Author Topic: Respond to the last movie you watched  (Read 91918 times)

1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2960 on: January 15, 2019, 11:37:13 PM »
Let the Corpses Tan
★ ★ Ĺ

The two previous features by HťlŤne Cattet and Bruno Forzani (Amer, The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears) have turned me off on their stylistic overkill. Had it not been for that reluctance putting me on the defense, I might've enjoyed this a hell of a lot more. They make films almost entirely out of extreme closeups, inserts and exaggerated sounds. Often that's it and good luck figuring out the plot, but this time they have a simple premise of a day after a major heist, with most of the film taking place in that one day marked by frequent time stamps that help when the story jumps around to follow different people. A confrontation between the gang and two cops is really well done and is the moment where I started to appreciate the filmmakers. Still, the constant flash is numbing and the film only amps up the style for the ending, finally reaching a state of incoherence typical of their work.
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goodguy

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2961 on: January 16, 2019, 07:58:05 AM »
Elina LŲwensohn, though. (also in The Wild Boys)

The problem with Cattet & Forzani is that, considering their stylistic goals, Amer is already the definitive film. Everything after feels not just like a rehash, but actually a step back.


1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2962 on: January 16, 2019, 11:08:05 AM »
I havenít seen LŲwensohn in forever, so it was a transformation to see her play such a viper. (Those eyes still work well for her, once mysterious and now a dagger glare.)

As for stylistic goals, this moves away from giallo by folding in spaghetti western. I hope they continue to bring in more story. Narrative filmmaking can use a dose of their eye and will keep their style from stagnating.
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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2963 on: January 17, 2019, 11:43:42 AM »
Glass (M. Night Shyamalan, 2019)

M. Night Shyamalan was once the hottest young directing name in the business thanks to a string of stellar hits, including <em>Unbreakable</em>. But soon came a run of poor films which sunk his potential and promise and goodwill with the movie going public. But come 2017 with the release of Split, Shyamalan was once again on the Hollywood map. With his signature, game changing twist tying Split into the Unbreakable cinematic universe, fans were excited to see what he might make when assembling the talents of Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis and James McAvoy amidst a world so wonderfully created between those two films. Welcome Glass to the early 2019 movie season as one of the most anticipated of the first quarter. But anticipate it no longer, not because it has come, but because it's actually pretty disappointing.

Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) and his split personalities are at it again in Philadelphia, this time having kidnapped four cheerleaders, preparing them for an ill-fated ending at the hands of his 24th personality, the Beast. But David Dunn (Bruce Willis) has been patrolling the streets, dubbed "The Overseer" by the media, and with the help of his willing son (Spencer Treat Clark), he thwarts Crumbs nefarious plans, but unfortunately lands both of them in a psychiatric hospital at the hands of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), who hopes to treat the two for a mental condition she believes convinces them they are superheros, when in reality that are not. Crumb and Dunn soon discover a third patient, Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson), a mastermind who presents them with a plan for escape.

The most disappointing thing about this film is that, for everything it seemingly has going for it, it's very surprisingly...boring. Unbreakable and Split were wonderfully mysterious and exciting films, so to bring those two together, with the talent on screen, M. Night Shyamalan's greatest crime is delivering a screenplay and a film which feels half-baked. It's as if Glass was a project that was rushed into with the promise of a good idea, not a project 19 years in the making with a known purpose the whole time. What results is a lot of scenes of the four main characters in the hospital staring at Sarah Paulson who spits off all these monologues about their insignificance. These long stretches take the mystique and intrigue out of the moodier set pieces which bring about a sense of suspense and an impending excitement which never comes.

Of course, building off of strong characters and strong worlds, there is plenty of promise in the proceedings as well. First among them, once again, is the performance of James McAvoy, who seamlessly transitions from personality to personality. It is a showy role to be sure, but one which McAvoy seems to have mastered over the two films. Willis and Jackson are, by comparison, largely wasted, especially Jackson who spends a large part of the film sitting in a wheelchair and staring off into space. But the story Shyamalan has hinted at throughout, the concept of who is a superhero, what are superpowers, and how do we not only define them in the "real world", but also how do we cope with them as a society are big time themes and ideas which never come home and explore the topics in as much depth and intrigue as they should.

Shyamalan is at his best when he is giving us a suspenseful scene, and at his worst when trying to show us any sort of action. There are two notable action scenes in this film, one which is the climax near the end. Both struggled to keep me engaged and entertained in any meaningful way. He can't shoot action. What results is a mish mash of great ideas, poor ideas and poor execution. When the film hits, it hits hard, but those times are so few that I would recommend skipping it altogether. Oh what could have been...

★★ - Didn't Like It
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oldkid

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2964 on: January 18, 2019, 01:40:28 AM »
Bad Times at the El Royale
A version of The Hateful Eight: a western with engaging and deadly characters, all trying to out wit each other to accomplish their unique goals.  Frankly, I think this film one-upped Tarantino because I was much more interested in the fates of these characters than in the older film.  But I am most glad for the generous sampling of Cynthia Erivo's singing and when Chris Hemsworth stopped her, I was ready to see him die.

4/5

Blindspotting
The movie that best manipulated me all year.  I laughed and gasped and raged at all the right times and I didn't feel led by the nose for a moment.  What a great time and a great moral... not really a moral, but an experience of being of a group of hunted, with others doing worse living without a care from the justice system.  Powerful, moving and hilarious. 

4.5/5

Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse
Phil Lord does it again.  An almost perfect superhero flick, and I haven't been so breathless in an action film for a long time.  Simply amazing scriptwriting, voice acting, and a visual spectacle that I expect to watch a few more times before I piece it all together.  And I will watch it a number of times.  This is probably going to be a favorite.

4.5/5 and these two make my top five of the year.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 09:23:57 AM by oldkid »
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Bondo

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2965 on: January 19, 2019, 05:43:34 PM »
Fyre Fraud vs. Fyre

It seems the biggest cultural event of the week was the dual launch of exclusive documentaries about the Fyre Festival debacle. Fyre Fraud surprisingly dropped on Hulu early in the week while Fyre (by notable documentarian Chris Smith) arrived Friday on Netflix. While they take different approaches, I do think it is overkill to watch both (unless you are doing it for critical comparison) because enough of the story overlaps that it can be tiring.

Fyre Fraud hits the fraud aspect a bit heavier, but most notably hits the "influencer culture" aspect, with plenty of barbs aimed at millennials, even harder. It definitely tries to be light and funny about the whole thing and thus is more stylish. Fyre on the other hand is more in the dirt about the step-by-step efforts by the organizers to accomplish the ambitious festival plan and the way Billy McFarland smashed through all the stop signs warning of danger, leaving devastation in his wake. I think this Netflix version hits the tone right and ultimately is the preferable coverage.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

A number of years ago I liked the film Save Me, which was about a conversion therapy center. We'll see if Boy Erased is similarly effected, but at this point I am not sure a dramatic rendering of this setting is what I want. Conversion therapy is such a clear evil that satire seems the only appropriate take, making But I'm A Cheerleader way ahead of its time. There is nothing specifically wrong with The Miseducation of Cameron Post, and I particularly liked the supporting turns by Sasha Lane and Forrest Goodluck, but it had enough slightly wonky moments to keep the drama from really pulling me in.

Io

Another new Netflix feature, this is a small-scale sci-fi. Because I didn't read the subtitle before I started, the first scenes made me think we were watching a scientist exploring the titular moon of Jupiter to determine if it would support life and provide the people of Earth a refuge. Even so it quickly was clear that what we were actually watching was one of the last humans on Earth clinging to the hope that it had long-term prospects. I'm willing to accept an ending that is ambiguous, but it is a bit too ambiguous in more general aspects of world-building. It does manage good mood-setting and some solid character moments though.

Green Book

I guess my unpopular opinions this year are that Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book are very good movies. Sure, they won Best Picture Golden Globes, but that probably just makes my opinion even less popular. Moreso with Green Book than BR, I do get where the criticism is coming from, though taking it in total, I think they miss the mark a little. I think the film is effective in falling into neither a white savior or a magical negro trap as the characters are very well balance.

Early on in their interaction, Tony shows a resentment of Don Shirley's policing of manners. To me this was very modern feeling, matching the perceived working-class, uneducated white politics of racial resentment at "politically correct" judgment by elites and newly empowered minorities. I suppose the question is whether the film is being perceived in a noble way. I did hear way too much laughter in my audience at parts that make it seem like Tony is a lovable lug at the start rather than an asshole. And that is the risk at the film's light touch (though I do think it was miscategorized and should be considered a drama). But the film does its work. I think there is a lot of value to this film's depiction of racial inequity compared to something like Selma that displays brutal repression. This is certainly a step way above micro-aggression, but it is very effective at showing how many small and insidious ways racism and segregation was in society, and not just in the South (and not just in the past). Thus when late on Tony tries to play the comparative privilege game, noting Shirley's monetary and cultural advantages, we've seen plenty of evidence that it just isn't enough to balance out the true dehumanization of racism.

I would say Viggo is probably a bit too turned up to 11 in the role to deserve recognition but Ali follows up his turn in Moonlight with another perfectly calibrated performance here that deserves recognition. No, it isn't the best picture of the year and certainly not the best screenplay, but nor is it the abomination that too many critics seem to be treating it as.

ProperCharlie

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2966 on: January 20, 2019, 03:48:33 AM »


M. Night Shyamalan was once the hottest young directing name in the business thanks to a string of stellar hits, including <em>Unbreakable</em>. But soon came a run of poor films which sunk his potential and promise and goodwill with the movie going public. But come 2017 with the release of Split, Shyamalan was once again on the Hollywood map. With his signature, game changing twist tying Split into the Unbreakable cinematic universe, fans were excited to see what he might make when assembling the talents of Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis and James McAvoy amidst a world so wonderfully created between those two films. Welcome Glass to the early 2019 movie season as one of the most anticipated of the first quarter. But anticipate it no longer, not because it has come, but because it's actually pretty disappointing.


Would you recommend Split?  I really liked Unbreakable when it was released, and I'm intrigued by the idea that he'd made another film sort of set in the same universe, but films involving multiple personality disorder (or something like it) are a big turn off for me. 

ProperCharlie

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2967 on: January 20, 2019, 03:52:38 AM »
A weird mix this week...


Night at the Museum  (2006)
Ben Stiller works in a museum and accepts anything he is told at face value without question. As a movie aimed squarely at the childrenís market, wide-eyed guilelessness is appropriate and this fun film never stops lacking guile. It also lacks both heart and brain, departing the the screen counting its takings and carelessly leaving its young audience unchallenged. Museums are full of stories. They are ripe for fantastic tales to be told about them and set within their walls. Night at the Museum wastes the opportunities it has.

Falling Leaves (1912)
The Solax Kid, in a masterclass of scene blocking with a fixed camera, is taught a lesson on the nature of mortality. For a one-reel tubercular drama, this is remarkably self-contained and well-paced with room for set-up, story development and a proper ending. The central misunderstanding/metaphor is delightfully scripted and realised even if the schmaltz levels and acting are both exaggerated to levels that would rot a silent-era audienceís teeth. Alice Guy-Blanchťís simple tale is a wonder of early cinema and one of the best autumnal films ever made.

Antony and Cleopatra (1972)
Charlton Heston struggles for gravitas and sweats copiously in a spaghetti Shakespeare. Miniature galleys clash as legionnaires run hither and thither with swords out but unclear purpose. Monologues delivered on arid Spanish rocks ramble on while the audience waits to be convinced that Antony and Cleopatra have any glimmer of chemistry. Extras mill around on horseback struggling to hear poorly projected speeches on sparse sets. Not a single shot is well-composed, well-framed or well-lit. No lessons were learnt making this.

The Battle of Elderbush Gulch (1913)
D.W. Griffith demonises Native Americans and fetishises innocence in a two-reel action experiment. The quintessential settlers vs. Indigenous peoples tale starts with a puppy consumption incident and escalates to house-sieging, belly-crawling and scalping, no negative stereotype is left unfilmed. Spectacularly, a town burns, stampedes of horses circle and charge, and hundreds of extras fire guns. No expense has been spared. Griffith hasnít learnt how to deal with copious amounts of gunsmoke, and is limited by static cameras but boy can he edit.

Track 29 (1988)
Nic Roeg inadvisedly dives into Dennis Potterís predilection for infantilism while Gary Oldman screams FREUUUDDDDD!!!! Exploring the interface between childhood and the development of sexuality is always going to risk a plummet into repugnancy. It would help if there was some subtlety, or a careful calculation of when to deploy metaphor and subtext. Instead Gary Oldman and Theresa Russell have been left under a sun-lamp overnight to make sure theyíre both charged to maximum insanity levels for a morning of incest and acting. Nice train wreck montage.

Tarantella (1940)
Mary Ellen Bute animates music and with a degree of paranoia and a reference to her dictionary. A mood a little before its time, this choreographing of abstract lines and rings on bold slabs of colours. It captures a pre-Cold War (and even pre-WWII) technological fear. Oscilloscopular pulses of line jag. Offset four-colour printed rings in blue and red spread and contract as invisible drops of something scientific fall onto her canvas. A rational age attempting to dance away a spiderís bite. Too late.

The Black Tower (1987)
John Smith indulges in a no-cost experiment of almost still photography and barely-acknowledged terror. A city lives, botches its demolitions and maintains its trees while a man consumes his Pantone breakfast with only the Mexican who lives in his ceiling for company. Architecture stalks him to a soundtrack of Mariachi bands and Monty Python footsteps. An esoteric combination of the utterly mundane with the nagging death-wish we all suppress. Creepy, unique, and compelling.

Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (1988) aka Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Pedro Almodovar realises it isnít a farce if there arenít multiple on-screen costume changes. Hyper-reality splashed throughout, this is the disarrayed logic of a person coming to terms with rejection; thrown into the whirlwind instead of downing the gazpacho. Amazing design and style, there isnít a single colour that is not hurled at the screen. Itís done with such tight control of pace and action that there isnít confusion at all. It swerves away from chaos, lightly brushes the bizarre and allows the cast to visibly enjoy themselves. A properly fun farrago.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) - Rewatch
School isnít fun any more for Harry Potter. By the fifth entry in a self-contained film universe, the weight of the cannon and the length of the cast list frequently condemn franchises to stodgy fan service, plot recycling, and cameos. Because this has the books for guidance, it subverts the rules. A timely study of how an unwitting conspiracy of the fearful can use reasonableness as a mask to avoid and oppress. Itís unfortunate that the solution follows standard narrative patterns and ends with a magical shootout in an archive of CGI balls.

The Mummy (1932)
Karl Freund, experienced expressionist cinematographer and first time director, lives up to his qualifications. The look is tremendous. The costumes, the sets, the sweeping camera movements, the lighting and the make-up all work together to create ever-lasting images, many of which only ever appeared in your head rather than on screen. Itís such a shame about the acting and especially the direction. Save for Bramwell Fletcherís astonishing crazed laughter, itís stilted and wooden enough to be early stop-motion with the brakes on.

Phantasm (1979)
The doodles of the young Don Coscarelli betray a troubled mind. Itís tempting to shrug this of as an amateur mess of confused ideas. And thatís what it is. Imagine this film springing from the mind of the lead character, and it makes more sense. How does a young boy cope with grief, bereavement and reality of death? Terror and loss and evil flying robots. Itís got a nightmarish-Giallo-unreal quality about it, not often seen in low-budget US horror. Childhood ends screaming, wanting its Mum when sheís no longer there.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 04:18:57 AM by ProperCharlie »

Corndog

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2968 on: January 20, 2019, 08:14:23 AM »
I would recommend Split. I found it to be one of the more surprising successes the year it was released. James McAvoy is fantastic in the role.
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smirnoff

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2969 on: January 20, 2019, 09:43:53 PM »
Fyre Fraud vs. Fyre

Thanks for the comparison. I look forward to seeing what else is uncovered that I didn't see in the 15 minute mini-doc I saw about it. I imagine a lot of it is just people's cell phone footage of the shenanigans.