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Comments that warrant a thread => TV/Film & Literature => Topic started by: Firmino of the 909 on October 02, 2015, 01:14:26 PM

Title: In Which I Review Movies 2015 - 2018
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 02, 2015, 01:14:26 PM
I had been compiling my list of IMDB ratings (http://"http://www.imdb.com/user/ur18263803/ratings?start=1&view=detail&sort=your_ratings:desc&defaults=1&my_ratings=restrict&scb=0.19027815503068268"), which are by no stretch an accurate representation of how I feel about those movies, and realized that I'd really only watched a paltry selection of movies. 530 movies watched is really a far lesser number than it sounds like. I really don't know what I'm doing with my life, and worst of all, I haven't watched shit. Therefore, I'm going to watch more movies and will update this thread at a rate that is likely infrequent. These reviews will often contain spoilers, so if you see the title and picture at the top of each post and don't want to be spoiled, don't read.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 02, 2015, 02:19:23 PM
(http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTk0MDQ3MzAzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzU1NzE3MjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_.jpg)

Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher

I could have picked an easier one to start with, but this was the last movie I watched. Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, and Rosamund Pike plays Amy Dunne. Both lost their jobs during the recession and when Nick's mother became ill, they moved to Missouri, creating the circumstances leading to the events of the film. Amy disappears after her husband becomes a violent, disinterested cheater, and when Nick invites the police into their shared home, they find poorly cleaned blood stains in the kitchen. Of course, that leads the police to believe she was murdered.

The second act is extremely favorable towards Nick, and engineered to make people have overwhelming sympathy for a spousal abuser and cheater. Judging by the reviews on the internet about the movie, people certainly fell into the pattern of doing so. After the reveal, Amy was portrayed as a character we'd be glad to see bad things happen to. Given that she was trying to get somebody put to death for a murder they didn't commit, is this right? These are the sorts of questions Gone Girl forces the audience to ponder.

Tyler Perry turns in an inspired performance as Tanner Bolt, a lawyer who defends husbands accused of killing their wives. Neil Patrick Harris is similarly good as a psycho ex-boyfriend named Desi Collings, and the obsession required of his role came off well on-screen. Carrie Coon plays Nick's twin sister Margo, and provided the voice of levity necessary on that side of the story to keep the audience from getting carried away. The supporting cast was very well chosen, and held the film together.

Ultimately, the movie's ending left me with more questions than answers. Although other scenes were unrealistic, large chunks of the movie were a good study in examining unstable relationships, and the breakdown in communication between partners. I don't necessarily feel that the film was misogynist, but I feel that the abuse and cheating was glossed over far more than it should have been. The "this bitch is crazy" aspect of the movie became too prevalent the longer it went on. Fincher is a very good director and this movie was no exception. Given that this was an adaptation, he had to remain faithful to the source material.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 08, 2015, 06:35:20 PM
(http://i.space.com/images/i/000/031/137/i02/gravity-movie-poster-closeup.jpg)

Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón

I wanted to catch this before it went off HBOGo, and it certainly did not disappoint. I'm not going to only watch critically acclaimed movies, but maybe I should. I had regretted not seeing this in theaters. I also have a habit of ignoring movie previews and didn't really understand the subject matter. No, I am not joking.

The special effects in this movie deserve far greater words than I am able to write. I was fooled into thinking that Bullock's scene where she was drifting out into endless space would go on for much longer than it actually did. Without spoiling anything in case anyone happens to click on this, I found the first of the two interludes between super intense scenes to be far better than the other. Given that the movie only features two living people you see, any potential monologue has to be really damn good. The one in this movie wasn't.

Tracking shots are one of my favorite things, and the one that opened this movie was so long and so good that I really wasn't expecting what happened. The presentation of the initial disaster was not quite something I was ready for. I actually rewound it and watched it a few times. Some of the scenes in the movie are quite obviously unrealistic, but I don't quite care. I enjoyed the intensity of it, although I don't believe I'd be able to watch it again and have the same feelings stir up. I did not have that feeling with Children of Men. It's hard to believe Cuarón released that 9 years ago. This is a hallmark of technical brilliance more than anything else.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Big Beard Booty Daddy on October 09, 2015, 12:39:33 AM
(http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTk0MDQ3MzAzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzU1NzE3MjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_.jpg)

Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher

I could have picked an easier one to start with, but this was the last movie I watched. Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, and Rosamund Pike plays Amy Dunne. Both lost their jobs during the recession and when Nick's mother became ill, they moved to Missouri, creating the circumstances leading to the events of the film. Amy disappears after her husband becomes a violent, disinterested cheater, and when Nick invites the police into their shared home, they find poorly cleaned blood stains in the kitchen. Of course, that leads the police to believe she was murdered.

The second act is extremely favorable towards Nick, and engineered to make people have overwhelming sympathy for a spousal abuser and cheater. Judging by the reviews on the internet about the movie, people certainly fell into the pattern of doing so. After the reveal, Amy was portrayed as a character we'd be glad to see bad things happen to. Given that she was trying to get somebody put to death for a murder they didn't commit, is this right? These are the sorts of questions Gone Girl forces the audience to ponder.

Tyler Perry turns in an inspired performance as Tanner Bolt, a lawyer who defends husbands accused of killing their wives. Neil Patrick Harris is similarly good as a psycho ex-boyfriend named Desi Collings, and the obsession required of his role came off well on-screen. Carrie Coon plays Nick's twin sister Margo, and provided the voice of levity necessary on that side of the story to keep the audience from getting carried away. The supporting cast was very well chosen, and held the film together.

Ultimately, the movie's ending left me with more questions than answers. Although other scenes were unrealistic, large chunks of the movie were a good study in examining unstable relationships, and the breakdown in communication between partners. I don't necessarily feel that the film was misogynist, but I feel that the abuse and cheating was glossed over far more than it should have been. The "this bitch is crazy" aspect of the movie became too prevalent the longer it went on. Fincher is a very good director and this movie was no exception. Given that this was an adaptation, he had to remain faithful to the source material.

7.5/10
I loved the movie. Fincher is one of my top 2 favorite directors around today (Guillermo del Toro is my other favorite). I really liked that it made the audience think. Thing is, yes, he cheats which we see, but is he abusive? We never see any proof of this outside of what Amy said in her diary, and that was proven that outside of the start of the diary, everything else was made up by her to put Nick into a darker light for proof he murdered her.

I really love that the book takes the idea of a man that might have murdered his wife and turned it on its ear by having Amy alive in the second half. I read the book, and that part was a great twist. Waiting for it to happen in the movie was even better because you could tell who didn't read the book by their reaction to the reveal.

I actually thought the ending of the movie worked better in the movie. In the book, the first 2/3 took its time to tell the story but the final 1/3 get rushed. That works better in a movie because you can skip time and not worry.

Sent from my QMV7A using Tapatalk
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 09, 2015, 06:43:16 AM
I loved the movie. Fincher is one of my top 2 favorite directors around today (Guillermo del Toro is my other favorite). I really liked that it made the audience think. Thing is, yes, he cheats which we see, but is he abusive? We never see any proof of this outside of what Amy said in her diary, and that was proven that outside of the start of the diary, everything else was made up by her to put Nick into a darker light for proof he murdered her.

Nick also shoved Amy and she hit her head.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: AA484 on October 09, 2015, 07:01:53 AM
An idea I have considered doing before is taking the IMDB Top 250 and randomizing it using a website like Random.org.  First movie that comes up that I haven't seen, I will watch.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Aero on October 09, 2015, 09:28:27 AM
I loved the movie. Fincher is one of my top 2 favorite directors around today (Guillermo del Toro is my other favorite). I really liked that it made the audience think. Thing is, yes, he cheats which we see, but is he abusive? We never see any proof of this outside of what Amy said in her diary, and that was proven that outside of the start of the diary, everything else was made up by her to put Nick into a darker light for proof he murdered her.

Nick also shoved Amy and she hit her head.

I saw the movie once, several months ago, so I might be wrong, but isn't that scene ultimately assumed to be made-up/exaggerated as a fake diary entry? If I'm remembering correctly, the flashback is shown prior to the reveal that Amy is still alive, so it's taken as fact. But when you realize Amy is a lying psycho, I figured certain flashbacks based on diary entries (besides the obvious lies) may have been assumed to be fake. That was my initial take, anyway. I might be way off.

Definitely want to re-watch this sometime soon, especially now knowing the reveals. Really enjoyed it the first time.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Saints_Fan_H on October 09, 2015, 10:16:00 AM
I'm already queasy with
Spoiler: show
throat slashing
scenes, but the scene with
Spoiler: show
NPH getting murdered
ranks up there as fucked up for me.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Big Beard Booty Daddy on October 09, 2015, 11:40:36 AM
I loved the movie. Fincher is one of my top 2 favorite directors around today (Guillermo del Toro is my other favorite). I really liked that it made the audience think. Thing is, yes, he cheats which we see, but is he abusive? We never see any proof of this outside of what Amy said in her diary, and that was proven that outside of the start of the diary, everything else was made up by her to put Nick into a darker light for proof he murdered her.

Nick also shoved Amy and she hit her head.

I saw the movie once, several months ago, so I might be wrong, but isn't that scene ultimately assumed to be made-up/exaggerated as a fake diary entry? If I'm remembering correctly, the flashback is shown prior to the reveal that Amy is still alive, so it's taken as fact. But when you realize Amy is a lying psycho, I figured certain flashbacks based on diary entries (besides the obvious lies) may have been assumed to be fake. That was my initial take, anyway. I might be way off.

Definitely want to re-watch this sometime soon, especially now knowing the reveals. Really enjoyed it the first time.

Yeah, that was the point I was making, and that scene was the one I was talking about. It's bad enough that he cheated, but that's the only thing we are 100% sure he ever did to her. Everything else that's mentioned that he did bad was in her diary, which 80-90% was made up. She mentions in a voice-over later on that the start of the diary was true, that the relationship started out great, but when she found out about the cheating and put her plan into place, that she had to make it more juicy to show him as an evil, lying, abusive bastard that would murder his wife.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 12, 2015, 06:05:27 PM
I don't even wanna post the poster to this shit so

*HARRY POTTER PICTURE HERE*

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, directed by Mike Newell

I was with my cousins, came across this on television, and they wanted to watch it. So we did. I had never seen this before, and felt that after the first three, I could go my whole life without seeing the rest. Perhaps I was wrong. I still do think the third is the best one of these that I've watched.

Despite the nearly three hour run-time, I enjoyed watching this because of the ensemble cast. Any movie where Brendan Gleeson gets this kind of screen time is certain to bring something good to the table. Some of the things in these movies can't be easy to film; particularly with the makeup involved, and he would appear to have gotten the worst of it. I thought he stole the show in any case. The obvious problem with a film like this is that the characters who need time in the movie never get enough of it. In a series such as this, some characters tend to fade in and out, but I still think it's a problem. I also believe that Michael Gambon's take on Dumbledore is better than that of Richard Harris.

Another problem was the way that the movie cut past scenes that seemed like they would be important. I recall at the quidditch match at the beginning of the movie, they introduced the teams, then jumped straight to the match being over with no information on who won. As an adaptation, I do understand that it is required to condense things. Still, the movie would have been better if all of the cuts kept the viewer in touch with the happenings. The scene at the ball, with Harry and Ron sitting there, brought back some interesting memories of my freshman year of high school that I hadn't thought about in some time. I'll probably watch the others at some point, but definitely not right one after the other or anything like that. I've never read the books nor do I care to. Perhaps it is easier for the directors to make these movies given that nearly everyone else has.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Jingus on October 12, 2015, 07:59:03 PM
The Potter films do lean pretty hard on the assumption that everyone's read the books.  So many vitally important subplots and supporting characters end up as blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos, if they're not chopped out entirely.  And except for the third movie, they do all sorta blend together to me.  If you've seen one, you've pretty much seen them all (though of course the tone darkens considerably as the series goes on).  And just FYI: the books are way better than the movies. 
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 21, 2015, 06:42:43 PM
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ae/BourneIdentityfilm.jpg)

The Bourne Identity, directed by Doug Liman

This is a great example of a movie franchise where I have my head in the clouds and haven't seen any of the movies. I came across this on Netflix and decided to check it out, even though all of the movies aren't there.

This movie does not mess with names, bar those of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), Marie (Franka Potente), and Wombosi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, otherwise known as Mr. Eko). It very much feels like a movie shot pre-9/11, without dastardly Arab characters, without the spy network in place to know where everyone in the Western world is. Despite the plot being thin, it is extremely straight forward, and there's really not a whole lot to wonder about other than the obvious, which is what happened to Bourne's memory. It also does not go overboard, outside of Bourne using someone's body to eschew countless flights of stairs and fly down them instead. It was an enjoyable movie regardless of that. I did not realize that Clive Owen was in this movie as the sniper until I looked it up on IMDB. In some movies that would be quite the problem, but in this one it's more of a surprise. The less excess parts, the better. Chris Cooper was quite good in the role of the CIA agent, one of the few parts given any screen time. I was very surprised when he ate it.

There were few wonders of cinematography, which isn't a big deal, but rather something to point out. The car chase is an exception to that, done with a really shitty hatchback. The ending with Marie and Bourne reuniting was cliched, sappy, stupid, and totally unnecessary.  Even though I've already mentioned it, the scene where Bourne flies down flights of stairs, using somebody's body as a magic carpet bothers me immensely. He lands on top of the guy and walks away...no. That's all I can say. I know there are three other movies, two of those being with Matt Damon, and to some extent I am struggling to see how those could be done and make sense at the same time. I'm sure they made sense to Hollywood in any case. I am also not familiar with the source material that pertains to this. I did like the movie, but it was flawed. Good for what it was. I haven't seen the others, so no spoilers please.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on December 26, 2016, 08:29:06 AM
I haven't updated this thread in 15 months, which means I haven't watched a movie in 15 MONTHS.

(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71rZtELyYzL._SY450_.jpg)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

That movie was really satisfying and a lot better than I was expecting or hoped for. Far better than the prequels. I did think it was goofy that once again there was the issue of a megaweapon, but it's Star Wars so you expect that. I don't pay attention to pre-movie hype and I'm very good at avoiding spoilers, so there were things in the movie that I didn't expect. Finn was a very good character with a lot of layers, which isn't something I'd have expected from this series. Obviously with so many actors I was previously unfamiliar with, I'm looking forward to seeing where their careers go after this. More interested in seeing where the series goes, though. Lots of ways for things to go.

As for negatives, I really didn't care for seeing TV actors from shows I've watched as an adult in this movie. That's not out of dislike for them, it's just too weird. I imagine our parents used to say the same thing about event movies like this one. Or they didn't and that's okay. I also thought the third act of the movie flew by too quickly. Could have done with slowing down. The cinematography was different and very un-Star Wars like, but I didn't have a problem with that. I am also hoping that these movies don't get in the habit of having far too much fan service rather than telling a story that stands on its own.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on February 10, 2017, 10:08:40 AM
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/20/Batman_v_Superman_poster.jpg)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I didn't expect to find this better than Man of Steel, but that's where I am right now. The movie had a shitload of plotholes. There were a lot of things wrong with it. Jesse Eisenberg had one of the worst performances I've seen in a while. Because of that in particular, I'll never watch this movie again. Yet, after watching it, I found some of the more controversial things in it to be just fine. For example, I don't really give a shit about Batman killing people. It made sense in the context of the story, that he'd been doing this for 20 years and gave less of a shit. The idea that he'd blame Superman for what happened in Metropolis is really stupid though. The idea that Batman wouldn't know that Clark Kent's mother was named Martha is also extremely stupid. I just didn't get how that revelation would be any surprise or affect him in any way.

There's a lot to say about this movie and it's hard to cover everything. I guess I'll go one by one.

Glad they didn't cover the Batman origin very much. I could go the rest of my life without ever seeing it again. It's the sole thing that keeps me from watching Batman Begins again. Jeremy Irons gave a very good performance as Alfred. Problem is it's hard to see somebody that cool as being Alfred. Affleck made a good Batman. Would like to see more with somebody other than Snyder directing the project. Wonder Woman was the best part of the movie. I guess the thing I disliked the most was that they turned Batman into a moron. The ending was a copout as well. Too much going on here and too many unanswered questions. However, I suppose other than the car chase when guys were inexplicably shooting while their car was flipping over, I thought the action scenes were good.

5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on February 10, 2017, 11:30:16 AM
Misunderstood Masterpiece

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on February 10, 2017, 11:53:19 PM
Yo review Sicario and Green Room
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on February 11, 2017, 12:08:58 AM
review the karate kid.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on February 11, 2017, 06:04:06 AM
I want to fulfill these three requests this week but I can't find Green Room on TV anywhere.

It is on Amazon though so I can just borrow my brother's password.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on February 11, 2017, 06:46:34 AM
I want to fulfill these three requests this week but I can't find Green Room on TV anywhere.

It is on Amazon though so I can just borrow my brother's password.

I think Sicario is also on Amazon so you can knock out 2 movies right there.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on February 11, 2017, 07:40:14 AM
review The Nice Guys
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on February 11, 2017, 02:33:47 PM
watch

Dr Strangelove
Seven Samurai
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
North By Northwest
The Battle of Algiers
The Sting
Princess Bride
Life of Brian
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on February 11, 2017, 11:51:35 PM
On the female side (assuming you've never seen this) Breakfast at Tiffany's is a must watch.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 05, 2017, 05:55:32 PM
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/4b/Sicario_poster.jpg/220px-Sicario_poster.jpg)

Sicario

They're filming a sequel to this, which I didn't realize when I turned this on. After watching the movie, I can definitely see why. I enjoy when movies leave me with questions and this is certainly one of them. The score set the tone for the film and I thought it was spectacular. It's not surprising to find out that the composer won a Golden Globe for The Theory of Everything, which I probably won't see as I don't care for the subject matter.

Movies like these make me wonder why I don't watch more movies. Drugs, guns, the Southwest...those are drawing cards for me, particularly in tandem. Josh Brolin didn't play a character all that similar to Llewelyn Moss, but I couldn't stop thinking about that until the plane ride to El Paso. The twist after the tunnel crawl didn't surprise me very much and that probably should have made me enjoy the film less, but it was pretty well disguised. Without deep knowledge of the subject matter, it would have been difficult to tell. Very intense movie, the kind which the faint hearted probably do not care for. Loved the way Benicio Del Toro's character lurked around the periphery until it was time for the final operation. The first operation and subsequent scene on the bridge was classic. I can see why people would criticize Emily Blunt's character for seeming weak, but it was only weak in comparison to the savages and sociopaths that inhabit that world. The portrayals were very realistic in that regard.

I don't particularly have a favorite part as to say I had a favorite part in a movie like this would make me sound like a sick fuck.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 06, 2017, 05:35:05 PM
(http://greenroom-movie.com/assets/img/social-share-v2.jpg)

Green Room

Green Room is a thriller about a punk band who winds up being unwittingly roped into doing a gig at a neo-Nazi club on their way to Washington DC. During their set, somebody gets stabbed, after which one of the members walks back to the green room and sees it. I try to watch movies without finding out whether or not they're good, and in the case of one like this, it's easy to do so. It was fairly low budget, low publicity, and I'd never heard of it until BZ suggested that I check it out. I agree with critics who say this was a good movie, but I don't think this was a great one.

Imogen Poots and Patrick Stewart seemed to have the most complex and interesting characters. Poots played a skinhead named Amber, who didn't exactly take kindly to finding out her friend had been killed. Stewart in the role of a neo-nazi leader was different than how I'm used to seeing him. I suppose my problem with the movie is that neither of those two were in the band itself. For a supposed horror movie, it was pretty light on gore, which is just fine with me. All effects appeared to be more practical. The culmination of the movie was nothing great, and to wrap this up before posting any spoilers, it fell flat and seemed to be drawn out too long. That being said, having a movie go under 90 minutes isn't something I've seen very often.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 06, 2017, 05:42:42 PM
I can't find Karate Kid streaming anywhere, and I prefer to watch movies on my TV or tablet so it has to be legal streaming. I'll have to skip past that. I'm gonna watch some capeshit too. There's some other stuff posted here that I will eventually watch if I can find it but I may need more ideas.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on April 07, 2017, 01:09:19 AM
Agreed about Green Room dragging the last 20 minutes or so. But the overall atmosphere of the movie is one I really dig.

Knew you'd love Sicario. My fav scene in the movie is prob:

Spoiler: show
benicio rapes that dudes face
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on April 07, 2017, 02:34:58 AM
I'm surprised you found it light on gore. It's not as excessive as Dead Alive or the Saw sequels, but

Spoiler: show
The belly slice, head explosion, and especially the main kid's mangled arm.


were some of the most violent scenes I've seen in a while.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: CletusVanDamme on April 07, 2017, 03:09:02 AM
I can't find Karate Kid streaming anywhere, and I prefer to watch movies on my TV or tablet so it has to be legal streaming. I'll have to skip past that.

Hulu has 1-3
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 07, 2017, 04:34:52 AM
I'm surprised you found it light on gore. It's not as excessive as Dead Alive or the Saw sequels, but

Spoiler: show
The belly slice, head explosion, and especially the main kid's mangled arm.


were some of the most violent scenes I've seen in a while.

It's probably because I watched some Vice videos during the Mali conflict where I accidentally saw a lot worse. That stuff doesn't really do anything to me anymore, but the arm was p. bad.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on April 07, 2017, 05:11:01 AM
I'm surprised you found it light on gore. It's not as excessive as Dead Alive or the Saw sequels, but

Spoiler: show
The belly slice, head explosion, and especially the main kid's mangled arm.


were some of the most violent scenes I've seen in a while.

It's probably because I watched some Vice videos during the Mali conflict where I accidentally saw a lot worse. That stuff doesn't really do anything to me anymore, but the arm was p. bad.

well yeah, any movie violence can't compare to irl so I see where you are coming from.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: tekcop on April 07, 2017, 05:20:38 AM
Like 909, I've also seen real gore (always on accident  :-\), but some of the scenes in Green Room made me question if I wanted to continue watching.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on April 07, 2017, 05:54:41 AM
Agreed with your review that the last 20-30 minutes were somewhat draggy and the ending was alright. I felt like the concept was solid and worked initially but the writing kind of lost steam once certain scenes set things forward in motion. I did really enjoy Patrick Stewart but he almost never has a bad performance.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 07, 2017, 12:20:44 PM
(http://static.srcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Avengers-Movie-1-Team-Pose.jpg)

The Avengers

I finally checked this out, and there's not a whole lot to say about it that hasn't already been said. I was very surprised that anyone could pull a movie like this off so well. The screen time was fairly evenly spread out, with the exception of Hawkeye who was obviously on the screen less than others. His character wasn't very fleshed out and that's one of the few flaws of the movie. I don't know if that was rectified in future movies, and I don't really want to be spoiled so don't tell me. Black Widow on the other hand needed time on camera and got it. Regardless of how much screen time was given, dialogue was far less than that. That being said, a movie with so many parts coming off without anyone being left out was great. Of course, there's lots of fan service moments as well, which was great. The Cap-Tony dynamic carried over pretty well from book to film.

As I already said, I don't know what happens in the rest of the movies, but I intend to watch them pretty soon. I don't see how anyone can live up to Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of Loki and keep my interest as a villain, then again I don't know if he's in any of the other movies besides Thor 2. I assume so. Regardless of that, this movie was anything people could have hoped for. A small negative is that without any comic book knowledge, nobody could have understood the intentions of the Chitauri. I also thought it was goofy the way Hulk didn't turn on anyone else in the team during the big fight at the end. Of course there's an explanation for that, but it is goofy. The movie was also quite long in developing, which was necessary but can make it a bit much to tackle.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on April 08, 2017, 06:46:54 AM
STOP REVIEWING CAPESHIT AND START REVIEWING MOVIES ABOUT REAL AMERICAN FIGHTING HEROES LIKE ROCKY AND THE KARATE KIDS THATS LIKE 11 MOVIES RIGHT THERE
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on April 08, 2017, 06:53:03 AM
what A-Rod said
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on April 08, 2017, 07:46:10 AM
Captain America punched out Hitler dawg. He's got the American icon cred.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 08, 2017, 08:32:56 AM
STOP REVIEWING CAPESHIT AND START REVIEWING MOVIES ABOUT REAL AMERICAN FIGHTING HEROES LIKE ROCKY AND THE KARATE KIDS THATS LIKE 11 MOVIES RIGHT THERE

I'll watch Rocky this week, but I just watched a real American movie, and I'll be posting a review shortly.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 08, 2017, 08:56:22 AM
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e8/Captain_America_The_Winter_Soldier.jpg)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Any movie that opens with a GSP cameo sounds great to me, and the film as a whole certainly lived up to that. Surprisingly, I liked this the best of the Marvel movies. Wasn't quite expecting for that to be the case. Robert Redford played a great villain, and one of the only real negatives in the movie was that he'd obviously be such right from the start. I don't watch previews or anything like that, so it was just a guess. The Falcon's flying scenes stole the show. The Bucky Barnes reveal was great, and I'm glad they didn't go too far overboard with flashbacks. The reveal that Nick Fury was still alive was good too, but to be fair anyone could have seen that coming. If my handicapped cousin could figure it out, so should everyone else.

Of course, as anyone who's seen this movie would know, the movie is quite low on dialogue and high on action. Some prefer that and some don't. I think I am slightly in the minority that don't. After watching this, I'm very confused as to why they haven't made a Black Widow movie. The character is in need of a little fleshing out, but now that Ghost in the Shell flopped, I can't see Marvel putting a green light on that one. The movie also nearly went overboard in terms of doing too much and introducing too many characters. Arnim Zola probably was not the best introduction, but at least it was short and they immediately killed the character off.

I have to go back and watch Thor 2 because I never paid attention to it, but that's all the capeshit I'll be watching for the next two weeks.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Furry AND Republican on April 08, 2017, 03:32:36 PM
Winter Soldier is still the best of the Marvel Extended Universe movies IMO. There are others that are enjoyable, but I feel like this is the one that will best stand the test of time.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Dandy on April 08, 2017, 11:01:14 PM
Have you seen Captain America: The First Avenger, 909?  One thing you said puzzles me.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on April 09, 2017, 06:33:42 AM
909, do The Nice Guys
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Baby Shoes on April 09, 2017, 06:42:38 AM
Bebe's Kids
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 09, 2017, 06:45:49 AM
Have you seen Captain America: The First Avenger, 909?  One thing you said puzzles me.

Yes. I completely forgot Zola was in it.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Furry AND Republican on April 09, 2017, 07:25:41 AM
909, do The Nice Guys
Seconded
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on April 09, 2017, 07:58:46 AM
Bebe's Kids

Seconded
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 10, 2017, 06:36:51 PM
(http://www.theniceguysmovie.com/assets/the-nice-guys-twitter-share.jpg)

The Nice Guys

I genuinely do not know where to start with this. Between the gratuitous nudity, 1970's setting, buddy cop story, and Ryan Gosling's shtick, there was a lot here to carry the two hours. The movie started off very slowly and I'm sure a lot of people don't give it their time as a result of that. I was surprised during the party scene by how much time was remaining in the movie. To me, it felt like it flew by pretty fast. I certainly wasn't expecting there to be a child involved in the story, but the chemistry between Russell Crowe, the aforementioned Gosling, and Angourie Rice pulled that off pretty well. The plot wasn't spectacular by any stretch. A guy who beats people up and a private investigator teaming up to find a woman who made a porno where the plot is more important than sex is a strange plot that doesn't sound particularly great on paper. The villains in the movie were by no means spectacular. Yet, the movie is immensely watchable as a result of the chemistry between the leads. I couldn't stop laughing at Gosling's drunk behavior. It was very well acted.

With anyone other than Gosling and Crowe in these roles, it's likely the entire thing falls apart. Kim Basinger's role as the big bad was neither memorable nor noteworthy. Matt Bomer's hitman who couldn't shoot someone unless they were four feet away was somewhat amusing and not in a good way. None of these things are to say I didn't like the movie, because I did. It's just clear where the focus of the script and budget went. The trope of a Shane Black movie ending at Christmastime made me laugh extremely hard. This is way past a joke at this point. One thing I do somewhat regret about movies like these is that they never seem to do big business, which is going to lead to the eventual end of them. People would rather watch some CGI shit break through fake buildings for the 5th or 6th time rather than watch a movie with a setting like this, and that's a shame. Movies like Transformers 4 where people go see the movie repeatedly even though it's a pile of trash, to the tune of it doing over $1 billion are a good example of that.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on April 11, 2017, 12:01:52 AM
Regarding the point about big business, I think movies like this will still be made. It will be either because of vanity projects, or feature really good actors who haven't made it yet and therefore don't inflate the budget. There are lots of idiosyncratic indie movies that fail to be good for whatever reason, but some are.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on April 11, 2017, 12:10:54 AM
They were gonna do a sequel but didn't make as much as they needed it to. Well, they still might but it's doubtful.

Should be 9.5/10!
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 11, 2017, 09:02:09 AM
They were gonna do a sequel but didn't make as much as they needed it to. Well, they still might but it's doubtful.

Should be 9.5/10!

It would have been better if the villains had done anything of value. Blue face guy was funny though.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Byron The Bulp on April 11, 2017, 09:20:46 AM
That was like the best Hollywood movie of last year
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on April 11, 2017, 09:37:46 AM
Better than any stupid capeshit anyone here tells you to watch.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on April 12, 2017, 01:49:29 AM
Gonna throw out this one as a rec down the road for 909, from 1996, that has a pretty great cast and is available on Amazon Prime. Actually won an Oscar for Best Sound Effects Editing

The Ghost and the Darkness about a bridge engineer and hunter who pursue 2 lions killing off local construction workers in 1896 Africa.

Stars Michael Douglas, Val Kilmer, Tom Wilkinson, John Kani, and Bernard Hill.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 12, 2017, 10:31:40 AM
Gonna throw out this one as a rec down the road for 909, from 1996, that has a pretty great cast and is available on Amazon Prime. Actually won an Oscar for Best Sound Effects Editing

The Ghost and the Darkness about a bridge engineer and hunter who pursue 2 lions killing off local construction workers in 1896 Africa.

Stars Michael Douglas, Val Kilmer, Tom Wilkinson, John Kani, and Bernard Hill.

I listed that, Rocky, Bone Tomahawk, Ex Machina, and Nightcrawler.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 12, 2017, 10:34:33 AM
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/e/e6/Dr._Strangelove_poster.jpg/220px-Dr._Strangelove_poster.jpg)

Dr. Strangelove

With our current political situation being what it is, it may not have been the best time to watch this film. While AFI ranked it 3rd on their list of funniest movies, it wasn't particularly funny to me at all. I didn't dislike it, but it's hard for jokes like the ones in this movie to be funny at this time. The character of Dr. Strangelove I found grating. Unfortunately, the character seemed very dated.

That being said, many of the main characters were quite intriguing. George C. Scott's role as General Turgidson was the best of them. I found everything he said to be very interesting and in a movie where I had to pause it a few times to deal with a few things, I was sure to finish his monologues before doing so. Peter Sellers as Captain Mandrake was one of them. I didn't realize that he also played the President, and finding out that he did so was quite a surprise. His attempts to persuade the also amusing Jack D. Ripper were enjoyable. Ripper was one of the things that bothered me the most about the movie, in fact. I tried to put my political views to the side, but you could substitute a few words in place of just two or three things he said and find those views well represented in our current government. Lastly, Slim Pickens playing the chucklefuck peckerwood flying the B-52 was both enjoyable and disturbing given how many people would sign right up to do such a duty.

That's the overall point of the movie of course, and it certainly wasn't lost on me. Perhaps I'd have liked the film more had these satirical aspects exposed any truths to me rather than reinforce things that I already believe. It was a very good movie, of course. At 94 minutes, it was sure to be finished before any of the gags had gone too far south. Some movies should take the message. I thought the cinematography was great and I believe I've read before that the movie helped popularize some of the more familiar camera shots and set pieces that were in it.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 12, 2017, 05:46:18 PM
(http://cdn2.thr.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/landscape_928x523/2015/11/rocky_pub01_-_h_2015.jpg)

Rocky

That it took so long for me to finally watch Rocky is quite frankly embarrassing, but now that I've done it all I can think about is one aspect of the movie. It's Rocky's fight to feel better about himself. That he fought the world champion is obviously a major part of the story, but I don't think that's what the movie was about at all.

The part when he picks a kid off the corner and walks them to their house, only to get called a creep stuck with me throughout the movie. It wasn't so much that he was called a creep as his reaction to it. The movie is very emotionally involving if you don't know what's going to happen, and even though this sounds like complete head in the sand stuff, I truly didn't. What's great about it is that nothing really comes out of nowhere, and there isn't a stupid introduction into the movie that shakes up things. No bad plot devices here. There's no Rocky winning the fight on five weeks notice, because that just wouldn't happen and was especially unfathomable so long ago. If this movie was made now, there's no doubt Adrian would break up with him and we'd be left to wonder if they'd inevitably get back together, but not in this one. I wouldn't be surprised if that happened in one of the sequels, but it's irrelevant as I don't really want to know. It doesn't even matter, really. People have distilled the American Dream into owning material possessions, but what it's really about to me is empowerment to feel better about yourself. This country is supposed to give people opportunity, and maybe it doesn't now, but that's what it's supposed to be about.

Every supporting cast character played their part excellently. Burt Young was particularly great as Paulie, but if there's any flaw in the story it lies with his relationship with Rocky. I don't know anyone who would act as Rocky's character did, then allow Paulie to treat their girlfriend like that and still remain Paulie's friend. Sure, a lot of scumbags would let their girlfriend be treated like that by their brother, but Rocky Balboa wasn't portrayed as that kind of person. It is a big flaw in the story, but it's not the worst thing I've ever seen. Other than that, it really is a flawless story. I probably won't watch the sequels immediately, I'll spread them out over time to avoid getting burned out on the characters.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on April 12, 2017, 11:15:00 PM
Rocky lets Paulie do that because he's got low self esteem. He's a tough guy but a bit dumb and insecure. Good review though, I agree the movie is more about Rocky trying to be the best he can be so he can be satisfied with himself. He was an underachiever who took the wrong path and this is his shot at redemption.

Kind of but not really a spoiler, but the tone of this movie is far different from the rest. Don't go into the others expecting the same depth, you have to accept them for what they are. They still have their moments but they were churned out to make money after the first one unexpectedly became the biggest worldwide hit of the year.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kotzenjunge on April 13, 2017, 09:30:16 AM
What's your animated, domestic or foreign, film knowledge like?
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 13, 2017, 09:33:44 AM
What's your animated, domestic or foreign, film knowledge like?

I don't really watch animated movies. Rest of my film knowledge could be classified as shit.

I don't know if you have time or care to go down this list, but these are all the movies I've seen. Went back a while to try and remember all the movies I saw when I was a kid. The ratings there don't really mean anything.

http://www.imdb.com/user/ur18263803/ratings?start=1&view=detail&sort=title:asc&defaults=1&my_ratings=restrict&scb=0.7082016999785161
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kotzenjunge on April 13, 2017, 01:32:52 PM
Okay then, go check out Akira then. 1988 Anime film which is so well done it's frightening. Visually alone it's mindblowing, but the story is good too *if you're able to keep track of it.* It's also a long animated movie at two hours, but the story of the comic upon which it's based is something crazy like 2-3 times longer. Make sure you can watch the Japanese version with subtitles. It will help immensely in understanding what's going on as a whole. It's at 8.1 on IMDB and had a very large hand in popularizing Anime that went way beyond Voltron and Speed Racer and campy stuff that Americans were used to seeing from Japan.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on April 13, 2017, 02:05:33 PM
he's not gonna watch any annie may
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on April 13, 2017, 04:02:02 PM
I've been trying for like a decade to get him to watch something anything. Doesn't matter how beloved/acclaimed it is he don't bite. :(
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 13, 2017, 05:03:14 PM
It's just not my thing. The likelihood is that I would dump all over it or not finish watching.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 13, 2017, 05:39:32 PM
(https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/337e76878fe4297c37b547ada1e6f8bba0c6cbb3/c=0-19-595-355&r=x329&c=580x326/local/-/media/2015/02/11/USATODAY/USATODAY/635592620464938948-Jake.png)

Nightcrawler

This is a perfect image to use, as for the most part that's the feeling I had while watching this. While Nightcrawler is to some extent a one man show on the part of Jake Gyllenhaal, calling it that would be a disservice to the other actors in the movie. Rene Russo in particular plays a major part as a news director, one which wants to present the news in a way that people are used to. Graphic images, a large focus on crimes against middle and upper class families, usually committed by minorities or people who look like they belong to the fringe class. These are all things people in Los Angeles are familiar with. As somebody who spent nearly all of my formative and adult years in Los Angeles, such presentations are as common as eating a bowl of cereal.

Nearly all of the characters in this movie are part of this game, but none understand it as much as those played by Gyllenhaal and Russo. Of course, with Gyllenhall being the producer of the footage, he holds some leverage in the game. Russo needs the footage in order to keep her job, so she's more than willing to go along. His character does do highly unprofessional things that probably wouldn't happen, but do you really know that? This is a country where our reporters stand outside during the middle of hurricanes and order people to stay indoors. This is a country where people chase tornadoes in order to make a buck. At least to a point, are the things in this movie really that hard to believe? I'd say no. Riz Ahmed is excellent as the intern in this movie. He is deliberately kept in the dark, and the impression given is that he has no idea what the game being played actually is.

There is certainly a point where things start to go overboard, but this is a movie and the primary function is to entertain. Everything listed below would certainly qualify as overboard. There's a difference between dragging a body into a more prominent position for your shot (if you think this has never happened, you're stupid) and getting people killed. Bill Paxton was great in another bit part. He was Gyllenhaal's competition, and to some extent his inspiration. Once he's about to take back his place as the primary provider of shock footage, Gyllenhaal cuts his brakes. The major set piece of the movie is both excellent and ridiculous at the same time. I didn't enjoy the explanation that was provided to the intern as to why he needed to do what was asked of him, as I thought it was something that would have been better left unsaid. The car chase was an excellent scene. With something like that and the cost of shooting in Los Angeles, it's actually incredible that the budget was $8.5m. It seems impossible. I was hoping at some point that somebody would catch onto Louis Bloom's game, and while somebody did, there was quite obviously no proof of anything that he did wrong. I'm not sure the closing scene was needed, as it felt like being beaten over the head.

Ultimately Gyllenhaal's performance was so good, and so much unlike the perception I've gotten when watching other movies that he's in, that most of the negative points don't really matter to me. I also liked that the movie wasn't funny in any way whatsoever, unless you consider "oh fuck" type moments to be funny. I'm trying not to rewatch any movies until I see at least a few hundred more, but it will be difficult not to show this to somebody else.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on April 13, 2017, 07:21:07 PM
It's just not my thing. The likelihood is that I would dump all over it or not finish watching.

I know but i'd like to see you take the plunge someday. You might just surprise yourself. If not then it just confirms things and nothing is lost. I actually used to be extremely anti-anime too! now look at me!
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on April 13, 2017, 10:01:52 PM
It's just not my thing. The likelihood is that I would dump all over it or not finish watching.

I know but i'd like to see you take the plunge someday. You might just surprise yourself. If not then it just confirms things and nothing is lost. I actually used to be extremely anti-anime too! now look at me!

I find that very, very hard to believe...
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kotzenjunge on April 13, 2017, 10:37:18 PM
I feel ya, 909. I'm not a huge anime mark at all, but Akira feels way more like an animated action movie than some weird Japanese shit. If the first ten minutes don't have you wanting to watch more I'd be surprised.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Byron The Bulp on April 13, 2017, 11:09:30 PM
I feel ya, 909. I'm not a huge anime mark at all, but Akira feels way more like an animated action movie than some weird Japanese shit.

(https://media.giphy.com/media/3IBlLDyyWiBUc/giphy.gif)
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kotzenjunge on April 14, 2017, 03:25:56 AM
I meant more as a percentage of the movie, of course it gets fucking crazy eventually. It's only 90-10 straightforward/weird. Could be worse.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 14, 2017, 03:35:31 AM
If I do it, I will do it the Monday Nitro way with it being a complete surprise. TUNE IN NEXT WEEK TO FIND OUT
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on April 14, 2017, 03:40:28 AM
I'm waiting for the inevatible breakup of a review at the halfway mark with a pic of Schiavone going, "We're out of time, folks! This is absolute mayhem! Tune in next week for more Nitro reviewed action!"
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on April 14, 2017, 05:12:30 AM
Review the Royal Tenenbaums.

Also, review 48 Hours.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on April 14, 2017, 05:13:24 AM
And Prisoners
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on April 14, 2017, 06:58:58 AM
oh wait I think I've only suggested one movie and just talked shit the rest of the time... hmm

Watch Moon if you haven't seen it
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 14, 2017, 07:29:05 AM
Haven't seen anything mentioned in the last few posts.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on April 14, 2017, 08:15:48 AM
Actually re-watched Royal Tenenbaums recently and found that to be even better as a black comedy than the first time I watched it. Also a lot of great performances throughout.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 14, 2017, 05:51:30 PM
There are spoilers below, so if you don't want to know, turn around and exit the thread.

(https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/572504290736881664/OsPi4zOB.png)

Ex Machina

Receiving recommendations and deliberately attempting to not spoil the plot of a movie for myself really paid of with this rather interesting film. I don't have an extensive knowledge of independent movies, but films with a cast of four people are generally right up my alley. Having to keep track of less people can be a massive bonus, and in this instance allows the viewer to become heavily interested in characters. While the film did have four characters (and a helicopter pilot), there were really only three who would appear to play a major part as the movie went on.

The movie opens with a programmer named Caleb (Domnhall Gleeson). Caleb works for a company called Bluebook, and he wins a trip to the home of his company's CEO, Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Unbeknownst to Caleb, he was flown to Nathan's home in order to administer a test to an AI that Nathan was developing, called Ava (Alicia Vikander). The test is more in terms of being able to believe that the AI is capable of independent thought rather than its ability to function. There are aspects that are revealed to clearly be lacking. Emotion is obviously one of them, probably the greatest example being a lack of empathy. While Ava is a lifelike robot, she lacks skin in all places other than the face, hands, and feet. Regardless of that, Caleb clearly becomes attracted to her, and the test proceeds down an interesting path. There are conversations between the AI and Caleb that Caleb is unwilling to relay to Nathan, but there's also something that Nathan is clearly not telling him. Vikander's performance as an AI was excellent. That's not an easy role to be playing. The visual effects in this movie were outstanding. While an independent film, it had a decent sized budget given the small cast and setting, and it's clear to see how that was put to use. I cannot say enough how good the visual effects were. They won an Academy Award, which speaks for itself.

While I did enjoy the movie, I thought that aspects of the finish unraveled far too quickly. I was left with some questions that I shouldn't have had, and completely fail to understand why the helicopter pilot left Nathan's home without Caleb. Could he have done anything? Not really. It's just strange. The closing scenes with the four characters were a shock that I wasn't expecting, and I found them to be a little rushed. When Caleb was left locked underground with a dead Nathan, that didn't surprise me nearly as much as it should have. There was no reason whatsoever for Ava to be empathetic towards Caleb, when you think about it. When it was her turn to question him, he repeatedly lied to her. He did not tell her there were other AI before her, which she found out when Kyoko showed up. The last thing that made the 'surprise' not entirely surprising was that Ava knew their conversations were being monitored by a battery powered camera, and chose to keep that information from Caleb.

One of the things I liked about the movie was that everything in it up to a certain point can be gleaned simply from paying attention. The dance scene was probably the only one where you could turn your brain off. It was clear based on the videos of the other AI that inevitably, an AI would be like anyone else. Nobody wants to be trapped, and everyone would look for means for an escape in such a situation. Ava was able to process and deduce the most logical way to get out of there, that's all it was. The statements about data collection were rather vapid, so I didn't pay much attention to them nor think about them afterward. This wasn't a great movie, but it was good with one great performance. I bet a lot of people who've seen this reacted with glee to Ava escaping, which shows a complete lack of ignorance much like Caleb in the movie. Now that I think about it, such a thought makes me like the movie even more.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 15, 2017, 06:09:35 PM
(http://www.joblo.com/newsimages1/ghost-cb1.jpg)

The Ghost and the Darkness

This is something I immediately assumed I'd like once the movie started. It was based on a true story, which in theory should be no problem. A colonel named John Patterson (Val Kilmer) is sent to British East Africa (Kenya) in order to get a railroad bridge built on schedule. The project had become sidetracked, and as the movie goes on it's clear to see why. Workers are fairly routinely dragged off and killed by two lions, both of which repeat this cycle until Patterson's boss arrives. Once his boss arrives, it is made clear that help is needed. One of the work foremen named Samuel (John Kani) was of very little help other than moral support. Along comes a hunter named Remington (Michael Douglas), who has the know-how to take care of this problem and get things back on track. Except he doesn't, and the warriors he brings with him do not want to participate in the hunt once Patterson's gun misfires. Around this point, the movie starts to fall apart.

For an extremely skilled and reputable hunter to make one mistake is one thing, but as the story goes on, Remington makes one mistake after another. He has the working crew build a second hospital and set traps in the first one in order to lure the lions there, but instead they go to the second hospital and kill everyone including the doctor (Bernard Hill). Obviously this presents a major problem, as this shouldn't happen with a skilled hunter onboard, but Remington is highly incompetent. After a series of goofy events in which Patterson sits on top of a structure, falls down, and still kills one of the lions, Patterson then has a dream about his wife arriving at the site and being attacked by the lion. This was a horrible plot device because for some reason I thought it was actually happening, and the reaction I gave was not good. After Patterson wakes up from the dream, he finds that Remington has been dragged off and killed in the nearby savanna. I was actually glad when this happened as Douglas was completely wasted in this role. Remington's death also happened off screen, which defies description. Patterson then lights the field on fire, gets chased up a tree by the remaining lion, jumps down after failing to catch a gun thrown by the aforementioned helpless Samuel, and shoots the lion to kill it. After his wife arrives, that's the end of the whole deal.

I used this many words to describe this movie in order for people to understand the entire plot before they watch it, because there's certainly a possibility somebody would regret watching this. Remington didn't exist in actuality, which stretches based on a true story to another level. There were characters that were killed off far too soon. Angus Starling (Brian McCardie), was one that was trying to convert a largely Hindu and Muslim crew. The few lines he got were pretty amusing. The doctor should not have been killed at all, and the fake death of Patterson's wife and son still annoys me as I'm writing this out. Of course, there were things about the movie that I liked. I thought Val Kilmer gave a good performance even though it defies description that he never grew a beard or longer hair after weeks upon weeks of his workers being slaughtered by lions. The lions themselves were clever, which is a relief in movies like this one. There was also a shit-stirrer named Abdullah (Om Puri) who constantly riled up the workers by making attacks on Patterson's character. The line about Patterson being able to solve the problem because he's white that made me laugh pretty hard. In fact, Abdullah was a major reason I didn't outright hate the movie. I also liked that the ending was rushed, because the hunt for the lions probably dragged on too long. The death of the second lion was quick and to the point. This still wasn't the worst way to spend two hours.

Ultimately, it turns out that Michael Douglas had a major impact on the production of this film, and in effect ruined it. The overarching story about the lions is decent considering how long it was drawn out, but his character is just beyond the pale in terms of its stupidity. That somebody would make their character look this stupid is the funniest part.

5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on April 15, 2017, 11:56:02 PM
Yeah, I agree with a lot of what you said. I probably liked it more than you did but that's because I enjoy Val Kilmer's work and I loved a lot of the cinematography and nature shots. I also enjoyed Angus' character and wish he had stuck around in the story longer than he did, same for the character of Abdullah.

The movie does fall apart when Remington shows up and Douglas annoyingly suddenly takes center stage from Val's character after his arrival. I figured Remington's involvement was a major stretching of the 'Based on a True Story' aspect.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on April 16, 2017, 08:13:26 AM
fuck you actually watched that movie eh, I knew it was failed big budget art when I saw the commercials back in the day and saw what it did to The Big Valbowski's career. Sorry, shoulda warned ya.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 16, 2017, 10:28:47 AM
fuck you actually watched that movie eh, I knew it was failed big budget art when I saw the commercials back in the day and saw what it did to The Big Valbowski's career. Sorry, shoulda warned ya.

Doesn't matter man, I still would have watched it. Have to judge for myself.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: AA484 on April 16, 2017, 10:31:26 AM
I enjoyed reading your Sopranos rewatches.  Maybe Goodfellas or Casino at some point?
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 16, 2017, 10:50:12 AM
I enjoyed reading your Sopranos rewatches.  Maybe Goodfellas or Casino at some point?

I'll review those eventually, but I just watched large parts of them again not that long ago.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on April 16, 2017, 10:55:41 AM
fuck you actually watched that movie eh, I knew it was failed big budget art when I saw the commercials back in the day and saw what it did to The Big Valbowski's career. Sorry, shoulda warned ya.

Doesn't matter man, I still would have watched it. Have to judge for myself.

yeah I didn't do that because I didn't watch it, and now will never watch it thanks to you
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 16, 2017, 11:09:18 AM
(http://schmoesknow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/3348657-1531159613-thor_.jpg)

Thor: The Dark World

Everyone should certainly be familiar with the Marvel formula by the time you've watched 9 MCU movies, and after seeing so many of them it's time for them to bring something else to the table. The box office numbers would indicate that everyone has seen this, so there's no reason to explain the plot of the movie. Let's just go over what was good and what was bad.

As for what was good, I very much liked seeing Heimdall (Idris Elba) finally get to do something in this series. What he did was irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but it feels like a waste to have such a good actor in a minor part. Unlike in the first Thor, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) was on screen a lot, and played his part pretty well. It's also always nice to see Natalie Portman on screen for obvious reasons. Not to sound like a pervert, but she's just nice to look at and that's the fact of it. I also liked Thor and Loki's plan to destroy the Aether, even though it didn't work. Tom Hiddleston has been good as Loki each time, this was obviously no exception. The mid-credits scene somewhat redeemed the ending, and it left me with questions of the good kind.

Regardless of that, there were actually a lot of things I didn't care for. The ending was absolutely befuddling. I don't know what happens with Odin and I don't want to know, but I found that very confusing. I also think there were far too many characters in the movie, and I know I can't be the only one who thinks so. Too many scenes with Frigga (Rene Russo) were left on the cutting room floor while making both movies, so seeing Thor's mother get killed had absolutely no impact on me. The Convergence was extremely poorly explained and that's a problem, but the action scenes at the climax of the film did do a job of explaining it to some degree. Most of all, it's the lack of ability to use the gigantic cast that I found to be a problem. At some point they need to give freedom to a good director and allow them to do whatever they want within certain boundaries, but they probably never will do that if they haven't done it already and I'm unaware of it.

I didn't outright hate this movie, but I didn't love it either. I preferred the first Thor movie, and I'm pretty sure this is the worst of the MCU up to Guardians of the Galaxy, which I'll be watching next weekend. What the Marvel formula requires is for the bit part characters to shine when given any opportunity to speak or do anything, and that didn't quite happen here. Malekith wasn't a great villain as the part required pretty much no acting. Overall, the movie is the same. They broke shit, and the three characters that mattered most (Thor, Foster, Loki) were all pretty good.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 17, 2017, 06:32:29 PM
(http://www.austinchronicle.com/binary/6fcf/screens_feature6.jpg)

Bone Tomahawk

I'm a fan of the western genre, so it was inevitable that I'd give this a look. If someone tells me Kurt Russell is in a western, I'm going to watch it. It's just that simple. The trick is that the closing stretch of the movie goes much more in line of that of a horror movie, and it's a damn good one. Were this a more popular movie, I can see people getting a little upset about the portrayal of the Troglodytes. To put it bluntly, they are savages. They will capture people and eat them. It is made clear in an earlier scene that Native Americans don't consider them anything other than troglodytes, so there's nothing necessarily wrong with the portrayal here.

Things start off with Purvis (David Arquette) and Buddy (Sid Haig) killing travelers. They hear horses approaching while in the middle of their robbery, and wind up trampling on a burial ground. That leads to Buddy being killed, and Purvis making the long journey to Bright Hope. To make a long story short, the Troglodytes tracked him there. When Purvis is treated by a doctor named Samantha (Lili Simmons), the Troglodytes capture both of them along with a deputy sheriff, and make their escape to a cave quite far away. In typical western fashion, it's then time to round up a posse. Samantha's husband Arthur O'Dwyer (Patrick Wilson), deputy Chicory (Richard Jenkins), the Sheriff (Kurt Russell), and John Brooder (Matthew Fox) are the foursome that intends to make the rescue. The problem is that Arthur has a broken leg, and there are incidents along the way that force him to be left behind as the other three attempt to rescue Samantha. At least in the eyes of two of them, anyway.

I was surprised by how easily it was to like the cast. Fox was the loose cannon (a role everyone's accustomed to from his time on Lost), Russell was the steady leader, Wilson is the good guy, and Jenkins is the rambler. Jenkins was particularly excellent. For a large portion of the first 75 minutes, the movie was very heavy on dialogue and on showing Wilson struggle to keep up with his traveling partners. Jenkins' character kept things from becoming monotonous, and I was surprised by how well the foursome came together on screen. Seeing David Arquette in a movie like this sounds like a joke, but it really wasn't. Lili Simmons as Samantha O'Dwyer seemed very out of place, though. Far too good looking for a western role, and her delivery was too modern. The movie was also very low budget considering the genre, so as far as cinematography goes, you take what you can get. There was also no score, so good dialogue was required or the entire thing would have fallen apart. I was careful not to spoil anything, because I think other people should watch this. I said things became a horror movie, and that's true. I was on the edge of my seat, but there was only one part so gory I had to turn away. By so gory I had to turn away, take into account what I said about Green Room. You'll know it when you're about to see it, so it's up to you if you want to see something like that.

The story was very good, so as far as that goes there isn't much to say about the way it played out on film. It's more because of the cast than anything else, as this movie really could have used just a bit more inspiration and ingenuity from the director for everything to come off right.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on April 18, 2017, 02:54:11 AM
Kind of but not really a spoiler, but the tone of this movie is far different from the rest. Don't go into the others expecting the same depth, you have to accept them for what they are. They still have their moments but they were churned out to make money after the first one unexpectedly became the biggest worldwide hit of the year.
III and IV, yeah, but II, V, and Balboa are more along the lines of the original.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on April 18, 2017, 02:24:24 PM
Encino Man.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on April 18, 2017, 04:08:46 PM
Action Jackson
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on April 18, 2017, 10:31:23 PM
Hellgate
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oA_kHmPZs2o
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 19, 2017, 06:03:39 PM
(https://s3.amazonaws.com/criterion-production/images/4239-6ff192c0084a552f1451ccd137757445/Tenebaums_Current__large.jpg)

The Royal Tenenbaums

I'm dropping the plot summary because in truth I don't think anyone gives a shit, plus you can find that on Wikipedia. I didn't know what to expect when I turned this on, specifically because I've never seen anything by the director, Wes Anderson. I think his films look strange, and because of that I've simply avoided them. The thing is, now that I've seen this one, I feel an obligation to watch everything the director's done before.

As soon as I saw Ben Stiller when I went to watch this, I was automatically put in a mood where I believed I wouldn't like anything about this. It takes a lot for me to enjoy a movie that he's in, but in a supporting role that wasn't any problem at all. I have the same feeling about Luke and Owen Wilson, but in this instance I didn't give a shit. Why didn't I give a shit? The story in this movie was excellent. All the Tenenbaums are so obviously lonely, and to some degree I think everyone's had those feelings before. If you haven't, then you're not human and your assumption would be that this is merely a quirky, goofy movie. Gene Hackman as Royal Tenenbaum was my favorite character. The movie is to some degree engineered for that to be the case. Royal is so obviously a phony, yet once he worms his way back into the family picture, that aspect slowly slides away as he begins to enjoy himself. His ploy to bring the family together was intriguing, but this movie did things right in having that exposed around the halfway point rather than in the third act. Fortunately, doing that so soon gave the opportunity for the third act to be fleshed out properly. Hackman's kitchen scene with Danny Glover was particularly enjoyable, and I was glad to see the back and forth spur Glover's character to action. There's no weakness in the cast and no character that seems to drag things down when they're on the screen. Bill Murray didn't say much, but when his character found out they were being cheated on, the delivery of his lines was perfect. I'm glad to see a movie where a performance like Gwyneth Paltrow's Margot isn't beaten over your head. Clearly she's troubled, but the reasons why are better left a mystery. While part of it was feeling like she wasn't part of the family, it seems obvious that there's something more.

The movie contains too much content to cover, so there's no way I can possibly address everything. It doesn't surprise me that there are people who don't care for this movie, and the movie being complicated is part of that. There are lots of goobers who think physical humor is a requirement in a comedy, and it seems like the general public needs to have their hands held and told when to laugh. You will get none of those things if you watch this. I didn't care for Anjelica Huston's character all that much, as it felt like some of her scenes were left on the cutting room floor. That's probably not true, as she continued to work with Anderson afterward. The direction in this film is also strange. I'm not accustomed to seeing wide shots like these, and the quick zooming messed with my eyes, but most people know I have a bit of a problem with my eyes. The narrative style in the first third of the movie was odd, but I enjoyed it. I can certainly see why people would detest it. The costumes were absolutely bizarre, but that's part of the charm. Given the style, it surprises me this film made money. All in all, this movie isn't for some people, but I'm not one of those people. I could watch it a few times over. If you don't like this, you're probably stupid.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 19, 2017, 06:04:56 PM
I watched this while buzzed too, so. The scene where Luke Wilson slit his wrists was surprising, but given the family dynamic I should have expected one of them to do it.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Lord of The Curry on April 20, 2017, 02:00:22 AM
"I've had a rough year, dad" still gets to me and I've probably watched that movie ten times or more.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on April 20, 2017, 03:11:19 AM
If you want to see another Wes Anderson flick, I'd recommend Rushmore with Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray. Anderson directed that one just before he did The Royal Tenenbaums.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 20, 2017, 04:59:48 AM
If you want to see another Wes Anderson flick, I'd recommend Rushmore with Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray. Anderson directed that one just before he did The Royal Tenenbaums.

I'm gonna watch all of them, not immediately though.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on April 20, 2017, 05:12:22 AM
You still doing prisoners?
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 20, 2017, 05:37:47 AM
Yeah this weekend.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: tekcop on April 20, 2017, 05:59:19 AM
You absolutely should watch all of Wes Anderson's movies someday.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 21, 2017, 06:05:17 PM
(http://static.wixstatic.com/media/9625d4_c8d5078b8bb642cfa9d2ee470801094a.jpg)

Moon

Moon is probably a movie that I should have known more about given the performance of Sam Rockwell, but going into it I had no idea what I was going to see. I picked this up from the library so I probably should have read the back of the box, but after doing so just now, it revealed far more information than I would have wanted to know. If you like the concept of cloning, or are interested in it in any way, this movie is for you.

I was extremely surprised to find out that's what the movie was about. The hallucinations made me think the plot was headed along the lines of the supernatural, but that's not at all what happened. The film is set in 2035 and the particulars are something I'd expect to happen should humans ever acquire the capability to do these things. A corporation has decided to mine the Moon for Helium-3, which is in reality believed to exist in a large capacity there. Rather than put humans through the extreme emotional toll (as well as the cost) of spending three years all alone but for a robot, the company decided to use clones. That's an unethical kettle of fish, but you don't find this out until later in the movie. By the time someone would near the end of their three years, the body of the worker will begin to break down, and be killed under the guise of being sent home.

The incident that leads to some of these discoveries is delightfully confusing. It takes the better part of 40 minutes after the incident to discover what's going on, but there's nothing wrong with that at all. Over the course of those forty minutes, we get to see Sam Rockwell fight himself, and some pretty sad surprises. I thought New Sam was going to kill Old Sam during their fight, but in hindsight that would have ruined the entire movie. The movie was great in explaining these things as I don't really have any questions about what happened at Sarang Station. You can certainly tell this movie was done at low cost, but it's still surprising given how many visual effects were needed for the thing to come together. I particularly enjoyed the use of the moon rover. This was by no means a flawed movie, but I feel like there could have been some tweak to the story to turn this into a classic. It's a very good movie with a very good story, but it does feel like it's missing something. I can't put my finger on what. There's not enough to say about Rockwell's performance, though. He was very effective in playing two distinctly different characters, regardless of their appearance. Old Sam was more scatterbrained and plain weird, but New Sam was focused to a degree bordering on sociopathic. The ending was great, but I can't help but think a company like that would have tracked the coordinates of the landing and had Sam executed.

It's a fairly similar movie to Ex Machina, but I did slightly prefer Ex Machina. I liked them both a lot.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Hawk 34 on April 22, 2017, 02:28:05 PM
Throw these in the suggestion pile (all available on Netflix)

Spotlight
Dope
Fruitvale Station
Adventureland
Burn After Reading
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 22, 2017, 02:34:40 PM
Seen Burn After Reading, but the rest will go in.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on April 22, 2017, 03:39:07 PM
here's the big list, most of it is important movies but theres some personal ones as well like stargate and faceoff

The General   1926   
The Great Dictator   1940   
Modern Times   1936   
Rio Bravo   1959   
A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (the man with no name trilogy)   
Seven Samurai   1954   
Spartacus   1960   
Life of Brian   1979   
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid   1969   
North by Northwest   1959   
The Battle of Algiers   1966   
Ong-bak   2003   
The Bridge on the River Kwai   1957   
The Hustler   1961   
Slap Shot   1977   
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre   1948   
All Quiet on the Western Front   1930   
Drunken Master   1978   
Mad Max: Fury Road   2015   
The Wolf of Wall Street   2013   
The Princess Bride   1987   
The Martian   2015
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest   1975   
The Usual Suspects   1995   
Unforgiven   1992   
Braveheart   1995   
Lincoln   2012   
Edge of Tomorrow   2014
The Magnificent Seven      
A History of Violence   2005   
Face/Off   1997   
Stargate   1994   
Citizen Kane   1941   
The Sting   1973   
Beasts of No Nation   2015   
Network   1976   
Cool Hand Luke    1967   
The Manchurian Candidate   1962   
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on April 22, 2017, 09:43:56 PM
don't watch any of those, who recommends 30 movies at once?

Watch ANY GIVEN SUNDAY BRO HOW HAVE YOU NEVER SEEN THIS MOVIE
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Lord of The Curry on April 24, 2017, 12:00:47 AM
THAT'S GONNA MAKE THE FUCKING DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING AND LOSING

BETWEEN LIVIN' AND DYIN'
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on April 24, 2017, 01:12:43 AM
Willy Beamen is tailor made for 909, gotta watch that ASAP.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on April 24, 2017, 05:11:29 AM
(http://mais20min.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/the-shinig.jpg)

Waiting on Prisoners
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 24, 2017, 05:13:20 AM
Today man. I rented it so I have to watch it today, but the basketball was too good yesterday to not watch.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on April 24, 2017, 05:15:57 AM
Hope you saw the Barca game, too
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 24, 2017, 05:54:01 PM
Hope you saw the Barca game, too

Nah, too busy watching Houston/OKC, but I did see the highlights and laughed hard at the final goal.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 24, 2017, 06:34:35 PM
(http://img.wennermedia.com/article-leads-horizontal/rs-150408-20130919-prisoners-x624-1379619725.jpg)

Prisoners

Prisoners is a film I should have known more about considering it inhabits one of my favorite genre spaces and features two actors whose work I generally enjoy, but in typical fashion I didn't know shit about it or even that it existed. When you do a few bullshit popcorn movies like Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal have done, you get the creative freedom and money to do whatever you want. This movie is a pretty good example of that. It always surprises me when movies with such heavy subject matter and a lack of blockbuster style action scenes make money, but maybe it shouldn't surprise me at all. Once again, it's a Denis Villeneuve movie that I enjoy a lot. I'll have to check out Enemy one of these times.

The short version of the plot is that Hugh Jackman's daughter and her friend both get kidnapped. Gyllenhaal's character is a police officer given the name of Detective Loki, and he's investigating the case. Unbeknownst to him, so is Jackman, who tortures a mentally handicapped character named Alex Jones (Paul Dano) in order to get to the truth of what happened. It was really funny when everyone was treating Alex Jones like shit, just because it's Alex Jones, you know. I know they have to give characters names, but sometimes it's hard to care about them whatsoever, considering I see Wolverine beating somebody up without taking his claws out. It just is what it is. Jones looked like a total pervert, which helped make the movie feel a little more realistic. The movie is over 150 minutes long, so it's inevitable that I'll gloss over characters. Jackman's character enlists the father of his daughter's kidnapped friend (Terrence Howard), and ultimately he's not strong enough to keep the torture going without telling somebody. Once that happens, you don't see much of him or his wife (Viola Davis) for the rest of the movie.

In the end, the film is very much like True Detective, and that's probably why I liked it so much. Detective Loki has quirks of his own, just as Rust Cohle has. I don't know how anyone could pull this one off, but Gyllenhaal somehow did a very consistent facial tic throughout the entire movie. It gave the appearance that he was on edge and processing a lot of information. The realization that Jackman was torturing another kidnap victim hit me hard at the end. Throughout the movie, all I could think was that he was playing a fake tough guy. It doesn't take a lot of balls to attack a retarded guy or kidnap him, does it? He was picking on somebody who was totally unable to defend himself or verbalize his thoughts, while his wife (Maria Bello) sat home drugged up all day. Alex Jones was never going to reveal anything to him because he wasn't able to. That his 'aunt' was the actual kidnapper was a good reveal. While people would say "he should have known they were doing something wrong," that's not how it works with people like that. I know because I've been around two of them. Anyway, I thought Jackman was also great at exhibiting genuine rage. It's not often actors are able to pull that off

The movie was very intense, and obviously any of the descriptions I've just given would reflect that. I think there may have been a few too many side plots thrown in, but I don't have any complaints about them. I think a bigger deal was that the way Detective Loki figured out the case was just too typical for any Hollywood movie. I've rarely seen anything different, though. Obviously for some, the run time would be a huge deal and obstacle. It wasn't too long, but a lot of other people seem to think so. I've only seen two of Villeneuve's movies to this point, but I think there are some similarities between this and Sicario. Obviously, he's pretty good at keeping things a mystery. Blade Runner 2049 is supposed to be about finding Deckard (I haven't seen the first one), so that's going to continue. Torture is another similarity. If we can be honest, the things he comes up with are fucking weird.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on April 24, 2017, 10:50:57 PM

In the end, the film is very much like True Detective

(http://static.buzznet.com/uploads/2012/01/msg-132794393568.jpg)
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 25, 2017, 04:13:09 AM

In the end, the film is very much like True Detective

(http://static.buzznet.com/uploads/2012/01/msg-132794393568.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCyzdQ8kqis
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on April 25, 2017, 05:58:53 AM
I always forget they made Alex Jones a retard  >:(
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 26, 2017, 06:58:11 PM
(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/video_previews/e/w/ewohf0dzqknk_gv22hx9spiodmctgngz-xlarge.jpg)

The Revenant, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

I searched for this film to see what the board said, and I couldn't find anything. That's either a sad statement about what this board's become, or a bad reflection on people's taste. The Revenant is quite possibly the most beautiful movie I've seen. The scenery was amazing. Shot in Canada, Montana, and Argentina, the beauty of those locations during winter was on full display. Shooting the movie was reportedly hell, and it's clear to see how that would be the case. At 156 minutes, just like Prisoners, this movie is certainly not for everyone. There is very little dialogue for long durations of the film and a hell of a lot of grunting. This wouldn't be one of those films where I'd call you stupid if you didn't like it.

Based on a true story (or a tall tale), Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) traversed the frontier after being mauled by a grizzly bear. His goal? To find Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), the man who killed his son. The movie opens with an incredible scene where Arikara warriors attack a group of fur trappers/hunters, which both Fitzgerald and Glass were part of. It was one of the best ways I've seen a movie hook a viewer in, but if someone thinks the whole movie is going to be like that, they're mistaken. After the escape, Glass is attacked by a grizzly bear in a scene only made possible by the advancement of visual effects, and thanks to that the viewer is privileged to see his flesh torn to shreds. Throughout the rest of the film, the Arikara are hunting down white men in search of a kidnapped girl named Powaqa (Melaw Nakehk'o). With the movie being a revenge story, I'll leave the rest to your imagination. You should watch it.

In actuality or at least according to the tale, Glass had his possessions stolen and wanted them back. He did not have a son, so the tale was stretched to an even taller degree. I don't care about this because the tale is probably not true to begin with. Despite loving the film, I thought there were some things people may find strange. If you're expecting a focused revenge story, where all the scenes feature the wronged party, that's simply not what you're going to get. There are flashbacks; as well as asides with Fitzgerald, the captain of the party (Domnhall Gleeson), French traders, and the aforementioned Arikara. As already mentioned, the movie is very long and at times there is little dialogue, which presents some issues. You have to follow the story yourself and maintain an investment level, so pausing the movie or watching it in two sittings isn't an option. My initial reaction is that the presentation of the Arikara may have been a problem, but the Arikara War was a real thing. I read Undaunted Courage a few months ago, and many of the tribes presented in the book had a problem with Americans, the Arikara being one of them. Some of them sent leaders to Washington DC during and after the explanation, and if the tribe felt their leader was disrespected, or if the leader got sick or died, there was a major problem. The attack presented at the start of the film was a real thing. I can also see some people having been very offended by the portrayal of the French traders, but I don't give a shit about people's feelings. The idea that frontier traders were honorable and deserve respect is absolutely ludicrous.

On the other hand, the performances in this film are incredible. The standout would have to be Tom Hardy as Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is a true, low-bottom piece of shit. The first few times you hear Hardy on screen, it's almost impossible to understand what he's actually saying. The accent he used is beyond description. After a few scenes, the viewer should get the hang of it, but it's a real mindfuck. I haven't seen every movie from 2015, but I feel like Hardy's performance deserved accolades that he did not recieve. DiCaprio's grunting is a big thing too. There's a few scenes later in the movie involving a horse that are a big change from that, but I felt like I could feel his pain. Of course, he won awards for that. There's not enough superlatives for his performance. This is as much a movie about fighting the elements as it is revenge. It looked so cold, and the scenes were so grand that it felt nobody had ever walked the territory before. Knowing that the ground is real makes it more impressive. The climax of the movie was great and I'll leave it at that.

Most of all, it's the vision of the director that shines through. I'll have to add some of his movies to the bunch I've been given to watch. The screenplay wasn't fantastic, but the locations chosen, the shots, and the big scenes made this movie shine. The film is more about emotion than talking. Is the movie philosophical and shit? Probably not. Is it too violent? Yes. I loved it though.

10/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 27, 2017, 07:08:09 AM
After sleeping on it, I feel like giving this a 10 because I want to watch the movie again, a day after watching it.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on April 27, 2017, 07:21:38 AM
People were kind of shitting on it after it came out and calling it boring, but I love The Revenant. It has great rewatch value and Hardy/Leo are incredible. I'm glad you enjoyed it that much.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Hawk 34 on April 27, 2017, 07:39:54 AM
Those people have short attention spans and probably aren't equipped to enjoy a movie like this.  That sounds pretentious as fuck but it's absolutely true. 

909 brought up awards with regards to DiCaprio and yes, it was a big part of the award season leading up to it about how Leo was "owed" the Oscar but make no mistake about it and virtually anyone who saw this performance will attest that Leo wasn't given an lifetime achievement victory here, it was earned in every degree.   Leo has done brilliant work since he was a goddamn teenager but this film is his crown jewel.

Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on April 27, 2017, 07:42:56 AM
I thought it looked like it sucked but I think I'll check it out now

Also thought Leo should've been nominated for The Departed

Also, just wanted to mention cause don't know where else to but Ryan Gosling has been in three of my favorite movies (Drive, The Place Beyond the Pines, and The Nice Guys)

909, you should review The Place Beyond the Pines
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: strummer on April 27, 2017, 08:16:14 AM
it was on cable this past weekend and I caught it. Absolutely fantastic.  Leo was obviously great and Tom Hardy may be my favorite actor working today
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 27, 2017, 09:17:02 AM
Those people have short attention spans and probably aren't equipped to enjoy a movie like this.  That sounds pretentious as fuck but it's absolutely true.

Well the movie is a little pretentious, so there's nothing wrong with that. The movie thrives on being visually stunning and has long stretches where people don't say anything. That triggers the fuck out of people. I'm sure people also believe the remote locations the movie was chosen to be filmed at were masturbatory. Maybe they were, but that makes the film a work of art in my mind.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on April 27, 2017, 09:36:17 AM
I tried to talk about it chat but people hadn't seen it and you didn't want me to spoil it. It's a great movie. Good depictions of the French.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 27, 2017, 09:45:01 AM
Quote
Some disgruntled crew members say that all of this could have been avoided if Iñárritu had been willing to compromise and use CGI for some scenes, an argument Iñárritu completely rejects. “If we ended up in green screen with coffee and everybody having a good time, everybody will be happy, but most likely the film would be a piece of shit,” he says.

Sounds like my kind of guy.

I tried to talk about it chat but people hadn't seen it and you didn't want me to spoil it. It's a great movie. Good depictions of the French.

They were, and I googled it to see people's reactions and apparently some were upset over it. What's crazy is when a movie portrays one group of people as being like that, and the assumption is "SO YOU THINK ALL FRENCH PEOPLE WERE LIKE THIS, HUH? FUCK YOU BUDDY."
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Lord of The Curry on April 28, 2017, 06:22:29 AM
The bear attack scene was probably one of the most terrifying things I've seen on screen in recent memory. Just horrific.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 29, 2017, 05:41:11 PM
(http://cdn5.thr.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/landscape_928x523/2012/09/sevenpsychopaths_01_medium_a_l.jpg)

Seven Psychopaths, directed by Martin McDonagh

Seven Psychopaths is McDonagh's second feature film effort, and I didn't think it lived up to the expectations I had after In Bruges. In Bruges is a spectacular movie with a very tight script. I don't think this is. While there are very good performances, the back half of the story was annoying.

Marty (Colin Farrell) is a screenwriter, writing a movie about seven psychopaths. You see where this is going? Well, throw that vision out of the window because that's not what happens. One of the psychopaths is a Vietnamese priest who does not interact with any of the other characters. Another one is played by Tom Waits, who has one good scene in the movie describing his crimes. My favorite of the bunch is a mafia boss named Charlie, played by Woody Harrelson. Everyone knows what they're getting from a Woody Harrelson performance, so there's not much reason to describe his character. They're always great performances. It turns out that Marty's friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell) has a dog kidnapping ring going with Hans (Christopher Walken). What Billy and Hans do is ingenious as well as incredibly scummy. They kidnap dogs, wait for the reward page to come up, and profit by turning the dog in for the reward. This all sounds great to me as I type it out, and I enjoyed the first half of the movie very much. Was funny, had a good story, and all of that.

The second half of the movie, sans an excellent campfire scene where things get very meta, seemed quite overly indulgent. These reviews are also overly indulgent, but it shouldn't take anyone two hours to read them. While the performances in the movie were great, I thought the story completely collapsed by the end. The four main characters (Harrelson, Farrell, Rockwell, and Walken) had to carry the movie, but it was hard to stay invested. Harrelson's portrayal of a crime boss was particularly amusing and fun. It's hard to describe a movie like this, because I feel like I should have liked it more. Farrell's straight man was great, and as I'm typing this all out, it's getting difficult to get my point through. I really did not like the last half of the movie! The scene during the credits was completely unnecessary, and I nearly turned the movie off before watching it. I'm probably not good enough at explaining why I didn't like the second half, but the performances and first half of the movie go a long way towards redeeming it. The movie could have used a more subtle touch rather than beating the viewer over the head with what the movie was actually about.

The director does have a very interesting sounding movie called Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri coming out later this year. Looking forward to it.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on April 30, 2017, 06:25:07 PM
(http://cdn3.bmag.com.au/bmagthumbs/750x500/2/99/t/src/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Captain-Fantastic.jpg)

Captain Fantastic, directed by Matt Ross

Captain Fantastic appears to be a movie that some loved and some detested. I find myself in the middle of that, but learning more towards the former. I don't often watch the kinds of movies that are a big hit at Sundance, so if there are any tropes related to such films, I am completely unaware of them. Obviously I am going to do something about that, but I want to be straight forward and transparent.

The movie is as much a statement on Western society as it is one that shows what happens when people who are sheltered from society find themselves wrapped up in it. Ben (Viggo Mortensen) is a father of six children. Ben raises these kids off the grid in Washington, so anyone can imagine what that's like. It's not so much counter culture as it is instilling the values and education that some people believe their children should be able to have. In this case, Ben's ideals are certainly left wing, mixed in with some survivalism and clean eating. He's also training them, whatever that means. You figure that shit out later. Not too far into the movie, we find out that Ben's wife, Leslie, has committed suicide.

As everyone here should know, nobody's able to raise their kids perfectly. Everyone has received their education or gone through their childhood at the expense of something else. In the case of sheltered children who do not have any interactions with their peers, obviously seclusion will come at the cost of children learning social skills. This plays out as the movie goes, as it also becomes clear that in some ways Ben isn't what people would consider normal. What the fuck is normal? The more appropriate way of phrasing it would be that Ben is different. He doesn't treat his children like idiots, and this also has its problems. I don't want to outright spoil the movie, which is getting difficult.

Mortensen's performance in this movie was great. The ending of the film was a little flat as that was the inevitability of the story being told, but until that point everything on the screen felt like it mattered a lot. Viggo is another one of those actors who has the ability to choose their part as a result of making a lot of money. This one felt like it was made for him. I didn't care much for him hanging dong, but I'm only mentioning that just to get a cheap laugh. His character required a lot of emotion. My interpretation of the character was that it wasn't only because of his kids that he withdrew from the world, it was out of his own fears and misgivings about society. The character was grieving, too. I thought the portrayal was spot on. His wasn't the only good performance. All of the kids were good, and I'm sure they'll be seen on screen for quite a while going forward. Another negative unmentioned as of yet was that I thought Frank Langella's character was a plain asshole, but he wasn't entirely wrong and things got a little strange in terms of how the movie manipulated my thinking.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Zetterberg is Go on May 01, 2017, 01:54:09 AM
Very much enjoyed it myself, and as mentioned Viggo was terrific.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: OldSchoolWrestling on May 01, 2017, 03:17:31 AM
(http://cdn3.bmag.com.au/bmagthumbs/750x500/2/99/t/src/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Captain-Fantastic.jpg)

Captain Fantastic, directed by Matt Ross

Captain Fantastic appears to be a movie that some loved and some detested. I find myself in the middle of that, but learning more towards the former. I don't often watch the kinds of movies that are a big hit at Sundance, so if there are any tropes related to such films, I am completely unaware of them. Obviously I am going to do something about that, but I want to be straight forward and transparent.

The movie is as much a statement on Western society as it is one that shows what happens when people who are sheltered from society find themselves wrapped up in it. Ben (Viggo Mortensen) is a father of six children. Ben raises these kids off the grid in Washington, so anyone can imagine what that's like. It's not so much counter culture as it is instilling the values and education that some people believe their children should be able to have. In this case, Ben's ideals are certainly left wing, mixed in with some survivalism and clean eating. He's also training them, whatever that means. You figure that shit out later. Not too far into the movie, we find out that Ben's wife, Leslie, has committed suicide.

As everyone here should know, nobody's able to raise their kids perfectly. Everyone has received their education or gone through their childhood at the expense of something else. In the case of sheltered children who do not have any interactions with their peers, obviously seclusion will come at the cost of children learning social skills. This plays out as the movie goes, as it also becomes clear that in some ways Ben isn't what people would consider normal. What the fuck is normal? The more appropriate way of phrasing it would be that Ben is different. He doesn't treat his children like idiots, and this also has its problems. I don't want to outright spoil the movie, which is getting difficult.

Mortensen's performance in this movie was great. The ending of the film was a little flat as that was the inevitability of the story being told, but until that point everything on the screen felt like it mattered a lot. Viggo is another one of those actors who has the ability to choose their part as a result of making a lot of money. This one felt like it was made for him. I didn't care much for him hanging dong, but I'm only mentioning that just to get a cheap laugh. His character required a lot of emotion. My interpretation of the character was that it wasn't only because of his kids that he withdrew from the world, it was out of his own fears and misgivings about society. The character was grieving, too. I thought the portrayal was spot on. His wasn't the only good performance. All of the kids were good, and I'm sure they'll be seen on screen for quite a while going forward. Another negative unmentioned as of yet was that I thought Frank Langella's character was a plain asshole, but he wasn't entirely wrong and things got a little strange in terms of how the movie manipulated my thinking.

8/10
I thought the cover of Sweet Child O Mine was pretty cool. I really liked the movie and thought all the characters were well-played.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 03, 2017, 12:21:09 PM
(https://s3.drafthouse.com/images/made/there_will_be_blood_screen5_1050_591_81_s_c1.jpg)

There Will Be Blood, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

There Will Be Blood is the second movie of Anderson's I've seen, but I intend to watch The Master again because there were parts where I didn't pay attention. As with The Master, I enjoyed this film a lot. The movie is largely about greed, which is entwined with capitalism. As is the story of human civilization, progress is driven by the ability for people to make money. Unfortunately that's just the fact of the matter. Ruthlessness is one of my favorite themes, but it's rare that a movie accurately portrays it. This is a difficult film to describe because it is so long and full of events.

The story encompasses a number of years, so you get a large scope of what the main character's life is like. Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is the aforementioned ruthless capitalist. Daniel is completely driven by the potential to make money and refuses to let anything get in his path. A great example of this is the way he uses a boy named HW (Dillon Freasier) and passes HW off as his son. The reason for doing that? Because people will be more willing to sell their land when Plainview comes along claiming that he has a family business. Despite this, Plainview does have some paternal feelings for HW. After being told about oil potential at Paul Sunday's (Paul Dano) family home, Daniel makes the venture to the Sunday Ranch with the intention of seeing whether or not this is true. Along the way, he encounters some interesting characters. First, a preacher who happens to be Paul Sunday's twin brother, named Eli (Paul Dano). Second, a man named Henry (Kevin J. O'Connor) who says that he's Plainview's half-brother.

At the risk of getting too much into things, I'm going to stop right there. One of the things I didn't like about the movie was that at 158 minutes, I'm actually struggling to put together my thoughts. The ending packs quite the heavy punch, but it comes after some lengthy setup years on into the future that nearly took me out of the movie. There are a lot of classic scenes, I'd say. The oil derrick fire pictured above was possibly the best of them. There were only a few deaths in the movie, but I think that made each of them have more impact than they otherwise would have. The third one was probably the biggest deal. The score was great too, I'm actually listening to it as I write this out. Never done that before. It certainly carried the first 20 minutes of the movie when nobody spoke a word. I felt like DDL's portrayal of the ruthless capitalist may have been the best one of those I've seen, and the story as a whole was just spectacular.

All in all, I really don't know why it took me so long to watch this movie. It's nice to see an epic with this kind of story that decides they aren't going to beat you over the head with everything. There are many subtleties and ambiguities that you have to pay attention to in order to catch on. The house fire is probably the most notable example, as well as the concept of how an oil field actually works. It is never actually explained until the very end of the movie, at which point it's actually explained extremely poorly. Oil fields are a giant pool under the ground, the oil migrates to where people are sucking it out. Unlike the explanation, it's like if you have a big drink, stick one straw in all the way at the far end of it, and that person decides they're going to take it all before anyone else can put their straw in to take their share. The explanation is one of my only problems with the film.

9.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on May 03, 2017, 03:51:43 PM
YOU'RE JUST A BASTARD FROM A BASKET
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 05, 2017, 05:55:14 PM
(http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/03/15/article-2293875-18AFD18C000005DC-871_634x449.jpg)

Rocky II, directed by Sylvester Stallone

Rocky told a fantastic story of somebody trying to feel better about themselves. Rocky II was something completely different, and while I liked many aspects of it, I also felt the exact opposite about others.

What ypov said about appreciating the other Rocky movies for what they are is true, and I think that's the way I'm going to look at it. Rocky II is a decent movie, but I don't think the best parts of it are related to sports in any way. Other than Apollo Creed's appearances, I actually didn't care very much about them. In some ways, it was like a remake of the first movie, but they couldn't exactly replicate the whole thing. I enjoyed that it picked right up where the first movie left off, and the natural question I had afterwards was how Rocky would enhance his life with his purse winnings. I wasn't expecting things to go so badly, because it's typical Hollywood for all that shit to work out. When they did go badly, that's probably where I liked the movie the most. It was fascinating to see how things would work out for somebody thrown into a world of success, and what exactly Stallone was going to make his character do.

I thought the movie was also carried by Carl Weathers performance as Apollo Creed. Weathers was given a few more scenes to make the character work, and I thought all of them were great. At least in the first two movies, I think Apollo Creed is a great character. You completely understand his motivations, and all of the scenes with him are well acted. Rocky's other peripheral characters were alright, but I don't think any of them stood out near as much. They had their roles, they repeated them, and there's not a whole lot to say about it. The slow motion use during the fight was pretty weird, but I liked that too. It gave things a good touch, but I bet if I looked around people dumped all over it.

The problems with this movie are numerous, but there's only a few that I really want to talk about. I already mentioned that the movie fell into a pattern of repetition, but I thought Adrian delivering a premature baby to take Rocky out of training just didn't feel right. I can't put my finger on it, but I almost felt offended by that. That's a stupid feeling to have about a movie, but it felt cheap and goofy. The way Mick approached the situation is probably what made me mad, but consider the attitude towards women at the time and you probably have it. The series also seemed to be in desperate need of a scenery and character change after the first two movies, regardless of whether or not people enjoyed the movie. There seems to be no way to have continued these things down the same line and had them be entertaining. Roger Ebert watched the movie with Muhammad Ali and interviewed him, and at the end of reading it, Ali made a comment about America needing white heroes. That's still the case and I'll argue with anyone who disagrees with it. Then I thought about how in some ways Creed resembles Ali, and how the movie was fantasy booked in order to have the white guy finally beat Ali. I look at all the money this movie made, and it's probably the truth of the matter. I've deliberately avoided thinking about the sporting aspects of the movie, and the approach to training for the fight. I know that if I do think about it, the whole thing will fall apart in my eyes.

Despite the negative comments above, I am going to finish the series in due time. I have a feeling that once I finish, this will probably be my least favorite of the bunch. The movie prior to Rocky's training was a good hour or so, and there were a few good scenes after that while I enjoyed almost everything before it.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on May 06, 2017, 06:40:13 AM
how the movie was fantasy booked in order to have the white guy finally beat Ali. I look at all the money this movie made, and it's probably the truth of the matter.

oh man, if you think this movie has some things to say about race, just wait till you watch Rocky III.

Spoiler: show
(https://i.makeagif.com/media/12-06-2015/80B6Wk.gif)


that's an actual spoiler related to what I said, click on it after the movie.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on May 06, 2017, 06:53:20 AM
Nothing better than to track this country's ways thru this movie series tbh.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on May 06, 2017, 06:57:37 AM
agreed
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 07, 2017, 01:21:08 PM
(http://static.srcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-End-Credits-Scene-Explained.jpg)

Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn

In typical fashion, I procrastinated as long as possible before finally watching this. My criticisms of Thor 2 don't really apply to this movie as this did bring something unique to the table. In fact, I think this would have to be considered the best of the MCU origin movies. That isn't to say this one is free from criticism, but the positives massively outweigh the negatives.

GOTG is particularly overstuffed with information and jokes, but anyone whose read my reviews knows that I have some kind of demand for that. I need it like an addict needs their fix. That applies to long movies as well. I thought the movie was pretty well written and the lines well delivered. Batista as Drax was probably my favorite of the Guardians. I wasn't entirely expecting that, but I didn't know he was going to approach the role that way or that his character would be presented like that. It was really good. There were also a lot more classic scenes in this than the other origin movies. I can't think of many scenes from the other origin movies that approach these on any level. In particular I'm thinking of Groot putting his branch through the goons and bashing them from wall to wall, or Groot spreading glowing spores through the air. Star-Lord throwing up the bird was good too. Speaking of him, I found it interesting the way Chris Pratt was able to portray his character here, but completely failed to do so in Jurassic World. I wanted both movies to succeed, so it isn't out of perception that I thought one was good and one wasn't. Villains are generally a weakness in these movies, and while I believe that was the case here, I thought Michael Rooker as Yondu was one of Marvel's best. Was he really a villain? Only kind of, but enough to qualify. I also think a lot of credit should be given to Zoe Saldana for putting all that makeup on and doing her part. That's hard shit. Of course, with five major characters, there's still a bit of mystery about some of them and in this case I think that's just fine. I don't think it was necessary to explain everything about them.

The story of the hero characters was really good, even with such numerous changes in setting. Of course, as already mentioned, there's a villain problem with the MCU. Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) should have been a much more impactful villain. He really sucked and they didn't give him anything great to do. Felt like a lot of his scenes were left on the cutting room floor. Nebula (Karen Gillan) was a whole lot better. I also have a major problem with the way the studio uses some of the cast members, but I know this is my problem. Everyone else seems to like it just fine. It's hard to handle Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, and motherfuckin Benicio Del Toro stand there and get a few lines. I know why they're in the movie, but it still bothers me. While they do give those more minor characters credibility, it feels like that's the right place to cast a less famous actor and have them shine. Michael Rooker's part as Yondu is a great example of this.

All in all, this is the best of the Marvel movies. I gave this the same score as Captain America 2, but that's simply because I may have scored Captain America 2 too highly. It's funny that a movie featuring a raccoon and a moving tree would turn out that way, but the director and studio were able to make me care about these characters more than characters I've seen numerous times. I wouldn't have expected the soundtrack to fit this film so well, but it really did. I almost forgot to mention this, but I was glad that the post-credit scenes were so goofy. I don't think it's all that cool to make people sit through the credits in order to learn information that has a bearing on the future story. I didn't mention Thanos in any way, but I was  surprised to see how unimportant that character's involvement turned out to be.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 07, 2017, 01:27:14 PM
I was also really happy to see that someone could leave WWE and make something of themselves without any support from the machine, and no support with movie promotion whatsoever. That was an uplifting thought and I'm pretty happy for Batista, he deserves it.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on May 07, 2017, 03:13:27 PM
Ronan not being that great of a villian was my one real issue with the movie tbh.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on May 07, 2017, 11:14:50 PM
Yeah, that's largely my only issue with the movie as well. As you said, I'm one of those who is fine with well known/name actors taking on small roles because that's usually on the actor/actresses' discretion. Not every role can be a big one, scripts can't change, and while "lesser name" actors may work at the same time I think it's part of the fun & charm to see these names in such roles.

I also think a lot of these older, name actors & actresses are seeing the success of those movies and simply want to be part of them in some form and/or attach their names so their kids can see them in a movie that they'll be able to see.

The flipside are those movies that have All-Star casts where notable names are in almost every single role (think Boogie Nights or Mars Attacks).
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on May 08, 2017, 04:31:15 AM
I still liked the promo Ronan cut on Thanos "YOU CALL ME BOY?!"
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: tekcop on May 08, 2017, 04:48:34 AM
Outside of Loki, the villains have always sucked in Marvel movies. I liked that with GOG, Gunn just said "fuck it" and didn't even try to create an engaging villain. Ronan gets less screen-time than anyone and it works because the movie is really at its best when the heroes are just interacting with each other.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on May 08, 2017, 05:45:19 AM
that's why you're top 5 brother

I still liked the promo Ronan cut on Thanos "YOU CALL ME BOY?!"

I misread that and thought that the WWE Superstar of the year, every year, was in the movie.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on May 08, 2017, 06:00:53 AM
Ronan works better on a rewatch, or at least he did in my case. I saw this opening weekend and the opening scene hit way too close to home at the time, leaving me hating everything that came after, but when I finally gave it a second viewing (and skipping the open) I enjoyed it all that much more.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on May 08, 2017, 06:31:07 AM
Outside of Loki, the villains have always sucked in Marvel movies.

Correct
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on May 08, 2017, 06:42:25 AM
Red Skull in the first Cap, Robert Redford in Winter Soldier and at least to me Ultron were all good. None as good as Loki obviously but they all held their own and didn't feel like they were just filler. Ultron on the rewatch had a lot of great lines.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on May 08, 2017, 03:33:51 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b5bG8Rcpxo

can you review this classic scene for me
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 09, 2017, 12:53:35 PM
This thread and all the suggestions given might be going on hiatus for a while.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on May 09, 2017, 12:56:35 PM
Do place beyond pines first, ray liotta is in it then hiatus
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 09, 2017, 01:02:52 PM
Can't. My dog is dying. I don't think I will be in the mood for any of this shit for a few weeks at least.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on May 09, 2017, 01:06:01 PM
Sorry, man
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 11, 2017, 12:58:28 PM
I'm gonna keep it going regardless of what happens to my dog. I decided that I need to keep doing the same things that helped me out in the first place. Life has to go on.

(http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/akira_movie_image.jpg)

Akira, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo

I lost a bet, so for the first time I watched an anime movie. I really didn't want to do it, but I didn't want to have anime board clothes either. So, this was my choice and there's no way around it. Many people have given this high ratings, so I wanted to approach the movie with a level head. I think I did my best at doing so regardless of finding out my problems with the genre are legitimate. I watched the English dubbing as I had to make sure I could understand the words when glancing over at my dog.

With this specific anime, the story is absolutely PACKED into the two hours the movie runs for. There are very literally no down scenes, which in this case is great. If I have to spend two hours watching this thing, I need to be entertained. As a result there's no way to sum up the story. To some degree I didn't care much for the first thirty minutes. The story was a little hard to understand at that point, and I didn't understand at all what Takashi was supposed to be. Eventually I got it, but damn if it wasn't confusing. The story does a great job of making you think Tetsuo is the hero for the first half of the movie, but that's not the case at all. If people got that feeling while watching the movie, I have no idea why anyone would think that. Look at all the people he killed. I usually detest exposition scenes like the one with Kei and Kaneda in prison, but I thought it was completely necessary by that point. Some of the scenes, particularly the one where Tetsuo mutates into the disgusting mass, were very well animated. I also thought the colonel's character was interesting and at some point I thought he became one of the heroes of the movie. That's strange but I was okay with it. The soundtrack was also really good and I'll be having a few of the songs going through my head for a little bit.

The problem I've always had with the genre, and animated films in general, was something that popped up here as well. The voice acting was pretty terrible, but that's not it. The story being so good made up for that to a large degree. What I don't like is that I don't get to watch the actors act. There's absolutely nothing that can be done about this, either. That's going to lead to me not watching more anime movies, but that isn't why I'm going to give the following rating. I did not understand the ending at all. I looked the movie up on Wikipedia afterward, and that's not what I got from the ending at all. So I'm pretty confused about that. I just do not see how that was the interpretation of the ending. I did say that the movie started off slow, and it only did in the sense that it was difficult for me to understand. That is a big deal, but I'm trying not to shit on the movie.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kotzenjunge on May 11, 2017, 01:32:11 PM
Cool, I knew it was too loaded and technically well-executed to give less than a 5. Interestingly, my favorite part is the first 20-30 minutes because I love the bike chase and how the movie immediately establishes its vivid, harsh, and brutal universe. They show dogs getting shot within the first ten minutes! It's a touch confusing if you're really focused on the plot early on though, since, as you said, exposition is rare and welcomed when it actually happens. At the time of its release I think it was the most expensive animated movie ever produced at that point.

In the comics Akira himself becomes an actual character. The Colonel is also even better (don't worry, he was a face the whole time so no guilt!), along with an American SF guy that's inserted into the city to see what the hell happened after Akira was awakened. It's great if you dig post-apocalyptic stories because the majority takes place in the destroyed Neo Tokyo where Tetsuo has a cult/kingdom ruling the city. The movie came out in 1988, but the comic didn't end until 1993. Its feel is the same as the movie, and just as exquisitely executed but in black and white only.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 11, 2017, 01:57:52 PM
Oh I forgot to mention one thing. I see that Warner Bros acquired the rights for a live-action remake, but I don't see how somebody could adapt this with it being any less than two and a half hours. I also don't see how to retain the authenticity and make the money back. It would cost a lot.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 12, 2017, 06:03:58 PM
(http://www.tvovermind.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Stan-Bush-Bloodsport.jpg)

Bloodsport, directed by Newt Arnold

Bloodsport is a cult classic, and one that's been recommended to me to watch for years. Of course, anyone who knows me knows this is right up my alley. I love combat sports, something about them appeals to me on a strong level. I know when I watch fighting, that there isn't going to be any legitimate excuses at the end of the day. The fight is fought between two guys. While they do have coaches, those are almost always coaches the fighters have been with for a long time. At the root of it, the coach won't be the reason they win or lose. Neither will their teammates. At the end of the day, it will be decided in a pure form of sport.

Bloodsport doesn't quite follow those tenets, but it is highly entertaining. Frank Dux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) has been trained from his teenage years by his master, Tanaka (Roy Chiao). There is a tournament called Kumite in Hong Kong, and Dux is intent on deserting the military to take part in it. The rules are simple. The fights end by knockout, submission, or when the opponent is knocked off the platform. The film is supposed to be based on a true story, but in reality it's total bullshit, made up by a bullshitter. There are many other fighters in the tournament. Dux befriends somebody named Jackson (Donald Gibb), another American looking to fight. There are two cops whose names I honestly didn't know, but one of them was played by a young Forest Whitaker. Their intention is to bring Dux back to his post. Why so fast? I have no idea. There's also a reporter named Janice (Leah Ayres) who wants to know more about Kumite. However, the most important secondary character is the reigning Kumite champion, CHONG LI (Bolo Yeung). Chung Li is tough as shit.

The script was horrible and I'd never suggest otherwise, but that's part of the charm of this film. It's a B movie, but that's what's good about it. For any martial arts film, I don't think I want a good script or good performances. I want to see more fights. The fights in this movie were all good. Chong Li wasn't the only good opponent, there were some characters that were genuinely interesting. A muay Thai guy named Paco was one of them. There's also the big guy who fought like a sumo wrestler, I can't remember his name. This is certainly no classic of cinema, but in terms of choices made like cinematography, sound, actors...there's one thing that really stands out. It's the soundtrack. That's the least you need, right? The soundtrack and the fights completely carry the movie. It's hard to forget the numerous bad lines in the film, but that's what gives it its balance. Can't be all fights all the time, and if you're going to get performances that are less than quality, I think it's better for them to be horrible. I didn't care much for Chong Li having to cheat, but this was a very entertaining film. The reason I am not rating it higher is because the casting of the non-fighters felt completely bizarre. I'll probably wind up watching it again in a few years. 

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on May 12, 2017, 09:56:53 PM
If you enjoyed Bloodsport (one of my favorite JCVD films) then I'd also recommend his 1996's The Quest. It's basically a somewhat modernized variant of the plot behind Bloodsport with better cinematography/directing and acting (to the extent such a thing can be called in that kind of film). The villain isn't as memorable but the fight scenes are similarly solid and fun to watch & the side characters are more fleshed out/memorable.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on May 13, 2017, 01:45:06 AM
I love Bloodsport, but I agree on the side characters. Whenever I watch it, I'm very tempted to skip over the scenes with the cops or the reporter love interest.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: tekcop on May 13, 2017, 03:47:20 AM
The Quest is basically the dumbest fucking movie ever made. It's great.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on May 13, 2017, 08:31:25 AM
(http://i.imgur.com/dmqa9xp.gif)

THE GOAT
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kotzenjunge on May 14, 2017, 12:50:36 PM
I'd put him up there with any mountain of a manbeast in all of film. Seriously, stick that dude in a ring with the (almost) contemporary Ivan Drago and take all of my money.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on May 14, 2017, 03:53:44 PM
Shame I only remembered this now because Powers Boothe passed but watch Extreme Prejudice please... I feel like it's a movie that gets overlooked too much from the later end of the 80s decade.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on May 15, 2017, 04:48:13 AM
On the Bloodsport tick, Lionheart is also pretty damn solid. It has some of my favorite JCVD fights that don't involve gunplay (otherwise Hard Target's "motorcycle surf" scene would take the cake).
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on May 15, 2017, 05:28:57 AM
Kickboxer has to get some mention since it's the same movie as Bloodsport with Tong Po replacing Chong Li and US SPECIAL FORCES Winston Taylor replacing Ray Jackson. It's a great time though.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Saints_Fan_H on May 15, 2017, 02:01:49 PM
Kickboxer has to get some mention since it's the same movie as Bloodsport with Tong Po replacing Chong Li and US SPECIAL FORCES Winston Taylor replacing Ray Jackson. It's a great time though.
Yeah but at least with Bloodsport there isn't some dumb ass twist in a sequel where they all were murdered IMMEDIATELY at the conclusion of the first installment.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 16, 2017, 06:10:24 PM
(http://img.cinemablend.com/cb/5/b/6/6/1/3/5b6613da8c9bffb34bb6978521a71fb7fad375e6c51d24462cd7a0d90cfa92bf.jpg)

The Prestige, directed by Christopher Nolan

Somehow, I knew absolutely nothing about The Prestige before I watched it. That sounds like complete bullshit, but I swear it's the truth. The movie needs a lot of digesting, so I did that before I sat down to write this. Nolan has quite the reputation after filming his Batman trilogy, and it's with good reason. This is a highly engaging movie and one that immediately catches the eye. Period pieces are usually enjoyable for me. I am not generally a fan of movies presented in anachronic order. It is actually very difficult for me to digest such movies as I admittedly don't watch very many of them to begin with. I think that may have made this an even better viewing experience, though.

The movie immediately starts with something eyecatching. Angier (Hugh Jackman) is a magician with a trick that is supposed to be the best ever seen. Angier walks into the machine pictured above, at which point he performs his trick. While doing so, we see a man named Borden (Christian Bale) walk backstage to see how the trick works. Angier falls into a water tank and it locks, and Borden is completely unable to do anything about it. So, Angier dies, and Borden is put on trial for murder. At the trial, Angier's engineer Cutter (Michael Caine), testifies that Borden pushed the tank underneath the trap door in order to kill Angier. From that point, it is revealed that the movie is going to take you back to see what happened and how things got to this point. The short version and the one I'm going to post, was that Angier and Borden both worked for Cutter as plants for another magician act. From that point, there is an accident and both Borden and Angier go their separate ways, each working on their career. In short, the two became rivals.

I'm definitely not going to spoil anything past that point. To do so would completely ruin the movie for anyone who was to watch it. The jumping narrative presented throughout is fantastic. All of the reveals given to further the story carry weight, and to reveal any of them kills the story. There is certainly rewatch value for this movie although I have no intention of doing so. The lengths both Angier and Borden go to are frankly psychotic, but that's what makes the movie so good. Both men have completely legitimate reasons for carrying on their rivalry, and with no intervention from the authorities, who could stop them? I had no idea the movie was based on a book, but I shouldn't be entirely surprised by that. Their are other actors who put in good performances even though I don't want to mention their characters. For example, I had no idea that was David Bowie until I looked it up. Scarlett Johansson also plays...an interesting part, shall we say. Her character is entirely integral to the story, even though her accent wasn't great. The script was excellent too. I see there were some elements dropped from the book, and that was 100% for the best. The way it sounds would have been entirely ridiculous on screen. A story like this doesn't need ghosts and seances.

The movie is also a little odd. While it is a period movie, there's nothing in it to show that off. It's entirely about the characters and that's a nice change of pace, it's just strange. One thing I found absolutely bizarre was the choice of song when the credits were rolling. Like, what? There's a few things that I'm not sure I'm equipped to explain, but ultimately the movie was very fun. More below.

Spoiler: show

I also enjoyed the way Nolan was able to misdirect people. I'm sure I'm not the only one who got bamboozled by the end of the movie. That being said, I probably should have seen it coming. I thought it was difficult the way the genre of the movie suddenly changed come the end and I don't know what to make of that,
but I also don't care. If the ending was any kind of attempt to redeem Borden in my eyes, it didn't work that well. He killed Angier's wife, broke his leg, then he killed Angier to boot. They were both immensely entertaining pieces of shit.


8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on May 16, 2017, 09:55:52 PM
A really fantastic movie and I immediately re-watched it upon some of the reveals that happened. Upon re-watch, you could see some subtleness in acting methods that kind of clued the viewer into what was going on which made it all the more entertaining for me.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 17, 2017, 05:56:53 PM
(http://www.geeksofdoom.com/GoD/img/2015/06/dope-movie-review-open-road-e1434681893317.jpg)

Dope, directed by Rick Famuyiwa

Dope is a bit of a mess, but it's quite the charming movie regardless of that. It's a strange film, and I wasn't expecting much of anything that happened in it. The film covers so much ground that it felt like the director had a ton of things they wanted to get off their chest. That definitely made things more fun, but the highs of the first half of the story were on too high a pedestal for the back half to reach. As I write about it, I'm still smiling.

Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is a nerd. There's no other way to put it. His friends Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) and Jib (Tony Revolori) are nerds too. They live in Inglewood and Malcolm thinks there's a chance that he can get into Harvard. So, that's what he's focused on. Famuyiwa clearly draws from some of his own experiences in order to put this thing together. As with any other high school student, Malcolm has distractions. A girl with a fat ass named Nakia (Zoe Kravitz) is one of them. See, Malcolm has a crush on her. Who doesn't have a crush on girls with fat asses? Easy to relate to this kid, right? Malcolm has an encounter with Dom (A$AP Rocky), a drug dealer in the neighborhood. Dom wants Nakia to come to his birthday party. Malcolm comes too, and the story unfolds from there. The story covers an absolute TON of ground. There's commentary on Bitcoins, gay conversion, drone strikes, blackness, drug use, the dark web, the expectations of high school, and on top of that you get a Rick Fox cameo. The coming of age genre desperately needed a movie like this. As with any good coming of age movie, there is a copious amount of nudity. Fine with me. Chanel Iman is a beautiful woman.

A lot of these things sound like they wouldn't lead to a good movie, but somehow they do. With Malcolm being interested in 80's and 90's hip hop, that's what you get from the soundtrack. It's fantastic. I did say the story had problems, but that's because the first half of the movie set massive standards. In fact, there was just no way to hold up to them. As such the movie drifts from a thriller into somewhat of a comedy, but that's fine. Will (Blake Anderson) was a particular bright spot late in the story. Many of the minor characters in this film were great in the limited time they had on screen. On the other hand, I thought Roger Guenveur Smith's character was totally bizarre and something straight out of a B movie. I have absolutely no idea how this movie could have been filmed on just $7 million, but the editing tricks used probably had a lot to do with that.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie very much. I thought the plot at the end required a little too much exposition, and that's one of the downsides of Dope. If you don't know anything about how the dark web works, you may get a little confused. I got more laughs from this than any movie I've watched all month. Maybe even combined.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 18, 2017, 06:27:11 PM
(http://theworthyadversary.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/spotlight-one-sheet.jpg)

Spotlight, directed by Tom McCarthy

I was actually dreading watching this. I'm not up for depressing films very often. Of course I can handle it, but this subject matter in particular is very deep, engrossing, and quite frankly it's sick too. The reality that people could do this to children is disgusting. I'm not the biggest fan of biographical films, especially about rough subject matter. Also, I remembered that some people called this movie "Oscar bait." I think the term in general is a gigantic load of shit. While it is a valid point that the subject matter can be covered in a documentary, how many people are going to watch a documentary? Stories like this need to be told and unfortunately they need to be told by filmmakers in order for them to reach their maximum audience. I don't think this was the best movie from 2015, or at least the best that I've seen, but that doesn't mean anything in terms of describing how good this was.

The best way to describe the plot is as such. The Boston Globe had a new editor named Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber). Baron read a column about a lawyer named Mitch Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), who claimed that the Catholic Church had been covering up sexual abuse. Garabedian had a reputation for being a crackpot, but Baron wanted his investigative team to look into this. The Spotlight team is as follows. Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) is the bulldog reporter on the team. Sacha (Rachel McAdams) is tasked with finding out information about the victims, who tell their stories to her. Matt Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James) is another one of the reporters, but his role in the story is very minor. The editor is Robby Robinson (Michael Keaton), who is the most even-keeled member of the team. I haven't seen Keaton in anything for ages, so that was nice.

Programs about journalism are boring to the majority of the population, it's fair to say. The reaction to The Wire's season five is a great example of that. The Newsroom didn't have any long-term staying power. I think that's for two reasons. One is that a film is probably a better format for such programs. Asking me to sign up to watch ten episodes (effectively ten hours) of journalism related programming is a major ask. The second reason is because journalism is dead. It's particularly amusing that Tom McCarthy participated in The Wire, which became a show about journalism in its last season. I believe he learned some lessons from that experience when putting this movie together. It is not remotely boring. There's one scene in the movie that I thought was goofy, but it was based on real events. Rezendes has a full meltdown that is very well portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, and while that's an extremely well acted scene it felt out of place. On the subject of well acted scenes, all of them really are. Schreiber's performance was crazy. I do my best not to look at a cast before I watch a movie, and somehow I didn't recognize him for a few minutes even though I was staring right at him. Schreiber and Ruffalo went against type, and I thought it was great.

I also liked that this movie didn't fall into any tropes in order to spice things up. Even though it's a true story, is it beyond filmmakers to sex things up in order to keep people interested? No, it's absolutely not. Regardless, Rachel McAdams' character kept credibility because there was no sexing it up whatsoever. Thankfully somebody decided to treat a woman like a woman and not have them sleep around to get their story. I said that I wasn't up for depressing subject matter, but in the end this wasn't a depressing movie at all. It was a movie about justice, about what it takes for something rotten in our society to be exposed. The most jarring part was at the end when they revealed the Cardinal was reassigned to Rome like nothing happened. Totally sickening. If you're looking for good cinematic tricks this movie isn't for you. What you get instead is a great story that's acted out expertly.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: rollie on May 18, 2017, 10:13:03 PM
There's a couple of minor tricks they did that I did like (I feel it didn't get quite enough credit on that point, many reviews major criticism was that the direction was completely utilitarian). The main one was the way they'd shoot so many scenes with churches looming over the characters in the background. Reminded you of both what they were up against and also how ingrained religion was in the community...
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 21, 2017, 10:23:39 AM
(http://cdn.movieweb.com/img.news.tops/NE07DScyMY6v38_2_b.jpg)

Avengers: Age of Ultron, directed by Joss Whedon

I knew that the Ultron aspects of this movie would be a problem for me going in. In fact, I expected to dislike the movie. Yet, it wasn't the Ultron aspects that I had a problem with. Unlike in the first movie, the gigantic cast is not used very well. To make it worse, the cast exploded and added more characters to the mix than I care to count.

There's no reason for me to run down the plot, because everyone watches this stuff. I thought there were a lot of cool scenes in the movie, so I'm just going to go in order. The scenes where Scarlet Witch manipulates minds are always interesting. Did they amount to shit? Probably not, but I think they'll pay off in some way later in the series. Ultron was a weak villain, but he got a better treatment than almost all the rest in this series. His scenes were interesting at least, which is more than I can say for some. The mid-credits scene was, you know, it's a mid-credits scene. What is there to say about that? The special effects during Quicksilver's scenes were great too, as was the fight between Hulk and the HULKBUSTER.

But ultimately, even though the movie was fun, I thought it was full of problems. These movies are inherently difficult to make, but these things really bothered me. The jokes became absolutely tiresome. I lost count of how many times they'd needlessly pan to one character so they could tell their bad joke. I don't particularly see the need for it after the first one or two movies that the character is in. Doing that made the movie feel entirely overbloated. I also thought the Ultron concept in general was a little confusing and didn't exactly translate well to film. As already mentioned, the cast is the biggest problem. It is just too fucking big and they keep making it bigger. At least they killed off somebody at the end and had somebody else disappear, but like...it's too big.

I didn't hate the movie, but I'm not sure I liked it very much. If not for the dream sequences and the Hulkbuster, I probably could have missed this movie entirely and not felt like I missed anything by reading it instead. That's a pretty big problem, especially when it's such a huge movie. The thing is, there are so many characters in the movie that I like, and I thought it was really smart to give Hawkeye a family and make him the normal man of the group.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 26, 2017, 05:52:12 PM
(https://pmd205465tn-a.akamaihd.net/Miramax/138/479/5ybWEwZDo1iJGvc53SDc4_2sPHTtPFmx_640x360_53833283572.jpg)

Adventureland, directed by Greg Mottola

I assumed given this was billed as a comedy from the director of Superbad and I was watching it eight years later, that the movie would feel extremely dated in some way. Fortunately this was not the case. The odds that I'll like a film with Jesse Eisenberg in it aren't very good either. The person who recommended the movie to me probably knew this beforehand. This was not at all what I expected.

Adventureland was surprisingly more of a romantic drama. James (Jesse Eisenberg) starts the story off with a first world problem. He has gotten what I would call a bullshit degree, and the summer afterward he wants to travel Europe. The problem is that his parents can't possibly fund his excursion any longer. So, James needs to get a summer job at home in Pittsburgh. Enter Adventureland. James is set to work at the amusement park's game section, because he needs the money. Seeing as it's a summer job, it's irrelevant that his degree is bullshit. There's quite an interesting cast of characters at the park. You have Connell (Ryan Reynolds), the maintenance man who's too cool to be hanging out with these kids. There's Lisa P. (Margarita Levieva), a beautiful ride attendant who all the guys want to have sex with. There's also Emily (Kristen Stewart), who saves James from getting stabbed.

I don't care for Jesse Eisenberg in any way, and because I don't like him, it was hard for me to buy into the story. At least that was the case at first. However, as things went on, I did buy into it, and the movie was pretty good. The thing is, even though the movie was set in 1987, the expectations of young people have changed so much that I was left with a strange feeling while watching this. Does anyone still get summer jobs working at a carnival? I really don't think so. Times have changed too much, or at least I thought they have. I thought everyone was well cast, and the selections for their characters was good. The relationships between the characters felt realistic, and most of us should have known people like these. So, it's the kind of movie that brings back some old memories. I was really expecting the film to be about sex jokes, which is what I was ready for when I sat down to watch it. That wasn't the case, but it was still very good. It's largely Kristen Stewart's performance that drives this thing, and that's great. It's the exact opposite of the numerous testosterone filled movies I've watched of late.

Ultimately, at least in 2017, everyone knows that life is full of shit. If you've ever thought with your dick instead of your brain and want to relive something like that, this is for you.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 27, 2017, 05:42:59 PM
(https://static01.nyt.com/images/2013/07/12/arts/12JUMPFRUIT/12JUMPFRUIT-master675.jpg)

Fruitvale Station, directed by Ryan Coogler

Fruitvale Station is a movie best watched. It's only 80 minutes, so I'm not asking a lot of people. As such there is no reason to go over the plot. Michael B. Jordan plays Oscar Grant, a man who was shot by police on a BART platform on New Year's Day. The movie fortunately does not go to great lengths to turn Grant into a hero. Like any human, he did bad things. Even though you know that Grant will be shot and killed at the end of the movie, the journey to that point is interesting if you don't know anything about the character. Obviously this movie touched me, as the comments to follow will show.

There are a few things in the movie that seem dramatized, as there's no way anyone could possibly know that these things happened. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, as the events in it serve to humanize somebody who is a shooting victim. All accounts are that Grant wasn't some violent animal. The performances in this movie are really good and serve to illustrate that, and I have no idea how anyone could shoot this movie on less than a million dollars. A cast this good should cost more. I am not saying more because I reiterate that people here should watch this movie.

The unfortunate fact of movies like these is that the people who need to see them the most do not see them. Would it even matter if they did?  The image of police shooting victims, and in some cases people murdered by the police, is burned into their head. They feel that these people are thugs who deserved it and are never going to change their mind. I can see the defenses somebody would come up with for the police action here even if they saw the videos, and the movie was to tell Grant's last day completely faithfully. 

"Shouldn't have been on the train at 2 AM."

"The officer did it on accident."

"Kid shouldn't have been fighting on the train."

"When you wind up in jail this is what happens to you."

"Should do everything the cops say," even though there is plenty of proof they kill people who do.

On and on we go, it'll probably never end.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Hawk 34 on May 27, 2017, 08:01:08 PM
Glad you have enjoyed those movies.    Here's more suggestions (all on Netflix)

-Boyhood
-Blue is the Warmest Color
-Beginners
-The Music Never Stopped
-Begin Again
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on May 28, 2017, 06:33:21 PM
The following review will not contain untagged spoilers past the 30 minute point of the movie. It's safe to read.

(https://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/interstellar.jpg)

Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan

I should come straight out with it and say I have no idea what I just watched. I figured I should watch Interstellar before coming across any spoilers, and I knew I was tempting fate by letting things go this long. As with all Nolan films, this one is also highly engaging. The story is incredibly sprawling, this one the most of any Nolan movie I've seen. As such, once the movie is over it felt like I needed a guide to go over everything. Rather than do that, I'll unpack the story myself, in my own head.

Coop (Matty M) is a pilot, living in a world that has radically changed from the one we know now. There are allusions to global warming, but the gist of things is that people are running out of food sources. For those who don't know, we are running out of topsoil to grow food. It's a very real problem, so the possibility that everyone has to eat corn or have our food choices limited isn't entirely unrealistic in our future. Coop has brought children into this world, who are both played by various actors throughout the movie. His daughter Murph is a childhood prodigy of sorts. His son Tom has obviously not been taken under the same wing as Murph, and he likes to farm. Without getting into spoiling shit, everyone knows this movie is about space. You can assume that we have a problem on Earth to which the resolution can only be found in space. Coop has a great team with him, and there are places that need to be gotten to. Professor Brand (Michael Caine) is in charge of planning the mission and building the rocket. His daughter Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) is one of the people who will be joining the mission, as are Dr. Doyle (Wes Bentley), and Dr. Romilly (David Gyasi). There are also two robots. Bill Irwin does a great job voicing TARS, and Josh Stewart voices CASE.

The story presents a host of issues, some of which I did not entirely care for, but it's a great ride nevertheless. The ending is bullshit, but I don't think it had any impact on my enjoyment of the movie. If you like seeing great visual effects, make sure you watch this in HD on a big TV. Some of them are absolutely MINDBLOWING.

Spoiler: show
The big fucking tidal wave is one of the best I've seen on screen. The dead planet is another one, as are the space effects.


The visual effects are such that you have to see them, especially if you're a space nerd. If you're not, the story is probably going to present a host of problems for you. If you had to guess what a Nolan movie in space would be about, you can get the generals of it in about two or three tries. Even though the story is heavily flawed as already mentioned many times, the performances of the actors in combination with the visual effects make it impossible to look away. The characters here are great.

Spoiler: show
Matt Damon's surprise appearance was excellent, as was his character. I know it wasn't the point, but I couldn't stop laughing at his motivations. The delivery of his lines was awesome too. I probably won't ever be able to see him as anyone other than this character. Jessica Chastain's performance is also particularly worth mentioning. I've only seen her in parts of other movies before, but the story would have been a hell of a lot more confusing and convoluted without her ability to sell it. Casey Affleck playing Casey Affleck is also good for a laugh.


Am I going to overrate this movie? Unquestionably I am, and I am able to know that I'm overrating it while I'm doing it. Is it possible for a movie to be good or great without a good story? Probably not. But I love this space shit. This film was massively overambitious and the science was total bullshit. Does that even matter at all to me? No. I can't help myself. If someone asked me to watch this movie again in a year, I probably would. The nearly three hour run time is no object for me. It's also tough for me to look at the movie objectively because Matty M is the main character. Just going to be honest about that. Ultimately, Interstellar did pull on my heart strings, and in combination with the other things I liked, I can't help myself.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on June 04, 2017, 06:17:06 PM
(http://noiselesschatter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/alienegg.png)

Alien, directed by Ridley Scott

I tried not to watch space movies for a while after Interstellar, but this was next up on my list and it was unavoidable. It's inevitable that I'm not going to do the movie any justice, because its been nearly 40 years since it was made and people have really said all there is to say about it. So I will not attempt to do it any justice, and there's no reason for me to go over the plot. Ridley Scott's movies are a bit of hit or miss these days, but that's just how it goes once a director gets older. It's all hit going on here.

Clearly the best thing about Alien is that it takes a very long time for this movie to get to any sort of payoff. You're waiting for it the whole time, but that's just fine. It's the getting there that counts. Everyone knows the story, and everyone has seen this before. Except for apparently me. Because of that, there's a lot of things in this movie that really surprised me. Ash (Ian Holm) being a robot was something I didn't see coming until about five minutes beforehand. That's also with many years of foresight, knowing that there is a robot in the newer films. Still surprised me.

It's also great that the monster has no distinct shape, because it gives the director and everyone involved with the story the ability to run wild with it. Obviously that worked out to the tune of a massive franchise. I'm sure a lot of people think that the start of the movie is very slow and boring, but that's necessary in order to get people sucked into the story. If a movie is to show all their cards to the viewer, there's not a whole lot left to see. In this case, you don't see the full body of the alien until the very end of the movie. That's refreshing. Most impressive is the size of the ship. The Nostromo was absolutely enormous, as was the ship on the unknown planet. Why were they sent there? Other than the explanation given, I still have some question about it. Hopefully that is answered in the other movies, which I will watch in due time.

For me, there were a few good scares in the movie, with the most notable being when the alien burst out of Kane's (John Hurt) chest. Sigourney Weaver was also really good at portraying her character's fear as the movie went on.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on June 05, 2017, 06:29:27 PM
(http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/denby-wolf-of-wall-street.jpg)

The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese

Once again, we have a film that I didn't know anything about beforehand. How could I not know anything about this? I just didn't. As with most Scorsese movies, you can pretty much figure out the direction this film is headed in before turning it on. You know there's going to be a lot of some specific things. Profanity, of course. This is not remotely surprising, but there's 569 uses of the word "fuck." Of course, you expect that. You know that Scorsese is going to set the man up for his fall. There's a lot of sex too, I'd say far more than in any of Scorsese's movies. But that's part of the territory, and as is made clear throughout the movie...that's Wall Street.

The cast in this movie is enormous, so inevitably I'm going to skip over a lot of people. Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a stockbroker. Belfort comes to his first job on Wall Street as a young man, with certain illusions of the kind of lifestyle people on Wall Street take part in. Mark Hanna (Matty M) is his boss, and in a 6 minute scene, he's there to tell Belfort all about the job. Unfortunately, he's in the movie for only a few more minutes than that. Belfort loses his job on Black Monday, sending him into a bit of a spiral. Eventually he gets out of it, and it's time to start his own company with Donnie (Jonah Hill), someone he meets at a restaurant.

To keep from spoiling the movie, I will stop it right there. Although, I don't really know how I'd be spoiling a true story. Regardless of that, some performances and moments are worth mentioning. At 3 hours, the movie is a little overbloated. I'd be a fool to deny that. In any case, it's still a very good film. There are constant laughs throughout, and if you haven't seen this, you're probably thinking "wow, a three hour comedy." Well, yeah. That's what this is. Even though it's overbloated, a few things carry it. Belfort's numerous speeches to his charged up employees take the cake. I can't really describe my reaction to any of them. It was along the lines of dumbfounded. That's a reaction I had a lot in this movie. Any of the numerous quaaluude scenes, and there really are a lot of them, gave me some genuine laughs as well as that feeling. It's impossible not to have these feelings about this movie. While I wouldn't say I was conflicted, many of the scenes here were more than amusing.

I also don't really understand the mindset that this movie glorified the behavior of these people. I mean, it really didn't. If you think doing lots of drugs in front of your children, cheating on your wife, beating your wife, and stealing money from innocent people is something that you want to do as a result of watching this movie, there's absolutely something wrong with you. I left some shit out on purpose. Sure, a lot of people would want to have a hot wife like Margot Robbie, but that's really as far as it goes for me. Some people just have a warped mind. Speaking of Robbie, I would be remiss not to mention her performance in her final scene. Was some crazy stuff. Other characters that deserve mention have to be Belfort's dad, played by Rob Reiner. Was so strange seeing him in this role. Jean Dujardin was good in his limited role, as was Jon Bernthal as a shady drug dealer. Laughed each time he was on screen. The New York accents were on point in this film.

Ultimately, I think this was a little too long. A few of the characters didn't do anything for me either. There were a few scenes that could have been trimmed, but it's a Scorsese movie and I'm sure as shit glad they weren't trimmed. Do I really need to know the history of quaaludes? While I was watching this movie, I think I did. One weakness is that there needed to be a detailed explanation of what kind of wrong doing was committed. The heavy hitter was money laundering, which was obvious. Still, there were a few other things I wanted to know. What makes the whole thing were the numerous memorable scenes. Genuinely too many to count, even if the yacht scene (you know the one) looked extremely goofy. I was also surprised to see Jonah Hill hold his own in this, and that's going to be what I take away from the film.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on June 06, 2017, 01:13:20 AM
Ash (Ian Holm) being a robot was something I didn't see coming until about five minutes beforehand. That's also with many years of foresight, knowing that there is a robot in the newer films. Still surprised me.
If you give it another watch, study Ash from the moment the crew exits cryo until the first time you "knew." There's a lot of subtle foreshadowing in how he moves and reacts to the rest of the cast, which is further credit to Ian Holm's abilities and to this being Scott's absolute peak.
Quote
I'm sure a lot of people think that the start of the movie is very slow and boring, but that's necessary in order to get people sucked into the story.

I'm actually surprised at how rare this opinion is for newer viewers. I made it a point when my girlfriend and I started dating to watch the first four films (she'd never seen more than a few scenes from any of them, a problem I had to resolve immediately), and she's the type to check her phone constantly during slower parts of a movie/TV show. She didn't touch her phone until we got to Alien 3.

That's when I knew I had a keeper.
Quote
Why were they sent there? Other than the explanation given, I still have some question about it. Hopefully that is answered in the other movies, which I will watch in due time.
3 sequels, 2 official prequels, and 2 "non-canon" pseudo-prequels later? Still no idea why they were sent there. There's hints that it'll be revealed in the Covenant sequel(s), but with how disappointing its box office has been that's now up in the air.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on June 06, 2017, 01:41:54 PM
Ash (Ian Holm) being a robot was something I didn't see coming until about five minutes beforehand. That's also with many years of foresight, knowing that there is a robot in the newer films. Still surprised me.
If you give it another watch, study Ash from the moment the crew exits cryo until the first time you "knew." There's a lot of subtle foreshadowing in how he moves and reacts to the rest of the cast, which is further credit to Ian Holm's abilities and to this being Scott's absolute peak.

In hindsight, I definitely remember seeing signs that should have indicated it. His calm demeanor, not really caring about whether or not anyone else gets contaminated, and not being concerned with having the facehugger so close to him were all very strange.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on June 06, 2017, 05:52:47 PM
(https://www.filmcomment.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/02/fistful-800x347.jpg)

A Fistful of Dollars, directed by Sergio Leone

I've tried to start watching this film before, but I only made it about 20 minutes before having to do something else. Since that point, I resolved never to sit down and watch a movie unless I could finish it. Eight years later, I think I've done exactly that when watching any movie. Maybe even any TV show. Of course, what I'm thinking to myself at this moment, is "how the fuck can I even be a fan of this genre without ever having seen this movie?" It's a good point. I have every intention of resolving such issues going forward.

A Fistful of Dollars is set in a Mexican town called San Miguel. There's a stranger named Joe (Clint Eastwood), who is getting water at the start of the film. He's told that there's a feud between the Rojos and the Baxters. There seems to be minimal difference between the two. The Baxters are led by the town sheriff, but it's pretty clear that he's a shady character himself. The Rojos on the other hand, are just plain dirty. Joe decides that he's going to play the two against each other to make money, but it turns out there are other things at play. The Rojos kill a company of American soldiers, and use their uniforms when shooting up a company of Mexican army regulars. This spurs Joe into action.

Over the course of the movie, you find that Joe is a great shot. Actually, not even over the course of the movie. Almost immediately. Despite that being the case, that isn't the skill he puts to best use. It's his resourcefulness and ability to manipulate. The Rojos and Baxters are just really stupid people, hellbent on destroying each other. The Baxters don't present much of a threat, but the Rojos are comprised of three brothers and two henchmen, all five of which are a bit bumbling to some extent. Esteban (Sieghardt Rupp) and Ramon (Gian Maria Volontè) were my favorites. Esteban was the laugher of the bunch, constantly finding something funny about their situation. Ramon was the more menacing of the two, but he was a massive idiot himself.

While the cast of this movie is big, it pretty much revolves around the exploits of Joe. As you find, Joe isn't entirely an asshole. There's so many good scenes in this film. The cinematography is excellent, with the picture above being a great example of it. The shots were framed really well, and quite close. They were necessary to convey the intensity of the picture. So was a good score, this one being supplied by the excellent Ennio Morricone. If I do have any complaints about the movie, it's that the end comes far too soon after a certain incident towards the end of the film. I could have used a little bit more. I also found the dubbing a bit dated, but that's part of the charm. They told a great story here, and I'm interested to see what's ahead in the other two movies. I know they aren't direct sequels, but it's still interesting to see how somebody builds on their work presented here.

It's also interesting to see the reactions of the time as it relates to this film. The New York Times HATED this movie. Why? They called it cliche, and I guess to some extent it was, but I really don't give a shit.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kotzenjunge on June 07, 2017, 11:59:24 AM
You know, the more I think about it, people should've been suggesting bad movies for you. Or really divisive/controversial ones.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on June 07, 2017, 12:11:22 PM
He's already planning on watching Transformers 2 dawg. Don't get much worse.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on June 07, 2017, 12:13:03 PM
Yeah, I'm watching some bad ones. Such as remakes of all the old movies CWM suggested, rather than watching the originals. Don't worry.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on June 07, 2017, 06:26:21 PM
(http://www.bam.org/media/3373092/thehustler_613x463.jpg)

The Hustler, directed by Robert Rossen

The Hustler was not quite what I was expecting, let's just put it that way. The film starts with Fast Eddie (Paul Newman) in a bar, getting worked over while shooting pool. The thing is, as the title would indicate, this is one big hustle. He wins his small stake, then it's time to challenge a legend, Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). See, Fats has a reputation, and they say he hadn't lost in 15 years. Eddie comes close, but he's a drunk and has many other problems were aren't quite aware of at that point. While ahead, he loses all his money except 200 dollars.

The movie isn't as much about the pool playing as you'd expect. It's about something entirely different. Eddie is in love with Sarah (Piper Laurie), but his life choices are completely self destructive. They're both drunks, so there's that. Being a hustler is a totally unsustainable lifestyle to begin with, as it made clear when he has his thumbs broken. The Hustler isn't about sporting aspects. It's actually a bit hard to describe what the movie is about. I may not be skilled enough with words to pull it off. Do I really sympathize with someone who's willing to ruin their life in order to make money? No, I've never understood it. But Eddie is completely addicted to winning. His addictions are shown in other ways. Alcohol, cigarettes, hustling, beating other people. It's not so much making money. It's destroying other people.

Even when not intending to do so, Eddie does exactly that. At his lowest (in some ways, not in others), Eddie takes a stake from a rich gambler named Bert (George C. Scott), even though the split is a mere 75/25. He has to get back at Fats, it consumes him. Eddie is not capable of seeing what he has in front of him. The movie culminates in bizarre and unexpected fashion, such that I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it. The events are actually quite depressing. This is a really dark film, and while Eddie achieved his goal, ultimately he lost.

As for the technical aspects, this is full of good performances. I didn't care that much for the last few minutes of the film, it actually kind of pissed me off. I should have expected it considering the route things went, but damn. It was a good choice not to color this film, as black and white gave it a better feel. I can't explain that either. It just feels more real. Newman is so young in comparison to the rest of the cast that to color it probably would have made him look like much more of an asshole. I also thought the presentation of the pool games was very good. Lots of rapid cuts, and you don't really need to see the whole thing in any case. That was a great decision. It should also be mentioned that Robert Rossen was investigated for communist activity, and he decided that he needed to rat out everyone who was in those meetings with him. The screenplay was written by him, and you can see some elements of that previous decision in this story.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on June 08, 2017, 08:36:35 AM
I think The Color of Money (basically a sequel set 25 years later) with Newman and Cruise is very solid too.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on June 08, 2017, 03:36:59 PM
Good to see you liking my recommendations and I agree hustler is best in black and white. Paul Newman is one of the all time greatest to me.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on June 09, 2017, 06:46:46 PM
(https://smhttp-ssl-33667.nexcesscdn.net/manual/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/rsz_03suspects_bd_lineup.jpg)

The Usual Suspects, directed by Bryan Singer

The Usual Suspects is another film that it's going to be very difficult for me to give justice to. I have discussed this before with other people, but I find there to be a massive need for original screenplays in Hollywood. This is one of the best of them. I love a good mystery. If you know the twist beforehand, I can see there being very little rewatch value for this movie. After all, the entire film is built around a small selection of things. The best part is that I thought I knew the twist (via having it spoiled), started to believe I didn't know it at all, then believed it again the closer it got to the end. That's a sign of a really good film.

We start off with a flash forward of sorts, or rather given that the narrative jumps all over the place, it's hard to tell exactly where this fits in at first. We see a man named Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) being shot to death by somebody called Keyser, who then lights a boat on fire. That's all we know. There are supposedly a few survivors. We have a Hungarian sailor (?), and a cripple named Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey). Verbal has been given immunity by the district attorney, but a customs agent named Dave (Chazz Palminteri) still wants to know the story. He means the entire story. So, Verbal gives it to him straight. He, Keaton, McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), and Hockney (Kevin Pollak) meet in a jail cell. Some of them know each other, it seems. They have a plan to pull off a heist. The problem is that doing it spirals things rapidly out of control.

It's extremely difficult to go any further without spoiling. So, what I'll do is talk about the performances here. Del Toro does an accent that doesn't make any sense at all, but it helps make his character memorable. It adds something to the story. Pollak is funny as Hockney, but I'm not sure if it was intentional or not. The same can be said for Baldwin as McManus. All these years later, it's funny to see a super nutty evangelical do the things he did in this film. It's also a surprise of sorts that he was capable of performing this role. Kevin Spacey is Kevin Spacey. You know exactly what you're going to get there. Byrne is somewhat of a different story as Keaton. I don't recall seeing him in anything other than End of Days, which sticks out for all the wrong reasons. There's also a small appearance from Giancarlo Esposito, who plays a cigar smoking FBI agent. Very funny considering what he's done since. Pete Postlethwaite has a small part, and he's a great actor who died far too soon. Last but certainly not least, Palminteri makes a REALLY GOOD interrogating detective.

It says a lot about this film that I can't imagine any of these characters being played by a different actor. For a movie shot on $6,000,000, it's hard to believe. They also used some great locations, and of course the boat scene appeared like something that would cost a fair bit of money. But it didn't, and we're all better off for this moving existing. There's people who think this is a shit movie, but they're wrong. Maybe it's dated, but I don't care about that too much. The story was completely on point, and the structure of the narrative was perfect. If there's any negatives, it's that the plot was apparently too confusing for people like Roger Ebert, and with that being the case it's probably confusing for a lot of people. That's too bad. If I wasn't intelligent enough to follow the plot of this movie, I would hate myself. Of all the people to be KEYSER SOZE, they picked the right one. I'm a bit surprised that when the movie wrapped up, I didn't have any questions at all. That's always nice.

9.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on June 11, 2017, 11:57:22 AM
(http://pbs.twimg.com/media/C-g7DGmVoAAY8wW.jpg)

The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott

Unlike Interstellar, this is a far more straightforward space epic, one which should leave nobody with any questions other than if the science contained within is legitimate. Fortunately, while many major things were not scientifically accurate, I don't give that much of a shit. If you're hoping for scientific accuracy in a movie in order to enjoy it, you'll be waiting for a very long time. I tried not to go through space movies in such quick succession like this, but I felt the need to watch it. Interstellar was expiring, so when it came to that one I didn't have any choice.

Just like Gravity, this film cuts straight to the chase and does not bother to bloat the first act with unnecessary exposition. All you need to know is that NASA has sent a crew to Mars and they are halfway through their mission. Commander Lewis (Jessica Chastain), Mark Watney (Matt Damon), Dr. Vogel (Aksel Hennie), Beth Johanssen (Kate Mara), Chris Beck (Sebastian Stan), and Major Martinez (Michael Pena) make up the crew. There is a massive storm coming, one which will knock their ascent vehicle over and leave them stranded on Mars. So, unfortunately, their mission must be aborted. While evacuating, Watney disappears and cannot join them on the vehicle, so they must depart. After the storm is over, we find that Watney is still alive. His personal mission then becomes finding out how to survive for four more years.

The movie is full of good performances although the characters are very thin. For a movie of such length (2:20), that's a bit odd, until you sit down to watch it and realize the movie is packed with things that cannot be removed or expanded on. Watney uses a video log to explain to NASA how he does these things, and presumably the video log will be recovered in four years. So, you get all your exposition there. NASA's frantic attempts to establish communication are interesting, even though this feels like the general outline of a plot I've seen before. I just can't put my finger on it. Jeff Daniels plays the NASA director, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the director of their Mars missions and general communicator with Watney, Sean Bean plays this specific mission director, and Kristen Wiig is very well cast as the PR director tasked with handling this catastrophe. This is quite the big cast, but I'm not done yet. You also have Benedict Wong as the director of JPL, and Donald Glover as one of his employees.

Now that I'm done with all that, I can talk about the most important thing in the movie. It is by far the cinematography and overall presentation. This movie could have been extremely dull in somebody else's hands. I'm not sure who to credit for all the things here, and perhaps in an HD era this movie would have looked excellent no matter what. I don't know. Choosing Wadi Rum for the location of "Mars" was quite smart. Its been done before, and everyone can see why just by googling it. There's some that haven't used the location as Mars, which I just don't understand at all. The overall look of the film is extremely important, and while this and the story lead me to give this a good rating, I did find quite a bit of flaws with this movie.

Ridiculous enough to mention first off, is the idea that the entire world is consumed with the idea of bringing Watney home from Mars. Maybe this is part of some kind of future where people get along and care about each other like that, but it doesn't resemble any realistic vision of the future I can see, nor is there a reason given for why the future is like this. The ending of the movie made me laugh rather than getting the emotion out of me they were attempting to accomplish. Also, I thought Wiig should have been some kind of bigger part of the movie, because her sporadic lines were quite good. The characters are also quite thin and it's not possible to understand all their motivations, but I did say that the way the film started was good. The film starting that way renders that an inevitability, so I shouldn't complain. Also, as mentioned already, the science is pretty bad. Some things like not accurately portraying the effects of radiation can be forgiven, as otherwise there would be no movie. Same for the big storm. Beck waving the probe in is not so forgivable. It didn't make any sense and I don't like the idea of treating spacecraft like a diesel truck. Repairing the airlock that way is goofy shit too. The other stuff, it's just a movie and a good one.

In closing, I did like seeing a movie where Sean Bean didn't die, and Michael Pena is always a good performer. I know why he doesn't have a bigger place in Hollywood, but that sucks. I also enjoyed that the production was mindful of the lack of skin care someone on a deserted planet would have, as well as their tooth decay. I'm also glad that the space epics of late don't seem to be dealing with unrealistic scenarios where people are shooting each other, or crews that are entirely uncooperative with each other, or have futuristic weaponry they use to do weird shit, as well as numerous other things I could mention. The visual effects were amazing, and specifically I'm thinking of chunks of dirt that were flying up the ascent vehicle during the storm. Also, the set designs were so nice as to be a little offputting in some cases. JPL doesn't waste money like that, their buildings look nowhere near that nice.

Overall, all these things taken in tandem make a good movie. It's not as good as Gravity or Interstellar, but I like that Hollywood is doing things with this genre. The first 30 minutes of the movie actually made it difficult for me to understand how anyone would expect to make money off something like this, but I suppose people have changed and are ready for something different. While some of the characters were padding and while the celebrations for his return were overboard, ultimately what's important was that by the end of the movie I cared about what happened to Watney.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on June 16, 2017, 06:59:35 PM
(http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03139/unforgiven1992_3139914b.jpg)

Unforgiven, directed by Clint Eastwood

I delayed watching Unforgiven because I was expecting a re-telling of a preexisting story. Perhaps that's unfair, but considering the time period and some of the other Westerns that came out around the time of that film, I wasn't entirely sure of what I'd be getting. The answer to that question was...something special. There are far too many characters taking part in the story, but I didn't mind. 

Unforgiven starts out with a scene the entire film revolves around. Two cowboys want to get them some whores. The problem is that Delilah (Anna Levine) laughs at one of them because he has a small dick. So, the small dicked cowboy decides that he and his buddy are going to cut her face. You'd think those guys will be hanged or beaten for what they've done, right? Wrong. Instead, a sheriff named Little Bill (Gene Hackman) says that the cowboys are going to give the proprietor of the establishment, Skinny (Anthony James), some ponies instead. The prostitutes are not okay with this. So, they're giving out a $1,000 reward and telling everyone who comes through the town of Big Whiskey.

The story then takes us to Kansas, where a loudmouth calling himself the Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) is meeting with William Munny (Clint Eastwood), somebody with quite the reputation as a killer. In typical Eastwood fashion, there is a lack of information given to you as to how Munny earned that reputation. It's certainly for the best, as you get attached to the character before finding out. In any case, Munny does not immediately take the kid's offer for collecting on that bounty together. We see that Munny has two kids, is a pretty shit farmer, and no longer partakes in any of the behavior he was previously known for. The thing is, because he's a shit farmer, eventually he accepts and is accompanied on his path by his former partner Ned (Morgan Freeman).

There are a few other characters in the film, some of them quite great. English Bob (Richard Harris) isn't in the movie for long, but he steals a couple scenes. WW Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) is on the other hand somewhat of a drag on the film, perhaps the only one. He's in the film quite a bit, too. The story here plays out so well. The best aspect of it is that other than the prostitutes, there really aren't any hero characters here. Everyone is bad to varying degrees, and in the end everyone is probably rooting for the worst of them all to win. There really isn't any redeeming aspect of Munny as an individual. Sure, he has kids, but he also left them to go hunt this bounty. He clearly has no morals. Joining him straight in that muck is Little Bill, one of the worst son of a bitch sheriff characters I can remember in one of these movies. It's great. Hackman knows exactly what to bring to the role, and even though he's hardly on the screen with Eastwood, he is very heavily featured.

Ultimately, the scene that sticks with me the most is the reveal of Munny's past, as well as the reactions by Eastwood to various instances throughout the movie where it's hinted at. This is a hell of a movie, right up my alley. You know exactly what you're going to get when you turn on a movie directed by Eastwood, and it's doubly the case for a Western where he takes part. With all that in mind, I feel like I haven't done this film any justice at all. The movie is extremely quotable, and no doubt I'll be using a few of them going forward.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on June 29, 2017, 12:33:38 PM
(https://www.tattooedmomphilly.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/firewalkwithme.jpg)

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, directed by David Lynch

I've been watching Twin Peaks for the last two weeks, hence the lack of activity in this thread. I finished the original series yesterday, then it was time to watch the movie today. To talk about the movie at all would spoil a ton of things, so I'm just not going to do that. What I will say is that the movie is far more fucked up than the television show and I wasn't entirely prepared to watch what I watched.

7.5/10


I'll start back up with this thread once I completely catch up with the new parts of the series.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on June 29, 2017, 02:18:08 PM
Dude place beyond the pines, jeezus
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on June 29, 2017, 02:31:02 PM
Dude place beyond the pines, jeezus

Not yet bro gotta catch up on Twin Peaks. I'll watch that right after I'm done though.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on June 29, 2017, 02:48:05 PM
Aightz
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on July 21, 2017, 05:02:39 PM
I have actually seen many people call the following film:

boring
uneventful
painful
not containing any story

Have we found the fabled silent Trump voters?

(http://focusmicrosites.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/uploads/_tmp/1490674271_focusfeatures_placebeyondthepines_ryangosling_evamendes_bradleycooper_derekcianfrance_trailer-1194x501.jpg)

The Place Beyond the Pines, directed by Derek Cianfrance

I said I was going to watch this, but I took far longer than I intended to. I'm getting back in the swing of this and going to ramp up my film watching. This was a particularly interesting film, but not remotely what I expected. Anyone who has checked this out can see by taking a look at the poster that it is somewhat misleading. In this case, it was a great thing that I don't read descriptions of the subject matter prior to watching.

We begin with Luke (Ryan Gosling) showcasing his ability as a motorcycle driver as a carnival. The first thing that immediately came to mind was white trash. Why wouldn't it? Once he's done, it turns out that he needs to give a woman a ride home. The woman is Romina (Eva Mendes), who unbeknownst to Luke, Luke has fathered a child with. Luke does not want his son to grow up without him, so he leaves the carnival and hangs around Schenectady. Schenectady isn't exactly a great place to get a job, so even though Luke wants to support his child, it isn't exactly easy. As far as the plot goes, I'll stop with that.

There is no reason to go into such an ambitious plot as only seeing it can describe things properly. One issue with movies that have three distinct acts like this one is that some characters are left short of time on the screen. Ray Liotta was a prominent part of the advertising and he was in three scenes. His role was interesting and I wanted to see more, but it wasn't to be. His wasn't the only one. Eva Mendes puts in a pretty good performance and is effectively shoved to the side. Mahershala Ali was another one. It bothers me a little bit when I know what somebody's about, what kind of performance they can have, and they get no opportunity. Effectively he is reduced to being hit in the eye.

Ambition does bring some positives to the table. The entire first act feels like part of one of the best films I've ever seen. To some extent Gosling plays The Driver all over again, but that's something I feel like I need to see. Gosling isn't typecast by any means, but sometimes people don't see the positive effects of an actor playing type. This particular role is one that carries a great deal of depth, one that can be explored many times over. Nobody else is as good at playing a violent drifter. Another plus point was the way the film opened. It takes balls to open a film with a long tracking shot that one, a Scorsese special. The effect wears off throughout the movie as this happens a few more times, but it's the opening shot that sticks with me. While I did criticize the usage of time in the three chapters of this story, I appreciate that someone attempted to pull this off. Consequences are a hell of a thing, although in the last act this felt a bit tenuous to some extent. The actors in the third act did well at retaining the viewer, but they were given a near impossible job to attempt to measure up to what came before them. I want to point out that those two had massively disparate personality types and would not be friends even for a day.

There were a few other actors I liked seeing in the film, but I would rather not say anything about who they were or what they did. Ben Mendelsohn is one that I'll be sure to see more of. Ultimately, it's worth your time to view this for yourself. Some people talk about movies being too long, and this one does sit at 140 minutes. My counter to that is that if you will probably spend 140 minutes of your day doing far worse things. Don't jerk off instead. Spend less time on the internet. Don't turn on the video games. At the very least, you'll get to see a director try to make one of the most audacious crime films of the last decade. I would say it was merely good, possibly could have been even more. Could also have been a lot worse without great casting.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on July 22, 2017, 05:07:07 AM
Yesss! Solid review. I agree that the director took risks. People could have tuned out after the first act but he had a strong theme developing throughout and great performances from the lead actors. I also love the score, still remember it. I can watch this movie over and over again.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Saints_Fan_H on July 23, 2017, 02:11:09 AM
Reader request: Nothing But Trouble (1991).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102558/

Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on July 23, 2017, 01:41:54 PM
(https://static01.nyt.com/images/2016/02/05/arts/05HAIL/05HAIL-facebookJumbo.jpg)

Hail, Caesar!, directed by the Coen brothers

This was definitely a Coen brothers movie. That can mean quite a few things, but the first that comes to mind is their typical farce comedy. The second is Roger Deakins cinematography. Deakins brilliance is really only shown in a few scenes, one in particular being on the ocean. The outcome of that scene was quite unexpected, but that's the way these people work. Deakins is somebody I've mentioned before, and I just can't help but do it. The way he sets the scene in combination with color palette is always difficult to resist commenting on. This film had mixed reviews, and it's clear to see why. Many viewers found the film self-indulgent, which to some extent it was. Others found it quite amusing and interesting. I'm somewhere in the middle. Considering this was not a classic film of any sort, I will be spoiling with impunity below this point.

This film is set in the 1950's, with Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) as a fixer for Capitol Studios. This being the 1950's, the studio business was booming. Filmmaking was a factory business, where studios would churn out films with incredible regularity, shooting them on the lot. Of course, because it's the Coen brothers, this is overblown to large extent. We find that Mannix is considering a job offer from Lockheed, and that his job with the studio is quite stressful. He has to deal with Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), an actor in a film called Hail, Caesar, which is very close to finishing shooting. Mannix also must deal with Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), a Western star who was placed in a drama film directed by Laurence Laurentz (in an excellent performance from Ralph Fiennes). Laurentz is quite demanding, which leads to a great scene where he attempts to change the diction of the woefully miscast and rangeless Doyle. The film inevitably revolved around Mannix by this point, because the problems never stop. DeeAnna (Scarlett Johansson) is in a film where she's a mermaid, but she's become pregnant while filming and people didn't exactly have a progressive attitude about unmarried mothers in those days. In the midst of all that, Whitlock is kidnapped by communists and held for ransom.

It isn't only movie stars giving Mannix these problems. Tilda Swinton plays twin gossip columnists, and they really want to get up in everyone's business. They have dirt on Whitlock that they want to spread around. Mannix also must deal with the job offer at hand, his wife (Alison Pill), his children, and the aforementioned communists. In typical Coen fashion, there are extra scenes thrown in. The most notable of them features Channing Tatum doing a Gene Kelly like dance routine. There's also Frances McDormand as a film editor, showing the process of editing the way it used to be. You also have Jonah Hill playing a different kind of fixer, one who steps in whenever the studio needs him to assume a role. Not an acting role. Just, you know, a role for one of their stars. You'll have to watch the movie to get an explanation. Michael Gambon narrates the movie, but his involvement doesn't make any sense whatsoever. You never know when his narration is coming, neither does it come at a time you'd think merits it.

The plot is as broad as it gets, but that's also what you expect. However, unlike Burn After Reading, there has to be some level of interest in the subject matter as it's a period piece. It took some time for the main story to develop, that being Whitlock being kidnapped by communists. From that point it goes down a farcical path, but I found it amusing. I felt differently about the movie when it ended than I did after thinking about it for 20 more minutes. Hindsight left me more appreciative in this instance. There was so much here packed into a short span of time. It may not have been for the best. There was no opportunity to develop characters. When it was revealed who masterminded the communist plot, I didn't have any feelings of attachment to the story. I felt nothing, but once they showed him leaving Hollywood, that was the only time in the film where it felt like the story hit high gear. There's also a scene with Doyle going on a date that features strong acting and a good gag, but it's ultimately pointless and doesn't pay off to any extent.

For what's bad about this, and there are some things as mentioned above, there's still a great basis for a story in this film. The ideas weren't developed, but the movie is funny regardless. The actors also put on some good performances, I didn't think Brolin was capable of carrying a film that played out like this one, and for the first ten minutes or so I felt like my suspicions would be correct. In the end that wasn't the case. The film was full of bright characters, and ultimately that saved it. In a movie full of them, Fiennes' portrayal of the betrayed director stands out the largest. I don't think anyone in Hail, Caesar performed as anything less than what you'd expect given the material they had, but it feels like they should have been given an opportunity to do more.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on July 26, 2017, 05:21:04 PM
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Zna_yiW4CLU/VcTXF1c9zsI/AAAAAAAABmE/62ydqD5bE04/s660/man-from-uncle.png)

The Man from U.N.C.L.E, directed by Guy Ritchie

I don't have any long list of reasons to watch this, so the usually overblown opening paragraph is going to be brief. I hadn't heard anything about this film at all, the main reason I checked it out was that it was expiring and I'd heard it was set in the 1950's. I'd heard wrong, it was set in the 1960's. 1963, in fact. I don't particularly understand why this picture was made either. I imagine that a studio head got a hair up their ass because they liked the old TV show and was demanding this film be made. That appears to be similar to the reality, although instead of a studio head, it was a producer who'd wanted the film made for 20 years.

Initially at least, The Man from U.N.C.L.E screams retro at the viewer. We immediately begin with Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) needing to escort a mechanic over the Berlin Wall to reunite with her father. Gabby (Alicia Vikander) and Solo are able to do so, but they're trailed by KGB agent Ilya (Armie Hammer) throughout the duration of the escape. The events then take us to Rome, where Gabby's father is being held. Why is that? He's a nuclear physicist, and former Nazis want to get the bomb, which is being produced by her father, her uncle (Sylvester Groth), Alexander Vinciguerra (Luca Calvani), and his wife Victoria (Elizabeth Debicki) From this point on, the film is very much standard action fare. There are a few good twists, one of them very much catching me by surprise. There's also an appearance from Hugh Grant, who looked just a bit older than he actually is. I didn't recognize him.

King Arthur aside (which I will eventually review here), it appears that Ritchie is good at taking a standard studio movie, putting a little spin on it, and expecting that to carry the viewing. To large extent it does. The setting is excellent. The fashion choices are particularly overboard, as is the dialogue surrounding them. His characters don't have much depth, but in this context it's acceptable. Other things were more important, and it's a fucking action movie. In what you'd expect to be the most tense scenes of the movie, there are amusing diversions that put good moments of the film in the background. That was different, at least in terms of what I've seen before. Perhaps this occurs more often, but I don't know. I'm watching another Ritchie movie in the next few days, so I'll be able to judge.

As for negatives, there are certainly a fair few. The most noticeable was that there was a car chase taking place with something that wasn't produced yet. The sand rail was also not even remotely period correct. Usually I don't care about something like that, but I noticed and I had a hard time getting over it. I also didn't care for seeing somebody do a stunt that was disproven on Mythbusters. It simply isn't something that can be done. There's also the matter of the last sequence of the film being so much more banal than the rest. I thought the first 70 minutes were far better than the rest, and the last 20 felt like something that didn't belong. Unfortunately, one of the villains was completely empty (Alexander) and the other (Victoria) completely overshadowed them. They are also on the screen for an equal amount of time, although rarely together.

What's good about this film is everything prior to that, when boats aren't being blown up. The actors are particularly adept in these roles, with Hammer standing out more than the others. This didn't quite come together the way I would have liked, but I'm a huge fan of this setting so it's difficult for me to judge movies like these appropriately. The comedy scenes contained within saved it.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on July 27, 2017, 02:14:38 PM
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, directed by David Yates

Once again, I was somewhat forced to watch a movie from this series. Unlike the last time, I was okay with this. I think I'm going to finish the series over time, but it had been nearly two years since I saw the last one. Who knows how long it will take to finish? There's no need to go over the plot here, so this will be a lot shorter than usual.

The Order of the Phoenix is quite a bit shorter than the previous entry to this series, and I understand that this book was the longest one. So, I'm not sure if that was the right thing to do and I bet people were angry about it. I didn't and usually don't pay attention to that kind of thing, so it's irrelevant to me. The act of condensing a book is extremely difficult. I think to some extent it was well done, to some extent it wasn't. When actors like Helena Bonham Carter and Brendan Gleeson hardly appear, it doesn't leave me with good feelings. It felt like their parts should have led to more appearances than they actually had.
At least Gary Oldman got proper time, but in the end there was clearly a reason for that. The cast for this was just too large to be covered properly over the couse of the movie. These were my complaints the previous time, so there's really nothing different as far as that goes. The direction of this also merits no comment. It's crazy that somebody went from directing television movies to directing the entire rest of this series, as well as the new universe they're trying to get going.

Shortening the film has its bonuses, though. Looking at things from the perspective of an adult, it removes many of the more awkward scenes between the kids. I just don't care about some of the stories going on there. What I did care about were the dream sequences and adult characters, largely the teachers. The movie didn't quite revolve around them, but they played a huge part in it. That's for the best in this situation, especially considering that fans of this series had gotten older by the time the fifth movie was made. It's rough because so many actors I like are in this movie, so it feels essential to watch it even though it isn't my favorite subject matter. Particularly of note and as of yet unmentioned by me in any of these reviews would have to be the set design. For me, that's the real achievement there. Every entry in this series has a huge budget, but still. The set designs are unique and are worth a mention on their own. I haven't seen all of the films nominated for awards during the years this series was nominated in, but I find it hard to believe there were many films with better production than this one.

With such a massive cast, it's very difficult for anyone to stand out. Alan Rickman and Imelda Staunton did their best, and in Rickman's case he was also hardly in the film. Ultimately this edition was more reliant on the plot to advance the story than any of the usual main characters. The climax was quite good, but I had a hard time handling the way the story limped to its conclusion.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on July 30, 2017, 05:30:04 PM
(http://orig07.deviantart.net/5c78/f/2008/251/d/4/toby_kebbel_in_rocknrolla_by_kaostic.png)

RocknRolla, directed by Guy Ritchie

I said I was watching another Ritchie project this week, but I didn't realize this one was never released in theaters here before I turned it on. I'm also surprised that I found this as enjoyable as I did. This contained a few things similar to his later work, particularly the telling of action scenes through flashbacks. In this case it was a lot better than The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Gerard Butler has rarely ever been interesting, or at least I thought that was the case until I checked out RocknRolla. Butler plays a Scottish criminal named One-Two, and he has his own little crew with some great characters. The Wild Bunch is made up of One-Two, Mumbles (Idris Elba), and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy playing a closeted homosexual). The Wild Bunch has a problem with a real estate mobster named Lemmy Cole (Tom Wilkinson), who stole some money from them in one of his schemes. His hired muscle Archy (Mark Strong) plays his part, but you don't see much from him for quite some time. After Cole steals from the Wild Bunch, he has his sights set on Uri (Karel Roden), who plays a caricature of Roman Abramovich. If you know who Abramovich is, this film may sound quite interesting to you at this point. If you don't, you're probably confused as shit. After all, I didn't mention the RocknRolla yet. Johnny Quid's (Toby Kebbell) portion of the story takes place miles away from the rest, so there was no need to mention him. He is pictured above.

This film was as British as it gets, and if you have no prior understanding of their lingo as well as a tough time dealing with varying British accents, there is no point whatsoever in you watching this. After all, it wouldn't be enjoyable. If you haven't gone overboard into this seedy-junkie comedy-crime genre, then this will feel fresh to you, as it did to me. There were some bits that really had me going. The robberies are probably the best example. The last one is really good. The "victims" of it had an interesting conversation prior to it that let you know something interesting was on its way. It was surprisingly well done. By contrast the dialogue in The Man from U.N.C.L.E feels trite. Even though there were some similarities in the presentation of the films, perhaps it was best to watch these in such short succession. It shows that a screenwriter (Ritchie) has lost his punch.

Not everything in this film is so great though. When Jeremy Piven and Ludacris were on screen, I was expecting the worst. I'd only ever seen Piven in Entourage and Smokin' Aces, but this felt so lazy. It felt like he was playing Ari Gold, it was something I couldn't look past. Ludacris wasn't as bad, but he didn't talk much. As mentioned, the presentation is goofy. The flashbacks with narration work sometimes (the aforementioned last robbery), others it doesn't. There was also a lot of narration from Mark Strong, notably in the first 15 minutes of the film. The viewer is inundated with information, but it was entirely necessary information. The Abramovich character is hit and miss, with the biggest hit being one that you'll have to watch the film if you want to see because it spoils the entire thing.

Ultimately, the film is carried by good performances. This had mixed reviews, which doesn't exactly surprise me due to the nature of the story and presentation. The RocknRolla is a hell of a junkie, and I guess this poor bastard played Dr. Doom in the Fantastic Four reboot, so no wonder I've never seen him in anything else. His friend's Scouse accent is nearly unintelligible. I hardly even recognized Wilkinson. While typing this out, I realized I'm only mentioning men, and that's simply the nature of the film. Other than Thandie Newton, that's what you get here. This film is generic in some senses, but I liked it. It could have been even better without the narrator and with more care given to telling the story (as well as 20 more minutes to do so).

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 02, 2017, 05:53:40 PM
(http://static.rogerebert.com/uploads/review/primary_image/reviews/the-magnificent-seven-2016/hero_Magnificent-Seven-TIFF-2016.jpg)

The Magnificent Seven, directed by Antoine Fuqua

This was the first edition of watching remakes of classics rather than the classic, with the intention of making CWM angry because he recommended the classic to me in the first place. It's quite fun to do that, after all. From what I understand this film is quite dissimilar to the 1960 version, which itself is dissimilar to Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. When I saw that Nic Pizzolatto co-wrote the screenplay for this, I groaned. He's only ever done one thing worthwhile, and the best parts of that were plagiarized from philosophy books. Surprisingly, the script was okay.

Seemingly set in California, this movie kicks off with Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) claiming the mining town of Rose Creek for his own, demanding that people give up their land or be dealt with. Some of these villagers stand up to him, only to be shot down. As a result of that, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) leaves town in search of help. Enter Chisolm (Denzel Washington), a US Marshal who we see dealing with problems. Chisolm knows that he will also need help in taking this town back for its people, so he needs to put together a team. His team is subsequently made up of...Faraday (Chris Pratt), a roguish individual who is accused of cheating at cards. Effectively, at least to some degree anyway, he is playing Star-Lord. Continuing that, he recruits Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), a Confederate sniper with quite the reputation. Robicheaux is accompanied by Billy (Byung-hun Lee), who seems to be quite the knife thrower. There's also my favorite, Jack Horne (Vincent d'Onofrio), a wild man who quotes scripture while killing folks. It is hard to type that out without laughing. But that's d'Onofrio for you. Rounding out the team are Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). Everyone can see that those guys are Mexican and native respectively, yes?

That's quite the diverse team, which seems like one of the main reasons this film was made. That's a big positive for me. There were other people out in the West. All the Asians didn't work on railroads, the natives all didn't go up to live in the mountains, Mexicans didn't only just appear in the United States after World War II, and there were black cowboys. People should wise up about this stuff. The film does have its merits. Some of the characters are paper thin, but others are not. The main three are clearly Chisolm, Faraday, and Robicheaux. Those are the ones with motivation to actually be there (as does Billy because he follows Robicheaux everywhere), as does Vasquez. The other two really do not. But that's okay, because Red Harvest and Horne do cool shit. The shootouts are great even though you can't tell where everyone's coming from. I was pleasantly surprised that Chisholm's motivation to be there was solid, although I did not remotely care for the manner in which it was revealed. Seemed like something the viewer should know far earlier.

This was effectively a superhero film, which presents its fair share of problems given the genre space in which it inhabits. Because it is a superhero film, there's a lot more action, blowing up shit, and character tropes than I generally care for in my Westerns. The story as a whole was not great, and there are characters who ultimately amounted to nothing. Why was Red Harvest there? Who knows. The most positive aspect was the act of team building, and the rest of the film was simply incapable of matching it. Vasquez's reason for being in this story is to call people guero. That, you know, I don't know. That feels so lazy. The film is plenty long enough for there to be more to this. I am also not sure that this needed to be called a remake, or that the filmmakers needed seven characters for the team (they actually had eight). It was simply a vehicle for the film to be made. Regardless of that, it does feel like Fuqua cared about this project, even though it definitely could have been more. There was talent here, there was the budget to make something great out of it, and it just didn't happen. The ending was also not very positive and once it was over I was left with a sour taste. I also didn't like that the "outlaws" Chisolm rounded up didn't seem remotely like bad guys in any way.

If Vinny D wasn't doing his thing here, I know that I would have hated this. But he was in the film a lot and made me laugh a lot. As mentioned, the shootouts were also a major plus point. Denzel also slid into this role the way he does every role, but that's Denzel Washington, man. This was definitely a movie, but you could go your whole life without seeing a moment of it and be just fine.

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 02, 2017, 05:54:35 PM
Also no, I will not watch the original. Not for a bigly long time.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on August 02, 2017, 06:46:39 PM
Smh just shake my head son
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on August 03, 2017, 04:26:11 AM
CWM's reaction after the first 3 lines of that review

(https://media3.giphy.com/media/l0HlLA99hjW5P1BIY/giphy.gif)
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 03, 2017, 05:40:33 PM
(http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/640/546/918.jpg)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, directed by Michael Bay

As somebody who watched one of the Transformers cartoons as a kid, it's probably sad that I forgot everyone except for Optimus Prime and Megatron. But I really did, and anyone mad about that just has to get over it. I should mention beforehand that I forgot everything about the first film, which doesn't mean anything as nothing in the first film actually mattered in this one. I really mean that nothing mattered, and worst of all everything was treated like it did, so in some instances I don't recall hearing the names of any of the robots. In theory, it seems like it would be easy to make a decent Transformers film. Perhaps it isn't, but it seems like it. However, I cannot think of any blockbuster with such detestable characters.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is really a massive pile of shit, and I didn't need to watch this to know that it was probably true. As soon as it was stated that I needed to watch more bad movies, I immediately added this one to the list. I knew I couldn't pick anything better to go on about. There's no point to going over the plot, as the film lasts for 150 minutes and nothing in the first two hours actually matters in any way whatsoever. The action scenes are the only redeemable thing in the movie, as I am amazed at the visual effects used here. Nothing is impossible, but it's still hard to believe that there is the capacity for visual effects people to actually do these things with film. I know somebody who is getting into the engineering aspect of this industry, and I'm left to wonder what else they'll be able to do in 20 years. Visual effects have obviously taken massive leaps forward in the prior 20 years.

Again, I do not know any other series with such annoying characters, and it wasn't only the humans in this instance. I think this film is genuinely deeply offensive. For a series that markets their product straight to children, I do not understand why a studio would allow the filmmaker to put some of these things in the picture. I don't think I would want my child watching this until they're 12 or 13 even though it's largely marketed towards eight year olds. It actually took me 36 minutes to laugh at anything in this film. I didn't find any of the jokes funny, and other than a few things I was laughing for the wrong reasons. The two minstrel robots with accents, big ears, inability to read, and gold teeth are something I find hard to believe exists. Yet it does, and I don't like it. The parents may be the worst characters in the history of blockbuster cinema. That they teleported to Egypt at the end of the film was amusing to a degree that I can't describe. Why were they there?

There are endless negative points to this movie. The big bad "The Fallen" meets his end after a one or two minute fight. What? John Turturro deserved far better than this as well, but at least he tried. I hope he got paid. The plot doesn't make any sense whatsoever and is riddled with more useless, annoying characters. It wouldn't bother me as much if the screenplay disposed of them once their use was over, but that's not what happened and they all come together at the end of the film anyway. There's also dogs humping legs and fucking each other, and again I have to mention the parents, because holy shit. Who cast these people? Who writes this shit? It's also nearly impossible to enjoy the action scenes because Bay can't resist throwing garbage into them. It's too bad, it really is. Like I said, it is possible to make a good Transformers movie, I just wouldn't count on it. The people who participated in this film literally do not deserve mention. I don't care to add them in. I could keep going for ages, but I really don't want to because it already took me about 2:45 (with a piss break or two) to watch this. Anything in this you thought was bad, I also thought was bad. That sums it up.

Oh yeah, another positive before I forget. The nuts. That's enough to make me watch the whole series, which I will do in due time.

3/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on August 05, 2017, 06:16:08 PM
the comedy in that movie is among the worst i've seen in a movie and the parents are unwatchably awful. Michael Bay is a cancer on cinema. I have pretty low standards for enjoyment but he ruins everything.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 06, 2017, 12:29:56 PM
(http://www.d3bris.de/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/stargate-the-movie-e.jpg)

Stargate, directed by Roland Emmerich

Stargate was a good idea executed poorly, so if you're a fan of the movie or series it's very likely you won't care for what I have to say. I watched this about 20 years ago and didn't remember a single thing about it, so everything was a nice surprise. Or in some cases it wasn't nice. I have been told that the series elaborates on some of the concepts in this film much better than the film itself, but I haven't watched the series so I'm judging by the film only.

Stargate begins with a shot from 1928, with stones and some kind of structure being unearthed from the ground in Egypt. We then pan over to the present day, where Daniel Jackson (James Spader) is getting embarrassed while giving a lecture to other people in his field, who all decide to walk out. Jackson is then invited to a military base, where he is told by Col. O'Neil (Kurt Russell) that the information there is classified. Jackson is also told that they have some kind of device, which is revealed to be the Stargate. Jackson is a hieroglyphics expert, and his abilities are put to use so the Air Force can...navigate the stars.

Once the stars are navigated, I found myself far more disappointed than anything else. I thought the film was going well to that point, but I didn't care for the things revealed after the journey. I wanted my goddamn aliens, I was waiting for it. What I wasn't expecting was for there to be a god portrayed in this, nor for that god to be so...bad? Ra (Jaye Davidson) was exactly the opposite of what I expected. It's not only the look I'm talking about there, it's the bad voice altering and that kind of thing. I don't get it. Ultimately I found the film more goofy than anything else. The backstory was appealing to me, but there were problems with the plot I couldn't understand. I really fail to understand why an all powerful alien race would have such limited ways to mine for resources, or why they would need slaves to do it. Without spoiling anything, of course. I also don't like the idea of people staying primitive for thousands upon thousands of years the way it was shown in this film, but that's just what it is.

It's not all bad, though. The special effects are good for the time even though they don't hold up, but because they're good for the time I'll call it like I see it. As already mentioned, I like the concept of this and think there's something to the world even though the plot didn't measure up. If they had only made a film out of this, what a waste that would have been. I also liked some of the set design, as well as the action pieces. Erick Avari being in this wasn't much of a surprise and got a good laugh out of me. I am a little surprised that people didn't care for the part of the story pertaining to O'Neil and the bomb. I found that to be an entirely realistic approximation of what would happen were the US government to find an artifact that allowed them to travel worlds and they were encountered with any sort of hostility. I suppose that's not the kind of realism people want in sci-fi movies, though. The helmets were nice too.

Unfortunately, I see on the Wikipedia page that some of the deleted scenes would have made this a lot better and elaborated on some of the things I had problems with. This is a fine popcorn movie, so it's probably my fault for having expectations. Still though. Ra in this movie. Awful.

5.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 08, 2017, 12:36:30 PM
(https://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/10/16/arts/16BEAST/16BEAST-master1050.jpg)

Beasts of No Nation, directed by Cary Fukunaga

Beasts of No Nation is a profoundly disturbing film, which shouldn't surprise anyone as a Netflix film fits a certain niche that other studios don't want to touch. Its portrayal of war was horrific, and despite being told what I was going to be watching I wasn't entirely prepared to be seeing it. The film was so dour, which generally isn't a problem for me, but in combination with the subject matter and content this was very difficult viewing. I do however appreciate that the film wasn't overbloated with details regarding the war and instead stuck to one theme, that being manipulation.

As Agu (Abraham Attah) says, he is a good boy with a good family, and lives in an unnamed West African country that has begun to have conflict leading to a civil war. Agu lives in a village that has been taking refugees, but Agu and his family learn that the government has collapsed. The women flee, but the men do not, and Agu is unfortunately stuck with the men. Agu attempts to escape with his brother, who is murdered right in front of him, but he's able to make it to the jungle. At that point, Agu encounters the Commandant (Idris Elba), who is part of the NDF rebel faction. The Commandant has a host of child soldiers under his command, including Strika (Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye), who becomes Agu's best friend. At the risk of spoiling more, I'll stop right there.

With one notable exception, none of the harrowing aspects of this movie are glossed over. It's for the best as I probably would have turned the movie off. The rest of the film was a truly harrowing experience and I was genuinely concerned about what I was going to be seeing from scene to scene. That's something not many films are able to pull off in a way that makes me want to keep going, but I needed to know what would happen to Agu. The Commandant was a monster, made worse by knowing there have been thousands like him. I believe this was an accurate representation, which is something to be applauded. No studio forced anything to be cut, there was no sanitization of anything. The focus revolving around one character was excellent. I had no interest in knowing more than what was shown.

There are some scenes here that stand out far more than others, particularly the run of Agu's escape, capture, and subsequent indoctrination. I probably won't be forgetting them any time soon. If I have any negative feelings about this film, they relate to some of the battle scenes. Events move as fast as they would in a child's mind, with no time to linger whatsoever and show what has actually been done. Perhaps this is for the best, but I don't know. It is also a little jarring the way languages are so quickly changed or discarded with. I also thought the scene where the soldiers were on drugs did not look good. The third act drags to some degree, but it was an inevitability of sorts. The story does lose its purpose.

That there weren't nominations given for the performances of Elba and Attah is truly bizarre and can only be attributed to Hollywood detesting the straight to streaming format. There's no way Elba's performance doesn't outdo Ruffalo in Spotlight. Attah's performance was greater than Matt Damon in The Martian. Things like that are hard for me to understand, but awards are given out because of politics, just like everything else in the world. Wars like these also happen because of politics and claim victims who had no political purpose in life, people that wanted to just be good with their good family.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Byron The Bulp on August 08, 2017, 03:23:01 PM
the comedy in that movie is among the worst i've seen in a movie and the parents are unwatchably awful. Michael Bay is a cancer on cinema. I have pretty low standards for enjoyment but he ruins everything.

The Transformers movies are basically the contemporary equivalent of the pyramids, at least in terms of being utterly needless money and resource sinks, and will be Exhibit A for when future (likely alien) archeologists begin constructing narratives about the wretched excess and ultimate decline of western civilization. For that reason alone, they're far more interesting than like 75% of summer blockbusters.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 08, 2017, 05:40:34 PM
(http://images.amcnetworks.com/sundancechannel.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/the-manchurian-candidate-denzel-washington-liev-schreiber-560.jpg)

The Manchurian Candidate, directed by Jonathan Demme

In my second attempt at pissing off CWM, I happened to pick a slightly better remake than last time. This was probably too bizarre of a thing to watch at this particular moment, so I regret doing it as now I'll be thinking on the subject for a while. Perhaps part of the problem is that we have a real Manchurian Candidate in office right now, who didn't require any brainwashing in order to get there. It bears mentioning that I haven't seen the original.

Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) was a Special Forces member who was ambushed in Kuwait, being knocked out in the process. The story he and everyone in his unit is told, is that Sgt. Raymond Prentiss Shaw (Liev Schreiber) took the machine gun and saved the day, killing the attackers while in the process two of his squadmates were killed. Shaw is now a Congressman, while Marco gives speeches to boy scouts. While doing that, Marco is asked a question by Cpl. Al Melvin (Jeffrey Wright), who has dreams about what really happened in Kuwait. Melvin has lost his mind, but there's clearly truth to what he's saying. Meanwhile on the other side of the equation, Shaw's mother Eleanor (Meryl Streep) has effectively maneuvered her Medal of Honor winning son onto the Democratic ticket. How is this possible? Well, you know, we have similar questions pertaining to us right now.

The picture presented of the United States at the time of this film is not entirely dissimilar to the one we have in front of us. The right wing has hijacked the Democratic party and effectively neutered the left, which you know, that's kind of what's going on. Corporations have infiltrated politics. These are poignant things. At the time this was released, this was considered plausible. It is now reality. Do they have assassins? Well, no. At least I don't think so. Of course, the idea of memory implants is implausible at this point in time, but it's probably a field where a breakthrough can be made during our lifetime if somebody spends the resources on doing so. This is the spin put on the film to differentiate from the original, and it works.

The actors do a great job with what they're given even though I didn't care for some of it. Denzel Washington is the height of desperation here, and not for the first time. I don't think we've seen it to the point of him biting someone's back, but we've seen it. He's borderline crazed, which makes the film much better. Meryl Streep is the spitting image of a female Dick Cheney. Not a big fan of the incest, and I don't think it was needed here. Jeffrey Wright hardly appears, but he makes the most of his time on the screen. He was extremely convincing. The film is also a bit tough to follow, and the picture quality looked like something out of the 1980's. That had to be intentional, but it was jarring. I also don't think there was any need for the film to be tough to follow as it was revealed early on that Shaw and Marco had both had memory implants put in them. I can't really explain how it was tough to follow, it just was. The way Jon Voight was presented was more amusing than anything else, if I'm being honest.

Ultimately, what sticks with me is the anti-corporate messaging, which goes massively overboard in beating you over the head with it. Streep's performance as a female Cheney was great too, but that's to be expected. Some scenes and revelations seem to go on for ages, so this could have done with some trimming. This seems like a good update, so unlike The Magnificent Seven (at some point in the distant future) I will not be watching the original at all.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on August 08, 2017, 08:27:19 PM
so unlike The Magnificent Seven (at some point in the distant future) I will not be watching the original at all.
---

This is the only part that makes me angry (more annoyed). The original is such a great fucking movie.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on August 09, 2017, 12:05:19 AM
Yeah, the original Manchurian Candidate I saw recently for the first time and it's fantastic. Seeing these remakes instead smh.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 09, 2017, 03:42:07 AM
so unlike The Magnificent Seven (at some point in the distant future) I will not be watching the original at all.
---

This is the only part that makes me angry (more annoyed). The original is such a great fucking movie.

(http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01112/mission_accomplish_1112950c.jpg)
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on August 09, 2017, 03:45:19 AM
Gonna go looking for some new anime avs and sigs. Even if you got em off you're associated with them.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 09, 2017, 06:27:13 PM
(https://i.amz.mshcdn.com/Q5OkVeoOc1XBN6wnM0dw9qAJ-I8=/950x534/filters:quality(90)/2015%2F05%2F21%2F97%2Fdallas1.c59ce.jpg)

Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée

This is a film that I delayed watching for quite some time. I wasn't looking forward to something so bleak. The difference between this and Beasts of No Nation is that Dallas Buyers Club is a biopic, which is something I also tend to avoid in general. What I liked about it is that you don't get anything corny in this biopic. You are getting the raw, uncut version of someone's life story. Some of it is bullshit and doesn't paint the best picture. Peptide T is a junk drug that does not work, for example. Yet, it worked for this man, or at least he perceived that it did.

Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is a stereotypical single 80's man. This guy wants to do drugs, he's there to fuck, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to get money. Problem is, the fucking got to him, and after having sex with some woman who had track marks, he is diagnosed with AIDS by Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) and her boss, Dr. Sevard (Denis O'Hare). Obviously Woodroof is quite displeased, after all he's not gay and how could a straight man get AIDS? His friends straight out disown him, they want nothing to do with him. He must be in the closet, they think. It takes Woodroof some time to come to the realization that he really has AIDS, at which point the fight for life is on. Woodroof is willing to do whatever it takes to get drugs. He takes something called AZT, but he doesn't stop doing other drugs and his health deteriorates more and more. In the hospital Woodroof encounters Rayon (Jared Leto), a trans person who also has AIDS. Rayon is on the AZT trial and is unwilling to split the drug with him. Woodroof is desperate, so he goes off in search of a cure, or any way to extend his life.

It's hard to believe anyone would lose as much weight as Leto and Matty M did for this film. It shows incredible dedication, but I know it isn't good for anyone's health to starve themselves like that and work as hard as actors do. I loved both the performances even though I wasn't knowing what to expect from either of them. That's the benefit of insulating yourself and not reading much about anything that gets released. Leto has a reputation for being a method actor to a fault, but I can see how some would get upset by that here. Some say that the way the character was presented like a caricature. That's not how I saw it. I thought it was a great performance and that people need to contextualize such performances. Some probably took this to be a picture that presented a story where a homophobe was awakened, but I see it differently than that. I see someone needing to save their own life, and as a circumstance of that having to become Robin Hood in order to afford and receive their own treatment. I am not one to judge how somebody decides to deal with their health in the face of an epidemic, neither is anyone else.

If there are any criticisms for the film, it is that its message is a dangerous one in terms of discrediting legitimate medication. A post-script at the end clarifying that lower doses of AZT were used successfully years later to treat HIV does not quite cut it in my book. There's an effect when movies like these are released, I don't quite know what to call it. People always think they're an expert on whatever is portrayed, and if the messaging is that legitimate medication didn't work, there's a lot of people who find themselves armed with that faulty information. There are also many people who do not care to do their own research, so junk science is implanted in their head. I also don't really care for the narrative that the FDA was against helping people, but if that was Woodroof's perception, and if they were relaying his details, it's also hard to find fault in that. The film is about Woodroof's response to contracting AIDS, after all.

I also strongly appreciate that the portrayal of Woodroof did not pull any punches in terms of his homophobia. If that's how he reacted to getting AIDS, and if that's how he talked prior to that, it needed to be shown. There was no reason whatsoever to soften any of the things he'd done, and it's a consistent theme throughout the film that they don't. One of my problems with biopics is that for the most part that's what you get, but not here.

Overall, I thought that what was here was nowhere near as bleak as I expected, and somewhat uplifting without even trying to do so. I was also surprised to find out that this had a soundtrack, as I don't recall hearing any music in the whole movie. There were performances not discussed much, like Garner's, as well as Steve Zahn playing a police officer who needed the medication for other purposes. Zahn was a non-factor, but Garner was on screen for quite a bit. Garner was somewhat of a moral compass, but finding out her character was invented was a drag. I must reiterate though, whenever presented with scientific facts in film, if you care at all about them, make sure to look them up to see if they're really true or not. Also, watch more low budget films like this one.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 10, 2017, 06:01:49 PM
(http://esq.h-cdn.co/assets/cm/15/06/980x490/54d4355a26976_-_esq-sunday-de.jpg)

Any Given Sunday: Director's Cut, directed by Oliver Stone

I don't know what the differences between the director's and theatrical cuts are, but the director's cut is what was available to me. The long running time of this was extremely daunting and has played a big part in not viewing this sooner. I was told many times that I had to see this, and my overall feeling once doing so was that this was a good film in spite of itself.

Loaded with interesting characters, Any Given Sunday takes a look at professional football. What it brings to the table is far too much to mention here, but I'll give it my best shot. The Miami Sharks are a team that seems to exist in an alternative league to the NFL, one where every team except for them has horrendous sets of uniforms. The Sharks are on a losing streak that gets a whole lot worse, with old former MVP Cap Rooney (Dennis Quaid) breaking his back in the dreaded WEEK 13 game against Minnesota. His backup comes in and gets wrecked, so it's time for coach Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino) to call in the third stringer who isn't even paying attention to the game. Enter Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx). This movie came out at the end of 1999, so it's quite a coincidence that Beamen plays like Michael Vick in a year when Vick was ripping it up as a freshman at Virginia Tech.

Along the way, we also encounter Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz), an overbearing Jerry Jones type figure who was given that position when her father died. There's Dr. Harvey Mandrake (James Woods), a scumbag who will supply the players with anything...or do ANYTHING in order to get them on the field. Julian Washington (LL Cool J) is a running back trying to get his bonuses, who doesn't care for Beamen taking his numbers away from him. Last but certainly not least among the playing staff, is Shark (Lawrence Taylor), a near brain-dead heavy hitter who's held together by super glue. The coaching staff features defensive coordinator (Jim Brown), and offensive coordinator (Aaron Eckhart). Their names are meaningless, so I didn't care enough to remember them. On the periphery there's Mrs. Rooney (Lauren Holly) and Jack Rose (John C. McGinley), the latter of whom is a caricature similar to Skip Bayless. He's Skip Bayless before Skip Bayless acted like Skip Bayless!

This film really shouldn't have been good considering everything that was wrong with it, but the story prevails throughout. The way this was shot is so disorienting as a viewer. I had a hard time handling it if I'm being honest. Everything here is a montage, it is largely over produced garbage. I might get shit for that, but I don't care. It's basically a music video. At least the choice in songs for those parts was really good. I can't complain about that. This was also massively bloated. This could have been chopped a lot, there's plenty of scenes or editing of those scenes that didn't belong here. I could go on for ages about that if I wanted to, but I don't so let's not.

More than anything else, this film is carried by its characters and story. Regardless of everything that's wrong with it, to some extent that goes off to the side. Many of the characters are underdeveloped, but they're all entertaining. The characters in need of development actually get it, which surprised me. I wasn't expecting Jim Brown and Lawrence Taylor to have so many lines, but here they were. Pacino and Foxx did their share of carrying this. Pacino's speeches reminded me of my time playing high school football. To some extent Foxx played himself, but there's nothing wrong with that because it fit so well. Considering how often many of the mentioned characters are on screen, any single bad acting performance could have tanked the whole thing. The original castings actually sound horrendous. Robert Deniro and Puffy in these parts? I don't think so. Chris Tucker as Willie Beamen might've worked, but it's for the best that didn't happen. The overall theme of the movie being one where old ideals are in need of adapting is a solid one. It is one the NFL has still not learned from.

Against my better judgment, I have to give this a good rating. As made clear before in these reviews, I believe good characters can save any movie people think is a pile of shit. This movie almost has too many good portrayals. A botched editing job did only a little bit to distract from the story and characters, but I am still surprised that this showed such a complete lack of restraint. I cannot believe somebody would release a film that looked like this, it's someone's base instincts sent into overdrive.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on August 11, 2017, 12:23:46 AM
Largely agree with your review. The lack of editing was pretty notable as the Director's Cut is actually shorter(!) at 156 Minutes vs. 162 Minutes.

A lot of my liking the movie revolves around the characters and acting performances. I gave it a 6/10 mostly due to the bloated run time, the lack of any real "plot" to the movie related to the actual team, and the fact that the movie felt like it was trying to do all of these mini-subplots with these characters that a lot of it felt detracting. Off the top of my head, I could think of like 5-6 subplots the movie tried to touch upon without really delving enough into any to matter or make the viewer care much. Some of them could have been interesting e.g. Cap's struggles to get through his injury & wanting to contemplate retirement against his wife's wishes that he continue to play but stuff like LL Cool J's subplot about being money hungry & wanting his bonuses/incentives could've been axed entirely.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 11, 2017, 04:09:10 AM
Considering that a few characters were cut out of the film entirely, it feels like this would have been three hours or more if everything remained intact.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Lord of The Curry on August 11, 2017, 07:32:52 AM
Bitch said......that sausage ain't right. Shit fucked me up.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 11, 2017, 05:51:33 PM
(https://filmgrab.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/07-french-club.png)

Rushmore, directed by Wes Anderson

I said that I would watch all of Anderson's stuff, and I meant it. Slowly but surely I'll get around to it. Once I saw the lead character, I was pretty sure I'd hate this. I was incredibly wrong. It may not surprise anyone, but after some self reflection it turns out that I'm big on making premature judgments. This is filmed in a very similar style to The Royal Tenenbaums, which is nice. After watching Any Given Sunday, I preferred the idea of watching something visually familiar. This only running for approximately 90 minutes was a big bonus.

Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is a 15 year old shitlord who goes to private school somewhere in Texas. He is a terrible student and he's big on after school activities. At chapel, Max meets a man named Herman Blume (Bill Murray), who seems to not give a shit about anything at all. Blume has kids, and he has a wife, but it seems that all three are pretty far up their own asses. Blume gives a good speech at chapel, after which Max makes some sort of impression on him. While Max is at the library, he finds a quote written in a book and he wants to know who wrote it. So, he looks to see who checked it out, and finds that Miss Cross (Olivia Williams) had done so. Max likes Miss Cross, and this kid is crazy, so he thinks he'll impress her by building an aquarium for his school. He needs money to do so from Blume, at which point all three characters named here come together.

The ensuing war is one of the funniest things I've seen in a while, which is no surprise given the kinds of films I've been watching. That's the reason I watched this now, I needed a change of pace. All three characters mentioned do more than hold their end up. I'm not a Bill Murray guy, and as mentioned in the first post of this topic, I don't really watch shit. Or didn't watch shit. I don't know. Murray is really good here though. Schwartzman also does a great job with a character that has to sit right on the borderline of detestable. It appears that many critics were incapable of tolerating him, which doesn't surprise me. The script was pretty good at creating little niche roles for other people here, but I'd rather not go on and on. I was not expecting to see what I watched. The Royal Tenenbaums does a job of juggling far more characters, so that was what I thought this would be like.

The closing stretch of Rushmore isn't the best, which is the only thing I'm unable to get over. To some extent this limps towards a finish. The plays in this are great, and the one at the end was necessary in order to bring the story to a proper conclusion. Even all these years later, this film feels unique, or at least I'm unaware of something like it. Also worth mentioning is the kid Max mentored (Mason Gamble). Anderson gave that kid some great lines. I'm left wondering whether or not I'm the only one who had a kid like Max in our school.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on August 12, 2017, 10:52:12 AM
It may not surprise anyone, but after some self reflection it turns out that I'm big on making premature judgments.

lmao
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 17, 2017, 05:05:18 AM
(https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/mt/2016/12/hell/lead_large.jpg)

Hell or High Water, directed by David Mackenzie

I'd never heard of David Mackenzie prior to watching this film, and it turns out there are good reasons for that considering he's never made anything I've heard about. Apparently his films don't fit any type and they appear to be all over the map. Nearly all of them are British films, in fact. For somebody to go from British films to the American Southwest is a little bizarre, but this isn't the first time a foreign director did this with a Taylor Sheridan script. Sheridan was the writer for Sicario, this film, the upcoming Wind River, and next year's Sicario sequel, Soldado. I'm really looking forward to Soldado, to nobody's surprise. So, with all that in mind, it seems like a strange mix, but one with a proven screenwriter to ensure this is a good film. Next up, the actors.

It's West Texas, and people need money. Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) are brothers, who are surrounded by dying towns. We see them robbing two branches of the Texas Midlands Bank, and it is clear that Tanner is not all there. Texas Rangers (not the baseball team) are called out on the case, because there wasn't enough money stolen for the FBI to care. Marcus (Jeff Bridges) is on the road to forced retirement, as he's too old to do the job. Alberto (Gil Birmingham) is his partner, and those two have quite the interesting relationship. Birmingham is particularly good in House of Cards, so I liked seeing him in this part, playing less of a caricature. We learn that Toby and Tanner have a plan, that they're robbing the bank to get rid of a poisonous reverse mortgage that was a necessity in order for their dying mother to receive care.

That's as far as I'd like to go. If I knew this was another bank heist film, I would have waited a while. I just watched Place Beyond the Pines, after all. I'm glad I didn't wait. This was even better than that. The story is sprawling, yet it feels compact. There are no unnecessary scenes here. In my own experience in Texas, it does feel like a downtrodden state, and this film is great at conveying that. There's so much open space in Texas, and many of the towns there feel like they're decaying. You just need to head a bit off the highway if you want to find some of them, but even the highway towns give off this feel. On either I-10 or I-20, the landscape is blighted, while brick buildings look as if they've been cracked by the sun. Having driven through Texas three times, and the Southwest more than that, I'm actually quite familiar with this. The presentation of the setting is excellent. It's not enough to set a movie somewhere, it needs to be conveyed that the people in that setting feel like characters that belong there. They did. Best of all? This wasn't even filmed in West Texas! New Mexico is awfully similar though from my experience, so I couldn't tell.

Similar to Place Beyond the Pines, the robberies in this film are realistic and don't require any elaborate setup. It is made clear very early on that they steal getaway cars and bury them under dirt. It is also made clear that they're looking for bank branches in dead towns, with hardly anyone in them. So the story works out perfectly. This film has some similarities to No Country for Old Men, but it lacks comparable suspense near the finish. At least it did for me. That's pretty much the only weakness in the story, so I'm sure to be watching this again in due time.

I hadn't seen much of what they actors had done prior to this, so it was interesting to see new people. The only thing I'd ever seen before with Ben Foster was Six Feet Under, and I can't believe that he was even in that as I couldn't recognize him. Never seen anything with Chris Pine in it. When it comes to Jeff Bridges, I'm ashamed to admit I've seen far less of him than I should have. Still, this was good exposure for everyone involved. I also nearly forgot to mention that the overarching theme of the rich stealing from the poor resonated strongly with me, as did the attempts at tough guy justice. I was waiting for a Hollywood filmmaker to have the balls to go through with that. It's not all that often economic decline is addressed in this manner.

9/10

The article I read after writing this is pertinent.

http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a51457/hell-or-high-water-2016-canon/
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 17, 2017, 06:04:40 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BODNlNGY3MTgtZDQ0NC00MzBkLWJhZDctNTJhYWEwNzNkYWMxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjUwNzk3NDc@._V1_.jpg)

Cape Fear, directed by Martin Scorsese

Continuing with the remakes, we have Cape Fear. This is not a complete remake in the sense that scenes which would previously have been censored were added to the story. The end result is that I've rarely been more uncomfortable than this while watching a film. It's pretty clear that Scorsese was attempting to use some of Alfred Hitchcock's techniques. The score is most notable, it was touched up for the remake, but the original pieces used were very reminiscent of those used in Psycho. I didn't hate this by any stretch, but I'm pretty sure this is my least favorite Scorsese movie.

We start things off with Max Cady (Robert De Niro) working out in a Georgia prison, and subsequently being released shortly thereafter. Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte), is a lawyer who now lives in North Carolina. To be specific, he was Cady's lawyer. Bowden is not a great guy. He appears to be cheating on his wife (Jessica Lange) with a clerk named Lori (Illeana Douglas), and he wasn't exactly forthright when defending Cady. Cady was on trial for rape, which it is made clear that he obviously did, but Bowden did not present certain evidence in Cady's defense, which he was obligated to do. It also turns out that Cady's victim was the same age as Bowden's daughter, Danielle (Juliette Lewis). This all makes for an extremely creepy scenario.

I have read that the original film presents Bowden in a wholesome light. That is definitely not the case here. The guy is a piece of shit. Very rarely is anyone in a Scorsese movie presented in a wholesome light, which always makes for an interesting mix of characters. In this case, the threat of child rape looms throughout the film. Very rarely have I ever been more uncomfortable watching a big Hollywood movie. There's a scene halfway through the movie that made me feel like shutting the whole thing off. I never shut movies off in the middle of them, and I'm massively against it, so it goes without saying I thought this scene was really tough to keep watching. It was also one of those scenes that wasn't vulgar enough to fast forward. I felt totally creeped out. It was an extremely effective scene.

De Niro puts in a completely strange performance, one that's hard to describe and one that we've seen shitty wrestling characters crib off of. I'm not sure what to think of your performance when shitty wrestlers try to steal your gimmick. Weird stuff. I'd almost call it campy. Perhaps some would disagree. I'm not trying to say he was bad in this movie, but if he was trying to creep people out while going over the top like this, it worked. His scenes with Juliette Lewis were very uncomfortable viewing. To think it's the same guy who now does dog shit with John Travolta, and straight to DVD movies with 50 Cent...this is very hard to believe.

Some of the original actors appear, which probably made a lot of people happy, but if I'm honest I didn't feel anything at all. Their performances were quite minor. I did say that this was my least favorite Scorsese movie, and I'm probably not going to change my mind until I finish watching all of them. It's not that it's bad, but I think this portrayal of Max Cady tips the scales a bit too much towards camp for me to believe this film was as good as Scorsese's classics. Nolte, Lange, and Lewis on the other hand made a believable family. Also, with this being 26 years after the fact, and 55 years since the first one, I'm sure that nothing I wrote down here is original in any way.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on August 17, 2017, 09:59:51 PM
I've always been interested in seeing the original since it had Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum but haven't gotten around to it. I just remember the remake being creepy with regard to the Lewis/De Niro scenes and De Niro being kind of memorable but not to the extent of other performances I can immediately recall.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 18, 2017, 10:05:36 AM
The original is by all accounts a sanitized version of the remake. So meh.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on August 18, 2017, 10:35:01 AM
Place beyond the pines and hell or high water would be a good ass double feature
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 21, 2017, 04:29:09 AM
(http://images.entertainment.ie/images_content/rectangle/620x372/Body-of-Lies.jpg)

Body of Lies, directed by Ridley Scott

Body of Lies inhabits one of my favorite genres, and one I don't review too often in this space. It's a spy movie. This wasn't one of my favorites, I hate to say. It's in the right setting and features good actors doing their thing, but it felt like two different plots jumbled together in a way that was difficult to enjoy.

This film was released in 2008 and follows the operations of the CIA during the War on Terror, pre-ISIS. Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an agent in Iraq, looking for a man named Al-Saleem (Alon Abutbul), who has been part of bombings taking place in Europe. Ferris answers to Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), who has quite a cavalier attitude in dealing with human lives. Ferris also has a buddy named Bassam (Oscar Isaac), and they receive some information that leads them to a safe house. During a gun fight, Ferris is able to salvage some intel, and in the process of doing so Bassam is killed. After that, Ferris is tasked by Hoffman to watch a safe house in Jordan. In doing so he encounters Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), head of the GID. The GID is the intelligence agency of Jordan, and Americans are notoriously suspicious of their counterparts worldwide. The story goes on from there.

By two different plots, I mean exactly what that sounds like. The story jumps across a massive amount of locations, in addition to doing something incredibly ridiculous sounding in the second half of the film. It was absurd to a point of actively disliking it. The torture scenes were quite difficult to watch, one in particular being something that might stick with me for a while. I was not prepared to see someone receiving lashes as punishment, but there it was. I also did not care for the way in which technology was used, considering the time period was 2008. Quite clearly it was unrealistic. I don't believe the capability of spy planes was identical to that portrayed in this film, and I haven't done any research but I believe that's still the case in 2017.

That isn't to say it all was bad, there was a lot here that I did enjoy. The car chase scenes were nowhere near as unrealistic as happens in these kinds of movies. There wasn't any James Bond shit going on here. The film also has a portrayal of a relationship between a Westerner and Arab that I thought was quite realistic. I also firmly believe that in parts of this country, both would be looked at the same way they were in Jordan. Russell Crowe gaining 63 pounds for this film was quite absurd. I'm sure that he and everyone else involved didn't think this would merely turn out to be above average. I'm sure some people would think that Mark Strong playing an Arab is a white washed, and Oscar Isaac isn't an Arab himself, but I thought they fit their parts pretty well. If you need a devious man in a suit, I guess Strong is your guy. I also liked that this film played with the idea of people thousands of miles away controlling intelligence agents on the ground, thinking they know more than them.

The political aspect of the film's conclusion bothered me as well, and left me with a sour taste. Of course a film like this was going to have a message, but I didn't like being beaten over the head with it, but it's difficult to describe as I feel like if a film is going to head down that road they need to be far more aggressive in doing so. Ultimately the film is all over the place, but the performances contained within were still pretty good. Crowe pretty much embodied his character, and at least as it came to him and the way he looked, he was a really endearing quality of this movie. The bloated screenplay on the other hand was not.

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 21, 2017, 06:11:02 PM
(http://roachmotelmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Mystic_River-.jpg)

Mystic River, directed by Clint Eastwood

Mystic River is a movie that's expiring on HBO, and it's also one I've been interested in seeing. I'm massively overdue in doing so, but fortunately this was not dated in any way, in contrast to the film reviewed above. This film was very bleak, but there's quite a bit more to it than that. There were so many characters here, many of them with something more to their story that the viewer would find out as the film goes along. Others, on the other hand, are blunt objects. You don't need to know more about them, and you don't find out more about them. Three of the most obvious ones share the last name of Savage, which is a perfect choice of name.

The story starts with the three main characters as children, playing hockey on the street in Boston. In a chilling scene, they're busted drawing on a freshly poured cement sidewalk by a supposed cop (John Doman), who questions them relentlessly. The man finds out where the three children live, then takes away the one who lives off that street, claiming he's going to find his mother and tell her what her son has been doing. Instead, it turns out that this man is a child molester, who kidnapped Dave (Tim Robbins) and put him in a cellar. Dave escaped, so we then fast forward 25 years.

All three of the boys still live in Boston, each leading different lives and hardly knowing each other. It's never stated what Dave actually does, but he's still around. Jimmy (Sean Penn) is a corner store owner, and it turns out that he was a criminal. What for? Watch the movie to find out. Sean is now a police officer, and his partner is named Whitey Powers (Laurence Fishburne). All three of the characters from the start are married. Sean is the only one without children, but it turns out his wife has left him while pregnant. Jimmy and Dave's wifes are cousins named Annabeth (Laura Linney) and Celeste (Marcia Gay Harden), yet they seem to not be around each other much regardless of that. Jimmy's daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) is in love with some guy named Brendan (Thomas Guiry), and Jimmy absolutely hates his guts. That's as far as I'll go with this as I've just ran off about 15-20 minutes of plot.

The thing is that this movie is fucking good, and I didn't pause it the whole time for any reason whatsoever. I could easily run down the whole plot in rapid succession without putting much effort into doing so. The characters all mentioned in the last paragraph have some layers (sans Whitey), so there's a lot to go on here. Of course that's what you expect from the murder mystery genre, but this is a few levels above nearly all the rest. While the three main characters are linked, they and their wives have their own loyalties, which may or may not be to each other. Because of all that, it's easy to get invested in these characters and see the film out to its end. I was a bit jarred by how things turned out. Whitey is a particularly great character as he says what the audience is thinking, regardless of how morbid it sounds. Or at least what I was thinking. Makes me sound like a bad person to phrase it that way.

The only problem I had with the story is that I really don't know how anyone like Dave could have had what resembled a normal life. He was kidnapped, and he was super damaged as shown throughout the story. That confused me, and I still don't know what to think of that after things finished up. I also didn't care very much for constantly showing the part where Dave was taken away in the car. I lost track of how many times it was, and it was to the point of being annoying. That's a very small list of complaints though, far less than I usually have. I put two things down here.

Still, like the last time I watched an Eastwood movie and wrote about it, I know I didn't do this any justice. Everyone talks about Penn's performance in this movie, but I think Robbins was even better. His scenes made for rough viewing. Marcia Gay Harden was just about as good as that. Her role isn't one of the easiest ones to pull off as it requires showing terror without crying relentlessly. A lot of actors are simply incapable of doing that. There are lots of ways to showcase the emotion required for these scenes, and this is one of the best examples of it. I'm giving this the same rating as Unforgiven because that's an unfortunate downside of having a 20 point rating system, but I thought Unforgiven was a better film than this one.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 24, 2017, 06:27:53 PM
(http://images.amcnetworks.com/ifc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/EnemyAtTheGates_MF.jpg)

Enemy at the Gates, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud

Its been so long since I watched a WW2 movie that I genuinely can't remember what it was. Maybe Pearl Harbor. Dead serious and not joking whatsoever. The setting for movies like these throw me back a little bit. I have read that this film was based on a book, but I've also read that it was inaccurate and possibly did not even happen. The main character was legitimate in name and in being a great sniper at least. I will treat this like a work of fiction though.

The Soviet Union has been invaded by Nazi Germany, and the Germans were pushing towards current Azerbaijan in order to cut the USSR off from the oilfields there. Stalingrad was on the Volga River, and the Nazis wanted to cut off USSR supply lines. It's a lot more complicated than that, but that's a satisfying enough simplistic version. This film starts with a young Vasily Zaitsev (Jude Law) being tasked to shoot a wolf. Before that's over, we cut to him on a train packed with Soviet soldiers headed towards Stalingrad. Zaitsev is immediately shoved into battle, but he doesn't get a rifle because there aren't enough to go around. His job is to pick up somebody's rifle when they die. Once somebody dies, he still doesn't get one, and his entire unit, or whatever you'd call it, gets cut down by German soldiers.

In a change that lasts throughout the rest of the film, that's the only time you see a big scene with Zaitsev charging into battle. While faking dead, a political officer named Danilov (Joseph Fiennes) drives into the square like an idiot, so his car gets shot and tips over. Danilov retreats towards Zaitsev's position and he has a rifle, but he doesn't know how to use it. Zaitsev sure does, and cuts down some German soldiers before making his retreat. Nikita Khrushchev (Bob Hoskins) is sent to Stalingrad in that aftermath of the huge charge against the invaders, and he knows that this is bordering on a lost cause. He wants ideas to improve morale, and Danilov comes up with one to present Zaitsev as a hero. So, that's what they do, shortly after which both Danilov and Zeitsev become infatuated with Tania (Rachel Weisz), a militia member. The propaganda has its downside though, as a German Major (Ed Harris) is sent to Stalingrad to get rid of Zaitsev and end this spat in propaganda.

Love stories in these films always bother people, and I'm one of those who seems to often be bothered by them. In this case I think it was necessary though. The film needed more to it than the initial story, which wasn't enough to fill a story of this scope. The cat and mouse game is fantastic while it's on, I can't say enough about how good it was. While necessary, the love story is a downside, as is Danilov's jealousy towards the situation. The culmination of Danilov's jealousy was for lack of better words really stupid. There are some pretty good performances here as well, particularly from Hoskins as Khrushchev. The similarity was absolutely ridiculous. Best of all, Hoskins was raised by a communist. So, the part fit him really well. Ron Perlman is great in his time on screen as well.

The director does a good job with the battle scenes, and I also appreciated that no direct credit was given to Zaitsev in any way for winning the battle. That is something filmmakers are often unable to resist when telling their story. I am also appreciative of the set designs here. Much of the head-to-head takes place in confined spaces and requires the director to maintain tension while neither man is able to move. There's one character I did not mention at all to this point, his name was Sasha (Gabriel Marshall-Thomson). Sasha is, well, I don't want to spoil what I think of him, but his role here and the way the character was utilized raised my opinion on the film. Because this picture is inaccurate in terms of its portrayal of Zaitsev, I lowered my rating some.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 25, 2017, 06:22:25 PM
In hindsight, I overrated Any Given Sunday, which is clear to see once reading the scores of these other films over again. The editing of the film has stuck with me for this long. If I was to re-rate it I'd give the same score as the film below.

(http://esq.h-cdn.co/assets/15/39/980x490/landscape-1442863457-everest.jpg)

Everest (2015), directed by Baltasar Kormákur

With Hurricane Harvey hitting Texas and all, and having a limited amount of choices due to expiring titles, I thought it was time for a disaster film even though this was entirely unrelated to hurricanes. This is another film based on a real event, but in this case there is dispute as to how it really went down. Regardless of that, this makes for an interesting film. Parts were filmed at Everest, others were filmed in Iceland and the Alps. The sequences filmed at Everest Base Camp and on the way there added a lot of authenticity to this, and did a great job of establishing the setting. Hiring people who can actually do the accents they're given certainly helps as well.

It's 1996, and it's prime climbing season for Mount Everest. Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) owns a company called Adventure Consultants, which commercializes Everest summit attempts to those crazy enough to think they can get up there with some help. Hall leaves his pregnant wife Jan (Kiera Knightley) at home while doing this. Adventure Consultants customers have a reasonable amount of money, as apparently this cost $65,000. Hall is also aided by Helen (Emily Watson), the base camp manager, as well as a guide named Guy (Sam Worthington). In the group of Everest aspirants we have Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori), and Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly). Everyone involved has their story. Beck is a mountain climber from Texas whose wife said she'd divorce him if he did this again. Yasuko is trying to reach the last of the seven summits. Hansen is a mailman who worked three jobs in order to do this. Lastly, Krakauer is a journalist who is going to write about the trip. There's also Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), Hall's competition in the commercialized climbing business. I have massively pared down the cast in order to sum this up more succinctly, and I have no intention of revealing anything about the film.

It is made clear early on that none of the customers are professionals by any stretch. This was depicted in an intriguing way. The lack of professionalism is complicated further by the fact that Hall is extremely motivated to get everyone up the mountain. Of course, his business reputation was on the line, but in addition to that there's an obligation to those who have made this the potentially biggest achievement of their lives. If you've never read a book about this event, the film is quite tense. I had not read the book Krakauer wrote, so I didn't know what was going to happen. I may have to pick it up pretty soon. His account differs from the one told here, and the director claims that other people who were there gave him a differing story resembling the one depicted here.

If I do have criticisms, it's that once trouble strikes, it can be extremely difficult to keep track of who is on each portion of the mountain. There's a map in the background of the tent at base camp, but it entirely ineffective, and I also believe there were times it was inaccurate. Everest is also clearly made for IMAX, so watching it at home leaves out some of the cinematic impact intended to be seen at the theater. I also do not believe the filmmakers were effective enough in showcasing the size of the mountain when everyone was near the top of it. There's a decent portion of the movie spent there, and subsequently a decent portion spent without grandiose pictures to set the scene. The movie felt of larger scope when the entire team was at camp.

I don't want to spoil Everest, as I found the movie interesting enough to be worth watching, as long as watching people trod around in the snow is your kind of thing. It is my thing, even though the presentation of the characters and their lack of ability to put in a great performance presents some issues for me. Unfortunately, this film is very simple, but that's a necessity of the project. You struggle to live up there or you die, and that's the reality of Mount Everest. I thought that the plot was very effective in showing that commercialization of 29,000 foot tall mountains is extremely dangerous. This film is very dry, and while the characters don't lack motivation, I feel like I don't know enough about them. There is one scene where you learn some, but it doesn't feel like enough. As another example, there is very little shown about the Sherpas and what they do. There is a documentary from their perspective called Sherpa should you happen to be interested, which I am. Much like the characters in this movie, at some point in the future it appears I'll be going back to Everest.

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 26, 2017, 12:33:10 PM
(http://img.wennermedia.com/920-width/rs-117348-b64d9d0082594c796768a27960cfea6da01ff74b.jpg)

Wall Street (1987), directed by Oliver Stone

In the spirit of what I said at the conclusion of the review I wrote last night, I needed to revisit a subject. Wall Street is a great one to revisit, with endless examples of corporate greed and many dramatic stories to be told about the subject. Even setting the Wall Street aspect to the side, I'm a big fan of films that critique capitalist excess. There's a lot of other ones out there, Hell or High Water being one of them. As said by many others, it's strange that films like these make people want to be like the characters presented in them. This one does not make the characters look as bad as in The Wolf of Wall Street, though. For example there is comparatively little light shined on the personal lives of those who participate in this system. This film is also more simplistic and easy to follow.

Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is a young stockbroker who is absolutely fucked. Bud just had a deal go totally awry, and the end result is that he has to cover the losses of his clients. Bud is desperate to make money, and he has a hero named Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). Gekko is a big fish, and Bud wants to get to know him. He'll do whatever it takes. Bud finds out some information from his unwitting father Carl (Martin Sheen), and he has no problem using it here. Bud understands the line between unscrupulous and illegal quite well to start things off, but there's an ever increasing quickness to the erosion of his principles in the chase of the almighty dollar.

In contrast to the plot of The Wolf of Wall Street, it's clear to see how simple this actually is. That film deals with pump and dump scams, and as I said in that review, it does not always explain what's going on. In Wall Street, if you don't follow it you're kind of an idiot. Gekko and Bud are chasing money, that's their goal. Bud's job is to find any possible avenue of doing so, while Gekko provides the funds. Where the two differ is that Gekko is completely driven by money, while Bud's principles are retained in part because their biggest deal has a direct effect on his family. In the end it turns out that Bud is more of a leader than a follower.

With this all being the case, this film is a better example of one that does glorify the stock scammer lifestyle. Bud and Gekko have a strong personal life, with no downsides. They both keep their shit together. Bud gets a girlfriend (Daryl Hannah), but she's not into drugs and all that stuff, she's merely driven by money. Gekko has a wife and a kid, no drugs involved unlike Jordan Belfort. But that's the way it goes. Not everyone who takes on a lifestyle of greed falls into the same patterns. Hannah's performance in the movie is an absolute nothing, and the film could have carried more weight with somebody else in this role. Douglas on the other hand stands out to great extent, and it's not surprising he won the Oscar for Best Actor. Both Sheens are solid as well. The set design for this film is excellent, particularly the choice in paintings. Of course they look like bullshit, and there's good dialogue about their increase in value throughout the years.

I'm going to give this the same rating as The Wolf of Wall Street, and I'd like to explain why. The stories are entirely different, but the one that portrays excess and greed to a greater extent is naturally going to be more entertaining. Wall Street has its own strength, and it lies in being simple enough to follow the deals. These are not necessarily scams. Maybe I bought into Gordon Gekko's speeches too much. These are merely money making opportunities where inside information is exploited for gain. That being said, so is the Steve Madden IPO in the other film. I feel like there may be a better film about Wall Street than these two, and I'm sure there's also a lot worse. I'll be back there soon.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 27, 2017, 05:52:14 PM
(https://s.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/f0d938aece4bf325ff826d6112fabe8/204689874/1_INTRO.jpg)

Dirty Harry (1971), directed by Don Siegel

I sliced up my finger pretty bad, so for the next few days these will probably be shorter than usual.

I'd always wondered about this film, and for years I've heard that Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) was a fascist. I definitely can't argue with that. I also can't argue with the criticism that Clint Eastwood was playing a similar character to type. He doesn't talk much, he's ruthless in killing his enemies, and his character is still complex regardless of that. Even though the messaging of this film is fascist in nature, I found it very enjoyable.

Dirty Harry has his name for a reason, and we find out it's because he gets all the dirty jobs. He'll do anything his fellow officers in San Francisco ask him to do. The film starts off with Scorpio (Andy Robinson) using a sniper rifle to kill someone in their swimming pool. Scorpio leaves a note, and it says that he'll kill a Catholic priest or a black guy (different word used) if the city doesn't pay him $100k. The mayor (John Vernon) is a little bit of a bitch, we find out.

By contrast, we learn that Callahan is not a bitch. Callahan foils a robbery during his lunch break, and he gives a great speech to one of the robbers after shooting them. Callahan is then given a partner named Chico (Reni Santoni), and he continues with his investigation into Scorpio. It turns out Scorpio is really fucked in the head. It also turns out that Callahan doesn't give a shit about people's rights. He knows them, he just doesn't care anymore. This film also presents what feels like an accurate version of San Francisco at the time. I'm curious to know if it was intended to shock people. Probably so.

The film is suspenseful, and because I know there are other movies in this series, I felt in doubt over what was going to happen. The techniques used here were actually really good for this. Robinson's performance was as good as Eastwood's, and it needed to be or nobody would be watching this film 46 years later. This film was also trendsetting and created a template for many other films in the genre. Was that good? Of course. Another thing I want to say before I can't type anymore is that films that present a fascist message also tend to be quite entertaining. Perhaps fascist is an overstatement, but I don't think it is. He did a lot of things here that were way over the line, but it's funny in that most people didn't realize that police officers actually did those things. So a lot of people were outraged by a movie while there was actually a problem going on. Does that sound familiar to you at all?

Marked down 1 point because of the messaging.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on August 27, 2017, 11:04:49 PM
Something that should be pointed out is that Scorpio is based on the Zodiac killer and this movie was set in San Fran and released in the middle of the Zodiac crime spree...so yeah they were fucking with people. The scene with Scorpio on the school bus probably triggered mad people and made them far more likely to support fascist methods for dealing with the Zodiac suspects.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: AA484 on August 27, 2017, 11:29:36 PM
You should do Zodiac next, 909.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on August 28, 2017, 04:19:03 AM
The fascist tones of Dirty Harry and Death Wish were responses to the rising rate of crime throughout the country at the time. That tends to be when cop movies are en vogue.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 28, 2017, 04:35:45 AM
You should do Zodiac next, 909.

I'll do it the day I get these stitches out of my finger, because that movie deserves a long review. I'm typing without my right pointer finger and it's fucking hard.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 28, 2017, 11:46:41 AM
(http://static.rogerebert.com/uploads/movie/movie_poster/sleepers-1996/large_80LV2GvhvMEuOutxgQwbRYpo0Vv.jpg)

Sleepers (1996), directed by Barry Levinson

This is based on a true story, which I know has to be a total lie. There is no way this all happened the way it was stated in the film, and even less chance that anything in the second half took place. The first half on the other hand definitely sounds like something based on a true story. If nothing else, this film is presented in interesting fashion. The way the first half is told is similar to Goodfellas. I particularly liked the narration.

There will be spoilers below this point.

The first and second half have some characters that are played by two different people. Only one of them was relevant later on in life, that being Brad Renfro, who played young Michael. I will reference the characters by the names of their adult counterparts. Anyway, there are four boys from Hell's Kitchen, and they go to mass all the time. Father Bobby (Robert De Niro) is their surrogate father, and just like any four boys, they like to get in trouble. Shakes (Jason Patric), Tommy (Billy Crudup), John (Ron Eldard), and Michael (Brad Pitt) are their names. They have an idea to get free lunch, but it goes poorly and someone nearly gets killed. They're sent to a boys home upstate, where's they're raped and abused by guards including Nokes (Kevin Bacon).

After about an hour of that, we head to a restaurant in the Bronx. Tommy and John encounter Nokes there and shoot him dead. We then learn that Shakes works for the New York Times, and Michael is an Assistant DA. Because of what happened to Michael and his friends, Michael has a plan to get his friends out of this without it looking suspicious. What occurs thereafter is extremely ridiculous, and takes place with the help of Tommy and John's defense attorney, Danny Snyder (Dustin Hoffman). Hoffman puts on a hilarious performance as a bumbling attorney, I was surprised to see him in a role like this one.

My problem with the story is that they ask a priest to do something that doesn't make any sense, and it is never explained why he does it. Then on top of that, Tommy and John go back to killing people. I thought there was something wrong with that, and I can't get over it. Roger Ebert called this a "homophobic revenge fantasy." I think that's overboard, it's not homophobic when there's child rape involved. A lot of people would like to kill their rapist if they encountered them, and I don't like the idea of equating pedophilia to homosexuality.

Regardless of that, this is a good film, with many good performances. Kevin Bacon made a great scumbag, and De Niro was believable as the surrogate father to the children. It's actually very difficult to not want the defendants to get away with their crime, and that's in large part because of Bacon. Bacon is good at playing weird roles, and this wasn't the only time he played a pedophile. That's not exactly something a person would want to typecast themselves as, but it's difficult not to think of him in this role now.

Unlike other films that present a true story and provide bullshit, the one here bothers me because of the absurd way in which the film ends. It is a good film though.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: AA484 on August 28, 2017, 01:51:51 PM
I may do a Casino, fact vs. fiction post at some point as I just re-watched it.  Would anyone be interested in that?
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on August 28, 2017, 01:53:34 PM
yes. Even more as an article on cxf but a post is great too!
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 28, 2017, 05:42:24 PM
I may do a Casino, fact vs. fiction post at some point as I just re-watched it.  Would anyone be interested in that?

Hell yeah. Would love to read it.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 28, 2017, 05:52:15 PM
(https://s.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/41312614043a8b1e29c99a412f519443/202205467/INTRO_Ted2.jpg)

Ted 2 (2015), directed by Seth MacFarlane

Unlike some people out there, I don't get any enjoyment out of watching shitty movies. They are a painful experience, and it's hard to formulate any thoughts about them because I don't care enough. That being said, this was nowhere near as shitty as I thought it would be. Considering all that I'm about to say you can assume I thought it would be unforgivably horrendous. It wasn't quite that. That a sizeable chunk of people enjoyed the first film is very confusing to me, and that led to a second one being made, so good job people. 

Ted (Seth MacFarlane) is a talking bear who makes horrendous jokes. There is absolutely nothing else to that character. If you care at all, Ted needs the help of his friend John (Mark Wahlberg) to get Tom Brady's jizz. Why does he need Tom Brady's jizz? He and his wife Tammy (Jessica Barth) want to have a child, and teddy bears don't have dicks. This goes down a bizarre road, and ultimately it culminates in Ted needing legal representation. Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) becomes his lawyer, and they lose a case that leads to Ted being ruled as property rather than a person. So he can't work or adopt a kid, that kind of thing.

This was a bizarre plot, the kind only done when a studio wants to make money off a joke that wasn't all that funny to begin with. Some of the gags were pretty good, I'm not going to lie. The Jurassic Park one got me good. Most of them were in the first half of the movie, so the jokes there were clearly some of the first things brainstormed. The thing is, some of the jokes are really horrible and just not funny. There's a part where Ted and John go to a comedy club and start throwing out suggestions for them to make jokes about Charlie Hebdo.

Jokes like that continue throughout the film. They are straight out weird and not amusing at all. Ted comparing himself to Kunta Kinte was fucking bizarre. When I sit down to watch a comedy I want to laugh, I don't want to feel weird for seeing that joke and not reacting to it. It's not weird for me to not react, but it's strange that people think it's okay to make that kind of joke. The difference between a good joke and a bad one is generally that people laugh at it. It is that simple sometimes, but considering it wasn't supposed to be funny, you definitely have a race problem if you laughed at that. Or wrote that.

Worst of all, few of the gags are followed up on in any tangible way. The person who wrote them is simply not talented enough to be writing jokes. The worst part is that MacFarlane has polluted the airwaves with nearly 600 episodes of garbage, with no end in sight. It's crazy that people are amused by this stuff. Wahlberg and Seyfried tried their best, but Seyfried is way above this. The last thing I'll say is that I really don't have any idea how this could have been made into a good movie given the parameters of the title character. At least I don't think I could have enjoyed it.

5/10


I am also going to continue watching more shitty movies, and I have a huge list of movies to watch next month. Some of them are definitely worse than this.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on August 28, 2017, 09:57:59 PM
Agreed on the review of Sleepers (pretty sure that was a rec I made too). Bacon's performance is really great and makes me think he continues to be one of the more underrated actors as far as (generally) being consistent in nearly every role he takes on.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on August 29, 2017, 09:58:30 AM

Kevin bacon keeps it real too, respect.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on August 29, 2017, 11:38:58 AM
(http://vamped.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/daniel-malloy-christian-slater-intervista-il-vampiro-louis-de-pointe-du-lac-brad-pitt-nel-film-interview-with-the-vampire-127947.jpg)

Interview with the Vampire (1994), directed by Neil Jordan

I wasn't sure if I was going to watch this or not. The setting was interesting if nothing else, but after watching True Blood I think I've seen enough vampire material for the rest of my life. Maybe I was wrong, because there's plenty of room for there to be new stories in the genre. I am surprised that there have been no future entries in this series, but I suppose Twilight and True Blood flooded the market.

The premise of the story is this. Reporter Daniel Molloy (Christian Slater) is interviewing Louis (Brad Pitt), who claims to be a vampire. Louis would like to tell his life story. Way back in 1791, Louis was in Louisiana and had become a widower. While on a binge, he's attacked by Lestat (Tom Cruise), a vampire who offers to turn Louis into a vampire in order for his sorrows to be ended. The thing is, it turns out Louis doesn't have it in him to kill people in order to live as a vampire. Instead he kills animals, and Lestat does not like this, as vampires desire a companion to join them in the act of killing and feeding on humans. Lestat wants to leave, and Louis is so hungry. So, Louis feeds on a little girl (Kirsten Dunst), and Lestat sees him doing so. Lestat brings the girl back to their house, and decides to make her into a vampire as well. Lestat names her Claudia, and Claudia effectively becomes Louis' daughter while Lestat teaches her how to kill people.

That's enough of the movie to give away, but I doubt anyone here's going to watch it. There were a lot of things I liked about this, and a lot of things I didn't. The ambiguous sexuality of the vampires was provocative, I feel like it was there to make people uncomfortable. I have no problem with that and actually find it entertaining for people to squirm at those parts. All of the actors had at least decent performances, particularly Cruise who went so massively against character type here. Dunst was excellent as well. I also enjoyed the production design and cinematography, especially the sets and usage of them. The Paris sets are really immersive. There's a lot of positive going on here.

My main problem with the movie is that it doesn't make sense. The second half of the film is full blown off the rails and totally detached from whatever the first half was. The culmination doesn't make sense either. This would have been a much easier film to enjoy had this felt any more cohesive. Effectively I'm left not knowing what the film is about. Louis is telling you what happened in his life and that's it. I didn't get the feeling that Louis actually hates Lestat, which seems flawed. I got the feeling Louis was depressed. That doesn't make for the most intriguing of films.

Another smaller problem is that because I saw Louis at the start of the movie and knew he lived, there's no suspense as it relates to his character. I don't understand why Lestat or Armand (Antonio Banderas) act the way they do. I would like to elaborate a bit more, but my hand is getting in the way of that.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 01, 2017, 06:15:52 PM
(http://filmfisher.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ralphslebowski.jpg)

The Big Lebowski (1998), directed by the Coen brothers

Yeah, I've never seen this film before. Let's get that out of the way first hand. If it wasn't on TV and if I didn't buy it on DVD, the odds I've watched something are not good at all. This was something I never thought was worth purchasing. In making that decision I waited far too long. The movie still holds up, but I feel like I've missed out on a lot of jokes. It didn't have any impact on my viewing experience, but I felt a little bad once this film was over. The Coens vision of Los Angeles circa 1991 made for a great time, but because of the kidnapping I found this incredibly similar to Hail, Caesar! This was much better, though.

With my head firmly up my ass, I didn't know anything about the plot. I knew that at some point John Goodman pulled out a gun. The Dude (Jeff Bridges) gets beaten up by some guys who want money. The Dude slacks his way through life, and he loves White Russians. It turns out that the Dude shares the name of a Mr. Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston), and Mr. Lebowski's wife Bunny (Tara Reid) has quite a few debts. The Dude is summoned to Mr. Lebowski's house by Brandt (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and he steals a rug from Mr. Lebowski on his way out. We then learn that the Dude loves bowling, and participates in a bowling league. His teammates Donny (Steve Buscemi) and Walter (John Goodman) are updated once more about the events, and things unfold to the point at which Walter takes out his gun. Every scene in this film is entertaining, and as always with the Coens they unfold in more and more bizarre ways. We get appearances from Julianne Moore as Mr. Lebowski's daughter, and the first time we see her she's flying around topless and flinging paint at a canvas. There's also John Turturro as Jesus Quintana, an opponent in the Dude's bowling league who apparently exposed himself to a child.

With the exception of Buscemi, Reid, and Turturro, everyone mentioned plays a sizable part in this film. Donny is there because it's necessary for other characters to build off of talking to him. Reid is window dressing. She was hot and you're supposed to understand why an old man would keep her as a trophy wife. Jesus is there for a really good laugh, but he's hardly there. I have read that Turturro wrote and directed an upcoming feature about this character, and I feel the need to see that whether or not it turns out to be any good. Maybe the impact of the character will be lessened with more screen time. Maybe not. The use of Buscemi is really no different than anything else he's done. Other than Boardwalk Empire, Reservoir Dogs, the Sopranos and Fargo, I am not aware of him playing a big part in anything else that's a must see. I would like to know if I'm wrong. I also neglected to mention that this film did utilize a narrator, and just like Hail, Caesar!, it didn't make any sense.

A lot of things in Coen movies don't make sense individually, but taken as a whole it seems to come together more often than not. There's some people who feel the exact opposite, who say that these films don't leave any impression on them, so they don't care to watch them. I could not disagree more with this perspective. Perhaps one of the reasons this film has an impact on me is that I used to know somebody exactly like the Dude. Nothing fucked with this guy's vibe, it didn't matter what anyone did to him. He would occasionally do jobs acid staining concrete floors, smoke a lot of bud, had no car of his own, and he also lived at the beach in an inherited house he barely paid anything for. Some would call that the American Dream, and it probably is, so it's easy for me to identify with a character like the Dude.

If there's any weakness in the story, it's that as often happens with these filmmakers, the end of the farce is not entirely fulfilling. If you're waiting for something big to happen at the end of these, you definitely aren't going to get it. But if you've seen this, you understand why. In addition to that, once you come to the realization of what these various plot points mean, you shouldn't expect that kind of grand finish. It's very good storytelling. The only scene I didn't care very much for was the hallucination. It was technically good and extremely interesting, but I thought it was out of place. It was almost too strange. I can give a pass for that when everything else fits in place so well.

One of the best things about the film as somebody who has watched a lot of them in such a short period of time, is that there's the tension of somebody getting killed, yet nobody gets killed at all. One of the characters dies, but nobody murdered them. Obviously that's in massive contrast to Interview with the Vampire, where a shitload of people get killed and have their blood drained from them. Or Enemy at the Gates, where the Nazis and Soviets mowed down soldiers indiscriminately. It's a nice change of pace to go back to more familiar waters. Fortunately there's still a lot of ground I can cover with these filmmakers. I haven't seen everything they've done, and what I had seen before doing this were films I wanted to rewatch anyway.

There are also other characters in this film, but if I kept going on and on I'd never be done writing about this. I know everyone's seen this shit anyway. As much as I identified the Dude with somebody I knew, I thought Walter was the better character. Goodman's performance there was great, and whether intended or not, it was difficult for me to keep a straight face when he went on one of his tangents. The scene at the end where he picks Mr. Lebowski up had me going pretty good, and that wasn't even the best one he had! I decided to channel Jingus by typing way too much even though I have a finger with stitches in it, so I apologize for that.

9.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on September 01, 2017, 10:01:50 PM
The Dude is worth all that effort and typing though.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Thread Killer on September 02, 2017, 02:55:20 AM
Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on September 02, 2017, 04:33:31 PM
Jeff Bridges really is the Dude, which is why this movie was great. A lot of people said this was heavily inspired by the Big Sleep, I never read that though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_American_Hero

Watch this for more of Jeff Bridges playing cool cats.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 02, 2017, 06:39:18 PM
(http://images4.static-bluray.com/reviews/2166_5.jpg)

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), directed by Guy Ritchie

It's not very often that I watch a director's first film. One of the reasons that's the case is because those films are rarely ever publicized to a degree that gets on my radar. There are some exceptions, of course. Nightcrawler, Fruitvale Station, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin immediately come to mind, and there's quite a few more I'm aware of that I haven't been able to watch yet. I am going to though. This is probably the best debut feature I've seen. To be honest it is difficult to talk about this when North Korea is testing nuclear weapons.

The setup for the story is as follows. Eddy (Nick Moran), Tom (Jason Flemyng), Soap (Dexter Fletcher), and Bacon (Jason Statham) are wannabes. Eddy fancies himself as a big time card player, but he's going up against real players. Hatchet Harry (P.H. Moriarty) and Barry (Lenny McLean) have a plan, and for lack of a better word, they rinse Eddy. Eddy thought he was hot shit, so he borrowed money from Harry to make a bet, and it didn't work out. Now Harry wants the bar Eddy's father (Sting) owns, or he wants £500,000 from Eddy and his friends. Big Chris (Vinnie Jones) is sent to collect the debt and harass Eddy, which leads to things going down a fantastic road. I don't want to spoil this because I'm sure a lot of people haven't bothered to watch this before.

There are a lot of characters in this who matter, too many to mention in fact. The plan to come up with the money is presented in excellent fashion. Dog (Frank Harper) is excellent in his role pertaining to this, and he's definitely not the only one. I am surprised that so few of these supporting actors ever made it out of the UK. McLean died right after this was filmed, so that explains him. There's lots of others who deserved a better turn, so it's too bad. That Vinnie Jones graduated from the pitch to movie sets is completely befuddling. I don't understand it and I never will understand it. This was his first role and he was good at it.

Almost all of my gripes with the film would be related to technical aspects rather than the story. The big stuff was set up extremely well, and the culmination of the film was almost Coen-esque. The things here don't give the appearance of being funny, but they are. The closing scenes border on farcical, and it's acknowledged by the characters that the situation is as such. The plot is extremely complicated to a greater degree than Rocknrolla, and the dialogue presents similar problems if you're not aware of the lingo. Perhaps to even greater degree as well. None of the characters really stand out on their own besides Barry, but that's not a problem.

The technical aspects I was referencing were actually pretty obvious as soon as I flipped this on. The yellow tint was worse than distracting, it took me about thirty minutes to get used to it. I plain didn't like it, and it's a big problem. That being said, I may be alone in this viewpoint, and it doesn't really matter that much anyway. As long as the film isn't shot upside down, or there aren't way too many random rapid cuts, or something like that, I think I can handle it. It is inevitable that I'll watch almost everything Ritchie's done, because British crime films interest me quite a bit, and his blockbusters are things I haven't seen before either. Not watching the film he did with Madonna though.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 03, 2017, 05:49:47 PM
(https://static.gamespot.com/uploads/original/1179/11799911/2505341-removieawesome.jpg)

Resident Evil (2002), directed by Paul W. S. Anderson

It turns out that it's possible for a director to make a career out of making shitty movies, as long as for whatever reason they make a lot of money. That's what it's all about in Hollywood, but very rarely is anyone able to make movies that are regularly critically savaged and still make money. I suppose if you have a video game franchise to work with, it's possible to achieve that. Some people have vastly different expectations for the films they like. Some people want to see tits. Some want to see some gore, others get massive enjoyment out of watching schlock.  I said last night that I had a problem with films that utilized rapid cuts, and this was one of those. There were some things about Resident Evil that nearly made it a guilty pleasure, so I suppose I understand why Anderson can keep making movies.

I haven't played any of the video games for a long time, but the plot doesn't resemble any of them. To start things off, we are taken to a research facility named the Hive, and the T-Virus is released by a thief. Once that happens, an artificial intelligence kills everyone inside in order to keep the infection from spreading to the outside world. After that, Milla Jovovich wakes up in a mansion. Her name is never given, and I don't know what it is, nor do I really care all that much. Anyway, once she wakes up, some people crash into the mansion through the windows, saying that they have a mission. The group consists of many people, but only a few are important. The squad is led by James (Colin Salmon) and Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), the two tough guys. There's also a hacker named Kaplan (Martin Crewes), a guy who was found in the house named Matt (Eric Mabius), and a man found on the train to the facility named Spence (James Purefoy).

As everyone knows about the Resident Evil series, there's going to be zombies, and you learn about how this happened. There's also more than zombies. There's rabid dogs, and there are lickers. Lickers are these things that crawl around, have a giant tongue, and chew people up. When I was a kid, the first one of these games I had was Resident Evil 2. My brother and I would wait until nighttime, and we'd turn all the lights off while playing this game. Good times. Anyway, the physics of the characters in those games made far sense than those in this movie. I did not understand the way some of those dudes were climbing up shit. I also do not understand why they never attempted to do a straight video game remake. Resident Evil 4 would be good for it with modern special effects. Probably very expensive though. 

The film doesn't make any sense at all, honestly. I'm trying to make sense of the plot and I can't. I just want to make sure I have this right. So the artificial intelligence killed everyone inside the building, then the commandos had to force entry into the building to recover something, then the doors shut again FOR REAL after two hours. How does this make sense? I'm just confusing myself. Anyway, it was good that the excess characters (all of whom are unmentioned) were killed early on. There was no reason for them to be there, and at one point I was getting some of them confused with each other. For this being a horror movie, it couldn't get a scare out of me. That's too bad.

Even knowing what this was going to be before I watched it, this was massively disappointing. The story was salvageable, but so many of the actors gave horrendous performances. It was really bad the way Kaplan would consistently slip in and out of his accent. The guy who played Matt was a total nothing as well. The script doesn't exactly help with any of this, and this film was nowhere near as gory as you'd expect. For any fan of zombie stuff, that's disappointing. Even The Walking Dead is able to pull that off at least. Regardless of everything I've said here, I still found the film interesting. That's important, because interesting keeps me wanting to continue with the series. It doesn't mean I thought something was good, but I don't tell people what they should like, or ridicule them for liking something. I now understand why people do, which is one of the reasons I watched this.

Considering I did find the film interesting, I can't be too harsh with any rating. The entirety of the film taking place indoors did bother me to great extent, but the overarching concept and setting was pretty sound. They walked their way down and had to shoot their way back up. Plus, the grid effect in the corridor was pretty cool.

4.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on September 03, 2017, 07:58:41 PM
i never played the games so i enjoy these movies slightly more as bad movies. The grid effect and the dogs are cool. These movies and the underworld movies are some of my dad's favourite movies it feels like. I can't wait until you see the later RE movies man. They REALLY go down the rabbit hole. KOAB and I've talked about it in chat a few times so we might have spoiled them.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on September 04, 2017, 12:14:36 AM
I'm still a sucker for the first Underworld movie despite how lacking it can be but yeah, Resident Evil is pretty much what 909 described it as. Some interesting stuff hidden in there but overall very blah. Paul W.S. Anderson tends to do that with a lot of his movies: Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon, Death Race (remake). Usually not very good but they have just enough in them that keeps some attention and can kind of be memorable moments.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 04, 2017, 04:09:42 AM
Mortal Kombat is good imo.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 04, 2017, 06:08:48 PM
There are spoilers for the Sopranos here, so if you want to watch that, don't read this. Also don't open the spoiler tags.

(http://iv1.lisimg.com/image/4748084/704full-a-bronx-tale-screenshot.jpg)

A Bronx Tale (1993), directed by Robert De Niro

I was going to watch Zodiac, but I ran short of time. I'll probably watch that tomorrow or Wednesday. Not that anyone cares, but at the moment I'm picking films straight from the expiration list prior to watching anything on the other list I have. With that being the case, there's about 20 movies I have on my list this month. Maybe a few more, I didn't bother to count. Considering the subject matter, it's inevitable that I was going to place A Bronx Tale near the top of my list. It's a mafia movie, I just can't resist. I didn't quite want to watch another movie set in 1960's New York City so soon after the last one, but that's how it goes sometimes. This is not a true story, but Chazz Palminteri took events from his own life, as well as other events that didn't actually happen, in order to write this screenplay. I forget where I heard this before, but sometimes actors need to take it upon themselves and write their own screenplay if they want to get their big break. Doesn't matter if what they have to say is real or not. If it's good, that's all that matters.

The story is told in two halves. Some of the things in one part don't make sense until you see them in the next. I think that's good storytelling. The short version of the first half is that Calogero (Francis Capra) is a neighborhood kid with shithead friends who like to watch a mobster named Sonny (Chazz Palminteri) do his business on the corner. The kids watch him from the stoop, and Calogero's father Lorenzo (Robert De Niro) doesn't want his son anywhere near Sonny. One day, Sonny shoots somebody and kills him while Sonny is watching, and Sonny is brought down by the police to identify the shooter even though Lorenzo wants nothing to do with it. Calogero refuses to give the police the information they want, and so goes the story.

The second half heads down a different road. Calogero (Lillo Brancato Jr.) is nearly a grown man, and his friends are now wannabes. These wannabes have a problem with the black people who have moved into the area, but Calogero is infatuated with a girl named Jane (Taral Hicks). Jane is black, and it's 1968, so there's problems with perception. Also, as I just mentioned, his friends are practically neo-Nazis. There's still the issue remaining from before as well. Both Lorenzo and Sonny have redeeming qualities, as well as their downsides. Sonny is a murderer, but Lorenzo is stuck in the past and has antiquated views about race. Once is much worse than the other, especially in the context given here.

I wasn't expecting the film to explore this path, but it's a great change because I wanted to see a different kind of gangster movie. This isn't like any of the pantheon films, it's entirely different. You would think that Lorenzo and Sonny are trying to pull Calogero in different directions, but that's not the case. Instead they're both trying to help him and fill his mind with valuable information. It isn't Sonny's place to do so, but he does it anyway. The romantic parts of the movie are a little cliched I suppose, but that's with 24 years of hindsight. What I liked was that neither Sonny or Lorenzo said anything about this that would have sounded like bullshit. Neither of those guys would have said anything else about this subject in that era. Nothing was forced there.

The film is pretty funny when it wants to be, which is a surprise of sorts given this was the first film De Niro directed. Of course he had lots of experience, but it didn't seem easy to make some of these parts as funny as they were. There's one where some guys are put in a bathroom that had me going, as well as another where Calogero is introducing the characters early on. The latter scene felt ripped straight from a Scorsese film, but who gives a fuck. That's something to be proud of. The kid in the first half of the story did a really good job as well. Right at the moment at which I became attached to the character, away he goes into the future.

If there's anything that isn't good about this film, two things in particular stand out. One is that Calogero's mother is a total nothing in the first half of the story, then completely disappears in the second half. It felt like De Niro knew he didn't know how to do anything with the character and discarded it like yesterday's trash. The young man could have used some input from his mother, we don't even know where she was. Another obvious problem is that I had the hardest time seeing past Calogero being Matthew Bevilaqua. I just couldn't do it. While I'm writing this, I'm watching the scene where Tony and Big Pussy kill him. I had to. It seems like a continuation of this story, except the ending of A Bronx Tale would lead to the exact opposite conclusion. Speaking of the ending, it came totally out of nowhere. I thought it was great. If the Sopranos taught me anything about anything, it comes out of nowhere.

8.5/10

Spoiler: show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qecPRPUgq4Y
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJYfyzYufes
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: AA484 on September 04, 2017, 09:41:55 PM
Brancato actually served some time post-Sopranos for a burglary in which an off duty cop got killed.  Brancato wasn't the shooter and was recently released from prison.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 05, 2017, 06:29:58 PM
(http://i34.servimg.com/u/f34/14/94/97/81/zodiac43.jpg)

Zodiac (2007), directed by David Fincher

I'm trying to write this without reading anything about the case itself, or the film. So if I'm wrong about anything we can blame it on that. Murder mysteries are something I just have to watch. It doesn't matter how long they take to be solved. I need to know what happened, and I don't care how long I sit there in order to find out the answer. In this case there is no answer, merely a theory. A theory is good enough. That this film has such a gigantic cast is a major plus point for me, no expense was spared in order for this film to be presented the way it needed to be. That I watched this so soon after Dirty Harry was perfect. Not only do I feel like I know the Bay Area, but it's a great contrast to what happens in that film.

The details of the events contained in this film seemed to be meticulously researched, and because of that it will be difficult for me to relay all the details. All of the action takes place early in the film, which I'm sure pissed people off. The Zodiac killer is a serial murderer, who sends letters to the San Francisco Chronicle and the police. Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) is tasked with the job of covering the story, and Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a cartoonist who hangs around his desk wanting to know more and more information. On the police side, David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and Bill Armstrong (Anthony Edwards) are the inspectors tasked with seeking down the murderer of a cab driver. In the process of that, these two things come together in interesting ways.

There should be no secrets to this, because of how infamous a case this was. There were so many actors involved with this project that I couldn't name them all. It's not that I don't want to mention them, but nobody stands out over the rest. That's not supposed to be a criticism, it's meant to show that everyone was that good in their role. Lots of people don't have the patience to watch something like this. I shouldn't be surprised that this film didn't make good money, which sounds like a crazy notion knowing what it is that I just watched.

As far as technical aspects go, the screenplay stands out the most. It isn't easy to adapt books to the big screen, especially one like this. Due to the lack of action, casting is important and can make or break a film like this. If anyone gives the kind of performance that doesn't fit a character, due to how much time all of the characters get, the whole thing falls apart. Brian Cox as Melvin Belli, an attorney who counsels the Zodiac killer on live television, struck me as particularly inspired casting. He's good in everything. In Troy he played a part that could not have been more different than this one, but I bought it.

There were also an abundance of scenes that will stick with me. The first and most obvious is the only scene where you actually see the killer while he's doing what he's doing. That could not have been more effective in establishing what kind of guy this actually was. The hood, the vest, and all that shit. I was tripping out. There's also the scene where Arthur Leigh Allen (John Carroll Lynch) is interrogated. There's nothing to this other than the interrogation, it's just perfect. The best one is the scene with Bob Vaughn (Charles Fleischer) takes Graysmith into his basement. Not knowing what happened and not having read anything about this case beforehand, that's what a suspenseful scene is supposed to feel like.

What I appreciated more than anything else was that this film felt authentic, like a real police investigation. Of course that's because it was, but even though that keeps movie studios from making money, that's how it was presented. Gone Girl is in obvious contrast to that, even though that's also really good. A meticulous approach to filmmaking can work wonders sometimes, but it's not for everyone. I'm sure a lot of people found this dull, disengaging, and boring. I feel bad for them. They probably like watching garbage television. There was something else I was going to say, but in the shuffle of everything else worth mentioning, I've genuinely forgotten what it was. Maybe I'll remember tomorrow.

Fake edit: Oh, it was that the Zodiac killer didn't only kill people, he wrecked people's lives through fear and obsession. His thirst for attention was a life breaker for most of the people who worked on this case in any fashion, and I thought the film was great at laying all that out there.

10/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on September 05, 2017, 09:15:06 PM
It's a great movie that was generally super accurate from what I've read however one thing that's been pointed out as wrong was

Spoiler: show
 the portrayal of avery as broken by zodiac. He actually went on to a lot of future success and a number of his former colleagues criticized the way he was shown. He did have a based houseboat though.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Furry AND Republican on September 06, 2017, 01:58:14 AM
"The fuckin' library!"

I fucking love "Zodiac". Fincher's best movie IMO, without a single moment feeling like filler.

Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on September 06, 2017, 05:22:41 AM
I fucking love "Zodiac". Fincher's best movie IMO, without a single moment feeling like filler.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 10, 2017, 05:53:19 PM
(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-FLG_ZaDdaO8/TvvjvZPsRpI/AAAAAAAAFSA/5GE7tfk4qWw/s1600/BeKindRewind_DefInStore.png)

Be Kind Rewind (2008), directed by Michel Gondry

When I watch a classic like Zodiac, it's impossible for any other film I watch afterwards to measure up. So what I like to do is get a nice dose of average, or maybe watch something that I know is going to be bad. Considering I don't care for Jack Black, I was 100% expecting this to be terrible. The first twenty minutes or so were such that I wanted to turn this off. I have a rule against doing that, and more than any other film I've reviewed, I've never had the inclination to do so more than tonight. I didn't think those twenty minutes were bad, but I thought this was supposed to be a comedy. I found them completely boring. In the end, this wasn't such a boring film after all.

Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) owns a failing video store, one which time has passed by. His store is practically falling apart, and he only rents older VHS tapes. Mr. Fletcher has one employee named Mike (Mos Def), who works hard for very little pay. Fletcher leaves the store on a vacation, but it turns out that he's seeing what his competitors are doing right and what he's doing wrong. The city also wants his store so othey can demolish it, gentrify the neighborhood, and build condos there. The store has a problem visitor named Jerry (Jack Black), and he thinks the government is using a power plant to control his mind. Jerry enlists the help of Mike to break into the plant, but they nearly get caught and Mike decides that he wants nothing to do with it. Jerry gets electrocuted, and when returning to the store he touches the tapes, demagnetizing them all. Mr. Fletcher tasks Miss Falewicz (Mia Farrow) with checking on the store, and she wants to rent Ghostbusters. The problem is that they no longer have it, and Mr. Fletcher will find out about what happened if they don't rent out a copy. So, Mike and Jerry figure that because she's never seen the film, they can make a home video version of it.

It surprised me to great extent that this was what the film was about. I didn't realize, but I found this pertinent. When I was in high school, I had a friend whose parents had just purchased a Sony HDR. We would do something similar to this. I had one of the tapes and I have no idea what happened to them. I think they're long gone. Anyway, we would take the tapes to school and edit them in our free time using Final Cut Pro. It's not something I've ever talked about before, because why the fuck would something like this ever come up? This film brings back those memories. Of course we were far more lazy and didn't wear costumes. We would just re-enact some scenes to see how they sounded. I have no idea what happened to any of those people. While I feel inspired to find out, some things are better left in the past.

As I said, the versions presented in this film are a lot better. Jack Black and Mos Def were believable in their roles. So was Melonie Diaz as Alma, a woman needed for additional parts in these home videos. I wasn't expecting to have any positive feelings about this film after the way it begun. I really did think it was boring, and I really didn't think it was any good. The scenarios presented here are massively implausible, and the solutions in terms of making these films seemed costly. At least too costly for the situation. There's really not a hell of a lot to this movie in terms of the cast, so much further writing about this film would be nothing other than padding.

I don't understand what the filmmaker was attempting to achieve, which leaves me at somewhat of a loss for words. This was a comedy that wasn't very funny, and it ends in a fashion I can only call depressing. There's also SO much missing from this film. All of a sudden Alma goes from a major part of the film to a nothing. Mr. Fletcher goes from hating this scheme to participating in it with no explanation given whatsoever. The characters here are a big pile of nothing. I don't understand it. Anyway, the film resembles a hodgepodge of things, but the one that sticks with me the most is that this felt like an ode to having fun making home videos.

5.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 12, 2017, 06:10:54 PM
(http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/thelegendoftarzan/images/thumbnail_24145.jpg)

The Legend of Tarzan (2016), directed by David Yates

The consistent Hollywood obsession with remaking old stories is one of the most confounding things about a complicated business. The marketplace has changed over the course of the last decade, and to some extent people no longer want to see these stories. They can only be told so many times. Now, the ability to do so is entirely reliant on the stars that can be attracted to these projects. Otherwise, they won't be able to make any money. One issue with that is that Hollywood has done everything they can to minimize the star power of the actors they can employ. While this system will lead to an end of telling the same story over and over, this also leads to great projects being rendered unable to make any money. This was not one of those great projects.

Everyone knows the basics of the Tarzan story, so there's no reason to go over that part of the story anymore. What this version does is put their own twist on it. Tarzan/John (Alexander Skarsgard) is a member of the House of Lords, and he's married to Jane (Margot Robbie). Sounds like a natural conclusion to the age old tale. The Congo has been claimed by King Leopold II, and he has invited John to visit the Congo and report on the development of the area. John declines, then is encouraged to accept the invitation by George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson). Jane wants to come along, so now we have our party of three. Once they get there, they find out that Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) has been enslaving Africans to build things for Leopold's project to steal money and resources from the area. The main characters were already suspicious of this, and we were introduced to Rom earlier in the story as he encountered Chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou).

Perhaps with this being 2016 and all, it's very easy to notice that this was one of those white savior stories. Some of the general problems with the portrayals of Tarzan films do not exist that much here, which is a relief. I'm particularly thinking of the way all black people are presented as savages. That's definitely not the case. The visual effects are good in some ways and not in others, which struck me as a pretty big problem. The facial animation for the animals was something else, I still can't believe it's possible to put that in a film. On the other hand, every single scene when Tarzan is swinging on vines is such obvious special effects that it takes me out of the film. That goes for pretty much every background in the whole film actually. They're all on green screen, and if they're not, I can't separate the ones that are from the ones that aren't. Most of them HAD to be on green screen due to the jungle setting.

That's not to say it's all bad, but of course it's going to sound bad the way I've been describing it. Including George Washington Williams was a neat piece of the story, because after all George Washington Williams is the person who first called on Leopold to end his slave state in the Congo. Some of the performances, like those of Waltz and Robbie, were pretty good. They have a scene together on a boat that helped flesh the story out. On that note, there's a lot more talking in this film than I expected, which was necessary as the plot and motivations of the character could have been a bit murky otherwise. For example, we find out that Williams took part in operations against Native Americans, which is absolutely what he did in real life. While Skarsgard strikes me as quite distant in this film, his romance with Robbie felt authentic. So that was nice. The flashbacks were too, and I enjoyed the scenes where the animals tore shit up. It also should be stated that there needs to be another big film that focuses on what Leopold did to people in that region. I have read extensively about this, and because this film wasn't completely about that, they didn't go into detail of the horrors inflected on that area. Any film would certainly not make very much money, be very violent, and not be looked upon kindly by those who give out R and NC-17 ratings. The story still needs to be told.

The problem with this film overall is that the setting felt completely inauthentic, because it was. I'm simply incapable of getting over that. I've never seen Avatar, but unless the plot was unbelievably good, I'm sure I would have the same problems with that film. Regardless, somehow the film was much better once it got to "Africa." The early setup wasn't something I addressed yet, and I actually found it to be the worst part of the whole movie. There is absolutely nothing to any of the scenes designed to get Tarzan back to Africa. Another crazy thing about this is that the film cost $180 million to make. I read a report right before posting this that said it lost $40 million. So fortunately, there will not be another one. I still can't give this a really bad rating though. The positives I posted are really big positives in the favor of this film, and placing it in the Congo was great, even if it didn't feel real.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 13, 2017, 03:17:40 PM
(https://macaulay.cuny.edu/eportfolios/utopiaofdaniel/files/2013/04/The-Insider-14.jpg)

The Insider (1999), directed by Michael Mann

I knew this film was going to be about cigarettes, but with my head planted firmly in the sand, it was a perfect film to not know anything else about beforehand. It turns out that the film is about exactly what I expected, because what else can a film about cigarettes be about? It's also Michael Mann, man. There has not yet been something he's made that I didn't find interesting after watching it, or that I do not yet want to watch. Or for that matter, that I'm not going to rewatch to review in this thread at some point. I don't give a shit if anyone's reading or not, but after I watch something I have the compulsion to talk about all my thoughts regarding a film. One thing that's hard about making a film like this one is that dramatization will inevitably lead to the parties getting angry. That certainly happened here.

My first reaction to the opening scene was that I thought this was a film about cigarettes. Anyway, Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) is sent by 60 Minutes to learn about Sheikh Fadlallah, a major part of Hezbollah. We find out that Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer) wants to interview the Sheikh, and it is established that Mike Wallace is a real journalist and all that stuff. At the same time, Jerry Wigand (Russell Crowe) is fired from his job at Brown & Williamson, a tobacco company. He was an executive of research and development, and was working on cigarettes with less carcinogens until he was fired. Bergman receives a package containing technical documents about big tobacco, and he wants Wigand's help translating them. Wigand is bound by a confidentiality agreement, and his wife (Diane Venora) and children are dependent upon the money that comes with his severance package. So what does Wigand do? Well, he just can't help himself.

Again, I thought this film was about entirely about cigarettes, but there are large parts of it that aren't. In 2017 we know all about big tobacco and what they've done. In 1999 that wasn't as much the case, but the film is about investigative journalism. My reviews of Spotlight and Zodiac should show that I get a major hard on for movies featuring investigative journalism. While the film is distinctly about that subject, it is also distinctly a movie with two different halves. Which half you prefer is probably entirely reliant on if you prefer Pacino or Crowe as actors. I'm in the Pacino camp, but I also really enjoy Crowe's work. The first half is still great though, but their roles in the story rotate as the film progresses.

Pacino's character needed to get that story out of Crowe's character, and 60 Minutes used to be the kind of show where that's what you would get every week. So, the first half revolved around that. The second half is what took place once the story was told. Considering this is public fact, there's no reason not to say that CBS refused to air Wigand's interview after it was conducted. CBS was in the process of being sold, and nobody wanted to deal with this kind of problem. I consider the second half better because Pacino's character goes buckwild in trying to get this interview aired. He just won't stop, and he's a character of real moral turpitude. At least that's if you think he was right to encourage Wigand to ruin his life and tell the story. He was, but it's not some easy moral quandry there.

There is one distinct problem with this film, and it's that the dramatization runs over some people. Mike Wallace said that he was one of those people. There is also no proof that Wigand received death threats. I mean, sure there's claims of that, but there's no proof. Wigand's wife believes that Wigand put a bullet in the mailbox himself, and as presented in the film, the FBI also believed that. The film also presents Bergman as a massive crusader. While entertaining, it's very inaccurate. But again, such things come with the territory of dramatizing true stories. Michael Mann is one of our best filmmakers, and it's unfortunate that he no longer makes very many of them. Making a suspenseful movie out of this material was great, and the way Pacino performed in it was fantastic. I left out a lot of characters in the process of writing this, but I thought there were other good performances worth seeing. Plummer made for a pretty damn good Mike Wallace.

Ultimately, what matters most is the overall messaging. Cigarettes kill people, and Big Tobacco doesn't want us to know about that because they want to make as much money as possible. The media is intertwined with these industries and is in constant danger of being disallowed from telling the truth. Some people take films like this for Oscar-bait, but I don't think anyone makes these films with the express purpose of winning awards. The story needed to be told. Of course, this film is really long, so if you want to watch it, make sure you have the time to finish it.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 15, 2017, 11:39:07 AM
(http://images.indianexpress.com/2015/09/black-mass-759.jpg)

Black Mass (2015), directed by Scott Cooper

Black Mass is something that presented immediate moral quandries to me once I was done with watching the film. The problem is that Johnny Depp's portrayal of Whitey Bulger makes Bulger look awesome. I mean, that's really a horrible thing to say about Bulger. After all, he did evil shit. I know that it makes me sound like an asshole to even say what I just said. But I said it, and I don't delete anything I say unless it's factually untrue. This certainly wasn't a classic of the genre, and the film wasn't long enough to be fleshed out the way I would have wanted it to be. It was still quite entertaining.

The film starts with Kevin Weeks (Jesse Plemons) beginning to tell his story to the FBI about Whitey Bulger's (Johnny Depp) business. Bulger was a maniac of sorts, one that it's difficult to write about, and as such it took me a whole other day after watching Black Mass to finish doing so. Bulger's story begins with an introduction of his associates. His right hand man is Stephen Flemmi (Rory Cochrane), a man who eventually pleaded guilty to ten counts of murder. Bulger had a hitman under his employ named Johnny Martorano (W. Earl Brown), and over the course of the movie many other people would come across him. Bulger was at war with the Italians, and an FBI agent named John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) has information about the Angiulo Brothers wanting to have him killed. It is made clear that Connolly knows Whitey well, and that he also knows Whitey's brother named Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch), a Massachusetts State Senator. The idea that a State Senator would be so intertwined with a crimelord like Whitey Bulger is patently ridiculous, but it's also true. Due to Whitey and Connolly's connection growing up together, they make for pretty good friends and associates throughout the years.

The plot of this film was great, but it could certainly have used more time in order to tell a more complete story. The wives of Bulger and Connolly effectively play minimal part in the film, even though there's more to their story. After all, Whitey's child died of Reye syndrome. But the film's not about that, or why Whitey did the things he did, it's about showing what he did. That's a singular focus that separates this from the best movies in the genre, because it doesn't go down the same road films like Goodfellas and Casino do. It is very straight forward like that. I still have a problem with Kevin Bacon, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard, Julianne Nicholson, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Adam Scott not being given the opportunity to do anything with the roles they were given. In some cases it's understandable, but in others it obviously was not. Still, this was a film with a singular focus, and that's fine.

Most importantly with regard to this film, there were a lot of good scenes. Sarsgaard stole the screen the three or four times he was on there. I was quite impressed that such a minor character could stick with me the way his did. Depp's performance as Bulger has been noted by a lot of people, but it was the things in the script that require the real attention. It was impossible to mess some of those scenes up. There's one of his murders in particular that was very difficult to watch. When I'm talking about good scenes though, pretty much every scene with Edgerton as John Connolly would apply there. Very rarely am I taken aback by somebody's performance and able to enjoy it as much as his. His explanations for everything were very amusing. It is insane that the things in this film actually happened.

With all that said, there's quite a bit of good and quite a bit of bad as it comes to this movie. Another thing as of yet unmentioned is that unlike other crime films I'm having a hard time pinpointing the overarching theme. Part of that is because there's no insight given as to Bulger's thoughts. The story is told from no perspective in particular. If The Godfather is about family, and if Goodfellas is about power and respect, I can't figure out what vision the filmmaker brought to this film. That's okay though, because this was still good if not great. The way Depp actually looked as Bulger was made more impressive by the cinematographer, Masanobu Takayanagi. The cinematography in Spotlight was nice too, but I am surprised that this man did not receive any recognition for what he did in this film. Or The Grey for that matter. The thing I can't get over is that other than Connolly's relationship with his wife, there is ZERO here in terms of inter-character relationships. I still enjoyed the film.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: AA484 on September 15, 2017, 01:22:36 PM
There is a book that this movie is "based" on but there is another one about Whitey that is a little better by Kevin Cullen.  If you have any interest in exploring Whitey a little deeper you should check it out.  Goes into details about how he was experimented on with LSD in prison (voluntarily) that gave him nightmares for a lifetime.  Interesting read.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 17, 2017, 05:54:03 PM
(http://www.indiewire.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/the-limey.jpg)

The Limey (1999), directed by Steven Soderbergh

I wasn't sure whether to admit this or not, but I guess it's a good opportunity to cop to this. My exposure to Soderbergh is quite limited. That's not something that's going to continue, but I need to get it out straight away. Everyone's seen the Ocean's series or at least some of it, and that was good. So it's not like I have any problem with delving into his other works. I am going to do so over time. This film was very different than others that I've watched. The style in which it was edited was just so different from anything else. It was so bizarre.

I assume nobody has seen this, considering that I'd never heard of it until a week ago. So this section will be quite brief, and I have taken incredible care not to give too much away. A career criminal named Wilson (Terence Stamp) is headed to Los Angeles to find out what happened to his daughter (Melissa George). He read a newspaper clipping that was sent to him by Eduardo (Luis Guzman), and has come to the determination that his daughter wouldn't crash her car in the middle of the night, but that she was murdered. Eduardo passes him on to Elaine (Lesley Ann Warren), Jenny's acting coach, who tells him that her boyfriend was a man named Terry Valentine (Peter Fonda). We learn that Valentine is an older man that likes young women. We also learn that Wilson is a very violent career criminal. Lastly, we learn that Valentine has a private security team headed by Avery (Barry Newman). So what the fuck's going on here exactly?

The answer is a lot, although not as much as you'd think based on what I just told you. There are some great unmentioned side characters that I've never seen in anything else before, and many of the people who portray them haven't been in anything since then. One of them gets a couple of the best lines any character with less than ten lines has ever gotten. This film also doubles as a subtle critique of Hollywood, and if it wasn't intended to be, then I don't know how something could come off as such. Valentine embodied a Hollywood elitist to incredible degree. Whoever the inspiration was for this performance must have really had some kind of impact on Peter Fonda. It's perfect. His isn't the only one, though. Stamp's performance as a psychopath was strong too. The monologues are the kind of thing that make critics angry, but I thought they provided good laughs and levity to an incredibly serious film.

I would be remiss in bringing up this film and not getting to the nitty gritty of the editing. I had one sentence about it, but that's nowhere near enough. Soderbergh somehow got the rights to include clips from an old movie with Stamp in it in order to get over some aspects of his character. These flashbacks were simply edited into the rest of the movie, which itself was edited in the strangest possible fashion. I'm going to try to describe it. Much of the story is told in flashbacks and flash forwards. You get to see where the dialogue comes from, but immediately the film's editing kicks in and shows you a different picture that is either before or after the dialogue. You can't tell unless you're paying attention, and even then it's difficult, but I found it engaging. I'm probably not capable of describing how this worked, but I did my best. Major spoiler below:

Spoiler: show
There are also bits of editing that show the viewer things that don't happen at all.


The spoiler I have given is something else I found engaging if a bit frustrating, although it kept me on the edge of my seat at all times. I can see why this film never gained any financial traction nor cult status. The thing is, everyone's performance is pretty good. The Limey is also quite short and you can knock it out in 90 minutes, so it has that going for it.

Ultimately, somebody's enjoyment of the film is going to be entirely reliant on how they react to any mystery film. I found the editing enjoyable, but I'm certainly in the minority with that approach. Otherwise I'd have heard a lot more about this. I also thought the Los Angeles setting really fit this film. There's more to the setting than simply placing a movie somewhere, the director needs to get it and make people understand. That's what happened. For me, there's an early scene where Wilson is at a warehouse, and that's when I knew I had to complete this film (which I would have done anyway). It hooked me in, and even if the film had been edited more strangely, I would have kept going. I'm not sure how that's possible though. If you are not of the mind where you need to find out what happened in a mystery film, and if you can't handle a film being edited in a way you don't find to be straight forward...I strongly recommend not watching this film. It is not for you.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 18, 2017, 05:19:51 PM
(https://images.redbox.com/Images/EPC/boxartlarge/8605.jpg)

Central Intelligence (2016), directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber

Central Intelligence is the first of the Rock's movies I've seen since Doom, and when watching this one I got the feeling that I haven't missed much of anything at all. The same can be said for Kevin Hart because I don't watch his shit either. I don't want it to sound like I thought this was horrible, because it wasn't. These guys are both funny and need to pick better scripts. I have no idea what either actor saw in this film.

Central Intelligence starts off in 1996, with Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) being honored at the last rally prior to high school graduation. During Calvin's speech, Trevor (Jason Bateman) and some other bullies throw Robbie Weirdicht (The Rock) into the gymnasium straight out of the showers. What's the point of that? Well, Robbie was a very fat kid. Only Calvin and his girlfriend Maggie (Danielle Nicolet) do not find this to be uproariously funny.

After that, we fast forward twenty years, to a time that doesn't make sense at all. Calvin's marriage to Maggie is struggling because Calvin believes he hasn't fulfilled his potential. Robbie on the other hand now looks exactly like the professional wrestler we know as the Rock. Robbie wants Calvin to help him with some accounting records, which Calvin does because he thinks Robbie is a cool guy and he felt bad for him to begin with. After Calvin does that, the next morning he receives a knock on his door. Robbie is gone, but the CIA is here, and Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan) is an agent who believes Robbie is a murderer. She states that Robbie killed his partner Phil (Aaron Paul), and is stealing codes under the name of the Black Badger. Harris wants something from Calvin, and so does Robbie, so on we go.

Despite the cameos, as well as the overarching plot which is interesting (although it barely holds together), this film is filled with horribly juvenile jokes. The culmination of the part that does matter was quite confusing and I had a hard time understanding what was going on. The culmination of the part that doesn't matter was terrible. The spectre of the high school reunion looms throughout the film, and it would have been better served to make that segment to close out the story very brief. Instead it felt long, never ending, and not remotely worth my time. I am not sure how this film failed to accomplish anything it seemed like it was supposed to do. I suppose I can blame the director for that. The action scenes are a big nothing as well, so even the one thing I was hoping to see in a film I thought may be bad didn't happen at all.

While there are a lot of bad jokes in this film, there are also good ones. At least if you are able to tolerate Kevin Hart. If you're not, this definitely isn't for you. Jason Bateman's turn was a bright spot and it felt like he took this material far more seriously than it deserved. Unfortunately it seems like both main actors care far more about business than being in good movies, so even though Kevin Hart could do more than try to be Chris Tucker, that's not what happened here. There's only so much actors can do with a bad plot, and it really felt like Hart was trying. Didn't matter. Another good thing was that this flew by, at least until the ending that dragged on and on forever. Also, those two should be in more movies together. Hopefully better ones.

5.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on September 18, 2017, 05:28:59 PM
Pain and Gain is a movie with Rock you'd have a much better chance of liking I think. I enjoyed CI for what it was but i'd put it about where you did. Rock/Hart are a great duo and luckily you'll get to see them together again in "Jumanji"!!
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 18, 2017, 05:37:57 PM
The Jumanji thing makes me want to VOMIT but I guess I have to watch it don't I.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on September 18, 2017, 08:30:47 PM
Yes Mr.  Remake I would say so.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 19, 2017, 06:40:34 PM
(http://www.everythingaction.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/the-33-trailer.jpg)

The 33 (2015), directed by Patricia Riggen

I generally find films that display a disaster to be engaging in a form of disaster profiteering that I find repulsive. Considering this film was not made in a fashion that was commercially viable, I did not find this effort to be repulsive at all. It's also good that I didn't know much about the situation other than that some guys got trapped in a mine and people worked to get them out. There's a little more to it than this, even though there are aspects of this film that have been proven to be fictional. Also, obviously the cast is not Chilean. I am sure some people thought this was a problem.

The film begins with a retirement party that barely introduces you to the cast of characters. Some clearly turn out to be more valuable to the story than others, so I will gloss over their roles. We have a soon to be young father named Alex (Mario Casas), the eventual leader of the miners named Mario (Antonio Banderas), and Elvis (Jacob Vargas). The last guy's name speaks for itself, does it not? All of these men have families and we'll get into that later, but this sets the scene. Afterwards, they're shown getting on the bus. Along the way they pick up an alcoholic named Dario (Juan Pablo Raba), whose sister Maria (Juliette Binoche) becomes an important part in organizing the families of the miners. There's also a guy with a wife and mistress, and Lucho (Lou Diamond Phillips), the foreman of this crew of misfits. As everyone knows, the mine collapses and these guys get trapped. It is made clear that Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro) and Andre Sougarret (Gabriel Byrne) led the rescue operation, and the guys come up as everyone knows.

Making a two hour movie out of this kind of material is not easy, which is what leads to the film being somewhat non-fictional. Nobody is smeared except Sougarret, who may or may not have cared, but we'll never know. The elephant in the room is clearly the casting. At least you can say that Byrne and Sougarret look alike. That's the only excuse for casting him, but a lot of people are unaware that there are white guys in Chile too. Casting Binoche was strange given that her real counterpart is quite brown. All in all, that's strange.

The film is not entirely entertaining if I'm being honest. There are some scenes that I'd consider an exception of course. Most of them revolved around Dario. His withdrawals were interesting, as were insights into his mindset. The same could be said for the Bolivian, who got picked on relentlessly. My favorite scene in the whole movie is when Dario hallucinates a big meal the miners shared with each other...only for him to have nobody to comfort him, and for him to be all alone. Anyway, that was by far the best scene in the film and really the only one worth discussing. There's quite a few good subplots though, particularly the battle between the mistress and wife over who belonged to wait for their miner to leave the shaft. In the film it is presented that they knew all along their man was a two-timer. In reality they had no idea until encountering each other afterward.

This was a straight and to the bones telling of the story. If you want to know who to blame for what happened, that's not what you get here. The film will just not give you that. I did find the characters interesting though, and credit should be given to the cast for pulling off those performances. The actual miners deserved to have their story told in a manner that appropriately placed blame for the mine collapsing. You know what the problem is? The courts can't even agree to that part. The mining company was found not criminally or civilly liable. That's capitalism for you. A mine can collapse on people, the emergency area can be completely without food and first aid, and it's nobody's fault. Go figure that one. There is no way anyone could not have known a mine was going to collapse unless they didn't want to know.

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 20, 2017, 02:08:26 PM
(http://www.standbyformindcontrol.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/still-of-george-clooney-and-sydney-pollack-in-michael-clayton-2007.jpg)

Michael Clayton (2007), directed by Tony Gilroy

After watching Michael Clayton, my initial reaction was that I didn't understand how this film could have made any money. After all, it's pretty slow, and it gives off the perception of blowing its wad in the first 20 minutes. That's not what happens, but that's what it felt like. I can only imagine a lot of the box office for this film was driven by word of mouth. It's funny I'm going on like this about the film without giving any of my thoughts about it. I mean, I'm basically shitting on it. I shouldn't be doing that. It turns out that I really enjoyed this and thought it was a great watch. Should have viewed the movie far sooner, and I'm surprised nobody I know ever recommended it to me. Of course, this genre is not for everyone, and perhaps that's the reason why.

Michael Clayton (George Clooney) cleans up everyone's shit. That's the simplest way of putting it anyway. He works for a very powerful law firm, and apparently he likes to gamble. The film starts off with Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) ranting and raving, something that plays into the story much later. Anyway, there's further conversation about a settlement or something like that, and we see a woman named Karen (Tilda Swinton) in the midst of a full blown panic attack. After that, we see Clayton gambling, which leads to him being sent to somebody's house to deal with a problem. Clayton tells the man that he needs to get a criminal attorney, which makes him very upset. So Clayton leaves, and after he stops to look at some horses, his car blows up.

Don't you want to know why his car blew up? Well, it takes you the better part of 90 minutes to find that out. In the meantime you learn all about Clayton, Karen, and Edens. Edens turns out to be a manic depressive defending a company named U-North from a lawsuit. Their products killed people, and Karen was their chief counsel. Edens had a major meltdown of sorts and Clayton was brought in to fix the problem. To what extent? Who knows. What does Karen think about the company being left in the wind? Watch the movie if you want to know. You should want to know.

There's nothing particularly bad about this film, it's simply slow. Legal dramas generally are slow and you need to know the characters in order to get invested. To some extent there are too many subplots in this film, which is why I won't be giving this a mega high rating. I didn't care very much about Clayton's family, and I'm not sure it was entirely necessary for one of the characters to be in the story at all. That being said, it padded the film out to manageable two hour length, without making the main plot too bloated.

The payoff to the story is really good, as is the information given about how things got to that point. Clooney, Wilkinson, and Swinton all give really good performances. I think Wilkinson stands out the best, but as we know from my RocknRolla review, I really like him. One pet peeve I have about movies like this is when the filmmakers give away everything about the company early on. That's not the case here. You get a document and that's all you get, but the information about the corporation is revealed to you when you need it. Perhaps best of all is that everyone involved knows the corporation is guilty, so they're not exactly hiding things from anyone. That makes things much more interesting.

There are a few things I wanted to mention that don't fit into my usual format, and the one I have to mention is the film's title. I really do not like the title of the film being named after the lead character. It drives me nuts. Best of all, if you're not paying attention, you don't notice that Clayton's son plays a part in driving Edens forward on his crusade. I wasn't really expecting the film to end the way it did, and it took me quite a bit to write about all this stuff while digesting that.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 20, 2017, 06:31:21 PM
(https://www.uphe.com/sites/default/files/2015/04/Death-Race-Gallery-13.jpg)

Death Race (2008), directed by Paul W. S. Anderson

My initial reaction when I saw that I was going to wind up watching this was one of cautious joy. I mean, this movie is what it is. I don't know how many people saw Death Race 2000, but I have fond feelings of watching that when I was younger. I don't remember how old I was when I saw that, but probably nowhere near old enough. That film was totally bonkers and may be worth revisiting in the distant future. I don't remember much of anything about it except people trying to run over kids. I also remember playing Twisted Metal when I was younger. It's fair to say that was a lot better than this. I am extremely confused by the cast they put together for this. Someone in particular does not belong in this movie.

The film begins with a title screen that explains the US economy has collapsed and the prison system has been privatized. The warden of Terminal Island Penitentiary is Claire Hennessey, who profits from this system by showcasing a race to the death where inmates kill each other with their vehicle. On the outside, Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) has been laid off from his job. He goes home afterward, and his wife gets killed while he's checking on their baby. Jensen gets knocked out, and when he gets up, there's a bloody knife in his hand and he's been framed for murder. Some months later, Jensen finds himself at the prison, and is asked to assume the role of "Frankenstein." Frankenstein is a masked racer who was killed by Machine Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson), but Hennessey doesn't want anybody to know that Frankenstein died. The race has been losing money in the meantime, so Jensen needs to take the spot. Jensen meets his team of mechanics, with Coach (Ian McShane) being the leader of this ragtag outfit. Jensen also thinks a nazi named Pachenko (Max Ryan) killed his wife, so in the race he wants to deal with these problems and earn his escape.

The person who doesn't belong in this movie is clearly Joan Allen, who is way above this material and director. Seeing her go into a rage and start cursing was too weird. Everyone else was cast pretty well, although it also turned out that Jason Clarke was better than this material as his career progressed. Of course any movie with Jason Statham and Tyrese isn't going to feature good acting, that's not what this was about at all.

Unfortunately, this also isn't about the satire or exploitation aspect of what you'd expect the story to focus on. It's all about the cars and guns. Make no mistake, this is a trash film to the maximum. The noise in it is complete overload, and it's corny as shit. There's a part with McShane's character at the end that felt like something straight out of a B movie. Which, you know, that's what this is. This film is also very violent, but that's what anyone expects from a Jason Statham movie. That's also what I need. It seems like very few people like these movies, but I thought Crank and [/i]Crank 2[/i] were very entertaining. They were the right kind of overboard. So is this.

This is definitely a love it or hate it movie, because of the way it combines genres and does things that people usually hate. There are so many stereotypes in this movie that it can be completely nauseating if you start to think about it. The problem is that I liked this. I know I shouldn't, but I just don't care. For everything that's wrong with it (like Joan Allen, like Tyrese's character being gay, the gay jokes, the stereotypical Chinese character), there are so many other things right about it. The race sequences are all good. I just couldn't hate them. The more ridiculous they got, the better. I know this movie is shit and I still couldn't hate it. The role of Jensen was supposed to be given to Tom Cruise, which is a crazy thought. I like Statham a lot more though, and he fit the role of...DEATH RACER.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on September 20, 2017, 09:56:45 PM
I remember liking the race sequences in that film a lot but that was about the extent of it. Like you said, there are some bad things that almost overshadow it but the film is what it is to the point that it kind of becomes easier to overlook.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 23, 2017, 06:29:33 PM
(http://img01.ibnlive.in/ibnlive/uploads/2016/02/Slumdog-Millionaire-0052-750x500.jpg)

Slumdog Millionaire (2008), directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan

Full on head in the sand mode with this one, as I never knew this film was controversial to some people. All I knew was that it was about some kid trying to win on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. I really should have known this would be more controversial though. Any portrayal of a foreign country that carries the word 'slumdog' in its title was inevitably going to piss people off. It's best to address that straight away. Some of the child actors in this film were paid basically nothing and still lived in slums. Obviously that's not okay, but I've already made up my mind about what I've watched so it's hard for that to have an impact on my opinion of the film. Of course there is also truth to the portrayals in this film. That is part of why films like these make people so upset. It's very difficult to watch something like this where you know that's what people actually live like.

Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is a Muslim kid from the slums, who somehow got on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He's one question away from the grand prize, but the police are convinced he's cheating. An inspector (Irrfan Khan) has to know how Jamal was able to answer these questions. After all, Jamal is a nobody. He's 18, he has a menial job, and he has no family. The answers to his knowing the answers to these questions is often disturbing. There are three phases of this story. Adult, teenage, and child. We learn that Jamal's brother Salim (Madhur Mittal) is quite the psychopath. We also learn that Latika (Freida Pinto) is someone Jamal spent years to find after their initial separation at childhood. There are also worse things than this. A man named Maman (Ankur Vikal) who does horrible things to children in order to make money. We learn that Jamal's mother was killed during the Bombay riots. What were the Bombay riots? As presented in this film, they were pogroms against Muslims. There's a whole lot more to the story of course, but it's not my job to go over the entire thing.

I really enjoyed this film, and thought it was excellent the way the director was able to weave between the three settings. It's not all that hard to present the game show aspect, especially when the host (Anil Kapoor) gives such a good performance. I was quite impressed. He embodied that character. The police station is also not that difficult, because those sections were brief. Dipping into the past though, in combination with making the other settings feel worth watching...that takes some doing. Of course this film won a ton of awards and that's the reason why. There were a few parts in particular that shocked me, yet were presented in a way that didn't feel like exploitation. The first and most obvious is when Jamal wants to get a glimpse of an Indian celebrity. There wasn't anything I viewed in the last year that shocked me to this degree. I could hardly watch. The kid was covered in shit and it looked too realistic. I think everyone's also heard stories about organized begging. It's very difficult to watch in documentary or fictionalized film form. People turn these children into slaves. Of course this was one of the things in the film that was criticized, because it presents a negative image of India, although a factual one.

On the subject of presenting a negative image of India, this film certainly does do that. Presenting the image itself is not the problem. It's that the general public is stupid enough to believe that everything in a film is fully representative of a country. Is it the job of filmmakers to make sure that doesn't happen? Well, no. It's really not. Stupid people need to be held responsible for their own perceptions. That's one of the only negative things I felt about this film actually. I also felt that the film was much less interesting once the characters became adults. That isn't because the adult actors were bad or anything, they were actually great. It's because the child and teenage actors were just a lot better. I was fully invested in their story and needed to see what happened to them.

I feel like the world needs stories to be told about the slums. Maybe we've forgotten in the nine years since this. It's not like conditions are getting all that much better if we're being totally honest. I'm sure a lot of people would vehemently disagree with that, but I'd really like to see some kind of material showing it. I haven't yet. Maybe it doesn't exist. The ending of the film was great even though the credits sequence was super corny. I had to turn the movie off immediately and I don't know why it was there. It's impossible to make movies like these and make everyone in the world happy, but I enjoyed this a lot and wish I'd watched it much sooner. I will be watching more of Danny Boyle's stuff in order to see how this compares.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 25, 2017, 07:43:01 AM
(http://www.oscars.org/sites/oscars/files/styles/hero_image_default/public/blues-brothers_main-banner_photo.jpg)

The Blues Brothers (1980), directed by John Landis

I was extremely uncertain that I'd like this. The reason I was checking it out because it was expiring. Didn't know what it was about, but I knew the film had something to do with music and that it was supposed to be funny.. I find a lot of comedy movies from this era to be boring and not worth my time. I know that's something a lot of people would be unhappy to hear, but it is what it is. If Venk was here to hear that, I'm sure he'd be one of them. That's another reason I wanted to watch this. Same reason I will eventually watch Ghostbusters. The one with the women, that is. The problem with my initial perception is that I did like this. It's hard for me to explain why, but I'll try my best. In the first 15 minutes I felt like turning the whole thing off. James Brown showed up after that.

We're introduced to Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) when Jake is released from prison after a three year sentence. Elwood picks him up in a former police car, and tells Jake that he needs to go to the orphanage they were raised at because he said he would when he got out of prison. At the orphanage, they learn that $5,000 in taxes are owed or the orphanage will be closed. After that, they're sent to church, where they hear a sermon from Cleophus James (James Brown). During that sermon and the subsequent dance routine, Jake and Elwood come to believe that they're on a mission from God to reform their band and save the orphanage.

In the process of reforming the band, the Blues encounter quite the cast of characters. Carrie Fisher appears as a crazed woman that wants to kill the two brothers. Her name is never given. Ray Charles is a music store owner that supplies the band with their equipment. Aretha Franklin is an angry soul food restaurant owner. There's also neo-Nazis (how pertinent in this particular time), bumbling cops, angry country music bands, and John Candy is cast as a detective trying to hunt the brothers down.

All of these things come together so much better than I would have expected. I found the opening to this film extremely boring, like I said. I never would have expected that to turn into something this entertaining. I actually don't think this was a film about the main characters, in the sense that they weren't what made this so good. The parts where Carrie Fisher blew stuff up are what made this good. The two car chases are what made this good. Both of them were so long, so overdone, and so funny. I preferred the one at the mall to the one that closed the movie out. The film also ended at a perfect point without anything dumb being added onto to it for some cheap resolution to the story.

If I have any criticisms about the film, it's that the main characters are merely avatars of the audience. They don't really do anything to establish themselves as characters, they exist as vehicles to take the audience from one wacky event to the next. That's my take on it anyway. Some of the sequences in this film are overload too, but that's not a problem for me. The cameos were also pertinent to the time and helped to revive some careers. I have read that the studio did not want some of the musical stars in this movie. It just shows that studio executives really don't know shit. If you removed any of them and replaced them with contemporary artists of the time, this film would be a big nothing. It's 37 years later though, and it feels pertinent because of who was utilized in those positions.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Zetterberg is Go on September 25, 2017, 08:02:26 AM
Have to agree about a lot of these "classic" comedies from the late 70's-early 80's. They aren't awful or anything but I never find them nearly as funny as they're hyped to be. Different eras and whatnot but still.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on September 25, 2017, 08:32:33 AM
They're funnier than most comedies we get today. The humor tends to be more varied while the characters exist only to serve as pawns. Part of that is my growing up on them (Caddyshack and Slap Shot are holy), part of that is that most modern comedies try too hard to display an actual story arc. It also doesn't hurt that it was still the New Hollywood era, which remains the best period of mainstream cinema.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on September 25, 2017, 08:48:19 AM
It also doesn't hurt that it was still the New Hollywood era, which remains the best period of mainstream cinema.

I'm curious to hear you expand on this.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 25, 2017, 11:58:53 AM
(http://media.hollywood.com/images/l/Jackie2_620_092012.jpg)

42 (2013), directed by Brian Helgeland

42 is the story of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Personally, I have fallen out of love with baseball. I find that the game is far too slow and boring for my taste these days, and given I'm not a kid and can no longer play, it holds no value for me. That being said, I'm always very interested in the history of sports. Fictionalized or documentary versions work, but I think I prefer documentaries as far as this goes. The problem with a lot of sports biopics is that they are more focused on the message of them than presenting the characters to you. Because of the unique way of how Robinson's baseball career turned out, it isn't possible to focus on the message more than the man. It's for the best. This film should have been done many years ago.

42 exclusively focuses on Jackie Robinson's career, with Chadwick Boseman playing the man. I don't think there's that much of a need to go into the details of the story as I think almost everyone knows them. It isn't the easiest thing to do to play a figure so important to American history, but Boseman does well. Unfortunately there are only a few scenes where he can really get after it and try to make the role into his own. The film is very good at immediately reminding us of the situation at the time. Robinson is on the bus with his Negro League team, stops at a service station, and is not allowed to use the toilet. The film pulls no punches with the language used here. It made me uncomfortable. That is what it's supposed to do.

To some extent the film is still sanitized. I am sure not everything was okay with Jackie Robinson off the field. Rachel Robinson (Nicole Beharie) was practically a saint, but this film goes to incredible levels in order to present that. There isn't any drama as far as Robinson's home life goes. Robinson's relationship with Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) is presented in a similar way. What this film doesn't do is present much insight into his thoughts. While that's the case, the filmmakers were a lot better at presenting insight into the thoughts of other people on the team. There are some good scenes with Pee Wee Reese (Lucas Black) and Eddie Stanky (Jesse Luken), as well as a few early on with Leo Durocher (Christopher Meloni). I did not know that Durocher was banned from baseball for adultery.

It's difficult to write about movies like these because they're retelling a story I already knew, and therefore I don't know what I should say about them. There were two supporting characters who really stood out, though. Wendell Smith (Andre Holland) was a reporter who covered Robinson, but he knew his job was to do more than report. He wanted to make sure Robinson knew exactly what he was getting into. He wasn't really objective or anything like that with that being the case. There's also Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk), the racist manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. There's so much more than simply calling him racist. He peppered Robinson with slurs, but there were other things he did too. At Yankee Stadium he taunted fans with Nazi salutes. He apparently taunted Jewish players as well. This was a pretty good character performance to say all these things and not betray that it was an acting job. I was a little surprised at how easy this was.

While Jackie Robinson's story was great and something that is far more important to the history of our country than anyone would have expected at the time that this took place, the movie was merely good. I would have liked there to be a bit about what Robinson did for civil rights after he left the game. This quote seems to resonate with me the most.

"There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made."

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 25, 2017, 05:54:42 PM
(http://www.bam.org/media/7059552/16-ctek-1831-Oct-Dec_magnumforce-613x463.jpg)

Magnum Force (1973), directed by Ted Post

I figured I'd visited San Francisco a grand total of three times in the last month, so it was time to go back. Granted, Interview with the Vampire spent almost no time in San Franciso, but it was still there. Regardless of that, two of the films were set in the same period, that being the very late 60's and early 70's. My opinion of Zodiac compared to Dirty Harry was that Dirty Harry was better at establishing the San Francisco setting. It really was and it's impossible to dispute that. San Francisco was a very seedy area, where the misfits of society decided to trek. The portrayal of Scorpio in Dirty Harry was really good. Zodiac on the other hand was better at portraying what it was like to be a detective working a case. The Dirty Harry series does not see fit to bother with that. It was action that people wanted and action they were going to get.

As we know, Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is part of the San Francisco Police Department. What's different from the first time is that he isn't part of the homicide squad anymore. At the start of the film, we see a mobster named Carmine Ricca being shot by a traffic cop after being accquitted on a technicality. This fact is not made clear to Callahan until later in the film. Callahan has yet another partner, this one being named Early (Felton Perry). Early and Callahan see the scene even though they're in a separate squad, and Lieutenant Briggs (Hal Holbrook) doesn't care for Callahan at all. So, he wants Callahan to go away. When Callahan does go away, after getting some food at the airport, he impersonates a pilot and stops a plane hijacking. After all, Callahan's the guy who does all the dirty jobs.

Unfortunately, the scenarios presented in this film are ridiculously implausible compared to those presented in the first film. The realistic scenarios in the first film are replaced with impersonating pilots, somebody shooting up a pool party, foiling bombings, pimps killing women with drain cleaner, Callahan using a gun shooting competition to find out more about someone he suspects of murder, and a great car chase that ends with an overly complex segment on an aircraft carrier. Did I forget to mention the squad of vigilante cops that wants to kill all the criminals in San Francisco? I see that I did forget. Yeah, there's also that. They're also rookies.

Just like in the first film, only two actors really get the opportunity to do something with their time. In this case it's Eastwood and Holbrook, both of whom are obviously legends of the screen. The film works best when they're on together, regardless of how overly complicated and hairbrained the plot becomes. I was very surprised that the film turned out this way. Although Scorpio was a ridiculous murderer in the first series offering, the film seemed a hell of a lot more grounded. Not only that, but the messaging calls into question Harry's tactics. In this case that's not the true. In fact he is completely absolved of everything wrong that he thinks, because the other guys decide to take it a step further and do something about it.

There's two twists in this, one of them you can see coming from a mile away, and the other not quite so much. I don't want to go ahead and spoil that part of the film, but if you watch this you'll definitely see it coming. It is impossible not to. I thought there were a few things in this that didn't need to be there, and the obvious one is the pimp pouring drano down the woman's throat. I do not know why that needed to be shown, and worst of all it inspired the Hi-Fi murders. If you want to read about that, look it up. It's pretty bad. The murderers specifically believed that their form of killing would work as well as it did in the film. Obviously, that's not good. Granted, it's not really the fault of the filmmakers, but some probably see it that way.

I don't know if it's a problem with this film or not, but once a film decides to succumb to overdoing everything, I want them to go more and more over the top. The best thing about Magnum Force is that's exactly what happened. It shows real commitment not to do something in half-assed fashion. It's especially easy to half-ass an action film, but there were countless instances of very overdone scenes that didn't seem to fit the tenor of the first film. It sucks that John Milius merely did that to make Callahan look less bad, but it made for some good scenes. I don't want to go overboard myself in praising this film, because as I said there was a hell of a lot wrong with it. Magnum Force also failed to capture the charm of the first film as there was no moral quandary as it related to anything that happened here at all. In hindsight I think I would take back my decision to take a point away from Dirty Harry. After all, those things are what made it a more complex film. This one failed to reach those heights. Eventually I'll watch the other three in the series.

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 27, 2017, 04:59:24 AM
(https://pmcdeadline2.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/straight-outta-compton-2.jpg)

Straight Outta Compton (2015), directed by F. Gary Gray

I put off watching this for a while, too long in fact. I knew that I would like this, so there's really no excuse. Part of why I didn't watch it is until I had to was because of the exclusion of what happened to Dee Barnes. That really bothers me, but eventually it's time to watch the movie anyway. The thing is, this movie was good enough to almost make me not care. There were some extremely accurate portrayals here to the point where I didn't see the actors as playing a part, but being the part. It was kinda crazy.

I'm not going to go over the story as usual, because I see no reason to do that when a biopic is as detailed as this one. I'll only bring up the introductions to each character. The simple facts are this. The movie starts with Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell) in a trap house, making a drug deal. The cops come with a battering ram to tear the house apart, and Eazy escapes by climbing out of a window and over some roofs. Right at that moment, I knew this was going to be legit. Not like everyone else said this was legit, right? Anyway, the casting for this was perfect. Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins) is at home listening to music. His mom is mad at his work situation and slaps him after he talks back. Dre moves out. Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) is riding home on the school bus when some other kids are flashing Crip signs to some Bloods driving down the street. The Bloods board the bus and put a gun to the kid's head.

Oh, but you thought those were the only NWA members that mattered? Think again. This movie doesn't go far enough as it should to dispel some of those notions held by white America, but it does a decent job. DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) is one of Dre's friends who he works at a dance club with. The owner doesn't want them playing any rap shit. They do anyway. MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) is merely introduced as Eazy's friend. MC Ren was pretty upset at his portrayal in the film, in fact. It seemed that he had good reason to be. His part was heavily marginalized. Last and definitely not least, there's also Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti). The portrayal of Heller is as good as you'd expect from an actor like Giamatti, but that's not the one that sticks with me the most. It's Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E. I mean, Mitchell didn't look that much like him. Doesn't really matter though. Perhaps I'm feeling this way because the way the film ended was such that he was able to put his stamp on the film separate from other characters.

The film was such a big deal for a host of reasons, obviously. It was a story that needed to be told even though some things were left out. Even some of the minor things feel extremely important. The first thing I'm thinking about are the cameos. Tupac and Snoop Dogg are hardly in the film at all, but their appearances just felt too legit. Suge Knight (R. Marcos Taylor) was probably the best one. He was in the film for a few scenes and EMBODIED Suge Knight. The scene where Suge beats somebody up over parking in his parking spot made me feel a little intimidated. Hard to get that feeling from a screen, but there it was. That's what a good acting job can do.

The recurring theme throughout this film is one of police brutality, which surprised me a little bit from such a big studio movie. There's quite a few things in Straight Outta Compton you'd think that Universal would want sanitized. The parties are the first that comes to mind. Nothing was pulled out of those. Considering the scenes with Jerry Heller did not have his permission, that's something else that comes to mind. Heller said that this movie played a big part in his health deteriorating and eventual death, and I guess I see how that could be the case. The portrayal of him was dead ass accurate. Heller believed until his death that he didn't steal anything from NWA, but if you believe that you're pretty dumb.

If there's any problem with this film, and there really are very few of them, it's that some seemingly important parts where removed. The women integral to NWA's success are completely out of the film. Arabian Prince is gone from the film. MC Ren's character in the film is not rounded in any way whatsoever. There is not a single scene dedicated to developing his character. Michel'le and Dee Barnes are not in this at all. These are obviously problems, but the film was entertaining enough that I looked straight past them. That's the honest truth of the matter. The characterizations of Cube, Eazy, and Dre were all so good, but the director is what mattered here. There's a lot of films like these out there, but very few of them that get picked up and pushed by a big studio. There's even less that people think are good enough to be nominated for Oscars. F. Gary Gray did a good enough job that Suge Knight threatened him. That tells me everything I need to know about how good this movie was.

I know I did a shitty job writing about Straight Outta Compton, but that seems to happen whenever I enjoyed a film as much as this one. There was a lot of fan service here, and rarely is there ever a project that comes along where the viewer can get something like that. It was catered to anything a fan could have ever wanted to see. It's not like I've seen everything from 2015, but I have a hard time believing that Jason Mitchell wasn't nominated for an Oscar. I mean, come on with that.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 27, 2017, 01:44:10 PM
(http://adobeairstream.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/ghostwriter-vineyard.jpg)

The Ghost Writer (2010), directed by Roman Polanski

I've discussed Roman Polanski one time in my life. It was either on this forum or in the chat room, but I remember saying that I would NEVER watch anything he did. Clearly I lied. I'm going back on a lot of things I said that I would never do lately. I feel the need to open my mind lately, I've closed some things off to myself that I clearly should not have done. Watching a Roman Polanski film doesn't exactly fit into that, but I see no problem with discarding faux principles in this case. Obviously Polanski did something wrong and I'd rather not get into the specifics of that. The concept of the film when I read the description sounded interesting to me. Plus, James Bond playing a fictionalized version of Tony Blair? Sign me straight up.

Former Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) wants his memoirs published, but as we all know, those guys don't write that stuff themselves. A ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) who will be hereafter referred to as the Ghost is hired to complete the book, which someone had nearly completed before committing suicide. Of course, with Lang being a former Prime Minister, he carries quite the entourage. His personal assistant Amelia (Kim Cattrall) seems to be a little more than that. It appears that Lang's wife Ruth (Olivia Williams) also knows this. When the Ghost shows up at Martha's Vineyard, he encounters some interesting problems. For one, he can't take the book's manuscript outside of Lang's house. Another is that he finds he only has two weeks to complete the book. Most importantly, Lang comes under investigation for war crimes.

Seeing as this isn't an action film, there are a few words that come to mind when describing it. The first word is long. I mean, really, this feels like a long movie. It's 128 minutes, but because of the subject matter it feels longer. The suspense is built well and there aren't any special effects in this entire film. I mean, if there are, I genuinely can't tell. That's a good thing. This film is based on a book, but there's a lot of great books that turn out to be shitty movies. This is not one of them, and the reason why is that this was extremely well directed. I'm not great at describing how, but the way the movie moved from one scene to the next felt seamless. Of course, a seamless film with no flash isn't for everyone. The setting is also quite strange, knowing that this definitely wasn't Martha's Vineyard as Polanski isn't allowed to travel there. I saw that this was filmed in the North Sea. Genuinely couldn't tell the difference.

Even though Lang is a thinly veiled version of Tony Blair, it never really feels like that. Brosnan was able to make Lang feel like his own man. The same can be said for the Ghost, who feels like a distinctly unique character. While we don't know all that much about his background, it's easily possible to get some kind of measurement of what he's about. The same can be said for Ruth, as well as another character who...I don't want to talk about. If you haven't seen this before, hopefully that is mysterious enough for you. Because I have never seen anyone talk about this movie on this forum, I don't want to say too much. One thing I did find pertinent though is that in the years since this film was made, there has been a lot of talk in the UK that Tony Blair should be prosecuted for war crimes in Iraq. By a lot, I mean to the point of the high court getting involved.

In any case, this is a good mystery, and if you like the genre you should watch it. I have deliberately not mentioned what the mystery even is.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 28, 2017, 04:33:47 AM
(https://ewedit.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/crimson-peak-2.jpg)

Crimson Peak (2015), directed by Guillermo del Toro

For whatever reason, I don't remember watching anything that del Toro has done. Sure, it's possible that I've watched Hellboy, or at least parts of it. I really don't remember though. It doesn't matter to me in any case. I did know enough about del Toro that I had some reasonable expectations of what to expect from this film. I was expecting gothic architecture. Definitely got that! Considering the material, I was expecting a ghost story. To some extent that's what I got, but not at all near to my expectations. This was also supposed to be a horror movie. Or at least that's what I remember the trailers presenting this as. Now for sure that was not true. I have no problem with romance films, but this wasn't one of my favorites.

Surprisingly, the initial sequence of the movie is set in Buffalo. A young girl named Edith (Mia Wasikowska) sees a ghost after her mother dies, and it tells her to "beware of Crimson Peak." Whatever that means. Many years later, Edith is still in Buffalo, with her father Carter (Jim Beaver) being quite a wealthy man. An entrepreneur named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) has come to the United States to seek investment for some kind of mining invention. His sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) is in tow, and after meeting Edith, Thomas is quite smitten. It appears that a doctor named Alan (Charlie Hunnam) is smitten as well, so there's a matter of two suitors. Or at least you'd think. Anyway, Edith marries one of them, and winds up at the proverbial Crimson Peak. Crimson Peak is a house filled with ghosts, and the walls bleed.

This movie is completely not what it initially seems to be. The opening scene presents something that someone would naturally want to know more about, but the problem is that the film does not deliver on this. I am still wondering exactly what that was all about. As I have said already, romance films are just as enjoyable as anything else. Slumdog Millionaire was a romance film and I gave that a super high rating, right? The problem with Crimson Peak is that, basically, they lied. I've never been a big fan of false advertisement, and the premise of what the film was going to bring to the table is a lot better than what it actually was. There are quite a few reasons for that. For one, Wasikowska is a lot better actor than both suitors (I am trying to be vague). Hiddleston is LOKI, and it's very difficult for me to see him as anything else. Maybe I can see him in this part someday, but that day is certainly not this day. Maybe I need to be pointed in the right direction. Everyone says bad stuff about Hunnam, I don't need to pile on there. I just have a hard time seeing why a character like Edith would fall for either of these guys. She's too smart for that.

There's still a lot of good here, of course. As I said, Wasikowska is a great actor. It's no surprise she'd be chosen to carry a film like this one. Jessica Chastain is great, although it's difficult to pull off her character. The close of the movie is pretty solid, and I was into seeing what happened at the end despite the problems I thought this had. When I think a movie has a lot of problems, it's rare for me to have that feeling. I also enjoyed the opening sequence and could find little fault with it. I've seen a lot of Jim Beaver over the years and that guy is a national treasure. This film is also ridiculously over-elaborate, and I think that's great. Of course it renders a film like this one unprofitable, but hey, I don't really care about that part. That's Universal's problem. The art direction here is amazing, and it actually seems like $55 million wouldn't be enough to put together a setting with the effects used here. This some kind of visual spectacular, an overload to the senses. The minute detail is excellent. I have rarely seen a movie so visually appealing, besides Roger Deakins films which are nice to look at for entirely different reasons than this one.

Unfortunately, style took massive precedence over substance in Crimson Peak. The story was not enough to maintain suspense, as it wasn't exactly surprising the way the film would end. I also didn't much care for the surprise, which I am completely unable to say anything about without spoiling. A TV show does that part much better though. Still, this wasn't a bad movie, just not a great one and not particularly good. Great to look at though.

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on September 28, 2017, 07:28:50 AM
The best role, by far that I've seen from Hunnam, is the film Green Street Hooligans (which is probably one you'd enjoy to some extent) because he stole that entire film forwards, backwards, and sideways despite being opposite Elijah Wood, Claire Forlani, and Leo Gregory who all put in solid performances too.

Screw it, I'll nominate Green Street Hooligans as another film you should check out if you can.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Hawk 34 on September 28, 2017, 07:48:26 AM
Hunnam was fantastic in The Lost City of Z which is a film 209 would probably greatly enjoy.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on September 28, 2017, 08:26:36 AM
Green street hooligans is melodramatic trash, don't watch it unless you need more bad movies.

Guillermo Del Toro gave a free talk here recently, maybe I should have gone.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 28, 2017, 11:54:53 AM
(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f7/d0/18/f7d01894659e31077d85f5a0e8203185.png)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), directed by Andrew Dominik

I won't refer to the title of this film again because it's so long, but obviously this film presents an unusual scenario. Very rarely do I recall any movie giving away its whole plot away in its title. By rarely, I pretty much mean never. I don't understand why an event that's faded from everyone's memory needed to be spoiled like this. I do see now that Brad Pitt had it written into his contract that the title couldn't be changed. So, there you go. The thing is, I shouldn't be talking about the title this much. Especially not when the movie was so good. If you can't handle a movie being slow, though...stay away from this one. Talking about all this stuff has kept me from going all in on my Western love, which is probably for the best.

The film starts off in 1881, with Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) wanting to talk to both of the James brothers before a train robbery in Missouri. Frank (Sam Shepard) tells Bob to piss off. Jesse (Brad Pitt) seems to enjoy his conversation with Bob, though. Unfortunately the robbery isn't any good, and the gang retreats to safety. Frank tells Robert's brother Charley (Sam Rockwell) that there won't be anymore robberies. Charley, Wood Hite (Jeremy Renner), and Dick Liddil (Paul Schneider) all decide to stick together though. Jesse sends them away, while Bob helps Jesse move houses. Once they're done, Bob is sent away and rejoins with his brother and the others. Unfortunately, I am going to stop there and you can watch the nearly three hour movie if you want to know more specifics about the plot. Obviously anyone who reads this knows the end, but there's no reasons to talk about the way there.

The characters are what make this film. Even though they're all outlaws, they're all distinctly different. Let's go one by one. Dick is a philanderer, which plays a bigger part in the film than you'd think. If you weren't paying attention very early, you'd miss the part where he tells Bob that he plans to capture Jesse James for a bounty. Now you won't miss it. Wood is Jesse's cousin, and he has quite the temper to put it nicely. Charley on the other hand is a big moron. He's a simple man. Last but not least, there's Bob. I need to get this straight out there. The homosexual undertones. I mean, there seems to be no other way to put it. Robert Ford is obsessed with Jesse James and the film subtly presents the picture that it was a sexual obsession. I see in reading this after formulating that thought, that Roger Ebert thought the same thing. Well, it's pretty fucking obvious and you have to be an idiot not to see it.

There are some things here that are fictionalized. Somebody gets shot and killed and the reason given in the film is not the one that actually happened. I'm not talking about anything Jesse James does when referencing that, which narrows it down if you've watched the movie. It is also not stated in the film that Ford was arrested and tried for murder, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to hang, then was pardoned by the governor. I don't really care though, and I don't believe that it matters.

There's a few things that come to mind as being wrong with this film. The first that sticks in my mind is that there's an incident between two of the characters off camera that would have been much better to be seen. I mean, when somebody says that there was a shooting incident...I wish that I'd been able to watch it. Another is that the film probably should have ended prior to Ford's demise. Or at least less should have been shown prior to his death. I thought it ended quite flatly. This wasn't a problem for me, but I thought the film would have been more beloved by audiences had it opened with a scene further away from the demise of Jesse James.

Despite those small complaints, this is a great film. There were a lot of great ones in 2007, it seems like. The film is nicely indulgent in ensuring that we understand the characters, a luxury that most filmmakers do not have. The train robbery that gets things really moving was an excellent piece of cinema. The performances are great as well, with Brad Pitt doing things that immediately brought Fight Club to mind. Hard not to have such recollections with some of these scenes. As I've said a ton of times, I don't really watch anything, so other than Gone Baby Gone I haven't seen a film with Casey Affleck having this much screen time. He was pretty good, though. This was not an easy role to pull off, and his performance specifically deserves acknowledgment, even though I'm just a guy posting about this on an internet forum. There's also a cameo from James Carville that I really liked. Yeah, that James Carville. In a Western.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on September 29, 2017, 04:47:47 AM
Great job on these. Enjoying reading them.

Suggestions:

Inside Llewen Davis
Snowpiercer
Good Time (just came out, though)
Frank
Blue Ruin
The Founder
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on September 29, 2017, 04:58:18 AM
Snowpiercer is fun
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brodypedia on September 29, 2017, 05:53:54 PM
How come we don't throw these up on CXF? Content is content and obviously an effort is being made in these write ups.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 29, 2017, 06:33:20 PM
I dunno, that's a good question. I should probably start, but at the rate I do them it would be almost one every day. If that wouldn't be a problem somebody needs to tell me.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on September 29, 2017, 10:01:01 PM
i've wanted to put several at a time in an article as mini reviews but i was letting 909 build up an archive and didn't know if he wanted to (i'd talked to him since then). Plus inertia.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on September 30, 2017, 05:23:18 AM
Another issue is that this forum is so low on activity I figure posting them here is for the best. If I inspire one person to watch the same movie after I do then it's worth it to me.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 02, 2017, 06:01:06 PM
(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/films/2017/03/27/fastfuriousmain-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqqVzuuqpFlyLIwiB6NTmJwfSVWeZ_vEN7c6bHu2jJnT8.gif)

The Fast and the Furious (2001), directed by Rob Cohen

Did anyone ever think this series would amount to shit? The answer to that is obviously no. I certainly didn't. The thing is, this movie inspired a generation of teenagers to want to put dumb shit in their cars. To be fair, I've only seen this and the next movie. For some reason I thought I watched Tokyo Drift, but once I turned this on I realized that I hadn't. There were a lot of things in this that I didn't remember, so it was worthwhile to give this another once over. Why was this the first movie I've rewatched in two years? I don't have any answer to that whatsoever. It doesn't make any sense considering there are much better movies in existence. I guess the simple fact is that I wanted to.

Everyone knows the story with this, right? I'm not telling you anything new here. There is a gang of people who surround tractor-trailers with their Honda Civics so that they can steal them. This is made very clear. The next day, a man named Brian (Paul Walker) is getting food. He is an undercover officer who is trying to infiltrate Dom's (Vin Diesel) gang to find out which of the many street racers in Los Angeles are doing this. Dom has a sister named Mia (Jordana Brewster), and there are some other characters who matter a little bit, but really they're not worth mentioning at all. I'm just gonna disrespect them all like that. Anyway, after a street race, Dom and Brian wind up being confronted by a man named Johnny Tran (Rick Yune), who blows up Brian's car. Brian owes Dom a car because he lost a race, so now Brian becomes part of the group.

There are many scenes in this film where it's called into question whom Brian is more loyal to, the crew or his bosses with the police. There is no answer given on that until the end, and as we all know Brian gives Dom his car. Sorry for spoiling. Anyway, with the benefit of 16 years hindsight, this film is extremely dated. The car scenes are really a big nothing, but they use special effects that any teenager would enjoy. I remember loving this movie. That's not really the case now and there's so many reasons for that. Only three of the characters actually matter, and some of the others can hardly act at all. An Oscar winning movie this is clearly not.

I am being really harsh, which is probably not entirely correct, but I can't help it in this case. There are still good things in this movie, of course. The plot in the first half of the film is more solid than you'd expect when knowing the sum of the parts. The lack of acting talent also helps to make the main characters more well rounded and natural. That's as backhanded of a compliment as I could make, but it's true. The best thing about this movie is that people wanted something like this on film and they got to watch it. The cultural impact of the early films in this series is far bigger than anyone would like to acknowledge.

It is also very difficult for me to talk about films I've rewatched, especially when they aren't very good. Part of the ease in writing the reviews in this thread is that when formulating my thoughts on all of the movies here I had no idea what was going to happen. In this case, with some small exceptions, I remembered everything. I'll probably watch the second one before the end of this month, and that was so bad I'll certainly have much more to say.

5.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on October 02, 2017, 10:34:08 PM
That series went from being slack-jawed idiocy to nigh brilliance. It's insane.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Hawk 34 on October 02, 2017, 11:27:19 PM
It's everything that James Bond pretends to be but could never actually accomplish largely because the guy is a British wuss and doesn't live life a quarter mile at a time.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 03, 2017, 05:59:30 PM
(https://brobible.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/dazed-and-confused.jpg)

Dazed and Confused (2001), directed by Richard Linklater

Memories. That's the first thing that came to mind when watching this film. Everyone has their own high school memories. Some of them are really bad. Some of them are really good. Some people use their good memories to block out the bad shit. This film doesn't have any plot, which is for the best. How can you accurately capture your high school years and wrap them up with a Hollywood style plot? I really can't. Was there any day in your life that you could pack into a plot? Maybe, but that would be boring. Without a plot or main character, instead the filmmaker is able to present a full picture of the teenage experience. I have been told by older people that in days before teenagers had the ability to stay at home doing other shit instead of socializing, that the picture presented here is quite accurate.

My city was too big for everyone to gather like in this town, but our hub was In-n-Out on Friday's. We'd gather there, split off, make plans, as the situation called for it. Most of the time things were good. I have memories I won't forget. Walking through somebody's back woods with a samurai sword hacking away at bushes after making homemade edibles...that was that shit. Pool parties with girls taking their tops off before jumping in the pool. The cops getting called because neighbors complained, and everyone trying to run or hide. Those are memories that can't be forgotten. Sometimes bad things happened. Sometimes people took a van and drove it off a cliff on accident. Or crashed and died when getting off a freeway. That's not the shit I remember though.

What this film is, is one that deliberately presents the nostalgia you remember in your head rather than what actually happened. Those are only the best years of your life because you want them to be. In actuality, not a whole lot happened to almost everyone who goes to high school. Some people start a family, some drop out and have really bad shit happen to them. I'm not talking about that though, I'm talking about everyone in the middle. That's mostly everyone. What we do is we drift through those years with no idea where our lives are heading.

This film is FILLED with accurate caricatures similar to those you'd encounter in high school. I cannot believe the casting in this movie. I was nothing like Mitch (Wiley Wiggins), but I was the sophomore that wound up with the older kids via happenstance of being on the football team. My senior friend had a car, and my parents were stoners when they were in high school, so effectively I had their endorsement to be turned loose. I never got any shit over anything that happened or where I went. What this film does is present better pictures of some people. For example, Woody (Matty M) is a 1000% times better character than our older friend Jim. Jim was only one year older, but still. For whatever reason he hung around us, and by proxy we would be introduced to people older than him that he knew, etc. 

Naturally, considering this happened to me, the thing I found most interesting in this film was the integration of younger kids into older crowds. I'm sure this is something that a lot of people find weird, and it's difficult for me to comment on this to great extent because my own memories put a fog over any unbiased commentary on the matter. O'Bannion (Ben Affleck) is actually very similar to somebody I knew who tried to pull that bullshit on me over a pack of Skittles. I hit him with a two piece and that was the end of it, just like in this film when the younger boys pour a bucket of paint on him. The guy eventually disappeared from our friend group and I think he joined the military, which speaks for itself. It could not be more fitting.

This is a classic, and I really don't know how else to describe it. That's why I haven't discussed the movie very much, actually. Could be the only time where I do something like this. There were some great performances here, particularly that of Rory Cochrane as Slater, the stoner. If you didn't know somebody like this, I feel bad for you. Maybe you were that guy, maybe you were any of these people in this movie, I don't know. Maybe you weren't. Of course, because of that, this film is not for everyone. The characters and sequences presented here can either be ludicrous or accurate based on your own personal experiences. Of course, I don't think anyone here grew up in the 70's, so take that out of the equation. The absolute best thing about the movie is that you are given the gamut of perspectives from the cast of characters. No stone is unturned, and at least in the context of the 70's, nobody left out. It's not like you could stay home on a Friday then, after all.

I could probably write for a lot longer about this, but it's pretty late and I need to get some sleep.

9.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Spaceman Spiff 🚀 on October 04, 2017, 12:18:03 AM
Maybe do American Graffiti as sort of a companion piece to D&C?
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 04, 2017, 03:59:20 AM
Maybe do American Graffiti as sort of a companion piece to D&C?

It's on the list now along with everything else mentioned in the last page, and it expires next month so I'll watch it by then.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on October 04, 2017, 06:10:18 AM
https://youtu.be/1LbWBXMUOPk

But you have to watch the first one in order to appreciate this one. They are very different in terms of tone, but the second is quintessential early 90s action cheese and worth watching.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on October 04, 2017, 06:25:00 AM
He's being serious 909. The second one should be up there with all the 90's cheesy action classics like Con Air and Face/Off.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on October 04, 2017, 07:46:41 AM
i was reminded of a great movie while reading a book you should see, "The Guns of Navarone". It's old yes but I consider it one of the best WW2 movies and I've seen a LOT of WW2 movies....a lot.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 04, 2017, 08:10:23 AM
i was reminded of a great movie while reading a book you should see, "The Guns of Navarone". It's old yes but I consider it one of the best WW2 movies and I've seen a LOT of WW2 movies....a lot.

According to my IMDB list I have seen 3 WW2 movies and one of them I need to rewatch as I don't remember it.

lol.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on October 04, 2017, 08:13:48 AM
oh wow you haven't seen "Saving Private Ryan".
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 04, 2017, 08:18:23 AM
That was the one I need to rewatch.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 04, 2017, 12:21:13 PM
(https://media1.popsugar-assets.com/files/thumbor/Qvf5XPXBrVj7h2iQ6_8hyECMD6s/fit-in/550x550/filters:format_auto-!!-:strip_icc-!!-/upl0/0/88/05_2008/cloves-to-the-field.preview_0/i/Did-I-Call-What-Cloverfield-Sequel-Already-Works.jpg)

Cloverfield (2008), directed by Matt Reeves

I have been told for nine years that I needed to watch this movie, but in typical fashion I never bothered to do it. I wish I could explain why I never bothered to do so with so many of these films, but I just can't. It's inexplicable and there's really no excuse for ignoring what other people are telling me I should do. It makes me kind of an asshole now that I really think about it. Anyway, I wasn't expecting some aspects of this. While people do recommend things to me, they are kind enough to not spoil anything. I did not expect a found footage film. I am not automatically against watching something that features a different cinematic technique, but I am very cautious. Nothing I've reviewed in this thread would apply to this degree, though. So, as soon as I noticed that, I was interested in seeing what the big deal about this movie was.

Immediately it is shown that this video had been acquired by the Department of Defense. Such a thing piqued my interest immediately. I did not pay attention to all of the words on screen, which turned out to be for the best. The first segment is filmed by Rob (Michael Stahl-David), who is sleeping with Beth (Odette Yustman). He wants to take her to Coney Island. After that, the tape cuts to the preparation of a party. It turns out that they were taping over Rob and Beth's video. Jason (Mike Vogel) is Rob's brother, and his girlfriend Lily (Jessica Lucas) wants him to tape video of a surprise party for Rob, who got promoted to a workplace in Japan. Jason just doesn't want to do this job, he wants to enjoy the part. So, the job gets passed on to Hud (TJ Miller), one of Rob's best friends. Hud has his own intentions in filming this video, as it appears he has a crush on Marlena (Lizzy Caplan). Doesn't everyone have a crush on Lizzy Caplan? This aspect makes Hud an endearing narrator. Many minutes into the party, an earthquake hits, and shortly after that we are introduced to...THE MONSTER.

The events of the party are meaningful to get the audience to care about the characters. In fact this is one of the best examples of a monster movie that jumps from this to the next sequences. There is no exposition regarding the monster and it's for the best. I don't want to hear it. I want everyone involved to not know what this shit is about. Doing that leads to the suspense actually meaning something as the viewer has no concept of what the monster is going to do. The story is fortunately concise, and I appreciated not knowing where the monster came from. I expect it will be detailed in God Particle, the next entry in this series. Maybe it won't be. I'm sure people are really anxious to know ten years later. I am not, because it hasn't been ten years for me.

Due to that, and due to knowing there are other films planned, my view on the matter is skewed compared to those who watched Cloverfield upon its release. My view on a lot of things is different. I am not as interested in where the monster came from as I am knowing how they used the special effects on a $25 million budget. I am also interested in how they pulled off doing this via hand-held camera. It's great, actually. I'm sure a lot of people had a major problem with it or couldn't handle it. That was not a problem for me. I found the shaky camera more interesting than if this film had been shot traditionally. Doing so allowed them to present a story that felt like the viewer was there. Good stuff. The design of the creatures, as well as the way they were shown, was quite a great decision.

Oddly, this film is unbelievably short. I counted this out at being 73 minutes. I'm glad this wasn't padded out, but that's quite short. The monster portion ran for 53 minutes, so that was like watching an episode of television. I'm sure a lot of people were mad about what happened in that. The obvious thing that comes to mind as being triggering for some would be the destruction of Manhattan. People were still all up in their feelings seven years after 9/11, and they still are to some extent, so such a reaction isn't surprising on any level. There are some things in this film that were silly, namely Hud's obsession with documenting the event. It's also strange to watch a movie with no music, but that's not a complaint. The only thing I found offensively dumb was the idea that someone could run after having rebar pulled out of their chest. Considering the amount of things in this film, that speaks pretty well for the production and what it brought to the table.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 05, 2017, 06:11:04 PM
(http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02750/The_Sting_2750386k.jpg)

The Sting (1973), directed by George Roy Hill

I had intended to watch a bad movie after the last two, but my internet messed up last night and I couldn't watch anything. So instead, on Thursday night I watched The Sting. I didn't know what to make of this before I turned it on other than that I knew this was considered a classic by some and had extremely positive reviews. After watching two great movies, I prefer to be let down rather than continue the run. Instead I think I will have to let myself down tomorrow. This definitely didn't do it, or come anywhere near doing so in fact. I expected that, though.

It's 1936 in Illinois, and the film starts with a guy making some kind of illegal delivery to Chicago. He leaves the shop, and outside there's a black man on the ground after being stabbed. The robber has a suitcase thrown at him and loses the man's wallet, so the money is subsequently given back to the man. The man says he was also making an illegal delivery, and the initial guy offers to do it himself. He does that, steals the money and winds up in a cab, but it turns out the black man and his partner made the switch and have made off with all the money. Sounds complicated, right? This movie is massively complicated and you can't miss a single scene or word in it.

It turns out that our thieves are named Luther (Robert Earl Jones) and Hooker (Robert Redford), and they've stolen a lot of money from a man named Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). Lonnegan is a crook, and he's a violent one. The idea that someone would steal from him grinds his gears. So, Lonnegan decides to put it a hit out on Luther and Hooker. Hooker is confronted by a cop named Snyder (Charles Durning), and Snyder wants his cut, but Hooker's already lost almost all of his money gambling. Snyder also tells Hooker that Lonnegan knows what happened. So, Hooker being the grifter and all, he pays Snyder in counterfeit bills. Hooker then goes to Luther's house to tell him what they've done, and Luther has been pushed off a balcony. Obviously, Hooker needs to leave town, and he's in search of somebody Luther told him about. Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) is someone who knows how to do the big con, and with what's been done to Luther, it's time to pull the big con on Mr. Lonnegan.

I said this movie was complicated, but I meant that like a compliment. There's no downtime at all, so I had to power straight through this without pausing or doing anything else. As more and more of the con is revealed to the viewer, the more entertaining this movie gets. This is an excellent case of building up to something better and better. I thought the card game was going to be the peak, but in fact that was nowhere near it. The hits kept on coming. Considering how young we are relative to how old this movie is, I would be surprised if most people here have seen this. It's impossible for me to reveal more of the plot because it's so complicated, but I have no desire to spoil this for anyone else either. So this will be fairly brief. If you're interested in a good con man story, there may not be a better one than this.

There are a lot of good side characters, but the standout is Kid Twist (Harold Gould), the guy who appeared to be in charge of setting a large portion of this up. I would say this was a case of better story than performances. I mean, a story like this is not often seen. Not to take anything away from the actors as they were all good, but that's not what I'll remember from this. It's the directing in combination with the way this story was pieced together. It is hard to maintain intrigue the way it happened here. It is also borderline impossible to keep this plot on the rails. That's what happened, though. I probably should have watched this the first time it was recommended to me. 44 years later, this hasn't diminished in quality at all, and holds up very well.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on October 05, 2017, 10:44:35 PM
Love that movie and all newman/Redford movies
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kahran Ramsus on October 06, 2017, 01:28:05 PM
Yes, I love The Sting too.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 06, 2017, 06:11:51 PM
(http://cdn5.thr.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/scale_crop_768_433/2016/07/warcraft.jpg)

Warcraft (2016), directed by Duncan Jones

I didn't realize that I was going to go this crazy and type this much over the course of 40 minutes. Wow. That was never my intention. This more than anything else is my Jingus-like opus.

When I said that I was trying to watch something to level the playing field a little bit, this was the movie I was talking about. I think this is an impossible film to make for a host of reasons, the most obvious one being that fanboys would get upset regardless of how the film turned out. I used to play World of Warcraft fairly seriously. When I look back on those days, I think it was a gigantic waste of my time. I can't believe how many hours I've wasted playing a stupid game like this one. Naturally I do have my own biases in favor of this movie, because I know the story and all that stuff. Or at least, I know what the story is supposed to be. With this being a film it is inevitable that there would be tons of changes to the story, so I decided I didn't care if there were. There were a ton of other problems with this film, though.

I will do my best in order to describe the events in a way that anyone who knows nothing about this game series should be able to understand them. Gul'dan (Daniel Wu) is an orc warlock from a world that is said to be dying. He wields magic that is referred to as fel magic, which seems to be pretty effective at killing anyone. Gul'dan wants to open a portal to Azeroth, where humans live. He has enslaved some blue people in order to do so, and their deaths are required in order for the orcs to travel. A half-orc named Garona (Paula Patton) has been tasked with translating languages for the duration of this adventuring. Durotan (Toby Kebbell) is a chieftain of the Frostwolves, and he is determined to bring his newborn and wife with him. He does, and his newborn nearly dies during birth once the orcs reach Azeroth. Gul'dan saves the newborn with fel magic, and then we see the title screen.

Sorry for spoiling the first five minutes or so, but this is not exactly how I would have introduced a new film series to the world. Upon the orcs arrival, naturally humans have a problem with this as the orcs are killing people, capturing them, and taking their land. A mage named Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer) is investigating some of the victims the orcs have killed, and is busted doing so by Anduin (Travis Fimmel), a military commander in charge of keeping Stormwind Kingdom safe. There is also a king, his name is Llane (Dominic Cooper), and he does kingly things. Last and certainly not least, there's Medivh (Ben Foster), a mysterious guardian of the world who seems to be quite the sorcerer.

In reading these last two paragraphs, the problem with this film is plainly obvious to me. There are too many characters who do too many things that need to be explained in short order. The entry barrier for this series is massively high. If it was necessary to make this movie, I think I would have chopped a few of the characters out. At the very least, that's one of the things they could have done. I wouldn't have made this film at all, though. Anyone can see that there is far too much exposition required for a genre that needs to be more simple than this. Peter Jackson expertly executed his attempts at doing so. Why didn't that happen here? Well, for one, people don't have the patience to sit through a three hour Warcraft movie. I sure as hell wouldn't. Secondly, people are inherently against the subject material because of its reputation. Despite the problems, the movie is watchable.

I am not capable of describing how it was watchable without writing about more of the problems with it, so unless you want to read a very long paragraph or two of negatives you can skip straight past this part. Due to the incredible amount of special effects in this film, there are a lot of set pieces that really get the shit end of the stick. All of the tangible props and settings look extremely cheap, there's no other way to phrase it. It is often given as a compliment by people when a movie is able to blend the fake with reality. In this case there is no compliment to be given. I found it completely absurd. I could genuinely not tell if the entire movie was shot with a green screen. There may not have been anything tangible in the background of any scene for all I know. There are a ton of things about what I'm describing that are very bad, because there were necessities for practical settings that I'm not sure even existed. Enough of the scenes in this movie took place outside that I should have felt some sort of reality. I didn't, though. Unfortunately, there are also a few special effects scenes that get the shaft and could not possibly look worse. The background in Ironforge at the beginning is an obvious candidate.

There are also good actors in this movie, all of whom are completely diminished through an annoying lack of focus on their characters. There are no main characters in this film, which is another way of saying that almost everyone in this film is a lead character. Other than Fimmel, who is really good in Vikings, none of the other human characters are terribly engaging. Ben Foster's character wasn't really human, if you're wondering. He's good in basically anything, but he's given no time to work with and his portrayal is backwards. The film did not address his or Gul'dan's motivations. The comparison between this and Hell or High Water, both released in the same year, is quite mindblowing. It's also apparent that due to the massive special effects budget, this cast (just like tangible backgrounds) was put together on the cheap. Warcraft was filmed in 2014, and nobody here had the clout to demand a big paycheck. This is a typical studio franchise attempt that failed.

It's not all bad, though. I mean, I've said a lot, but there were things about this film that I found endearing. For starters, the right characters were given just slightly more time than the others. Durotan is the obvious one. The motion capture and effects for the orcs is the real standout here. To make those characters look lifelike is very difficult, but they were the most intereresting part of the movie by some distance. It's not all that surprising that's the case when orcs and humans are given equal time in a movie. After all, humans are what's on my screen and what I have to look at all the time. The battle scenes are also always interesting, even though all of the visual problems I listed remained in the back of my mind throughout. Upon review, this is such a small amount of positives that I probably shouldn't have even posted this section.

Ultimately, I am convinced that this film was impossible to make. The budget required to do these scenes properly would make this an unbelievably expensive film. Due to the nature of the world established in the games, in order to have a realistic looking movie, the locations required would be completely off the charts. It doesn't make fiscal sense. I also don't understand how Duncan Jones went from making good movies like Moon and Source Code to something like this. Warcraft reeks of massive studio interference, as this could have been a much better story presented in a different way. For example, I think chopping most of the human scenes out would have made for a more intriguing and focused film. I don't make those decisions, though. Telling a story with a ridiculous premise is very hard to do, so while I didn't like this, I couldn't outright hate it. That's probably because of prior attachment to the subject material. By all objective standards this was a bad movie, but I do appreciate the effort of taking on a project like this regardless of the results. The problem is, the characters are all wrong and none of them are fun. I also think there is a possibility that I have turned into a grouch and detest modern, enormous cast and gaudy special effects Hollywood blockbusters. With the current state of Hollywood being what it is, it is not even worth making a CGI-fest unless they put $250 million into the movie. The standard for special effects is ridiculously high now. 

If they make another one of these I'll watch it, but I really don't want them to. The costume for Paula Patton's character was so bad I wanted to save those comments for last. I find it incredible to believe that in 2017 when they used special effects to create a host of other characters, that they would do such a bad job creating that one. Her character looked like something out of a 1960's Star Trek episode, and the piece used for her mouth made it almost impossible to understand anything she said. Fix the voice up in post-production or something, don't do that. That was brutal.

4/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on October 07, 2017, 09:19:08 AM
Man that's a fucking review. We can give it it's own article!

I thought the orcs were kinda cool but i agree with pretty much everything said. I think I gave it a slightly better rating than you did because I'm a fantasy fanboy so I'll go incredibly easy.

I've never watched read or played anything WOW related so I was totally fresh eyed on this and had to rely on my high-fantasy instincts. Luckily WOW is just a mishmash of every fantasy trope in existence so it wasn't that hard to follow for me but it was still a total mess.

They should have kept the focus on the orc army and not tried to introduce all the other elements. A movie where you spend the whole time on the "bad guys" would have been much more interesting.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 09, 2017, 04:24:08 AM
(https://static1.squarespace.com/static/509155d3e4b0979eac7754e1/t/51c485b6e4b079ce7c2087ad/1371833784186/The+Bank+Job.jpg)

The Bank Job (2008), directed by Roger Donaldson

Jason Statham in a serious movie that I don't have to watch a whole series of films to catch? I'm there. This is or was a rarity, and it shouldn't surprise anyone that I enjoy bank robbery films of any kind. I mean, I've reviewed a fair few of them here and seen some others that I will eventually revisit, but that'll all happen in due time. This particular one was also interesting because it has been alleged that this story is true. Certainly some of it is as a few of those characters portrayed certainly exist. There is no way to be sure how much of it is real, though. So I'll throw that completely to the side when writing about this.

This film is supposed to be focused on the Baker Street Robbery, which was a very big deal in 1971. Some people rented a store next door to the bank, and they tunneled into a vault to steal some goods from the vault. The story presented here is as such. A man named Michael X (Peter de Jersey) has pictures of Princess Margaret in compromising positions. Michael X is a black militant who the British authorities are trying to get rid of and have put in prison. Martine (Saffron Burrows) is a woman who has been busted smuggling drugs. In the aftermath of that, she has made a deal with an agent named Tim (Richard Lintern), who wants her to steal these photographs from a safety deposit box. Martine knows some criminals, because of course she does. She approaches Terry (Jason Statham), who has some struggles with money and could use the proceeds of this. Terry puts together a team, all of whom have an equal part in the story, but not the robbery. Some of them are not criminals. Dave (Daniel Mays) is a porn actor who made films for Lew Vogel (David Suchet), a man who keeps things in the bank. Eddie (Michael Jibson) is the lookout, Bambas (Alki David) is the tunneling expert, Kevin (Stephen Campbell Moore) is attached to the aforementioned Martine in some way, and Guy (James Faulkner) is a front man for the store who has a posh accent.

That's quite the mouthful to explain, but this film is quite complicated and I only really got into half of it. See, Tim has hedged his bets and has made sure that nobody except Martine is aware of his involvement. It is not made clear that Martine knows exactly what's in the deposit box she has been tasked to retrieve. On top of that, Tim has used an agent to infiltrate Michael X's group to see if he has copies of the pictures, or worse. Then there's Vogel, who keeps thing in the bank that he can't get out. There's also a madam, who does the same thing as leverage in case she ever gets busted. See, that's how these things really work. If you're doing shit with powerful people, it's in your best interest to do things this way. Such a film requires a gigantic cast, which presents issues that impact on how good a film can actually be.

I really did like this, and I could talk about it for a long time, but the movie is limited by the fact it is so plot driven. It is not possible for any of the actors to really tear into their scenes, and given the cast it is clear to see why that would be the case. I am quite confused that a director with very little quality in their resume would be able to juggle this plot as well as it was done. I'm not saying it was perfect, that definitely isn't the case. The film has some issues with pace and cliched characters. I mean, if you've watched this...it's easy to point out which ones feel like cliches. There is nothing to differentiate them from the general cliche.

With all that being said, it is surprising that I would like a movie with these limitations, but the plot is so good. I don't know which parts of this are true or not and don't really care, but the story made for a very entertaining movie. The specifics of how the crew broke into the vault were great to watch, and I actually felt tense over it, which is hard to get me to do. Not only that, but the aftermath engendered the same feelings. That's difficult for any movie to pull off. While to movie initially gives off the feeling that the movie revolves around Michael X, that's not what it is, but his involvement in the movie is also pretty good. Ultimately, I just liked this movie regardless of whatever flaws it had. More people should watch it.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kahran Ramsus on October 09, 2017, 06:56:28 AM
Saw The Bank Job in theaters back in 2008, and really enjoyed.

With Warcraft, I think the mistake was going too big in scale.  If they were going to make a film, they should have focused on a smaller story within the larger Warcraft universe.  Something like the fall of Arthas might have worked as it is pretty straightforward and features a reasonable number of characters.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 09, 2017, 06:13:59 PM
(http://meetinthelobby.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/WoodyHarrelson_Rampart.jpg)

Rampart (2011), directed by Oren Moverman

Did you ever want to see Woody Harrelson play a corrupt cop? If so, this is for you. Rampart was a little bit controversial upon release, and I have some small explanations regarding that. There was an incident on Reddit where Harrelson was supposed to answer questions from members of the forum. He or whomever answered the questions did not understand the concept of the format, and everything asked to him was either not answered or answered in a way that promoted the film. Obviously, Reddit being Reddit, people were quite upset about this incident and brigaded the IMDB page or anywhere else there were ratings for this film and destroyed them. There was also the matter of some posters being circulated that showed Woody's character committing police brutality. Nobody went to go see the film either, but given the subject matter that's an inevitability. This and many other films put a company out of business because of that lack of financial viability.

The Rampart scandal was a big deal in Los Angeles, but I don't know if the rest of the country cared or was made aware of what happened. The Rampart Division covered a lot of gang infested areas in Los Angeles, and this movie is set in the late 90's when this scandal happened. It was found that the gang division was incredibly corrupt. There were many instances of this, and they were spread across the spectrum of ways in which you could imagine that cops can be corrupt. There is an article below that you can read if you'd like to know more. It is very long.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2001/05/21/bad-cops

Back to the movie. So, this is a fictionalized version of one cop's problems as they would relate to the Rampart Division. Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) is a total asshole. When you think pig, this guy would be exactly the one. While training a new officer, he fucks some guy up by putting him through a window. He just doesn't give a shit about anything related to constitutional rights. Oddly, he has daughters who two women who are sisters, played by Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. They are similar characters to the point of not needing to differentiate them. His daughter Helen (Brie Larson) doesn't seem to have the best handle on this situation, seeing as her sister is also...her cousin. It's pretty weird. Anyway, Brown gets in a car accident and roughs a suspect up, which is a problem seeing as the LAPD is already destroyed with scandals. The assistant DA (Steve Buscemi) is out to have his badge, and with good reason obviously. Brown has a mentor of sorts in Hart (Ned Beatty), a man who seems to know exactly what Brown should do. His captain Joan (Sigourney Weaver) is basically held captive with regards to having his badge, and on top of all this he's having an affair with a lawyer named Linda (Robin Wright). I left the worst part out.

Maybe it's wrong to say I left the worst part out, because the worst part is Dave Brown. Dave Brown is an irredeemable asshole. This is a strange movie in that sense. You shouldn't really feel sorry for him at all, and Harrelson's performance is great in ensuring that's the case. We all know Woody can play an asshole, he's done that so many times before. He's perfect for this role. That's the problem with this movie, actually. While I would call this a good film, it is absolutely without joy. It is actually a little difficult to watch because of that. There's really not anything that could make me feel sorry for him, but it's not like there's anything wrong with structuring a film that way. It's just a weird thing to watch sometimes.

It's funny that I'd watch this so shortly after viewing The Bank Job, because I couldn't possibly think of two more different films. The previous film is completely driven by its plot, the characters are not entirely meaningful, except for a scene with Jason Statham and Keeley Hawes, the woman who plays his wife. In this case the film is exclusively about the characters. Some of the interpersonal relationships are more important than others. Obviously, there's Dave Brown's relationship with his two former wives. How does that work exactly? You should watch it if you want to know. His relationship with his two daughters, specifically Helen, is what takes precedence here. Helen is the older daughter, who seems to understand what it is that her father has gotten himself into.

Some of the lines in this film are cliched, with the usual cop "I'm not a racist, I hate everyone" spiel, but for whatever reason I didn't seem to mind that in this case. There are some scenes in this movie that are totally bizarre and impossible to describe. There's one when Brown is on drugs that made no sense to me whatsoever. I couldn't understand it, and it grossed me out a little, but it was also a good piece of filmmaking. I would have liked to see a few of the characters involved a little more than they were, but this is a solid film with a great performance. I am glad that this wasn't a docudrama as I could have really done without that. Instead we got to see why police officers would be driven to do the things that some corrupt officers do. At least that's what I saw. It appears that many people did not. Certainly everyone can see that this is a character case of somebody spiraling into madness, with no way out of it.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Thread Killer on October 10, 2017, 05:35:19 AM
Wasn't the TV series "The Shield' basically based on the Rampart scandal?  That's why I never bothered with this movie.  I already watched The Shield, and it ruled. I didn't see the need to re-visit the story but with Woody replacing Michael Chiklis.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 10, 2017, 05:35:56 AM
I think so, but I have no idea as I haven't watched it. I need to get Hulu.

Also, this movie is only tangentially about the scandal, and is more focused on his relationships with other people that have been affected by his misdeeds.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Thread Killer on October 10, 2017, 05:45:11 AM
Dude, you should definitely watch The Shield.

I really enjoy your movie reviews, by the way.  Keep up the good work.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Zetterberg is Go on October 10, 2017, 06:53:41 AM
The Shield was originally going to be called Rampart I believe.

And yes, watch the Shield. Gets overlooked often in the golden era of TV rankings but still the best and most satisfying finale I've seen.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 12, 2017, 04:06:41 AM
I spoiled quite a bit, so if you care, don't read.

(http://spicypulp.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/independence-day-resurgence-epic-trailer-spicypulp.jpg)

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), directed by Roland Emmerich

Once you've seen one Emmerich movie, it feels like you've seen them all, and that's certainly the case at it applies to this film. Independence Day was the only film of his that I've liked, so I was hoping that a sequel would bring something interesting to the table. It turns out there's no reason to hope for anything when it comes to some filmmakers. I understand that some people were clamoring for a sequel to this movie, but I don't really know why. The material is very dated in comparison to sci-fi that has been released in the last ten years. Considering the hands this film would be in, I see no reason to be excited about it whatsoever. I also find it incredible that it took five people to write this screenplay. One of them decided to write themselves into a scene where they shoot up a bunch of aliens. Sounds great!

It's nearly impossible to describe this movie, because there are too many characters and too many twists that lead to action pieces taking ages to conclude. The world here has alien technology as a result of the victory twenty years prior to the events of this film. They have used the technology to advance society and fend off any other potential invasion. The problem is that the aliens are COMING BACK and BIGGER THAN EVER. Nothing I would have written down here could be remotely surprising. I would like to move on.

When I say that there are too many characters, I genuinely can't believe how many of them there were. Nobody really stands out bar two of them, those of Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum. Those weren't the only holdovers from the first film, but pretty damn close. This film is a major disaster as a result of that. There are lots of new characters introduced, but none of the actors portraying them had any charisma whatsoever. I would prefer to talk about two of them. Liam Hemsworth and Jessie Usher play hotshot fighter pilots, and they're both terrible in every single way. It takes a lot for me to outright say somebody sucks. These two sucked. Their job was to try to carry an aspect of this film the way Will Smith did, and they completely failed. It was an impossible ask of them anyway. One problem with Hollywood at the moment is that their system has been engineered to prevent younger actors from being as big a star as Will Smith. Of course, these two don't have the talent Will Smith had. I'm sure there are a lot of other aspiring actors who aren't given the avenue to enter this field unconventionally. It definitely shows. As in nearly all things, star power is abnormal and doesn't make sense, and it isn't something that can be manufactured.

There were a lot of other new characters, but very few of them are worth mentioning. Sela Ward does a good turn as a Hillary Clinton ripoff, but that's about it. The script is horrendous, and there are good actors like Brent Spiner and Judd Hirsch given lines that were almost impossible to believe. The thing about this film that bothered me the absolute most was the blatant sequel baiting. I couldn't believe it. I think the vast majority of the last 40 minutes were sequel bait. There was so much talk about a certain plot device and what would happen after this was done. I think part of the problem is that I just don't like movies with big casts, even though this was even bigger than any cast I can recall.

That's not to say everything here was bad, even though most of the things that were good didn't make sense. The alien queen turning into Godzilla is one of those things. It was a good idea executed well, regardless of the things surrounding it that weren't. It was also interesting the way the alien ship tore apart Asia and wound up in London three seconds later. Good special effects in that scene for sure, but the logic of that is inexplicable. Most of the special effects were very good, specifically those on the moon.

The thing is, the logic in every Emmerich movie is inexplicable, and the viewer is tasked with enjoying his movies regardless of that. To some extent they are enjoyable, but that's because of good casting. In this case, his project wasn't very enjoyable at all. There are a lot of things in this movie that were really stupid and I didn't have time to mention them all, so I apologize for that. The world has largely moved on from brainless popcorn fare and is looking for different things in sci-fi movies. Interstellar is a good example of that and so is Inception. Personally, I am very glad this is the case.

4.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on October 12, 2017, 05:31:51 AM
Brent spinner was so fucking hilarious just hamming it up in that piece of shit
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 12, 2017, 01:43:45 PM
(http://pop-verse.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/twelve-monkeys-bruce_nuthouse.jpg)

Twelve Monkeys (1995), directed by Terry Gilliam

For whatever reason, I have not watched anything Gilliam has done, bar about 20 minutes of Time Bandits. That 20 minutes was enough to know exactly what I was getting into when I turned on this movie. This was quite bizarre, and it's impossible to talk about the movie without spoiling it to some extent, so after this paragraph you shouldn't read if you don't want the whole thing blown for you. The cinematography in this movie was really disorienting at first, but I mean that in a good way. As with all other strange cinematography, it's something I inevitably get used to. A lot of people feel differently about films like that, which I understand, but that's not me. Weird is good. This won't be the only Gilliam film I watch this month either.

In 1996 there was a virus released that nearly completely wiped out the human population. A group called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys was alleged to be responsible. James Cole (Bruce Willis) is a violent prisoner who is tasked with going back in time. Why go back in time? The scientists who seem to run humanity in 2035 need him to locate the virus in order for them to send a scientist to study it. Unfortunately, Cole winds up in 1990 instead of the intended 1996, and seeing as he's unprepared to deal with the world of either of those times, he winds up in a mental institution. In that mental institution, he encounters some interesting people. The most important appears to be Jeffrey (Brad Pitt), a full blown lunatic who claims to have a father (Christopher Plummer) who can do all kinds of things to control the world. There's also a doctor named Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) who is nice to him, although disbelieving of his story. Willis and Stowe both put in good, scrambled performances.

I was suckered into thinking that the entire film was going to be set in the mental institution, but it wasn't. It wasn't anything that I could possibly have conceived. There are a few consistencies throughout the film that were surprisingly upheld. The talk that they couldn't change the past was true. They couldn't change it. The dream Cole had throughout the movie could not be changed either. The overacting presented in the film is spectacular. There's a ton of it, and that's the point of the whole thing, reality has been warped.  Is the dream altered each time he has the dream? I honestly don't know, but I think that it was. Maybe I'm wrong. There's constant references to time travel and monkeys though, that's for certain. Why? You'd have to ask the filmmaker.

This movie definitely isn't for everyone, and the overacting is probably one of the reasons why. Brad Pitt's role in doing so is something I'll probably always remember. His goofy eye in combination with his mannerisms is just a step above what Pitt usually does in roles like these. Unfortunately, this is a very hard film to describe and talk about because of how strange it was. The constant time travel was good at keeping me off balance, but I'm sure some people think it was stupid. Fuck some people, how about that? The film is not easy to understand, but people need to get over that shit.

The set design is something that I have mixed feelings about. I enjoyed the portions set in the future, but I feel like there was something more to the setting that we needed to know. The production design reminded me of Star Trek in some ways. Special effects being what they were in the 90's renders a lot of these movies borderline unwatchable. The imaginations weren't in tune with the capabilities of the time. In this case, it wasn't so bad as the sets were practical although very bulky. I am shocked that this film remained on budget and was completed in three months. That seems like it was an impossible task, so it's an achievement to have pulled it off.

With the exception of Pitt's scenes, unfortunately this is largely a joyless film. I think this is my only criticism, and obviously the ending of Twelve Monkeys is extremely dark. I was not expecting this to end with everything happening the same as it did in the first place. Unfortunately, I think this is a terrible review if I'm being honest. Sometimes when a film does a good mindfucking on me, it's impossible to unpack. This is one of those movies. After watching a shitty sci-fi movie last night, it was good that I flipped the script and watched a good one.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 12, 2017, 05:37:25 PM
(http://waytooindie.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/bernie-movie.jpg)

Bernie (2011), directed by Richard Linklater

Unbeknownst to myself until the film's conclusion, Bernie is based on a true story. This doesn't have much of an impact on my feelings regarding the film, and it shouldn't on anyone else's. Nobody should know of the events portrayed here, so this is my favorite kind of true story. To say that this film was an accurate portrayal of Southern life would be a ridiculous understatement. The format of this movie is bizarre to great extent. I cannot recall many other stories that are told in this style. Throughout the movie, the film is interspersed with documentary style interludes wherein townspeople would tell the camera about the gossip they'd heard. Some of the townspeople were actors, others were not. This gives the picture an authentic feeling that other films wish that they had.

Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is a mortician who has come to Carthage, Texas. By the standards of California, it is fair to say that Bernie would be considered a weird motherfucker. In the South, that makes him a nice guy. Especially in 1996. Us coastal people are the weird motherfuckers. Bernie has assimilated seamlessly into the Carthage community, because after all, he's doing funerals for everyone that people know. Along comes Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), who Bernie meets when her husband dies. Bernie knows the town very well, so naturally he knows that Marjorie has a LOT of money. Despite how nice of a man Bernie seems to be, he foists himself on Marjorie and eventually they become friends. Or companions? Or sexual partners? There's no way to know for sure, but the portrayal in this film indicated that they were not. Bernie seems to be a closeted homosexual, which is referred to throughout the movie in strange ways. At some point in the telling of this story, inserted into the town chatter is one curious inclusion, that of District Attorney Danny Buck (Matthew McConaughey). Want to know why? NAH.

This movie is a very dark comedy, and it takes talent to make something like this as amusing as it was. I laughed a lot, because what I was seeing on my screen was too ridiculous to believe. That it actually happened is some crazy shit for me to comprehend. This movie could not possibly be more different than Dazed and Confused, which is something I like to see from a filmmaker. Telling a variation of stories is something many are incapable of doing. This could have been told another way, but it would be boring. There are no cheap laughs here, anything that people laugh at has to be earned. It is never explicitly stated that this is a comedy movie and there are no jokes told in the whole thing. The balancing act here is something.

The performances of all three listed cast members were great, but the clear standout is Jack Black. In modeling himself after Paul Bearer, he pulled something off which I didn't think he could do. I've never seen him as anything other than Jack Black, regardless of which character he played. That wasn't the case here, I saw his character. I still don't think I like him, but maybe I'm wrong about this guy. Over time I'll surely find out. I was also shocked that Shirley MacLaine was in this movie, and I didn't know what to make of it at first. Any concern was clearly unfounded.

Spoiler: show

If there are any criticisms about the movie, it is that obviously the film whitewashes what Bernie did. He shot a woman in the back four times. I felt a little bit guilty laughing at some of the stuff I laughed at once I found out that this actually happened. He shot a defenseless old woman, and I do not like the idea that this film made people think that the case needed to be revisited. The things that came up in resentencing seemed to be irrelevant to the case. If you want to read about it, go right ahead. The fact is that Bernie made a confession that he killed Marjorie and nothing should change that.


Other than the things above, I have no problems with the film. The subject material is such that it's going to be impossible for me to really love a movie like this one, because after all, it's a comedy about what I posted in the spoiler tags. I also think that the film could have used one of the other characters a bit more than it did. Instead, at the film's culmination, they were a big nothing. Don't know who should have been cast in that spot, though. Didn't happen anyway. This was a good watch, very funny, and even though I'm not giving this a mega score, I recommend it.

7.5
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 13, 2017, 05:40:25 PM
(https://media.baselineresearch.com/images/231003/231003_full.jpg)

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), directed by John Singleton

2 Fast 2 Furious is unquestionably a terrible movie. So, why would I watch it again? That's a really good question that I can't answer. I figure that if I'm going to review a series that seems to mean something (sorry Harry Potter), I'm going to start from the beginning and won't skip anything. This could not possibly be more different than the movies I've watched the rest of this week. I cannot think of a worse big budget movie that I could have chosen to watch. Nothing here makes sense at all, even though there are a few good scenes. You know what's really bad? I know this movie is terrible and I still like it.

Brian (Paul Walker) has relocated to Miami, and he gets busted after a street race. He has warrants, so the FBI and US Customs are going to put him to use doing what he does best. His job is to take down Carter Verone (Cole Hauser), a drug dealer from Argentina who has no character development whatsoever. He may take the cake as most meaningless villain I have seen in a movie. Brian finds that the agent the government wants him to partner up with doesn't know anything about cars, so he needs to get his buddy from Barstow, Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson). Roman has problems with Brian, but that isn't too much of a problem in the end. What is a problem is that Brian wants an undercover agent named Monica (Eva Mendes), who Verone has decided to make his girlfriend. Plus, Roman decides to shoot at following aggents.

This movie could not possibly be more goofy, and the plot really sucks. There are countless problems with this movie, which couldn't scream early 00's more if it tried to. This material is super dated. Everything is out of fashion, including the cars, which are for the most part totally ridiculous. We all know that though, or we should. Everyone should have watched this by now. This is material that could not have been good regardless of who was hired to give their oversight. Singleton could not have done anything to make this better, but he did things to make it worse. The actors talking to themselves while street racing is something that should not have happened. It was totally ridiculous, but this was one of the things I liked about the movie. It's so dumb that it's hard to believe somebody filmed it.

That's not even close to the worst of the bad things. As mentioned, Carter Verone is a nothing villain. The part is not well acted and he doesn't have good material anyway. If the best a villain can bring to the table is the guy using a rat, a bucket, and a blowtorch to torture somebody...that's just weak. His henchmen aren't any good either. They're caricatures of bumbling henchmen. The worst ones are two guys that Brian and Roman win cars from. I'm glad they didn't get more speaking time.

The thing is, anything with James Remar in it winds up being so bad it's good. There are minimal exceptions to this. If a production needs a good actor to be in their shit, JAMES FUCKIN REMAR is their guy. I feel a little bad for him. I don't know who decided to make this movie without Vin Diesel, but it's insane. Tyrese did a reasonable job replacing him even though he showed no acting ability, but it was a big miss for the production. There was no saving this anyway.

I'm pretty sure everyone can figure out which scenes were good, so there's no reason to continue blathering on. The plot still doesn't make sense, so besides those scenes and Tyrese and Paul Walker acting goofy, this wasn't good. I still liked it. I used to hate this movie, too. Maybe it's good that I watched it again, but probably not. It'll probably be a while before I continue with the series. I could go get them all from the library and pound through them one after the other, but I'd probably get bored and that isn't very fun. For the next few weeks I probably won't be watching many movies this bad. I think this was the last one on my list for this month.

4/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on October 14, 2017, 02:05:35 AM
My pockets ain't empty, cuz!
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on October 14, 2017, 02:24:08 AM
It also doesn't hurt that it was still the New Hollywood era, which remains the best period of mainstream cinema.

I'm curious to hear you expand on this.

still waiting bro
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on October 14, 2017, 02:53:53 AM
It also doesn't hurt that it was still the New Hollywood era, which remains the best period of mainstream cinema.

I'm curious to hear you expand on this.

still waiting bro
Do I really need to, though? Box offices were down so studios took a risk and gave directors greater authority over their films, allowing them to take greater risks with material and style, resulting in a wave of classics like The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Star Wars, Alien, and Blazing Saddles (among MANY others). It's the Attitude Era of Hollywood, bro.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 15, 2017, 06:14:45 PM
(http://cdn-static.denofgeek.com/sites/denofgeek/files/styles/main_wide/public/images/11361.jpg)

I Am Legend (2007), directed by Francis Lawrence

I have no idea why I'm telling you guys this, but 2007 was a really shitty year for me. That's around the time I stopped paying attention to movie releases, and I withdrew from the world for the most part for around two years. The whole thing is not something I look back on fondly in any way. I have long snapped the fuck out of this and do not have any of these problems anymore. So, it's fitting that I tell this story after watching a movie where society no longer exists. This is a strange film that will be difficult for me to sum up my feelings upon. Unfortunately, the special effects were dated by the time I finally decided to give this a view.

In 2009, there's supposed to be a cure for cancer. The problem is that it did not work, and there is a virus that only 1% of the human population is immune to. After three years, the story follows Robert Neville (Will Smith), a man who lives in New York City and is fixated upon finding a cure. Neville has a dog, and that dog is his only company. During the day, Neville hunts for meat, experiments on rats, and forages for supplies. A boring life to be sure. At night, he hunkers down in his house, which has been fortified to extreme extents. He also watches recorded television and DVD's in order to supplement any entertainment needs. The infected people remaining are really no longer people at all. They don't talk, but they can communicate, it appears. They are also very violent and looking for food. Neville believes that he is the only living person remaining, and his attempt to develop a cure appears to be to forcibly trap infected individuals and cure them himself. I don't know what his plan really is.

This film is entirely different than the novel which it is based upon, which has been a problem for some, but not for me. I do not care. The novel is a bit dated, and it's about vampires. The problem for some people is that the ending is not remotely faithful to the source material. I can see why that is a problem, given that the third act is mostly a pile of crap. For as good as the first and second are, and they really were, I am not sure how it could all go down this way. The ending is hackneyed trash that I cannot even remotely accept. A filmmaker's natural instinct to wrap up a film like this with a positive mention is not the best thing in the world. I would rather encounter something thought provoking. I would also like to know how a cure for cancer could turn into this in the first place.

There are plenty of positives in I Am Legend, though. The biggest one is Neville's relationship with his dog. That made for very enjoyable viewing in the first two acts. I am a dog person, and we've had a few close calls over the years. I thought that, at least in terms of what a person in this situation would do with their dog, that it was very accurate. The relationship was also necessary in order to prevent dead air. Will Smith's performance was good too. Due to the aforementioned dead air, there are a few moments early in the film that border on frightening. These things were compelling enough to carry the film to a point, and I was perfectly ready to give out a high rating until the events of the last thirty minutes.

The last thirty minutes are the spectre that hangs over this film, I cannot get over it. The things that happen are really stupid. The religious fundamentalism is really stupid and unnecessary. It just is. I was also a bit struck at how Neville's entire life didn't fall apart after his wife and child died, but the dog going made him depressed enough to start attempting to get himself killed. I just, I don't know. The effects for the infected weren't that good either, but this was also ten years ago. Now it would be far different. Still, as a movie about a man and his dog, this is alright.

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on October 15, 2017, 11:05:10 PM
The switch from having the creatures be maddened versions of Neville's neighbors and that bullshit ending ruin Smith's performance, which is one of his best. The other changes weren't faithful (the dog in the novella is a stray that Neville tries to bond with, and there's a great part where Neville theorizes that religious symbols only affect those of their followers to build off vampire lore), but the movie kept much of the spirit intact except for those two things.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 16, 2017, 10:56:47 AM
(https://static.rogerebert.com/uploads/review/primary_image/reviews/capote-2005/hero_EB20051020REVIEWS50928006AR.jpg)

Capote (2005), directed by Bennett Miller

Capote is a film that I admittedly didn't have any interest in prior to watching it, which presented a problem when it took a very long time for this movie to hook me in any way. The subject matter is admittedly not what I expected. I was expecting this to be a murder mystery of some sort. That was not the case. There are not many movies that were further way from my expectations than this one. So, it's an interesting movie to see in that respect. In another respect, it's strange to see a movie about writing a book where the main character is so thoroughly dislikable. This makes for an interesting contrast.

Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is an extremely famous novelist, and the year is 1959. He has heard about a crime in Kansas, where four people were murdered at their farm. Nobody knows why. Capote intends to write an article about the effects of the murder, and invites Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) along with him to help out. Through Capote's own fame and the help of Harper Lee, he's able to access facts of the case nobody else is privy to. Once the murder suspects are arrested, Capote becomes obsessed with interviewing one of them, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.). Capote's relationship with Smith is strange, and it sets the tone for the rest of the film.

I don't think anyone cares if I spoil or not, but this film follows the events of Capote writing In Cold Blood. Capote's job is effectively to humanize the murderers in some way, or else nobody's going to buy the book. People need to know about them, after all. The thing is, in the process of humanizing them, the film paints a picture of Capote that is less flattering than that of the murderers. I haven't read the book, so I don't know if that's what actually happens in the book. I would rather watch this movie than read the whole thing about it. My unsubstantiated belief is that Capote sacrificed his morals to write a book, then he betrayed people after making promises to them.

This film isn't that good, and I hate to say that about any film where somebody puts on as good a performance as a lead character as Philip Seymour Hoffman had here. It's just not, though. Like I said, it took quite some time for the film to maintain my interest. It was probably around the time when Alvin (Chris Cooper) showed Capote the photographs related to the crime. That was some distance in, and in addition to that, I just couldn't be hooked by the subject matter. Maybe I'm just a rube, but I don't think that's it. Spotlight hooked me easily. So did The Ghost Writer. The latter was specifically about writing a book. I suppose they're entirely different, though. This wasn't a thriller in any way, Capote was just spiraling in hopes that this would end.

I can't lie, I was also hoping this would end. For at least the last thirty minutes. This is one of the first times I've outright shit on a movie that critics seemed to enjoy, but I did not. At all. Still, I can recognize the performance and rate the movie accordingly. I couldn't believe that Philip Seymour Hoffman could adapt himself like that. Knew he was a great actor, and everyone should know that, but this was a massive contrast to his other performances.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 18, 2017, 10:27:15 AM
(https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2013/02/11/11/Kinect-Minority-Report-UI-2.jpg)

Minority Report (2002), directed by Steven Spielberg

It has been a long time since I brought up a film being ambitious. This film was incredibly such. I watched around twenty minutes of this a few years ago, and I found it interesting, but if I remember right, I had to go to bed. The concepts here are very interesting, but I found myself more interested in the style of the movie than the concepts. Of course, with this being a Spielberg movie, there is one particular recurring theme that rears its head in a strange way. I'm talking about broken families. Of course, you should know that. Spielberg is obsessed with maintaining this thematic concept. In this case, it isn't as corny as in others, so I found it much more acceptable.

The plot here is so ridiculously ambitious it is impossible to describe properly, but I will try my best. It's the future, and in Washington DC they have a police unit that uses people who can see the future in order to arrest people for murder prior to the act is committed. The prisoners are then placed in a virtual reality where they can't hurt anyone. The federal government is considering using this program, which was conceived by Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow). His top cop is John Anderton (Tom Cruise), a man whose son was kidnapped prior to the invent of this program. Because the federal government wants to use this program, they've brought in Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell), an agent who needs to give the whole thing a good look over. How could this go federal with such short time frames between the vision and action? Who knows. How would only three people be able to see the future of the entire nation? I haven't figured that out either. This system is also intended to be infallible.

That and one more thing are the only real flaws I had with this picture, which given such a complicated plot speaks well for it. It also didn't make sense that Anderton was able to use his eyes to access facilities when he was a fugitive. I am surprised this thing in particular was never addressed. Those are not the most minor things, which will be reflected in my overall score, but that's not so bad. These things are overwritten by the story being as interesting as it was. Due to how long this film was, I am surprised that it made any money at all. I know, it's Spielberg and all that, but again, the plot is complicated and difficult for some people to understand. Some of the special effects haven't aged that well, but others were predictive of our current time period.

There are lots of good conversations in Minority Report, the best being one between Witwer and Anderton regarding the practicality of this system. Is it right to arrest people before they do something wrong? The obvious answer is that it is not. This manifests itself throughout the film. There are plenty of good scenes here as well, which is no surprise given the format. A few others fall flat, particularly a scene where Anderton jumps from car to car. On the other hand, Anderton and Agatha dodging officers at the mall was really well executed. My favorite is the scene where Anderton has his eyes replaced, coupled with the fallout of officers deciding to search the building. The cinematography for that scene was incredible and felt like some kind of trick, but it was actually a set. Had to be expensive.

This was surprisingly good science-fiction, because throughout the whole film I was left thinking about the concepts placed on screen. Still thinking about them even though I watched this last night. I really need to watch Blade Runner, though. I have seen stills from Blade Runner that present its vision of the future as much darker than this one. The shots here were bleached to present a lightened image, which was bizarre. I believe this is the first time I have encountered playing with the image in this fashion since starting these reviews.

There were a few things I hadn't yet mentioned, so it appears that I need to continue. The opening scene establishing what the movie is actually about is one of Spielberg's best. There was the potential for overload in presenting these concepts, but the scene was balanced in a way that did not do so. It is also interesting that filmmakers are consistently correct in assuming people will accept the erosion of their rights in exchange for reductions in crime. I mean, we've done it so much in our history, but I am surprised that films predict these things before they happen to that extent. The pre-cognitives were basically enslaved. Do you think our society would accept enslaving people in order to eliminate murder? Prior to the last eight years, I think so. Not so sure anymore. Regardless, this film presents some interesting questions, but with my review coming 15 years after the fact, I'm not sure anyone cares.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Furry AND Republican on October 18, 2017, 02:37:42 PM
The switch from having the creatures be maddened versions of Neville's neighbors and that bullshit ending ruin Smith's performance, which is one of his best. The other changes weren't faithful (the dog in the novella is a stray that Neville tries to bond with, and there's a great part where Neville theorizes that religious symbols only affect those of their followers to build off vampire lore), but the movie kept much of the spirit intact except for those two things.

Also, no Ben Courtman.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 19, 2017, 10:14:56 AM
(http://juliesaysso.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/1413485040702_Image_galleryImage_In_the_Heart_of_the_Sea_O.jpg)

In the Heart of the Sea (2015), directed by Ron Howard

I am not sure why anyone would make a $100 million movie about whaling, but I am appreciative that somebody did as I seem to really enjoy films that take place on the water. This was by no means a perfect movie, and it was very flawed. I still liked seeing a movie about this subject matter. I had originally intended to read a book about this incident, but me being me I'd been lazy in getting around to doing so. It's probably for the best, I'd rather see a movie about it. While I can say that now, this was clearly a misfire to some extent.

This film starts with Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) visiting a man who is supposedly the last survivor of the Essex, a ship that was sunk by an angry whale. Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) doesn't want to tell his story, but his wife makes it clear that they need the money, so like it or not, he's going to tell his story. Initially the film is framed as a power struggle between two men. Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) is hired as first mate on the Essex, which is a problem as he was told he would be a captain the next time he set out on a whaling adventure. His captain is George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), a man from a moneyed family, but clearly inexperienced and unskilled. The two men have problems, but they set them aside and kill a whale. It is then established that Nickerson (Tom Holland) was sent inside the whale to fetch remaining oil. After that, the boat was forced to leave the Atlantic, heading to the Pacific. In Ecuador, they meet a captain who tells them there's a huge whaling ground, but it's extremely far from land and he lost his boat there because of an extremely aggressive giant whale. So, of course, the crew goes out there in search of riches.

I did say that I liked seeing a movie about this subject, but it called a lot of things into question. A good example is that it's hard to be sympathetic for the crew. Granted, whale oil was a necessity of life. I would not suggest otherwise. It's still difficult to have positive feelings for those that are murdering innocent creatures, not even to eat their meat. Maybe I'm just way wrong on this, but anyway, another matter is that the characters aren't entirely sympathetic to begin with. The captain was a piece of shit. His first mate was better, but it was hard to look at him entirely nicely. Many of the other crew members are pieces of garbage. The second mate is played by Cillian Murphy, who is a great actor as we know, but there is no character development given to him whatsoever. To see somebody talented reduced to that kind of background work is really strange. I was also surprised that this film was rated PG-13 given the scene with whale butchering and lowering a kid into the whale's head in order to get more oil. Wasn't expecting that.

I realize I have just taken a big dump on my initial comments about the subject matter, but I have also had nearly a whole day to reflect on this movie before writing about it. I never give myself that kind of benefit. Visually, this movie is excellent. I know much of it was visual effects, but I don't even care. It looked right. The scene with Tom Holland's character fetching whale oil, I know I've mentioned it three times, but it was a great scene. I don't know how they pulled that off or what kind of receptacle they put him in. Crazy stuff there. The scene where the whale destroys the boat is another worth mentioning. Of course, there's a lot to unpack there, as well as some major plotholes regarding that. Like for example, the boat being able to hold 2,000 barrels of oil despite not looking anywhere near big enough to do so. Or the thing about there not being more than 45 barrels in the hold to begin with. Where were all the physical barrels?

The movie is best when the men are floating on the water, and that's the only point at which there's real drama. It is established early on that the boat sunk, so there's nothing to worry about there, but once the guys are starving to death, it's a pretty big deal. Two of the scenes are haunting. I am pretty sure that was intended to be the case throughout the film, but it didn't really come into play until the seamen started talking about eating each other. Yeah, eating each other. The scenes with Gleeson are probably more interesting than they should be in terms of moving the story along, as well. The interludes also feel somewhat out of place.

So, all in all this was an attempt at making an epic, award winning movie. Problem is that the characterizations were nowhere near strong enough and I didn't know enough about the crew to care about their fate. The movie is too quick to reveal what happened. Because of that, it was hard to love this movie in any way. The special effects shots with the whale were enjoyable and this wasn't bad, but I don't want to be too effusive in praise. I really can't believe that a filmmaker like Ron Howard would make a movie with so many plot holes, either. I wrote far more about this than I wanted to, so enjoy reading if you want.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 19, 2017, 06:08:06 PM
(https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/660/media/images/71107000/jpg/_71107300_don.jpg)

Don Jon (2013), directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

This isn't the first film I've reviewed by that was directed by its starring actor, but it's the one with the most provocative subject matter. Obviously. The marketing at the time of this film's release very blatantly played up the pornography aspect. Is that what Don Jon was really about? No. Well, kind of. This was an interesting film regardless of what it was actually about. Worth watching? Read below.

Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a player. He also loves to masturbate, which is a common theme interlaced throughout the film at strange times. It goes without saying, don't watch this with people who it would make you uncomfortable to see you watching this. He has some friends that seem like losers, who effectively cheer him on as he plows through the club scene. One night, Jon encounters Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), and he has to have her. She declines. He follows her, but she won't have sex with him anytime soon. So, Jon changes himself and goes looking for the long-term. He can't change everything about himself, though. That presents problems.

The film is really funny, particularly when showcasing Jon's family. You have the overbearing mother (Glenne Headly), a typical angry father who reminds me of myself when watching a football game (Tony Danza), and a sister (Brie Larson) who buries herself in her phone, never speaking during dinner. This film does not work without Tony Danza. I just can't see any other realistic casting carrying those scenes with the family. The scenes with the family were completely necessary in order to establish Jon's character. I mean, otherwise, why would we care about him or what he does? There's not a lot of humanity in this film otherwise, until a certain point.

The change in tone of the film after that point is just a little too weird for me. It's not that I had any problem with the story, but I would have liked it to continue being funny. That's a harsh criticism, but the movie was very short to begin with. I probably need to read more about this film anyway. The way I saw it is that I thought it was a satire on romantic comedies. There's so much here to indicate that. I assume that there are a lot of takes out there that do not see it that way. I also assume that a lot of people thought this movie was gross. They are well within their rights to think this was gross, because this kind of was. I was glad that I wasn't watching this with other people. All of those scenes drag down my rating.

Pornography is gross, so it's natural that people are entirely avoidant of a mainstream film addressing the subject (but not avoidant of watching it), but our society does have a problem with porn addiction and objectifying women. When I am saying our society has a problem with porn addiction I am not exempting myself from that. I had to log into my router and block a ton of porn sites so that I no longer went to them. Obviously this is unhealthy behavior, but society is different than it used to be and everything digital is at your fingertips. Besides Tony Danza, the film's take on religion is probably the most amusing part. If you really believe, I don't know why people think that prayer absolves them of their wrongdoing. That is a con that people like to put on you in order to get you to keep going to their church.

This isn't the best movie ever or anything like that, but it's thought provoking enough to be worthwhile. Plus, it has Julianne Moore in it. I'd watch anything she's in, corny as it may be. The movie also benefits from this man playing the priest. I'll leave it to you to guess which one of these great men took on that part.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nltJZ0eYuuQ

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on October 19, 2017, 11:45:38 PM
Find a movie
The switch from having the creatures be maddened versions of Neville's neighbors and that bullshit ending ruin Smith's performance, which is one of his best. The other changes weren't faithful (the dog in the novella is a stray that Neville tries to bond with, and there's a great part where Neville theorizes that religious symbols only affect those of their followers to build off vampire lore), but the movie kept much of the spirit intact except for those two things.

Also, no Ben Courtman.
I don't think there's any way they could've done Cortman justice with the way they did the vampires. Maybe that could've been the tip off of their intelligence, Neville hearing his old friend calling to him.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 22, 2017, 08:39:49 AM
(https://www.themarysue.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/IMG_0365.jpg)

Wonder Woman (2017), directed by Patty Jenkins

I had a lot of fun trolling CWM about this movie when it was released, but I never had the time to see it, nor do I go to the theater anyway. Admittedly I am more partial to what DC is trying to do than what Marvel has done. I believe that Marvel's films fit into a neat little formula, and I often can't stand it. I would rather see the other side take risks, even if some of them turn out to be trash, like BvS. Wonder Woman on the other hand shows the positivity of risk taking. Nothing about this film was an obvious decision. The film is quite long. None of the Marvel origin stories are near this length. Granted, I haven't caught up completely on Marvel, but this seems to be at the top end of superhero movies.

It is made clear that Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is contemplating her past after receiving a photograph from Bruce Wayne. So, we get to plunge into her thoughts. Everyone knows the Wonder Woman origin, Themyscira, and all that stuff. Right? Well, anyway, if you watch this you'll know it within 10-15 minutes. Both Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen are great in their roles, but they aren't around for long. Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes into the sea, and a German cruiser follows him, finding Themyscira. Why had no other men found Themyscria before? That's one of the only plot holes in this movie I don't understand. Why Germans? Well, it's World War I. Anyway, after a big battle, Trevor is interrogated by the Amazons. He tells them about the war, and tells them that he's an Allied spy. We're shown what he did and how he got there, and Diana believes that this is the work of Ares. Who's Ares? Watch the movie like I just told you. Diana decides that she needs to leave the island in order to find Ares and kill him, and decides that a man named Ludendorff (Danny Huston) is most likely to be him.

There are many reasons why this movie was so popular, and I will try to cover all of them as I go along. How about this movie actually being funny? A lot of superhero films try their best to do this and fail. Not the case here by any stretch. It's not like there were any jokes told the way as in Marvel movies, it was the scenarios the characters were put in that were amusing. Or the characters themselves. This was in major contrast to the way other characters tell jokes while hitting people. I cannot state enough how glad I was to not see that. On top of that, it was much more clear in this film that the people who were being saved mattered. In Avengers 2, the only shot I remember of a civilian was when they kept showing some chick's big tits. That's probably the only one anyone remembers. Here, the shots of civilians are much more memorable. Their town had been taken over and people's legs were getting blown off. There's just a big difference in the tone of this movie compared to some of the others in the genre. The direction here was outstanding.

Setting this film during World War I was not an obvious decision, but it's one that worked out for the best. The setting allowed Wonder Woman to be easily humanized as well as illustrate the differences between where she came from and the outside world. Plus, the diverse group of people who went with her to Belgium was pretty cool. I thought Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui) was the best minor character here, and to continue the theme, very funny. I am glad that the Steve Trevor story will not permeate through the rest of these films. That was something I could do without overall, but the portrayals here were really good. People could not have been more wrong about Gal Gadot's casting. I was one of those people. If anyone still has their doubts, they're pretty stupid. Similarly good casting in hindsight is Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. Even though this film was funny, it was also pretty serious and quite dark. It takes a delicate balancing act to pull that off, but it was done well here. Again, that goes back to direction.

There's also no shortage of great scenes. Probably too many to count. The film is very tricky in making the viewer believe it will go down the route of bows and arrows. Even though there's all that cool shit at the start, there's none of that in the rest of the film. I mean, there's plenty of cool shit. Just not that. The scene with Wonder Woman rushing across No Man's Land obviously received the plaudits, and full credit because it was a great concept and shot very well. The scene shopping for clothes wasn't too far off from that, nor was the scene where Diana meets Steve Trevor's colleagues. Lastly and most importantly is the scene where Wonder Woman finally encounters Ares. For some reason, I didn't see that coming. The battle was a standard comic book battle with better effects. There were aspects of this that were very comic booky.

I still think there was a plot hole in terms of explaining how Trevor and the Germans could get to Themyscira, hopefully it will be addressed in the sequel. It is one of my only problems with the film. I am also tired of origin stories, but in this case it was probably necessary. It dragged a little bit for me just because I'm tired of them, but there was nothing wrong with it. I should also mention that Danny Huston strongly reminded me of Rep. Peter King. The resemblance was uncanny, as well as unintentional, but once I saw it I couldn't unsee it. Am I trying to say that Peter King is an authoritarian evil fuck? Yes, I am. I almost forgot to mention Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya). That's another role where it is very difficult to find any balance. Still happened. So, obviously the key to making a good superhero movie is to balance things out and do fresh things. Who knew?

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on October 22, 2017, 05:47:32 PM
One of the worst was you shitting on my bias against DC and saying you gave it 8.5 and I'm like "that's the exact rating I gave it". SMH

Really fun movie but I like Spiderman Homecoming just a tiny bit more and Logan more than both. I didn't find the villian compelling in WW. He's a great actor but I didn't think he was a threat or feel any menace. I bought Michael Keaton as a real villain in Spidey even though I don't really think of him as one usually.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 23, 2017, 04:25:23 AM
YOU'RE VERY BIASED SIR

The villain in Wonder Woman was more comic book like than usual for these movies.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Hawk 34 on October 23, 2017, 04:27:42 AM
I don’t even remember the villain in this movie and I was quite as enthused about this movie as you were.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 23, 2017, 04:46:56 AM
This is my shortest review for a long time, but I saw no reason to go through this in detail.

(https://www.theyoungfolks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/mike-and-dave-need-wedding-dates.jpg)

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016), directed by Jake Szymanski

I was putting off watching this until I was in a really bad mood and in need of some laughs. This movie was pretty bad, but I got what I needed out of it. I made some jokes in the chat room about jerking off to this, but obviously I didn't. Of course by saying that, everyone thinks I did, so I'll have to hear about this for a while. This was very difficult material to make into a good movie. After all, we've seen similar stuff before. It's bad almost every single time. edit: the New York Times did a hellacious takedown of this film. It is not inaccurate.

Mike (Adam DeVine) and Dave (Zac Efron) are brothers. Their sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) is getting married, and their parents have told the brothers that they need to get their shit together. No ruining the family event this time. Mike and Dave then encounter Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick), two people who this material is ridiculously beneath. In any case, Tatiana runs in front of a car, and over the course of the next few minutes, Mike and Dave invite Tatiana and Alice to the wedding as their respective dates. As the viewer is made aware of, Tatiana and Alice are only in this for the free trip to Hawaii. They are just like Mike and Dave in most ways.

Did I say that this movie sucks yet? Well, it really does. There are some very funny scenes, I must admit. Kumail Nanjiani has a good cameo. He might be the cameo master when it comes to shit movies like this and Central Intelligence. Obviously his appearance here was more outlandish, but that fits because this movie was ridiculously stupid. I probably shouldn't even call it good. Embarrassing and funny are better words. I hope he got paid. I didn't think it was all bad as I already said, but the dialogue was atrocious for the most part. It also doesn't help that the ATV scene is a direct ripoff of the volleyball scene in Meet the Parents. It was too long and far too predictable. That wasn't the only similarity between the two movies, but all of them make Meet the Parents look like a far superior movie.

I do need to post more positives in order to justify my subsequent rating, and the most obvious one is Aubrey Plaza. This material was total shit and she was good at turning that shit into something decent based on her delivery. All of the characters are unlikable to various degrees, but I wound up liking her character anyway. Go figure. Cousin Terry (Alice Wetterlund) wasn't bad either, but I've seen better similar characters in the past. Regardless, unless you want to see Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick in bikinis, don't watch this.

4.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Hawk 34 on October 23, 2017, 04:58:15 AM
If you love Plaza and why wouldn’t you,  go watch Ingrid Goes West. It’s way better suited to her talent and knowing you, you will connect with that movie and for my money, one of the best pieces of work to put a light on social media obsession and mental illness you will find and also O’Shea Jackson who I know you enjoyed previously was good in this too along with the GOAT Olsen sister.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on October 23, 2017, 05:59:55 AM
I made some jokes in the chat room about jerking off to this, but obviously I didn't.

unless you want to see Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick in bikinis, don't watch this.

since you watched it

everyone thinks I did
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 23, 2017, 06:13:28 AM
I made some jokes in the chat room about jerking off to this, but obviously I didn't.

unless you want to see Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick in bikinis, don't watch this.

since you watched it

everyone thinks I did

Spoiler: show

(http://i.imgur.com/eagyBZz.gif)
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on October 23, 2017, 06:49:18 AM
That movie was a guilty pleasure for me. Really dumb but I found it amusing. BZ should be happy I liked something with one of his bros from that show he loves in it.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 23, 2017, 06:52:43 AM
That guy was the worst part of it tbh. If Kumail hadn't been humping the bride to be there would have been so few redeeming parts in it.

If you love Plaza and why wouldn’t you,  go watch Ingrid Goes West. It’s way better suited to her talent and knowing you, you will connect with that movie and for my money, one of the best pieces of work to put a light on social media obsession and mental illness you will find and also O’Shea Jackson who I know you enjoyed previously was good in this too along with the GOAT Olsen sister.

Not streaming yet, but yeah, I'm gonna watch it.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kotzenjunge on October 23, 2017, 10:02:35 AM
That movie was a guilty pleasure for me. Really dumb but I found it amusing. BZ should be happy I liked something with one of his bros from that show he loves in it.
That was entirely why a friend of mine and I went to see it in the theater when it came out.

Same as you, we went in the same way, expecting some laughs and that's what we got. I was even able to mildly temper my fiery hatred for contemporary, only semi-written comedies!
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: HSJ on October 23, 2017, 12:00:37 PM
Anna Kendrick is a bikini is an automatic 10/10.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 23, 2017, 01:04:34 PM
Hard Candy (2005), directed by David Slade

There is no reason I watched this other than that it was expiring. I regretted doing so at first. This movie is as skeevy as it gets. I did not search for images because of that problem. Not worth trying to find any. In the first twenty minutes the seediness of this film could not possibly be more clear. I was made to feel very uncomfortable. This was clearly a very difficult script to adapt. I mean, after all, there are only two characters in the movie. They talk a lot. The subject matter is intense. There is very little action. The subject matter also sounds as if it could have been even more intense given the initial development concept. The idea came about as the result of a 20/20 story about Japanese girls who would lure men into a location and assault them. This has probably been done by now, I'm simply unaware of it.

Hayley (Ellen Page) is a 14 year old that has spotted a pervert, a photographer named Jeff (Patrick Wilson). She sets up a meeting with this guy, who is fully aware of how old she is, yet he wants to get to know her. They meet at a coffee house and he buys her things, then Jeff takes her back to his pad and mixes her some alcohol. Hayley tells him they teach in school that nobody should drink something that they didn't make themselves. So, with Jeff not being a kid and all, he doesn't listen and drinks the one that Hayley mixed for her. It was drugged. Why would she drug his drink? Because she knows what he is, man. After Hayley ties up Jeff, this film goes down a ridiculous road. Both dark and goofy I suppose. Some of the things here don't make any realistic sense. Others do and make for good viewing.

Most of the scenes that make for good viewing are in relation to psychological manipulation. After all, Hayley wants to prove that Jeff is a pervert. What she's told him over the internet and during their meeting isn't enough for her. I'm caught between a point of spoiling and not spoiling what happens, so I'll go into spoiling. Ellen Page is pretty good at making her character work. When she goes to cut Jeff's nuts off, I believed it completely regardless of the surprise at the end of it. When a character says something in this movie, you need to pay attention to whatever it is. It winds up mattering. That's something much appreciated. Everything is revealed as the film continues. We learn that she suspects Jeff of killing somebody. We are led to believe that he has a stash of child pornography because he lives alone and doesn't have any porn in his house. To be fair, in 2017, nobody has porn in their house. Or they shouldn't have. This wasn't 2017, though.

Of course, I did say there were uncomfortable scenes, and the worst one is when Hayley strips in front of Jeff while he was being drugged. I pride myself on not skipping any scenes but I couldn't watch that. I thought it was gross. There is also an unnecessary scene where Hayley is nearly busted torturing Jeff. It's unnecessary because it didn't amount to anything and felt like a complete cliche. On top of that, Hayley had a big mark on her forehead that was not even addressed. That was strange. The castration is also extremely tough viewing. The whole movie is, really.

I believe this film was made during the To Catch a Predator craze, so it was especially pertinent to the times people were living in. It's an interesting twist on the subject to have the predator become the captive, and it was one that I wasn't expecting. I try very hard to not look into anything I watch beforehand, so I only knew this film was related to pedophilia in some way. That sentence isn't phrased very well, so I apologize. Lastly, the film was wrapped up in a nice and compelling way. There's a nice reveal put in there too. Good performances make up for a plot that goes a little bit off the rails, to put it mildly.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 23, 2017, 06:19:41 PM
(https://static.rogerebert.com/uploads/review/primary_image/reviews/notorious-2009/hero_EB20090114REVIEWS901149984AR.jpg)

Notorious (2009), directed by George Tillman Jr.

When I was in fourth grade, I had a friend that was a Biggie Smalls fanatic. My friend had this idea that we should perform at the talent show. One of us was going to be Puff and one was going to be Biggie. I don't remember who was supposed to be which, and it wasn't a good idea anyway, but this is what I think of whenever one of Biggie's songs comes on the radio. I looked up my friend and I couldn't find him, otherwise I would be writing him about this right now rather than posting this review. Notorious is a film that I should have watched prior to viewing Straight Outta Compton. The latter makes the former feel completely underdone. Biggie was just as brash as anyone. Hasn't everyone seen the video for Hypnotize? This movie was nothing like that in any way.

Chris Wallace (Jamal Woolard) was a young man who was raised by a single parent, Voletta (Angela Bassett). His mother was very busy, and Chris spent his days selling crack. The older he got, the more he sold, the more his mom started to notice that something might be off. Eventually, Chris got busted dealing crack in North Carolina. While in jail, his girlfriend gave birth, so Chris had a family to support both when he went in and when he came out. Once he got out, he recorded a demo, which eventually led to him being noticed by Puff (Derek Luke). This portrayal is pretty much dead ass accurate. Anyway, Puff wanted Biggie off the streets, that didn't happen. What got him off the street was that he got arrested on a gun charge, along with his friend D-Roc (Dennis L.A. White). D-Roc said that the gun was his, knowing that Biggie could make it big. So he did and all that stuff, which we all know.

There are some other good portrayals here, which is necessary. These kinds of films are reliant on supporting roles because they're effectively trading on their appearances in order to make the film believable. One bad turn and the whole thing falls apart. Anthony Mackie made a great Tupac. He was also in The Hurt Locker that year, and I cannot think of many more dissimilar films than these two. Faith Evans (Antonique Smith) was another great performance. On the negative side, Lil' Kim (Naturi Naughton) complained that this portrayal was completely inaccurate, in terms of the way she met Biggie and everything else. She's not the only one who says so, so that goes down as a negative point. Non-fiction should not present fiction.

The film is flawed beyond my initial complaints about it not being flashy enough, but I need to come back to that. His lifestyle was not really portrayed here. His relationships with the four women in his life were, but that's only one piece of the puzzle. I understand why this is, because the budget for this wasn't exactly gigantic, but I would have liked to see more. This film is also generic in its presentation of rags to riches. It just...is. The dialogue is not great. The film also goes too far down the road of West Coast/East Coast rivalry. This is another thing that I understand why it was done, but it's a little annoying to me. Similarly annoying is that Puff is pretty much presented as somebody who should be canonized. That's one of the reasons I said the portrayal was pretty accurate, it's exactly what the guy seems like, but we all know he's really a piece of shit. He did bad things that have been proven in court.

On the subject of somebody being a piece of shit, I don't like to take shits on dead people, but Biggie Smalls was a piece of shit too. The film is kind enough to present just enough to make that clear, and if you're stupid enough to think a few phone calls he made before dying made up for his behavior and actions, then you're a total idiot. I don't know why those phone calls were inserted into this film, but I have my suspicions. I know this doesn't cover all of somebody's wrongdoing, but it's just enough to a greater extent than Straight Outta Compton did. While Straight Outta Compton is the superior film, the major complaint everyone has is the exclusion of the way Dr. Dre would treat women. At least it's not entirely excluded here, and I appreciate that.

The thing I often can't stand about biographical pictures is that they are made with the intent of canonizing people who do not deserve it. There are very few exceptions to this, and with many of those exceptions the wrong message is gleaned from them, so it doesn't matter what the filmmaker intended to do in the first place. The consumer is not often able to accept that the person whose music they liked did bad things. After all, what the person did in this case, even though that wasn't the intention put on the screen here, was to make music that made people happy. That's what most people are doing with their entertainment products whether intending to or not. At least in this case, they did not completely canonize a bad person. I enjoy his music, but I am clearly hung up on this and cannot stop talking about it, so I will cut myself short. Jamal Woolard's ability to resemble that person is remarkable. Unfortunately, as with so many other actors of color, he served his purpose to Hollywood and I have not seen him in anything else. This was a good movie though.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on October 23, 2017, 11:37:39 PM
Why do you think Biggie was a bad person? People always look up to him.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 24, 2017, 04:16:34 AM
Why do you think Biggie was a bad person? People always look up to him.

Selling crack to pregnant women, threatening to kill people, beating up people constantly,  the movie portrays him pushing his wife and throwing shit at her, and lastly shows him ignoring his kid. Considering his mom was one of the movie producers the negative stuff in it has to be true.

I like his music but people should pick better role models. It's like Tupac being a rapist. I don't know why people ignore that stuff. Their music is great, but to make that dude your hero, nah.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 24, 2017, 12:17:55 PM
(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HjXiakdH9FY/Vir-CsdaxlI/AAAAAAAA1eI/SDt9LDXKCzs/s1600/Appaloosa10.png)

Appaloosa (2008), directed by Ed Harris

Even though I love Westerns, after watching The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, it was time to take a bit of a break from them. Its been about a month, so it was time to go back to one that was expiring on HBO. Not to use a cliche, but this is not like most Westerns. There are many reasons for that which I'll discuss as I go along, but it was weird to see this bust some of the genre rules. This was quite interesting, as well as being slower than most Westerns. It was also not what I expected. Early in the movie, I thought some of the music in it was goofy and unfitting of this film. I was wrong to judge so quickly.

The film begins with Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) shooting a town marshal after the marshal comes to his ranch to arrest two of his men. The town of Appaloosa obviously needs help in the absence of their lawman. So, the town hires Virgil (Ed Harris) and Everett (Viggo Mortensen), two friends who serve as sheriff and deputy from town to town as their services are required.  There's some guys pissing in a saloon, peckers out and all. They refuse to listen. So, Virgil and Everett shoot them dead. Turns out they were Bragg's men. Bragg claims that he knows Chester Arthur, so there's nothing Virgil and Everett can do to him. Obviously, Virgil and Everett don't believe him. In the meantime, there's a widow named Allie (Renee Zellwegger) who arrives in Appaloosa. She seems to be interested in both Virgil and Everett. Naturally this presents a problem. Inevitably, the superior wins, and Virgil falls in love with her. Allie seems to be infatuated with Everett, though. The story goes on from there.

I said that this was interesting, and I meant that, because Allie is one of the strangest characters I can remember in these kinds of movies. She is promiscuous to put it nicely. In addition to that, the lawmen show far more emotion than usual in these movies. I mean, usually these guys are hard. They don't take any shit. Instead, in the case of Virgil, he isn't all that intelligent. He doesn't know big words and needs Everett's help constantly. Virgil has also never fallen for a real woman before, in his words. He says for him it's just whores and squaws. Whatever that means. 

Due to the juxtapositions of these characters, to large extent I found myself feeling sorry for Everett, who deserved better than the hand he was dealt. He isn't a paragon of virtue or anything like that, but he isn't a cuckold for starters. He knows how to read. He is constantly cleaning up Virgil's messes. That presents itself in interesting ways as the film continues. Obviously, everyone likes Viggo Mortensen, so I don't think that's a big problem for the viewer. It certainly isn't one for me. He isn't given many lines, but he's a good actor, and his actions speak for themselves.

This isn't really a Western in the traditional sense, even though there's a shootout, a hostage taking, and all that usual Western shit. There's a scene with a train on a bridge that is very good and Western-like, I enjoyed it. It is somewhat of an exception to the way the rest of this film pans out. This is worth watching if you care about the genre simply because of how different it is. We already know that Jeremy Irons makes a good villain, but I was surprised he was able to pull off the accent. There were a few other side characters that I didn't mention as to do so would have ruined the story. There were also a few things that felt like someone directing themselves to do cool shit, but that was redeemed towards the end.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 25, 2017, 04:47:44 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMzVlYjkxNjctNTQ0Zi00YTcyLTkxNzItMmE2YTQxZjlmYjUwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyNDQ2NjI@._V1_.jpg)

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), directed by Barry Levinson

I have an admission that I did not realize until I listed this film. I wanted to put this off for as long as possible before mentioning it, but I'm afraid this is not going to be possible. I have NEVER watched a movie about the Vietnam War. Doesn't matter which way it relates to the war. Obviously, this movie is different and doesn't address the fighting, but rather the impact that somebody can have on the morale of troops. We know that's the case as it pertains to Vietnam, but this film addresses it in a more abstract way than we are aware of. Unrelated to that, I didn't know how I would react to watching a movie starring Robin Williams. I considered putting this off until a later date, but I didn't have anything to do tonight and figured I might as well complete the monthly list. I don't deal with death very well, and what happened to him was really sad.

Prior to more major escalation of US involvement in Vietnam, Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams) has been sent from Crete to Saigon to work as a DJ for Armed Forces Radio. Cronauer has a very different style from his colleagues in Saigon. Bombastic is a pretty good way of putting it. He has the support of General Taylor (Noble Willingham), as well as the other DJ's, namely an aspirant, Private Garlick (Forest Whitaker). On the other hand, some officers and enlisted men above him do not care for him. Lieutenant Hauk (Bruno Kirby) thinks that he's really funny, and that Cronauer is offensively stupid. Sgt. Major Dickerson (JT Walsh) is a hard ass, so I don't know why he's in radio to begin with. Anyway, Hauk and Dickerson are completely against Cronauer. After a broadcast, Cronauer meets a Vietnamese girl, and tracks her down at an English class another soldier is teaching. Cronauer manuevers his way into teaching that class, but once it's over, he's prevented from talking to the girl by her brother, Tuan (Tung Thanh Tran). Cronauer befriends Tuan and takes him to a GI bar, but two of the other soldiers don't like Tuan being there and decide to throw down with Cronauer, setting the stage for future problems.

The funny thing about this movie is that we don't know anything about Cronauer prior to his arrival in Vietnam, but it's not like that matters anyway. This is obviously in massive contrast to the movies that are produced now. I was not expecting this film to turn out as serious as it did. Obviously I'm referring to Cronauer's friend turning out to be a terrorist. I should have seen that coming, but for whatever reason I was completely blinded to it. In hindsight it was ridiculously obvious. The director didn't even attempt to hide it.

This film was also supposed to be based on a true story. Cronauer is a real person, but he's also a piece of garbage and has been disbarred for home loan scams. He says that the film is only 45% accurate, but I can't imagine which parts of it would be. Obviously Robin Williams' rantings on the radio were inaccurate and improvised. That's good though. I imagine that if this film was accurate it would have been pretty boring. After all, there are lots of things in this that were pulled out of time. Specifically the music, the vast majority of which was released after 1965. Military decorum is another thing that people get angry about. Wearing hats inside is a definite no-no. I know this from ROTC class.

I don't like phrasing things as I'm about to phrase them, but what really matters in this film is Robin Williams performance. People didn't think he was a serious actor because after all, he was a standup comic. I've never listened to his comedy, so maybe I need to do so. Anyway, this film launched his career and led to the movie roles that we all know Robin Williams for. Not all of his movies were perfect, but everyone is better for having watched him tell jokes on camera. It is very funny to me to see the way Forest Whitaker's career progressed, though. To go from this film to Bloodsport is something. So much something that I don't even know how to describe what I think about it.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: AA484 on October 25, 2017, 04:51:03 AM
You should watch Apocalypse Now, I'd like to hear your thoughts.  A tour de force if there ever was one.  Highly recommend watching the original version first, instead of the Director's Cut, which can be tedious at times despite filling some (minor) plot holes.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on October 26, 2017, 08:33:10 AM
Watch Platoon, please.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on October 26, 2017, 08:36:14 AM
Full metal Jacket dawg. The movie that gave us R Lee Emery AND the birth of fat Vincent D'Onfrio.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on October 26, 2017, 12:47:02 PM
Born on the Fourth of July is also recommended, and I have to say that the first Vietnam movie to really shake me was Tour of Duty.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on October 26, 2017, 01:19:13 PM
All the great ones have been mentioned, but I still gotta rep Rescue Dawn and Casualties of War.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on October 26, 2017, 01:59:12 PM
Full metal Jacket dawg. The movie that gave us R Lee Emery AND the birth of fat Vincent D'Onfrio.

Prob my fav war movie
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on October 26, 2017, 02:10:57 PM
bz as always has excellent taste. Although I can't say it's my favourite WAR movie as there are SO many excellent world war 2 movies.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: strummer on October 26, 2017, 04:34:07 PM
Apocalypse is  still the standard for me.  Maybe simply for the "Ride of the Valykries" scene.  One of the best scenes in movie history imo.

Kilgore is the best
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 27, 2017, 05:20:35 AM
(https://static.rogerebert.com/uploads/review/primary_image/reviews/do-the-right-thing-1989/hero_do-the-right-thing-DI.jpg)

Do the Right Thing (1989), directed by Spike Lee

If we want to talk about ambitious movies, this definitely has to be considered one of the most ambitious as well as one of the best of this category. Unfortunately, some of the problems presented in this movie are still problems to this day. One thing I'll say after watching this is that I haven't seen many better casts than this one. There are actors in roles I'm not used to seeing them play, as well as people who became stars later on in very minor roles. It takes some kind of talent to put together such a vibrant picture of a neighborhood. I was absolutely hammered by the ending of this film. It is strange to see a director make themselves a main character like this, as I've stated before. It's not like Spike Lee was an accomplished actor of any kind, but I suppose his character didn't require all that much acting. Still, his character is the vehicle through which the audience travels along the path this film takes you...

It's Brooklyn, and a man named Sal (Danny Aiello) owns a pizzeria. His sons Pino (John Turturro) and Vito (Richard Edson) work with him, and Mookie (Spike Lee) is their delivery guy. Mookie is the vehicle through which we will see the entire neighborhood. Through him, we learn that he has a sister named Jade (Joie Lee), a girlfriend named Tina (Rosie Perez), and a son named Hector. We also get to know the people in the neighborhood. Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) carries his boombox through the area at full blast. Da Mayor (Ossie Davis) is a drunk who seems to rule the neighborhood in his own mind. Smiley (Roger Guenveur Smith) is mentally disabled and constantly asking for donations while drawing pictures of Malcolm X. Mother Sister (Ruby Dee) is like a neighborhood watcher, and she doesn't like Da Mayor at all. There's also a local radio station, the DJ being played by Samuel L. Jackson. Then on top of that, there's three older guys who talk shit all day from their corner of the neighborhood. One of them is played by Frankie Faison in a role that could not be more different than his role in The Wire.

Anyway, it turns out that Pino hates black people. Very much. He just can't handle black people in any way according to him. It's a hot day in Brooklyn, so tensions are ridiculously high as it is. Mookie's friend Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito) is mad that Sal's Wall of Fame doesn't have any black people's pictures on it. He and Sal get into a big argument over it, which leads to Buggin' Out deciding that this pizzeria needs to be boycotted. Radio Raheem and Smiley wind up joining him in this boycott. Another recurring theme throughout the film is Mookie being treated like shit. Sure, he doesn't show back up to the pizzeria immediately after delivery, but he's treated like shit all the time anyway, especially by Pino. This film is really funny until its climax, I'd say. I consistently laughed at the scenarios presented in it. My favorite was probably when Buggin' Out confronted the guy wearing the Larry Bird shirt.

The ending of the film is completely shocking and seemed to come out of nowhere, but it played on a great scene from earlier in the film. Considering the director I should have known something like this would happen, but I wasn't prepared to see it. There is another scene earlier in the film that should prepare viewers for the ending, where characters shout racial epithets across the block at each other. The point is that racism festers inside of people until it explodes. If you push people until they explode they're going to wind up saying stupid racial shit. Of course this was more the case 28 years ago than it is now, but it still exists. Naturally, there are a lot of people who wondered if this film should even be screened, which is a great example of the existence of white supremacy. The reason cited was that black people would riot when the ending is shown. What the fuck kind of logic is that? Then again, I'm not a white supremacist and simply don't understand this logic. It's just a way of saying that black people shouldn't make films for black people to watch.

I have deliberately danced around the ending of this film because I think the review is better by not mentioning it, but the last few scenes are so good that I have to mention them. When Radio Raheem walked into the pizzeria with his boombox on again, it was clear that something was going to go down. Buggin' Out and Radio Raheem were not completely innocent in the events that subsequently took place, but there's a step between that and saying Radio Raheem deserved to die. I mean, that's crazy shit and I'm sure some of the people who watched this feel that way. I am not entirely certain of what the title refers to. Is it that Mookie threw a trash can threw the window to keep Sal from getting killed? I have no idea. the riot is justified in any case and if you're focusing on that rather than Raheem being choked to death for no reason, you're wrong. This film is balanced enough to make me wonder about a lot of this.

The final thing that I can't get over is that Gus Fring played Buggin' Out. I can't believe it. You can't tell at all. When I watch more stuff, and if he played more characters like this one, I'll be able to tell. It was just weird. I haven't done this film justice in any way, but I loved it. Great comedy early on mixed with a shocking ending, can't hate on that.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 27, 2017, 12:44:38 PM
(http://cdn-static.denofgeek.com/sites/denofgeek/files/styles/main_wide/public/28-days-main.jpg)

28 Days Later (2002), directed by Danny Boyle

I was trying to put off watching this film until Halloween, but it was also expiring on Halloween, so I couldn't do it. If I wind up having nothing to do that night, I'll watch Train to Busan. I am trying to make sure I have something to do that night. So, obviously this is a lot different than the movies I've reviewed in this thread. It's a little similar to I Am Legend and that's a coincidence, but there's pretty big differences between the two of these films. Like, for starters, the main character in I Am Legend trying to find a cure. The entire film revolves around it. That isn't the case here! Instead, this is about the fight to survive, with nothing held back. Nothing meaning no blood being held back. Or anything else. I much prefer this depiction to I Am Legend.

The film begins with three morons breaking into a laboratory, trying to free some chimpanzees. The supervising scientist tells the morons that they had better not release the chimps as they are infected with a virus that makes them crazy. It is highly contagious. Morons being morons, they didn't listen. After releasing the chimpanzee, it bites one of the morons and immediately infects them. The scientist says that they need to kill her immediately, but the other morons don't, and she attacks them, infecting everyone in the room.

Subsequently, we move forward 28 days. Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up in a hospital. We later learn he was in a coma after a car plowed into his bicycle. Jim doesn't understand what's happened, even though he sees the empty streets and London city squares with notices posted on them. Eventually, he comes across a church full of people who have presumably killed themselves. Thing is, there's infected in the church too. Talking gets their attention. Jim runs, but he's rescued by two survivors named Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley). Jim wants to go to his former house, and they go even with the possibility of encountering infected, and because it takes all day, they have to stay the night. Jim unwittingly attracts the attention of the infected by lighting a candle, and naturally, the infected attack. Mark is bitten, so Selena kills him immediately, establishing the fact that anyone bitten must die extremely shortly after. It is also established that Jim and Selena need to leave because more infected will follow. In the process of doing so, they encounter Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns), a father and daughter. Frank and Hannah don't have water, so it's time to get the hell out of there.

This is more than I usually prefer to type out about a movie's plot, but I needed to establish enough of the actors involved. I didn't know that Gleeson was in this, but you know, IT'S BRENDAN FUCKING GLEESON so of course I would like this movie to some extent. That's an automatic. His character was a pretty good one and not very dissimilar from the roles I've usually seen him in. I am also pleased that this film made the infection immediate rather than go through a whole thing about people trying to hide it. That gimmick is played out so hard, so I was glad to see it discarded. Of course, that doesn't make sense, but who cares, none of this is supposed to make sense. If there's anything to be bothered with in terms of making sense, it's the scene where Gleeson's character drives his car over a tunnel piled up with cars. The rest strikes me as a pretty reasonable conclusion.

The third act is weird, and I'd rather not discuss it very much, but I suppose I wasn't expecting gang rape. You can see the ending coming, but that's okay, it couldn't have ended with gang rape. Just imagine if the film had. Instead, this basically is what it is. It's a good movie about a virus that makes people go crazy and try to kill people who aren't infected yet. Your expectations should not be that high to begin with, but this film surpassed my expectations. There is another good appearance from Christopher Eccleston that I have not addressed, but this appearance added a ton to the film. The sex slave angle was a little bit unexpected. Now that I'm done with this, I'm going to look into the alternative endings. Jim dying would have been a good one. I will eventually take a look at the sequel.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kahran Ramsus on October 28, 2017, 12:02:27 PM
Apocalypse is  still the standard for me.  Maybe simply for the "Ride of the Valykries" scene.  One of the best scenes in movie history imo.

Kilgore is the best

Yeah, I hate to sound like a broken record, but Apocalypse Now is my pick for best Vietnam movie too.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on October 28, 2017, 12:08:00 PM
I really don't care for that movie after the epic start but I can't get into it withour spoilers.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 31, 2017, 06:58:44 AM
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0zQrpYO4qgY/VgeskMQS8kI/AAAAAAAAFjw/Uc72CAO3A2Y/w650-h350/the-pianist.jpg)

The Pianist (2002), directed by Roman Polanski

It's going to be borderline impossible for me to discuss a Holocaust film with the kind of levity that they deserve. It's obviously something I am not capable of doing. That's one reason I don't watch movies so artistically important. I know that's a terrible excuse and I also know that these films need to be watched. Unknowing that this film was based on an autobiography of somebody who lived through the Holocaust, there was one scene in particular that nearly had me in tears. I would also say that this is the most compelling film related to this subject. Polanski's own experiences allow him to tell the story in a way that encapsulates the experience of hiding from a force that wants to kill you. I could not believe what I was watching.

Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody) is a Jewish pianist who plays on the radio. While doing so, the station is bombed during the Nazi invasion of Poland. Szpilman goes home, and he learns that Britain and France have declared war on Germany. As we know, the French and British were inactive at a time when they could have crippled Germany. Unfortunately, they did not come, and the Germans took over Poland. With that comes anti-semitism. Jews are forced to move into the Warsaw ghetto, and they're walled off from Polish society. That Szpilman is a world class pianist was completely irrelevant. Eventually, the Nazis decide that it's time to start rounding people up and sending them to Treblinka. These are some of the roughest scenes that I've watched in a movie. One in particular features an old man being thrown out of his wheelchair to the ground 30 feet below. Some time after that, Szpilman is separated from his family, who is sent to Treblinka to die. Szpilman then becomes a slave, and the movie goes on from there.

I have spoiled at least an hour of this film, but I guess that's too bad as everyone should have watched this anyway. The closing scenes are haunting. There is very little hope or anything resembling that in this film. It is a very bleak picture painted here, I would say moreso than Schindler's List. The story presented here is fantastic. Szpilman doesn't become an action hero or anything of the sort in order to survive. He's starved, sick, and trapped. The Pianist is best at showing how things got to that point. The film is long enough to show the entire process of the Holocaust, sans camps, which Szpilman was lucky enough to avoid. Perhaps lucky isn't the right word. Fortunate. Blessed. I don't know. Survival was mostly determined by luck and chance.

I said that there were haunting scenes, and that's true, but there are others that were downright sickening. There's a Nazi piece of shit who gets his rocks off to Jews dancing while waiting to travel from one ghetto to the other. There's multiple scenes where people are lined up and shot in the head. There are no punches pulled with this material, no music to make you feel bad or pull at your emotions. No drama with some of these scenes either. That's what genocide is really like to begin with. Some day, someone decides they're going to line up some people and put a bullet in their heads, and they just do it. While those scenes are sickening, they need to be presented, but obviously these films are not for the faint of heart.

Someone here has made comments about how ultra-violent films have a habit of desensitizing the viewer, but I'm not entirely sure how true that is. This film is a good counterpoint to that, at least as it applies to me. I could not imagine being densitized to the content in this film. When I referred to nearly being in tears, it was a scene where Szpilman gets busted by a German officer (Thomas Kretschmann), who catches him trying to open a can of cucumbers so that he doesn't starve. There is something that happens during that which is impossible for me to describe on any level whatsoever. The performance that Adrien Brody gives is one of the best I've seen. It's quite difficult for an actor to do a role like this one, where the entire focus of the film is on you. Then pair it together with this kind of subject matter. Tough job. The scene that will stick with me the most is the wheelchair scene, though.

10/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on October 31, 2017, 11:31:53 AM
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NyVhlxvHtNg/Tt6XAPfQceI/AAAAAAAAAPY/h-l_yRJFoHM/s1600/Seagal.jpg)

Half Past Dead (2002), directed by Don Michael Paul

As I've said previously, I like to follow up a classic with a big let down movie. The pace has to be changed, especially given that The Pianist was as serious as a movie could possibly be. This is contrary to that. In its attempts to be serious, it is anything but. Half Past Dead is without question one of the worst films I have ever watched. I am fully understanding of why these kinds of movies get made, though. In some country out there, people think these movies are fantastic. That sounds insane to me, but I can see how. Prior to this, I'd only watched one Steven Seagal movie. I can't remember which one it was, either. I believe it was Hard to Kill, but by no means am I certain of that. I'll have to watch it some day in order to find out.

Sasha (Steven Seagal) is a Russian car thief who is interrogated at the beginning of this film. Why? Apparently he's going to work for a crime boss named Sonny, who we are later told killed Sasha's wife. Sasha delivers a car to some warehouse, at which point the FBI shows up to arrest him and his buddy Nick (Ja Rule). In the process of arresting them, Sasha is shot and nearly dies (hence the title), after which Sasha and Nick are sent to a newly reopened Alcatraz. Upon arrival, there's a warden (Tony Plana) who likes to mix English and Spanish, which is the first awesome cliche in this movie. I mean that unironically. I really love it. Soon after a scene where Sasha beats up a prison guard, the first death row prisoner is brought to Alcatraz. This man stole $200 million in gold, and for some reason he wants to talk to Sasha. While talking to him, some terrorists arrive and do all kinds of stupid shit.

If your favorite kind of movie is one where guys jump off of three story balconies to shoot people, this is for you. Nobody gets hurt while doing so! The plot doesn't make sense either, which is cool. It turns out that Seagal's character is an undercover FBI agent sent there to make Nick trust him more, even though Nick already trusted him a lot. Of course this doesn't make any sense. Nothing in this film does. You have a Russian with no Russian accent. A terrorist (Morris Chestnut) who talks far too much while saying nothing at all. This is the perfect recipe for a bad movie. One of the speeches Chestnut gives is amazing. The Supreme Court Justice taken hostage is a female liberal. You can probably figure out what is said after that. Everything to set these scenes up is incredibly razor thin, so I don't feel guilty about giving the movie away.

I didn't mention the ending yet, which is completely hilarious and features the prisoner blowing themselves up. There is nothing at all to explain why he'd do this. There's also nothing to explain why Nick and the other prisoners would help Sasha shoot the terrorists. Sasha never tells them that he's an FBI agent. After all, they'd kill him. Not even the editing style with thousands of quick cuts can make some of the action scenes good. I am particularly confused at how Seagal is able to climb into a helicopter that crashed through the glass ceiling of the prison. Magic? Maybe. I should never doubt somebody like Seagal anyway. I know I'm going to give this a low score, but if you like bad movies this should be near the top of your list. I cannot imagine many ways it could have been worse.

I was trying to save this until the end of November in case I had a day or two where I couldn't watch a movie (and I would subsequently knock this off the list), so I'm a little bummed I had nothing to do this afternoon. That being said, I wouldn't have been able to see skinny prisoners jump off third and fourth story balconies to shoot at people and miss. I believe that the prisoners shot a few hundred bullets throughout the movie and didn't hit a single thing. So, why were they on Alcatraz in the first place? I will watch more of these in due time. Hopefully there will be better discussion material in Seagal's other films.

3/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on October 31, 2017, 11:38:18 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDI83HvbtCE
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on November 01, 2017, 08:53:26 AM
Yeah, I first watched The Pianist pretty blind only knowing it had Brody and was a WW2 era film. Probably the most impactful film of that era I've seen since Schindler's List and that's saying something as somebody who has seen a lot of the films covering that era & subject matter.

One of the more haunting scenes to me is (IIRC)
Spoiler: show
when Wladyslaw finds the boy by the wall & tries to help him escape but the Nazi is holding the boy's legs and kills him. The aftermath with Wladyslaw just holding his lifeless body :(
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on November 01, 2017, 09:38:05 AM
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NyVhlxvHtNg/Tt6XAPfQceI/AAAAAAAAAPY/h-l_yRJFoHM/s1600/Seagal.jpg)

Half Past Dead (2002), directed by Don Michael Paul

I can't believe I watched this trash...glad I did though, even bad movies have redeeming qualities that are worth an hour and a half of your time.

So in that way, watching this actually deepened my appreciation for movies. If I can convince myself to sit through this and get something out of it, it’s hard to justify not taking time to sit down with something watchable, let alone good.

https://youtu.be/aca_DRQ4DWU

I wouldn’t say this was the best scene, the skydiving one was superior but this is certainly in the discussion.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 01, 2017, 05:58:16 PM
(https://ewedit.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/the-night-before_0-1.jpg)

The Night Before (2015), directed by Jonathan Levine

I genuinely do not remember the last time I watched a Christmas movie for the first time. Usually, it's the same stuff in the rotation. Both Home Alone movies, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Die Hard, Jingle All the Way, and The Muppet Christas Carol are ones that everyone likes. Sometimes I don't watch any. I'm not always in the mood, and watching these can bring up memories I'd rather not revisit. Obviously, this is a bit early for a Christmas movie, but I was pissed off after the World Series and decided I should watch a bad comedy movie to get my spirits back up. It almost did the trick, surprisingly. There are reasons unrelated to the main story that made that the case. I will talk about them below.

Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen), and Chris (Anthony Mackie) are three friends who have a Christmas tradition. Ethan's died 14 years prior to the events of this film, and they keep a tradition of going out and doing crazy shit on Christmas Eve. Thing is, they're moving on. Chris is a football player, and Isaac has a kid on the way. Ethan is a loser of sorts, as is made clear as things go along, but it is also seems like he doesn't want the tradition to end. The guys know of a huge party called the Nutcracker Ball, but they've never seen able to go. That is, until Ethan steals some tickets out of a jacket at his work. Isaac's wife Betsy (Jillian Bell) is nice enough to supply Isaac with drugs as they go along, which leads to some interesting scenarios. Chris wants to bring some weed to the big party, so he calls up Mr. Green (Michael Shannon). On their last adventure prior to the party, the guys encounter Diana (Lizzy Caplan), who broke up with Ethan because he refused to meet her parents (people actually do that shit?).

I dropped a lot of information there, but the first and by far most important thing is that Michael Shannon is in this film and not just in one scene. That alone caught my attention when I listed this. The guy is a great actor. I don't know how many people watched Boardwalk Empire, but after that I'd take a look at anything he does. I say that knowing that he's also been in a lot of garbage. This also won't be the only Michael Shannon movie I watch this week. Clearly his part will be a lot different than this one as a drug dealer. Or will it?

I don't have the same Seth Rogen fatigue that everyone else has. I don't watch his shit at all. As far as his star vehicles go. Knocked Up and Pineapple Express are it. That probably sounds crazy to some people, but whatever, it doesn't even matter. The point is that his formula is still not tired to me. His formula is also quite clear. He does some shit in the process of growing up, by the end of the film he has matured, and everything's good as he goes along with his life. There is nothing inherently wrong with this formula as long as the movies are amusing. Tiresome, sure. I can't disagree with that, but I don't watch his movies. Of course, as with everything else, that will probably change. I'm on the journey to watching way too many movies as it is. It doesn't hurt this effort that Mackie and Gordon-Levitt are both good even when the material is not that awesome.

Make no mistake, everything in this film is not amusing, and there's one specific subplot that's really bad. Actually, more than one. The one where James Franco is sending dick pics to Seth Rogen as Rogen has accidentally taken Mindy Kaling's phone? Why is this in the movie? I don't know. Yeah, that's the worst one. The stuff with Baron Davis and Chris' teammates isn't all that much better, except for the part where I'm like...that's Baron Davis? In a movie? I didn't expect to see something like that. I'm sure that a lot of people don't care for a Christmas movie having a drug trip. That on the other hand I did care for. I thought it was different enough to be enjoyable.

I guess that's what I'd say about this movie in total, it was different enough that I could enjoy it. This is a high grade, but the film did have Michael Shannon in it, and his scenes were really good. Certainly I won't add this to any kind of Christmas movie rotation, which is something I'm trying to get away from doing in the first place. One thing I will say about this movie is that I believe people are ready to revisit the late 90's. It's just a matter of time before a host of television series follow a path similar to how Stranger Things revisits the 80's. I'm totally there. It's time to see my childhood in grand scale. I have deliberately ignored any bad scenes because on some level I think this is worth watching. I don't remember the last Christmas comedy prior to this one, and the one this year features Ed Helms and Terry Bradshaw. So, I'm not sure anybody wants to go down that road. I'll do it for you in a few months.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 01, 2017, 06:00:34 PM
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NyVhlxvHtNg/Tt6XAPfQceI/AAAAAAAAAPY/h-l_yRJFoHM/s1600/Seagal.jpg)

Half Past Dead (2002), directed by Don Michael Paul

I can't believe I watched this trash...glad I did though, even bad movies have redeeming qualities that are worth an hour and a half of your time.

So in that way, watching this actually deepened my appreciation for movies. If I can convince myself to sit through this and get something out of it, it’s hard to justify not taking time to sit down with something watchable, let alone good.

https://youtu.be/aca_DRQ4DWU

I wouldn’t say this was the best scene, the skydiving one was superior but this is certainly in the discussion.

It's too bad people don't make gif's for old movies but...I think this was the best scene with dudes jumping down from balconies and landing on their feet while Steven Seagal is in a helicopter that crashed through the ceiling shouting CEASE FIRE. HOW DID HE GET IN THE HELICOPTER WHO THE FUCK KNOWS SON

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu-X9PCpjw8
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 03, 2017, 06:42:12 PM
(https://static.rogerebert.com/uploads/review/primary_image/reviews/kicks-2016/hero_Kicks-2016.jpg)

Kicks (2016), directed by Justin Tipping

There was only one reason I watched this film, in truth. I saw that the Notorious B.I.G's son was in it. My assumption was that he was in the lead role. I was completely wrong there. I am so glad that I watched this anyway. Opening the mind is good. I only knew this film was related to shoes in some way, but I guess it really wasn't. It was about something else entirely. I know that nobody watched this, so anything I say may determine whether or not other people do. According to Wikipedia, this film had a massive $150,191 take at the box office. So big! What this film really is, is a short film about the East Bay. What's the East Bay? The Oakland area. How does this film describe Oakland? Oakland is poor. Rough. You grow up the hard way. The main character knows all about that.

Brandon (Jahking Guillory) is the smallest kid his age, and he grows up in a really poor, seemingly broken family. He has long hair and wears shoes that are falling apart, so naturally he's bullied relentlessly. He does have two friends, though. Rico (Christopher Meyer) seems to be drowning in girls. Albert (Christopher Wallace) on the other hand says that he is, but he's really not, and both of his friends make fun of him for it. Brandon is able to somehow scrape together money to buy shoes that aren't falling apart, in the process restoring some confidence in the young guy. It seems that these shoes are stolen, but I hardly see how that matters. He bought them. So, the thing is, that just makes him more of a target. Flaco (Kofi Siriboe) is a typical piece of shit. A typical piece of shit with friends who like to beat up on little kids. Oh yeah, he has a gun too. So, Brandon has to give up those shoes in the process of catching a beating that gets put on YouTube. Brandon just can't have this. After all, he's a man, and his friends keep telling him he needs to be one. He needs to get those shoes back. So, he takes his friends to go find someone who will help him get those shoes back.

The someone who gives Brandon advice is an Oscar winning actor, but I don't want to spoil the surprise. Clearly this film examines a few things I'd like to go over. A few of those things are repeated rather often in order to ensure that the viewer understands what this movie about. One is being a man. What do people expect from men? Especially poor men who have shit taken from them? You're supposed to do something about that. You're actually supposed to do something about that even if you aren't poor. Why do people have a gun to protect their house and belongings? Fortunately what I'm about to describe is diminishing to some extent, but there's also the way a real man is supposed to treat a woman. They're supposed to know their place. Now, one of my criticisms of this film is that such a theme is probably better placed ten years ago. A lot of women won't tolerate that shit anymore, and they shouldn't. Another thing I don't understand is the astronaut. Maybe my take on this is wrong, but I'm not sure. I think the astronaut is supposed to represent his childhood, which is obviously slowly slipping away as the events of the film continue.

This film is also dark and displeasing to great extent. I did think this was going to be like Dope. Well, I was totally wrong about that. Dope presents a more hopeful vision of urban life. This on the other hand does not. This is dark and far more raw. It is a reality that there are people like Flaco in our cities. Flaco isn't completely bad, at least he cares for his son, I guess. That makes him an interesting character that is very well portrayed, but for the most part he's beyond redemption. There is another part unmentioned that I liked a lot, it is pictured above. I also can't describe what it is. To do so would spoil the events of what actually happen. It's not long after Brandon goes to Oakland to find his uncle. The main reason I say this film is displeasing is because I had a hard time figuring out why Brandon did some of the things he did. His ability to listen to advice changes as things go along, and he should know better based on the events of the film.

All this being said, this is a good film, especially given this was the director's first attempt. The director says that he was also jumped for his shoes, but that the people who did it wound up not taking them after destroying him. I'm sure that's exactly why he decided to make this movie. There are a few miracles of casting. Obviously, the Oscar winning actor was a great get. Casting a 13 year old as a 15 year old was pretty smart too. It ensured that he looked like someone who got bullied. Despite the things that I said were wrong with this movie, there were quite a few great scenes. Plus, the music selections were excellent. Any film with "Get Stupid," "Sideshow," and "C.R.E.A.M"? I'm there. The things I brought up as discussion points are things I'd like to see other opinions on if people watch this, which is why I didn't elaborate too much.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 05, 2017, 06:25:56 PM
(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/film/A%20Most%20Violent%20Year/a-most-violent-year-review.lead-xlarge.jpg)

A Most Violent Year (2014), directed by J.C. Chandor

A Most Violent Year appeared to be a film released in awards season with the intention of winning some big ones (specifically awards that are televised), but that didn't quite happen. Watching this now, I wanted to believe that critics were wrong. I mean, what's not to like? The poster presents the image that this is a crime classic. It presents Oscar Isaac's character as a mafia boss. How could anyone disagree? Just run a search if you don't believe me. That alone piques my interest. This film is also very particular in its choice of opening song. "Inner City Blues?" Come on man. They're just setting me up to love this. So, what happens when a movie isn't what you think it's going to be? What happens when you're presented with a good film regardless of it not being what you wanted to be watching?

A Most Violent Year is set in 1981, which was a horrendous year for violence in New York City. Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is trying to achieve the American Dream. It is not said where he came from, but he emigrated to the United States. Abel owns a heating oil company, and heating oil is valuable merchandise. His trucks transporting the oil are carrying thousands of dollars in quantity. Julian (Elyes Gabel) is one of Abel's drivers, who is hijacked and beaten up by two guys with guns. Anna (Jessica Chastain) is Abel's wife, who encourages him to get stuck in and start fighting back, but Abel doesn't want to do so. It appears one reason for that is because he's getting investigated by a prosecutor (David Oyelowo), who is certain that Abel's company is dirty. On top of that, he's gotten in a deal with some Chassidim to purchase a property he cannot afford. If he does not close the deal on time, the property will be sold to one of Abel's competitors and he will lose a huge down payment.

See? There's nothing related to the mafia there. Well, besides the fact that Albert Brooks and Jerry Adler are in this film. There's that, at least. Their parts are much different than those in Drive and The Sopranos, which is obviously for the best. Brooks plays Abel's lawyer, and Adler is the Chassidim owner of the property Abel is buying. Naturally, I am immediately reminded of this scene.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c-v1K_KpvI

While this film is not related to the mafia, there are things in the setting that are immediately reminiscent of it. Obviously, the hijacked trucks come to mind. It's a textbook mafia tactic. There's also Abel's palatial estate, which...wouldn't be palatial now, but if you're living in a place like that in 1981, you're living like a mob boss would be doing. There's also Anna. You'd think I'm about to say that she's a typical mob wife. Nope. Anna is not a textbook version of the wife presented in mafia related films. Some of them, at least. At first I was confused as to why Jessica Chastain would take a role like this after some of the things she has said. It didn't take me that long to understand why. This is a very strong female character. Stronger than her husband in some ways.

On the subject of her husband, Abel is a strange character. It is unclear why Abel wants to be the magnate of this business. There is a scene where this is addressed and he's unable to answer. That's one way to deal with a character's motivations, I suppose. I still didn't understand them even by the end of the film. I guess that Abel is a simple man in some ways. For whatever reason, he believes that he can be rich and run his business the right way, without doing anything wrong. All of his competitors are counterpoints to that. None of them have done things the right way. The story of this film presents the idea that one or all of them are guilty of stealing from Abel. This film also presents the reality that much like other businesses, the heating oil business was divided into mafia style territories, which Abel seemed to encroach upon.

This film is not bad, and after setting my expectations to the side, I think saying so would be an incredibly stupid take. However, it is not great. For as much as Abel's character confuses me, there are some great scenes in this. The one I would like to post from YouTube is far too long and at least 10-15% of the film, I'm not even sure it's on there. A large amount of the scenes utilize setting exceptionally. It is very rare for me to encounter jump scares in any movie that is not deliberately looking for them and setting you up for them. Somehow this has two of them. It felt like 1981. There was graffiti everywhere. A bleak atmosphere. Radio messages about people getting stabbed. Decaying subway stations. Concrete houses. Bad hair. Gaudy clothes. Nice cars. Corruption. This film is full of good performances that made me believe in them, but the motivations (or lack thereof) of some of the characters and slow pace can be a little offputting. This is worth watching anyway. I suppose I would say that critics weren't wrong. This has a 79 on Metacritic, which sounds appropriate.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 07, 2017, 08:12:10 AM
I had no idea that I wrote this much about this movie. Yikes.

(http://dl9fvu4r30qs1.cloudfront.net/a7/8d/198873be49ca981da4ba2b7ae5d6/99-homes-99homes-fp-00970-rgb.jpg)

99 Homes (2015), directed by Ramin Bahrani

99 Homes is going to be very difficult for me to write about in the aftermath of viewing it. I'm not sure what to make of the ending. This is also not light subject matter. See, I got eviction notices some time ago. Nobody's proud of that or of admitting it. However, I left prior to the kinds of events that were depicted in this film. I was looking over the director's filmography after watching this one. The subjects he presents in his films are very interesting. I am going to have to go back and look at them, but they are quite obscure. It will obviously take a while, but it appears that we have a director who specializes in natural situations humans find themselves in. The message presented here is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Dennis (Andrew Garfield) is a construction worker who works in Florida circa 2010. He has done two weeks of work and not been paid. Sometime later, or at the same time (it is not made clear), it is time for Dennis to be evicted from his home, which has been foreclosed. Enter Rick Carver (Michael Shannon), somebody who immediately makes people feel nasty things in their guts. Doesn't everyone hate people who kick others out of their homes? Dennis lives with his son (Connor) and mother (Laura Dern), who are incredulous as to what is happening to them. Carver is obviously successful in his eviction, and Dennis is forced to move his family into a motel room. That's certainly my worst nightmare. In the process of doing so, Dennis believes his tools have been stolen, and decides that he needs to go back to encounter the people who removed his possessions from his house. When doing so, Carver walks out of the building to announce that there's a situation at one of his houses. He offers Dennis some money to come along, and after all, Dennis needs to work. He has no money. They get to the house and find that a tenant has filled the house with shit. What will Dennis do for money? Go in there to deal with the shit.

Dealing with shit is one way to describe how this film turns out. This film is set in 2010, shortly after the financial crisis, so the rash of foreclosures presented in this film make more sense. The eviction scene is presented in the most raw and realistic way imaginable. I actually can't believe how well done it was. If this was the only scene of value in the entire film, this would still be a decent film. The rash of foreclosures and encounters with people who can't pay their mortgage takes this from a decent film to a great one. The scenarios presented are all harrowing and stomach turning. The performances in these scenes are excellent. What this film does is show how fucked our society has become. Was it always this way? I can't answer that. I wasn't alive.

There are many films about capitalist greed, and this goes up towards the top of the list. It isn't only about greed, but Michael Shannon's character is the picture of it. I am incapable of understanding why the movies Michael Shannon makes do not make money. He's one of the absolute best actors we have. He even did a horrible Superman movie so that more people would get to know who he was. That seems to not matter at all. Perhaps it's just that movies about the struggles of real people don't make money. Hell or High Water made $38 million and that was one of the best movies about economic hardship of the last decade. Maybe people are just never going to accept Michael Shannon as a lead actor. I don't know, but the situation really pisses me off. The monologues he has in this film are all fantastic. Gordon Gekko type stuff.

I skipped out on the last round of Spiderman movies, so all I'd seen from Andrew Garfield prior to this was The Social Network. His part in that film is big, but I'm having a hard time remembering the intricacies of this film, so at some point I am going to have to watch it again. I was impressed with what I saw here. It is very difficult to play a character like this one. Contrary to Charlie Sheen's in Wall Street, Garfield's character does not understand what he's getting into. For whatever reason Dennis and Rick avoid discussing the subject. Like Rick says, it doesn't really matter. Dennis needs money. He is not in a position to say no to a job. He got fucked at his last one and he lost his house. This is the capitalist conundrum. What would you do for money if you have to live in a motel room? Would you kick people out of their houses? What about the ramifications of that on your soul? My personal experiences give me the perspective of somebody who would have to do this. I have not done something like this. I am a realist, however. I would do this. Your kid has to eat. You have to live. That the evicted parties didn't pay their mortgage is very little moral cleansing. It's probably best not to even think about that. This makes me sound like a soulless bastard, but if you've ever thought you were going to be homeless, maybe you'd understand.

There are some problems with this movie, specifically the ending, which is not tied together in a way I find realistic. There are a few reasons why I have that opinion, so if anyone would like to talk about it below this review, we should probably use spoiler tags. That being said, I did like that the ending was ambiguous. You don't really know what happened, and I don't think that you need to know. The thing about capitalism is that there are many various ways in which that could have ended. Would the police even believe what has been said? There's no way to know that. I am sure that everything about the ending was constructed this way intentionally. After all, the line between unscrupulous and ethical is so thin in America. That's what we are. Another problem I have with this movie is the way Laura Dern is relegated to the sidelines. I was surprised by this and do not quite understand.

That all being said, I am going to say something I've told a few people. For whatever criticisms of Hollywood people have, and there sure as fuck are a lot of them these days, the variety that is presented these days feels different to any other time I am aware of. There are movies and projects out there seemingly about everything. What there isn't, there is going to be. Not all of them follow general plot devices, although this one is quite reminiscent of Wall Street, transported down to street level. A few of the things I wanted to write down related to that, I forgot about already. That's too bad. I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you're not down with the way I shit on capitalism sometimes, this is still a good film for you to watch. All of the scenes are well acted and this isn't presented as propaganda.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on November 07, 2017, 10:48:55 AM
Another problem I have with this movie is the way Laura Dern is relegated to the sidelines. I was surprised by this and do not quite understand.


8/10

The Michael Keaton McDonald's movie The Founder wastes her even more. I think she only has like three lines. I thought she did okay with what she had in 99 Homes, but should've been a more important character.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 08, 2017, 05:30:01 AM
(https://assets.mubi.com/images/film/33738/image-w856.jpg)

Shaft (2000), directed by John Singleton

Shaft is another movie that I've seen before, and I've been pretty careful not to review too many of those. I believe I've only reviewed one before, and it just so happens that it was another John Singleton film. I didn't remember anything from Shaft, so this was a great candidate for revisiting. If I had remembered things about it, it is quite likely I wouldn't have watched it at all. Surprisingly, the cast is full of big names who were attracted to this material at various stages of their careers. Was this true to the source material? Honestly, I don't think that it was. Has anyone seen the source material? This just doesn't give off the right feeling. As I've said before about unoriginal material, I don't really care if it's true to the source material as long as it's good. Nothing has changed, I still believe that. What about when it isn't good?

John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) is on the scene to investigate a murder. Trey (Mekhi Phifer) was murdered by Walter Wade (Christian Bale) after Trey's response to some racist comments ended up in Wade bashing Trey's head in with a pole. There is a witness named Diane (Toni Collette), but she disappears. Wade gets bail even though he's a potential flight risk, so he leaves the country. In the meantime, Shaft has been moved down to narcotics, because he punched Wade in the face when arresting him. While on a bust, Shaft encounters a drug kingpin named Peoples Hernandez (Jeffrey Wright), and arrests him on some trumped up charge. Shaft is then also alerted that Wade is returning to the country, so he arrests Wade too. Wade has another bail hearing after that, and bail is granted once again, so Shaft resigns from the police force in order to...BRING WADE TO JUSTICE. Meanwhile on the other side, Wade hires Peoples to find Diane and get rid of her.

There's a lot to unpack about this movie, but I think the most important things are these. Does Samuel L. Jackson make a good Shaft? Yes. Was this the best way to utilize a new Shaft? No. Absolutely not. There are a lot of funny lines, that goes without saying. Apparently there were clashes on set over some of these lines. I can see how. After all, when a "it's my duty to please that booty" gets in there, I can only imagine what else the script had in store for our guy John Shaft. It's too bad that we didn't see a full bore vision of whatever this film was originally intended to be. The scene at Shaft's congratulations party is probably as close as we got to seeing that.

On the subject of this not being the best way to utilize Shaft, I'll be quite frank. The movie sucks. There's no way of getting around this. It isn't on the level of some of the other bad movies I've watched, but this wasn't good. There are a lot of characters who show up and don't mean anything, and there are others you have no idea will be a big part of the story, who wind up being in the film for a long time even though they only have a few lines. Vanessa Williams' character is probably the best example of this. She is there and I don't know why, because she never speaks. Why is Busta Rhymes driving Shaft around? We'll never know the answer to that. Why is a Spanish speaking character played by Jeffrey Wright? The casting of this film is incredibly backwards, but it's not the only time John Singleton cast a film as strangely as this one. 2 Fast 2 Furious is another obvious example. That all being said, if Jeffrey Wright wasn't playing a Dominican, I doubt anything in this would have been entertaining. Shaft would have had nobody to be his counterpoint, and Jeffrey Wright had a good performance even though it seems like somebody else should have been in that spot. It's also not like Christian Bale was well used. His character returning to the country for no apparent reason is a pretty egregious offense as far as formulating a plot goes.

It's really hard to write about shitty movies sometimes, because when they suck, it's hard to summarize my thoughts in any kind of way that is entertaining to read. My thoughts wind up scattered all over the place. This film is actually quite similar. It was not as entertaining as it should have been given the characters available to the director. The basics are reasonably solid, Singleton just couldn't fill the gaps. I am going to try to avoid this guy's movies for a while because I'm tired of watching them. There is also a lack of appropriate music in this film, and the Shaft theme was merely put on repeat throughout. I can't be the only one that sees a problem with this. Fortunately, I do think the Shaft concept still has life. I know they're making a movie called Son of Shaft, but it needs to haave a good director. I can see it being a success.

5.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 09, 2017, 03:27:07 AM
(https://cdn.thearthunters.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/cover-5.jpg)

Deepwater Horizon (2016), directed by Peter Berg

Here I was, about to tear into this film for profiteering on a disaster. I had every intention of doing just that. Then, naturally, I watched the film. I am left with some strange feelings after doing so. As I am now aware of, there was no profiteering from this film at all. I don't know if there was intention to do so. I also am a firm believer that it is completely inappropriate for movie studios to profit from disasters like this one. This being a disaster is something I had to keep in mind as the movie played out. Why do I say that? Perhaps because there's a lot of things prior to the actual disaster. Perhaps because there is literally nothing to do with the resulting oil spill. That's not a typo. The resulting oil spill is mentioned one time at the beginning of the film and not covered in any other way. Is there something wrong with that? Hell yes.

This film presents an interesting tale, which does diverge from facts in some ways. Like, for example, BP's own responsibility in this incident as a company. With that in mind, this tale decides to center on one person and unfurl from there. Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) is headed out on his 21 day shift working for Transocean, a company that leased out Deepwater Horizon to British Petroleum. Deepwater Horizon was, as everyone should know, an oil drilling rig. Transocean is a company that owns drilling rigs, which are leased out to various oil companies. Everything's good at home for Mike. He has a hot wife named Felicia (Kate Hudson), and a daughter as well. Along with him, there are some other people headed to the rig for their shifts. Mr. Jimmy (Kurt Russell) is the manager, and although this isn't made as clear as it should be, he's the head of the rig. At least as far as until BP starts worrying about profits and their contract, which is overdue. Jimmy and Mike arrive with Andrea (Gina Rodriguez), who appears to be in charge of navigating the rig. Alright.

So, I have set the stage for nothing at all, really. I have explained some things better than the film itself attempted to do. It is made clear that the drilling is not going all that well. Knowledge of oil drilling seems to be of little use, just know that it's not going so great. In the process of drilling, they stick mud in there to protect something. You know, something, okay? Don (John Malkovich) is the BP manager at the site, and he's not happy with how far over schedule the project is. He has every intention of drilling without testing to see if things would go well. It is one of the film's fictions, as this is not true. In reality, Don called his bosses because he did not know what to do. In the movie, Mr. Jimmy gets Don to conduct this test prior to drilling. It doesn't go the way either of them want, so Don has Jimmy kicked out of the room in order to do the test again. They do it, and it seemingly goes okay until some mud is spotted on the deck. Mud comes up, boom, blowout. Blowout leads to fire, leads to explosion.

Perhaps I could have written about the events of this film better than I did. Perhaps the events of this film could also have been portrayed as closer to what they actually were. Initially, this film was to be directed by J.C. Chandor, who coincidentally was the director of A Most Violent Year, which I just reviewed. Chandor wanted an ensemble cast. The studio did not. They fired him and replaced him with Peter Berg, who centered the film around a smaller group of characters, and specifically Mark Wahlberg's. Is this an acceptable way to make a film like this? Yes. It's also a lot different than what it could have been. Films like these do need to be simplified, so my criticisms in that area shouldn't be taken so strongly. Should a film lengthen itself by 30 minutes in order to explain an industry people don't care about until their prices at the pump go up? The answer is no.

That all being said, there are numerous good things about this. John Malkovich is great as the mythical slimy oil executive. I could genuinely not tell it was him. His accent was quite authentic. Also, this movie has Kurt Russell as a cranky fuck. That's good. The visual effects are incredible. It is interesting that this movie did not win an Academy Award. I have not watched enough of the movies from last year to determine whether or not this deserved to win. That being said, the effects were great. Everyone loves seeing some fire. The film is also accurate in a few ways of pertinence. The idea that BP was trying to get the job done while spending as little money as possible is beaten into our heads relentlessly. I am a little surprised that BP allowed this to be released without tying this up in litigation, but I assume they couldn't take another PR hit. Another positive is the direction. I don't care for the hero aspects of this story, I'm not that kind of person. However, Berg's use of the camera left me not knowing what the hell was going on, which is exactly the feeling we should have watching a movie like this one.

My score for this movie probably won't make sense in the context of all that I have written, but the thing is, I love disaster movies. That this was based on a true story does not change that. I assume that with this not making money, and Geostorm bombing pretty hard, that there won't be too many more of these kinds of movies. I don't know why anyone would sign off on a giant budget for a film like this one anyway, but they did and I'm glad that I watched it. If you like seeing shit get blown up, this is for you. If you like that hero shit, this is for you too. I don't really care for the hero story, but there's enough here besides that to make this an enjoyable film. I liked this while I was watching it and I think that's what matters.

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 09, 2017, 06:30:18 PM
Spoilers below.

(http://images.contentful.com/7h71s48744nc/6tZcu7NTlCcAiwG4u08eYU/4d293d2bf232cfff5fc4e8bd3439d05f/war-dogs-large.jpeg)

War Dogs (2016), directed by Todd Phillips

War Dogs is the first film I've watched in a while that I genuinely did not even want to watch. Why did I not want to watch this? Have you seen the trailer? This looks like a rip off of The Wolf of Wall Street. That is not inaccurate. It's also a really awful trailer. On top of that, I can't stand Miles Teller's face. I have no idea why anyone would decide he can be made into a sympathetic lead actor. Even after watching this, I know without doubt that this is not possible. That being said, I have a thing for this genre. Even if a movie steals as many of Scorsese's gimmicks as this one does, it's hard for me to hate the movie. It felt kind of like an homage. One reason I watched this so soon was that I wanted to eliminate another film based on a true story. I'm getting a little bit bothered by watching them, but I have a few more lined up this month. I have a feeling they'll be better than this one.

I did just made this movie sound really bad, but I swear that it isn't. David (Miles Teller) is a guy who works as a massage therapist. There is a funny scene related to this early on. He has a girlfriend named Iz (Ana de Armas), who becomes pregnant as this story goes on. Of course, it's hard to support a kid on the kind of money you get as a massage therapist. Enter Efraim (Jonah Hill). Efraim is a guy who David knew from junior high, who has returned to Miami in order to start a company called AEY. AEY is a defense contractor, meaning that they supply the US government with weapons. This film is also set in 2005, during the middle of the Iraq War. AEY is a shit company who fills orders for these contracts as cheaply as possible, using suppliers who aren't allowed to do business with the US government themselves. Efraim wants David in, and David wants in too, so he tells Iz that he's selling cotton sheets to the government for soldiers in Iraq. Obviously he isn't, which Iz finds out when there's a situation in Jordan. Guess what? David and Efraim have to go deal with the situation.

I think I may have spoiled a shitload of the movie, but that's not my problem. If you didn't want to know, you wouldn't be reading this. This movie is a lot better than it has any right to be given the circumstances I have laid out. This is, as I said, a direct Scorsese homage. There is constant narration from David, who turns out to be the Henry Hill of this story. There are also freeze frames at moments of value. Lastly and most importantly, the film comes to its conclusion the same way Scorsese would do it, although obviously in a way less skilled. I do not care for any attempts to garner sympathy for somebody who was selling weapons to mutilate brown people with, and the last seven minutes or so were a really blatant attempt to do so. The most appealing thing about a Scorsese film is that you know the people involved are pieces of garbage, and he doesn't really try to pull any nice guy tricks on you at the end. You get it straight.

This film isn't all nice guy tricks by any stretch, which is nice because it shouldn't be. Jonah Hill's performance here was great, even though he gained so much weight to do this. He looked completely gigantic and far bigger than I've ever seen him before. I couldn't believe it, actually. So, if we're drawing comparisons to Scorsese characters, Efraim would be your Tommy DeVito. Both guys don't like being told what to do. They're loose cannons, even though Efraim is too much of a pussy to kill anyone. He'd screw anyone out of money without a second thought, but he also has good ideas, just like when it was time to pull off the Lufthansa heist. Perhaps my comparisons are off, but I really think not. It is hard to shake this homage attempt once I started thinking about it. It isn't anywhere near as good, of course. Still, Hill would not be out of place in a Scorsese movie, as we know from when he was actually in one. Just like in The Wolf of Wall Street, there's even a guy (Bradley Cooper) who knows what the fellas need at exactly the time they need it.

There's one big difference between War Dogs and Goodfellas though, and it should be obvious to everyone. Goodfellas is a fucking classic. Maybe the best film that has ever been produced. This is not. I will probably watch 300 more movies over the course of the next year and will not remember any specific scene from this movie. i can already feel it slipping away from me. That is the difference between a classic, and a good, but average film. I realize that I have shit on this pretty hard with the exception of Jonah Hill, and that was kind of my intent. Without Hill, and with anyone else in this role, the entire film is dead. I have avoided mentioning Miles Teller's performance because I feel the exact opposite about it. I feel like the guy is a mentally stable Shia LaBeouf and I got nothing from his performance whatsoever. Seeing as Hollywood is going to push him, we'll all unfortunately be seeing a lot more of him. I could just delete everything I said earlier, but I have to take it back. For some time I will remember the scene where Hill pulls out a semi-automatic and pops it off into the air. The exposition to explain how these deals can happen is also pretty good.

I realize that I literally just gave out the same score to another movie, so I would like to revise that to a 6.5 as War Dogs was better by a small level. Like I said, I really like the descent into chaos genre. Many of the films in it decide to take their editing process straight from the best film in this genre, but that doesn't bother me as much as it should. I was expecting a movie that was a LOT worse than this.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 10, 2017, 06:06:41 PM
(http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/panic-room-jodie-foster-kristen-stewart.jpg)

Panic Room (2002), directed by David Fincher

So, how have I never seen Panic Room? I don't know how to answer that properly. You know what's funny? I have this on DVD. There's really no excuse in that scenario, but I'm a weird fuck. We already know this. I also really like David Fincher. One thing about waiting so long to watch a film like this one is that its flaws are amplified. I usually try to ignore flaws like the ones I'm talking about. Like, for example, the visual effects being really obvious and terrible. There's a few cases that are too terrible to ignore. The title screen for this film is also goofy in a way that something which could only be put together with new programs circa 2002 could only be goofy. That's okay. I try to ignore that. Regardless, bearing in mind I haven't seen all of Fincher's movies, this is his worst offering that I've seen. Is it still good?

Meg (Jodie Foster) is trying to buy a house for her and her daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) to live in. In the process of doing so, she tours quite the interesting pad. It's a four story brownstone, New York City living. The house was previously owned by a financier, and has a lot of interesting features. The house is under full surveillance, has an elevator, and an intercom. I left one thing out. The surveillance is stored inside of a panic room, protected by steel on all sides. In case of a home invasion, somebody can go in there and make a phone call to the outside. How can Meg afford a house with these features? She's divorcing Stephen (Patrick Bauchau), who seems to be a pharmaceutical executive of some sort, but of course those people have a lot of money. Must be nice, right?

Of course, living in a house like that makes somebody a target for home invasions. That's even more the case when everyone knows that a financier lived there previously. On the first night Meg and her daughter move in, it's time for a home invasion. The unwitting trio of Junior (Jared Leto), Burnham (Forest Whitaker), and Raoul (Dwight Yoakam) come to rob $3 million in bonds, which will be split among them in various ways. They believed nobody would be there. They were wrong. It turns out there's a reason Junior wanted to do this. He's the grandson of the house's previous owner, so he knew what was in the safe. Best of all? The safe is in the panic room.

Now that all that's out of the way, I can talk about the parts I actually want to discuss. How about the use of setting? The house tour at the beginning of the movie is preparing you for what's to come, but you don't really know that when you begin watching this for the first time. By the time the middle of the film comes, you should know every turn of the house. Fincher has deliberately made sure this is the case. If you don't know when he's shown the viewer all of that stuff, you're kind of an idiot. The premise of the film is pretty solid, after all. Everyone knows Meg and Sarah are going to run into the panic room. What could go wrong when they do? There is nothing hidden about the circumstances Meg and Sarah are in. Everything they do inside of the house is all of what they do prior to the home invasion. Nothing is omitted. If you didn't see them do it, they didn't do it.

I prefer not to be treated like an idiot, so the visual and narrative style of this film is very appealing. The ending of the film is definitive and nothing hangs in the balance. Unless of course, you're an idiot. I almost want to run a search to see how many idiots are out there, but I might not be able to handle it. I already know the country is full of them. This isn't a perfect film by any stretch, but I cannot state enough how much I appreciated that the house and rules of the house were laid out prior to the major events of the film. As for the narrative style, it's a chess game. Everyone should know that about this film by now. People have things they need. There are ways to get them. The problem is getting them without getting hurt.

On the subject of flaws, there are two massive ones, even though I enjoyed the individual performances. Burnham and Junior are really fucking stupid. There are things to explain this as far as Burnham goes, but I don't understand Junior at all. I can't even discuss him, that's how much I don't understand the character. All I could understand was that Junior was a jilted rich boy. Is that all I'm supposed to understand? Because if there's more, I completely missed it. As for Raoul, there's a reason I omitted him. Dwight Yoakam was great casting here. Not something I'd have thought to do. Raoul's reaction to the situation seemed the most natural. He's the guy who brought a gun to a home invasion. He's the one willing to do whatever it takes to get into the panic room. It's hard to understand why the other two would stick around when they aren't. I think Burnham checking for video tapes at the surveillance station may explain this. If Burnham thought he and Junior were on tape, there's good reason not to leave. He and Junior would have known they were on tape, though. So why weren't they wearing masks?

Unfortunately, those two flaws are too big to ignore. I tried to ignore them when writing this out, which is why I waited so long. I can't do it. I thought Leto was exceptional in his role, he had some great lines, but the character doesn't make sense to me. Am I missing something here? Maybe I am. I also really don't want to give another movie a 7/10 score. I had decided that before turning this on. Given the ability to re-rate some of these given more context of the other things I've watched, I certainly would. It will be something for me to think about going forward. That being said, this is better than many other movies in the genre, while it's also definitely one of Fincher's worst. However, this is clearly a writing problem. As good as Jodie Foster's character was, Kristen Stewart's character is too generic. Almost like a trope.

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 12, 2017, 04:52:40 AM
(http://cultspark.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Mad-Max-Mel-Gibson.jpg)

Mad Max (1979), directed by George Miller

I know, right? How have I never seen any Mad Max movie? I can't explain that at all, nothing I can say on this subject is even moderately acceptable. I myself do not know how this is possible. Obviously, this film brings up memories in my mind of Death Race 2000. If you've seen both, you'll know what I mean. How could it not? It's a wasteland out there. People have weird vehicles and they do crazy shit. I can't explain what it is about this movie that attracted people to this franchise. I mean, I'm going to try my best, but certainly I won't put my finger on it. Lots of people just don't get it on any level, and like the movies anyway. It may turn out I'm one of those people. You can judge by reading.

A few years from now, a man called Nightrider (Vincent Gil) has stolen a police car. Why or how could he do that? This is never explained and I'm glad it wasn't. Apparently he'd killed an officer in the process of doing so. After Nightrider raises hell and scares the shit ouf of everyone on the road, it's time for the police to send out their best police chase specialist, Max (Mel Gibson). Max knows exactly what he's doing. He gets Nightrider to crash into a roadblock of some sort, which kills him and ends the pursuit. After that, we are introduced to a larger cast of characters. Max has a wife (Joanne Samuel) and child, which seems out of place in this hellhole of a society the director has created. Nightrider was not alone in his eccentricity, it seems. He was part of a strange motorcycle gang, led by a guy called Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Continuing with the mystery of the film, they only have one V8 supercharged patrol car remaining. How does this happen?

Well, you never find out how this happens. There are things about this scenario that are slowly revealed to you, though. One is that there aren't many women remaining in this society. There is also seemingly no production of things like tires. Or cars. Nomads roam and pillage through towns with nobody able to stop them. The nomads are also a bit touched in the head. More than a bit, even. The legal system is completely borked. I'm sure there's some explanation as to why this is, but I don't want to know. It's for the best not to know. There are things slowly revealed as the movie goes on, which is enough for me.

So, how did this film series become so popular. Well, to start, the biker gang in question in this film is super weird. It is implied that they rape a dude, but besides that, there's quite a bit more. The things they do don't make sense. It seems like people want that in their movies sometimes. The film also looks a lot more gritty than other films of the time. Most post-apocalyptic movies look good and are filmed with the highest quality material available at the time. Not this one! This was done on the barest-bones budget and I really don't understand how they pulled it off. I would say best of all, this film was short and accessible to anyone. Not much of a time commitment here.

The things that make this film attractive to me are a bit different than that, and largely related to how the characters were treated. There is minimal humanity in this movie. Very rarely do you see the characters feeling bad. Why would any of them feel bad? This is a post-apocalyptic film, after all. There's really nothing anyone can do about this situation. It is accepted. The narrative is very simplistic in this way. It is not hard to follow unless you're the type to start looking for things that aren't explained and get mad when they aren't given to you on a platter. Another thing I liked about this was that there was, as I've mentioned, no exposition. The film also doesn't pull any punches in terms of depicting what it is the biker gangs will do. Yes, they will run over a mother and child. That is the way things are. Of course, this being 1979, quite a few people were massively upset at the events depicted in this film.

I got to watch a version of this that featured the Australian dialogue, which was apparently edited out when released here at first. It's quite jarring to hear some of the things the actors were saying, but it's for the best. With that being the case, perhaps it's a good thing I waited so long to watch this. I wouldn't have wanted to watch an edited version, I want the real deal. One thing I'll say is that I'm going to try not to write the bulk of these the day after watching a movie. There are some things I wanted to say that I've completely forgotten by now. The ending of this was great, though. If you haven't seen it, you should.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kahran Ramsus on November 13, 2017, 02:42:21 AM
The first film has a very different look and feel from the sequels.  It is more of a pre-apocalyptic film with society on the verge of collapse than the total wasteland of the sequels.  If you decide to watch The Road Warrior next you will notice a big difference right away.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 13, 2017, 04:49:33 AM
The first film has a very different look and feel from the sequels.  It is more of a pre-apocalyptic film with society on the verge of collapse than the total wasteland of the sequels.  If you decide to watch The Road Warrior next you will notice a big difference right away.

After watching too many Marvel movies in a short span, I try to spread series like that out for a while. I am going to watch it but I don't know when.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 13, 2017, 04:49:43 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/S/sgp-catalog-images/region_US/wb-01790-Full-Image_GalleryBackground-en-US-1484000598754._RI_SX940_.jpg)

All the President's Men (1976), directed by Alan J. Pakula

It's fair to say that All the President's Men has been the standard for journalism movies for 41 years, yes? Spotlight may have usurped that in the eyes of some. I was interested in seeing if that was the case. Not only that, but this film is going to be pertinent for the duration of Trump's presidency, isn't it? There are a lot of people who believe there's nothing there with regards to Trump and Russia, and there's really only one thing that's going to make them believe it. The road to putting people in handcuffs is a long one. It needs to be made clear that it took two and a half years for Richard Nixon to resign. That's a long time and this all started in a more clearly defined way than the Trump campaign's involvement with Russia. As time plays out we'll know what we need to know, or at least we should. There is no way to know for sure what the ultimate ramifications will be. Not all of the ramifications of Watergate were so good, and worst of all, we have forgotten why they were needed.

June 17th, 1962. Watergate complex. Security guard sees that an unlocked door has been messed with. He calls the police. They come. They arrest five burglars in the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) is assigned to cover this story, which is seemingly just a burglary. Except, it isn't. The five men are arraigned, and guess what? They already have an attorney. Guess what else? None of them made a phone call. Something's obviously up. When asked by the judge what their occupations were, one guy answers that he's an anti-communist. Another says that he just left the CIA. Why would two guys like that break into the DNC? Woodword does a good job hunting down some intformation, which leads to him being paired with Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman), a more experienced reporter. Their editor, Ben Bradlee (Jason Robards) wants them to keep hunting and doesn't like that nobody is willing to go on the record with information. That being said, Woodward has a great source. It's Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook). Deep Throat keeps Woodward on the right track, wherever it may take him.

A lot of people still don't understand the details of Watergate to this day, and believe that the entire thing was concerning the break-in. It wasn't. We still don't know why Republican operatives broke into the Watergate complex. We are however aware that Republicans had a plan to win elections at any cost. Does this sound familiar? They had enlisted the FBI, IRS, and CIA in this plan. Now, I'm gonna be honest, talking about this shit makes me sick, so I'm going to be a bit more brief than usual.

To answer the initial question regarding this film being the standard for journalism movies, I'm going to say that it no longer is. Why do I say that? The actual impact of the story is shown in Spotlight, for starters. This film is entirely centered around the newsroom. This film does not address the personal lives of the reporters. That's perfectly fine, it's just not a better movie than Spotlight because of those two things. All that being said, this was clearly an influential film, because there was a lack of these kinds of movies previously. That appears to be the common theme of comments in looking at other reviews for this. The film is obviously well casted, and the material is such that it could really suck without charistmatic and capable actors. Yet, it didn't suck, and people are still watching the film to this day. There are a few great scenes in particular, with Woodward running out of the parking garage and thinking he's being followed the most obvious one. Another with Woodward on the phone appeared to be a very long single shot, and even though he messed up his line and quickly corrected it, they left it in the film. I like to see that as it gives some authenticity. People are not always completely accurate when stating other people's names.

When writing that entire last paragraph, I goofed, but I'm too lazy to rewrite it. The standard for journalism movies isn't Spotlight either, it's Zodiac. Although, it's not strictly a journalism movie like Spotlight and All the President's Men are, so that's quite unfair. Little known fact I would like to share. I established that the editor for this story was Ben Bradlee, right? Well, the editor for the Spotlight story was Ben Bradlee Jr. So, I guess finding out the truth seems to run in the family. I fully realize I didn't write down very much about Watergate, but I didn't want to, and I explained why. Still, very good movie. Very accurate movie. Everyone should pay attention to it and learn from past errors.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 13, 2017, 06:34:10 PM
Spoilers. Lots of them.

(http://www.geekinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/southpaw-5.jpg)

Southpaw (2015), directed by Antoine Fuqua

Southpaw is a film I nearly watched upon release. See, my power was going out for the day, so I had to go to the theater. I chose between this and Jurassic World. Knowing what I know now, obviously I'd rather have watched Southpaw on that day and Jurassic World at home. I never finished the Rocky series, which was intentional, but I'd rather not talk about that even though the comparison is obviously in mind of anyone who watched this. Is Southpaw as good as Rocky? Hell no. If anyone thinks that, they're crazy. This is more like a modern adaptation, for both good and bad reasons. If you like seeing someone get relentlessly shit on, this movie is for you!

Did I say spoilers? Yes, I did. I'm going to post a lot of them and I'm not going to stop. Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a prizefighter. What's a prizefighter? A prizefighter is a boxer. Larry Merchant calls them prizefighters, which sounds more appropriate to me. Billy is the light heavyweight champion, and after the fight depicted at the beginning of the movie, his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) wants him to retire. After all, Billy's style is much like that of the late Arturo Gatti. Blood and thunder is the name of the day. After Billy's fight, he can barely walk. His promoter Jordan (50 Cent) wants him to take a big deal with HBO for some guaranteed money, but what Maureen has told Billy has made some kind of impression upon him and he won't do it. An upcoming fighter named Miguel Escobar (Miguel Gomez) really wants to fight Billy, though. While Billy's at a charity event, Escobar makes some comments about taking Billy's title and his wife. Billy can't have that. They get in a fight, and after punches are thrown, Miguel's brother pulls out a gun and fires. Unfortunately, the shot hits Maureen and kills her, leaving Billy alone to raise his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence).

To make a long story short, Billy goes insane after losing his wife. A common story in actuality, but well-depicted here. Billy does have to keep fighting to maintain his lifestyle, as any championship fighter has very likely overextended himself, with Billy being no exception to that. In Billy's next fight, he takes a beating reminiscent of the one Floyd Mayweather put on Arturo Gatti, and headbutts the referee when the referee stops the fight. So, that leaves Billy suspended, and he continues to spiral out of control.

Have I posted enough spoilers yet? Actually, I don't think so. I'll continue as I go along. The thing is, this movie completely discards all nuance and subtlety. You (the viewer) are instead hammered over the head with bad shit. Bleak shit. There comes a limit to how much of this stuff I can handle, and this film went so above and beyond that limit that I feel borderline depressed after watching it. The hopeful ending gave me no positive feelings whatsoever. I cannot possibly be the only person who felt this way. I'm trying to pinpoint the limit, but I can't settle on which part was worse. The part where the kid who helps Billy lace his gloves gets murdered by his dad? Or the part where Billy isn't able to see his daughter? I misphrased. PARTS. VARIOUS PARTS.

It's too bad, because there are two great performances here that I felt like the plot takes a gigantic dump on as it was impossible to enjoy either of them. I'm talking about Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker. It shouldn't be any surprise to anyone that these two guys were so great in this film. When are they ever not? Whitaker is not always blessed with the quality of material that Gyllenhaal is given, and there's obvious reasons for that. Namely, Whitaker is a lot older and that's the inevitability of being an old actor. Besides that, he hasn't always picked the best parts. Battlefield Earth is something I don't understand why he'd be in. A Criminal Minds spinoff? I get that one. TV money is highly appealing. Instead, that isn't his lot in life and he has to take challenging roles like these.

Gyllenhaal on the other hand could have any role he wants and consistently takes on the most challenging material available. There's many examples of that, and I've reviewed a lot of them at this point. Some of the ones I've watched and haven't reviewed I will go back to, and there's always going to be more. Gyllenhaal's performance in this film wasn't enjoyable, it was actually rather haunting. The depiction of a punch drunk boxer was actually a bit difficult for me to understand. After all, his speech wasn't clear. His look and everything was strange. He stuttered a lot. As an actor, he becomes these roles in such strange ways. I don't understand him and don't understand what motivates him. He's an interesting guy.

With all that I said in mind, did I make this sound like a modern adaptation of a Rocky movie. No, I did not. It's not the way I make it sound rather than how it actually looks and the overall feel of it. Every boxing movie has cliches that must be adhered to, this is no exception. You have the trainer rebuilding a broken fighter. You have family problems. You have a bent promoter trying to pull something off like a scam. That's what boxing movies are. This is not my favorite one of them by any stretch, it was just alright. I will also never watch it or any scenes from it again due to how depressing they were, this has no future value to me. I probably need to explain my rating system at some point.

p.s. Jim Lampley and Roy Jones Jr. as commentators? A fantastic decision.

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 15, 2017, 06:21:47 PM
(https://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/76/full/1496846739_1.jpg)

Trespass (1992), directed by Walter Hill

Trespass is one of the strangest films I've watched in the last year, but I had a feeling that was going to be the case. After all, it's not every day that I watch a film with Ice-T and Ice Cube in the cast. That's nowhere near descriptive enough, either. Bill Paxton is in this too. It's about gold. Does anything in the title make this sound slightly like the case? No, of course not. That goes without saying. Why would I watch this, then? It's because of the cast. Anything with Ice-T and Ice Cube together has novelty value alone. That's kind of the thing I'm looking for when choosing to watch movies. I'll probably get around to watching everything of value to begin with, but novelty value when I like three of the people involved? That's near the top of the list.

Vince (Bill Paxton) and Don (William Sadler) are firemen from Arkansas. While trying to put out a fire, they encounter a crazy guy who starts ranting and raving about gold. He runs into the fire and kills himself, but not before handing the two firemen a treasure map and a newspaper clipping. Don looks into this and finds out that the nutjob was talking about gold he'd stolen from a church. It was believed that he hid them in a building, although this was unclear. Anyway, Vince and Don head to East St. Louis (a really bad idea) to find this gold. Upon arriving there, they have a difficult time finding out where in the building this gold happens to be. In the process of looking for it, a homeless man named Bradlee (Art Evans) saw what they were doing, so they had to tie him up. Meanwhile, a gang led by King James (Ice-T) has planned an execution on the roof. While killing the man, they throw him through some glass, and he falls down a few stories. Unfortunately for Vince and Don, King James sees Vince, who had walked into a corridor to see what was going on. Luckily for them, Don is crazy enough to grab the brother of King James and hole up in a room.

The title of Trespass obviously refers to these events, in hindsight. Everyone is trespassing. Nobody's supposed to be in this abandoned building. It's worse for Vince and Don because this is King James' territory and it's suspicious enough to see white people in East St. Louis. I also didn't refer to Ice Cube in my summary, but it turned out he was simply one of King James' lieutenants. Anyway, there's no reason to beat around the bush as it comes to this movie. There is only one thing to examine. The pursuit of gold. It is said that this film wasn't supposed to be political, so I can barely even read into any intentions of trying to make the film as such. But, humans have a natural longing for gold. This plays out just as you'd expect. Whether it's actually natural or not, I don't know. People who can afford it sure want it though. It's a status symbol and not actually important. It also represents money, and if you find a lot of gold, you'll get rich. Right?

Okay, now that I'm done with that, I want to point out that this movie isn't particularly good. It isn't bad. It's just there. There are a few good scenes. There's one where a henchman dresses up as a cop and beats up one of his buddies to try and lure the white guys out of the building. Very smart scene in its execution. The ending was hilarious for both good and bad reasons. I don't want to spoil that. Everyone knows that Ice-T can't act, so there's not much reason to go over that. There are some spots that required him to do so, and they were shot in a way that pretty much showed him storming out of a room. You know, simple stuff that doesn't make anyone look bad unless you're really looking for it.

The plot was unique enough that I was interested in it until the end. More than I thought I would be. When Vince and Don were locked in a room, I didn't really think the movie would move forward in an intriguing way from there. I was way wrong. I don't want to say too much, but I was consistently surprised even at some of the dumber plot introductions. There's a pretty good one where a chimney that was there the entire time is REVEALED TO THEM. See what I mean? It's that kind of movie. It's the kind of movie where they run around an abandoned building that the filmmakers pump smoke into so everyone can look cool. It has Tiny Lister. Ice Cube. Ice-T. Bill Paxton. Gold. Homeless men. Guns. A horrendous ending. What more could I want? This was a good night of viewing, even though this movie is dead middle of the road. You know this movie was initially called Looters and was supposed to be released two months after the Los Angeles riots? Yeah.

5.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on November 16, 2017, 07:12:03 AM
Reading that review makes me think you need to review Judgment Night
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on November 16, 2017, 07:34:26 AM
I think I recommended Trespass to you, 909. It was kind of a nostalgia movie that I haven't seen for close to 20 years. I remember walking in on my mom watching it, laying down on the couch and thinking it was a cool movie. But, it's still worth it to see both the Ices combine forces against Bill Paxton and William Sadler.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Furry AND Republican on November 16, 2017, 07:40:48 AM
I'm a fan of "Trespass", as it's probably the last movie Walter Hill made that I all out enjoy ("Undisputed" is fine, but the sequels are so much more fun). Granted, I'm more susceptible to stuff like this, but hey.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Hawk 34 on November 16, 2017, 08:53:45 AM
Reading that review makes me think you need to review Judgment Night

He’s not ready for that real shit yet.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 16, 2017, 09:02:17 AM
I think I recommended Trespass to you, 909. It was kind of a nostalgia movie that I haven't seen for close to 20 years. I remember walking in on my mom watching it, laying down on the couch and thinking it was a cool movie. But, it's still worth it to see both the Ices combine forces against Bill Paxton and William Sadler.

The best part I didn't mention is the way Paxton keeps running back and forth across the room screaming about how they have to get the fuck outta there.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kahran Ramsus on November 16, 2017, 02:50:05 PM
Quote from: 909
When writing that entire last paragraph, I goofed, but I'm too lazy to rewrite it. The standard for journalism movies isn't Spotlight either, it's Zodiac.

I would actually say it is Network.  And it is probably more relevant today than ever.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on November 16, 2017, 03:56:52 PM
I agree with that
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 17, 2017, 11:36:02 AM
(http://www.thetelegraph.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_steve-jobs-movie-seth-rogan.jpg)

Steve Jobs (2015), directed by Danny Boyle

I had previously sworn that I would never watch any movie about Steve Jobs. I think the guy was a total piece of shit and there is nothing that could change my mind. Fortunately, this film does not even make a slight attempt to do so. Isn't that nice? I assumed this was going to be something completely the opposite of what this was. There are parts in this film that brought back some good memories. My first computer was a Macintosh Plus. I don't know where we got it, and I know that my parents didn't pay full retail price ($2599) for it. Could you imagine paying that for a computer when people didn't know what they were capable of? Anyway, when we bought the computer, it came with Word Munchers installed. I don't know how many people know what that is, but it doesn't matter. When claiming a high score, I decided to put some curse words down as my name. I don't remember what they were. Rather than have my mom find out what I had written down, I decided to delete the program, at which point the computer became completely useless to me. I didn't have another one for years. How is this germane to the movie? It isn't, but I wanted to tell that story.

The narrative style of this film is strange to the point that I am incapable of describing it in any sort of detail, so it's better to leave a cast of characters. The film unfolds at the launches of three products Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) created. The Macintosh (1984), NeXT (1988), and the iMac (1998). It is probably best to have some reasonable knowledge of these things and/or computers prior to viewing, but I don't think it matters that much. The film presents Jobs as a massive asshole who deals with his problems in ways that are befuddling to normal human beings. He has some help in doing so, from his work wife, Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet). Hoffman keeps everything on track, that seems to be her job as presented in this film. Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) is the creator of the Apple II and co-founder of Apple. He feels that Jobs does not appreciate him. John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) is the CEO of Apple when Jobs launches the Macintosh. He is someone Jobs appears to have a lot of respect for, who Jobs has conversations with that he does not repeat to anyone else. There's also Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg), a member of the Macintosh team who Jobs pushes to fix a major problem that would destroy the launch event. Lastly and most importantly, you have Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Wasterston) and Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Who are they? Chrisann is Jobs' former girlfriend, and Lisa is Jobs' daughter, the one who he refused to acknowledge parentage of.

I have done my best to describe this situation, but there's something I must address. Much of what is in this film can only be described as fabrication. With that being the case, there's an interesting ethical question. Is it the job of the filmmakers to make an interesting film, or is it their job to present the most accurate representation of Steve Jobs life? It believe it may be impossible to do the latter. So, what they did was pack years worth of conversations and relationships into three launch events. I liked that quite a lot, actually. It appears that many of the people involved didn't. That shouldn't be surprising. There were also complaints that the relationships presented were inaccurate. For example, the people who knew Jobs said he wasn't that much of a dick. Clearly this film is a problem to some extent. That being said, it is more entertaining as a result of the changes and dramatization in this film. On top of that, Wozniak and Sculley did not complain about anything other than what I'd consider to be minor things.

Now that we've established that some of the things in this film are fabricated, I need to talk about the performances and characters. Fassbender as Steve Jobs was a nice piece of inspired casting. It's not like he looks like Jobs. It's not like anything he does reminds people of the image of Steve Jobs they have in their head. He still made people like Wozniak believe they were looking at an image of Steve Jobs as presented by filmmakers. It is extremely difficult to pull something like that off. There were two other characters I liked as well, those being Hoffman and Wozniak. Seth Rogen doesn't look like Wozniak either, but he and Fassbender had surprisingly good chemistry in their conversation. Kate Winslet on the other hand, you expect something like that. There are countless memorable scenes in this. The film is careful enough not to include any of Jobs' speeches, because after all, that bogs things down in the muck of things you are already aware of due to the content before the speeches. The flashbacks are the best part, one in particular being during one of Jobs and Sculley's arguments.

Once you notice that this is an Aaron Sorkin screenplay, it's very difficult to let that go. Every scene in this has his fingerprints on it. This film is full of walk-and-talk. Packed with rapid-fire conversations. They are not as quick as other Sorkin works, which is for the best. Someone needed to slow those down as they are completely unrealistic in other presentations. If there are any complaints, it is that the main character in this film is thoroughly detestable. There is nothing here that could possibly make anyone feel sympathetic for Steve Jobs. If you do, there is clearly something wrong with you. There are some other things I wanted to say about this film, but once again I forgot them by waiting to write this review for so long after watching it. From now on I'm going to take notes or something immediately after watching the movie, because I don't think this is acceptable on my part. What matters is that this is a good study of someone's character, which is very flawed. Due to how much I didn't care about the portrayal, in combination with falsehoods and fabrications, the score below is how I feel about this. I still enjoyed this film greatly and it is difficult to reconcile my score with my feelings, but there are parts of a very entertaining biopic that are bullshit.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 20, 2017, 12:23:41 PM
(http://cdn1us.denofgeek.com/sites/denofgeekus/files/styles/main_wide/public/2016/02/triple-9-stakeout.jpg)

Triple 9 (2016), directed by John Hillcoat

Triple 9 is a film that's nearly impossible to introduce prior to reviewing, so I will discuss one thing in particular. Why do studios sit on films for so long after making them? There's a few reasons that I can think of. One is that for whatever reason you have some kind of production problems. That's not the case here. Sometimes there are reasons to believe the cast will be more famous, therefore studios sit on a film until they think it's most opportunistic for them. There's also another reason. Sometimes the film just isn't any good. Sometimes the studios assume that it will be and set it up to be released in awards season, but once everything's put together, the movie just doesn't come off. Triple 9 is in the latter category. It isn't that it isn't good. There are reasons to like this film. Initially this film had a slew of other actors cast, and I cannot help but wonder how this could have turned out. Instead, it is what it is. The filmmaker's vision just doesn't work out.

This film has a gigantic, awesome cast. How does this not work out perfectly? Mike (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Gabe (Aaron Paul), Russell (Norman Reedus), Marcus (Anthony Mackie), and Franco (Clifton Collins Jr.) are going to rob a bank in Atlanta. It is borderline impossible to figure out their names for quite a long distance into this film. Why are they robbing a bank? It appears they need to retrieve a safe deposit box. So, it's just like The Bank Job in that sense, except the film really isn't. After doing so, it turns out that there are some things we learn. Gabe and Russell are brothers. Marcus and Franco are dirty cops. Mike is the guy tying this whole thing together. Mike takes the deposit box to Irina (Kate Winslet), a Russian mafia boss who is a complete caricature. It's one of the biggest flaws of the film. Anyway, Irina is not satisfied, and wants this crew to go on...ONE LAST JOB. Their way of doing it? To kill an officer, because nobody will pay attention to what they're doing while that's going on.

While that's all going on, we're introduced to police officers. Two of them stand above the rest. Jeff (Woody Harrleson) is investigating this robbery. His nephew Chris (Casey Affleck) has been promoted to the gang unit at the same time, and it just turns out there's some MS-13 in the area. Naturally, MS-13 give police offers problems. The rest you can probably figure out for yourself considering everything I've written down here. There are some other characters as well, played by Gal Gadot and Michael K. Williams. With Affleck being the exception, because everyone thinks he's a piece of shit, this is a very likable cast. Considering Affleck, this is a fantastic cast. I put Affleck's shit to the side when watching a film. I am not paying for it specifically, it's on a service I use. Therefore I do not care. I cannot think of many better casts to put in a crime thriller. So how exactly does this film not work?

For starters, the early stages of the plot are extremely convoluted. I mentioned that it's impossible to tell who each of the robbers are, but it goes a little bit past that. You don't really realize who they are until one of them dies. The way that one of them dies is so goofy, it's hard to describe it in any rational way. It just didn't make sense. On top of that, Kate Winslet's character is a horrible caricature of a mafia wife. I'm not sure what was worse. The colorful clothes or the gaudy Star of David. I don't know how such a character made it out of the idea stage. There are many such caricatures in this film, none of which I liked. The straight and narrow cop, the junkie who needs to be put down before ruining the rest of the crew, women who have no part in the story, and bet of all the reluctant criminal. These are all things that can work well if used properly within the story, but this is what happens when they aren't.

The worst and possibly most egregious example of bad storytelling pertains to the ending of the film. The director has something he wants to tell you, that's plain to see. It's also plain to see that nobody knew how to tell this story. We are hammered with death after death, and in some cases shock tactics like legs being blown off. This all happens much too fast, which makes everything feel hollow. The deaths, like the legs being blown off, are also quite ridiculous. Characters are presented as being smarter or dumber than they'd shown in the movie to that point. My descriptions of this are making the plot sound more logical than it actually is. I assure you that it is not logical in any sense whatsoever.

Even though the plot isn't logical, there are still some great scenes. The initial bank robbery setup is excellent even though it's difficult to understand. The subsequent shootout of sorts is great as well. Of course, it isn't as good as Hell or High Water, which is the 2016 standard for bank robberies and shootouts. There's also a scene while Harrelson's character is drunk that I found hilarious for all sorts of reasons. In addition to that, there's a scene at a housing project that provides some tension. Between that scene and another where two of the robbers hijack a Homeland Security storage space, these provide the majority of tension in the film.

While this film has those great scenes, and those great scenes prevent it from being a bad movie, this was really nothing great. The actors do the best with the material they have. If you want to see Aaron Paul play Jesse Pinkman all over again, this is just for you! If you don't, and if you don't care for very violent movies, this isn't for you in any way. Of course, almost anything with this cast is going to be violent, so you probably know that heading in and I'm not telling you anything surprising. The plot still sucks, but it's watchable and not completely bad. Best of all, there's no main character and multiple guys are given equal time. That may not be the best thing to you, though.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 21, 2017, 01:06:34 PM
(http://www.indiewire.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/a-serious-man-promo.png)

A Serious Man (2009), directed by the Coen Brothers

I needed to take a whole day to think about this film. The old me would have never watched this at all. Does it have violence in it? Does it have drugs in it? Is it supposed to make you laugh a lot? The answer to all of these is probably no. Nobody gets shot at and nobody dies over drug deals. There are no cops knocking down doors and taking names. This is a strange film. Totally not what I expected. Have you seen the commercial? There is absolutely nothing in it that reveals what this movie is actually about. The trailer is a little different, and it's longer, so if you watched that you'd have some kind of understanding. So, with that in mind, if I knew what this was about, do you think I'd have watched it? I'll say that I would have. A few months ago I mentioned how much I enjoy the Coens work. Nothing has changed, and I still feel the need to watch everything they've done.

The opening scene is a Yiddish folk tale that I'd rather not spoil in any way, and it doesn't have any relation to the rest of the film. Or does it? In any case, it was a great scene and I would like to see the Coens make a film in Yiddish. Anyway, this film is set in 1967, somewhere in Minnesota. Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a physics professor. He has a strange life. His son Danny (Aaron Wolff) owes money to some kid he bought weed from. His older brother Arthur (Richard Kind) lives with him for reasons unbeknownst to us. His daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus) says almost nothing throughout the whole movie, so we don't get to know her that well. Worst of all, his wife Judith (Sari Lennick) wants a divorce. Not just a regular divorce, but she needs a Jewish ritual divorce too. After spending some time with Larry's friend Sy (Fred Melamed), she has decided she would rather be married to Sy. On top of all that, Larry is awaiting a decision from his department head about becoming tenured. He also has a student named Clive (David Kang) who is trying to bribe him for a passing grade.

What exactly does this all mean? Considering it's a movie by the Coens, you may not understand until you think about it for a while. It's obviously a telling of the Book of Job. Why are all these bad things happening to Larry? What does Hashem expect of him? These are questions he asks himself because he cannot answer them. Who could? What is the point for Larry to keep going on living? These are all things I cannot answer. The film is deliberately engineered to be uncomfortable. That is the point. From the first scene to the last, you are not supposed to be happy about any of the things that you see. How could you be? Richard Kind's character is practically a Jingus. He scribbles down crazed mathematical equations in his notebook and goes into the lake to swim with kids. Aren't these the kinds of things that we made fun of Jingus for doing? He even invents a gambling system that somebody else had probably thought of beforehand. It's uncanny.

There are lots of funny moments to be sure, I wasn't trying to mislead. Most of them just aren't conventionally funny. Larry needs to see a specific rabbi, who is very old. His secretary slowly shuffles back to his desk. He isn't doing anything. He says he's busy. Coen films are full of this sort of humor, that's why they're such accomplished filmmakers. Other directors don't even try to do this, and when they do, it's not as skillfully pulled off. The same can be said for when Danny is at his Bar Mitzvah. He's high, and we've seen stuff like that before, but there's no goofy music or any of that. It's all very well done and not in a way that beats the viewer over the head.

It's also not beaten over the head too much that nobody cares about Larry, even though the stuff just keeps on coming. It's on the viewer to notice that nobody cares about him, the Coens aren't going to tell you that. This is a performance that could have turned out pretty badly had Stuhlbarg played the role with anger. Instead, this is a character who simply doesn't understand why this is happening to him, who is desparate to see a senior rabbi to tell him why. What could the rabbi do? That's a pretty good question, ovviously. The free will of man isn't going to go away because somebody talks to a rabbi about it. I mean, if you believe you can go to your pastor and that'll solve everything, that's fine, but I'll tell you now it doesn't work like that. A religious leader's job is merely to give you words of guidance, but as this film shows, not everyone's guidance is of equal value. Any religious leader who tells you they can do anything more than give you guidance that may or may not work is lying to you.

It's not like Larry is the only good character, as any seasoned film viewer would know, the Coens never have only one good character. Larry is also not the best character. Sy Ableman is the best character. Sy steals Larry's wife, as I've alluded to, but it goes much further than that. After taking his wife, he wants to talk to him and help guide him into his next phase of life. How funny is this? Very funny. There is very little explanation given as to why Judith is leaving Larry. Maybe it's an assortment of things. To be clear, Larry is a dork and it's 1967. He's also extremely focused on gaining tenure. His kids make him do mundane tasks that take a lot of time, so he can't spend any of it with his family. It seems like they don't want to anyway. His family also has Larry's brother foisted on them. All these things make for an ignored wife, at least as far as the story tells it, because she's barely in the story other than to tell Larry they need to divorce.

There are a few things I didn't mention that really take the cake, but there's no point in doing so as it would ruin the movie. That being said, anyone can tell from my Sopranos reviews that I like material that makes dreams a decent sized focus of it. I'm also watching Mad Men right now, and I finished season 1. There is substantial dream related content in that. Twin Peaks is another one. Why am I bringing up these things? Well, you'll have to watch this movie, won't you. Of all the great scenes in this, I think the prologue will stick with me the most. I can't stop thinking about it and I finished watching this last night.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 22, 2017, 11:06:20 AM
(http://www.snakkle.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/sean-penn-fast-times-ridgemont-high-1982-photo-FC.jpg)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), directed by Amy Heckerling

It was suggested to me very recently that I watch this film, but it turns out that I was going to do it this week regardless. I didn't know what to make of this when I listed it. I know the scene everyone in this film talks about. I've seen it, and it isn't a really big deal to me. So what's the deal with the rest of this? I didn't know, but I wanted to find out. When the opening credits started playing, I saw that Cameron Crowe wrote the screenplay for this film. The only film of his that I've seen is Almost Famous. That's a great one, and eventually I need to revisit it. That alone would earn somebody another chance with me. Sure, it took me around 15 years to give that chance, but oh well. I know a lot of people shit on him for his last film, which I need to watch in order to see the reason why. Anyway, back to this.

This has a big ensemble cast, I guess you could say one of them is the main character. Stacy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a young girl, coming of age. Everyone knows how that goes. Or they don't. Regardless, this film follows a group of people at a high school. I will describe them as such. Brad (Judge Reinhold) is working a McDonalds type job in order to pay off his old car. He's Stacy's brother. Brad also has a girlfriend. Stacy has a friend named Linda (Phoebe Cates), she's more experienced than Stacy, and she seems to know everything. That's her deal. Mike Damone (Robert Romanus) is a guy who thinks he's cool. He buys tickets and scalps them at a slightly higher price, making a couple spare bucks. His friend Mark (Brian Backer) is a nerd. It's not surprising that Mark would have very little career after this film. He was in his mid-20's when filming this and looked 14. Just like any other nerd, Mark wants to get laid, he just doesn't know how. There's also Spicoli (Sean Penn). Spicoli is stoned all the time and clashes with a teacher, Mr. Hand (Ray Walston). There are other characters, but I've pretty much set the table.

Why is this movie a big deal? I will give my 35 years later perspective. Obviously, there's Phoebe Cates taking her top off. I'm not going to be some kind of an idiot and claim that's not a major part of it. I have read Roger Ebert's review of this movie prior to writing mine and I could not disagree with him more. I very rarely do that, but I had a feeling that he hated this film. He thinks that this film was merely a raunchfest. It wasn't. It's not entirely unrealistic. The movie is vulgar, but that's what high school is. The film also shows the characters doing stupid things and learning from them. There are also loads of great scenes. This film is supposed to make people uncomfortable. Kids do things that they shouldn't do. They jerk off in the bathroom while people are at their house, and they get walked in on. That's the way it goes. It's not like that's the only accurate scene either, the film is loaded with them. It's just hard for me to mention them because people here have told me they didn't watch this.

It has been said by other people that this genre was pretty much dead until this film was made. It isn't like a big studio such as Universal to take chances on movies. As mentioned, people considered this film smut. How does that happen? I don't really know. It's definitely not smut in comparison to a lot of other films made previously. It's probably because they were kids. Well, the actors weren't kids, so at least there's that, and there's no reason to feel dirty for watching this. It's easy for a filmmaker to make a movie like this, but it isn't easy to keep the viewer off balance throughout. A good example in my case is when Spicoli is on screen. I couldn't stop laughing whenever he'd say something. This is one of the best portrayals that I have ever seen. Nobody else in this film is even remotely as interesting as him.

If there are any criticisms, they are mainly in relation to one character. Rat is an extremely bad caricature and I didn't enjoy watching him in this movie. Is he accurate to the way high schoolers act? Yes. I was like that until I asked out my first girlfriend. But he stayed like that for the duration of the film. He didn't learn anything or progress forward very much. The post-script makes it sound like he did to some extent, but you know, not really. I also would have liked it if Forest Whitaker had been given more lines and more opportunity to be a dick. Instead, his character exists somewhere in the background. It's too bad. This film is also somewhat dated and not realistic in the sense of drugs having become a major part of every high schoolers growing up period. Perhaps that wasn't the case in 1982, but my parents have told me otherwise and that's when my mom graduated from high school. The film is set around here and my mom went to school around here. She would know.

There are a few things that separate this from Dazed and Confused, which is a much superior movie. Not to make this sound bad, because it wasn't. It's a classic in the mind of some people and that's fine. The characters in Fast Times are so completely different though. They are focused. Most teenagers are not, they're the exact opposite. The characters in Dazed and Confused are also simply more funny. Why? I don't know, I'm not capable of answering that. Perhaps it's because I identify with them more. There are lots of kids out there that are like those in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but I wasn't one of them. It's perspectives that lead to differing opinions on movies like these ones. I also need to watch American Graffiti, and there are others that come to mind, but I probably won't ever get tired of this genre. I mean, why would anyone?

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 22, 2017, 06:37:19 PM
(http://www.rocklandstrand.com/sites/default/files/Love-Mercy-Surfers.jpg)

Love & Mercy (2014), directed by Bill Pohlad

I'm pretty sure the first reaction anyone would have to my reviewing this is...why the hell am I watching a movie about the Beach Boys? It's specifically about Brian Wilson, by the way. I can tell you a few reasons I'd watch this. First, it was nominated for Golden Globes. That means I have the need to watch this at some point, and it's completely unavoidable. Second, it's expiring today and I'm too busy to watch it later today, just like everyone else is. Third, I thought John Cusack was only doing direct to video releases these days. Turns out that isn't quite true, and why he's doing them at all is totally confusing. I think he's been blackballed for something he's said, and he isn't a box office draw anyway. The last reason I decided to watch this is because I like Elizabeth Banks. So, there you go. That's a full explanation. I know absolutely jack shit about the Beach Boys. They are not relevant to my generation. This film is a lot different than other musical biopics though, and I think people should watch it.

This film sets up nice and easy, in a completely unconfusing way. It alternates between the 1960's and 1980's at its own leisure, so there were parts when I was ready for the scenery to change again prior to it doing so. The film focuses on a younger (Paul Dano) version of Brian Wilson, and an older (John Cusack) version. I'll start with the younger. Brian had an episode on a plane, after which he has a discussion with the rest of the Beach Boys that leads to him no longer going on tour with them. Instead, he's going to put together their albums and music. Sounds like a plan, right? The older version of him is presented in a totally different way. He seems depressed. He goes to buy a Cadillac and has many people surrounding him, which doesn't make any sense. While shopping for the car, he meets Melinda (Elizabeth Banks), and gets her phone number. This is pretty obviously a strange guy. It turns out that he's on a heavy medication regiment prescribed by his doctor, Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti). Why? These are things you find out. If you are even moderately interested in the story that I have detailed to this point, and if you don't already know it, stop reading here.

The picture I have presented makes it sound like the film focuses more on the older version of him than the younger one, but it's actually the opposite. You know why I said this is different than other musical films? For starters, this film shows Brian Wilson's creative process. I am one of those people who has always been interested in seeing a musical film that spends time in the studio. Why are the songs what they are? This film perfectly illustrates how that's the case, even though this isn't a subject I cared about prior to turning this on. This isn't the usual musical film. Nobody's death is shown. Nobody goes crazy on drugs. There is actually minimal redemption for the character as none is needed. This is also quite a dark film. It is easy to see why this didn't do a big box office number, it's not for everyone.

The flaws in the film relate to its pacing and ease of alternating between realities. That's probably not the best way to phrase what happens, but it sounds acceptable to me. The story is told very well throughout, and there is plenty of focus given to other characters as they pertain to the Beach Boys during the creation of Pet Sounds and afterward. Not too much of the afterward, though. It is made clear that there were disagreements with Wilson's new recording style. It is also made clear that his mental problems didn't just occur someday, they got worse over a period of time. There is no explanation why this happened. He currently claims that this happened at some point after taking LSD. Another problem that I'm thinking of as I go along is that Wilson's mental illness was probably sanitized to some extent, but it's a movie about someone, and I guess you expect that.

Obviously, this is a strange film, but I haven't even gotten into the best stuff about Wilson's auditory hallucinations, of which there were many. How does a film portray something like that? That's a tough one. Instead they are established during a recording session when his overbearing father walks in to give the band shit. There's also a scene during a dinner party where he's unable to focus on anything other than the grinding of knives and forks. This film doesn't go as far as I'd like in portraying his time on psychedelics, which seems like a budget decision. It's too bad. Other bright spots were Giamatti and Dano. First of all, is Giamatti going to be in every musical biopic from now on? I can get used to it, but it's weird how he's so easily able to slip in and portray these kinds of controlling characters. I guess that's his thing. It's impossible to describe what I think about Dano other than that he seems like a genuinely weird guy. I don't really want to know more about him, but that's the feeling I get. I also can't shake his portrayals of Alex Jones and Eli Sunday. This portrayals seems to slide in perfectly among them. What can I say? I guess he makes a good mentally unstable kind of guy.

By no means is this a perfect film, and if I made it sound like one that's my fault. This is somewhat limited in my eyes because of the subject matter. Sure, the director got me to care about the Beach Boys just a little bit, that was a difficult job and I'll give some credit out for that. But, it's still a film about someone I have no attachment to. If this was a solo case study about a person who wasn't real, the film would be just as good in my eyes. If you don't know Wilson's story, this film is even better, so that's why I left disclaimers above. There are a few things I would have liked to see in this film that were detailed and not portrayed on screen, so that's too bad. I also saw Cusack's portrayal as being a bit similar to Tony Soprano when in a dream state. Maybe I'm offbase there, but the similarities were too many to not mention. This is a good film, but I will never revisit it.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 23, 2017, 04:22:11 PM
(https://ewedit.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/legend-1.jpg)

Legend (2015), directed by Brian Helgeland

Is this the first time I've reviewed something where an actor plays two characters? I think that it may be. This is yet another biopic, which I wanted to get out of the way before moving on to continue the rest of my month. It's also yet another modern film where I revisit the 1960's. This is the third time this month, and I've been watching Mad Men this whole time as well. I was also intrigued to see why Tom Hardy would take on two roles. It's difficult enough to play one role, and it would seem to be easier that he'd be playing twin brothers, but I don't see how that's the case. The brothers are quite different. They required two different accents. One is homosexual and the other is not. This is quite a strange movie as a result of that, in combination with the fact that the director doesn't really know what to do with this story.

Reggie and Ron Kray (Tom Hardy) were gangsters in London, both of whom were totally different. The film does its best to illustrate that to a certain point. Reggie is more of a smooth operator who likes to rely on threats and scams in order to grow the family business. Ron, on the other hand, is a complete nutjob. He was in a psychiatric hospital until Reggie was able to threaten a doctor into releasing him. Basically, these guys were thugs. As the story tells it, Reggie becomes smitten with Frances (Emily Browning), a sister of someone who was driving him around. Ron does not like this, and has quite a difficult time accepting this. There's a strange cast of characters in this film, that's for sure. Nipper Read (Christopher Eccleston) is tasked with following the Kray's around and trying to put a case on them. His efforts are stymied and he fades in and out of the story at the director's leisure. Mad Teddy (Taron Egerton) is a psychotic lover of Ron's who seems to have partnered up with him to do business. Alright. Lastly, there's Leslie Payne (David Thewlis), a guy who walks the straight and narrow for the brothers. He's their business man and ensures they don't get caught doing anything.

The paragraph I have left above probably illustrates well why this doesn't work. What exactly is this movie about, and what is it trying to tell us? The answer is that it's about the Krays and isn't trying to tell us anything whatsoever. This film is basically a big nothing. Tom Hardy is tasked with keeping the film interesting all on his own. This is far too long for the story that has been told, and the characters surrounding the Kray brothers aren't the best either. Frances is a good example of that. She narrates the film and tells it from her perspective, but her character just wasn't strong enough to provide this film with any kind of balance. This film is loaded with caricatures of the genre as they pertain to her. That's not the worst thing in the world as long as the story being told is intriguing. It isn't. Emily Browning is really pretty and sympathetic, but this just didn't work.

This is another clear attempt to make a Scorsese movie without the capability of pulling it off. I believe I have established that I am not automatically against this, there is merely a way of doing it right and a way of doing it wrong. This is the latter. There are characters introduced without knowing what they're even there for and music that doesn't fit scenes. I don't think I'm jaded on this genre, I believe I could immediately turn on another gangster film and not have these kinds of problems. I also think that to some extent this film glorifies what the Kray brothers did. It's a matter of presentation. Related to that, I'm a bit tired of the idea that associates bring down criminal organizations like these ones. Especially when the film makes the opposite so obvious, yet refuses to go down that road. I don't understand it.

Unfortunately, this film wastes two great performances by Tom Hardy, who is above this kind of material. At least there were too good characters here. I would hate to imagine if this film didn't have them. There are too many side stories to be told that weren't told, and I'd hate to think this film would turn out longer. So, I'm glad they weren't. I think this was a decent film, but I don't really like it and will probably only revisit a couple scenes from it. The Krays are somewhat of a mythic figure in London, but that's an era long gone by, and in ten or twenty years nobody will care. Time moves on, and perhaps it's time to stop making average movies in a way that doesn't relate the material in them to the present.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kotzenjunge on November 25, 2017, 02:27:43 PM
Peter Sellers was multiple characters in Dr. Strangelove so you've written on a movie like that before.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 29, 2017, 06:52:48 AM
I forgot about that.

(https://e3productions.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/pitch-black-004.jpg)

Pitch Black (2000), directed by David Twohy

For some reason I keep calling this movie Pitch Blake, so if I continue to do it throughout this post it's a complete and total accident. Anyway, until the last month or so, I didn't realize there was a movie about Riddick prior to The Chronicles of Riddick. I wouldn't have watched this otherwise, it's good that I found this out. I wonder if some other people were confused in a similar way. Its been a little while since I watched any movie related to space. Independence Day: Resurgence is related to space I suppose, that was around a month and a half ago. Stargate was another. That was a long time ago though. Does this movie measure up to those pieces of shit? The answer is clearly yes.

It's the future, and there's a ship transporting passengers to various planets. The passengers are frozen, including the captain and the ship's crew. We aren't told about the passengers for quite a while, but there's a problem. Debris knocks the ship off course and wakes everyone up, because that's not supposed to happen, after all. The captain gets hit with debris that penetrates the hull, so it's on the surviving crew members to land the ship. Carolyn (Radha Mitchell) wants to dump the passengers in order to do so, but her co-pilot won't let her. She's able to land the ship, but in the process quite a few of the passengers die, and some guy who was in a pod that wasn't allowed to be open is now free. Why did it say not to open the pod?

You may have figured it out, but Riddick (Vin Diesel) was a prisoner. Why? Apparently he's killed some people. There's no further explanation than that. Once the ship is landed, we're introduced to the other passengers. Johns (Cole Hauser) is Riddick's captor and he's transporting Riddick to prison. At least he wanted to. Imam (Keith David) is a, you guessed it, imam, who was bringing some pilgrims to a planet called New Mecca. The pilgrims passage is complicated by their lack of English speaking ability. There's also some bougie looking guy named Paris (Lewis Fitz-Gerald), who seems to be there as a plot device. There's no water on the planet the ship lands on, but he was bringing a lot of liquor to wherever he was going. Jack is a boy who seems to idolize Riddick for some strange reason. There's also Shazza (Claudia Black). I don't know why she's there.

This is a sci-fi movie in the similar way that Alien is. It's more of a horror movie, with the similar tropes and cliches that reside in the genre. That isn't to say it's not good. It's pretty good. The premise of the movie is sound. It is daylight on the planet all the time because there are three suns. There are creatures who reside in the dark, which there isn't very much of. What happens if it gets dark? Sorry to spoil the movie like that, but there it is. The main thing that hangs over the movie is that we know Riddick is a convict. The idea is presented that he will kill everyone and leave on his own. So is the idea that he'd leave everyone there. Why wouldn't he? They all know who he is and he was somebody's prisoner. Nobody really trusts him and he doesn't trust them.

That isn't to say this movie is perfect, it obviously isn't, nothing that sounds this cliched could possibly be. The special effects are all really dated and look bad. I think the film's pictures of the outside would have been bad even 17 years ago. That's what happens when doing mid-budget science fiction, so there's nothing really wrong with that. It is very noticeable though. Second is that Cole Hauser is once again incapable of playing a bad guy. I don't know who saw this and thought it was initially a good idea to pair Vin Diesel with him again in 2 Fast 2 Furious. But, no. Definitely not. There's something about him that I just can't stand and it's not in the good villain kind of way. He's like Jeff Jarrett or something. Glad I haven't had to see him in anything else, but eventually something will come up. There's also the usual horror movie problem of the characters only existing to be killed. But that's not really a big deal.

All in all, this was a decent movie. The plot of it carried the whole thing as this wasn't full of good performances or anything like that. Lots of decent set pieces and design, as well as the objective being pretty clear. I liked it.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 29, 2017, 01:50:04 PM
(http://www.patten.lib.me.us/wp-content/uploads/the-deer-hunter.jpg)

The Deer Hunter (1978), directed by Michael Cimino

If I had known how depressing this film was prior to watching it, I definitely wouldn't have. I don't know what I was thinking or what I was expecting, but for fuck's sake. I could barely handle some of these scenes. That was rough. I tried to wait for as long as possible to watch this, and I nearly let it expire prior to doing so. It's hard to get in the mood for a war movie, especially when one is three hours. That's a hell of a time commitment, and as I've told people before, I don't ever split movies in half to watch half at one time and the next half at another time. It's a full run through it. How does one even write about a movie like this? What could I possibly say of value that hasn't already been said? In attempting to do so, I will write this before reading a single thing about the movie. Other than the cast list, of course.

I have absolutely no idea how to properly summarize the plot. It's kind of impossible to do, and I've never tried to do so for a three hour film. The short version is that there are three parts. Before Vietnam, Vietnam, and after Vietnam. Before Vietnam, it's small town America. Steel working. What real men used to do. Mike (Robert De Niro), Steven (John Savage), and Nick (Christopher Walken) are heading to Vietnam. There's quite a lot of stuff going on around them prior to do so. Their friends Stan (John Cazale), Axel (Chuck Aspegren), and John (George Dzundza) are not going, but they have quite big parts in the film. I wouldn't mention them otherwise. Steven is getting married to Angela (Rutanya Alda), and Nick has a girlfriend named Linda (Meryl Streep). So, all that said, I'm not going to tell anyone what they do prior to Vietnam. At least in this paragraph. I'm pretty sure everyone's seen this, though. There's so much here that I can't possibly write about it all. There's just a massive amount of things to discuss. The wedding scene and setup took almost a whole fucking hour to get through. The deer hunting a little bit more. Then there's Vietnam.

It's a Vietnam movie, yeah, but at the same time it isn't. The film takes no care with heading to Vietnam, you are jolted straight into the scene. You aren't told about what Mike, Steven, and Nick have been doing. You are merely shown one thing. Mike is clearly the leader of the group. That's clear before they get there. This film is certainly not for the faint of heart. The scene with the flamethrower is one thing. I have no idea if Vietcong dropped grenades into hovels with children and women in them. I haven't read about the war. I'm sure they did. The Russian roulette is another. Are there many more harrowing scenes than this? With this being so soon after the war finished, I'm sure there was lots of nitpicking for accuracy. I don't really give a shit about that. It's a fucking crazy scene, end of story. As long as you don't know what's going to happen, anyway. Due to that, I have to stop spoiling stuff.

This film is excellent at maintaining the element of surprise. Due to how long it is, and due to the way the film is set up at the beginning with not making anyone definitively the main character, if you don't know what's going to happen beforehand, you're in for a treat. A depressing treat, anyway. Literally the entire plot is on Wikipedia if you don't want to spend three hours watching something that will make you feel like you need a Prozac. There were various points at which I couldn't believe what I was watching. That's quality filmmaking and I think it should be the main objective of a film like this. You shouldn't know what's coming. This material is treated the way it is supposed to be. This isn't supposed to be cavalier. It is a telling of how a war sticks with people. We are not supposed to forget what happens to the people who are there. They don't and neither do the people around them, even if those people are not made aware of what happened to their returning soldier. That's what the post-Vietnam scenes mean.

Is this an anti-war film? Yes. Almost all war films should be, and if you don't get that kind of feeling from them, you're a little bit psychotic. In doing so, it is inevitable that the other side of the portrayal in the film will be bad. I'm sure a lot of people around the world detested the Vietnamese portrayal. They were portrayed as savages and I can't really say anything to the contrary of that. The Russian roulette scene is another thing that, like I said, I don't know that it happened. Why would the Vietcong put a loaded gun in an American soldier's hand? I don't think they would, so I'm left a little bit confused. I am not confused by what the scenes mean. Isn't that what a war is? The people who place soldiers into a war theater are playing Russian roulette with the lives of those men. That's reality.

This film is long as I mentioned, which is obviously a big and divisive problem. I do not care how long a movie is as long as the story that's being told is compelling. Sure, it takes some time to get through this, but can anyone say this wasn't a good story? I think I'd like to see an explanation from somebody who thinks that it wasn't. I'm not from this era, so my feelings about the war from what I know are different than those who were. Everyone has their own opinion of it. I'm afraid to ask on some level. My grandma married someone who was there and they never talked about it with anyone. I lived with them for a brief time and the subject wasn't allowed to be talked about. Naturally, a film like this would piss some veterans off. Some would believe it was an accurate representation. I thought it was a great film.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on November 29, 2017, 01:53:26 PM
I find the before portion of the movie a huge drag to get through. Everything past that is fantastic.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 29, 2017, 01:58:47 PM
Embarrassing tbh that was great storytelling.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on November 29, 2017, 02:07:35 PM
I agree with 909, here. I feel the first act did a great job setting up everyone's character, and while not as exciting as the other two acts is still great.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on November 29, 2017, 02:08:04 PM
Yeah

Anyways the Russian Roulette scene is one of the ones I go back to when I think about how young De Niro might be the greatest actor as I get older.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on November 29, 2017, 02:48:18 PM
Him or DDL.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Grit, Toughness, Soul, & Spirit on November 29, 2017, 03:03:18 PM
Prime 70's Pacino is up there for me, but those two are among the best ever as well.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on December 01, 2017, 01:00:28 PM
(http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com/files/2015/02/Meru-1.jpg)

Meru (2015), directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

This is the first documentary I've reviewed, right? Anyway, the standards for documentaries are a little bit different for me. There are a few things that need to be showcased properly to make a good documentary. Is the story good enough to be told? Is there something to be learned from the story? Then, there are different kinds of documentaries. There are ones that use archived footage to tell the story, with narration over it. This is not really one of those. These are people who knew they were making a documentary when they were doing what they were doing. Ever since I watched Everest, I felt the need to watch some documentaries about mountain climbing. I have no intention of ever climbing mountains myself, so this is an interesting subject. I've always wondered why people did this. It has never made any sense to me. I need somebody who does it to explain it in a way everyone can understand. Does Meru do that? Yes. It really does. It does it far better than I could have imagined.

What is Meru? Meru is a mountain in the Himalayas. What's the big deal about it? Apparently nobody had went up its most technical ascent until 2011. According to the documentary and obviously by looking at pictures of it, it is extremely dangerous. It requires climbers to use climbing equipment that frankly does not appear to be that great. In 2008, Jimmy Chin, Conrad Anker, and Renan Ozturk decided to climb Meru. There are some things in the story I would like to address rather than describe what happens. The filmmaker (who was also one of the climbers) decided that this film would focus on how risky this kind of climbing is. It's massively risky. Why would they do it? What does their family think? Why would they put their families through that? All of these questions except the latter are answered, even though the latter is obvious to me. It's not easy to just get any job making money. These guys have to sell their craft, which entails a lot of things. You have to know how to shoot videos and take pictures, as is the case with the climbers here. You have to be able to ski or snowboard, which is also addressed. Some climbers work as guides to take people up mountains. Meru is not one of these mountains.

The documentary could have been flat had it not been for one thing. In 2008, when they tried, they also failed. There was a four day storm that left them trapped in a tent that hangs off a mountain (seriously). They ran out of food. When they made their attempt to summit, it wasn't possible to pull it off before dark. Were they going to try to make it up there at night? Hell no. Negative 20 degree temperatures, trenchfoot, frostbite. Those were the risks. Down they came. They couldn't walk for around a week or so afterward. They assessed the risk and decided it would mean their death if they continued to the top. The overarching point of the documentary is that these three are safe climbers. That's why they would go up there again.

There are a few things wrong with this documentary, which could have used around 10-15 more minutes. I would have liked it if at some point it would have been addressed how the tent was constructed. That was such an interesting contraption, but I don't understand how the guys could hang from the side of the mountain while constructing a tent to hang from the side of the mountain. Perhaps it could have also been explained what all the contraptions on their belts were for. Maybe I'm not the target audience, but if they were trying to make a film to appeal to everyone, then I would be the target audience. If they weren't, that's okay too. I would still like to know.

That all being said, the documentary was more than capable of making me care about people I don't know. The stories about the climbers were interesting, and there were personal twists that I wasn't expecting. Why am I not divulging what these are? I don't know. I don't think that's something I should be doing as it can be found on Wikipedia. The cinematography was great as well, and when you consider that two of the guys (Chin and Ozturk) who were filming this were also climbing a fucking vertical mountain face, it's pretty crazy. They did a hell of a job, but it's not only that they showed, they had interludes from family as well as Jon Krakauer. You may know Krakauer from Michael Kelly's portrayal of him in Everest. Or you may not. Either way, he was a pretty interesting interview subject with a lot of insight as to how this whole thing works. I'm not done with mountain climbing either, at some point I intend to watch a movie called Sherpa, which covers how a sherpa's life works as they guide people up on Mount Everest.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on December 03, 2017, 06:18:31 PM
(http://www.eurweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/nfl-concussion-hit.jpg)

Concussion (2015), directed by Peter Landesman

After watching players smash their heads into each other for nine hours yesterday, I felt the immediate need to sit down and watch this film. Why would I do that? Well, it was expiring on Starz for starters. So, I needed to. I am actually quite surprised that this was ever released. There were things about this that surprisd me, especially given how litigious the NFL is about their intellectual property. It's called the league of denial for a reason, after all. Perhaps it looks too bad to try to silence or alter a film like this one. I cannot think of many other examples of this. The changes in football that are needed still haven't been made, and personally I don't believe they are ever going to be. I don't know what that means for the future of the game. I don't think lower level teams are going to start running practices without helmets, even though they should. I do not believe it is possible for things to change unless players play without weapons attached to their head. So, what does that mean for the game? I honestly don't know. How about the movie? Well, it's alright.

Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) was the first man to discover and publish findings on CTE. Everyone knows these initials by this point, and if you don't you should, because it can happen to everyone. How did Omalu discover this? Mike Webster (David Morse) was found dead in his truck, and Omalu gave him an autopsy. The things that Omalu found didn't make sense. Webster was merely the first one that was found, but he was certainly not the first. There were others who followed. The film makes an attempt to chart his way towards the NFL recognizing that there was a problem. As we know, eventually they did. With the help of a former Steelers team doctor (Alec Baldwin) and a fellow neurologist, Omalu publishes his findings, which the NFL decides to ignore. Why would they ignore this? There are a few reasons presented. Omalu thought it was because he was an immigrant who didn't know football. The obvious reason presented by other characters is that the NFL is too big of a business to have something like this happen to it. Other than Baldwin, Omalu's wife, and another character I'm yet to mention, the side characters merely exist to advance the story and do not pop back up. That's the whole reason I'm advancing without mentioning them.

The movie makes an attempt to tie this in with Omalu's personal life, utilizing narrative pieces, some of which aren't true. They show his church encouraging him to take in a Kenyan immigrant named Prema (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who went on to be his wife. That didn't happen. There are also implications that Omalu's boss, Cyril Wecht (Albert Brooks), was raided by the FBI because of his publishings. That is a false and near dangerous claim, but for what it's worth, Wecht was pleased with the film, even though he had some problems with it. His complaints were related to a character who wasn't a doctor, who tried to order Omalu not to do those autopsies because they were football players. What? Sounds ridiculous when I type it out. Another is that the NFL hired someone to follow Omalu's wife around, which led to her having a miscarriage due to stress. That just did not happen. Those kinds of implications are pretty goofy and don't belong in films like these as they give people reason to believe things that work a certain way work in some other, much more stupid and fantastical way. We deal with these problems as a country on a regular basis now, in part because of these sorts of presentations.

As for the movie itself, personally I could take it or leave it. There are ways to address the subject manner in a way that is more engaging or informative to the viewer than this. Again, that sounds ridiculous, but just think about it. Do you think a biopic about Junior Seau would be more effective in showing people what football does to the brain? I do. Is there some other purpose to Concussion? Honestly, I don't think so. I've also had the benefit of watching a few films similar to this pretty recently. The whistleblower biopic genre as I'd like to call it is a pretty good one. There's The Insider, but you could also say that All the President's Men and Spotlight reside in the genre as well. All three of those films are better than this one for an assortment of reasons. For starters, what they are telling you in those films is simply more important to know. The avenue with which they've decided to tell you about these things is also the most informative way of doing so. By no means have I exhausted this genre, but I don't think Concussion belongs up there with other great films. The time on screen for each player is so brief, and the film is not really about them when it should be. The script also kind of sucks, even though both Baldwin and Will Smith put in good performances.

Unfortunately, this movie is too brief and not grand enough in scope, nor did it focus on the people who are actually affected by playing football. The story is not about Omalu and what the NFL did to him, try as the film might to make it about that. This story is about Junior Seau. It's about Tony Dorsett. Chris Henry. Ken Stabler. Andre Waters. Mike Webster. Dave Duerson. It's about why someone like Jovan Belcher would snap and kill their girlfriend. It's about how guys can't even remember how to put their pants on. It's also about how 28 year old players who barely played in the NFL randomly run through glass doors and can't remember. These things start a long way before the NFL and something needs to be done about them. I am a firm believer that people don't need to stop playing football, we need to adjust the way football is practiced and the way players are equipped to play it. Anyway, Dr. Omalu didn't need someone to tell his story. The players need theirs to be told and for people to care.

6/10

I read about five minutes after writing this that Dr. Omalu (and apparently the entire pharmaceutical industry) is interested in developing a pill that players can take before a game to prevent their brain from building up proteins in their brain. That's a pretty good idea, but I wonder what the side effects would be. Eventually it's going to happen, and it'll be mandated that players take it. Infusion therapy wouldn't be the worst idea either. I have read that Mike Vick has been taking an experimental infusion therapy to rejuvenate his body and keep him from suffering physical problems in retirement.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on December 06, 2017, 02:04:19 PM
(http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01202/Benicio_Del_Toro_1202608a.jpg)

Che (2008), directed by Steven Soderbergh

How to even start with this film? First, I think we should talk about how long it was. This film is 4:25. Not 4 minutes and 25 seconds. FOUR HOURS AND 25 MINUTES. Is that comprehensive enough of a Che Guevara story for you? It certainly was for me. I don't know that much about Che or Fidel Castro, so some of the things I saw in this, I did not expect. The narrative style of the two parts are completely different as well, so I thought it was okay to watch it in the two parts instead of in one dose. It's crazy that they shot a four hour movie in three countries over 78 days. How could this be possible? Is this intended to be a portrait of Che that makes him look sympathetic? Perhaps. You'd have to watch the film to decide. I have made my own determination and will write about it below.

The first film decides not to focus on anything prior to Che's (Benicio del Toro) arrival in Cuba, other than a meeting between him and Fidel Castro (Demian Bichir) in Mexico where they discuss how the revolution should unfold. What did the revolution entail? Overthrowing Fulgencio Batista was just a part of it. Why did an Argentinian want to participate in the revolution? That is a question which is not directly answered at any point in the film, but if you're smart enough to understand what the film is telling you, eventually you'll figure it out. You can also watch The Motorcycle Diaries. which I am going to do at some point. I would merely like to explain how this works. There are parts of Che Guevara's speech to the UN interspersed throughout the movie. His speech at the UN was vehemently against American imperialism, which becomes a common theme with many of the things he does in Cuba. The film also portrays Castro moving him from regiment to regiment, or giving him different jobs. Why? I can't answer that. These jobs did happen to allow the filmmaker to share part of Che's beliefs at the place of each job. This part of the film is a little disjointed, other than the insights into Che's mind. Lastly, the first part covers a few battles, namely the Battle of Santa Clara, which led to Batista fleeing the island.

The simple fact is that visually this film is breathtaking. Despite having to read subtitles, that isn't a problem. The jungle setting is incredibly beautiful. Much of what is shown in the first film is set out in the jungle. Wide camera shots were the name of the game, which was done in order to emphasize collectiveness. That's good. Closeup shots of Che would have been terrible given that kind of background scenery. As a result of that, you're usually able to see what a group of soldiers are doing rather than just him. You're also able to see what villagers and peasants thought of the revolution. Che kept a diary, so the conversations and details of the Cuban Revolution would live on for other people to know them. Some of them might have been bullshit. I don't think they were as I see no reason for somebody like that to lie. As his UN speech showed, he didn't lie and was willing to say that the Cubans had done things they shouldn't have, although he felt they were necessary. Should his executions have been showed? I mean, yeah. Probably. But, this film does not present a complete picture, as I said before. It is showing his time as a revolutionary. You can like that or not. Obviously this film isn't for everyone as a result of that. You would at least have to have a sympathetic feeling or two for what the Revolution entailed, and I'm not afraid to admit that I do have a few.

As for the second part, it covers Che's time in Bolivia, which didn't go anywhere near as well as his stint in Cuba. While the first half shows us a glorious triumph, the second shows how a revolution descends into a death spiral and the eventual failure of it. It is clear to see very early on that there were problems. In Bolivia as in Cuba, the beginnings of guerrilla warfare were to take place out in the jungle. The problem is that Bolivia is far larger than Cuba. Ten times larger in fact. Food supplies were more scarce and the land less arable. There were strategic mistakes. Che decided to base his camp far away from where there were supposed to be strikes. As a result of that, the Bolivian Communist Party wasn't able to endorse him. What's more is that the Bolivians seemed to learn from Cuban mistakes. They were more effective than the communists in disseminating propaganda to peasants, who simply didn't believe the things that the communists were alleging took place, even though they did happen. The CIA and US military was invited in to train Bolivians. The CIA had placed individuals in the Bolivian military to ensure success. You know the worst part? The CIA also used to a former Nazi war criminal in order to capture Che Guevara. These are all 100% facts. It is incredible that people have the gall to criticize revolutionaries when the US government had no problem taking unethical Nazi research to use for our own scientific advances, or in this case working with a torturer of Frenchmen in order to capture Che. Klaus Barbie is not depicted in this film, however. Ultimately Che's Bolivian campaign was a strategic comedy of errors, which led to his inevitable capture and death.

The differences in the two halves are stark and immediately noticeable to anyone. The first half is colorful with normal camera shots. The second half is the exact opposite. This obviously looks like guerrilla filmmaking, that's the point. The camera is down in the muck with everyone else. There are consistent shades of blue throughout, with very little glimpses of real sunlight. The coloring makes this look as if it was shot at dusk. The revolutions were supposed to be the same, except they weren't, as we now know. So, Soderbergh felt that they needed to look differently as well. I approve very much of that. While the first half does do somewhat of a job lionizing Che, the second half is the exact opposite. I saw a weak leader. I saw someone who didn't know what they were doing, how didn't have a plan. The plans they did have got wrecked by other people. It was the wrong country to even attempt a revolution, the populace wasn't ready for it. Indesicive leadership immediately calls to mind what could have happened if Castro was there. While Che initially bristled at some of the things Castro suggested, or at least that was what was presented in the first half of the movie, they were good ideas that turned out to be vindicated by history. There's obviously a lot more to it than that, but this was a gigantic movie and there's only so much room to talk about it.

Of course, there's the performances, which as of yet I haven't really discussed that much. Benicio del Toro basically embodied Che Guevara. This is one of those performances that should have been nominated for awards. Guess what? It wasn't! The gamut of emotions that del Toro had to portray far surpasses what most actors are tasked with doing. The highest of highs, the normal, and then ultimately the lowest of lows. Unlike with Fidel and Raul Castro (Rodrigo Santoro) in the first part, the characters in the second half of the movie simply aren't as memorable. The performances aren't as good, and frankly the conditions of the film made it far more difficult for them to be. Nobody is given any opportunity to shine, because after all, they're out there getting killed. Their revolution was failing. The only really notable character with decent screen time was Tania Bunke (Franka Potente). Hers was quite interesting. She was a liason of sorts that was supposed to bolster the revolution. She left all kinds of plans in her apartment. The difference between Bolivia and Cuba? Subordinates didn't listen. She was supposed to never return to the camp. Couldn't do it. There was no reason for her ever to go back there. The Bolivian government was more aware of those visiting the camp. There's also a cameo Matt Damon, as well as cameos from the actors who previously played Fidel and Raul Castro. I suppose that's all we can expect from this kind of extensive picture that focuses on one man.

It's tough to sum up my thoughts on this whole project, in part because it was so long, and in part because I had to watch it over a two day period as they were two separate films. It's unbelievably long and obviously that's a negative for some people, I imagine that nobody here would have any interest in a war epic like this one. Although, I probably shouldn't call the second half a war epic. It's a wandering around epic, filled with strategical errors that lead to a lack of fighting and everyone being picked off from the brush instead. The first half on the other hand is as good as most war movies I've watched, which as I've said isn't very many to begin with. The film could certainly have been trimmed into a three hour feature, but why? Then it isn't as easy to cut the thing in half and view it, and the picture would be more disjointed as it was distinctly two different films. Ultimately, if you don't sympathize with anything that Che said, you'll find this boring, or you'll think this is a portrait of a murderer. Which it is, but so is any biographical film about historical world leaders. If you do sympathize to any extent, you'll find this intriguing. If you don't know anything about him but are sympathetic with the idea that rich people take and don't give back, you'll find this illuminating, although to what extent is entirely up to you.

Part One: 8/10
Part Two: 7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on December 07, 2017, 11:26:47 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BNTg5NzEwNDY3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODczNTUyMzE@._V1_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_.jpg)

Cinema Verite (2011), directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini

cinéma-vérité

a style of filmmaking characterized by realistic, typically documentary motion pictures that avoid artificiality and artistic effect and are generally made with simple equipment.


I'm not very big on TV movies, to be quite honest. IMDB messed with their ratings system, so I can't tell if I've rated any before. I can only remember watching one of them. The Jacksons: An American Dream is that one. I think everyone's seen that before, and if you haven't, you really should. I can think of few better biopics than that one, if I'm being honest. It had some factual errors, but who really cares? I don't remember if I've watched any others. I was reticent to watch this one, in fact. The only reason I did was because I saw James Gandolfini plastered on the poster. I have rarely been upset when hearing about someone dying whom I do not know. Gandolfini is in the category of those who did make me upset. I still remember what I was thinking at the time. How could this have happened? I still feel that way to some extent, but now I know. I will elaborate later.

What is cinéma vérité and how does it pertain to this movie? This film is set in 1971, during the filming of a series called An American Family, which is said to be the first reality television show aired in the United States. What this series has spawned is obviously not for the best, we can all agree. In any case, the presentation of this is as such. Craig Gilbert (James Gandolfini) is a filmmaker who has an idea in his head to make a documentary about an American family. He wants Alan (Patrick Fugit) and Susan Raymond (Shanna Collins) to follow someone around and document every moment of their life for an indeterminate period of time, he simply knows from watching dailies when it's time to wrap up the project. Craig decides to circle in on the Loud family, and it really isn't stated why. The Loud family consists of quite a few members. There's the matriarch, Patti, who Craig seems to think represents what the modern woman should be. There's Bill (Tim Robbins), a philandering husband who is never home. They also have quite a few kids, but only Lance (Thomas Dekker) receives any sort of focus. Why Lance, and how does he matter? Well, it's 1971 and Lance is gay. How about that?

I can think of very few films I've watched the last year with a female lead, which is pretty bad considering I've said I'm going to watch anything, but maybe it reflects worse on Hollywood that there really aren't many films with a strong female lead. This won't be the only one this month, either. I guess that's just the way it is. Unfortunately, this film did not live up to my hopes. It was simply too short to present an effective portrait of the entirely family. Instead, we were allowed to see how a marriage collapses in combination with the problem of having a camera on you while everything goes to shit. That's not as illuminating as I wanted it to be, honestly. The film also teases you with the idea that it will focus on Lance coming out of the closet. Except it doesn't, and that's also too bad.

I must admit that I did have to break this film in two, even though I said that I never do that. Why? The wind knocked out my power. Admittedly I am still a little angry about this and feel like it's difficult for me to judge this film properly because of that. I still will. I said that it was hard to understand how Gandolfini could die, but the image in my head of him from The Sopranos was a lot different than this movie. The guy had gained a ton of weight and was really not looking good. Much like our current president, it is merely an inevitability of being super obese that something like this is going to happen to you. If you are, I encourage you to change your diet. I hate that I'm focusing so much on this when his performance was really good, but I can't get over it. Diane Lane's performance was really good too, but it's overshadowed by the fact that a great actor basically ate themselves to death. If you don't know the story already, the consistent thing hanging over the film is that Patti knows her husband is cheating. It also isn't presented in a subtle matter.

The lack of subtlety and ability to know exactly what's coming even when you don't know the story is somewhat of a problem for the film, and it isn't broad enough in scope either. I would have liked to know what the daughters were thinking about being on film this much. Or what Bill was thinking. There's none of that, though. Maybe it's a choice made because that probably wasn't presented in the original documentary, but this is supposed to be about the making of it.  Ultimately, it's a television movie and my expectations shouldn't be so high. I suppose that I enjoyed it, with the best part being the family's reaction to comments that critics and audience members made after viewing the series. It is what it is. I'm glad I didn't watch a better movie and have my power go out. I would have been so pissed off.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on December 07, 2017, 06:34:31 PM
(http://cms.mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/styles/insert_main_wide_image/public/drexl.jpg)

True Romance (1993), directed by Tony Scott

I eat the pussy, I eat the butt, I eat every motherfuckin' thang. Does anything else need to be said about this? I mean really. Actually, there is quite a lot to say about this. That True Romance has some of the best lines ever filmed is just one piece of this grand puzzle. What about the fact that this movie doesn't make any sense? Does it have to? Does anyone really care? The answer to those last two questions is no. It doesn't matter. 24 years later this movie holds up with one lone exception that I'll have to get later. I can see why people wouldn't like this, though. It's 2017. Things are different. The portrayal of the only woman in this movie isn't very nice. You have white guys dropping n-bombs like it's nobody's business. Those are merely facts of the movie. I have made clear my thoughts on these matters in private with other people. I feel no need to be the moral police. If Hollywood puts out a film, I'll watch it and judge for myself. I did so here, and I liked it. I'm going to spoil with impunity here.

Clarence (Christian Slater) is a loser. No other way of putting it. This guy loves Elvis Presley and works at a comic book store. On his motherfucker birthday, he goes to a Detroit theatre to watch kung fu movies. Is there anything more obviously Quentin Tarantino than these traits? I don't think so. Anyway, while at the theatre, a woman named Alabama (Patricia Arquette) walks in. Why would that happen? She meets Clarence and they wind up having sex with each other, after which it is revealed that she's a call girl hired by Clarence's boss. After confessing that, they decide to get married to each other. What could possibly go wrong? This lovebird couple has their problems. After all, call girls have pimps. Alabama's is named Drexl (Gary Oldman), and he thinks he's black. Clarence's problem is that he hears voices. Elvis Presley's (Val Kilmer) voice to be specific. Elvis is telling him that he needs to kill Drexl. That's a great thing to have going on in your head, isn't it?

I have to some extent misrepresented the events of the film, but that's okay. This film has one of the best casts I've ever seen. There are countless actors in this that I wished were around for longer. James Gandolfini, Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt, Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman, Val Kilmer, Saul Rubinek, Samuel L. Jackson, and Paul Ben-Victor all have parts in this, short as they are. Eventually the film centers around Clarence, Alabama, Dick (Michael Rapaport), and Elliot (Bronson Pinchot). And that's okay. There's nothing wrong with Rapaport and Pinchot. I just wanted more of the other people. It's impossible to do something like this justice because of how many actors appeared in it. Talking about any of them in particular doesn't give the other ones justice. I'd rather talk about scenes.

This film is completely ridiculous and filled with the things you'd expect from any Tarantino movie, but considering when this was filmed, his screenwriting wasn't as good as it would become. Of course, he didn't direct this either, so his spin on the events could have turned out differently. We'll never know. It's inevitable that somebody else's adaptation of his screenplay would lead to these comparisons. That being said, everything with Drexl in it steals the show. The Sicilian scene as people call it comes in just behind. I am incapable of elaborating on the events there. I've heard Tarantino's story about it before although I'd never watched anything from this movie prior to last night. Do you really believe that a black person told him that story when he was a kid? That's some shit that tests your gullibility right there. The scene where Gandolfini's character beats Alabama makes for very tough viewing, which is the point. It's much better when she shoots him in the guts because of it. The ending being a Mexican standoff to that extent is again, totally ridiculous, and quite amusing as well. Perhaps it's not good to find some of the things in this so funny. I can't help it.

I shouldn't make this film sound like it's perfect, because it isn't, and as I said there are a lot of things in this that don't make sense. I am deliberately trying to ignore most of them and attribute them to things like Clarence having voices in his head, as is shown whenever he speaks to Elvis. I don't think there's anything wrong with that explanation either. What I do have a problem with is the music. There is a song by Hans Zimmer that is used a lot. Personally, I don't like it. It drives me nuts and I don't think it fits the movie at all. To have to listen to that every few minutes was really bothering me come the end of the film and while I won't say I'm glad the film was over, I was certainly bothered enough by it that I was hoping the song wouldn't be played anymore. A little thing like that shouldn't get under my skin so easily. It does, though.

All that being said, I can ignore most of that as I enjoyed watching the movie a ton. As stated, there are tons of lines worth repeating, but most of them I'd never repeat for obvious reasons. There are others that are really cringeworthy and bad, but that's what happens when Tarantino gets going, and in this case he didn't have the opportunity to edit himself. I realize that I haven't talked about the leads at all, but that's where I wanted to finish up. The thing is, I could take or leave Christian Slater. His performance here was okay. It wasn't the best thing I've ever seen and he was consistently overshadowed by the supporting cast, as well as Patricia Arquette. Now she was great. The movie doesn't have the same impact if somebody else is in that spot. She was believable and that isn't the easiest part to pull off. The goal of such a character is to be like a guy's fantasy, right? I guess you could say it's easy to do that, but there are countless films with this kind of story where the female lead role is forgettable. That's not the case here. So, with this movie being so silly and all that, it was a great watch. I was glad to see something that wasn't as serious as the last few things I chose to view. Its been weeks since I watched anything comedic or light, so I'll have to get back to that pretty soon.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on December 11, 2017, 06:22:23 AM
(https://tallwriter.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/outofsight.jpg)

Out of Sight (1998), directed by Steven Soderbergh

I said I was going to watch something light next, but this was light for different reasons than I'd expected. I wasn't thinking that somebody would trip and blow their own head off, and that I'd laugh after they did it. That's the way things work out sometimes, though. The characters in this movie are totally ridiculous and perfectly cast. Characters naturally drop in and out of the plot once their job in it is served. They don't hang on dragging the movie down. It's great when you don't know who's going to be in something prior to watching it, that way you have no idea what they'll be doing in the end.  I can't describe what it is that makes this film work the way that it does, but I'm going to try my best. It doesn't hurt that this is a heist film. What could I want to see more than that?

Alright, so this is going to be a tough one. What happens when you rob banks? You go to jail, right? Jack Foley (George Clooney) is a career bank robber who has apparently robbed hundreds of them. In the prologue, he robs a bank after making up a bullshit story, but his car doesn't start and he's captured. Foley is sent to a Florida penitentiary out in the middle of nowhere, but anyone who robs that many banks has to know someone, right? In a penitentiary without concrete walls it's easier to escape, right? Chino (Luis Guzman) seems to be a mastermind in this area, he wants to get the fuck out of there. After he tells Jack, it's time for Jack to set up his own escape, with a friend named Buddy (Ving Rhames) helping him out. It turns out that Jack has been in prison before out in California. He did his bid and he got out. So, why would he rob a bank again in the first place? During his escape, there's a problem. It's not only that the guys in the guard tower are shooting at Jack. It's that there's a U.S. Marshal named Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) out in the parking lot with a shotgun. Then he and Buddy make the mistake of kidnapping her. Why would they do all that?

Every question I have posed was answered to various degrees, with one exception that I did not pose as a question, but I am still wondering why it happened anyway. Why did Jennifer Lopez's character go bad like this? There's really no explanation for it and no way to understand it at all. If there is some kind of explanation it's just beyond me. That being said, it's nice to see a movie deal with the other questions that I had. Through some nice editing and timeline tricks, the way Soderbergh did in The Limey, the viewer is pretty much able to figure it out. The flashbacks are all pretty illuminating in terms of fleshing the story out and explaining why characters would do the things that they do, so nothing is left in limbo until the end as with similar films.

The most important thing in this movie by some distance is the cast. I have mentioned some of them already but have by no means been definitive. Albert Brooks, Catherine Keener, Dennis Farina, Steve Zahn, Don Cheadle, Viola Davis, Michael Keaton, and Samuel L. Jackson all inhabit a space in this film to various extents, and with the exception of Davis their parts are quite amusing. This isn't the kind of movie everyone would find funny, but it is funny with that lone exception. I think my favorite part was the opening of the safe. It was too ludicrous and reminded me of a lot of the scenes in the Ocean's Trilogy. Does this movie work even better if you consider Jack Foley merely an alter-ego of Danny Ocean? Probably not, but it just came to my mind and I've been thinking about it ever since.

It also probably needs to be mentioned that Jennifer Lopez has never been as good as this in some other movie. How does that work? Are performances like this just flukes? I don't think that it is because there were other good performances prior to this one. Perhaps it's merely the selection of projects and willingness to make garbage that leads to these kinds of things. Ving Rhames and Don Cheadle have made plenty of trash too, though. So it's probably an example of being overcritical to bring that up in relation to Jennifer Lopez. George Clooney is the only guy in this who hasn't been, and with his considerable clout these days he probably won't be.

One of the only things preventing me from rating this movie higher than True Romance is that I don't understand the motivations of Jennifer Lopez's character, and I don't think I ever will. Besides that, I found the plot more comprehensible, although the characters are less memorable. There isn't any Drexl Spivey here. Don Cheadle showed pretty good range in comparison to most of his other performances, but it doesn't really match up to that. It probably isn't possible for someone to match up to that. In any case, good movie, and I'm not done with Soderbergh yet this month. I almost didn't realize that this film was adapted from a book, and I don't know what the comparisons between the two are, so I guess that has no factor to me.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: DMann1979 on December 12, 2017, 12:24:08 AM
Poor White Boy Bob.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on December 13, 2017, 04:10:50 PM
My computer broke, so this is on hiatus for some time. Don't know how long and I will rarely be on this board.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kahran Ramsus on December 14, 2017, 08:47:40 AM
My computer broke, so this is on hiatus for some time. Don't know how long and I will rarely be on this board.

That's too bad, but it could be a lot worse.  I hope you find a way to post something when Jack Del Rio gets fired in about three weeks.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on December 17, 2017, 06:07:51 AM
I think I'll be fixed up on December 29th.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on December 31, 2017, 02:50:58 PM
(https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/the-last-jedi-11.jpg)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), directed by Rian Johnson

I have stated in here that I never go to the theater. That is true. So, why would I go to this? Obviously, it's fucking Star Wars. Like, duh. I wouldn't miss this and found the night after the premiere that I couldn't resist. I considered going immediately once I felt the urge to watch this, but instead I waited for a few days. Going to the theater is a whole thing for me for an assortment of reasons. For starters, I refuse to eat or drink anything prior to going. I don't like missing parts of a movie, which I wound up doing anyway. I also prefer to go to as early a showing as possible. It costs less and there's less people there, so I don't have to walk around them. At my local AMC all the seats are recliners, so that's nice. I also watched this in the Dolby Cinema. I don't know why I'm beating around the bush like this, but I feel like I need to explain these things prior to writing about the movie itself, as doing so lets everyone know how strange I am. With all that in mind...

Spoiler: show
So, Star Wars. It's a big thing. I have made clear to some that in hindsight I didn't like The Force Awakens, which I watched one day prior to seeing this. My mind didn't change at all when I gave it another look a few weeks ago, so that's where I stand. The Last Jedi could not possibly have been more different than The Force Awakens. Some people like that, others don't. I feel that Rian Johnson was given an impossible task. JJ Abrams made a lot of mistakes with TFA. For starters, he failed to establish a world for the franchise to build off of going forward. These problems were evident in the film I am currently reviewing. There were too many things unexplained which simply do not have time to be explained in a second offering. It is what it is. Of course, a lot of people don't like this movie, and that's up to them, I'm not about to go bashing them. The problem is the first film. I won't change my mind about that, and I don't believe anyone wants to change their mind about anything, so let's move on.

I'm not going to do my usual plot summary for this film because it's kind of impossible and I don't see any point to it. There are similarities between this film and Empire Strikes Back, but they are similarities that I wanted as opposed to the ones I didn't. Fortunately, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) didn't have children. Fortunately, he didn't go bad either. Instead, he assumes the role that Yoda did in Empire to some extent, when talking to Rey (Daisy Ridley). Granted, he didn't mentor the same way Yoda mentored him, but it's one of those things that felt similar even though it wasn't. This was obviously a major disappointment to people who wanted more, but I think it's unrealistic for the franchise to be built around an old person to the extent that some people desired. Anyway, that's only part of the picture. Han Solo being the exception, the characters from the previous film are back. There's also much more, to the extent that I got a little confused when trying to keep track of everyone. Characters drop in and out as it suits the story, which makes for a difficult editing job. Others are marginalized, with Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) being an obvious one, but she is merely a stormtrooper and that should be expected. Others take far larger parts in the story. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) leads the way in that regard, which is great because it's Oscar Isaac. I suppose most importantly, there are new characters. DJ (Benicio Del Toro) is a codebreaker who can help the rebels get into the First Order's Star Destroyer. Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) is a commander who takes over when Princess Leia is incapacitated. Lastly, the character that made people the most angry is Rose (Kelly Marie Tran). Rose is merely a maintenance worker with the Resistance.

The story is predictably a mess, and it's the director's job to work their way through it, which I thought Johnson did a pretty good job of. The lack of care taken with the first film created a poor atmosphere with which to tell a story here. Due to that, this film has to move very fast. It is also very long, I'd say longer than it should have had to be. I can't think of much to cut, though. There's a lot of talk about the Canto Bight scenes being useless, and I guess that's fair, but I don't really feel that way. The sequence of scenes is too long, but they helped explain Finn's (John Boyega) change in demeanor and attitude. I'm okay with that. His loyalty was to other people, and no he identifies as a rebel. That's cool. Those scenes didn't bother me anywhere near as much as Leia turning into Superman.

Ultimately, with the exception of Empire Strikes Back, this series doesn't have any great movies. That's the one I can point to as a genuine classic. Two of the others are good, two are okay at best, and another is outright bad. Probably two bad ones. I haven't seen Rogue One. A lot of people say Episode II is the worst, but I haven't watched it and never felt any desire to go do so. Should I? Probably. I'll review all the movies at some point because why not? I haven't seen them in forever, so it's a good idea. I think it can be said that there are now three good movies in this series and one classic, that being Empire. This was a good movie. The issues it does have present few problems to me and in some cases are negated. There are lots of good action pieces. The climax on Crait is excellent and is preceded by lots of other good stuff, namely Holdo destroying much of the First Order fleet. Snoke (Andy Serkis) dying is another thing that pissed off people, but I really liked the whole scene. It was well framed with red in the background and was very visually appealing. I missed the Yoda scene or I'd probably mention that as well. Rey's scene in front of the mirror wasn't bad either.

Once someone makes their mind up on anything they are not very likely to change their mind, so if you didn't like this movie, the things that I said I liked possibly may have enraged you. That's okay, that's how I feel about some movies that other people liked. This was a good film by my standards, though. It's incredibly difficult to pull something like this off, but when it's an established franchise like this one, it's inevitable that some of the fans will be alienated by the decisions they make. Movies like this are a breaking point for any franchise, and this will probably happen to Marvel once the next group of Avengers films are released. There will be people who don't like what they've seen and swear off the series. There will be others who love it and keep going no matter what. Others will swear off the series only to return later. These are things that will happen with Star Wars as well. Regardless of what they had done with this film, that would have happeneed. Some obviously wish the film was more suited to them, but it wasn't, and everyone's different. It isn't possible to make everyone happy, or even pick which groups to make happy. That being said, there is one thing I can't see how anyone could have been mad about. Kylo Ren. Adam Driver's performance there was one of the best in the whole series. He is really good. Everyone was, but he and Mark Hamill stood out the most.


8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 01, 2018, 06:40:27 PM
(https://static01.nyt.com/images/2013/12/04/arts/04OUTjp/04OUTjp-master675.jpg)

Out of the Furnace (2013), directed by Scott Cooper

The trailer gives away everything as it relates to this film, which would be a massive problem had I remembered everything that was in the trailer. I didn't. I thought this was about something completely different, and it's difficult for me to understand why I thought that. I just did. Having watched the trailer just now, it's still misleading and is presented as an action movie or thriller. If you think that's what this is, well, you're incorrect. On the contrary, this film is quite slow. I've reviewed quite a few of Woody Harrelson's films at this point, and less of Casey Affleck's, but it just so happens that I have reviewed their only other collaboration. Triple 9 features them working in tandem with one another, with Woody's character as Affleck's uncle. That couldn't be more different than this, they're such different kinds of movies. Granted, Woody is Woody. Casey Affleck on the other hand was more of an upbeat character in Triple 9, which goes completely against type. I've also seen one of Cooper's other offerings, Black Mass. That could also not be different than this! 

One of the last movies I watched was The Deer Hunter, which is completely different in tone to this film, but features some similarities. This film is about working class people. One of them works at a steel mill, and the people in this film have working class problems. One of them is a soldier who has returned from combat in Iraq. Is that supposed to remind people of what could have happened to Christopher Walken's character in The Deer Hunter had he returned to America? Maybe. The setting also feels very similar, with it being set outside of Pittsburgh and all that. Lastly and most importantly, guess what? The main character hunts deer, has something bad happen to him, and can't pull the trigger afterwards. So, there are a ton of similarities, but the films are very different, dealing with some problems that occured during war as well as general things I guess we can just call White People Problems.

The film starts with Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson) doing something so reprehensible that I felt like turning this off immediately, but I won't spoil it in case anyone's going to watch the film. I don't want to ruin a horrible surprise like that for you. Anyway, Russell Baze (Christian Bale) is the aforementioned steel worker. He sees his brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) doing some really stupid shit, the kind most anyone would smack their brother around for doing. After that, Russell and Harlan bump into each other at the office of somebody named John Kelly (Willem Dafoe). We aren't made aware of what Kelly does for a little while, but he's like a low-level quasi criminal scumbag, and it's Willem Dafoe, so you people should like that. After Russell's visit with Kelly, he drives home drunk and crashes into somebody who does something really stupid on the road. This isn't his fault, but off to jail he goes. Did I mention his dad is really sick? I didn't. Did I mention that Rodney is headed off to Iraq? Well, I didn't do that either. I also didn't mention that while Russell is in jail, his girlfriend Lena (Zoe Saldana) leaves him and shacks up with Wesley (Forest Whitaker), a local police officer. Well, whoops, I spoiled that too.

So, what is this movie actually about? You just have to watch a trailer if you want to see that, and it needs to be pointed out that this film takes FOREVER to get the point. I think it's well past the halfway mark, maybe I'm wrong in terms of the extent to which this is, but it's definitely after the halfway point. That's a long time for this film's plot to develop in any kind of way. I don't have a problem with that, after all that's kind of my thing. But, it's easy to see why films like this one don't make any money. They're marketed incorrectly and nobody wants to sit in a theater to watch a film like this in the first place. The film also has scenes that are unnecessary and offputting, such as the opening scene that I've already shared some details about without expanding upon them. The film is also quite depressing, there's no point in me lying about that, so I won't. I mean we're talking at least 90 minutes of depression here prior to the payoff. That's rough. Some of the actors in this film also don't really do anything, which presents a problem to me. Sam Shepard is one of them. It is what it is.

This isn't a bad movie, I actually liked it, but I needed to post those things before elaborating on the stuff I actually liked. The characterizations here I found to be pretty spot on. All of the characters are just barely getting by, which leads to people doing really stupid things. That's not the only thing it leads to, but it's the first thing that comes to mind. That Bale's character was at fault for the drunk driving by doing a really stupid thing, in combination with the person he hit doing something just as dumb as him made for an interesting wrinkle. And yes, backing onto a fast road at night with no lights on is unquestionably as stupid or worse than drunk driving. Come at me. Vets come home and do dumb things. These are things that wouldn't work out as well with different actors in these roles, but the cast is great. Casey Affleck makes for a really good character in this film, but doesn't get to talk very much and that's too bad. Willem Dafoe does the Dafoe thing and steals his scenes. So does Woody Harrelson, so what do you think happens when they're on screen together? It's always good. Forest Whitaker is obviously believable in his role as well, it's the kind of thing he was made to do.

I don't see how this film could have been any better than it actually was, which was merely good. The plot is far too slow in developing and there are things that happen towawrds the end which are completely confounding. The closing shot is one of the most ridiculous things I've seen, actually. A director should never indulge themselves like that. I know it's gotta be tempting for these people to put something they think is awesome at the end of their story, but in actuality it almost ruins it because it's something that people don't really need to know. The film should stand on its own by that point. I can barely think about it at this moment without becoming frustrated and confused as I don't know what it was supposed to mean. I didn't ever want to know. All this being said, I did enjoy the slow plot, which clearly isn't for everyone. There is no way for me to describe how glacially slow it was, but that's cool. It's different, and I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I don't like being reminded of a better movie so often throughout the process of the story being told, so I'm left with a strange feeling at this moment.

7/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 02, 2018, 06:48:36 PM
(http://cdn2.darkhorizons.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/berg-wants-jonah-hill-for-the-rundown-2.jpg)

The Rundown (2003), directed by Peter Berg

In my time not watching movies for the last few weeks, well, it really sucked. That goes without saying. I could have kept watching them, but I didn't do that because I couldn't review them. Without continuing to beat around the bush, I think I needed to change the way I gave out scores for movies. Reading through this thread, I believe that I've given out a fair few contradictory scores to movies that don't really do anything. There are a few specific examples here. The Night Before is probably something I should have rated a 6. War Dogs being scored almost the same as A Most Violent Year doesn't work either. Southpaw is probably a 6. Do you see what I'm getting at with this? I have a tendency to overrate movies that don't really do that much for me. It's my goal to stop doing that, and I'm going to try my best. As to how that pertains to this film, what did The Rundown do for me? I will try to address that as I go on.

As the Rock's first foray into non-franchised films, this was a big deal for some at the time. Beck (Dwayne Johnson) is, well, I don't really know how to describe him. He's a debt collector. The film opens with him beating up a whole offensive line and quarterback to collect a debt, after which a man shoots him with a beanbag shotgun. Or, at least I think that's what it was. Regardless, after Beck loses his collection, his boss (William Lucking) wants Beck to retrieve his son, Travis (Country Mac). Travis is currently in Brazil looking for an artifact, it turns out. If Beck goes, he'll get enough money from his boss to open a restaurant. Of course, he wants to do that, because for some reason that's just what he wants to do. He's tired of collecting debts. This town in Brazil is run by an overlord type named Hatcher (Christopher Walken). Hatcher believes that he's brought civilization to these savages, and he controls everything that goes on in his town. So, how does Travis factor into this? It doesn't make that much sense. Plus, there's a bartender apparently named Mariana (Rosario Dawson). I guess she's the glue that holds this all together.

This movie failed to make money, and I seem to have no problem understanding how that is. Some critics disagree and like this movie a lot, but I don't agree with them. The story here is tenuous at best and barely held together with the loosest of connections. With this being a standard action film, I don't want to write too much about this film as I find it to be a waste of time. This film didn't do anything for me. I laughed a few times, that's what you'd expect from such a movie. I don't want to say it's terrible, because it isn't. Christopher Walken had some good lines and delivered them well, which is what you expect. Stereotypical, yeah. The buddy action-comedy is a genre done a ton of times, and the same can be said for the...not buddy action-comedy genre. I suppose this film is the latter. It's not that Country Mac and the Rock don't make a good team, and it's not that they don't play off each other well. They do. It's just not fantastic and the plot handcuffs them. On top of that, the villains are not threatening in the least. So, that is what it is. We should expect that. After all, Walken was pretty old even 15 years ago, and there isn't any notable, sizable henchman. Besides, the characters don't have motivations that interest me. 

Perhaps the problem is that this film doesn't hold up, and it may have been more amusing 15 years ago. Some of the humor in this film is pretty bad. Like, for example, the humping monkeys. I mean, haha, that's really funny, and when this film was released I was 15. I know for a fact I would have thought this was a funny movie when I was 15. I would have laughed at the humping monkeys and I probably would have laughed at Walken's line about the locals being nothing but Indians that he brought up from the ground. I mean, I can admit that. Everyone's immature at 15. That's who these kinds of movies are targeted for, I guess. 45 year old dads and 15 year olds. I am neither. Clearly a film can make money on that kind of formula, but this one didn't. I don't know if things like this come down to the story, I think that there wasn't enough action in it for everyone. I almost feel that way myself. The film just doesn't do anything for me, and I'm going to adjust my ratings system because I often give weak films scores that are too high.

On a closing note unrelated to the film itself, I'm still not sure where I stand on the Rock as an actor. I don't know, and I haven't seen enough of his stuff. Granted, this film is a lot different than the other stuff I've seen him in. The Rock doesn't tell very many jokes in this one. So, whatever's wrong with the story or humor really doesn't have anything to do with him. The jokes that he does tell and the obsession with his plagiarized Emeril Lagasse cookbook are very funny. There's nothing bad about anything he did here. So, obviously, whatever I think about this movie itself has nothing to do with my opinion of him. I did establish after watching Central Intelligence that I'm not sure I get what the big deal is about the Rock as an actor. I still don't know, but I'm going to find out. Hopefully. I definitely wouldn't give Central Intelligence a 5.5 right now, so it's probably bad that I'm going to give this film the same score. At least I established that I think I needed to revamp my scoring, though.

5.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on January 03, 2018, 05:08:59 AM
I did establish after watching Central Intelligence that I'm not sure I get what the big deal is about the Rock as an actor. I still don't know, but I'm going to find out. Hopefully.

I think a lot of it is, much like his WWE tenure, his natural on-screen charisma. Even in movies he just radiates this 'IT' charisma that, back in the day, guys like Arnold and Stallone had and Rock's kind of a modern day version (right down to the action star broadening themselves in comedies) of them just without the good/great roles so far in his career.

His future roles in Black Adam and The Janson Directive (based off the Robert Ludlum novel) hopefully will be that pushing point for him as a legitimate good actor in good movies run.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on January 03, 2018, 08:42:59 AM
While I agree with the assessment he's the closest thing to the movie star type like Arnold and Stallone... I find it hard to think of anything where he's the lead being as enjoyable to watch compared to those two even their awful movies.

I find it comparable to the old weird thing where someone asks you if you were stuck on an island... which something would you like to have there with you. It would usually be a band or artists discography but for this purpose I'm going to go an actor/actress filmography. I know for a fact in this highly dumb and unlikely scenario I would no doubt have Arnold in my top 10, maybe top 5. Stallone would be top 20. I'm finding it hard to even hypothetically place The Rock somewhere. I'm glad for his success and find it pretty surreal to where he's launched himself into... but it's hard to think about any of his movies I could sit back while bored and finding myself putting them on for a bit while flipping thru the channels on tv. Or pulling up a specific clip from youtube to watch for some odd reason.

It's honestly as if his best work was in WWE regarding something like this now that I think about it.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: The Art of Rasslin' on January 03, 2018, 05:34:51 PM
The first bit of The Other Guys is probably his best film work. But yeah I agree with all of that.

Nothing from The Rock comes close to Predator, True Lies or Commando let alone stuff like Terminator and Total Recall.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 03, 2018, 06:44:23 PM
(http://www.entertainmentfuse.com/images/hancock-movie.jpg)

Hancock (2008), directed by Peter Berg

It's a coincidence that I'd watch two Peter Berg movies in two days, but I had already set my mind on watching Hancock and The Rundown one right after the other. Why would I do that? Well, I wanted to see what the difference between Will Smith and the Rock is. Other than possibly choices in scripts, I am still incapable of answering that, so that process was a waste of time. That being said, I got more than I expected from this viewing. I didn't expect much at all, actually. I know this movie made a lot of money, but with my generally rebellious attitude towards consuming popular entertainment circa 2008, I never even considered checking this out. That's literally my only explanation. As to why I'd finally watch it now, well I guess it's leaving Starz, so I don't have much of a choice in the matter. I'm happy with that, as like I said, those things force me to watch films I'd otherwise not watch, although this is not one of those. There's not many similarities in Berg's films, so I can't take that angle of reviewing the movie. Let's get to it then.

Hancock (Will Smith) is a superhero of sorts. He does the things those characters do in an unorthodox fashion because he doesn't know any better. It isn't explained why he does things this way, he just does them this way. I don't get it. He's an alcoholic who got knocked out one day and doesn't remember how he got his powers. After putting an end to a police chase, Hancock is on his way home or something (this isn't very clear), only to encounter somebody trapped on train tracks. The man is named Ray (Jason Bateman), and he's a public relations specialist who wants to get corporations to do charitable things they don't want to do in exchange for being allowed to place his logo on theirs. His logo, of course, shows that these corporations are awesome. Hancock removes Ray's car from the tracks, but does so in a pretty destructive way that really messes shit up. Ray's idea for Hancock is to bring him home to meet his wife Mary (Charlize Theron), and his son. He wants to feed him dinner, then pitches an idea to Hancock that he thinks will improve Hancock's image to the public.

This movie is fun, even though it doesn't make a lot of sense. It's fun enough for me to pretty much forget that it doesn't make sense. I'd prefer to focus on the first half of the movie. The destruction that Hancock puts on Los Angeles is actually pretty awesome. It makes me wonder if people would actually put up with the things that are in these kinds of films. Would people accept their commute being completely destroyed for months because some guys decided to run from the police? Probably not. I can't imagine that anyone would, it's bad enough over here. We can't go anywhere without those kinds of problems being bad enough, and nobody wants to wake up an hour or two earlier so they can get to work on time. I'd pass. That this film actually makes me think about those kinds of implications is a welcome change from other superhero fare. While it does do that, there's some pretty weak scenes as well. I don't care very much for Hancock shoving one guy's head up another guy's butt. That's okay, nothing's going to be perfect in a movie like this one. I still liked it. For whatever reason I didn't see the movie's surprise coming at all. I should have, because otherwise there wouldn't have been any second half of the film at all.

About the second half, it was mostly a mess. That's often the case with movies like these, because it's pretty hard to complete a great concept like this one. I accept that. I also accept that great concepts need to be put on film even if they're only half completed. It's hard for me to address anything in the second half, not because I care about spoiling (I don't), but because I don't want to get into the nuts and bolts of it. The concept doesn't hold up at all under any examination. It is not explained how Hancock came into existence, because the filmmaker either doesn't care enough to flush out that part of the story, or because they don't know how to. I appreciated that a lot until there was an attempt made at doing it. It was bad. Really bad. That's all I can say about that.

I don't know if I can say that I liked the way the film finished, so what I'm left with is 60% of a film I really enjoyed, 25% that I didn't, and 15% that I thought was okay. That's a weird situation for me. I don't think films like this require too much thought, but some of the special effects were great. The train derailing was pretty cool considering that was 10 years ago, and the dialogue in the scene after it was even better. Plus, this movie does have Charlize Theron and Will Smith. Actually, I think I may have figured out the difference between Smith and the Rock. It's that I can buy scenes in movies where Smith is required to be serious. I can't do that with the Rock even though I haven't went through such a large amount of movies with him in them, but I know that I won't be able to. That's probably going to be my problem with him. Regardless, I won't watch anything with either of them in it for quite a while, so that's tabled until another time. Although, with some of the movies on my list for this month, I may wish I was watching one with them in it. I guess one reason I enjoyed the majority of this movie so much was that it didn't tie into some grand franchise or hold any kind of meaning beyond what I was watching in front of me. Sometimes I would like films like these to get back to that.

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on January 04, 2018, 01:26:59 AM
In no fucking universe is Hancock a better film than The Rundown.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on January 04, 2018, 01:42:37 AM
In no fucking universe is Hancock a better film than The Rundown.

It is in 909's, bro! Maybe you should get enlightened by joining up with the West Coast brothers
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Mr. S£im Citrus on January 04, 2018, 02:39:21 AM
See, to me, the movie doesn't become interesting until after Hancock meets Mary. Different strokes, I guess; I'd like to see a 'superhero/sci-fi' movie that explores that concept more in depth.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 04, 2018, 04:04:50 AM
In no fucking universe is Hancock a better film than The Rundown.

The Rundown has Stifler in it trying to be funny, horrible Portuguese accents, and lots of childish jokes. Hard pass.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on January 04, 2018, 05:45:55 AM
Why would I do that? Well, I wanted to see what the difference between Will Smith and the Rock is. Other than possibly choices in scripts, I am still incapable of answering that, so that process was a waste of time.

Bah gawd it's like an NFL scout who would find a black QB to compare with another black QB even if their style of playing, their strengths and weaknesses, etc. are not comparable at all.

 
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Kahran Ramsus on January 04, 2018, 07:27:44 AM
Quote from: 209
I haven't seen Rogue One.

I would recommend it.  I thought it was great, but I admit that it is a polarizing film.  If nothing else, it is very different than the typical Star Wars movie.  It is more of a World War II film, like Dirty Dozen or something like that, set in the Star Wars universe.  I would at least give it a shot. 

I too thought TLJ was much better than TFA.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 04, 2018, 08:44:42 AM
Why would I do that? Well, I wanted to see what the difference between Will Smith and the Rock is. Other than possibly choices in scripts, I am still incapable of answering that, so that process was a waste of time.

Bah gawd it's like an NFL scout who would find a black QB to compare with another black QB even if their style of playing, their strengths and weaknesses, etc. are not comparable at all.

(https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-w0pVZi7GKmk/Wel5NWhK_ZI/AAAAAAAAV7I/bFdbDerHeE8efa7uVC6wLxGGnZ3hbpuggCLcBGAs/s1600/13.gif)
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on January 04, 2018, 08:51:02 AM
I'm glad I didn't post the liota or heston gif. That's fantastic.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 05, 2018, 06:45:36 PM
(https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--oyyA5A_D--/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/i6sgyqnetgayt90bzxm3.png)

Shaun of the Dead (2004), directed by Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright has become a little bit of a big deal over the last few years, so I suppose it's a perfect time to finally watch one of his films. I haven't bothered previously, didn't see the point in rushing to it. I was told many years ago that I needed to see this film, but in typical fashion I didn't bother. I mean, a zombie comedy? That just wasn't up my alley. As people may have figured out, I'm not one to go outside of my lane entertainment wise unless I feel pushed into doing it. I am trying to watch 300 movies this year, and I probably won't pull that off, but I really want to do my best. Doing that requires leaving the normal and heading into the...abnormal? I guess that's one way of phrasing it. Anyway, this was a pretty good concept. There's lots of those, but how many of them are well executed? Not very many. Especially to this extent. This goes beyond well executed and into the realm of executed better than the concept even deserves.

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a Londoner, and his life is without any meaning whatsoever. He does have a girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield). Liz doesn't care for Shaun's life either. Shaun spends most of his time after work at the Winchester Tavern, which is a pretty shitty place largely frequented by old people. Shaun's job is meaningless as well, he works as an electronics salesman and his co-workers are much younger than him. His anniversary was on the way, and he's quite busy with nonsensical things. Like dealing with his roommate Ed (Nick Frost), a much bigger loser than him. Or his stepfather Philip (Bill Nighy), who he doesn't care for in the least. Due to all those things, Shaun has forgotten to book a reservation at a restaurant, and after he suggests they spend the night at the Winchester, Liz breaks it off with him. After all, everyone deserves better than that. When Shaun and Ed come home after going out boozing, Shaun is berated by his other roommate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz), and it's hard to understand why Pete would live with these losers. Anyway, Shaun becomes determined to get his life together. The problem is that the next day, there is...A ZOMBIE OUTBREAK.

Is that how you phrase it? A zombie outbreak? Probably not. There's many other ways of doing so. What I liked about this was that to great extent the zombies were secondary. I thought it was more about the characters involved and the way zombies were intruding on their lives. The premise is quite British, isn't it? A man gets worried about something that's going to change his life and heads to the pub, his safety net. This is at the very least a past version of the way things used to be in London. It's just a lad and his friends, or not even his friends. It just is how it is! The characterizations here are pretty good, and the film doesn't care to beat the viewer over the head with humor. At first I didn't understand how this film was supposed to be comedic. That isn't a complaint, it's just the way I saw things. It took a little bit for things to get to a point where I started laughing.

I don't watch a lot of zombie movies, so I don't know what people expect of these films. I also don't know the tropes of the genre either or how these things are supposed to go. As it relates to this specific movie, that's probably a really good thing, but I wonder if this would be enhanced by greater knowledge of zombie films. I was consistently off guard and not knowing what was around the next corner. Sometimes it was really funny. Sometimes it was serious. Movies that are near the top of a genre have that kind of commonality. I'm glad nobody ever bothered to spoil this movie when I was around, even though there was ample opportunity for that to happen. Under the standards of the movies I watch, this was pretty gory. I don't believe those are the standards of most people, but there are some parts that got to me a little bit. I was going to say that everything at the pub and on the way there was fantastic, but that was such a large portion of the movie it's strange to differentiate it from the rest like that. I suppose everything leading up to the zombies wasn't as good as the rest. I don't think that's a strange conclusion at all. The ending was something so strange that I still don't know how to react to it. I suppose almost anything that garners that kind of reaction is good.

The way the film manipulates the viewer into caring about Shaun and Liz even though all of Liz's gripes are more than valid is quite funny. I think they're even more than just gripes, if I had a sister like Liz I would encourage her to get rid of the loser too. I hope that everyone here would do the same. The way the film presents this relationship does make it clear to some extent that Shaun is wrong, and the way the ending resolves everything leading to exactly what Liz complained about in the first place is great. That brought out one of the biggest laughs from me. Ed was a useful character, but I had the same problems with him that Liz had. I'm making myself look like a woman and that's not my intention, and there's probably a lot of people who have been like Ed here (I am not excluding myself from that), so I prematurely apologize for something I'm not sorry for saying.

Regardless of all that, this film is an excellent blend of genres even though it starts off slow even for my tastes. For some reason I neglected to mention a few characters, all of whom are good. I didn't do that on purpose, it's just a happenstance of not being able to discuss every character when there are so many of them. There's another problem with not reviewing movies as soon as they come out. There are lots of editing tricks here that I imagine were quite different for the time. Unfortunately most of them don't have any impact on me. The biggest exception is when Pete is behind the shower curtain and his shadow appears. That was slick and I didn't see it coming. It took me a few seconds to realize what was going on. All in all, most of the British export films that I've seen are pretty good. I wonder what happens when they aren't. At some point I'm obviously going to have to find out, because Legend wasn't bad enough to qualify. There was some other Guy Ritchie film that I intended to watch, but I had to cut it as I only had so much time one of these months. Anyway, I'm giving this a pretty high rating even considering the new system.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Harley Quinn on January 05, 2018, 09:43:58 PM
Quote
I don't watch a lot of zombie movies, so I don't know what people expect of these films. I also don't know the tropes of the genre either or how these things are supposed to go. As it relates to this specific movie, that's probably a really good thing, but I wonder if this would be enhanced by greater knowledge of zombie films.

There are some slight subversions but for the most part, the 'tropes' of the genre are pretty straight with several obvious homages to Night of the Living Dead IMO. The biggest twists/poking fun at a trope are the Vinyl LP Throwing scene (making fun of the mindlessness/singular focus for brains of the zombies) and the Acting As One of Them bit when they're trying to get inside the pub.

That's one of the reasons the film works so well. It can be a straightforward zombie flick or it can be taken as you did, a comedy revolving around certain characters with zombies as a background piece.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 07, 2018, 10:08:05 AM
(http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/fist-fight/images/thumbnail_25234.jpg)

Fist Fight (2017), directed by Richie Keen

I have said previously that I liked to follow good movies with bad ones, and knowing full well that I probably couldn't find a worse movie to watch than Fist Fight, this was going to work for me. Sometimes it is a little difficult to keep this balance, as there aren't as many bad movies expiring as I would like. I would also prefer to watch bad movies that are somewhat new, at least at this moment. My sense of humor isn't completely refined, so I was hoping that this would be one of those films that had consistent toilet humor that I found funny. Could I at least have that? No, I really couldn't. I was left wondering how a film like this even got made. It's basically impossible to pull of a good film when its premise is so rotten.

It's the last day of high school in Atlanta, and Mr. Campbell (Charlie Day), among other teachers, are dealing with students going through their senior prank routine. Campbell is a bit of a nerd, which shouldn't surprise anyone considering the way this film was marketed. Seeing as it's a prank day, it happens to everyone, including Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube), a teacher who doesn't suffer any nonsense whatsoever. On top of that, the whole staff is under review and at risk of being fired due to budget cuts. After Strickland freaks out when being pranked, Campbell and Strickland are both called to the principal's office, because Campbell was in the room when this all happened. After a discussion, Strickland loses his job after Campbell snitches on him. As you may guess, that leads to....a fist fight. How predictable!

This does have a cast full of actors I like, but it's totally irrelevant because this movie stinks. A film with this cast shouldn't be so bad, it's just a bad concept. As for the cast, here's how it goes. Kamail Nanjiani plays a security guard. Tracy Morgan is a football coach or PE teacher, this isn't exactly made clear. He's a little bit scrambled too. Jillian Bell is a guidance counselor who wants to bang students. Dean Norris is the principal. Dennis Haysbert plays the Superintendent. Last but not least, you have Christina Hendricks playing the French teacher. So, with a cast like that, with so many people whose work I enjoy, how does this go wrong? An obvious reason is that none of them, particularly Norris and Hendricks, play characters similar to those they're known for. It's not that those two are type cast, it's that their roles are so much different than what they played on Breaking Bad and Mad Men that this is a misuse of their talents. I also can't look past Charlie Day's character as a version of Charlie Kelly that can now read. Nanjiani is someone I've said the same thing about numerous times. It sucks that he has to slum it up in roles like these ones. This is the first thing I've seen with Tracy Morgan in it, so no comment there. I intend on eventually watching 30 Rock to take care of that.

The badness in this movie isn't merely the concept, it's what the film actually contains. I thought a lot of the gags in this were pretty gross. Most of the gross gags are related to Jillian Bell's character. I don't know how anyone could have found that funny, and she was given difficult material to work with in the first place. I felt a little bad for her. There is a scene where Mr. Campbell dances with his daughter to a song that...well, it's not really funny to me, and I felt like a prude for feeling that way. It's not anything as good as Charlie Day did on television, so I don't feel bad about calling it out for what it is. It's trash. This movie is full of similar trash, like students mowing dicks into the grass or drawing dicks on the chalkboard. Did I mention that there's a horse that drags Campbell through the school? That's one of the only halfway decent pranks. It's just one of these movies that doesn't make any sense, and it's compounded by the obvious racial tension in this movie which goes unaddressed throughout.

I will say that there's no way I could possibly have enjoyed this, even though there were a few scenes I found funny. The culmination of the film was good, but this movie was just lame. What a bad waste of time this was for all involved. I imagine that this wasn't even fun for the cast, all of whom have worked with a lot better material and should know when something isn't working out as well as it should. This film also doesn't do anything to make people care about Strickland's character, which I think is necessary in order to understand why he's so angry. Ultimately, this was a bad project, and I feel bad for the people who took it on and tried their best. I'm watching Mad Men for the first time and just finished Season 5, just to note. I am completely incapable of understanding how Christina Hendricks gets a role as bad as this one and only has a few lines. Anyway, I don't think I should spend too much time thinking about this movie, and I already spent quite a lot more than I intended. Don't watch this.

4/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 08, 2018, 08:01:18 AM
(http://www.reelism.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/sin-city-marv-e1409607259133.png)

Frank Miller's Sin City (2005), directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez

I finished watching this last night and was at a complete loss of words when writing well over half of this, including this sentence. I don't even know what to say about what I've just watched. This film was totally ridiculous on every single level and I think it's going to be impossible for me to remain coherent when writing about this, but I'll try my best. I should have seen this a hell of a lot sooner as many of the things in it were quite dated. There are actors featured in this film that no longer mean anything at all. Some of the people who were in this are now dead. The cast is completely gigantic to a point where that should be expected of a film like this one, 13 years after the fact. I'm not sure if I should call this one of the best comic book adapatations ever. I don't know, honestly. I am not familiar with the source material and I don't have any interest in reading it, because that's just how I am. How would you describe this movie to somebody who hasn't seen it before? I don't know, and the fashion in which I write this won't be an attempt to do so. Let's set the table though.

There are four distinct plotlines in this film, all of which are impossible to summarize, yet they are tied together in one way or another. They also benefit from a Pulp Fiction style of telling the story in chapters, presumably finishing it, and yet one of them is went back to at the end. The first is extremely simple. A man (Josh Hartnett) is on a balcony with a woman, whom he strikes up a conversation with. After they kiss, he shoots her. It appears that he was paid to kill her, most likely by her. Why would she do that?

The second features an old police officer named Hartigan (Bruce Willis), who is about to retire. He is dead set on stopping Roark Junior (Nick Stahl), a child molester who wants to rape and kill yet another victim. Junior is the son of a US Senator (Powers Boothe), and it is said that he can get away with whatever he does. Such is Roark's reach. The problem with Hartigan's plan is that he has a really bad heart. His partner Bob (Michael Madsen) reminds Hartigan of this and attempts to stop him, but Hartigan knocks him out and pushes on. After Hartigan does what he does, we head over to the next part, but this story isn't over. Two chapters follow, after which we are brought back to this story. The victim, Nancy (Jessica Alba), grows up and faces the same problem eight years later. What is to be done about that?

Marv is a rough looking man, intent on having a one night stand with Goldie (Jaime King). She dies afterward, and Marv has been framed. He intends to avenge her death. He will do anything to avenge Goldie, but there's a problem. Marv finds out the Roark family has something to do with the murder. We are already aware of their pull. There's something else as well. A woman who looks just like Goldie is trying to kill him, because she believes that Marv killed Goldie. There's even more. Marv heads to the Roark family farm, only to found out that there's a man there named Kevin (Elijah Wood). Can you call him a man? He's fast. He has claws come out of his fingertips. He's dead silent and nobody can hear him coming.

Shellie (Brittany Murphy) works at Kadie's, a bar we have already seen in this film. Dwight (Clive Owen) is her boyfriend, but there's a big problem. Jackie Boy (Benicio del Toro) believes that he's entitled to Shellie for whatever reason. That's how things go in movies sometimes. Jackie Boy gets abusive, but he doesn't know that Dwight is there. Jackie Boy goes to take a piss, and Dwight's hiding in the bathtub. Dwight deals with the problem as he sees fit, so Jackie Boy leaves. Dwight seems to believe that Jackie Boy's up to no good, he needs to be stopped. Jackie Boy has plans of his own. He drives to Old Town, which is an area of Sin City ran by prostitutes. It seems that Gail (Rosario Dawson) is the non-elected president of this region. She thinks Jackie Boy's up to no good too. Dwight follows Jackie Boy and sees where he's going, and it turns out that he knows Gail. It turns out everyone knows everyone.

This kind of movie is so sprawling and so completely ridiculous that it's hard to summarize the events in it without leaving out a TON of details and characters. It is what it is. That isn't to say there aren't better characters than the ones I've mentioned, because there are. There are so many good apperances in this film, it's very difficult to point one in particular out over the rest. At least unless we want to talk about Carla Gugino. I'd rather not as that's a little uncomfortable. The revolving narratives present a very interesting picture of sex and violence. There's no way to escape either when turning this movie on. I haven't watched a film this violent in a very long time. The selective colorizations in the film also serve a purpose, because I'm pretty sure there are a lot of things in this that couldn't have been shown in color. My favorite was probably Michael Clarke Duncan's eye. I don't get that one and never will. I don't know what happened to that character's eye although I'd like to find out.

This film is very clearly shot on green screen, which I assume is more apparent now than in 2005, but nothing suffers from a lack of tangible set backgrounds. While you can tell in 2018, the actors don't do anything to give it away. There's another thing I read that I didn't pick up on, though. The Wikipedia page for this says that many of the scenes were shot before actors had signed on, and that those actors were digitally added in. I couldn't tell that they did that at all and wouldn't have known otherwise. The dialogue is something I wanted to mention previously, but for whatever reason I didn't. It's corny at times. That's what comic book dialogue is. It feels like a ridiculously accurate version of what kinds of stories are told in those. I also think that's one of the things to be critical about as it relates to this film. The script is really goofy in that sense, and the film lacks realistic characters. Everyone is pretty psychotic and murderous, which you know, it's okay because that's what this is supposed to be. It's still a legitimate criticism as even if you're rooting for characters, all of them are crazy to various extents and do weird shit. Michael Madsen also puts in a pretty bad performance, it should be said.

If there's any standout scene in this, it's the scene in the car with Benicio Del Toro and Clive Owen. Del Toro's character had been decapitated, but he still speaks to Owen's character. There is nothing more cool than this in the movie, for lack of a better word. My favorite story of the bunch is Marv's. Look, Marv is a badass. He fucks shit up and does a lot of really bad shit, nobody can deny any of that. It's still fun to watch. Visually the most impressive bits are with the yellow guy. It was an effective use of colorization and at some point you quit noticing this film is in black and white. For me that was around the part where Marv was fighting with Kevin. Anyway, I have every intention of watching the sequel to this at some point, but I wanted to head in a completely different direction with the same kind of movie. So, not right at this moment, but sometime this month I intend to watch The Spirit. I know, how cool, right?

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 08, 2018, 06:15:43 PM
(http://fgmxi4acxur9qbg31y9s3a15-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/07/MRHOLMES081436483533.png)

Mr. Holmes (2015), directed by Bill Condon

Until sometime earlier this month, I didn't even know this film existed. I was compelled to watch it after reading what the subject matter actually was. Eventually I need to get around to watching BBC's Sherlock, because Sherlock Holmes is a pretty interesting character. This is an entirely different spin on that. The general basis of what to expect was quite clear. The cast for this was very small, and the version of Holmes presented here appeared to be old. So, at best there was one mystery to be told here. That's quite alright. I've always liked Ian McKellen, but he's very rarely in a lower key role like this where he has the opportunity to portray a character without having to live up to the standards that fans place on those portrayals.

It's not long after World War II, and Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) has been retired for quite some time. He's 93 years old, and has just returned from a trip to Hiroshima, where he was acquiring a plant that he could use to stave off the inevitable outcome of his decaying memory. Holmes also has a problem with the way his last case was fictionalized by Watson, who does not play any part in this film at all. Holmes does have other matters to attend to as well. At his home he has bees, which aren't a problem in any way, instead he takes care of them. With his age being what it is, he also has a housekeeper, Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney). Mrs. Munro has a son, Roger (Milo Parker), who Holmes takes a liking to and becomes something of a surrogate grandfather to him. Back to the case, though. The case relates to a woman, Ann (Hattie Morahan), whose husband was worried about her in one of those ways that's really creepy to us now, but at the time it probably wasn't so weird. Ann had miscarriages and wanted headstones, and her husband was a piece of shit, but they're having problems. Holmes was enlisted by her husband to take her case, which makes for quite sad viewing.

This isn't the longest or most in-depth film in the world, but it is a great character study as well as a fantastic acting performance. McKellen is quite old, but he's certainly not 93. Yet, everything he does in pulling off this performance is good enough to make me believe it. This character is a really old man. He forgets things, he can hardly walk. This is not a Sherlock Holmes that I've seen in anything else before. There is a scene where he decides to see his legend in a movie theatre, and doesn't like what he's seen as he feels it's rubbish. Time is passing him by. His intention in this film is to correct Watson's fabrications of that last case, but he's also sidetracked by the child he never had. He says that those activities help him remember, and there's a few interesting conversations throughout the film related to that.

As stated at the top of the last paragraph, this isn't a terribly in-depth film, and it's quite slow. There's also a problem with the aging and anti-aging process they used. McKellen looks every bit of 93 in the "current" scenes of the film. He does not ever look 58 in the flashbacks. It is something immediately noticeable as soon as he says he has been retired for 35 years, and it's something that's very difficult to get past without thinking about it constantly. Fortunately, the story is quite good, and Holmes interactions with the two people around him are quite interesting. The subplot of his Hiroshima trip is...not all that great? It's a difficult one to wrap my head around, until the ending sorts things out the way it needs to be. This is a very basic film to great extent.

Regardless of what negative things I stated, and the fact that I did say this was pretty thin stuff, I did appreciate this story and was glad that I checked it out. It wasn't something anyone ever told me to watch, but it was something that I thought I might like. This is the kind of movie that you'd watch on a rainy day when you don't want to go outside and there's nothing else on. It rained here today, so I suppose that's fitting. There is a scene towards the end that tugged at my heartstrings a tiny bit, but the resolution was inevitable once I remembered that this was a PG movie. They weren't going to just let the kid die at the end of the movie, right?

6.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 14, 2018, 06:40:15 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/PuR7YNq.gif)

Predator (1987), directed by John McTiernan

I thought Sin City was going to be the most ridiculous movie I watched this month, but I suppose not. It isn't that Predator is merely ridiculous, it's that the ways in which it is ridiculous are right up my alley. I can't possibly explain how I never watched this before, and that's the case with so many of the things that I review, but I really can't believe that my dad never forced me to sit down and watch this. Considering the things he did force me to watch, in our current society some people may consider this child abuse. Obviously it isn't, but you know how things are now. This is somebody who made me watch Home Alone 3, just to get that out there. I think I've watched worse since then, including when doing these reviews, so I probably shouldn't be saying these things. Anyway, it's about time I finally got around to this. There will be quite a few more movies this month that qualify in this regard, and this probably won't be the best, but I won't forget anything that happened in this film. Unfortunately, I was supposed to watch this a few days ago, but I was having a problem with a player and that's why I haven't reviewed anything in almost a week. I feel bad about it.

The film starts with a spacecraft flying near Earth and sending something onto the planet, so you know that what's about to come is going to be interesting. After that, at some point in the future, or at the same time even, there's an operation ongoing in the fictional country of Val Verde. Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a Major in the Special Forces. He meets CIA agent Dillon (Carl Weathers), a former member of the Special Forces, who tasks Dutch and his team with a mission. Their job is to go out into the jungle and rescue an official held hostage by communists. This crew is totally ridiculous and awesome, which shouldn't surprise anyone. Mack (Bill Duke) is the Sergeant. Karate Mac he is not. Blain (Jesse Ventura) carries a big gun and calls people faggots. Nobody else in this is given better lines, although Hawkins (Shane Black) comes close with the pussy joke he keeps telling everyone. Poncho (Richard Chaves) is probably the weakest member of this group in terms of memorability, while Billy (Sonny Landham) plays the role of our Native American tracker. Now that we're settled with that, the facts of this movie are clear and everyone knows them. There's something out in the jungle and it's some crazy shit.

The Predator is one of the most absurdly awesome movie monster creations ever, bearing in mind that I haven't seen much of shit to begin with. So, take that for what it's worth. I don't understand why the Predator wound up in the jungle and I don't even care. I don't think it's even remotely relevant. It's just there after being booted from a spaceship and it kills shit. Not only does it kill shit, but the ways in which it does so are the best. It blasts laser shit through people's heads. The Predator also boasts two big ass blades. It's able to camouflage itself in order to get around easier without being easily spotted. It bleeds green and uses thermal imaging to track down its prey. Of course, I am distilling this in a way that doesn't make it sound as good as it actually is. That's not intentional, because the special effects are great, but I suppose I am not capable of making it sound cool. The Predator's actual appearance might be the best part. I made some assumptions about the suit that I shouldn't have made.

Sometimes a thin plot doesn't matter when the filmmakers are capable of flooding the viewer with entertainment, and this is one of those situations. The film moves incredibly fast. The special effects were great enough to make me ignore the way certain situations would be carried about in implausible fashions. The design of the Predator character itself is, as I said, one of cinemas best creations. The imagination required to conceive something like that always amazes me. That the Predator is a bit derivative of the Xenomorph doesn't matter that much, and at least it isn't the same thing. On the other hand, the Predator is something that appears as if it wouldn't benefit from a sequel in any way whatsoever, which is not the case for the Xenomorph. In combination with the Xenomorph not actually dying, there was enough revealed in Alien to merit a sequel. That isn't the case with this film. It isn't like I'm not going to watch the sequels, but I feel like that's something I need to point out prior to giving them a look. It's very difficult for me to imagine they could possibly live up to the original. That being said, Predator is the kind of movie geared towards people with certain tastes, and is clearly not for everyone. There are ways in which a sequel could appeal to me.

I don't think I've discussed the cast enough, considering that there are four actors in this the film couldn't have gone without. You can probably guess who they are, it isn't too difficult to decipher. At first I thought Carl Weathers was a little miscast in this kind of deceptive role, but that was wrong. Bill Duke on the other hand was obviously not miscast and was always good in any role he played, but particularly this one. Arnold speaks for himself, but there's also Jesse Ventura, who plays his part better than most I can remember. I don't think anyone could have dropped those lines and remained credible in this role. I mean, Gary Oldman could deliver those lines, but he doesn't fit that role in any way to begin with. With that lone exception, there's nobody who can do Jesse's job in this film. The ending of the film discards everything else that happens prior to that, which is a small problem, but again, the viewer is inundated with action and any concerns are largely irrelevant. That's something I've said a lot, and it's true in my case. I thought this film was a barrel of laughs, and if you don't agree with me, that's too bad.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on January 15, 2018, 02:19:25 AM
The Predator look is far less derivative of the Xeno than the original design. Initially, it looked dog-ish, not unlike the Anubis guards of Stargate, but the costume was entirely redesigned due to how difficult it was to maneuver in the jungle. Stan Winston was doing concept work for a new design while on a flight with James Cameron, Cameron suggested mandibles, and voila.

You make a good point on the sequel necessity. The mythos around the Xeno was always greater than the Predator, which is why bad Alien sequels and prequels are bigger disappointments than the Predator ones.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 16, 2018, 12:04:15 PM
The Predator look is far less derivative of the Xeno than the original design. Initially, it looked dog-ish, not unlike the Anubis guards of Stargate, but the costume was entirely redesigned due to how difficult it was to maneuver in the jungle. Stan Winston was doing concept work for a new design while on a flight with James Cameron, Cameron suggested mandibles, and voila.

You make a good point on the sequel necessity. The mythos around the Xeno was always greater than the Predator, which is why bad Alien sequels and prequels are bigger disappointments than the Predator ones.

I saw a picture of the previous concept that looks absolutely horrendous.

(https://i.redd.it/u8ne21hk2ha01.jpg)

I am not sure this film is treated with the same reverence if that costume was used.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 16, 2018, 12:04:24 PM
(https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/birthofanation.jpg)

The Birth of a Nation (2016), directed by Nate Parker

After all the controversy surrounding this release, I have been waiting for quite some time to check this out. It is pretty clear that this is kind of my thing. Anyone who knows me knows that I want to watch I Love You, Daddy as well. Of course, I have no interest whatsoever in paying directly to consume any kind of media created by people like these. I still feel the compulsion to know what it is that created controversy. In this instance, it wasn't the film, it was Nate Parker. I wanted to know why financiers would overlook his past. Does the film merit that, is he the kind of artist good enough where you can overlook allegations to a certain extent until they're confirmed? These questions were answered while I was watching this film. I entered this with a completely open mind, just to note. I don't want anyone to think I had every intention of loving this or shitting on it based on any preconceived notions. I also didn't know exactly what this film was about, and I haven't read any reviews about it either. To be very honest, I have a major problem with some of the terminologies that I am about to use below.

This film is based on the story of Nat Turner (Nate Parker). When I was a kid, I was told that he led a slave rebellion in Virginia, and considering it was 1831 and we know slavery continued, clearly it did not go very well. This film focuses on that, but there's a much greater focus on Nat's life prior to those events. The film starts with something I still can't comprehend, and jumps forward a little while to Nat's childhood. Nat's father Isaac (Dwight Henry) is out without a pass, stealing food to feed his family that didn't get enough to eat. Some slave catchers led by Jackie Earle Haley (I don't know his character's name, and it doesn't matter) find Isaac, and in the process of questionining him one of the slave catchers is killed. Isaac flees, and tells his family that he must leave. Sometime after, his owner's (the aforementioned problematic terminology) wife  (Penelope Ann Miller) decides that she's going to teach Nat how to read the Bible, but not any of the other white books.

Later on, after a death, it is decided that Nat will work in the field. His childhood friend Samuel (Armie Hammer) is now his owner, and the film does a turn making you think he's some kind of benevolent slave owner. Of course, he's not. He's having financial problems and is presented with an idea to have Nat preach to some unruly slaves around Virginia who seem to have a problem with being owned and forced to do horrendous things. Nat doesn't have much of a choice in the matter, so he complies, and this continues for a really long time even though slave owners are complete pieces of shit. While that's going on, Samuel buys a woman named Cherry (Aja Naomi King) at Nat's insistence, and Nat eventually marries her. I don't see any need to continue spoiling the movie past this point, but it took some time to unpack what I saw. I watched this last night, by the way.

I thought The Birth of a Nation was one of the most pretentious movies I have reviewed in this thread. That's probably the harshest way to ever describe a movie about this subject matter, but it needs to be said. There's nothing specific that stands out as the biggest problem with this film, but there are a host of things wrong with it. How could this movie be pretentious, you may ask? You should look at the imagery and dream sequences for your answers. There is one with Nat's wife that is impossible to describe. The religious manipulation in this movie isn't treated the way it deserves to be. Considering Nat Turner is a historical figure, I suppose that is appropriate. If you look at the beliefs of the actor, you can see that even if Turner did realize the implications of his religious manipulation, it would go completely ignored. There are also images presented in this film the likes of which you'd find in a student movie, with the aforementioned dream of Nat's wife being one of them. The first time Nat and Cherry have sex would be another one. I found that to be completely unnecessary and amateurish. To some extent I want to give Parker a pass for some of these scenes as this was his first feature film. On the other hand, I don't. It isn't because of what he allegedly did (and I believe he actually did it), but because the subject matter needs to be handled in a way exclusive of amateurism and self-indulgent ostentatiousness.

As it relates to the film being self-indulgent, it's staring everyone straight in the face. The lead actor is also the director. There are exceptions to the rule, but this format has a tendency to envelop a film, which chokes off any ability for side characters to develop. As it relates to a slavery film, it is extremely necessary for a film to have compelling side characters in order for the viewer to become emotionally involved. 12 Years a Slave was able to pull this off despite its issues with having a white savior, but considering the time I found that to be a necessary part of the film. There is absolutely no comparing the subplots of this movie to that one, because in the movie I am currently reviewing, there were none. Nate Parker is also not a good actor and not particularly convincing, outside of a scene where he breaks down into tears that felt like one of the more realistic crying scenes of recent memory. I would like to know if he actually read anything that Nat Turner said. I copied this from a review I read after finishing mine and would like to drop this in here.

Quote
Amid this atmosphere of panic, a Virginia attorney named Thomas R. Gray published the story of an encounter he had with Turner in the jail in Jerusalem. “I determined for the gratification of public curiosity to commit his statements to writing, and publish them, with little or no variation, from his own words,” he wrote. One wonders what was altered or abridged, but Turner’s voice—straightforward and calm, stoic and unrepentant—is too strange to have been wholly invented. He starts by relating how one day, at the age of three or four, while playing with other slave children, he had begun to tell a story. Turner’s mother, overhearing him, was astonished: the story was true, and it told of a time before Nat’s birth. This precocious act of divination, along with his obvious intelligence and “certain marks” on his head and chest, set Turner apart in the eyes of his fellow-slaves, in the service of “some great purpose.” He tells Gray, “Having soon discovered to be great, I must appear so, and therefore studiously avoided mixing in society, and wrapped myself in mystery, devoting my time to fasting and prayer.”
That “great purpose” began to reveal itself, Turner says, in whisperings from “the spirit” as he worked at his plow. Gray interjects, “What do you mean by the Spirit?” Turner replies, “The Spirit that spoke to the prophets in former days.” Other portents followed: a vision of warring “white spirits and black spirits,” then lights written softly across the sky, then drops of blood appearing like dew on the corn in the fields. After receiving a sign in the form of a solar eclipse, Turner assembled a group of trusted disciples and embarked on his fateful tour of the county.

Turner’s deadpan account of the killings is alternately thrilling and terrifying. He never discloses the precise nature of his communication with the “Spirit,” and betrays no sign of moral struggle or mortal fear. Instead, he casually catalogues routes taken, strategies deployed, weapons used, persons slain. At one home, there was “a little infant sleeping in a cradle, that was forgotten, until we . . . returned and killed it.” At another, after Turner’s men had stabbed a woman in her sleep, her son awoke, “but it was only to sleep the sleep of death.” As the band marched on, slaying household after household, they added new slaves to their ranks and weapons to their cargo. Turner organized the mayhem with a touch of sinister stagecraft: he placed his best-armed men on horses at the head of the company, and sent them galloping raucously toward each house that they encountered. “ ’Twas my object,” Turner says, “to carry terror and devastation wherever we went.”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/10/the-birth-of-a-nation-isnt-worth-defending

Now, you can make of those comments what you want, but the film doesn't tell you any of these kinds of things Turner describes, with the greatest exception being auditory hallucinations. The film would have greatly benefitted from something like that, but it wasn't presented to the viewer. Nor was Turner's account of killing babies, which probably would have gotten the film shelved entirely, never to see the light of day. Instead, the narrative is written in a manner that would be acceptable to regular people. These are things I have said weren't that important in other historical films, but films about this subject or the Holocaust carry a lot more importance. Merely making a movie about a subject isn't enough, it has to be good and accurate. Fictionalizing a rape of Turner's wife instead of visualizing that primary motivation in detail is actually really horrendous and abhorrent. I already didn't like this movie to begin with, but that's like pouring gasoline onto a fire.

Having made it clear that I didn't like this movie, is there anything I'm going to give credit to? Yes, I suppose I am. There are very good performances from Colman Domingo, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Aja Naomi King. Domingo plays Hark, a slave who is forced to stand idly by while another slave master has sex with his wife. King, as already mentioned, plays Nat Turner's wife very well. Her first scene is quite memorable and in stark contrast to what she does throughout the rest of the film. Smith is Isaiah, a slave who works in Samuel's house and is horrified by any ideas of a rebellion as it would get lots of people killed as a result, which it did. The rest of the performances range from middling to outright bad in the case of Nate Parker. Nothing's going to change my mind either, it's long made up.

So, the initial question was whether or not Nate Parker's ability as an artist was enough to overlook allegations that did not lead to a conviction? The answer is no. The other thing is that he should be in jail, which isn't a factor when reviewing art, as I think I've made clear when reviewing Roman Polanski offerings. Due to the way this film worked out in combination with his reaction to being confronted over the allegations, I'd be surprised if he ever directed a big feature film again. It's almost a certainty that he won't and I haven't seen his name linked in combination with any projects well over a year later. There are some moving scenes in this movie, but there is no ability shown to maintain that throughout the course of the film. Plus, I probably should have mentioned this sooner, but the depiction of Turner's Rebellion is far too short in comparison to how long Parker takes to tell the story of Turner's life. All of these things make for a bad movie, but it isn't anywhere near as bad as the ones I've given worse scores. I also feel that it is an inevitability of the historical genre that there will be films like these ones. While films about slavery are necessary, it shouldn't be an automatic that people consider films to be good just because of what the subject matter entails.

5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Black Lushus on January 17, 2018, 12:57:45 AM
Going back to Predator for a second...while Predator 2 isn't super amazing or anything (it does have it's good moments), it's worth a look just to see how they evolved the Predator mythos and you find out so much more about how they seem to operate.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on January 17, 2018, 02:50:55 AM
It's also aged surprisingly well. A total product of its time, but very fun.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Cool, Bad, & Handsome on January 17, 2018, 09:52:45 AM
...I've been praising Predator 2 the past few days in chat just for the simple fact it feels like one of the last risky action movies before they became so focus grouped to the point where even the "risky" ones of today feel safe. That's not to say it's this good to great action movie like the first one but with how things feel today... man if it came along today it would be looked at in a much better light.

Even with how goofy it is.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on January 17, 2018, 10:02:48 AM
It feels like it could have been its own monster movie with the detective part of the first half, but then ramps up into overtime once the trophy collection scene happens.

...want some candy?
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 17, 2018, 10:06:15 AM
(https://i1.wp.com/bloody-disgusting.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/the-ring-true.png)

The Ring (2002), directed by Gore Verbinski

I could not think of a bigger contrast between movies than these last two that I've reviewed. Certainly there are some, but they aren't coming to mind so easily at this moment. Regardless of whether there are larger contrasts, it was my intention to go pick the biggest contrast possible from the list of movies I have left to watch this month. As previously stated, I rarely watch horror films, but that's probably something that's going to change over time. I suppose this is a good introduction to the genre as it wasn't very gory, but that being said, I watched this with somebody else and was giving commentary that consistently took any kind of gravity out of the scariest moments of the film. There are a lot of things I don't understand about the movie, but there are two sequels and my questions will certainly be explained there. When I get around to it, anyway. In the meantime, I'm going to do what I do.

The film starts with a scene in a teenagers bedroom, and there are two high school age girls there. They start talking about a VHS tape, and a legend that says when somebody watches it, they die a week later. We are not shown what happens on the tape, but something does happen that night. While Becca (Rachael Bella) is wandering around the house, Katie (Amber Tamblyn) dies in some fashion related to this tape. Becca goes insane after that, of course. After that, Katie's mother asks her sister Rachel (Naomi Watts) to investigate this, because she's a journalist and all. Rachel has a son, Aiden (David Dorfman), who plays the creepy kid role often exhibited in this genre quite well. Anyway, Rachel watches the tape, which compared to David Lynchian surrealism isn't all that great, but it's definitely something. After she watches the tape, the things happen just like shown with Katie and Becca. For some insane reason, she enlists the help of Noah (Martin Henderson), who turns out to be the father of her son. Of course, Noah and Aiden watch the tape, which sets up our little family mystery into how the effects of the tape can be fought off.

The movie is...strange, but that's not a big surprise of any kind. Fortunately, there's a particularly good guest appearance from Brian Cox, which leads to some memorable scenes. There's also an incident with a horse, and the ramifications of both of those leave me to wonder how this film could possibly be rated PG-13. Nothing about this is PG-13, and it features Naomi Watts prancing around, so I give it two big thumbs up in that regard. The mystery is compelling, I'll give the film that. I wasn't really expecting this to turn out as it did, even though it seemed obvious the whole time once it actually happened. The film being set in Washington seems appropriate considering the events of the plot, which belongs in a wet, dumpy place. Lastly, the surrealism in this is the kind of thing that feels worth my time. It's certainly hokum and I wouldn't suggest otherwise, but it's the good kind of hokum that people look forward to taking a look at. The ending being left unexplained is obvious sequel bait, but it's sequel bait that I'm okay with as it wasn't my main problem with the film to begin with.

I did like this film, but under more scrutiny and critical thinking my feelings about it are left in slight disrepair. Perhaps it's because I was doing commentary on this film while watching it, but I didn't find any of the intended horrifying scenes to be scary at all. There's one with an electrocution that I think was one of the funniest things I watched all year. The filmmakers are trying to tell me that some old ass man hauled his entire garage full of electric items upstairs with the intention of plugging it all in before electrocuting himself? Somehow I don't think it works like that and it isn't possible to begin with. I thought this scene was totally hilarious and my brother and I laughed about it for about five minutes. I could barely pay attention to the scene following it, so I probably missed quite a bit about the mystery. It was easily discernable that the girl was evil, though. There's also a major problem with the characterizations here, which are practically non-existent. I don't know anything about the people involved, but that may have been a good decision as naturally more people would have been interested in the tape. There's another scene worth mentioning where a mentally handicapped kid is wheeling around a merry-go-round that felt like window-dressing for the sake of just being there.

I still felt this was worth watching, and for a lot of people bringing up this film will recall memories of their time in high school. It does so for me even though I never gave this a look, I can remember what I was doing at the time while everyone in class was discussing this. I was a football player and can remember thinking that there was no time available to me whatsoever to watch this movie, which explains why I'd be reviewing it now instead of saving it until much later on. I think to some extent my life completely stopped that year, and there's some things I missed out on. A cursory look shows that the only film I watched at the time and didn't wait years to see was Catch Me If You Can, which was released when the season finished. Anyway, as it relates to The Ring, this film is complete nonsense, but it's worthwhile to give it a view. Naomi Watts gives a good performance in everything, and if you're a pervert you can just watch the scene where she runs through her house wearing a bra. I may be giving this a higher score than it merits, because the commentary I was dishing out was really funny, got a very good reaction, and I probably should have recorded it.

6/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 17, 2018, 07:00:48 PM
(http://staticmass.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/dvd_china.jpg)

Chinatown (1974), directed by Roman Polanski

Chinatown is and always will be one of my favorite parts of Los Angeles. It is very difficult to describe the area to those who aren't from the region. The modern version is nothing like the one presented in this film. It is very run down and gritty. The buildings are very old. If you stay there long enough, you can feel the place decaying around you. The parking lots are completely incompatible with our current era. Cars don't fit in the spots and people are unsuited to driving in them without doing damage to their cars, which now ride too low to the ground. There is a sidewalk culture that is lacking from the vast majority of Los Angeles. Chinatown rests in the shadows of the city, underneath skyscrapers which loom in the background, close enough to walk to, distant enough culturally that you can feel as if you're no longer in the same country. Some people could describe Chinatown as a ghetto area, others like myself would call it cultured. It is very old and there are businesses that do not belong in an area that calls itself Chinatown. This is simply the way that it is. There are things in Chinatown that nobody is aware of. We could call it a hipster place, with locations that are hidden to those who are not aware of them prior to going there. The funniest part about all this spiel is that Chinatown hardly features in this film at all. I cannot think of a title less fitting for a film than this one.

Chinatown is a film that consistently keeps the viewer on their heels, there is no way to possibly know what comes next. It is set either during the 1930's or 1940's, it isn't quite clear and I'd rather not know anything but the cast list until I write this. Our first scene features a woman hiring Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson), a private investigator who has history with the Los Angeles Police Department, and apparently Chinatown. She wants to know if her husband, Hollis Mulwray (Darrell Zwerling) has been cheating on her. It is something that she absolutely must know, even at Gittes insistence that she probably doesn't want to. Mulwray is a chief engineer for LA's Department of Water and Power, so he's a very powerful person. Gittes is able to find evidence of Mulwray cheating on his wife, because of course he was. Once Mulwray is exposed, there's a huge problem. It turns out that it wasn't Mulwray's wife who hired Gittes in the first place, which Gittes is made aware of by Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), Hollis' actual wife. Evelyn sues Gittes, because she's really confused about the whole situation and she never hired Gittes in the first place, who has a general understanding of what has happened to him. Gittes wants to question Hollis Mulwray about this, but before he can do so, Lieutenant Escobar (Perry Lopez) is in the process of retrieving Mulwray's body from a reservoir.

I almost can't believe where all of this headed because it was so good. The film is very much a 70's film, there is no expectation of the plot because these are the movies that set the trends for cheap imitations nobody gave the time of day to. There are a few things in this reminiscent of films from the 1950's, but this is a feature of movies about private investigations, not a flaw. This film has a way of immersing the viewer to the point that with the exception of a scene where our hero beats a woman to get information that he needs, it is not very easy to notice this film was set in a bygone era, much less filmed by one. It wasn't surprising that I would love this film, I actually expected it. I have been a big fan of even shitty neo-noir products, L.A. Noire being the biggest example. In that shitty video game, you play as a police officer, and subsequently a privately contracted investigator. These things have always been extremely fascinating to me, and have never failed to immerse me in the culture and ideas of the time. There is a line about Jewish people in this film that probably properly dates the film as being prior to World War II, but I'm still uncertain of it. I'm losing my way a bit here, but the point is, neo-noir shit is really cool. When it's dropped into that era and specifically Los Angeles, it's even better. Things derivative of the genre, or mashups like Sin City, are also pretty awesome.

The choice of making a mystery film like this about Los Angeles water corruption enhances what this film actually is, because it's vague enough for people to understand on a base level while not actually understanding it well enough to predict what the events of the film will entail. In order to pull it off properly, the characters have to be exceptional, and with a Polanski film it isn't exactly surprising that's the case. There is a reason that people trip over themselves to improperly forgive him for what he did. It is something that shouldn't be forgiven, where a conscious decision is made to ignore it while his character takes a knife to the nose of Gittes. Eventually I became eager to see him appear in the film once more. That is how things go sometimes. His character is far from the most evil or most diabolical, it is merely memorable enough to be one of the first things mentioned. As far as diabolical goes, perhaps the crown needs to be given to John Huston, who played business partner to one and father to another, Noah Cross. Why would I tell you who to which, though? If you don't already know, this is some shit you need to watch for yourself. I probably said too much as it is considering his initial appearance in the film is far more benevolent and giving than what I've just indicated.

It takes quite a bit of effort to actually get me immersed in a film, so for this one to pull it off is quite something. I have watched a lot of movies the last year, and I've given a lot of them high scores, but there are only a few that got my attention to this extent. Che was the last one, even though it wasn't fantastic. The Revenant comes to mind, as does Dazed and Confused. Entertaining is one thing, there are movies more entertaining than the ones I've mentioned. These are examples of films that maintain the characterizations to an flawless extent, even in the case of Che, where the characterization happens to compromise the narrative for nearly 90 minutes of a 257 minute extravaganza. What makes this better than that, is that Chinatown runs for 131 minutes without the narrative being compromised in the least. The characterizations feed the narrative perfectly. Noir films carry certain expectations of them and require exquisite character work in order to maintain a tight narrative when a noir is as complicated as they need to be. The idea that this film won one Oscar is one of the stupidest things I've ever read. Faye Dunaway's performance is one of the most memorable by any standard, right? Anyway, awards are only meaningful for recognition, and to be nominated is enough for me. It is almost irrelevant which films came out that year as only Al Pacino's performance in The Godfather Part II (another movie I need to revisit) compares to both Nicholson and Dunaway's performances. The most simple way of describing it is that I was able to discard the idea of watching the actor. Dunaway's performance is a lot more than a standard female noir character, which I'm quite thankful for.

As already stated, there is one extremely dated scene in this film, and I described what it was. That is literally the only thing wrong with the narrative of this film. This has to be considered one of the best screenplays ever taken from the brain to paper. John Huston is given amazing line after amazing line with no exceptions. This character might be the biggest, non-historical fiction son of a bitch ever conceived. I know there's a sequel to this, which I'll watch in good time. I would watch it right now, but I have a rule about not watching sequels in such close succession to one another. Its IMDB score is pretty low, but I feel like it might be an overlooked classic because for whatever reason it didn't meet people's expectations. I'll have to find out for myself. Another thing I appreciated was that the cinematographer somehow figured out a way to make the film feel like Los Angeles even though there were large portions set in areas that weren't supposed to be populated in the 1930's, but were by the time the 1970's rolled around. They got the feeling without showing how crowded the city actually is. According to IMDB, there were scenes filmed at a place my dad used to work at, and I can picture quite a large portion of the film being shot there.

I think my favorite thing about this film is quite a bit past the characterizations to something that would seem less important, but it really isn't. I still feel like there's more to this film and that I don't understand what happened. It also seems that there could be many interpretations of the events, even though all the cards are laid on the table for people to see. The ending in particular is one of them. It sounds unacceptable that...well, I don't want to say. Sorry. There are characters I decided not to mention for a reason, because I know there are people out there who have never bothered to watch this. The idea that younger people find older films like this either too boring or too long might be one of the most disgusting things I've ever heard in my life. Maybe if you put a cape on Jack Nicholson a lot of people would be more happy or more able to watch this. This comment is directed at somebody here and I hope they read it.

10/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on January 17, 2018, 09:27:39 PM
I know you're trolling (considering I've recommended almost all the old movies you've watched) but I just watched The Private Life of Henry VIII from 1933 tonight! Looking at IMDB a little under half my favourite movies (10's) are as old or older as Chinatown. Some other great old movies if you liked Chinatown:

The Maltese Falcon (1941) (Bogart is the man)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) (I love Bogart!)
North by Northwest (1959) (Cary Grant ain't nothing to shit on either)
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Saints_Fan_H on January 18, 2018, 03:25:01 AM
The Maltese Falcon follows the book almost word for word. It's one of the few times you could watch the movie in lieu of the book and still pass your report.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 18, 2018, 05:59:27 PM
(https://spectator.imgix.net/content/uploads/2016/07/notes-on-pic.jpg)

The Armstrong Lie (2013), directed by Alex Gibney

Lance Armstrong was a staple of the summer during my childhood. I'm sure a lot of kids felt the same way. Here's a guy who beat cancer and can climb up mountains on a fucking bike. If he can do that, you can do anything! Reality, as it often is, is far more grim than that. Warm stories very rarely exist to the extent Lance Armstrong portrayed his own life. There are many ways in which to look at this and decipher how this could possibly have happened. Everyone knows what he did, right? How couldn't you? His name is now synonymous with cheating, the kind of thing that will never go away. It has to be hard to be in his shoes to live with what he's done. The extent of his lies are probably something you can't grasp without watching some kind of program or reading a book about it. On the other hand, maybe it isn't hard to live with what he did.

This documentary isn't very compelling, but it is a direct portrait into the mind of a cheater, as well as a look at how it is possible to pull something like this off in the first place. The mere act of drug cheating requires an incredible amount of accomplices. Cheating itself is not possible for the rider to do on his own. It is also not enough simply to cheat. First somebody must find a doctor, because it's very difficult to get these drugs to begin with. It's particularly beneficial to them if their doctor is familiar with sports science, otherwise they have to seek advice of a trainer. Why would they need to do that? You can't just inject all kinds of stuff into your body if you want to win. The competition has their own regiment that is pretty far beyond a normal person's starting point. They are trying to do the same thing as you. Past that, as it relates to cycling, you need your team to undergo a similar regiment in order to reach peak performance. Training, plus diet, plus drugs, plus simply being more talented is what propels somebody to the top. Oh yeah, and you'll eventually get caught. Here's where the really bad parts come in. Can your sponsors afford to lose you? Can your sport take the hit from you going down? These things take willing accomplices, and the circumstances that applied to Lance Armstrong were far beyond that.

This film was to some extent a stroke of luck, as it could not have been made after Armstrong admitted guilt, although his truthfulness with specific details is certainly in question. It's impossible to believe some of the things he says after the fact. Fortunately for the director, Alex Gibney, he had already planned a documentary following Armstrong during his comeback during the 2009 Tour de France. It was going to be called The Road Back, and the premise was that he'd follow Armstrong around during training, on his way to a return victory after four years gone from cycling. It didn't work out like that, and in fact it turns out Armstrong was lying to Gibney about quite a few things. Regardless, Armstrong gave Gibney incredible access, which is reflected throughout the film. After Armstrong's admission, Gibney sits down with him for another interview, at which point all evidence would indicate that Armstrong lied to him again. Despite Armstrong's protestations to the contrary, it is extremely hard to believe anything the man would ever say again for the rest of his life. There has been biological data released that also shows he is lying and not to be trusted.

So, the part where I said that Lance Armstrong was a staple of my summers as a child. That was true. What has happened in the aftermath of his admission is that I've completely given up on the sport of cycling. It isn't just because of him, either. There is another rider named Chris Froome, who is arguably even more dominant than Armstrong was, who had these same protestations for the last three years. I learned from the last time and didn't believe a thing he said, so I gave up watching cycling. Very recently he tested positive for a dose of asthma medication that was quite a bit beyond regulations that have been put in place. Why would he take asthma medication? This documentary explains that without explaining it specifically, but it is quite clear. Once you've decided that your competition is cheating too, or if you want to win badly enough, you will do ANYTHING to win. The logic here is quite sound and extends to other sports, which have a lot more to lose by cheating scandals coming out. So, they never do. It is explained in this documentary how and why that happens, so any illusions people have need to be thrown out the window. For the record, Chris Froome is probably going to get away with this and keep on riding. The reasons why are basically everything I just said.

Cycling is such a scientific sport that it's easier to expose cheaters than it would be if they were doing something else. It makes for interesting conundrums where fans know that riders are probably cheating, but they so badly want to believe them. I believe it is probably impossible to be a successful cyclist without cheating. I don't think it's even physiologically possible. There is a gigantic list of cycling related deaths prior to doping becoming more commonplace. The sport is simply too fatiguing for general participation. That's a good thing in some ways, it's what makes the whole enterprise entertaining. Fans like to see the riders suffering, doing things they cannot do themselves. It is enjoyable. Much like wrestling, you want to forget how it is possible. You want to believe in what you're watching. It is also an incredibly dangerous sport where anything can happen. Riders can smash into a median and die. They can run off a cliff. Or they can do what Lance Armstrong did and dominate the competition. The latter is entertaining to some, but not to me. I believe I could keep watching if I knew that everyone was on the same dope, same talent level. It would make for an interesting, competitive race. I'd get over the cheating pretty fast. Everyone else does with the NFL, where you have 6'5 guys who weigh 260 pounds slamming into each other, looking like Hulk Hogan circa 1985. We know this is not possible without aid, but we watch it anyway. It's fun.

As for the documentary itself, I was expecting that this would fill me full of information I already knew about Lance Armstrong. I was expecting large portions of it to focus on his triumphs in the Tour. Instead, due to his admission, the film doesn't do that. It benefits greatly from different perspectives. His doctor was interviewed in 2009, prior to the admission, and said a lot of things without saying what everyone wanted to hear. There's still a hell of a lot to unpack as far as that goes. We also learn that Armstrong is an unrepentant asshole in all aspects of life, which isn't a surprise to anyone who knows what he's done. There are still things that go a bit past that. We are also shown Armstrong's process of competing in the 2009 Tour, which he insists he was clean for. There are also interviews with people whose lives he destroyed as part of his crusade to prove an innocence that didn't exist, but the extent of those interviews doesn't go as far as I wanted them to. There is actual human damage as a result of those lies, but the fallout is reserved for the relationships he destroyed instead. The financial impact on those he competed against or decided to destroy is immeasurable. I strongly believe that he should be jailed. This is a good documentary, but it is more focused on showing how easy it was for him to get people to believe him, to lie for him, or how the subject of his doping was covered up despite tons of evidence. The filmmaker probably could have used more time after Armstrong's reveal, this was released only a few months later. At least they got the general spirit of sports right. It means nothing to participate and everything to win.

7/10

I wrote a lot more about this than I intended to. I thought I was only going to write three small paragraphs.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 19, 2018, 06:30:22 PM
(https://wondersinthedark.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/high_plains_drifter_red.jpg)

High Plains Drifter (1973), directed by Clint Eastwood

High Plains Drifter was Eastwood's second directing effort, and what an effort it was. It would seem that this Western was antithetical to some of the ideas people like John Wayne loved to espouse about an America they'd only pictured in their head. This film is completely lacking in feel good moments or anything else of the sort. It isn't about what made America a great country, where people could relocate to the frontier, pull up their bootstraps and get to work. There's none of that here at all. I prefer that not all films head down the same road, so this is great, just as a film is if it focuses on something else. That's fine with me and should be to everyone. Clearly, I do feel that Eastwood's approach to this film was "how it actually was." The problem with this approach is that it's really impossible for me to describe what happened in this film, or how to digest it. This film is staffed with nobodies, at least as far as I'm concerned, so I will eschew my format a little bit.

The Stranger (Clint Eastwood) rides into the town of Lago, which appears to be situated on Mono Lake in California. I suppose we will call him "the guy" or "he" for most of this. He goes into a saloon, wanting a beer and a bottle. There are some men there who do not care much for his presence. He leaves to get a shave and a bath, and three of them decide to follow him into the barbershop. Of course, the stranger is ready for this event. They harass him, but he has a gun unholstered. He shoots and kills all of them dead. Afterwards, townswoman named Callie (Mariana Hill) runs into him in the street and chastises him for what he's done. So, he takes her into the stables and rapes her. That's pretty unexpectedly heavy shit there. I didn't know anything about this film and was thinking this would be a bit more light, but I should have known better.

That night while he sleeps, he has a dream of someone being whipped to death by three men. The person he's dreaming about looks a whole lot like him, and it turns out the person he was dreaming of was a US Marshal, we'll call him Duncan. Now that the guy's killed off the town's defense, it appears the citizens of Lago need some help. The Sheriff approaches the guy and asks him to defend the town. Eventually, the Sheriff is forced to offer the Stranger anything he wants in order to do so. Naturally, the Stranger obliges. We've already seen he'll take whatever he wants, he did that in the stables. Over the course of the rest of the film, the Stranger learns that the people in Lago played a major part in the murder of Duncan, having paid off the people the Stranger has now been tasked to defend the town from. The Stranger can also clearly see that the townspeople won't be able to defend themselves. What does this all mean?

What it all means is a question I'm still asking myself, because the Stranger is seeing visions of something he shouldn't be able to see. It is unclear if he could have known about this prior to his visit to Lago. After all, this is a Clint Eastwood performance and he doesn't speak all that much. He looks a lot like Duncan, so he could be related to him. There are also things said that indicate he's a ghost of some kind. I'm in the corner of thinking he's related to Duncan, but this is purposely vague, which suits the film very well. This kind of supernatural subject matter is something I'm unaccustomed to describing in any way, but I think that's good. Rarely do I feel puzzled like this than watching something. There is also the moral conundrum of the Stranger. He's a rapist and almost all the town members are complete pieces of shit. The Stranger is also taking advantage of them in more ways than the rape, but it is also clear these people are not to be trusted and would inevitably try to take advantage of him, as they're corrupted.

There are some obviously accidental comments on capitalism in this film, and I say accidental because if you've seen anything Clint Eastwood's ever said about politics, you'd know they have to be accidental. Everyone in the town is completely driven by greed to the extents that suit them. There are only two people who aren't. One of them is treated like a slave, and the other is the wife of the hotel owner, who seemed to be the only person who had a problem with Duncan being killed in the first place. The preacher stood right there and watched Duncan being whipped to death, so he isn't beyond reproach in this situation either. The Stranger is also perfectly willing to exploit their situation for his own personal gain even though he has no intention of fulfilling his end of the deal. Or did he? There's really no way to know, as neither did the townspeople, and the Stranger was able to decipher what they did to Duncan before we'd know. Considering the extent of the stuff he'd taken from them and the things he was telling them to do, he probably didn't care about them.

The funny thing about reviewing this is that I could have gone the whole time without mentioning the group who actually did the whipping, who are almost a non-factor in this film. They're released from jail, they kill some people, they ride there, Eastwood kills them. Everyone knows the deal and nobody should be surprised by something like that. While they're a non-factor in the film, there are other things that aren't. The setting is excellent. Mono Lake could be the only large, isolated desert lake that somebody could use for a filming location. At the time and maybe even now, there's nothing in the location for around 20-50 miles on all sides. That's crazy. My mom used to go there every few years and has told me previously that there was nothing there, you could basically escape from the world. This setting makes for some great shots. It's pretty rare to see a Western with that amount of water in the background, or with people riding horses down beaches. It would probably look amazing to film a Western somewhere like this today.

If there are any problems with this film, they're obviously going to be with the rape. I understand why it happened in the context of the movie, but it was a really uncomfortable scene at a point where any audience would have already decided they liked the character. Obviously that's a neat piece of storytelling, but it's difficult to see. The film isn't all that complex either, and I can see how that would be a problem for some. I enjoyed this a lot, though. The situation was very intriguing, I was hooked in until the end. Of course, I didn't care about the bad guys getting killed either, but they weren't all that much worse than anyone else in the film anyway. This film is also very offputtingly violent, which shouldn't have been surprising considering it was 1973.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: cobainwasmurdered on January 20, 2018, 04:25:25 AM
I need to watch this again because I don't remember the context of the rape scene so much as "this is really uncomfortable". The first time I saw this movie I was like 5 though...thanks Dad!

John Wayne hating this movie and movies like "The Wild Bunch" (GOAT movie) is something I find ironic because if you ever watch "The Searchers" (which you should) you'll see John Wayne act just as appalling and honestly even more so. It's also the most honest performance he ever gave in many ways if you know anything about Wayne.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Avid Enthusiast of Warehouses on January 20, 2018, 12:21:57 PM
I watched it a few months ago in a double header with Unforgiven. I'd actually rank High Plains Drifter very low in the Eastwood pantheon, be it starring roles or directorial efforts.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 21, 2018, 06:12:25 PM
(http://www.joblo.com/images_arrownews/a86.jpg)

Aliens (1986), directed by James Cameron

It is very rare that sequels ever match up to the films that came before them. There are a host of reasons for that, which are applicable to each individual movie. The fact is, they usually aren't as good and they're often pretty bad. Most people can agree with that. The thing is, when they aren't bad, there are a lot of people who enjoy comparing the sequels to those that came before it. Sometimes people will believe they're better simply from recency bias. Sometimes, like with Empire Strikes Back, they really are better. I am a big believer that it's possible for sequels to be better if they retain the same cast. Obviously, that isn't possible with Aliens due to the events of Alien. Changing the entire cast sans one person, and the director on top of that, makes for entirely different films. Steven Spielberg tried to change the cast for The Lost World, and even though the cast for that was pretty great, it just wasn't as solid a film. Aliens on the other hand benefits from James Cameron being a better director, even though there could not possibly be more differences between this film and the one that came before it.

Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) escaped the Xenomorph, as we know. What we didn't know is that she was in stasis for 57 years. After she's rescued by "The Company," she has to tell them what happened to the Nostromo. Once she does so, they don't believe her, and she's effectively a nobody. The thing is, it turns out that at LV-426, the place where the Nostromo picked up the Xenomorph in the first place, contact has been lost. The Company wants to know what happened, obviously, and it turns out they believe Ripley now. It also turns out that the Company had established a colony on LV-426. It was made clear in Alien that the Company knew what was there, and they didn't really care. I'm reading about what's in the Special Edition right now and laughing pretty hard, but I didn't watch that. Anyway, with that all being the case, Ripley is tasked with heading back to LV-426. The Company is going to send their man, Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), as well as a team of space marines that's ready to get in there and fuck shit up. Fantastic!

The film is intentionally misleading about who is and isn't an important character, and you find out the answers to those questions about an hour into the movie, when the Xenomorph is finally seen again. I don't see any purpose of talking about what leads to that as what happens after they encounter the Xenomorph is just amazing. The film does suffer from how long it takes, and the process of getting to the point where the cast is whittled down is a bit of a problem. Aliens is so much different than Alien, which was more effective in establishing the characters in a more brief span of time. Due to the nature of this film, that wasn't possible. Instead you get to know the characters that matter once the shit goes down, and it's great this way. If you aren't watching films to see Bill Paxton panicking and going on crazy rants, why are you watching them? That's what I want to see when I turn something on, and it's really too bad that won't be happening anymore. There is no shortage of great lines in this, the script is actually better than the one in Alien. Paxton wasn't the only one to be given those lines, but he was the best at delivering them. He repeated them like he did in Trespass, but who cares.

I'm a little bit rattled by what I just watched and am having a hard time keeping my thoughts straight. That movie was intense. After encountering the Xenomorph it's just like being hammered over and over again. Intensity is a different feeling than dread. Due to the inability to develop the characters very efficently, it's a little more difficult to care what happens to them, in contrast to Alien. The cast in the original film is much smaller, which is greatly to its benefit. This one is obviously larger, so the task ahead of James Cameron was a little more difficult. He wrote the screenplay, though. That's clearly how he wanted it. This is much more of an action film where the Xenomorphs are disposed of by professionals, compared to the previous film being a horror flick, where nobody really knows what to do about anything. That left me with a pretty strange feeling and I don't know if I liked it or not. Instead of thinking about it, the viewer is left to see action pieces one after the other, which render people unable to think about any of these kinds of things. This isn't really an attempt to be overcritical as much as it is recognizing that Alien is simply a better film because of how different it is.

On the subject of not getting my thoughts straight, there's the big fuck off alien at the end of this film. I have no idea what to make of it, I just know it was terrifying. The special effects for that thing were out of control. I also don't know what to make of Newt (Carrie Henn), who I suppose gave Ripley motivation somebody was assuming that she lacked, but I'm not sure how that worked. These things all being said, the rest of the cast is very good. Our introduction to them is great, and set the tone for what kind of film this is going to be. Which isn't to say only a fucking good one, but one with an amazing script that holds up to this day. Lance Henriksen and Michael Biehn were essential to the way this turned out, but there were lots of other minor characters with memorable parts. I think I need to stop smoking weed when watching these, as it's becoming common that I can't come to grips with what I've just viewed.

All in all, this is a film completely in a different genre, and it's probably more accessible to the general film viewer. I don't know if I'm up to watching Alien again, but I'm probably up to watching this at some time in the future. It isn't that it's better, it's that it's a different kind of movie. It's easier to just sit down in the middle of it and watch peoiple shoot up shit. There are things about this film that are a little dated, but it's something that is so easy to ignore. The special effects regarding the Xenomorph still hold up as well, and I think most people care for practical effects as in this film compared to visual effects done up by a computer. Obviously, the backgrounds do not hold up, but that's not what I meant. It should be expected that every space movie from that era looks about as decent as Star Trek, or oftentimes worse. Despite everything I said, I think this film was great. Sigourney Weaver was probably better here than in the first film, but that may be because we know more about her character than anyone else. I've heard bad things about Alien 3, but I have every intention of watching all the bad sequels. This film didn't answer any of the questions I would have wanted to know the answers to, so bad or not, I'm going to keep going.

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 22, 2018, 05:36:36 PM
(https://static.rogerebert.com/uploads/review/primary_image/reviews/gods-pocket-2014/hero_GodsPocket-2014-1.jpg)

God's Pocket (2014), directed by John Slattery

After watching something like Aliens, the mind needs to be snapped back into reality. Something like Aliens could become our reality, but it isn't. Instead, our reality more resembles the kinds of things that happen in God's Pocket. I don't only mean in the terms of setting and plot either. I mean that reality is very frustrating, often doesn't make sense, and things don't end the way that you want them to. That's referencing the film, but I felt the need to say all those things. This was John Slattery's first effort directing a feature film, but it wasn't his first time in that role. On Mad Men, which I haven't been fortunate enough to finish yet, he had five cracks at it. Three of them I've seen already, and they were all pretty good. Signal 30 was the best of those episodes, and all of them share a wit befitting of Slattery's character on that show. There's lots of his influence both on this film and his character on Mad Men, Roger Sterling. It's very apparent early on and if you've seen both, you'd notice it quite quickly. What happens when somebody with that kind of mind is given the reins to make what they want? I found out tonight.

God's Pocket opens with an all-too-frequent error, which usually happens when somebody believes their material is good enough to compensate for it. I'm actually pretty mad just thinking about it. Removing all suspense, we are shown a funeral, and unfortunately aren't left not knowing what happened for very long. This film is set in the 1970's, and our first scene after that features Mickey (Philip Seymour Hoffman) going to town on his wife Jeanie (Christina Hendricks). It's as disgusting a thought as you're probably thinking now that I've presented it in your head, but anyway, Jeanie has a son named Leon (Caleb Landry Jones). Leon is a piece of shit, much like Ziggy Sobotka, which isn't entirely unsurprising considering we were shown his funeral just a few minutes before that. Anyway, Leon goes and calls an old man racial slurs, pulls out a razor, and cuts the man on the neck. The man kills him, and Mickey's left to pick up the pieces. He's not the kid's dad or anything, but you know, it's his job. Anyway, he has problems of his own. He works for Arthur (John Turturro), a butcher who seems to be mafia connected in some way, to Sal (Domenick Lombardozzi), who probably embodies his role better than anyone else in the film. Sal is a typical tough guy who wants to make money, and it turns out Arthur owes him a lot of it. It also turns out that Mickey needs to pay for a funeral even though he has none of it. There's also a plot line featuring Richard Jenkins, who plays Richard Shelburn, a columnist quite popular in the area of...God's Pocket. There you go.

God's Pocket is a working class area outside or inside of Philadelphia, this isn't quite clear. There's also no such area. Unfortunately, the kinds of puns you'd probably think of related to that name all exist in this film. The premise of the film is quite solid, I must admit. Once you omit some of the things I mentioned, and boil it down to a discontented wife having her son die, and her husband not having any money to take care of the funeral, that's not a bad premise at all. Filling in the margins with such a premise is incredibly difficult, though. In some ways, the margins are filled well. The parts featuring Turturro's character go about as well as you'd expect. While I don't care for Jenkins' character or his motivations, it was a pretty convincing performance. The biggest problem with the film is that the plot is meandering and unstructured. There's also no suspense, as previously mentioned, because you know from the beginning of the film that the funeral will come off. So, what does this all mean? This isn't a great example of working class life, it's impossible for it to be. Christina Hendricks is a great actress who is entirely misused in this role, incapable of sounding or seeming working class. Nothing about her is, for lack of a better word she seems above it, and I can't see her differently than that. The tone of this film is also way wrong and depressing. The opportunities for humor are well taken and funny, but there aren't a whole lot of them. On the other hand there are countless mean-spirited "jokes" and crude stories.

Bearing in mind what I've said, this film wasn't all bad. The cast alone is such that your expectations are raised a lot higher than they probably should be, which presents issues when the plot sputters as this one does. It is still totally depressing to see Philip Seymour Hoffman look like this. This film was released after his death, and he was fat and unhealthy looking as fuck. There's really no way around it. I'm afraid of winding up looking like that guy, and so should everyone. His performance in this film was solid, but it's hard to watch him, knowing what happened to him. He looked like death. To change my tune, the ending of this film seemed fitting, and was a scene that felt thought out to completion. While the film does feel wrong with Hendricks on screen due to the idea for her character, most of the ones with Hoffman do not. It's just so rare that scenes escalate above the level of average into being very good.

I would have really liked a film centered around Turturro, Seymour Hoffman, and Lombardozzi, but we're never going to get that. I want to know if they did anything before the events of this film and I want to know their dynamic. There's another character or two that I liked as well, but I didn't bother to mention them. The Ziggy Sobotka ripoff was really good too, in the grand total of three scenes that he had. While the title gives off the feeling that this might be a Christian film or related to religion in some way, it certainly wasn't that. Unfortunately, this was really disappointing. While nothing exactly copies the premise, there are better films focusing on working class problems. I watched this because of the cast and I don't really regret it, but I wanted and expected more.

5.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 23, 2018, 05:34:11 PM
(http://mauiwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Solaris-3-660x330.jpg)

Solaris (2002), directed by Steven Soderbergh

This is a film I've been intending to watch for some time. It's space, and it's Steven Soderbergh. There isn't much to dislike about that combination, but what about when the combination is misleading? What about when a film isn't what you're expecting. I probably should have known, after all, this is Steven Soderbergh. There's no chance this would have been a regular kind of space movie, whatever regular actually is. This is science fiction on some level, just not what's expected. I'll explain below in a little bit. Due to this film being what it is, it is difficult to understand. There is no knowing what there is to understand, and there are things that remain unanswered. Solaris is quite a strange film, which is a feeling that seems to multiply once the film reaches its ending, which is completely bizarre. I'm going to spoil with impunity below, so if you have any interest in watching this, stop right now.

Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) is a psychologist. With no explanation given, Chris is confronted by some space men, from something referenced to as "The Company." Does that sound like anything I've just reviewed? Well, it's not really the same. There are no monsters. Chris is asked to go to the planet Solaris, after receiving a message from Dr. Gibarian (Ulrich Tukur), who says that there's a major problem at their station orbiting the planet. Once Chris is told that a security patrol didn't work out, he decides to leave. He arrives, and finds out that Gibarian killed himself, which obviously presents some problems. The other crew has either disappeared or died, leaving two crew members. Snow (Jeremy Davies) is a little more forthcoming than Dr. Gordon (Viola Davis), who doesn't want to talk about what happened until Chris experiences it for himself. Experience is it exactly what he does.

See, it turns out that Chris had a wife, Rheya (Natascha McElhone), who killed herself. It also turns out that something related to the planet causes beings to manifest themselves inside the space station, and they are somehow related to the memories of the crew in some way. Chris, as you can imagine, is visited by his wife. It seems to not matter that they're dead, and in fact that's a feature. It appears they're only visited by the dead. Unfortunately it isn't explained what happened to Dr. Gordon, as she refuses to discuss it. That's an interesting wrinkle for this kind of film, where you find out things to the detriment of the plot. The thing is, these beings aren't the people who the crew remembers. It's quite difficult to explain, but naturally they're merely a manifestation of what's in their mind. We don't understand how it works, and because the crew doesn't, we never will. The film finishes in a fashion where some of the crew members crash into Solaris, which seems to be a planet made of energy, and I don't know what to make of any of that.

This film is a gigantic pile of what the fuck, which is a problem for people at times. There are obviously exceptions, but for the most part I love science fiction movies like this one. The questions presented in these sorts of films do not always require answers, nor should they be given. There was no reason to. I understand that this was a remake of some other film, and I intend to watch it at some point even though it's extremely long, but I wasn't up for such a task tonight. What I find is that science fiction films with monsters require some sort of explanation. Mysteries where the planet is more in play are another thing. Interstellar is a counter-example and something that did require explanation, because the concept was much more complex and space travel was part of the equation. Here, it's a matter of personal relationships, or what those relationships were. It's a pretty strange premise, I won't deny.

This definitely isn't for everyone because it doesn't make sense, which is something I can easily admit to. There are problems with the film because of that, and there are a few scenes that are actually quite difficult to understand. There are two where the visitors are talking to each other, or maybe they aren't, it's something I can't understand. This film is also incredibly sad in describing what happened to Chris and Rheya's relationship, it was almost hard to take. Another thing that easily comes to mind is that this film isn't satisfying to a general audience, with every scene undertaken in a way that prevents that. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but that's fine with me. I don't care about stuff like that, which I've already made really clear.

Solaris is incredibly visually appealing, with the budget put to use almost entirely on the set. There's not much in terms of effects, besides shots of the planet and ship. The ship itself is really cool. There are also lots of good performances in this, which really shouldn't surprise anyone. Rheya is what seems to be a manifestation of the planet, and she doesn't understand much of anything about herself. That's admittedly a tough character to play well, but it's really great. Viola Davis does her thing as well, everyone's seen it before. She gets really mad or scared, and it's incredibly convincing. It's surprising that it took so long for her to get a bigger break and more success. I don't understand it and probably never will, but this was a great performance. I liked this a lot, but I feel like I shouldn't have watched something as sad as this at this moment.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 25, 2018, 01:41:35 PM
(https://img.cinemablend.com/cb/a/6/e/6/1/e/a6e61e536b878fe97d6cdccf9beb62b2996b76cc552a0aec6a35d9de7e3beefa.jpg)

Scarface (1983), directed by Brian De Palma

Scarface is a film I've seen before, the second such film that I've decided to review even though I've watched it. It has been 15 years since the last time, so there were a lot of scenes I'd conveniently forgotten. Those scenes alone made this worth giving another look, but there's so much to this film worth seeing. It's run time is so long that it's always been a problem for me to check this out a second time, I don't always have three hours to sit down and watch a movie. I haven't seen the original yet, it's inevitable that I will. I don't know why they're making this again or what the market would be for it, obviously nothing's going to approach the heights this movie reached. Of course, there are problems with this film. Nobody's going to argue with that, certainly not me. However, I agree with the basic premise of this film, as Oliver Stone tells it. Prohibition of drugs has bad consequences. The American Dream can become a problem. Materalism is really bad and corruptive. Those things make for a hell of a film.

I don't know if there's a point to recapping the events of a film like this one, which is so epic, grandiose, and classic that certainly everyone's seen it. I am more focused on dealing with the stages of this film, and how they pertain to the American Dream or people's perceptions of it.

Arrival: The majority of immigrants who come to America come here for a reason. Particularly in the past, that reason was more related to having nothing. Sometimes, they are leaving something to come to nothing. Those stories about people being engineers in the previous Soviet bloc and taxi drivers in America seem to be true. In the case of Tony Montana (Al Pacino), he left Cuba with nothing, expelled from the country when Fidel Castro decided it was time for garbage disposal. There's really no other way to phrase it, because while Tony was trying to achieve the American Dream, he was human garbage. Tony Montana is one of cinema's biggest examples of capitalists, although I'm not sure that was anyone's intention. Manny (Steven Bauer) is a particularly great companion in terms of addressing Tony's arrival. Most people who arrive at a point in their life of washing dishes want a way out of that, which leads to...

Growth: Tony being what he is, being a jailhouse murderer from Cuba, he knows people who can accelerate his growth. Anyone would choose to accelerate their growth in a legal fashion, but it was already established that Tony was not a normal person. He killed people in Cuba and killed people in Miami. Any reticence would render him as just some other schmuck who came to America and washed dishes for a living. There's a lot of them, but Tony Montana was not going to be one of these people. The scene with the Colombians is something unforgettable for a host of reasons. Tony's partners are so focused on the trappings of America that they don't even realize what's going on upstairs, visible as it is. Blood spattering on the window is an irrelevancy to them. There are things in this country that can be best classified as distractions, can at worst be called things that ruin your life. We are all party to them and have to compartmentalize them appropriately.

Greed: The event with the Colombians gives Tony some balls, but most importantly, it leads to his standing in the world becoming a lot larger. Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia) is a pretty good character to contrast with Tony for Lopez's time in the film. Lopez has all the things he wants. He has Elvira (Michelle Pfeiffer), tons of money, his own businesses, and yet, that isn't enough for him. Lopez needs to run the coke game. Of course, Tony's a lot younger than him and wants to be in the same spot, so he'll do what it takes to get there. Once Tony's there, he suffers from the same problem as Lopez. He isn't even willing to lose $1,000 dollars. Fortunately not everyone is affected this way by the trappings of America, but tons of people here are, and this country was built on that mindset.

Downfall: The presentation of Tony's downfall is probably the hardest for people to watch, in terms of how long it makes the film become. It's nearly the entire last hour filled up with this, and I've read people before say that it's padded. I don't think any of the film is padded, I think that a rise like his requires a fall like this. I found the closing scenes mesmerizing as well as uncomfortable. The collapse of Tony's sham marriage was one thing, but his relationship with Gina (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) was just brutal. It was unhealthy in the first place, and the way it was established throughout the film made this film what it was. Tony was a psychopath, incapable of having good relationships if around somebody for any period of time. Prior to what he killed Manny over, it was probably going to happen anyway. That relationship was disintegrating rapidly. His relationship with Sosa (Paul Shenar) is more justifiable, as was his relationship with Omar (F. Murray Abraham), or Lopez. The raid scene at his house is a classic, and for it to end with a somewhat unceremonious death was good storytelling.

I understand why people have problems with this film, and am not going to immediately dismiss them or call them illegitimate. This film is too long, and there are a few scenes that I would excise from the film is given an opportunity. The scene at the Babylon with Bernstein (Harris Yulin) isn't pointless, but there's nothing there that you don't learn from other scenes. Considering Tony kills Bernstein, I don't think it belongs in the film. Tony's complaining about money is also a bit drawn out, and the scene of his second trip to Bolivia is very long and indulgent. The incestuous overtones of Tony's relationship with Gina are another thing, but I think it's essential to completing the film. Critiques about this film being violent are also fair, as is saying that it's a one man performance, although I'm not in agreement with either of those. There's so much more to this film that overwhelms those criticisms from my perspective. In the context of 2018, the casting of non-Cuban actors to play these roles would be a problem, but there weren't very many of them around to begin with.

The fact that Tony seems to not understand what he wants is what drives this film. He wants things but has no idea what to do with them, and he's never satisfied by anything. This is a common problem with Americans, which by virtue of Tony's green card, is what he became. The idealization of this film is really ludicrous at it presents a picture of the worst of society, but fortunately it seems that era is over. I feel that the violence in this film was necessary in order to keep the movie from being glamourized, but somehow it turned out the opposite way and people loved it. The set design and choice in music is both incredible in this way and different in other ways. I think Tony's house was pretty ugly and bought by doing horrible things, other people thought that shit was cool. The music is also reminiscent of the 80's, but it's  the worst kind of 80's music. All of the material aspects of this film are so shallow and disgusting, but we have people who want ugly paintings of themselves in their house these days. I suppose this film is even more fitting in that context, and it was predictive of a future where certain things were more affordable and people clamor to have them.

Addressing the matter of performances will be my last bit if you haven't stopped reading by now, and I happen to believe that Al Pacino didn't give the best performance in this film. That honor belongs to Michelle Pfeiffer, who was able to portray her character as being incredibly detached from her surroundings. Her character is so incredibly empty, perhaps wanting to be loved, but perhaps not. It's hard to tell, but she cares about nothing. I have a hard time believing that Robert Loggia could play both Frank Lopez and Feech La Manna, but here we have it. Those two characters inhabit the same world-space, and they're both not good guys, but they're very different from each other. Bauer's turn as Manny is, well, he's the only Cuban actor in this film. He played his role extremely well and it's shocking that he wasn't given a run as a Hollywood lead at some point. Maybe he was and I just don't know about it. It's funny that I watched this now with the intention of watching Carlito's Way before the end of the month. I didn't know what to watch first. Still, to me, this film holds up really well. So does the score, which, you know, it speaks for itself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D-QD_HIfjA

8.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 26, 2018, 06:59:25 PM
(http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/image/6729386-3x2-700x467.jpg)

The Gift (2015), directed by Joel Edgerton

The Gift is another one of these films that I've previously never heard anything about, no surprise given that its budget was so small. Filmed at the cost of only $5 million, it's actually a little difficult to figure out how that was pulled off. This film has a pretty good cast, features a decent variation of locations, and is actually quite complex. I don't understand how a film like this is marketed in the non-existent way that it was, but well, it was. I'm always interested in projects where directors direct themselves. I just watched one like that when I checked out High Plains Drifter, and that's Clint Eastwood, perhaps the best person at doing this. This film might actually be better than that. What's more is that Joel Edgerton also wrote this screenplay. He has another project scheduled to come out this year, called Boy Erased. I don't know what that's about, but if it's as good as this he may be best utilized as a writer/director. This project I'm reviewing may as well be from another era entirely.

The Gift features a married couple, Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall). They've relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles, which is made clear from shots of the city interspersed throughout the events of the film. Simon and Robyn are out shopping one day, and they run into Gordo (Joel Edgerton), someone Simon knows from high school who lives nearby. They take Gordo's phone number, which eventually leads to Gordo dropping in unannounced, trying to be friendly to them. Robyn has no problem with Gordo, but for some reason Simon dislikes him. Gordo invites them over to his house, and leaves quite quickly. After he comes back, Simon's decided that he's had enough of Gordo. The events of this film lead me to believe Simon is not incorrect in this assessment. Some time later, Robyn finds koi gifted to them by Gordo dead, and her dog is missing as well. Simon's pissed, so he goes to Gordo's house...except it isn't his house.

That's as much as I'd like to reveal, because this was a great concept. The Gift makes you think the film is something, until it isn't that. I've never watched Jason Bateman take on a serious role, but he's pretty good in this one. I think it would be incorrect of me to call the film misleading, but I wasn't sure that he was capable of doing this. The Gift does have a message, but it's not one that I want to talk about. Bateman's character has a line about the world being full of winners and losers, and to some extent that's true I suppose. If you subscribe to that kind of belief, this film presents an interesting picture. If you don't, well, it still does. I don't know what the point of those last two sentences were. This film is a really nice slow build, and I'm obviously trying to work my way around something, which is going to be posted in spoilers.

Spoiler: show

I found it incredible the way the film's plot turned upon itself. It was entirely unexpected, yet entirely wanted. The road the film was going down was good, but it was also quite basic. I wasn't expecting to find out that Simon bullied Gordo, or that he had a file on him, or that he was so willing to get a promotion at his job that he'd fabricate evidence about somebody else. Perhaps in hindsight these things are more obvious, but I don't intend to watch this or anything else for a second time after writing about it. There's an art to deception, which other films aren't so good at pulling off. While this film is quite deceptive, it doesn't change the fact that Gordo was doing those things to Robyn and Simon. What I liked most about this was that the film didn't end in a way where Gordo was inexplicably disposed of, that's different for this kind of film. Instead everyone goes on with their life, with what has become of it.

I also really wanted to talk about the messaging of this film, which made me think of the things I did when I was in school. I wasn't a great kid, I did some bad shit. Most kids did, but they don't ever have to deal with the ramifications of things that could be considered bullying once it's all over. People think about that stuff for the rest of their lives, and bullies get bullied themselves as well, that's just the way it goes. Living with it is quite difficult, and The Gift planted something in my head that I will have a bit of a hard time shaking. Simon's approach to the situation isn't perfect, but his way of dealing with being a bully is a way most people deal with it. They don't want to talk about it, and they definitely don't want to address the person they bullied. I had to do so once, when somebody Facebooked me about it. I told them I was sorry, and they wanted to be friends, kind of like Gordo, but I told them that it didn't make me feel good to think about it and that it probably wouldn't make them feel good to see me as a friend. So, I left it at that. The part I didn't want to tell them is that I wanted to leave that shit compartmentalized and don't want to think about it. At least, I don't think about it until I watch a film like this that brings the idea out of my vacant brain space and into my thoughts.


Joel Edgerton is obviously a pretty talented guy, but his performance in this film takes the cake. I believe this and Black Mass came out in the same year, and these performances are obviously in huge contrast to one another. His character in Black Mass was suave, loving his corruption and not caring about anything. Gordo on the other hand is a creep. The worst kind of creep, the kind who won't go away. I can't handle people like that and I've never been able to. His isn't the only good performance though, there's more to this film than that. Rebecca Hall does a pretty good job with Robyn, who is quite the troubled woman herself. It is never explained why she has problems with sleeping pills, or anything like that, it just is that way. She's clearly going crazy and Gordo is making it worse, but Robyn feels as if she doesn't belong herself.

This film isn't perfect, it's just really good and doesn't treat the viewer like they're stupid. The payoff to the story is just enough without being so illuminating as to call the entire events of the film into question. Nothing comes too slow, and there are plenty of surprises. I enjoyed this a lot, and I probably should have watched it earlier in the month before burnout began to set in a little bit. One thing's for sure though, I'll be watching pretty much everything that Hall and Edgerton do going forward.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Hawk 34 on January 26, 2018, 11:44:24 PM
Man I told your ass like 7 times about this movie.  Glad you finally saw and liked it.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Brooklyn Zoo on January 26, 2018, 11:52:38 PM
I gave 909 a list of about 6 movies, nothing!

The gift is good, though
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Hawk 34 on January 27, 2018, 12:04:20 AM
He don’t do our lists anymore.  He’s a slave to the expiration date.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 27, 2018, 04:01:58 AM
I have a few movies people recommended to me on next month's list, but yeah. Once I started there was a whole gang of shit I wanted to watch and it turned out that it all left those services before I could watch it, so I had to change it up.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 27, 2018, 06:08:16 PM
(http://cinema-crazed.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Spirit.jpg)

The Spirit (2008), directed by Frank Miller

I don't remember the last time I felt like this after watching a movie. I have every intention of explaining why and how I feel, but this is a little bit strange. I had every intention of watching this at some point after Sin City, but I delayed for as long as possible because I knew this had a reputation for being a big pile of shit. The reputation might be underblown, especially ten years later. Everything people have said about this is true, plus more. It was very difficult for this film to hold my attention because of how ludicrous and boring it was. One particular scene made me pretty angry. Calling this flawed would also be an understatement, as such a comment presents the idea that there are a few things that could be done to fix the film. You know what could be done to fix this? If it ceased to exist, everything would be alright.

The Spirit is based on a strip from the 1940's, which apparently was revived from time to time and new stories were published based on it. The Spirit (Gabriel Macht) is a crime fighting superhero, who is put on the case of some guy called The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson). After many minutes of absolutely ridiculous, Sin City-esque running across rooftops, it is clear that this film is going to be narrated in nauseous fashion. Here's another problem. I can't exactly remember how the next part worked out. The way I remember it, The Spirit got to a police officer that gave him a tip. That's apparently not what happened. At the swamp, right after The Spirit got off the phone, there's a clip of Sand (Eva Mendes) shooting the detective who called him. That isn't even what happened either. It turns out that Sand and her husband (Eric Balfour) had recovered treasure chests from the water. Sand was shot at by The Octopus, and the shot hit the detective. Sand and The Octopus were then underwater, and she escaped. The Octopus on the other hand encounters The Spirit, and he has some clones, and you know what? This shit just fucking sucks and I'm really wasting my time writing all this shit out.

The plot of this movie is terrible, and even though it makes complete sense it defies explanation. I'm unequipped for the task. The script is probably the worst I've seen, it's impossible to believe this was given a green flag. The lines each character is given are horrendous. Samuel L. Jackson seems to be in on the joke to some extent, because he completely overacts his part. The material is beneath him, but his overacting only seems to make matters worse. I would have liked to laugh, but there's a lot of scenes that just took it out of me. The initial fight between The Spirit and The Octopus almost immediately killed my interest in the movie. It was long, drawn out, and as I already established, the script was really bad. There are endless amounts of negatives in this film, but I have every intention of limiting this to five or six paragraphs.

There are lots of good actors in this film, so I'm confused as to how they could look at this material and think would be good for their careers. Scarlett Johansson is probably the most obvious, but Sarah Paulson and some of the other people I've already mentioned are so far above this. There are so many bad characters in this film. Did you ever want to see Big Pussy's case supervisor from The Sopranos duplicated 15-20 times and used as a henchman in a movie? Well, after seeing this, I'm not going to lie. I kind of do. It was one of the only redeeming things about this. Another that comes to mind are the visual effects. They're not all great, and they're obviously derivative of Sin City, but there are a few red backgrounds that look nice. Add in the costumes Eva Mendes was wearing and that's really all I got. I think it would be accurate to say that Frank Miller only used women in this film for this specific purpose. It's pretty sad.

The worst thing in this film, and by far the most unforgivable, features a scene where Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson don Nazi suits and tie The Spirit up. That's not what's wrong with that scene either, I'm getting to that. It's also a pretty long and torturous scene full of exposition that belonged a lot earlier on, but instead it comes around 20-25 minutes away from the end of the film, which comes along extremely rapidly. I'm delaying talking about this because I completely tuned out everything afterward, but a cat dies during this part. Its eyeballs remain in the sink and we're shown them for no reason at all. You know, that's enough for me. I can't  think of another movie this stupid, it's probably the worst I've watched. These kinds of movies are for kids that want to see tits without actually being able to see them. There's really no other way to put it. I fully understood the plot of this movie, I don't want it to seem otherwise. That's probably why I hate it so much. There wasn't anything artistic about this, it was merely something that existed and something I don't want to think about anymore.

1.5/10

The 1.5 is because of the henchman. He's in the movie a lot. It's also inevitable that I'm going to see something worse.
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 29, 2018, 02:34:02 PM
(https://assets.mubi.com/images/film/215/image-w856.jpg)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), directed by Terry Gilliam

There are a lot of routes I intended to take this review, but it is proving to be too difficult to decide which one is best. It took me around twenty minutes to get past that sentence, which is a major problem when writing about anything. Anyway, it has been a very long time since I checked out a drug fueled romp. To my recollection I haven't reviewed one here, so it was just a matter of time. I believe it is necessary to end those kinds of droughts by going all the way, so this was a natural choice. Terry Gilliam said that he intended for this to be one of the great movies of our time, but I'm reviewing this 20 years after the fact. So, is this one of the best movies of that time? It's definitely arguable, but I think it's incredible that so many critics hated this movie. I knew about that before watching, but I can't agree with any of them. Their criticisms are ridiculous to me and quite prudish, but I'm curious to know if other people here feel the same way.

Fear and Loathing is about a drug trip, which shouldn't surprise anybody given the subject material being based on a Hunter S. Thompson book. It's very difficult to process the events of this film, because of what it is. It's set in 1971, and I'm sure most people know about all of this, because they should. Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro) are headed to Las Vegas. Their task? Duke is going there to cover the Mint 400, which was a motorcycle race out in the desert. I don't know why Dr. Gonzo is there in the first place, but it doesn't matter. Look, I'm at a loss for words to describe the events of this movie. These guys fill their bodies with drugs and do crazy shit, because that's what happens when people take acid and mescaline. It isn't only about the doing, it's about the seeing. This film is not a case of narrative excellence, it is what it is. Until you see it, some of the happenings are completely inexplicable.

That this is inexplicable is what's so good about it, because the film is completely dependent upon the viewer being shocked by what happens. Still, we need some explanation for these things, and a narrator was never more needed than in this moment. Johnny Depp's part as a spirit guide is probably primary in terms of how it relates to this film, it's by far the most necessary and essential component to enjoying this. A lot of the scenes and trips need description. The ones that don't need it still benefit from description. It is never pointless, unlike movies such as The Spirit, where you neither want a narrator or the movie to even exist. This kind of movie does have its downsides, which are largely related to when Depp and del Toro aren't together on screen. There are a few exceptions to this, but in the middle of the film, after their biggest trip, there's quite a bit of a lull.

Hallucinations are something beyond description, which is why I cut that part of my review so short. It's usually the longest, but I didn't see any point in attempting to explain something that defies explanation. There is one that's easy to explain though, and it's the lizard orgy. That's when I knew this was going to be a full out, two hour film full of things I was going to enjoy.  The cinematography in this film is mindblowing. I haven't had hallucinations, but the choice in camera angles for this film isn't something I've seen before. They're really weird, but it's Terry Gilliam and everything's weird. The special effects of those hallucinations can appear a bit dated, but that's to be expected. Set design is another massive plus point in the favor of this project. The two hotel sets look great once torn apart, and the circus setup was perfect for this kind of movie. The carousel scene isn't the best in the film by any stretch (in part because there are so many other great scenes), but the setting of the whole thing is fantastic.

That there are people who hate this is something difficult to comprehend, but I suppose I understand. Their problems with the film and mine are not the same, though. I had a problem with the lull when Raoul Duke drove to Baker. Critics had a problem with these guys being high all the time, in combination with a lack of introspection as to why the characters behaved this way. Who cares? When did it become the job of filmgoers to morally arbitrate the events of a movie about drugs? Obviously, it isn't, but it probably is. It just shouldn't be. There is a scene late in the film with Ellen Barkin that brings the film some levity, but it's probably more than I desired. I didn't want any of that stuff, I wanted things to stay full bore. I haven't gone over the cast list, but working Gary Busey and Christopher Meloni into this movie somehow had me laughing for a few minutes. Those were also sequences of the movie that would have otherwise been lacking without them, in the dull period I've been continuing to bring up.

The reason I keep bringing up this film being dull for a short period is because I want to explain how it is that I could enjoy a movie as much as this one and not give it a 10. Besides that, there's only positives. The performances were great, with del Toro's character doing far more than I expected when I turned this on. I made the assumption that he was going to fade away, and once he disappeared I also assumed the rest of the picture was going to be bad. It's probably a good thing that he came back, I don't know what the rest of the film would have been like without him. Do we have the adrenaline trip? Obviously not. What about the police convention? Wouldn't be the same. All of these scenes are memorable for one reason or another, and even though I had no intention of watching this again, I'll probably wind up showing this to a few people I know who would like it. Sometimes critics are too old and out of touch to understand why people would like a project like this one, but it was really entertaining and I laughed a lot. That's probably what matters most. I know I'm missing something that I wanted to mention, but for whatever reason I can't think of it at this moment.

9/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on January 31, 2018, 02:15:33 PM
(https://constantscribbles.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/carlitos-way.jpg)

Carlito's Way (1993), directed by Brian De Palma

I'm unsure how it is possible that I've never checked out Carlito's Way before. This is right up my alley. The film's poster and promotional material speaks for itself. Guns, drugs, gangs, this is what it's all about. I certainly should have made sure to spread films out better, though. I shouldn't have watched this so close to Scarface, but I didn't have any choice. De Palma does a really good job obscuring things that aren't given the appearance of being important. They're things that shouldn't take any experienced viewer of gangster movies by surprise, but it's nice to see things done that way. This film also doesn't carry the same kind of messaging that Scarface did. There is no greater meaning to the events of Carlito's Way, but that's just how I feel.  I guess what's important is whether or not I think this is better than Scarface. With a few exceptions, no. It definitely isn't. This is still a really good film.

Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) has just gotten out of prison, with the legal expertise of his friend and lawyer Dave Kleinfeld (Sean Penn) finding out that illegal wiretaps were used in putting Carlito in prison. Carlito has every intention of staying clean once out of the pen, but it's rough. His cousin needs someone to accompany him to a drug deal, and he thinks that because Carlito has a reputation, he's going to show these guys who cool he is. Instead, his cousin gets killed, and Carlito has to shoot his way out of the bar. Of course, Carlito being a smart guy and all that, he takes the money his cousin was going to use to buy drugs for himself. His intention is to save $75,000 to retire in the Caribbean, but it isn't going to be so easy. A few things are made clear throughout the movie. One is that Carlito is old school. Second is that the new generation of guys is crazy. Carlito does have a friend, Pachanga (Luis Guzman), who follows the old school ways. Kleinfeld on the other hand certainly isn't old school. Neither is Benny Blanco (John Leguizamo), a kid who wants to be Carlito's friend. Of course, that doesn't work out. Lastly and probably most importantly, there's Gail (Penelope Ann Miller), someone who Carlito loved before and after going away to prison.

So, what does all this mean? This film has a more established cast than Scarface, with a few characters who have greater depth despite the film being shorter. There are other things about this film that are better, but this is the first that comes to mind. The film's conclusion is also better, although it's foreshadowed in the first scene of the film. I really hate when filmmakers decide to do something like that. I don't prefer that kind of narrative style, because it takes away from that conclusion. So, for me to say the conclusion to Carlito's Way was better is to say it was really fucking good. I could watch the train chase and train station cat and mouse for ages. The scene at the train station wasn't perfect as some goof messed up an obviously extremely long Steadicam shot, but it was great. It has been quite some time since I checked out one of those. I read that this could only have been filmed one time due to all of the moving parts involved. It's also just a fact that Viggo Mortensen is better in his three minute scene than any of the side charaacters in Scarface. So is Sean Penn in his many scenes. Why don't I think this is better, then?

For starters, Scarface feels a lot more natural and less like a period piece, even though it was shot in Los Angeles and not Miami. My conclusion is that a 1975 version of New York is unnatural when filmed in 1993. There are cares taken to disguise this, but it's very difficult to do that properly. The most obvious problem related to that is that the Rikers Island barge didn't even exist until 1992. A huge portion of the plot revolves around something that wasn't there when this film was supposed to exist. Regardless of that, the scenes surrounding it are pretty good. I can't ignore it, though. There's also the simple fact that Al Pacino wasn't as good in this movie as he was playing Tony Montana. Tony Montana is a virtuoso performance by an actor, nearly three hours of full bore with no restraints. The very nature of Carlito Brigante is more restrained and it is more difficult for me to become attached to the character as a result of that. His character is also human, which has its positives compared to Tony Montana. I'm not trying to say anything bad about the characterization, but rather why I feel one is better than the other. It's a matter of personal preference.

One thing this film benefits from, similarly to Fear and Loathing, is a narrator. I still have major mixed feelings about narrators, but sometimes the main character needs to have the ability to tell people what they're thinking. It all comes down to whether or not the information is enlightening. In the case of Carlito's Way, it is. There are things about this that are still difficult for me to understand, but they aren't for lack of exposition. The scenes with Benny Blanco are where this is best applied. Carlito explains that he knows this isn't smart, that he knows what's going to happen because of that, and he still does it anyway. Most movies don't take the care to do this. They assume that the viewer knows what the character is thinking, which is a mistake because the viewer is probably a total idiot and thinks nothing is going to happen to someone who does what Carlito did. Instead we are given the exact opposite, a character who knows what's coming. He simply forgot all about it when trying to make his escape.

There are things I didn't discuss that are either positives or negatives, but I don't think I have the time. I liked this film a lot, I think that goes without saying. It's the perfect genre, it has actors I like in huge roles, and it's Brian De Palma. De Palma was worried about making another Scarface, which clearly didn't happen, it's just a comparison everyone likes to make. Arguably those two films aren't even in the same genre. Scarface is a drug drama, Carlito's Way is as much about Carlito's romance as it is his rehabilitation, and not really about drugs at all. It's a comparison strictly made because of De Palma and Pacino, not because these films are actually similar. I'm sure that some expectation of these films being similar has led people to believe that this stinks, especially considering what I'm reading in old reviews. Still, movies with long chase scenes are usually good no matter what else happens.

8/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on February 01, 2018, 06:04:25 PM
(http://criticallegalthinking.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/eye-in-the-sky-600x343.jpg)

Eye in the Sky (2016), directed by Gavin Hood

Eye in the Sky was Alan Rickman's last feature role, and it's a pretty good film for him to end his career on. Everyone thinks of Rickman for his villainous efforts, but this particular film is a lot more nuanced than that. You may be able to decipher that this film is about drone strikes. Perhaps you aren't able to. Anyway, this film is an attempt to show how these things work. It's quite thought provoking, and once I go down the list of cast members it's clear to see that this isn't a bullshit attempt to make a movie about an issue. There are some issues with this movie, to be sure. Nothing's perfect, but it does a nice job of making someone think about drone strikes and their impact on those who order them, carry them out, and those who are directly impacted by the missile. I don't know how accurate this film is, but I think the moral dilemmas posed here are reflective of what the people involved actually think. Amazon Prime eliminated their expiration dates, so at this point I'm having to look at a studio release schedule for some of their exclusive films and watch one from each studio each month.

To start the film, we're shown a little girl in Nairobi, named Alia. Not knowing what the film was about, my immediate assumption was that she would be droned and the film would be centered around the aftermath and impact on those who carried out the strike. That's not what happened. Instead, it turns out that the entire film focuses on the drone strike itself. Colonel Powell (Helen Mirren) wakes up, and she has a task. Her mission is to capture three of the ten biggest leaders of Al-Shabaab. We all know what Al-Shabaab is, now it's time to make movies about them. Two of the three are British, and there's another operation to capture an American citizen who intends to meet them. This being what it is, centered in Kenya and all that, guess what? There's three different militaries involved. Colonel Powell is British, there's the Kenyan military obviously, and there's also the Americans, who made the list and are quite aggressive in drone activities. Because of that aggressive behavior, naturally they provide the pilot, Lieutenant Watts (Aaron Paul).

There are a lot of moving parts in this movie, and it's very difficult to describe all of them. What's of importance is this. The targets don't stay in the house and are not captured, nor is one of them identified, which leads to the other problem. Instead, Kenyan spies must follow them into Eastleigh, an area controlled by Al-Shabaab. Jama (Barkhad Abdi) has to leave the safety of his van, and fly a drone camera into the safehouse the targets all arrive at. It turns out that the targets have the intention of arming suicide bombers, one of whom is the American mentioned earlier. That's just one of the problems. The biggest one? Collateral damage. Specifically the girl, Alia. So, everything is tied together. I didn't mention yet that the film centers around the actual ordering of the drone strike and all of the intricacies surrounding it, but I've spoiled far too much. I can mention that Alan Rickman plays the General in charge of dealing with politicians, which goes...about as you'd predict. Or maybe it doesn't.

That this movie is not entirely predictable is its greatest strength. It is easy to make assumption after assumption when watching this film, but those assumptions are consistently proven incorrect, with the exception of assuming that Americans literally don't care about collateral damage. We don't, and we all know that, there's tons of evidence of that. This film needs to play out that way as anything basic wouldn't be worth filming. Instead, we are consistently presented with moral quandries. 1 vs. 80 is probably the biggest weakness of the film, as frankly, from my detached position in my living room, I don't see much of a decision to be made there at all. The thing is, it was anticipated that the viewer would come to the same conclusion. There are some characters who present questions about how it is perceived to do that, specifically with those who are naturally sympathetic to those who commit terrorism, but I thought those were a little bit hollow. The process of carrying out the strike is still incredibly interesting, but the film isn't for everyone as it's quite slow. It is no exaggeration that the film entirely focuses upon this, with the only action coming once the strike blows shit up.

Certainly, there are some who have no problem with carrying these attacks out. There are some who do. Other than the fact that the image quality for those drones isn't as good as is shown here, I've always been interested to know what the pilots see and think before the strike. I think I've made my opinion on drone strikes known before, but I think I'll do so again. I think that the option of carrying them out is a complete no-win scenario, where innocents are going to be killed regardless. I feel that the US government has not done nearly enough to ensure that collateral damage is limited, and the drone strike option has presented a scenario of gross misuse. I'm not remotely surprised that the numbers of drone strike casualties have gone up under our current President, but pretty much anyone who was paying attention knew that our last President fucked up on this one. That all being said, sometimes drone strikes are necessary. 1 vs. 10, regardless of if the one is a child, is not a real dilemma. I mean, I'm fucking sorry, but hard decisions have to be made sometimes.

With all that said, I didn't enjoy this movie because of the subject matter, but it was very good. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about drones or to be inspired into researching them more. There are a lot of routes such a film could go down, and I think some of the comments about risk assessment are quite morbid, but they aren't presented in a way that provides even a dark humor effect. This film could be quite boring for some, but I think I've explained things in a way that if you read this, you know what you're getting into. All of the named leads put in a great performance, and if you like Game of Thrones, there's an interesting appearance from someone who's in the main cast of that show. There is another film related to this subject with Ethan Hawke as the lead, I think it's called Good Kill. I intend to watch it eventually. Before I'm done, I should also point out that this film is pretty politically balanced and doesn't pick a side. Unless, of course, you happen to be the kind of person that thinks the film even existing or presenting any neutral picture of a drone strike is not balance. You have a problem in that case.

7.5/10
Title: Re: In Which I Review Movies
Post by: Firmino of the 909 on February 04, 2018, 09:19:06 AM
(https://cdn.traileraddict.com/content/ff/american-ultra-feature-trailer.jpg)

American Ultra (2015), directed by Nima Nourizadeh

It's interesting to think of American Ultra as a continuation of Adventureland seeing as Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star in both films, in similar roles. The thing is, American Ultra is set in modern times while Adventureland is set in 1987, so they'd be pretty old if this were a continuation. This is a completely different kind of movie, although if you were like me and didn't pay any attention to marketing, the first 15-20 minutes would seem to lead somebody to believe this was like Adventureland. It isn't that, but the film was decent in tricking me. This film is totally ridiculous, in both good and bad ways, neither of which seem to usurp the other at any point. I have so many different mixed feelings about this, and I'm pretty sure people who know me can probably figure out why.

Mike (Jesse Eisenberg) and Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) are a couple who live in West Virginia, and Mike has planned for them to go to Hawaii. Problem is, he has a fear of leaving town and can't handle it. So, he and Phoebe don't get on their plane, which leads them to return to their town. Upon doing so, it is revealed that Mike works in a convenience store. So why is Phoebe staying with this jabroni? All these questions are answered later on, but first, we are taken to CIA HQ. Victoria (Connie Britton) is an agent, and we are made aware that Mike is part of some kind of project. It was apparently her project, and it wasn't very successful. Yates (Topher Grace) has his own project that's considered a success, and because of that, the last remnant of Victoria's project is scheduled to be eliminated. I've made clear that guy is Mike. Victoria seems to be attached to Mike, so she travels to West Virginia and tells him a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. That's what it seems like to Mike, but to the viewer it's clearly code. After she leaves, Mike notices some guys messing with his car. They attack Mike, but he quickly kills them. So, what's up with all that?

The premise of this is trite, the primary example of something more original coming to mind being The Bourne Identity. That's obviously a superior film, but I think it goes without saying. It isn't an easy task to make an original film, I don't think anyone's suggesting otherwise, and there are some attempts to differentiate this from those. I mean, obviously Jesse Eisenberg doesn't fit seamlessly into the role of a trained superspy, but that's kind of the point. Building the plot is done very well, it's certainly the best part of the film. Everything about Mike is tied together quite neatly, and by the point of his becoming a killer, there's quite a well rounded character there. The same can't be said for everyone, particularly Phoebe, who is a really weak and disconnected character. Everything done with that character turns this into an ordinary action movie. It's not like Mike and Phoebe are the only positives and negatives, there's actually a host of them. The simple fact is that Topher Grace is also really bad in everything except That '70's Show. I've yet to see a single exception to that, I think the guy is a really shitty actor. This character is totally unconvincing in every way. That being said, the henchmen fill out the film pretty well, and there's a good turn from John Leguizamo as well.

There are also plenty of good scenes, which surprised me a little bit considering who