Author Topic: Respond to the last movie you watched  (Read 30713 times)

Bondo

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2010 on: February 12, 2018, 09:45:39 PM »
The Greatest Showman (2017)

I'm going to qualify this review by saying I'm sure this film sanitizes P.T. Barnum so much, certainly in the impact of the circus on animals, but also the "oddities" he promoted. But if the film goes soft on Barnum it is only to make him less of the story and the circus family more of the story. Watching this film is one of the early beneficiaries of my MoviePass membership, a film that got rather sniffy reviews, not least of which from Mark Kermode, that might have made me consider it a rental at best. But making it a free venture at a nearby theatre with recliner seats makes the fact that it became a word-of-mouth sensation enough to go by.

Most essential when talking musicals, this really does have a handful of bangers, especially the Oscar-nominated This Is Me, sung by Keala Settle, who outshines the likes of Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya as my favorite supporting role here. And oh my the dancing. Really top quality choreography, assisted by the fact that Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron are two of the most notable triple-threats in the business right now, and pure charisma factories. So it has the classical requirements down.

Equally gratifying is the film's social message, struggling with class bias, how the discrimination hurts, yes, but also how the chip on the shoulder that facing the brunt of it can become self-defeating in ways. Ultimately, it is another example of a film centering on a warm community. Here it is the sideshow acts, but it could just as easily be the queer and alternative types of roller derby and such other communities. As they say, let your freak flag fly. With a shared creative input from La La Land's unfortunate Best Song win last year, I would say with authority I would rather watch this again than La La Land's stuffy nostalgia.

B+

Corndog

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2011 on: February 13, 2018, 09:44:48 AM »
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018)

If you could have anyone direct your favorite property (Star Wars, Marvel, DC, James Bond, etc), who would it be? Star Wars hit gold, in my book, with Rian Johnson helming The Last Jedi, and Marvel has made some very sound decisions for the director's chair recently (Taika Waititi anyone?). However, I would be hard pressed to find a better pairing of property and director than Black Panther and Ryan Coogler, whose two previous films (Fruivale Station and Creed) suggest a long and promising career as a premier filmmaker. His sensibilities as a filmmaker pair so seemlessly with the Black Panther character and what Marvel seems to want to be doing with its franchise, which recently is hand its material over to capable, visionary directors who can play their game, but also enhance the material given to them. Coogler knocks this one out of the park.

We were first introduced to T'Challa, or Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) in Captain America: Civil War where his father, the king of Wakanda, is killed. However with this film, his story stands alone and you need not have seen any of the other Marvel films. After his father's death, T'Challa assumes the role as king of Wakanda, an African nation thought by the world to be a third-world nation. But in reality, Wakanda is rich in a special element called vibranium, which helps fuel their energy, technology, and the powers of the Black Panther. Their secret is in jeopardy, however, when long time nemesis Klaue (Andy Serkis), who stole vibranium from them before, shows up on the radar once again, this time with a young, violent sidekick named Erik (Michael B. Jordan), who would like nothing more than to take Wakanda down.

Black Panther is the type of film I could find the time to talk about at length, and yet I want to see it time and time again because after just one viewing I can't help but feel that I've missed this or that, or simply because it's such a cool, fun rush of a movie that I want to experience it over and over again. Likely more the latter than the former, but there is plenty to unpack in this film as well, which is likely one of Marvel's very best they've ever produced. Getting Ryan Coogler teamed with this absolutely perfect, amazing cast goes a long way in forming the movie into what it is, which is a strong action movie with an incredibly socially conscious and entertaining script. Everything down from the villains to the heroes and everything in between just works in this film.

I think the greatest achievement in this film is how it embraces itself. That may seem self-serving, but what I mean is that it embraces who Black Panther is and what he means to black culture. A comic book character may not mean much, but Coogler and company, building off the character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, are able infuse T'Challa and the story here with tradition, culture, and various viewpoints on the African-American condition and how to address them. There has already been backlash against this movie for it's socially conscious narrative touches, and what a shame that is. These touches are not intrusive to the story being told, but any socially aware viewer will be able to pick up on them. That Coogler is able to artfully craft these discussion points into an otherwise rocking action movie is impressive and catapults this film up the list of great Marvel achievements.

And this is a great action movie, complete with awesome fight scenes (the Challenge fights are intense, and the casino fight is wonderfully filmed), and an awesome array of weapons and gadgets courtesy of the wonders of vibranium. And I still can't believe the cast. Boseman is good as T'Challa, Jordan shines as Erik, Nyong'o, Kaluuya, Gurira, Wright, Basset and Whitaker all have their great moments as well. Each character serves a purpose and has their own motivation, their own role, their own perspective. Even Andy Serkis appears to be the perfect off-kilter villain. Why has he been relegated to only playing the motion-capture roles!? I would be honestly shocked if this movie doesn't stand the test of time and become a classic Marvel film, remembered for its audacity, and cultural strength and commentary, but most of all for its impeccable filmmaking. I wish I could already buy tickets for Ryan Coogler's next movie.

★★★ 1/2 - Great
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

smirnoff

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2012 on: February 13, 2018, 12:42:01 PM »
Those are really big goosebumps.

Corndog

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2013 on: February 13, 2018, 12:43:15 PM »
Those are really big goosebumps.

Ha! Not goosebumps.
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pixote

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2014 on: February 13, 2018, 12:43:55 PM »
Dammit, Corndog, I swore I'd stop seeing Marvel movies, and the trailer for Black Panther looked especially awful. Can I just assume you're a studio plant? Cool.

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

smirnoff

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2015 on: February 13, 2018, 12:44:08 PM »

philip918

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2016 on: February 13, 2018, 04:41:05 PM »
BPM (2017)

What a heartbreaker. The performances are incredibly lived-in and so natural. The relationship at the center of the film is deeply realized. There's just scene after scene of powerful moments - a moment of passion in a hospital room being a standout - and then an ending scene that had me in tears for its full twenty minutes. The film is never melodramatic, instead it mines the minutiae of the protests, the organizing, the relationships, and health issues to find a deep, emotional core. Glad it earned a Filmspot nomination. My ballot would have been full of nominations if I had gotten to it sooner.

Good Time (2017)

I watched the first 40 minutes propelled by the film's nonstop storytelling style, but I couldn't stand the characters - though Pattinson is good and shows a range and naturalism I haven't seen from him before. I skimmed through the rest and couldn't have cared less for the story it was telling.
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Bondo

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2017 on: February 14, 2018, 07:16:03 AM »
Molly's Game (2017)

I hadn't really read much about this so I kind of got hooked when I realized it was a true story, if only because they name drop Jeremy Bloom, who I watched play football for the University of Colorado. When Molly mentions she went to CU for Political Science I jested in my mind maybe she was one of my students, but of course, she's older than me so that wouldn't have functioned, but this all gave the story a little more immediacy. That said, the film is glitz and glamor with little resonance. The dialogue is, as would be expected with Sorkin, the centerpiece, and this will likely get my adapted screenplay nomination. The likes of Chastain and Elba are certainly capable of bringing those words to life and in a weaker year Chastain would be a very strong competitor for best actress. Even if Michael Cera was literally the real person involved in the story, I still wouldn't buy him as the movie star card shark.

Corndog

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2018 on: February 14, 2018, 07:21:54 AM »
Molly's Game (2017)

I hadn't really read much about this so I kind of got hooked when I realized it was a true story, if only because they name drop Jeremy Bloom, who I watched play football for the University of Colorado. When Molly mentions she went to CU for Political Science I jested in my mind maybe she was one of my students, but of course, she's older than me so that wouldn't have functioned, but this all gave the story a little more immediacy. That said, the film is glitz and glamor with little resonance. The dialogue is, as would be expected with Sorkin, the centerpiece, and this will likely get my adapted screenplay nomination. The likes of Chastain and Elba are certainly capable of bringing those words to life and in a weaker year Chastain would be a very strong competitor for best actress. Even if Michael Cera was literally the real person involved in the story, I still wouldn't buy him as the movie star card shark.

Having read the book the film is based on, I would agree Sorkin's adaption is impressive. He is able to take the real story and condense it to make a damn entertaining Hollywood movie out of it. The book is actually a page turner too, don't get me wrong, but there is plenty changed and re-organized to make for a more efficient movie.

As for the Cera character, he is Tobey Maguire, and the way Bloom describes him in the book exactly, if not worse, than Player X is represented in the movie by Michael Cera. After reading the book I have 0 respect for Maguire and will refuse to see his movies. What a dick. Also, Leo DiCaprio attended some of the games in LA.
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Corndog

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2019 on: February 14, 2018, 08:54:33 AM »
Have a Nice Day (Liu Jian, 2017)

Chinese animation is not exactly a booming business in movie making, but that is precisely what makes Have a Nice Day such an intriguing movie to me. China is one of the largest nations in the world, and one of if not the highest grossing country when it comes to box office revenue for movies. Major Hollywood blockbusters do very well there, and the Chinese movie industry is also an impressive machine, churning out numerous movies every year, some of which have quite the following even in America. I don't know that I've ever seen a Chinese animation film before though. But make no mistake about it, Have a Nice Day is not what most Americans think of when they think of animation. No, Have a Nice Day is a gritty crime drama, not your standard kids movie. This one is for adults.

Desperate for some money to help with his future wife, who recently had a botched plastic surgery, Xiao Zhang, a driver at a construction site, decides to steal a sum of money from his boss, Uncle Liu. The news of the robbery quickly spreads through the small Chinese town, prompting everyone to begin searching for Xiao Zhang in hopes of themselves pocketing the stolen money. The long, rainy night eventually turns bloody with so much money on the line.

The plot is slight, and the run time brief, but Liu Jian's film packs a surprising punch. Like the film itself, the animation is simple, but very effective, evoking the harsh, drab landscape in which the film takes place. Each character has their motivations, though money is often motivation enough. Poor Xiao Zhang for wanting to help provide a better life for him and his girlfriend. Poor girlfriend who had a botched plastic surgery. I think these two characters, one seen and one unseen, go a long way to explaining why such a robbery would take place in the first place, and the desperation of small, blue collar town.

The proceedings are moody and drab, as I have already mentioned, but they are brightened somehow by the cool tones of the Shanghai Restoration Project, who provide an essence of cool to the film, making it a gangster, crime movie akin to something Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino would make, but broken down to the bare essentials to make it work. There is very little fluff and wasted time throughout. Not that Scorsese or Tarantino are necessarily wasteful, but decadent. Have a Nice Day is anything but decadent in its presentation. However, the animation is a strength of the film, even without the bells and whistles we've become so accustomed to in America from computer animation.

Liu Jian manages to infuse a sense of doom in the film simply by pausing at the right times, and using some really neatly designed sounds, like the ring of a cellphone. It's a really impressive American debut (his previous film, Piercing I never graced American screens), and one which tickles me curious to see what his next project might entail, such that he might build off the successes here and craft a truly memorable, lasting film. As is, Have a Nice Day is a searing animated film not for the faint of heart. It is not an easy viewing, but one which will reward the concentrated and devoted audience, one looking to be exposed to a rather unique and promising cinematic voice.

★★★ - Good
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