Author Topic: Respond to the last movie you watched  (Read 91693 times)

pixote

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #1590 on: November 24, 2017, 05:47:03 PM »


The Square  (Ruben Östlund, 2017)

This year's Toni Erdmann: a long, ambitious film — set in a unique, white collar milieu — whose breadth of interesting ideas lacks the depth to match. The Square's concern with social contracts couldn't be more timely for me right now (I recently viewed Le bonheur through a similar lens), and through the first half of the film the variations on that theme intrigued me with their potential. But about the time the main character's kids show up, the variations become repetitions, and the film staggers to its finish. I wish the screenplay had remained more true to its characters instead steadily turning them into exaggerated versions of themselves with empty contempt. The marquee scene of the second half fell flat for me because, by that point, the characters had stopped responding to situations like these in a believable or intriguing way. There's too much of interest in The Square for me to dismiss it completely — or even fall short of recommending it — but I must confess that I'm rather enviable of Glenn Kenny's *˝ star review at rogerebert.com.

Grade: B-

pixote
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 09:55:19 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #1591 on: November 24, 2017, 06:52:18 PM »


God's Own Country  (Francis Lee, 2017)

I can't imagine anyone makes it through this film without silently yelling, "I wish I could quit you!" at least once. The echoes of Brokeback Mountain aren't constant, but their occasional soundings are loud enough to be distracting. God's Own Country has its own merits, though, like the way in turns a gruesome moment with a dead lamb into something cute and heart-warming. That image creates a strong metaphor in the film as a whole, with its theme of beauty springing from ugliness and love arising from hate. It's all a bit ordinary, though, and the film goes so far overboard in making its main character unlikable that when his inevitable arc kicks in, it's hard to care. I have qualms about the ending, too, but this isn't the thread for that.

edit: For all the brutal rawness of the country setting, the film might actually have more in common with a fairy tale. Alec Secareanu's character is certainly a too-good-to-be-true Prince Charming type, which is actually kind of refreshing. Both leads give strong performances, but it's really Gemma Jones who quietly steals the show.

Grade: B-

pixote
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 09:53:19 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #1592 on: November 25, 2017, 02:28:11 AM »


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri  (Martin McDonagh, 2017)

This is a hateful film. It's also a poorly plotted film that mines comedy from misogyny and racism like a kid making fart noises with his armpit in the hopes that cheap laughs will disguise the story's many forced turns, but above all else it's hateful.

Ebbing is a fictional town. In case the name symbolism is lost on you, don't worry, a main character will use ebb as a verb in the film's central monologue. Missouri, on the other hand, is not a fictional state. It's the home of the city of Ferguson. You might have heard about it on the news back in 2014.

At least two token black people live in Ebbing, Missouri. Not a bad word can be said about them. More live off-screen, apparently, and are subject to systemic, violent abuse (also off-screen) by the town's all-white police department, led by that lovable, dopey bartender from Cheers. These well-meaning, racist policemen are the heroes of our story, the characters who tug at our heartstrings and give us hope for a better tomorrow. Murderous racists are people, too, you see. Just like you and me. And with just one loving word from one white man to another, redemption is at hand. Racism solved. If only those off-screen blacks in Ferguson knew how easy it all was.

A third token black person also appears in Ebbing. He's the Mr. Tibbs of our story. He's got a badass vibe, is cool under pressure, and is not completely indifferent to seeing a (white) citizen brutalized by a cop in an attempted murder. By golly, he even demands that cop's badge — but not so much for moral reasons as because that's what that the story requires of him. Mr. Tibbs doesn't matter to this tale beyond that. White lives matter.

Stylistically, the film is an amalgam of mid-to-late-90s arthouse cinema, with splashes of Fargo, Lone Star, The Sweet Hereafter, and other films of that ilk, though the cinematography makes John Sayles seem like a visually assured director by comparison. I assumed the story was set in that same mid-to-late-90s period, but one character's use of google as a verb, the occasional presence of cell phones, and reference to war in the desert suggests a time closer to 2002-2003. It's all rather inexact, just like the town's layout, which is definitely more the work of a playwright than a city planner.

At one point in the film, Peter Dinklage's character asks with incredulity, "Penelope said begets?" Audiences are fond of this line, as I suppose they should be. Dinklage delivers it perfectly and the idea of a young woman using a two syllable word made quite famous by the Old Testament is hysterical because young women are notoriously stupid. I mean, right? Maybe we're laughing specifically at Penelope, except I'm fairly certain that Dinklage's character has never met her and knows nothing about her. This kind of writing is indicative of the screenplay as a whole, which ignores logic on its way to get wherever it wants to go. The scene where a mysterious stranger visits Frances McDormand's character at her gift shop is the prime example of this. It's a complete narrative cheat that makes for an embarrassing scene.

McDormand is fine here, by the way; very one-note, but it's an entertaining note. The few deviations — like her "oh, baby" concern for Woody Harrelson's character — act as reminders of how much more interesting she might be with nuance. Harrelson's performance is perfectly satisfactory, though it's not a role that requires him to stretch much at all and, as I mentioned, his likable earnestness is rather odious in context. I can't even began to evaluate Sam Rockwell's contributions here for similar reasons. Caleb Landry Jones is an actor I'll pay more attention to in the future; I'm curious to see what his limits are.

The cast and McDonagh's dialogue are the things that make Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as watchable and entertaining as it is, but neither is enough to compensate for the film's hatefulness. I probably should have expected this sort of diseased film from the director of In Bruges.

Grade: C

pixote
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 12:50:00 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

don s.

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #1593 on: November 25, 2017, 12:55:31 PM »
I probably should have expected this sort of diseased film from the director of In Bruges.

pixote

I liked In Bruges fine, but based on a few other entries (and trailers for others), I'm thinking the McDonagh brothers are not for me.
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philip918

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #1594 on: November 25, 2017, 01:31:47 PM »
The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Perfect viewing for a couple days in a food-induced haze. I got the Extended Edition Blu-rays as a Christmas gift the other year, so yeah, the full 12-hour experience. None of the extra scenes are vital or particularly interesting. The theatrical versions get my vote.

That said, these hold up extremely, extremely well, and are such a treat to revisit. Perfectly cast and so fully realized. Fellowship remains my favorite. The Nazgul are such great bogeymen and the horror elements are outstanding. Even though the action is on a smaller scale they're my favorite in the series: the Nazgul chasing Arwen and Frodo, the cave troll fight, and Boromir's last stand, are all thrilling and more emotionally involving than the epic battles in the following films. Though, the Battle of Helms Deep is fantastic, and just as good as I remembered it years later.

Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellan, and Sean Astin give incredible performances. Mortensen especially brings a depth and desperation to a classic hero character that really makes Aragorn unique. Miranda Otto, John Rys-Davies, and David Wenham give my favorite supporting performances.

Nit-picks:

Everything Legolas says is dumb. Every word. Really dumb. And his CGI-crafted acrobatics are one of the few elements that don't hold up at all.

Elves in general: boring.

The Hobbit bromance is really over done. Not a scene goes by without a very, very long, very, very meaningful look between Frodo and Sam. But, it's all worth it for Sam's, "There's still some good in this world" speech.

pixote

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #1595 on: November 25, 2017, 02:25:13 PM »
Nice reviews. Nitpick on the nitpick: those CGI-crafted acrobatics couldn't possibly hold up because they never looked good in the first place.

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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 #1596 on: November 25, 2017, 04:37:03 PM »
The CGI is one reason I regret upgrading to bluray. Maybe it's because I watched the dvds so much I go accustomed to them, but when I first watched the blurays it was like someone took a highlighter and highlighted all of the edges surrounding every CG element. The lower resolution of the dvds have a soft blur that just blends everything together.

As for Legoslas's stunts, I wouldn't say I enjoy them all, but some I definitely do. Like him getting on the horse in TT. I like his delivery and dialogue for the most part. The thing that bums me out is when they steer into Gimli being a clown. Such an awesome character in Fellowship... but they start chipping away at that in TT and RotK. And then The Hobbit comes out and they fully embrace it... horrible.

It's like what you see from the Star Wars special editions... you get a sense of what Lucas would have done had he not been limited by budget or technology.


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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #1597 on: November 25, 2017, 09:35:34 PM »
I love the extended editions of LOTR, much better than the theatrical.  Partly because there is additional material from the books, and because it gives us more texture and chances to see the remarkable detail of the world Jackson created. 

Legolas is dumb, but I blame most of that on the dull line readings.

Gimili is a clown, but that doesn't bother me much until the Hobbit films.

I wouldn't want to watch the CGI in Blu-Ray, so I'll stick to my DVDs thank you.

The bromance is certainly groan-inducing when it just goes on and on.  But Frodo isn't much of a character in these films, anyway.
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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #1598 on: November 25, 2017, 10:06:21 PM »
I don't mind the CGI in the Blus, what I do mind the is the overly green coloring in Fellowship. Hope they correct that in the inevitable 4k transfers.
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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #1599 on: November 26, 2017, 12:54:55 AM »
Frantz

The opening shot was in color, which faded immediately to B&W.  And this film should be in it's crisp, clean B&W, forgetting about the pale color it often plays with, which is dull and lifeless.  At times it is hard to remember that this is a 2017 film.  It is based on the 1932 film, Broken Lullaby, but also reminds me at times of Brief Encounter, or Casablanca.  It has all the sensibility of a classic film and it comes so close to a great classic film, but just falls short.

Anna grieves over the loss of her fiancee, Frantz, in WWI, just a year before, and discovers a stranger mourning over his grave.  She talks to Adrian, a Frenchman, and finds that he was friends with her fiance, and slowly begins to share with her and Frantz' parents his memories of them in Paris.  The German town is upset with anyone from France in their town, and things get more complicated as Anna finds that she has some feelings for the stranger.

A solid romance, but there is something that removes me from the characters, as if I were only watching them on a screen and not feeling their feelings. The performances are solid, but taut, as if the tension were forced.  They project their feelings a bit easily, so I can see the next two steps it is going to take.  But the story is wonderful, the moral point is obvious but solid, and the tragedy is plainly felt.

I want to see Broken Lullaby to see how it compares.

3/5
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