Author Topic: Respond to the last movie you watched  (Read 90781 times)

1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #3840 on: November 03, 2019, 11:04:53 PM »
Jojo Rabbit
★ ★ ★ Okay

Takes a massive swing with tone, but ultimately runs into the same problem as Life is Beautiful. For the record, I liked Roberto Benigni's film and thought the backlash on it was unusually harsh. It's a criticism also leveled against Waititi's last film, Thor: Ragnarok. There is too much comedy for the characters to carry the weight they need for the dramatic moments. Those moments are powerful... in theory, but they're brief flashes of emotion. I'm left wondering if Waititi is too good at comedy.

I think the main reason why Waititi plays Hitler is that it would be too difficult to explain to another actor exactly how to play Hitler this way. It's a beautiful bolt of lightning that will never be seen again. This is one of the year's best cast movies, but the performances don't gel into an ensemble. Sam Rockwell best understands the satire, Scarlett Johansson's character is all about her persona with Jojo and her real hopes, and her scenes are like a show where she's playing several parts. Thomasin McKenzie is so damn good it's like Ronney Mara giving her best performance, Stephen Merchant is channeling Monty Python's Graham Chapman and Rebel Wilson just does her one character. I recommend the film for those performances and for the comedy, but if it all worked together instead of side-by-side this would be the classic Waititi is aiming for instead of the weirdest Wes Anderson movie ever.
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ses

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #3841 on: November 03, 2019, 11:10:47 PM »
Your first sentence was pretty much the review I gave to my husband. Waititi really gave himself a huge hurdle to jump over in terms of tone, and I'm not sure it is 100% effective, but I would still recommend the film. It still moved me, unexpectedly.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 08:13:57 AM by ses »
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smirnoff

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #3842 on: November 04, 2019, 01:20:30 AM »
I'm cautiously intrigued.

Junior

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #3843 on: November 04, 2019, 11:12:45 AM »
If Jojo Rabbit were slightly better I'd call it a messterpiece. As is its an intriguing and somewhat successful mess.
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Bondo

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #3844 on: November 04, 2019, 12:54:33 PM »
Denver Film Festival Roundup

Honey Boy

This certainly has a lot of interesting elements about cycles of substance and emotional abuse and lingering trauma, but it didn't quite coalesce into a fully effective story.

B-

The Great American Lie

I can't say I've been overwhelmingly impressed by prior documentaries from Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and this continues the trend. It's main purpose is to show how the concept of the American Dream has crumbled, tying together a bunch of strands. But it is very superficial in how it tackles each.

C

The Truth

Koreeda directs a largely French film that, in typical Koreeda fashing delves into restrained family drama. In this case that between renowned actress mother Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve) and screenwriter daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche). It has some parallels to Clouds of Sils Maria in how the presence of young inginue actress Manon creates a bit of jealousy for Fabienne. Not absolute top level Koreeda but still a very strong film.

B+

Clemency

Watching this made me retroactively add a grade increment to my Just Mercy rating. That film may be overly conventional, but it is extremely effective in delving into problems with the death penalty. Clemency is less of a rollercoaster of emotion, fixing in on pure bleakness in all respects. There is some value to this approach with a system that is purely evil, but while Just Mercy finds the power of activism, Clemency seems a nihilist acceptance of bureaucratic misery. Also, if ever a film was designed for 1.5x viewing, it is this one.

C

Happy New Year

I saw a trailer for an Italian film that played at the AMC earlier this year. It's premise is that a group of friends gather for dinner and decide to play a game where they all set their cell phones out and will make all texts and calls public that come during the dinner. It seemed intriguing but I never made it to the film. Just six months later comes a Hungarian remake. Having not seen the Italian one I cannot speak to which is more effective, but did find this version extremely effective. Now, for the sake of cinema, this particular friend set lead extremely interesting lives full of secrets, both of wrongdoing or simply uncomfortable. I could imagine playing this among my friends and it being completely uneventful. That's if anyone actually got a text or call in the duration of dinner. Anyway, I feel like all the reveals were well orchestrated for emotional effect and to betray any simple moral judgment...a good study of humanity.

A-

The Infiltrators

I almost feel the need to call this a "documentary." It tells the real life story of members of an activist immigrant-rights group that had members turn themselves over to ICE so they could get inside detention centers and provide assistance. While we get momentary glimpses of the real people involved, the bulk of the film is dramatic reenactment. Obviously they were not able to film inside active detention centers so the filmmakers had the choice of reenactment or just talking head retelling. The result is certainly effective in creating a sort of espionage caper film, but I ponder if abandoning the documentary label and just making it a full-on narrative film would have been better. Of course, individual triumphs feel good, but the context of this needlessly cruel system, given that immigration is an unqualified benefit for the country, makes it hard to get too happy.

B+

Olympic Dreams

This is a fascinating film undertaking. Filmed at the 2018 Winter Olympics with a crew of just the director/camera operator and its two actors, with what I imagine was a significant amount of improv, a lot of its power comes from the authentic backdrop that couldn't be as accurately recreated with extras. Instead, beyond Nick Kroll's dentist and Alexi Pappas' cross-country skier, we just get cameos from various olympians, most notably Gus Kenworthy. Interesting to note that Pappas, was a former Olympian (in track) so she has that first-hand experience to contribute to the story. In what I'd describe as Before Sunrise goes to the Olympics, though without the unrealistic polish and intellectualism of the Linklater films, we follow these two as they get to know each other over a few days in the Olympic Village. Amid this throng of humanity, both come with their own unique sense of loneliness and questions about the future. There are a few really good, raw moments, but on the whole it may show that awkward realism sometimes is less effective in film that something more polished.

B

The Right To Rest

The smallest film I am seeing at the festival, this is a local Denver documentary around advocacy for homeless rights. There are a couple eyeroll-inducing moments like one of the activists seemingly bemoaning empty lots that got turned into mid- and high-rise housing...because the housing is "luxury." I tend to be a bit hand-wavy about the concept of gentrification, because the alternatives always seem so much worse. The main project that the film documents is the creation of a tiny house village built (temporarily) on an empty lot. I appreciate the ingenuity to place 11 homes (housing 11 people) on the empty lot, and to the degree that they talk about it as a somewhat mobile village that occupies these lots while they are in a transitory phase I praise it, but to the extent they express disappointment at having to move the village because a 16-story apartment building is being constructed on the lot, I just hit my head against the wall. A 16-story apartment building houses way more people on a lot than 11 tiny homes. You can get into debates about overall supply versus affordable housing supply, but at the end of the day, the best way to fight high housing prices is to boost the supply. This film is too much within the activist community to present any of the contrasting views.

The other aspect of the documentary is the political fight over the titular right to rest. Denver criminalized unauthorized camping which means homeless populations are constantly being swept up. This aspect is probably more effective, and the use of the tiny village and its residents is important in providing stories of who the homeless population is. I know oldkid can speak to this in the Portland context, but a very liberal city like Denver overwhelmingly voted down the Right to Rest this spring. Matthew Yglesias of Vox has a twitter bit about suggesting Democrats embrace the popular liberal positions and not emphasize the unpopular ones, because doing popular things is a good way to get political success. Yet at some point, there is a moral requirement that unpopular things be done, and it is so clear that a equilibrium where housing is vastly undersupplied and yet homelessness is criminalized cannot endure. And this film ultimately is necessary to put it on the agenda.

P.S. There were some just awful Karens in the audience. Wealthy white liberal women who proclaim their tolerance but simply can't live in certain places because there are too many homeless people who are dirty and make them feel unsafe. It's not ideal but I suppose it's good they were at least exposing themselves to the arguments?

B-

don s.

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #3845 on: November 04, 2019, 06:49:00 PM »
If Jojo Rabbit were slightly better I'd call it a messterpiece. As is its an intriguing and somewhat successful mess.

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Bondo

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #3846 on: November 04, 2019, 10:17:24 PM »
Jojo Rabbit

The funny part is less funny than I expected. The moving part is less moving than I expected. Not an unpleasant movie by any means but just seems so much less incisive than the trailer and the Toronto response made me hope for.

C+

philip918

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #3847 on: November 05, 2019, 12:07:46 AM »
Greener Grass (2019)

Fails to accomplish in 90 minutes what Too Many Cooks nailed in 11. It starts strong and promises bigger, weirder, and darker things to come, but fizzles out at the end. That said, there was a lot I liked about this. Some really funny moments and the film remains 100% committed to its insane, surreal suburban nightmare-scape.

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #3848 on: November 05, 2019, 09:47:25 PM »
Chiming in to Jojo Rabbit. I wanted to understand the reviews so far and now I can say I do.

I gave my daughter a short intro into Hitlerjugend and then we headed into the theater. We laughed together and sat in shock and sadness together. Afterwards she was quiet for a bit and then said, "I'm exhausted from going through ALL the emotions. I think it is my favorite film as of now."

Watching Waititi with his timing and expressions was simply the most rewarding thing I've seen in film in a long time. ISO, I too don't know if anyone could have caught the same exact vision of what he wanted to do with the character, so he might as well just do it himself.

The Beatles mania juxtaposition made for a perfect opening to prepare for the strangeness ahead.
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Bondo

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #3849 on: November 05, 2019, 10:58:11 PM »
Harriet

It is perhaps a condemnation of our education system that the extent of my knowledge of Harriet Tubman is "Underground Railroad." That is factually correct, but shamefully superficial. Harriet is a film that provides depth to the story to take it from a sterile description of a sequence of safe houses to the real lived fear and danger of those involved. But, and I am aware I make this critique as a white man, of a film directed and co-written by a woman of color, there is an overwhelming strain of the magical negro trope that distracts. I am not sure what the stories from the time say, but this notion that Tubman has some direct line to God that allows her to see glimpses of the future to enable her success to me takes away from her efforts. Of course as an atheist, any such claims speak to delusion more than specialness.

While it certainly would have not been a good artistic choice for Harriet to say "Pardon me, are you Aaron Burr, sir" upon meeting William Still (Leslie Odum Jr.), but there is a curious symmetry between his characters. In this, Still is a voice of caution, constantly telling Harriet why her bold actions are not wise. But while he waits for it, Harriet acts like she's running out of time. Spoiler alert, she actually lived a very long life, but it was her family members and other slaves who were running out of time, so she was unwilling to exercise Still's caution.

Aside from filling in the gaps of my historical knowledge, looking back at this dark time in history when something that was so clearly wrong and evil was allowed to exist, and even further enabled through gut punches like the Fugitive Slave Act that cast those who had escaped back into harm's way, I couldn't help but think about our current approach to immigration. "Cruelty is the point" as they say, and the government in its current form is leading the dehumanization. We do have organizations providing forms of sanctuary and assistance out of our new degradation...will they be the Underground Railroad in movies in the next Century (assuming the world has remained habitable).

B+