island is its own thing with its own magic, and if it turns into a franchise, as most anything successful does anymore, then I would be excited to see where else this world can take us, what other adventures lie ahead. It's brilliantly paced, action packed, beautifully photographed, features a great cast, is quite funny, and in the end is a ton of fun. What's not to like?

*** - Very Good
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on March 08, 2017, 06:35:53 PM
I am beyond excited for Kong: Skull Island. Looks like a ball.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: slowpogo on March 09, 2017, 12:18:13 AM
XX

This is a horror anthology movie in four parts, all by female directors.

The Box (Jovanka Vuckovic)
A creepy tale about a child who, after a strange encounter on the train, simply stops eating. He doesn't even get hungry anymore; he just doesn't want to eat, but he's not invincible or anything. He indeed begins to starve. Of course this is disturbing to his parents, though seemingly more to his father than his mother, gender-swapping the expected response. Some pretty intense scenes, an arresting image in a nightmare -- overall fairly good, not great, but might just be the most solid of the four.

The Birthday Party (Annie Clark - yup, St. Vincent herself)
A tragedy happens just before a young girl's birthday party, and the mother desperately tries to cover things up and carry on with the party as if nothing happened. This is more darkly funny and macabre than scary, and while I could understand the intention, nothing quite connected with full force. Melanie Lynskey was good, and there's a funny scene involving (I'm pretty sure) Joe Swanberg in an uncredited cameo. I hate to rag on a first-time director, especially one who's really a musician, because this could be so much worse, and many parts almost work pretty well. But ultimately, it's fairly amateurish and forgettable. Some title cards at the end reeked of "student filmmaker" and kind of ruined whatever good will I had left.

Don't Fall (Roxanne Benjamin)
Some dumb twenty-somethings go camping on restricted tribal land in the desert, and bad things happen to them. This one really has no story or point beyond, "don't go where you don't belong." It has some OK scares, but thematically is easily the thinnest of the four, though still better-made than The Birthday Party. This is the only one of the four that did not have an obvious feminist subtext (that I could detect).

Her Only Living Son (Karyn Kusama)
While probably second-best, this was perhaps the most disappointing because I was such a fan of Kusama's The Invitation last year. It's basically a re-working of the Rosemary's Baby story...not much more to say, not very interesting. Some reasonably dread-inducing "oh my god, they're all in on it!"-type moments, but still kind of a dud.

Really, the best part may have been the stop-motion-animated introductory and connective segments, which feature a bizarre walking dollhouse thing doing creepy things in creepy places with creepy sound effects. But really, it's pretty cool and entrancing.

Rotten Tomatoes has this at 70%, which seems generous to me. I'm all for featuring more women in film (in front of and behind the camera) and there's no shortage of talent to be found there, but unfortunately, XX is not the best calling card.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 09, 2017, 04:15:12 AM
Kong opens today. That rating decided me to catch it sometime soon.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 09, 2017, 06:08:55 AM
Out of Sight
Steven Soderbergh (1998)


You don't fool me, movie. You think just before you have a fancy prison-break plot and crime and a shiny Steven Soderbergh directing you I am going to fall for it? I can see through your tricks, your deceptions. This is not heist George Clooney, this is seductive George Clooney. This is a kissing movie!

Which is a good thing because the plot is not that excellent. That bank robbery at the beggining is loads of fun but a bit hard to believe. It is a great way to find understand who the Clooney character is, but still. The real joy of the film is the chemistry between Clooney and who it turns out is Jennifer Lopez. There are few movies as sexy as this one.

The rest of the cast is diverse and colourful - and I don't mean Don Cheadle. Well, I do, but not in that way. They pass the "fun to hang out with" test that almost always makes a movie better. The final plan is not the mastermind stuff of Ocean's Eleven, but that's okay.

7/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on March 09, 2017, 12:32:32 PM
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Eddie Redmayne plays a boring character the most boring way imaginable. Ending like a wet fart.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 09, 2017, 02:14:07 PM
Get Out (2017)

The most important thing that needs to be said about this film is that Armond White is an incredible dick. I was all set to make a joke about how of course the one critic to pan Get Out is named White and then I found out that he's an African-American man. That doesn't make his critical opinion of the film somehow more biting. It is not random that his review of Get Out appeared in the National Review, a conservative magazine, because his response to this is the role that people like Clarence Thomas, Allen West or Ben Carson have long played. He finds his niche giving comfort to the comfortable on issues of race. Indeed, in his conception, the villain here is Jordan Peele for daring to make white folk uncomfortable with accusations of racial bias.

Long before the film take a turn for the outright horror, it marinates us in the uneasy. It is a cold war of microaggressions that we fear, or fear on behalf of the protagonist, could erupt into a hot war at any moment. Because that is (we take, being white I cannot speak of experience) what it is like to be Black. It is a narrow line between that extra bit of scrutiny a professed woke white person might nevertheless offer and George Zimmerman feeling the need to play cop. Armond White critiques the film as shallow, but that's because he doesn't want to accept its depths and the way it not only contextualizes black paranoia but takes a curious twist on cultural appropriation. Race in America is a great point of tension, and Peele adapts it into the genre that is all about tension.

It feels patronizing to praise this as a great debut film, it is essentially flawless, and likely will remain one of best, if not the best, films of the year.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 09, 2017, 03:12:12 PM
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Eddie Redmayne plays a boring character the most boring way imaginable. Ending like a wet fart.
I would write a rebuttal, but I don't know how to tackle that opinion.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 09, 2017, 03:15:26 PM
Get Out (2017)

It feels patronizing to praise this as a great debut film, it is essentially flawless, and likely will remain one of best, if not the best, films of the year.
I didn't write about it because it seemed that everything had already been said. Looking for a flaw all I had was that the slow burn beginning was perhaps too slow, though it is layered with wonderful ideas when I think back, like the whole story about the track star grandfather. There are also interesting subtle touches, like how the daughter has Fruit Loops (colors) and milk (white) but doesn't mix the two. The film is not as striking as The VVitch, but it's as clever as The Cabin in the Woods.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on March 09, 2017, 03:26:06 PM
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Eddie Redmayne plays a boring character the most boring way imaginable. Ending like a wet fart.
I would write a rebuttal, but I don't know how to tackle that opinion.

But I put so much thought and care into my argument ;)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 10, 2017, 07:38:55 AM
Medicine For Melancholy (2008)

Obligatory catchup on films by the director of my favorite film last year. This feels a lot in the vein of Before Sunrise only the presumed sex happens at the beginning of the film. We don't know why these two ended up hooking up, but by god we're going to be confused, as they have so very little chemistry at least to begin with, and arguably throughout the day they spend together following. It does kind of answer the question of what would have happened if Jesse met someone less charismatic and interesting than Celine.

On the whole, it feels a lot longer than its 90 minutes, though it does have a few moments that suggest Moonlight could come from the same director.

C

A United Kingdom (2016)

Watched this a few days ago but wasn't feeling like reviewing. If Amma Asante's Belle was a distinguished Jane Austen-like costume drama adding the element of race and politics, this is a nearly as distinguished historical drama about race and politics. Their facing up prejudice through their interracial relationship feels standard enough (something I imagine will feel a lot like Loving, which I have sitting waiting to be watched), but I had no idea about the way the British government interfered. It basically lets David Oyelowo keep playing Martin Luther King, Jr., with a lot of impassioned speeches.

So I simultaneously thought it was really well made but also feel a certain distancing urge at the staid and grand nature of the story, not having the same humor of Belle or gritty vitality of A Way of Life. Either way, tell your parents to watch it. They'll love it.

B+
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 10, 2017, 08:32:28 AM
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Eddie Redmayne plays a boring character the most boring way imaginable. Ending like a wet fart.
I would write a rebuttal, but I don't know how to tackle that opinion.

Well, Redmayne does play a poorly written character with the same mannerisms of all his previous roles, so he has a point. Don't know what he's talking about with the ending though.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on March 10, 2017, 11:40:07 AM
I replied in the spoilers thread.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on March 10, 2017, 09:45:51 PM
Redmayne is playing a brilliant performance of a person on the autistic spectrum.  Having two kids on the spectrum, my whole family quickly recognized the symptoms and loved the vibrant (yes, vibrant) performance of a passionate, world-involved person with Asperger's syndrome.  He is my kid's hero, right now.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Terrazine on March 11, 2017, 03:33:25 AM
La La Land
(http://i.imgur.com/hyHED87.jpg?1)

Well. That certainly wasn't what I had expected.

It's hard to not see why La La Land won as many awards as it did... after you've seen it yourself. Before that, I merely dismissed it as yet another whimsical musical where starry-eyed fools are jumping around singing and dancing! As musicals go. But for the past few weeks, I was in a more musical kind of mood (whatever that means), and Ashley Tisdale & Lucas Grabeel's "What I've Been Looking For" (from my childhood memories of High School Musical) wouldn't stop replaying in my head at work. Add on to the fact that many film buffs, including the likes of the Filmspotting community, were raving around this supposed masterpiece, I had to check it out to see what all the fuss was all about, albeit very late in its release.

Boy. Was I in for a treat.

The first-half of the film carried on as musicals do. I was open-minded about it, wanting to give it a chance despite the humdrum of the sappy romance and dancing in the stars. I understood that it was a tribute of sorts to musicals of old (and '30s Hollywood nostalgia, as I've found out), so it wasn't something I could appreciate as much. Honestly though, I went in expecting something more catchy like "Beauty and the Beast" or even "Grease", something I would sing along to (doesn't help that B&B's live action trailer played before the screening), but what I got was perfectly fine too, as explained in the following paragraph...

I think that, by the end of the film, it reminds me why I love movies, and why I wanted to make one someday. It's just such a wonderful medium of storytelling, and La La Land greatly displays that with its rich, vibrant colors and music that symbolize the dreams of the hopefuls. The first-half, while seemingly mundane and ordinary, served as an important build-up to the climatic deconstruction later on, where reality ensues. As a guy with hopes and dreams myself, just leaving a 9 to 6 job yesterday working as a document processor going nowhere towards my dreams, while at the same time, also thinking about going back to school, La La Land left me in tears when it got to that one heavy dialogue of the movie. And boy, was it heavy.

MIA: Maybe I'm not good enough.
SEBASTIAN: You are.
MIA: Maybe I'm not.
SEBASTIAN: You are.
MIA: Maybe I'm one of those people that has always wanted to do it but it's like a pipe dream for me, you know? And then you said it. You change your dreams and then you grow up.


Much expected from Damien Chazelle, the man who brought us the haunting Whiplash, La La Land holds no punches when it comes to confronting reality in the face of ideals. It's the key ingredient missing from the whimsies of ordinary musicals that gave La La Land that fine touch: the grit and audacity to confront the harsh reality (of earning a living while chasing some daydream that is not just impractical in earning money, but also might not even come true), before blending that grit with the right level of idealism to be believable enough in our modern day of cynicism. Though some might criticize this to be just as cynical as our modern youths, especially with that ending considered, I find that it instead encourages us to pursue our dreams in spite of these shortcomings that will inevitably arrive - the heartbreaks, lost love, and disappointments - as they're part of the wonderful journey called life. That's not very cynical at all. Quite the opposite.

5/5

I had a lot of thoughts on my final score of the film. To be honest, I only liked the latter half of the story, but on the other hand, it probably wouldn't have been as heartwrenching without the proper build-up and character-building from the first-half. Furthermore, the deconstruction of musicals blended with those fantastic references to classic one like "Singin' in the Rain" was a fine touch that pushed my 4.5 rating to 5. It probably rejuvenated the genre as a whole for an entire generation who might dismiss such films like I did.

In short, La La Land gets my highest recommendation. Go check it out over Skull Island. I'm glad I did.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 11, 2017, 04:25:13 AM
Redmayne is playing a brilliant performance of a person on the autistic spectrum.  Having two kids on the spectrum, my whole family quickly recognized the symptoms and loved the vibrant (yes, vibrant) performance of a passionate, world-involved person with Asperger's syndrome.  He is my kid's hero, right now.

Except it is exactly the kind of performance we've come to expect from him. His Hawking had at least half the same mannerisms and attitudes; was that a brilliant performance of someone on the spectrum too? What about his role in The Danish Girl?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on March 11, 2017, 12:24:04 PM
I didn't see either of those, and I don't expect to.  It is a role I might expect in an Oscar-bait film, done heavy-handedly and with a lot of emotion (I don't know that either film goes that way, I didn't see them).  The joy of his role in Fantastic Beasts is that there is no emphasis placed on his "disability"... because it's not a disability.  It is who he is and he found his niche and, sure, his social difficulties lead to some problems, but his abilities more than make up for them.  His difference is noticeable and significant, but he is not "disabled" in any way.  He is a normal person on the autistic spectrum.  This is a joyful performance for those who have people on the spectrum that they love.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on March 11, 2017, 11:56:07 PM
Out of Sight
Steven Soderbergh (1998)


7/10

I've found it's a good but not great film that I can watch a lot of times and continue to enjoy. Maybe you will find the same thing.

I think it's the even scattering of small but great contributions. A perfectly timed freeze or fade by the editor, the perfect song kicking in at the perfect moment, a good laugh (http://i.imgur.com/ytZCqJs.gif) every now and then, the variety of people and places...
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 12, 2017, 04:39:13 AM
Is this the movie I watched recently that has a bunch of weird freezes? I can't recall...If so, I was not a fan of that. Agreed on all the rest though.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Terrazine on March 12, 2017, 05:39:01 AM
Genesect and the Legend Awakened
★½


Once upon a time, there was a good Pokemon movie. Compared to other movies, it was okay, but among its later Pokemon film counterparts, it was undoubtedly the best. This might seem like nostalgia talking, but the relevancy of Pokemon: The First Movie's quality is made especially significant by the inclusion of an important character in Legend Awakened: MewTwo, or should I say, "NewTwo". It's not the same MewTwo, it's a NewMewTwo, a female version of it with a very similar (almost identical) backstory.

There's a term amongst the geeks called "retcon", or "Retroactive Continuity". It's when characters or stories of a franchise's past are written out of continuity. There's no real proof that NewTwo is part of a retcon, since the backstory similarity only involves both being artificial creations. Team Rocket was never mentioned in NewTwo's flashback, so this might very well be an entirely different character. Regardless of that, however, the problem lies with the loss of potential in not using OldTwo. There's really no good reason I could think of to replace the old MewTwo with this newer one. Not only is she much weaker, the change in gender leaves uncomfortable feminist implications as to the intention behind the replacement in the first place.

And then there's the obligatory generic story. Honestly, at this point, I think I'm about to give up on my own quest to seek out all the Pokemon films just to satisfy my completionist OCD, because it's getting really tiring wasting two hours every week watching a boring movie that rehashes the same childish themes of friendship that, unfortunately, are appropriately made for their target audience, the kids. However, appropriate as it may be, I believe that just because it's a children's film, it shouldn't be dumbed down. Clearly, either the Japanese or the Pokemon studios don't share the sentiment.

And it's not just the fact that it's repetitive that makes this one terrible. We could've had an incredibly epic return of the old MewTwo whom we haven't seen for a very long time, now given a brand new form, while confronting a Frankenstein man-made Pokemon much like himself! We could finally see some closure for the character of MewTwo we grew up with since childhood! What a return that would be, wouldn't you say? All that potential, alas, was flushed down the drain, turning what could've finally been Pokemon movies' return to quality into possibly the worst Pokemon movie up till this point. What a sad departure for MewTwo as a Pokemon, but an appropriately terrible finale for the equally terrible Pokemon: Best Wishes TV series.

I think I'll skip the next few installments from now on. I heard the Hoopa one was also especially revolting.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on March 12, 2017, 12:22:38 PM
Is this the movie I watched recently that has a bunch of weird freezes? I can't recall...If so, I was not a fan of that. Agreed on all the rest though.

That's the one! :))
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on March 12, 2017, 01:29:31 PM
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Dir: Jordan Vogt-Roberts


First off, for those of us with children right around the PG-13 age, be forewarned: this movie gets pretty intense. Due to some fantastic visual effects, a relentless (in a good way) score, and some superb editing, this movie from the moment the action hits the fan is pretty balls to the wall (again, in a good way). That being said, I was a little shocked at exactly how gory the film got, how much it showed of monsters devouring man (and other monsters) to the point where I was actually thinking, "Did I read the MPAA rating to this wrong?"

Now, that being said, everything that makes this film a parental warning also makes it an absolute cinematic ride. Unlike action/fantasy/thrillers which are a slow burn, this thing is a powder keg from the moment that Vogt-Roberts decideds to set it off. It's a fun whirling dervish of teeth and bullets and nightmarish creatures vs. the nightmarish tendencies in man. And that's just the special effects. As far as the actors go, there are great, scene-chewing performances here from Reilly, Jackson, and Goodman. Hiddleston and Larson don't get a whole lot to work with, but they're both very attractive and Hiddleston knows how to play hero while Larson knows how to play brave heroine/damsel in distress.

This movie was a whole lot better than I expected it to be. I give kudos to whoever put this franchise in the hands of Vogt-Roberts (only known for some Comedy Central stuff and the touching Kings Of Summer). Everything in this movie works pretty well, and it's an absolute ride.

A-
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on March 12, 2017, 04:08:49 PM
Logan (James Mangold, 2017

Confirms my ongoing theory that the more seriously a superhero film takes itself, the worse it is. In a sense it really put me in Logan's shoes, because I just kept waiting for it to end... Ok, it's not terrible, Patrick Stewart is very good and Jackman is always solid in this role, but really, it's just boringly grimdark. The violence is striking and makes me think the film would have worked had it gone full body horror on us, but nope. Also they really should have kept the young actress silent.

4/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 12, 2017, 04:56:09 PM
Logan (2017)

If Logan is the best of the three solo Wolverine films, I am grateful I’ve been spared from the previous two titles because this is some of the most mediocre storytelling I’ve seen in a long time. The R-rating does not add any gravitas and depth to the film, just more offensive content to try to cash in on the success of Deadpool.

It commits one of the cardinal sins of movies which is having characters say lots of things throughout the film that are only for the benefit of the audience. No real person would regurgitate information everyone in the scene already knows. The first act is basically scenes of exposition with a random boob flash in the middle to make sure people know this is one of those edgy, “mature” superhero films all the fanboys have been clamoring to see.

Then there’s a video a character makes that shows tons of secretly taken footage from a high-security facility edited together that would only ever exist in a movie universe. Where did this character get the computer to edit all this video together? What would be her rational to put it on a cell phone she hides? When did she get the time if she’s constantly on the run and the last bit of footage seems to have been taken a couple of hours before said character no longer possesses the phone the video is on?

Even excusing the plot, there aren’t any interesting characters here. Logan/Wolverine/James (Hugh Jackman) is a smarmy asshole with a heart of gold. And for some reason the film think that’s such a profound and nuanced character to have because he has two sides to him. But it’s not enough to carry a film, especially with this being the eighth time he’s played Logan with no added depth to his two-dimensional character.

What makes the first three X-Men films (yes, even The Last Stand) and Days of Future Past work is that Logan is surrounded by characters who have a lot more depth and personality to them. Here he’s stuck with a senile Professor X (Patrick Stewart), an aloof Laura (Dafne Keen), and wet blanket Caliban (Stephen Merchant).

The themes of fatherhood and aging don’t excuse the sloppy storytelling and uninteresting characters. Add in action that has no stakes because Wolverine just healers or takes some special serum that accelerates the healing process. The more mature tone doesn’t make for a more mature story. Boobs and blood do not add gravitas and depth to your film. It’s as shallow and juvenile a superhero film as they come.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Terrazine on March 12, 2017, 08:24:49 PM
lol I would hardly call someone who sacrificed himself throughout the entire movie a wet blanket. Caliban was a badass.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on March 14, 2017, 03:53:58 AM
You can edit video on phones these days, no need for a desk top.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on March 14, 2017, 05:05:24 AM
Jasper Jones (2017 - Rachel Perkins)

A very Australian film, it is not just the location shots, there is a very particular look and feel to most Australian films and this one has it in spades. I do not mention this to either aggrandise or denigrate the film, more to say if you have a problem with the Australian style of film you are going to have a problem with this one. Set in Western Australia in 1969 in a small town with what was likely a typical undercurrent of racism. The film focuses on 14 old Charlie Bucktin (Levi Miller) who at the beginning of the film has Jasper (Aaron McGrath) knock on his window on Christmas night and ask for him to follow. Charlie does, unsure why Jasper has asked him as they have never spoken before. Heading out of town and into the bush Charlie is lead to the hanging corpse of a local town girl that Jasper has found. What follows is a coming of age story wrapped around a murder mystery.

The film does not have a strong look at racial and social make up in a small Australian town. Still there is ripples across the whole film of the racism present. More this is a sort of coming of age story, one that has a dead body generating additional movement.

Rating: 77 / 100
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 14, 2017, 07:22:17 AM
Interesting. I hope it finds its way over to us.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StudentOFilm on March 14, 2017, 08:14:26 AM
Kong: Skull Island (2017)

This movie was a whole lot better than I expected it to be. I give kudos to whoever put this franchise in the hands of Vogt-Roberts (only known for some Comedy Central stuff and the touching Kings Of Summer). Everything in this movie works pretty well, and it's an absolute ride.


I'd echo this. My expectations going in compared to how I felt leaving, were vastly different. I always say it's "a movie knowing itself" and what kind of movie it wants to be and what kind of audience it expects. This is a monster/creature-feature with tons of action and a lot of colorful characters brought to life by a great ensemble. The Vietnam War parallels (or just a look at world conflicts in general) might not hold weight with everyone, but it at least provided a unique backdrop and inspired setting that you don't see in these films.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 14, 2017, 01:34:18 PM
Logan (2017)

If Logan is the best of the three solo Wolverine films, I am grateful I’ve been spared from the previous two titles because this is some of the most mediocre storytelling I’ve seen in a long time. The R-rating does not add any gravitas and depth to the film, just more offensive content to try to cash in on the success of Deadpool.
I agree with the part in your review about the flawed ways the movie feeds us information, but tonally this is the opposite end of the Deadpool. It's the previous film that allowed this film to happen, but the extreme violence is never just gore for kicks. (This may have the record for the most amount of 'head shots' where none of them are cool.) The violence is crucial in showing what an emotional toll it's taken on Logan, the man who's inflicted so much pain on others. People are easy to kill, but he never wipe away their blood.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on March 15, 2017, 12:55:58 AM
desk top

You know how I know your old! ;)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 15, 2017, 01:04:26 AM
I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
* * * - Good

When I wrote about Green Room (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12547.msg844063#msg844063), I praised filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier's fresh approach to violence and tense confrontations. It looks like his style is going to spread twice as fast thanks to Macon Blair. Blair's effect is mostly the same, but because he frames the violence inside an offbeat comedy, it skirts perilously close to treating life cheaply, which would backfire terribly if either director were to make that mistake. The comparisons to Saulnier apply, but Blair is different enough, more comic, that I can make room in my life for both of them, even though this is closer to a well made Murder Party (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=14040.msg849327#msg849327) than anything approaching Blue Ruin.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on March 15, 2017, 02:05:36 AM
It's a really good first film, though.   I'm really looking forward to his next.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on March 15, 2017, 02:55:28 AM
Been catching up on some stuff.

Don't Breathe - 6/10
Watchable and pretty exciting at times (the dog almost getting them again and again gave me the biggest "holy shit" feelings I've had in a while). Still, short as it is, the concept is spread a little thin. A film of great sequences but not a solid whole. Dunno why they had to make the guy so unlikeable... who am I rooting for in the end?

Moonlight - 5/10
Not as affecting as I had hoped it might be. I just kind of sat through it... engaged but not moved.

Arrival - 6/10
A movie I was excited about. I liked the first hour, and then I kept falling asleep. I might give it another try one day.

The Ones Below - 6/10
Another decent thriller, this time of the psychological variety. I can recommend a film that's almost exactly like it but rates 10/10. It starts with "The" and ends with "Cradle". This one is nothing special.

Mad Max: Fury Road - 8/10
Incredible. God damn... if I had been emotionally engaged this would be a 10. I loved the villain! I loved how he looked and how the camera moved on him! Really it was all great. Somehow it never lacked variety, even though all the ingredients were the same the whole way through. Very watchable!

Hidden Figures - 6/10
My expectations were off here. It had good buzz and I took that to mean it would probably have above average bite... else why would anyone be talking about it? Looking back, I think I would prefer to hear this story told in a 37 hour documentary by Ken Burns. This version feels too Disney. Janelle Monáe was cool as hell. Great in Moonlight too!

Swiss Army Man - 8/10
Hell yea, this was a good one! A couple of great montages, emotionally engaging, damn weird but also damn funny! I glad I got off the fence and gave this a try. So inventive and it had better rocketry than Hidden Figures.

Nocturnal Animals - 6/10
A lot of cutting between boring and not boring. Jake Gyllenhaal has really hit his stride as an actor. I will forget about this movie.

Passengers - 9/10
This is why I don't bother reading anything before watching a movie. This was fantastic. FANTASTIC! What did I know about it going in? Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in space. Had I read any of the reviews (37% RT) it would've confirmed what my cynical mind suspected, that this was nothing but a generic star vehicle about two characters on a vehicle traveling to distant stars... and I never would have watched it! Man, I was so into this. Every element. The ship they were on for example. It was was so thoroughly realized! Like this might be the most ambitious and richly conceived space ship I've ever seen in a film. What an achievement of design! Vast, beautiful, functional, sensible, radically different! The ship in 2001 might as well be a flying log cabin by comparison. I don't mean in technology, but in detail and size and how much of it we get to see and interact with! Even the ship in Sunshine, which is outwardly a straggering thing to look at, is inside a pretty run of the mill space vessel (the payload room notwithstanding). Love the story here too... I thought every beat of it worked, even where it felt inevitable. I was so on board I would've let a lot go, but I didn't find I needed to. This movie flattens anything else I've seen from 2016. Looking forward to seeing it again.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 15, 2017, 03:29:12 AM
Mad Max - 8/10
Incredible. God damn... if I had been emotionally engaged this would be a 10. I loved the villain! I loved how he looked and how the camera moved on him! Really it was all great. Somehow it never lacked variety, even though all the ingredients were the same the whole way through. Very watchable!

The start of an unofficial marathon?


Speaking of marathons, I had the day off and went to the cheap theater to watch Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. I might've enjoyed it more if we waited to do our RE marathon until this was on DVD. Without the communal sharing it was just a lot of video game style action, very loud too and not as stylish as the series was getting. I have a feeling the budget was slashed while they were in pre-production, leaving them with only set-pieces and the thinnest connective tissue. The most interesting aspect that we discuss a lot in our Marathon is we finally learn the story of Red Queen, and now that I know, I'm surprised nobody considered it during the marathon. Milla seems tired, resigned that this is what she'll be known for.
RATING: * *


As people start watching Patriots Day and discover how good it is, there will be questions about why it failed to find an audience. Under-marketed and terribly released, it's even better and more surprisingly good than Deepwater Horizon, which I also liked a lot. The less Peter Berg emulates Michael Bay and the more he copies from Clint Eastwood the better, and this is one Eastwood himself might've made. Maybe that's why the film failed, it plays to the Republican crowd but is so pro-Obama you can tell they would've edited parts of it differently had they known which way the election was going to go. Aside from some brief political detours and occasional handheld camerawork (like the first scene), this is a very effective manhunt movie with many standout sequences.
RATING: * * * - Very Good
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on March 15, 2017, 04:59:48 AM
desk top

You know how I know your old! ;)

Just because the first computer in my family's house had a huge 1Kb of memory (and could not hold the screen while it was thinking).
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on March 15, 2017, 07:49:03 AM
Passengers - 9/10
This is why I don't bother reading anything before watching a movie. This was fantastic. FANTASTIC! What did I know about it going in? Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in space. Had I read any of the reviews (37% RT) it would've confirmed what my cynical mind suspected, that this was nothing but a generic star vehicle about two characters on a vehicle traveling to distant stars... and I never would have watched it! Man, I was so into this. Every element. The ship they were on for example. It was was so thoroughly realized! Like this might be the most ambitious and richly conceived space ship I've ever seen in a film. What an achievement of design! Vast, beautiful, functional, sensible, radically different! The ship in 2001 might as well be a flying log cabin by comparison. I don't mean in technology, but in detail and size and how much of it we get to see and interact with! Even the ship in Sunshine, which is outwardly a staggering thing to look at, is inside a pretty run of the mill space vessel (the payload room notwithstanding). Love the story here too... I thought every beat of it worked, even where it felt inevitable. I was so on board I would've let a lot go, but I didn't find I needed to. This movie flattens anything else I've seen from 2016. Looking forward to seeing it again.

Passengers is bad (https://corndogchats.com/2016/12/21/passengers-2016/). One of the worst I saw this past year, though I will agree the design of the ship is spectacular.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on March 15, 2017, 09:31:51 AM
(http://i68.tinypic.com/15cj5t1.jpg)
T2 Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 2017)

When I sat down to revisit 1996's Trainspotting, a film I had not seen in some time, I was excited at the prospect to see it again, mostly because I wanted to re-evaluate it coming into Danny Boyle's T2 Trainspotting, a sequel 20 years in the making. But also because I wanted to make sure I was in the right place, narratively, to fully enjoy the sequel. After seeing T2, I would certainly recommend seeing Trainspotting first, as it helps give a lot of context to the proceedings and really enhances the experience of getting to spend more time with Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie once again. These are memorable characters if you combine the two films and take their journey as a whole, as opposed to two separate stories. Seeing this film in context made it all the better, but I still left wondering whether a sequel was really truly necessary at all.

When we left these friends, Renton (Ewan McGregor) had just robbed his friends, Begbie (Robert Carlyle), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), and Spud (Ewan Bremner) of the cash they got from a drug deal. Now 20 years later, Renton, having kicked his heroin addiction to enjoy a normal life in Amsterdam, returns to Edinburgh to find his friends in various states of disarray. Spud is still struggling with his drug addiction. Begbie is serving a 25 year jail sentence, before he breaks out to hunt down Renton. And Simon (Sick Boy) is running an unsuccessful pub while conducting various illegal affairs on the side for money. Renton attempts to reconnect with his friends, but the sour taste he left them with becomes a struggle as they try to find what brought them all together and made them happy in the first place.

What made Trainspotting great was that it was a jolt to the system, so to speak. Boyle's style was so fresh and exciting, and the youthful exuberance was so electrifying, as McGregor's Renton character decided to "choose life". Much of that freshness has gone in the sequel, T2 Trainspotting, much in part to the fact that Boyle has gone on to become a successful film director. His style is no longer new, so every attempt to insert energy into the film just feels like something we've seen before, and it doesn't work quite as well in middle age. The baggage left behind from the first film makes for a compelling story to be told, but too often the characters feel like caricatures, which these now famous actors are putting on instead of performing. They feel too far removed at times.

That being said, I think Boyle and company have a lot to say about the effects of drug addiction long after the worst of it has passed. We see four characters in various states of disrepair, and it proves that you can't just quit with no ill effect. But at the core of this film is the friendship between these characters. What brings them back to one another, keeps them friends even after all these years? It is in this exploration that the film excels most, providing more than a few really poignant moments. Unfortunately it gets lost along the way at times as well, focused on call backs, or characters moments that feel inserted just to give the actors some scenery to chew on, the detriment of having to assemble a now famous cast to do a sequel to a now famous film from their distant past. Much of it feels unnecessary.

It lacks the energy and freshness of Trainspotting, and finds lulls far too often to be considered a great movie, or even just a great follow up. But that being said, having just rewatched the original soon before seeing this one, Renton, Simon, Spud, and Begbie are all characters I enjoy spending time with, and each has something to say about the state of drug addiction and its effects. It's a varied cast of characters played by very capable actors who make them into memorable. These are not throwaway parts. It's a bit unfair to cast T2 Trainspotting off for simply not being as good as its predecessor. It's not as good and that is disappointing, but T2 is still a good movie. Just as the characters have deficiencies, so too does the film, but in many ways that is precisely why I care as much as I do about them.

*** - Good
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on March 15, 2017, 12:38:20 PM
Mad Max - 8/10
Incredible. God damn... if I had been emotionally engaged this would be a 10. I loved the villain! I loved how he looked and how the camera moved on him! Really it was all great. Somehow it never lacked variety, even though all the ingredients were the same the whole way through. Very watchable!

The start of an unofficial marathon?

smirnoff, did you watch the original Mad Max or Mad Max: Fury Road?

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: mañana on March 15, 2017, 10:46:25 PM
I will forget about this movie.
lol
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on March 16, 2017, 02:09:31 AM
Mad Max - 8/10
Incredible. God damn... if I had been emotionally engaged this would be a 10. I loved the villain! I loved how he looked and how the camera moved on him! Really it was all great. Somehow it never lacked variety, even though all the ingredients were the same the whole way through. Very watchable!

The start of an unofficial marathon?

smirnoff, did you watch the original Mad Max or Mad Max: Fury Road

Doh! It was Fury Road. I forgot that's what it's called. I still haven't seen any of the others, so no, it's not the start of a marathon. :)

Speaking of marathons, I had the day off and went to the cheap theater to watch Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. I might've enjoyed it more if we waited to do our RE marathon until this was on DVD. Without the communal sharing it was just a lot of video game style action, very loud too and not as stylish as the series was getting. I have a feeling the budget was slashed while they were in pre-production, leaving them with only set-pieces and the thinnest connective tissue. The most interesting aspect that we discuss a lot in our Marathon is we finally learn the story of Red Queen, and now that I know, I'm surprised nobody considered it during the marathon. Milla seems tired, resigned that this is what she'll be known for.
RATING: * *

I would love to see some kind of supercut recap of the series before watching The Final Chapter, but then again, you say the connective tissue is pretty thin. They never were that tightly meshed to begin with I guess. I'm sorry to hear that the series didn't finish stronger, but even so, I look forward to it. Way to see it on the big screen! :)

Passengers - 9/10

Passengers is bad (https://corndogchats.com/2016/12/21/passengers-2016/). One of the worst I saw this past year, though I will agree the design of the ship is spectacular.

Our experiences were very different eh. When you say "the entire existence of Aurora Lane’s character is to serve the purposes of Jim Preston" I agree, in a sense. But not in the same sense I think you mean it. Jim did wake her up for entirely selfish reasons, so in that sense she is serving his purposes. By simply existing she serves that purpose (i.e. Jim is no longer alone). That's a purpose she cannot escape from, given the circumstances aboard the ship. But it sounds like you feel the film reduced her character further still... to a person with no other reason to exist. She certainly struggles to find another reason. I mean, like Jim, she starts out faced with the thought "what the hell am I going to do with the rest of my life". She's looking for purpose in a situation where no one has ever had to find a purpose before. She knows something nobody riding the bus has ever known. That she'll die before she arrives at the next stop. Her purpose was arriving. Now what is it? And I think that's what she sets out to write about. But they both flounder in this struggle to find purpose, which made me feel for them.

And I did not feel I could judge Jim's decisions too harshly. No more than I could judge Tom Hank's character in Castaway for talking to a volleyball. It was horrible but understandable. Selfish but human. Desperate and regrettable but would she or anyone else have done any different... sooner or later?

PS. Pratt's naked ass was the only gratuitous body shot I remember. There was no particular need to see his ass just then. It's not as though the audience had reason to believe he showered in pants, and that shot was to establish that he did not. It would've been more germane to show his ass while he in the public areas of the ship, since it was established that he traversed the ship without pants from time to time. Generally I thought the film was pretty indifferent towards that stuff, never showing much even when there was an opportunity. Shooting for whatever rating, but no worse of for it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on March 16, 2017, 08:37:06 AM
I was really on board with the film for the part where Jim is alone. Once Aurora wakes up, I wavered, but even then I was curious to see where it went. Ultimately, we aren't going to be on the same page with this one. As for the "gratuitous" shots, yes, Pratt is the only one to show nudity, but there are numerous times throughout the film where Tyldum utilizes the "male gaze" type shot towards Lawrence, which further communicated to my experience that her character was there to serve the purposes of Jim. We can discuss further in a spoiler thread if you would like. Don't want to go into too much detail here.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 16, 2017, 08:58:28 AM
Eyes Wide Shut (http://creativecriticism.net/?p=15772) (1999)

The sweeping Waltz 2 of Dimitri Shostakovich plays as Nicole Kidman disrobes, her back to the camera. So it’s going to be that kind of film. And while Eyes Wide Shut is certainly a film dealing a lot about sex and promiscuity, it’s much more of a film about the idea of infidelity and the dark side of lust. Much like A Clockwork Orange, people are quick to label the film the very thing it is not. If anything, Eyes Wide Shut is one of the most potent arguments for monogamy and fidelity.

All of the sex and lust outside of the marriage bedroom is depicted as weird, uncomfortable, and disturbing. The infamous orgy party is a dark, satanic ritual of alien lust, not the loving intimacy between the two main characters. It’s a great example of how depicting sex and nudity is not always inherently erotic or titillating.

Eyes Wide Shut is a tale of two parties. The first has Dr. William (Tom Cruise) and Alice Harford (Nicole Kidman) going to Victor Ziegler’s (Sydney Pollack) annual Christmas party. As the couple separates, they both end up in rather flirty circumstances, but neither of these flirtings amount to anything. Alice gets suspicious and when she presses William, he denies anything. Still not sure, she decides to hurt him by confessing a time she fantasized about having an affair.

Crestfallen by this idea, William tries to go out and have his own affair but is constantly thwarted by fate. After meeting Nick Nightingale (Todd Field), he discovers the underworld of the rich elite who have dark sex orgies while wearing masks. He’s quickly outed as someone who doesn’t belong and threatened that he will be punished if he speaks a word of it.

There’s a theory that William’s experience, his attempts to have an affair, are all a dream. While the dream theory is usually a lazy fan tool, it makes a lot of sense here and enhances the film. For one, the entire orgy sequence is one of the most surreal and bizarre sequences in cinema even including a Gregorian chant sung backwards.

The short story the film is adapted from is called Dream Story, which also lends some credence to this theory. But it’s a late line that is perhaps the best proof. After confessing the events of the film, William says “no dream is ever just a dream.” It seems unlikely that he is talking about his wife’s fantasy, but his own experiences. And Eyes Wide Shut is much more about the idea of infidelity than the act itself.

All this leaves the film with perhaps one of the most potent relationship moments in cinema. Faced with adulterous intents on both sides, the couple is at a crossroads. Alice rightly says that they should consider themselves lucky for all they’ve survived. She also suggests that there’s one last thing the couple needs to do as soon as possible: CINECAST!.

While perhaps crass, it’s a beautiful demonstration of how channeling those desires and lusts back into the marriage is a far more wholesome and edifying release, that monogamy is not a trap, but a place of warmth, love, and security. Adultery is a trap, a horribly, terrifying trap, so much so that even the idea of it can wreck a relationship. And the best solution to overcome this impulse? CINECAST!ing your spouse.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on March 16, 2017, 11:38:44 AM
We can discuss further in a spoiler thread if you would like. Don't want to go into too much detail here.
Please do. My reaction was somewhere between both of yours and I'm curious to read people discussing the most interesting aspect of the film.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on March 16, 2017, 01:05:01 PM
Eyes Wide Shut (http://creativecriticism.net/?p=15772) (1999)

Yup, it's so good. I enjoy this explanation of what the movie means to you. I'll be thinking about it when I next watch the film.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 16, 2017, 04:15:11 PM
Thanks! My dad is upset I used the f word in the last sentence. :D
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: IDrinkYourMilkshake on March 17, 2017, 05:59:12 AM
(http://i68.tinypic.com/15cj5t1.jpg)
T2 Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 2017)

Much of it feels unnecessary.

It's a bit unfair to cast T2 Trainspotting off for simply not being as good as its predecessor. It's not as good and that is disappointing, but T2 is still a good movie. Just as the characters have deficiencies, so too does the film, but in many ways that is precisely why I care as much as I do about them.

*** - Good

The words "Much of it feels unnecessary" have been nagging me since I saw it, around a month ago.

I think it's analogous to Messrs Fincher, Norton, Pitt and Loaf returning for Fight Club 2 - Trainspotting is something of a cultural totem in the UK, an era defining film. It captured the rush of giddy euphoria which coursed around the mid 90's over here, and the whole Trainspotting 'universe' carries profoundly personal resonance for me.

So I've been battling with myself for the last month. Do I like this film, or do I just desperately, desperately want to? There are so many stand out moments from the first film, almost from the first minute, but I struggle to recall very much from T2. Begbie's first scene is funny, but I found some of the callbacks to the original to be clunky and unnecessary, and felt they harmed the film.

Elements hit home, though. The sense of how the world changes as you get older, how nostalgia is a perfectly reasonable psychological reaction to that. You think it all belongs to you when you're young, then you realise none of it ever did, you were just placed in the middle of it all... I think the mind sometimes naturally recoils from that sense of powerlessness, it wants to go back to a point where it felt like it knew exactly what it was all about, however misguided that thought might have been.

Spud is the heart of the film, and your sympathy is with him all the way.

I dunno... Current verdict is 'Good Enough', I guess. I'm keen to see it again.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 17, 2017, 11:46:03 AM
Camp X-Ray (2014)

A really nice two-hander between Kristen Stewart as an army guard at Guantanamo Bay and Peyman Moaadi (A Separation) as a detainee. When it broadens out to capture stuff like the sexism Pvt. Cole faces as a woman, it feels less strong because the real core is these two finding each other as individuals in a setting that wants to set them up as archetypes opposed. Even if it didn't occasionally feel orchestrated to say "isn't this inhumane" this building of humanity would lead us to the same conclusion.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 18, 2017, 07:23:10 PM
Unintentional French incest double feature

Lolo (2015)

The early part of this film feels very much at home with Julie Delpy's style seen both in her own 2 Days films and presumably her contributions to the Before series. It is frank in its depiction of female friends dealing with romantic lives and aging. But no sooner does she start to get into a relationship then the film shows its hand as an Oedipal horror of sorts that builds all the way to the finish. Ultimately found it quite compelling.

B-

Marguerite & Julien (2015)

The incestuous aspect of this film is the text, not the subtext. A brother and sister grow up close and the drama is based on the family and society tensions trying to keep this unnatural yet undeniable desire at bay. It is a rather tonal mess, with a weird shell story that I guess is meant to indicate the story as legend, and anachronistic intrusions into the period setting with random appearance of a helicopter. I really liked Donzelli's Queen of Hearts so this was a big let down.

D+
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on March 19, 2017, 12:44:06 AM
Put Lolo on my list.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 19, 2017, 08:51:10 AM
Kate Plays Christine (2016)

I'm a little baffled why this film gets categorized as a documentary. Sure, Kate Lyn Sheil plays herself, and it involves interviews with what I presume are real people, but the foundational notion, that Sheil is doing all this to prepare for a film role, is a facade. There is no film other than the conceptual one about an actress preparing for a role. I know we have been expanding the boundaries of what counts as documentary of late, but somehow the constructed nature of this one feels a step too far.

But if I'm not willing to accept it as a documentary, that doesn't mean it isn't interesting as a narrative film. It does often ask interesting questions about the process an actress goes through to play a real life character that ultimately isn't that well known. It speaks to some of the potential for exploitation in recreating such a story. That said, it does have the tendency to get a bit navel-gazey. I don't know whether it would be worse to know that these are authentic glimpses into Sheil's grappling with the role or just feeling like the scripting goes too big, providing for an overwrought stereotype of the dedicated actress preparing for a role. In those moments it does grate a bit and starts to feel long.

C
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on March 19, 2017, 05:39:36 PM
The Lost City of Z (James Gray, 2016)

A very frustrating film for me, and I'm pretty sure for James Gray too. The film seems to constantly be at odds with itself : it seems quite clear to me that Gray is much more interested in the personal drama of this man who keeps leaving his family behind than in his actual adventures... but the film does spend more time in the jungle than not, all things told. But everything from the direction to the editing and the performances seems to flatten the story : where the story leans towards the adventure and the grand, the film refuses to go there. You'd think Herzog and Kinski would be at the forefront of your mind watching this, but they really aren't : at one point early on, we hear the sounds of an opera in the middle of the jungle, and our protagonists stumble on what is indeed an opera being played in a small rubber town... this should be a very memorable moment, yet when the film calls back to it 90 minutes later, I found myself having forgotten all about it.

In those Herzog movies, you can certainly use the old cliché of the jungle being "a character"... well you're at no risk of saying that here. It's beautifully shot, to be sure, but there is never any sense of being there, neither the danger nor the mystic quality that such a place can take. Hunnam's performance, fine but utterly devoid of any charisma, doesn't help matters one bit.

Now I'm not saying you couldn't make this about the family drama, about the sacrifices made by everyone in the family, wether or not they get any say in the matter. There is certainly something there, and the film ends up being at its strongest in the scenes between Hunnam and Miller... but it doesn't fully commit to that either, and again the performances are only passable where they'd need to be great.

5/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: slowpogo on March 20, 2017, 03:08:03 AM
Phantasm (1979)

I've heard things about Phantasm here and there for a long time, and I know it has a devoted fanbase that has spawned many sequels. I've seen many of the classic, well-known horror films of that era so I was excited to add this to the list. And I thought Bubba Ho-Tep, also directed by Don Coscarelli, was a pretty decent movie.

So it brings me no joy to say that Phantasm is not very good. In it, a kid and his older brother and his friend detect weird stuff going on at a nearby funeral home, and it's weird and stuff.

Of course, I'm being a little facetious. The weirdness is inspired at times, and there is some memorable imagery, and some sequences are relatively suspenseful, which I'd count as most anything that happens in the Morningside Funeral Home. Its white marble mausoleum feels like a set Kubrick might have made (unsettlingly stark and precise), and the characters' first encounters with this place are genuinely unnerving, as they catch fleeting glances of robes disappearing behind objects and hear strange animal-like growls. Other sequences are laughable failures, as when characters catch some kind of weird flying furball in a denim shirt, and then pretend to flail this shirt around as if the thing is so strong they can't control it (Bruce Campbell, these guys are not). Or a totally silly scene in which Jody and Reggie whip out guitars and have a painfully earnest "jam" on the porch, I guess to establish their friendship or something.

The main protagonist, 14-year-old Michael, is the only character who is mildly interesting and decently acted -- by this, I don't mean he's nuanced or anything, but he seems about right for a young teenager in a horror movie, the same way characters do in the original Halloween. His older brother Jody is played by a good-looking, seeming non-actor whose blankness makes Ryan O'Neal seem like Jim Carrey; their friend Reggie is likeable enough, but also not really an actor. Perhaps most disappointingly, the film's main human-like villain, the Tall Man (played by Angus Scrimm), was simply not very scary at all, like a discount version of the old guy in the Poltergeist sequels.

But the movie's main problem is that it's simply not about anything. It's just a weird story with weird imagery that's not really in service of any grander purpose, and some mostly boring characters trying to survive and figure stuff out. In this sense it reminded me of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books, some of which (surprisingly for children's books) managed a similar type of pervasive Lovecraftian strangeness, but were ultimately all plot and no substance. In Phantasm, an early scene has Michael visit a psychic; the scene is admirably strange and creepy on its own, but is never referenced again, except for the psychic's advice that Michael should "not fear." This wisp of a "theme" (?) comes back (kind of?) at the end of the movie in the laziest, shittiest way, but beyond this, the movie is entirely substance-free. At times watching Phantasm I was literally thinking to myself, "This is stupid."

So, yes, there are things to enjoy in Phantasm -- a suitably creepy funeral home/mausoleum and some memorable moments and imagery sprinkled throughout. The film's cinematography is pretty decent, by Coscarelli himself, and the music, as well, is decent and effective at times. There are one or two legitimate scares. But the dialogue, the lack of any apparent thematic direction or purpose, the direction of any scene involving human interaction, and the lack of recognizably professional acting give it a shoddy, amateurish vibe that almost defeats the good stuff. If you simply want to check a cult horror classic off your list, Phantasm is not tough to sit through -- as I mentioned, there are things to keep you watching. If I'd seen this as a kid, I can imagine how it might have stuck with me and seemed better than it is. But as an adult, it amounts to little more than a mildly intriguing shrug.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MattDrufke on March 21, 2017, 10:57:07 AM
No one has seen the new Beauty & The Beast, huh? Will probably see it tomorrow.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 21, 2017, 11:22:03 AM
http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=14226.msg865772#msg865772

I reviewed it a couple of weeks ago and I thought there's been one more.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on March 21, 2017, 11:38:20 AM
I saw it over the weekend, but probably won't be writing a review. I enjoyed it quite a bit actually.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Jeff Schroeck on March 21, 2017, 11:43:48 AM
Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014

better than that is watching her become a better and more shrewd salesperson the more she is forced to confront her coworkers.

I've also never been more glad to only have time to watch movies in half hour chunks because I could only handle about five uncomfortable interactions at a time!

4.5/5
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on March 21, 2017, 11:54:47 AM
Get Out (2017)

The most important thing that needs to be said about this film is that Armond White is an incredible dick. I was all set to make a joke about how of course the one critic to pan Get Out is named White and then I found out that he's an African-American man. That doesn't make his critical opinion of the film somehow more biting. It is not random that his review of Get Out appeared in the National Review, a conservative magazine, because his response to this is the role that people like Clarence Thomas, Allen West or Ben Carson have long played. He finds his niche giving comfort to the comfortable on issues of race. Indeed, in his conception, the villain here is Jordan Peele for daring to make white folk uncomfortable with accusations of racial bias.

Long before the film take a turn for the outright horror, it marinates us in the uneasy. It is a cold war of microaggressions that we fear, or fear on behalf of the protagonist, could erupt into a hot war at any moment. Because that is (we take, being white I cannot speak of experience) what it is like to be Black. It is a narrow line between that extra bit of scrutiny a professed woke white person might nevertheless offer and George Zimmerman feeling the need to play cop. Armond White critiques the film as shallow, but that's because he doesn't want to accept its depths and the way it not only contextualizes black paranoia but takes a curious twist on cultural appropriation. Race in America is a great point of tension, and Peele adapts it into the genre that is all about tension.

It feels patronizing to praise this as a great debut film, it is essentially flawless, and likely will remain one of best, if not the best, films of the year.

Just caught up with this over the weekend. SEX SLAVE is going to be one of the best moments in any film all year

You never heard of Armond White before? If you google "slashfilmcast armond white" you can find quite a few episodes where he made a guest appearance with them. Each of them is quite painful from what I recall. He seems to have a habit of tearing apart any thought provoking or art film and then offers up a list of other films that are so much better which usually seemed like huge commercial hits like Transformers.  At least from what I recall.

His fall from grace was when he reportedly heckled 12 Years a Slave during an awards dinner.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/01/new-york-film-critics-circle-expels-armond-white-after-12-years-slave-outburst/356963/

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Knocked Out Loaded on March 21, 2017, 12:54:03 PM
Armond White's annual Better-Than list (http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443614/better-list-critical-review-2017-best-worst-movies) usually is a bit of amusing reading!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 21, 2017, 01:25:05 PM
You never heard of Armond White before?

I had heard of him and even heard him on /filmscast before. So I knew he was noted as a contrarian reviewer. What I didn't know was that he was black or that he wrote for the National Review (and OUT of all places). So that added context was meaningful in this instance.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on March 21, 2017, 01:37:14 PM
You never heard of Armond White before?

 he wrote for the National Review (and OUT of all places).

well, he has range.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StudentOFilm on March 21, 2017, 02:42:14 PM
I wasn't aware White didn't like "Get Out".

The man is just a contrarian. He is completely random in what he chooses to politicize and although I could understand appreciating that there are very few openly gay African American film critics (an argument his fans bring up, but yes, he certainly he does bring an interesting take), Ebert summed him up best when he called him a "troll". I could understand wanting to think against the grain, but I don't think his arguments hold onto their logic especially when you can find another review he wrote where he praises movies for the same reasons he dislikes others.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 21, 2017, 03:35:01 PM
I just ignore White's antics at this point. It's clear he has little of value to say as an actual critic.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on March 21, 2017, 05:15:05 PM
You never heard of Armond White before?

I had heard of him and even heard him on /filmscast before. So I knew he was noted as a contrarian reviewer. What I didn't know was that he was black or that he wrote for the National Review (and OUT of all places). So that added context was meaningful in this instance.
Are you aware he's also gay? Also religious? That there's a non-zero chance he voted for Trump?

The only context for White is that he's a contrarian not only because his tastes don't align with any form of mainstream, but because he specifically cultivates his tastes to be opposed to anything any person could consistently believe.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: chardy999 on March 22, 2017, 07:40:24 AM
Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014

better than that is watching her become a better and more shrewd salesperson the more she is forced to confront her coworkers.

I've also never been more glad to only have time to watch movies in half hour chunks because I could only handle about five uncomfortable interactions at a time!

4.5/5

I could have absolutely picked this film for you Jeff! Not for me haha. Anyone seen their The Unknown Girl? There's a French film festival going on right now so I've seen a fair few recently. Will try to write about one or two tomorrow.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Knocked Out Loaded on March 22, 2017, 07:49:22 AM
[....] Anyone seen their The Unknown Girl? There's a French film festival going on right now so I've seen a fair few recently. Will try to write about one or two tomorrow.
I saw it earlier this year at the Göteborg Film Festival and can't recommend it highly enough!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 22, 2017, 08:00:32 AM
Are you aware he's also gay? Also religious? That there's a non-zero chance he voted for Trump?

I inferred his being gay from his writing for Out. But all this just reinforces what I said in my review which is he is a tool, whose identity provides cover to people who want to dislike notable films covering black and/or gay characters. As an Out subscriber (well, I was a subscriber for a year like 8 years ago and they won't stop sending it to me), I'm not entirely happy about his presence there.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on March 22, 2017, 08:42:40 AM
[....] Anyone seen their The Unknown Girl? There's a French film festival going on right now so I've seen a fair few recently. Will try to write about one or two tomorrow.
I saw it earlier this year at the Göteborg Film Festival and can't recommend it highly enough!

It's fine, Haenel is very good, but I wouldn't recommend it enthusiastically... I didn't find it to be adding up to all that much. What did you particularly like about it KOL ?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Jeff Schroeck on March 22, 2017, 09:57:27 AM
Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014

better than that is watching her become a better and more shrewd salesperson the more she is forced to confront her coworkers.

I've also never been more glad to only have time to watch movies in half hour chunks because I could only handle about five uncomfortable interactions at a time!

4.5/5

I could have absolutely picked this film for you Jeff! Not for me haha. Anyone seen their The Unknown Girl? There's a French film festival going on right now so I've seen a fair few recently. Will try to write about one or two tomorrow.

Ha! Yeah, what I've seen of the Dardennes' style is right up my alley. Handheld and intimate but very carefully considered. What didn't you like about it?

I haven't seen that yet, and I still need to see most of their stuff, having only seen this, Lorna's Silence, and Kid With A Bike.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 22, 2017, 10:24:09 AM
Doctor Strange (2016)

There is no doubt this is a visual wonder, often an MC Escher design in motion. But to what end. More than even the average Marvel film the visual splendor, the talented cast, and the often witty dialogue couldn't rise above the sense of weightlessness. To be fair, it took quite a bit of the film's runtime for me to not think the most tragic part was Strange surviving his car crash. Any sense that he was going to be a lovable jerk ala House go quickly out the window. So yeah, not so much onboard here.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 22, 2017, 10:34:50 AM
Are you against the rehabilitation of mean people? You would rather just see them executed instead? It's one of cinema's oldest storylines, and one of its most reliable because it shows that we as a people can rise to be better and can help others in wonderful ways.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 22, 2017, 10:40:06 AM
Executed makes it sound like I'm flipping the switch. He was hoist on his own petard initially. Then he became even meaner. I know the bible disagrees, but isn't there a too far to come back from?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on March 22, 2017, 01:29:24 PM
The character of Strange really annoyed me. I didn't want him dead, per se, but I was loathe to spend much time with him.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 22, 2017, 01:31:37 PM
I don't think so. Dr. Strange might have been an egomaniac, but he was broken in order to rebuild himself into a better version of himself. That's part of what I loved about the story.

Also the director/cowriter is a Christian so he definitely added some themes of redemption into the story.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on March 22, 2017, 01:32:38 PM
The character of Strange really annoyed me. I didn't want him dead, per se, but I was loathe to spend much time with him.

pixote

One of my biggest problems with the film. Strange was just unpleasant throughout. And it's really odd because Marvel pulled off a nearly identical character transformation perfectly with Tony Stark.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on March 22, 2017, 01:33:17 PM
And it's really odd because Marvel pulled off a nearly identical character transformation perfectly with Tony Stark.

Great comparison.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 22, 2017, 01:36:49 PM
I suppose I'm just not an anti-hero person generally. It's why I've given a pass to a significant portion of the golden age of television.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 22, 2017, 01:40:24 PM
I identify more with people who are abrasive.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on March 22, 2017, 11:25:38 PM
Stay tuned for SANDPAPER MAN! Don't rub him the wrong way.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Junior on March 22, 2017, 11:34:21 PM
Played by Thomas Haden Church, right?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 23, 2017, 12:53:39 AM
The Riot Club (2014)

Looking at the review blurbs on this film reveals reviews that seemed to have missed the point completely, saying it "doesn’t succeed in making transgression look cathartically appealing." Which, I mean, is true, the film doesn't succeed at that, but on the other hand it wasn't trying. On the other hand, some reviews seem to have found its attack on the British aristocracy in the form of Cambridge freshmen in a secret society to be heavy-handed. For my money that is proof the film hits the tone just right.

Early one the film is a bit more gentle. I could see the characters winning some people over a little with their hedonistic youthful endeavors (see Logan in Gilmore Girls for similar aesthetic). I am of course immune the the charm of this kind of fraternal behavior because I know how these stories usually end. The bulk of the film is their big annual dinner, which because of past issues sends them out into the sticks for a pub that can cater to them...which obviously sets up a culture clash with their posh boarding school upbringing.

The thing that really caught my attention and alerted me that this (directed by Lone Scherfig of An Education and based on a play from Laura Wade) was not going to be your standard tale of enviable rascals was the resistance of the female characters, and then seeing the reaction from the club. Suddenly it became very pointed in how it was able to reflect the shallow victimization spouted not just by this particular brand of British elite but the "alt-right" in America that has become powerful under Trump. This film is a metaphorical equivalent of watching Richard Spencer get punched in the face. And I'm a big fan of metaphorically punching Nazis in the face, even if I'm not convinced it's a good literal policy.

A-
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on March 23, 2017, 02:00:31 AM
Stay tuned for SANDPAPER MAN! Don't rub him the wrong way.

that is enough to make me want to watch:)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 23, 2017, 06:58:17 AM
Took me over a year after Eraserhead to bring myself to try another Lynch...

Mulholland Dr.
David Lynch (2001)


There is a difference between an inscrutable film and one that is simply inaccessible. Movies can be complicated and labyrinthine and still operate on some logical level, however convoluted. Their language may be alien and odd-sounding but that doesn't mean it there is not underlying grammar. It might take you tiresome hours to put all the pieces of the puzzle back together, but in the end they do all fit into each other, even if the picture they form is abstract and unfamiliar.

Inscrutable films have no real logic, no grammar and their pieces do not fit together. They offer no key to break through their code. It is not that their meanings and goings on are open and ambiguous. A movie can be open to interpretation while suggesting ways of understanding them. The Seventh Seal operates utterly on metaphoric and symbolic levels so that its meaning is never immediate plain, but those same metaphors and symbols are what allows us to create theories about what is says. The theories will disagree, but they will always be substantiated by elements of the film. Inscrutable films, however, point in no way or other.

Roger Ebert postulates that the totality of Mulholland Drive is a dream. He gives no justification, no proof of that though, because there is none. I am not bothered by the fact that I cannot solve Lynch's movies. I am fine with there not being an ultimate answer to them. What I struggle with is the fact that I cannot even try to venture an explanation for them because any theory will inevitably rely on groundless assumptions and flimsy hypotheses.

It might have been easier to get into the movie's wavelength had it managed its crypticism otherwise. The second half of the film is engaging and has some linearity. Despite the strangeness of the last act the whole thing is spellbinding enough that you remain completely in the movie. You're utterly lost and theories fly left and right in your head about what it all means, and you have no idea really, but the hypnotic quality of the sequence has you. The first half of the movie unfortunately was so shock-full of odd throwaway scenes that it left me with nothing to hold on to. A bizarre collage of disparate scenes of what the series could have been devolves into a story that function better as a movie. There is too little in the way of characters in the first half, too little to care about. It is even unclear who the protagonists are for a rather good while.

4/10

...and I'm out.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on March 23, 2017, 07:27:46 AM
I HATE HATE HATE Eraserhead, but I also kinda like Mulholland Dr.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 23, 2017, 07:31:39 AM
Is it because it creeps you out - the former I mean ?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 23, 2017, 07:36:15 AM
Logan
James Mangold (2017)


And here we have the future of the Fox franchise of X-Men movies. After a good number of disastrous attempts at finding its flavour, its unique formula, the studio seems to have finally squared in on its niche. With Deadpool as an initiator, Logan ushers in the age of the R-rated superhero movie. It is not going to make nearly as much money as Deadpool but that is going to be offset by its lower budget and the fact that all things considered, that is still a financial step in the right direction for Fox.

Thus we get the Wolverine we deserved and in all probability, a whole bunch of them in the future. Finally, we get to see him sic legions of adversaries in proper gory fashion and speak as the Wolverine should, with the appropriate amount of profanity. It always bothered me that a character who clawed his way through his enemies  had been restraining from using children-unfriendly language and somehow so far and managed to bloodlessly stab everyone somehow. Not making a mess was his ultimate mutant power. Logan is gleefully awash in blood and all sorts of wonderful violence, sometimes perpetrated by a decapitation-prone child, which only makes things better.

The bleak futurescape of Mangold's seems to me like Fox's way of giving Xavier and Logan a real send-off. The movie is a buddy road movie almost as much as an action flick. The tone is unusually dark for a superhero story that doesn't have Zack Snyder's name attached to it. Mutants are a dying breed and Xavier is responsible for the destruction of the X-Men. This is probably not the future of the main X-Men timeline of McAvoy and co. but it still makes for an off-putting prospect. In any instance, it gives Xavier the best character arc he has had so far and Logan his second best as he must care for Laura.

The writing of the relationships is seconded by the humor of the script, which finds its own, personal tone, that fits the movie better than something on a more Deapoolish level. It's good that the screenplay can rely on those two pillars because the plot is not exactly the tightest, best thought through succession of events one might wish for. It was obvious from the first that that nice family would be slaughtered, all our heroes' fault, and that leaving the nurse alone with people on her tracks was a poor strategic choice. If you have not built sympathy for Logan by then, I can imagine it not working for you.

The changes they made to her comic book origins are odd because I cannot see what motivated them. Making her a child rather than a teenager is probably an empathy thing that is meant to change the surrogate daughter-father dynamic. What is accomplished by turning the cloning-responsible doctor into a nurse though, or by slightly changing the point of the laboratory? I suppose that makes the nurse more likeable.

The peripheral characters are the great issue of the movie. Caliban is disposed of, by his friends and the movie, with too much ease off-handedness. His sacrifice strikes a wrong note because his friends never so much as gave him another second's thought. The villains, as has become a sure bet in these movies, are bland non-characters and X-24 is a cheap way to increase the threat level. The scientist was the only one with potential but his backstory is not something that is explored or exploited, it's just there to give him a couple extra lines and make him look cooler. Finally, the clones are more a ragtag group of generic child types rather than actual people, and are only power-competent when the pacing of the action requires it, which is odd because they were trained by the same people who created killing-machine-Laura.

8/10

This year is off to a great start, superhero wise. Now off to Guardians 2.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on March 23, 2017, 07:45:44 AM
Is it because it creeps you out - the former I mean ?

Too weird for my tastes. My review. (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7069.msg380502#msg380502)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 23, 2017, 08:17:53 AM
Yeah, I'm with you, although my problems were less logic and plot related than the sheer irk factor of most of that imagery. That baby...Brrr...
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 23, 2017, 09:27:00 AM
Took me over a year after Eraserhead to bring myself to try another Lynch...
Congratulations, you've now sat grumpily through two of his most difficult and inaccessible works. The problem with cherry-picking Lynch is there are easier films (Blue Velvet, The Straight Story) which act as a key to unlocking these more difficult films. For many, the series Twin Peaks is the great bridge connecting cinematic reality with the cool, weird stuff in Lynch's brain that's actually very enjoyable to play with (in a jigsaw puzzle way) once you're sure there's a reward/solution to it. For those who crave something even more difficult, the two you watched lead to the more difficult enigmas of Lost Highway and Inland Empire.


There is a difference between an inscrutable film and one that is simply inaccessible. Movies can be complicated and labyrinthine and still operate on some logical level, however convoluted. Their language may be alien and odd-sounding but that doesn't mean it there is not underlying grammar. It might take you tiresome hours to put all the pieces of the puzzle back together, but in the end they do all fit into each other, even if the picture they form is abstract and unfamiliar.
Mulholland Drive is often the most frustrating Lynch because for a lengthy middle section it seems to make sense. People have the flimsiest connection because this started as a TV show, but you can follow the story of the two women fairly well until they get to Club Silencio. Then, the inaccessibility makes what came before seem like lynch was pulling a con, and you bought into it.

Ebert is wrong. There is a very early scene where we see the camera go into a pillow. That's where the film enters the dream. When the guy comes in to tell Naomi Watts to wake up, that is where the dream ends. What tricks so many is that the dream is the part that makes more sense than Naomi Watts walking life, suggesting she's in a living nightmare. It's only the odd little fringe bits that tip off the middle's dream: the elderly couple in the car with big smiles on their faces, the cowboy. This is a theory that is grounded and not flimsy.

I first exited Mulholland Drive with my friends and we were angry. We went to a restaurant and kept talking about it. The next day we started realizing what was happening and it was like lightbulbs turning on. Within the next two weeks we all went back and watched it again. Suddenly, the film made perfect sense and it became one of our favorite movies of all time. (#118 on my Essentials)

Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on March 23, 2017, 09:57:21 AM
There is a difference between an inscrutable film and one that is simply inaccessible. Movies can be complicated and labyrinthine and still operate on some logical level, however convoluted. Their language may be alien and odd-sounding but that doesn't mean it there is not underlying grammar. It might take you tiresome hours to put all the pieces of the puzzle back together, but in the end they do all fit into each other, even if the picture they form is abstract and unfamiliar.

So have you put in the "tiresome hours" for Mulholland Drive? Or try some Googling? Because the pieces do fit together. It makes more and more sense on repeated viewings. It's difficult because the movie presents the dream version of the truth first (and spends significantly more time there than in reality), but the only part of Mulholland Drive that isn't completely logical is the last few minutes (where perhaps dream invades reality, but it's very open to interpretation). The rest of it is decipherable, and extremely clever and elegant in the way it expresses the psychological connections between dream and reality. The "odd throwaway scenes" each have a purpose. And it's all pretty clear once you grasp it... it requires no "Room 237"-style distortions, assumptions or leaps to make it fit some cockamamie theory.

DH, I have little hope that you would bother to watch it again, but if you do just keep an eye out for pillows. And keys. Or like I said, just Google "Mulholland Drive explained". You should find plenty of links, and I think you'll find most of them agree on what's happening in the film.

On the other hand, I doubt you would enjoy the movie anyway. It doesn't seem like your kind of movie.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 23, 2017, 10:55:01 AM
I should rewatch this. I think I thought there were lots of great moments but didn't think the film itself was great.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on March 23, 2017, 12:45:21 PM
Guess what, DarkeningHumour! We had similar experiences with the same movie! I knew it could happen. ;)

I think the dissecting of Mulholland Drive is interesting, but I didn't appreciate the answers enough to forgive the director for gleefully leaving me in the dark. Instead of trying to go back into that infuriating head space, here was my attempt at a review.

https://letterboxd.com/sandy/film/mulholland-drive/
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on March 23, 2017, 01:41:20 PM
Took me over a year after Eraserhead to bring myself to try another Lynch...

Mulholland Dr.
David Lynch (2001)


...and I'm out.

Are those the only two you have watched?  I am not a big Lynch fan (I like the idea more then the end product) but you should at least watch Blue Velvet.  While it has his style and strangeness, it is a straight forward story without any trouble trying to put the puzzle together.  You can love or hate it but I don't think you could walk away the feeling that you had no idea what just happened or what you were suppose to make of it.

But don't watch Lost Highways, I took my parents to it back in the 90's. It was mostly a stunned silence afterwards, all I recall is my mum thinking she sat through a porno film.  I can't actually remember if there was a lot of sex though. 
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: StudentOFilm on March 23, 2017, 01:50:38 PM
I feel like Lynch is undervalued for the range he shows in his filmography.

Also, and maybe this is for the unpopular opinion thread- I think Inland Empire is his most challengeing work. Mulholland Drive and Eraserhead look like The Straight Story in comparison. It's been forever since I've seen it, but I'm still not sure what I watched... something about an actress doing something. There were rabbits...

I do like to revisit his movies.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on March 23, 2017, 01:50:44 PM
Hmm, I loved Mulholland Dr, but I never had any desire to understand it. Likewise, after a beautiful day of surfing, I don't go home and Google "why are ocean waves majestic" ... :)

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 23, 2017, 02:21:53 PM
But mustn't love require understanding to a certain degree?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on March 23, 2017, 02:32:49 PM
But mustn't love require understanding to a certain degree?

I don't think so. I think the things we truly love, we love beyond our understanding. That's what my dog tells me, anyway.

I file Mulholland Dr in the same drawer as "If you have to explain a joke, it's probably not funny."

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 23, 2017, 03:15:01 PM
Ocean waves are majestic because each one of their drops is shaped in the form of Poseidon looking into the horizon, hair flowing behind him, display his shredded abs and looking fabulous. There you go, now you can appreciate the beach like it is meant to be.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 23, 2017, 03:16:09 PM
jdc wants me to watch Blue Velvet, 1SO says it's an easier movie; maybe in a year...
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 23, 2017, 03:20:09 PM
I like that attitude. Never give up. Plenty of terrible directors with a great film under them, and Lynch is not a terrible director.

When I was in my 20s I thought John Ford was a terrible director.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on March 23, 2017, 03:20:26 PM
Blue Velvet is in no way tough to follow. It has weird things in it, but I was surprised by how conventional it was, given Lynch's reputation, Dune being the only other one I've seen. It's also Very Good.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 23, 2017, 03:22:34 PM
I like that attitude. Never give up. Plenty of terrible directors with a great film under them, and Lynch is not a terrible director.

When I was in my 20s I thought John Ford was a terrible director.

Yeah, but I don't have your willingness to sit through hours and hours of mediocrity to find the rare gems. Not that I am calling Lynch mediocre, he's just not my thing. Today I am watching Raging Bull; that should go better.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Jeff Schroeck on March 23, 2017, 03:27:59 PM
I like that attitude. Never give up. Plenty of terrible directors with a great film under them, and Lynch is not a terrible director.

I want to keep trying John Cassavetes and Nicolas Roeg films for this reason. I haven't liked any I've seen but I feel like there HAS to be at least one each for me.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: slowpogo on March 23, 2017, 04:10:13 PM

I want to keep trying John Cassavetes and Nicolas Roeg films for this reason. I haven't liked any I've seen but I feel like there HAS to be at least one each for me.

have you seen Don't Look Now? One of my all-time favorite supernatural thrillers.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Jeff Schroeck on March 23, 2017, 04:18:48 PM

I want to keep trying John Cassavetes and Nicolas Roeg films for this reason. I haven't liked any I've seen but I feel like there HAS to be at least one each for me.

have you seen Don't Look Now? One of my all-time favorite supernatural thrillers.

No. Just Man Who Fell To Earth, which I hated, and Walkabout, which I loved up until the kids are on their own. I'd like to try Don't Look Now next, and then maybe Performance.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 23, 2017, 04:19:39 PM
When I was in my 20s I thought John Ford was a terrible director.
Same. Also hate 3 of LvTs films but Breaking the Waves is wonderful.

Honestly, the only director I've banned is Michael Bay, just because. :P
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on March 23, 2017, 04:34:50 PM
I like that attitude. Never give up. Plenty of terrible directors with a great film under them, and Lynch is not a terrible director.

When I was in my 20s I thought John Ford was a terrible director.

Yeah, but I don't have your willingness to sit through hours and hours of mediocrity to find the rare gems. Not that I am calling Lynch mediocre, he's just not my thing. Today I am watching Raging Bull; that should go better.

We are saving you those hours and pointing directly to Blue Velvet.  You will certainly understand everything that is going on and you will certainly find things that will be remembered as great moments. Even in the end if you don't like it, you won't regret watching it.  I'll bet a beer on it
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 23, 2017, 04:43:32 PM
Well, if there's a beer to be won...
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on March 23, 2017, 04:53:31 PM
My ranking of Lynch features, from most straightforward to least:

The Straight Story (what an apt title!)
The Elephant Man
Blue Velvet
Dune
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Wild at Heart
Mulholland Drive
Lost Highway
Eraserhead
Inland Empire

You should see the top 3. Each is very different, has plenty to recommend it, and has a completely linear, grounded in reality narrative.

Everything below those 3 is probably not your cup of tea.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: slowpogo on March 23, 2017, 05:10:43 PM
Blue Velvet is in no way tough to follow. It has weird things in it, but I was surprised by how conventional it was, given Lynch's reputation, Dune being the only other one I've seen. It's also Very Good.

Hm, Blue Velvet may be conventional in its setup -- a sort of boy detective coming-of-age story. But it takes that conventional premise then throws it down, rolls it around in the dirt and the muck, then skins it alive.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on March 23, 2017, 05:12:23 PM
Sholay (Ramesh Sippy, 1975)

My first foray into Bollywood, and boy oh boy is it something. Whatever you think of it, there is just a lot of cinema in there. Obviously it's 3 hours long, but still, in that time Leone can only give you a spaghetti western : this gives you that (it might as well be called The Magnificent Three), plus romance, comedy, an extended Great Dictator/Great Escape cross-over bit, and several 5+ minutes long musical numbers of course.

It's uneven as hell, with the acting all over the place and especially the tones : it's a little hard to go from a reasonably exciting opening featuring a cop and his two captors defending a train from bandits to the bandits in question singing a song about how great friends they are while goofing around on a sidecar. And when I say goofing around, I mean goofing around as if they were two 9-year old kids in the middle of a sugar rush. It's... fun, but also makes it somewhat hard to take them seriously as badasses that routinely face overwhelming numbers and come out unscathed. It probably helps that their opponents suffer from a very bad case of Stormtrooper Syndrome : not only are they rather poor at aiming, they frequently seem to forget that they own weapons, and even use those weapons as clubs rather than firing them during the final climax. The action overall is often silly... except when it's phenomenally cool, and then there are those precious instances where it's both : let's just say that seeing an old armless man beat up a terrifyingly cruel baddie is pretty fun.

Fun really is the operative word here : that's also how I'd describe the shameless cribbing of Leone's masterpieces here, or Hema Malini's performance as Basanti, a character I initially though would only have one scene, but turns out to be the female lead, even joining in on the ass-kicking towards the end. The musical numbers - aside from that first one which really doesn't work - are also fun... even when they get interrupted by sudden explosions. Twice ! Now that is a tonal shift I can get behind.

Again, there's a lot that doesn't really work, but it's a good time, and I was pretty invested in the main relationships by the end. It might not always make sense, but it generally works on an emotional level.

7/10

Blue Velvet is in no way tough to follow. It has weird things in it, but I was surprised by how conventional it was, given Lynch's reputation, Dune being the only other one I've seen. It's also Very Good.

Hm, Blue Velvet may be conventional in its setup -- a sort of boy detective coming-of-age story. But it takes that conventional premise then throws it down, rolls it around in the dirt and the muck, then skins it alive.

See, I feel that's way hyperbolic. It's weird, but it's not "skins premises alive" weird.

@Martin : Where would Twin Peaks (the TV show) rank on that scale ? Presumably near the movie ?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on March 23, 2017, 05:13:25 PM
Blue Velvet is in no way tough to follow. It has weird things in it, but I was surprised by how conventional it was, given Lynch's reputation, Dune being the only other one I've seen. It's also Very Good.

Hm, Blue Velvet may be conventional in its setup -- a sort of boy detective coming-of-age story. But it takes that conventional premise then throws it down, rolls it around in the dirt and the muck, then skins it alive.

That is true but you will never be confused about what it happening in the dirt and muck and walk away thinking WTF just happened. 
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on March 23, 2017, 05:21:04 PM
@Martin : Where would Twin Peaks (the TV show) rank on that scale ? Presumably near the movie ?

It's tricky because MOST of the show is very straightforward. There are eccentric people doing eccentric things but for the most part the story is quite comprehensible. But then there's a few things that are way out there. I'd probably put it just above the movie.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on March 23, 2017, 06:09:40 PM
My ranking of Lynch features, from most straightforward to least:

The Straight Story (what an apt title!)
The Elephant Man
Blue Velvet
Dune
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Wild at Heart
Mulholland Drive
Lost Highway
Eraserhead
Inland Empire

You should see the top 3. Each is very different, has plenty to recommend it, and has a completely linear, grounded in reality narrative.

Everything below those 3 is probably not your cup of tea.

This is the best advise for you, DH, in regards to Lynch.  I was going to recommend Elephant Man because it's my favorite of Lynch and without the mystifying bits he often throws in, but Martin's already done that.

Mulholland Dr. didn't upset me after I first saw it, but it completely mystified and confused me.  I took to the webs to see if there were answers, and those years ago I didn't find much, just a suggestion that about half the film was a dream.  This year, I decided to watch it again, because the cinematic quality of the film draws me.  This viewing really clicked for me, it all came together.  Not that I understood everything Lynch was doing there, but the basic plot, the basic themes and the cinematic tricks that Lynch was using to bring the threads together.  It's as if he were attempting to create a new narrative style.  And that works for some people, but not for others.

After watching the film, I wrote my observations and new understanding of the film down here (http://bloggingmoviesrus.blogspot.com/2017/02/mulholland-drive-deadly-desire.html).  And then I found a video that took all my observations and more and displayed them with clips from the film (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfQE0SOGG-g&t=17s#no).  I'm not suggesting you read/watch these analyses, I doubt that would make your enjoyment of the film increase. 

But I do think that Martin's suggestion of watching Lynch's more scrutable films would be a good experience for you.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on March 23, 2017, 06:16:56 PM
I don't remember Lost Highway being confusing, certainly not as much as Mulholland Dr. Maybe I should watch it again. Inland Empire is definitely an obtuse 3 hour long collection of Lynchian tropes that DarkeningHumour shouldn't bother with, though.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: 1SO on March 23, 2017, 08:10:55 PM
Teproc, my detailed review of Sholay may amuse you.

http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12207.msg734025#msg734025

Seems we saw the same film, but you were much more forgiving. It set back my Bollywood education quite a bit. Took roujin to show me some good films.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: roujin on March 23, 2017, 08:15:28 PM
I like Sholay and think the "Yeh Dosti" number is an axiom of cinema. But, yes, keep trying.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: slowpogo on March 23, 2017, 08:45:01 PM
That is true but you will never be confused about what it happening in the dirt and muck and walk away thinking WTF just happened.

I suppose on the most basic plot level, no. But it still has its share of Lynchian WTF moments that don't really need to be there and lend it a surreal quality. The Sandman scene. The whore climbing on top of the car and dancing. Lots of Frank Booth's scenes, etc.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: mañana on March 23, 2017, 10:03:12 PM
Hmm, I loved Mulholland Dr, but I never had any desire to understand it. Likewise, after a beautiful day of surfing, I don't go home and Google "why are ocean waves majestic" ... :)

pixote
Too tired to find the words and formulate sentences, pleased to see you already did it for me.  :)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on March 23, 2017, 11:44:24 PM
I don't remember Lost Highway being confusing, certainly not as much as Mulholland Dr. Maybe I should watch it again.

It's the one I remember the least about, but I thought it had a lot of dream logic in it? I could be mistaken.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: mañana on March 23, 2017, 11:48:40 PM
By Lynch standards, LH is actually kind of straightforward. In a way. Sort of.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 23, 2017, 11:52:14 PM
Teproc,

Ignore 1SO. This is the thread (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=8180.0) you are looking for.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: PeacefulAnarchy on March 24, 2017, 01:03:50 AM
I don't remember Lost Highway being confusing, certainly not as much as Mulholland Dr. Maybe I should watch it again.

It's the one I remember the least about, but I thought it had a lot of dream logic in it? I could be mistaken.
I don't remember it that well, either. It's clearly Lynchian with strangeness and some dream logic, but I remember it making narrative sense on the same level as Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart, where you may not understand everything but you're also not really grasping for a sense of the boundary of reality like Mulholland drive.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on March 24, 2017, 01:05:15 AM
Rogue One - 7/10
It annoys me to no end that we can't just go FORWARD in the Star Wars timeline. Next we're going to get a movie about Han Solo in diapers or something? Who. Gives. A. Crap. Han is dead! His legacy is already marred by the unrecognizable performance in The Force Awakens, now we've got to see him when he was young and annoying? Can't I just remember him for his Johnny-come-lately heroics at the Battle of Yavin? Can't I remember him at his best? I know, maybe at some point they can do a needless flashback to a CG Han deciding to join the fight after all, and then they'll have well and truly ruined the character in every conceivable way.

So, as annoying as the existence of this film is, it's pretty good. It made me weepy in spite of myself. But I was a little disappointed that I didn't enjoy the periphery characters more. The droid was far and away my favourite,  and I appreciated the monkish guy for his line when he gets blind-folded. Ben Mendelsohn was awesome casting. It makes me laugh how critical Jimmy Smits character is for a guy that just stands in the background.

The main battle was good. Ships ramming ships into other ships... what a cool moment. There are a lot of things I enjoyed.

Doctor Strange 6/10
This didn't end up winning me over, though I loved the ambition of telling such a big story. It made for some creative visuals. I wish the lore had captured my imagination more... it probably was very thoroughly thought through, but by the end I had lost the thread. 

The Duff 5/10
I had written this title down ages ago because the trailer looked funny. Unfortunately it was pretty weak on laughs imo, though once or twice out of nowhere it would get me. Edge of Seventeen should be better than this. I hope so. Or maybe it's all there in the trailer too. :-\
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on March 24, 2017, 01:33:45 AM
Next we're going to get a movie about Han Solo in diapers or something? Who. Gives. A. Crap.

You know you gives a crap? Baby Han. That's why he has diapers.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Sandy on March 24, 2017, 01:45:21 AM
yuck-yuck! :D

(literally)
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: smirnoff on March 24, 2017, 01:54:12 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/nCS6XC7.jpg)
It's a crap!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 05:59:51 AM
Only on this forum would a Mulholland Drive post initiate a conversation longer than The Beauty and the Beast.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Bondo on March 24, 2017, 07:47:20 AM
Edge of Seventeen should be better than this. I hope so. Or maybe it's all there in the trailer too. :-\

Edge of Seventeen is pretty significantly better than The DUFF.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 08:20:26 AM
The FS Pantheon catch-up continues.

Raging Bull
Martin Scorsese (1980)


There are a lot of reasons one might not understand a movie. They usually have to do with complicated plots or an inaccessible style or symbolism. It is rarer that I should find myself in a position of not understanding a movie because I cannot hear a thing the characters are saying. Even after pushing the volume level on my television beyond anything I ever had to use before with other movies, I still could not make out what words were coming of the characters' mouths a lot of the time. Halfway through the movie I had to pause and Google the synopsis to catch up. Turns out Vicky was fifteen when she met La Motta and all those Italian guys were mobsters. That makes the story 500% more creepy. I really wish I could have put subtitles on because the second half was more of the same in that aspect. It was not just a matter of volume but of sound design and how the characters were enunciating or not, how they would whisper...

Apart from my not understanding half of the things going on, the story is about boxing and a jealous maniac who beats his wives when he's not molesting children. I cared about none of it. There are some stunning visual moments, like when De Niro is in jail, and the fights are all striking; it just meant nothing to me.

6/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on March 24, 2017, 08:26:34 AM
Yeah, that's more or less where I am too. It sure looks good and it has some great acting, but I was rather underwhelmed by it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on March 24, 2017, 08:51:20 AM
I stopped it about half way through because it was so disturbing.  Perhaps that means it was effective, but I haven't finished it yet.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 09:07:49 AM
Disturbing in what way?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 09:44:57 AM
The Founder
John Lee Hancock (2016)


Innovation and ambition are two of the pillars of entrepreneurship. The story of McDonald's is that of an idea for a new kind of restaurant exploding into a world-spanning franchise. For that, two sets of men were necessary: the innovators and the pioneers. The first set were able to invent a new, better way to deliver food to their clients. The second was the first group of people capable of taking that concept and develop a formula to duplicate it everywhere. It took two kinds of men, each with their specific abilities, competences and shortcomings. The quality-minded mavericks who were too intransigent and the cold blooded entrepreneur who saw big. It's an amazing story about the best entrepreneurship, and arguably, capitalism, at its best. It could have been told better, much better even. This movie could have been 2017's The Social Network. It is not, but that doesn't make it bad.

7/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on March 24, 2017, 09:59:12 AM
Disturbing in what way?

The verbal abuse of women, which was going to escalate to physical.  Didn't want to go there.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 10:02:34 AM
I could barely hear the verbal part of that, so I suppose I was spared in a way.

There is not that much physical abuse though, most of it is off-camera as I understood it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: oldkid on March 24, 2017, 10:05:14 AM
I could barely hear the verbal part of that, so I suppose I was spared in a way.

There is not that much physical abuse though, most of it is off-camera as I understood it.

So I get to imagine it?  That's almost worse.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 10:10:43 AM
You're no fun...

I just realised Blue Velvet is the only movie on the FS website pantheon I haven't watched yet. I assume that list is not up to date since it excludes a number of movies from FS Madness, but there you go, I have an extra impetus to watch the thing.

Would wine help, do you think?
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on March 24, 2017, 10:15:23 AM
Would wine help, do you think?

Wine? CINECAST! that shit! PABST! BLUE! RIBBON!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 10:22:24 AM
Beer? Don't you work for a liquor-related government service? Surely you can do better than that.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on March 24, 2017, 10:28:10 AM
You're no fun...

I just realised Blue Velvet is the only movie on the FS website pantheon I haven't watched yet. I assume that list is not up to date since it excludes a number of movies from FS Madness, but there you go, I have an extra impetus to watch the thing.

Would wine help, do you think?

They've added a number of films to round out the bracket in addition to the Pantheon.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 10:29:09 AM
Yeah, but hadn't they added Pather Panchali ages ago already? I feel like they've not been updating that list for a while.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: MartinTeller on March 24, 2017, 10:36:07 AM
Yeah, but hadn't they added Pather Panchali ages ago already? I feel like they've not been updating that list for a while.

I think they JUST added Pather Panchali on last week's show.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Jeff Schroeck on March 24, 2017, 10:44:19 AM
Would wine help, do you think?

Wine? CINECAST! that shit! PABST! BLUE! RIBBON!

I was glad to see Blue Velvet and finally make sense of the reference in Green Day's cover of My Generation after 20ish years!
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 12:40:11 PM
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Dir: Jordan Vogt-Roberts


First off, for those of us with children right around the PG-13 age, be forewarned: this movie gets pretty intense. Due to some fantastic visual effects, a relentless (in a good way) score, and some superb editing, this movie from the moment the action hits the fan is pretty balls to the wall (again, in a good way). That being said, I was a little shocked at exactly how gory the film got, how much it showed of monsters devouring man (and other monsters) to the point where I was actually thinking, "Did I read the MPAA rating to this wrong?"

Now, that being said, everything that makes this film a parental warning also makes it an absolute cinematic ride. Unlike action/fantasy/thrillers which are a slow burn, this thing is a powder keg from the moment that Vogt-Roberts decideds to set it off.

Can second all this.

Logan (James Mangold, 2017

Confirms my ongoing theory that the more seriously a superhero film takes itself, the worse it is. In a sense it really put me in Logan's shoes, because I just kept waiting for it to end... Ok, it's not terrible, Patrick Stewart is very good and Jackman is always solid in this role, but really, it's just boringly grimdark. The violence is striking and makes me think the film would have worked had it gone full body horror on us, but nope. Also they really should have kept the young actress silent.

4/10

So you don't like The Dark Knight?

Logan (2017)

The themes of fatherhood and aging don’t excuse the sloppy storytelling and uninteresting characters. Add in action that has no stakes because Wolverine just healers or takes some special serum that accelerates the healing process. The more mature tone doesn’t make for a more mature story. Boobs and blood do not add gravitas and depth to your film. It’s as shallow and juvenile a superhero film as they come.

It's just not true that Wolverine's healing factor destroys any possibility of stakes. I mean, he dies from his wounds... He is able to withstand a lot of punishment, and that's a great way to have him cut through hordes of enemies without the movie going full on Stormtrooper syndrome and never allowing him to be hit. He gets hit, but he heals, but there are consequences nonetheless. He gets weaker and weaker as the movie goes further.

The movie is also not trying to be deep or sombre. Wolverine kills people and swears because he's the kind of person who's been surrounded by violence their whole life and that's what happens to you. The movie is not being sombre for the sake of it. It's saying that if your entire life's been fighting you're not going to retire in rainbow land surrounded by cheery unicorns.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: philip918 on March 24, 2017, 12:47:36 PM
Would wine help, do you think?

Wine? CINECAST! that shit! PABST! BLUE! RIBBON!

:) this made my morning
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Teproc on March 24, 2017, 01:14:08 PM
Logan (James Mangold, 2017

Confirms my ongoing theory that the more seriously a superhero film takes itself, the worse it is. In a sense it really put me in Logan's shoes, because I just kept waiting for it to end... Ok, it's not terrible, Patrick Stewart is very good and Jackman is always solid in this role, but really, it's just boringly grimdark. The violence is striking and makes me think the film would have worked had it gone full body horror on us, but nope. Also they really should have kept the young actress silent.

4/10

So you don't like The Dark Knight?

Like it, don't love it.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 01:18:31 PM
Kong: Skull Island
Jordan Vogt-Roberts (2017)


When Gareth Edwards' Godzilla was released in 2014 a lot of people, myself included, complained that the movie should have been renamed Mothra, because there was so little of Godzilla at all in the movie, especially compared to the other monsters. The same people usually also complained of how much time was spent with human characters who served no purpose and were, all things considered, fairly dumb creations.

Consider Kong to be the opposite of that. Vogt-Roberts is not coy about showing you his Kong. In fact, the giant beast appears in the first scenes of the movies. There's plenty of him throughout the movie, from the expected fight sequences, against men and monsters, to character scenes of Kong going about his life, having a snack or gazing at the night sky. 

The movie also handles its human characters better than Edwards did. They are real actors in the events of the movie in that their actions matter to the larger story. They're also moer interesting than the cast of what's their faces from Godzilla. Well, mostly. We get a better cast of characters but they are woefully underdeveloped. Few of them are more than just a job title: soldier, jaded tracker guy, daredevil war reporter, other soldier, jokey soldier, crackpot scientist proved right, crazy soldier...Some are utterly unnecessary, like the obligatory Chinese inclusion, and almost all waste their actor's talent away with inadequate writing. Kong has one of the best casts of the year and yet, among the likes of Hiddleston, Larson and Jackson, it is John C. Riley who gets to chew the scenery and gets the MVP prize.

The poor dialogue somewhat made up for by brisk pacing and better plot-writing. The movie opens with a few scenes that effectively present the key characters and then it is an action packed thrill ride. The adrenaline highs are disseminated through the story to keep it going and your nerves on alert. Between the flying bullets Vogt-Roberts finds the time to include a number of jumps scares and body gore scenes - don't ask me how a 12-feet anything can jump scare you, you don't want to know.

If you are the type of person who likes to know what things mean, there are also a few comments on war and human nature for you to chew on.

Edwards' Rogue One convinced me he was one of the best visual stylists of gigantism we have today. There are shots in the movie, like the first reveal of the Death Star, that are unlike anything we have previously seen in Star Wars, and otherwise see very little of. Vogt-Roberts shows a similar ability in handling giant monsters and his visual flair is one of the most distinctive aspects of the film. He navigates perspective expertly in his fight scenes, alternating between radically different sizes of shots as Kong. In one scene Kong and a monster of same size fight and they look like normal sized animals as the camera pans away from them. The island's mountains become mounds. To that you can add spectacular shots, like the night sky or a shot of the sun that reminded me of Apocalypse Now. There is also a marvellous visual gag featuring a Richard Nixon bobble-head.

If this movie were better written it would be excellent.

7/10
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: pixote on March 24, 2017, 01:23:40 PM
If this movie were better written it would be excellent.

That's my review of every movie not in my Top 100.

Does Sam Jackson add to the movie or detract from it? His presence in the trailer seemed like off-putting self-caricature to me.

pixote
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 01:35:06 PM
His character has more personality than most. I am not sure about his performance. He nails the competence of the colonel. I think I mostly liked how he played that character's, well, not arc, but the things he does.

If this movie were better written it would be excellent.

That's my review of every movie not in my Top 100.

pixote

I meant, specifically regarding the things I talked about. Otherwise, yeah, I would like every other movie to be better written. Even if you didn't change the plot a bit, with good dialogue this would be great.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: jdc on March 24, 2017, 02:11:01 PM
Would wine help, do you think?

Wine? CINECAST! that shit! PABST! BLUE! RIBBON!

I lost
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: Corndog on March 24, 2017, 02:31:04 PM
(http://i66.tinypic.com/i52ihj.jpg)
Power Rangers (Dean Israelite, 2017)

Growing up I loved the show Power Rangers. I am this movies demographic, to be certain. But what I often find when facing films such as Power Rangers is that the quality of the film is really in the eye of the beholder. This is a film that, for some, will be a heck of a nostalgic ride, and for others a relatively cliche ridden, eye-rolling cheesy bore. The television show has been airing, in one iteration or another, for a very long time, so this film also has its target audience in youngsters who still watch the show, but I am fairly confident after having seen the film that Power Rangers will have a wide range of reception. Some critics will definitely rag on this film, while others, perhaps not unlike myself, will embrace the film for the fun camp being had. Whichever camp you're in, I'm fairly confident that you'll know whether this film is for you or not by the time you've finished my review. So be warned (or appropriately excited!).

This is a film which can certainly draw comparisons to other films, like Transformers or even The Breakfact Club. The Breakfact Club connection runs only deep enough to say that a group of kids find themselves in detention on Saturdays for various reasons. Once fallen star quarterback Jason (Dacre Montgomery, a spitting image of Zac Efron) makes friends with the room's dork Billy (RJ Cyler), he plays along enough to follow Billy to the local gold mine where the two, along with other social outcasts who hang around the quarry (Ludi Lin, Becky G. and Naomi Scott), uncover mysterious stones and a spaceship, which give them superhuman strength and the ominous and unbelievable mission of protecting a mysterious crystal from known intergalactic sociopath Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) who hopes to obtain it for world domination.

I mean look, right from the opening scene you'll probably know whether you're on board with this film or not, whether this is the type of camp nostalgia which will work for you or not. Perhaps my bias kicked in early, but I threw caution to the wind and decided to let the journey take me where it may, and what ended up happening was I enjoyed the movie perhaps way more than I should have. I'll admit it, there are elements here which are cringe-worthy. The characters are crafted pretty broadly and are otherwise pretty shallow. A group of stereotypes and tropes we've seen countless times before. But you know what, this group, these actors, are having a ton of fun and the direction of Dean Israelite really helps add a sense that this film is not taking itself too seriously, something it could have easily fallen into given other more grim and gritty adaptations in recent years.

The film also suffers from its expected climax action scene, which falls somewhat flat, and pretty bad, nauseating cinematography throughout, but I had way too much fun with these teenagers as they came together, discovered their powers and struggled to become superheroes. It's a cheesy, over-the-top, schlocky film, but it knows it is and embraces these elements. So did I, this is Power Rangers, afterall. So having said that, it should be no surprise that the themes of the film are such things as friendship, teamwork and self-sacrifice. But we mustn't forget this is a film for young adults and teenagers, these are strong themes for that demographic. And even if they may be a bit too contrived for the older audience, they apply to any age group. But what makes it work is that they are handled well here, if not subtly. Again, if you were coming to Power Rangers for subtlety, you came to the wrong movie.

Power Rangers is not a great movie. It's not a movie which will be soon remembered by a number of its audience, but it is plenty of fun for the moment. I can't help but feel like I've spent this whole review recognizing the film's faults and defending them. I have. But what is great about this film is the ensemble's chemistry, how much fun Elizabeth Banks is having in what is obviously a ridiculous role, how much charisma RJ Cyler has coming off a breakout performance in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. There is just enough meat on the bones of each of these characters, as stock as they may be, to root for them, to become vested in both their friendship and the Rangers' success. I'll happily stand here and defend how much fun can be had in a movie like Power Rangers, while also acknowledging that it probably isn't for everyone.

*** - Good
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 24, 2017, 02:31:50 PM
Power Rangers (Dean Israelite, 2017)

*** - Good

I was looking for motivation for this. Now I've got it. Thanks.
Title: Re: Respond to the last movie