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Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1050 on: December 19, 2018, 06:18:30 PM »


Tomb Raider (2018), directed by Roar Uthaug

I didn't realize this was going to be the case, but I should have known when I turned Tomb Raider on that it would be a version of 2013's reboot video game. There are also some story elements of the following game, which I have not yet played. I don't know why I didn't realize this was going to ahppen, I really thought this was going to be an original story. In this case, it would have been better to directly adapt the video game or create an original story. I think mashing things together to create a film slightly based on that 2013 game was a huge mistake. The story diverges from the video game very quickly, and the game has a more uniquely focused story than the film does. Looking at the writer for Tomb Raider, I see one failure after another on Evan Daugherty's list. This could best be described as failing upward over and over again. Daugherty has never written anything that could be described as a good film, and that seems to not matter at all. This is why Tomb Raider didn't succeed, but I think I would like to see a sequel written by someone else. The foundation of the film is solid, but it isn't filled in as well as I would like. Someone else could certainly do a much better job putting things together and crafting a Lara Croft adventure that fans of the video game series really deserve.

Immediately diverging from its source material, Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) makes a living as a bike courier after the disappearance of her father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West). Her father had gone somewhere, but she doesn't exactly know what he's done, and it's assumed that Richard has died. Lara spends her free time training mixed martial arts at a gym, and when not working on her bike, she likes to ride it around in goofy chases between London's bicyclists extraordinaire. During the only chase that we see, Lara crashes into a police car and is taken down to the police station, and even though she's an adult, her former guardian Ana (Kristin Scott Thomas) heads down there to settle matters. Once she does, it's time to bring up the matter of Richard's will, which has never been signed by Lara and therefore she has not inherited anything. Ana tells Lara that if she doesn't claim her inheritance, her father's country estate will be sold off at an auction. In the process of Lara's meeting at her father's building, she is given a puzzle and decides not to sign those papers and follow the leads her father has given her instead.

Upon reaching Croft Manor, Lara solves a puzzle and gains access to a room with many of Richard's things. Richard has recorded a video message that details his research into Himiko, a mythical queen of Yamatai, which may or may not be a thing in reality. Who knows. Yamatai is a Japanese island, nobody knows if the story is true, and Himiko is used as a plot device both in this film and the video game. Anyway, Richard tells Lara to destroy his research, but Lara is quite headstrong and will not do that. Instead, she decides to use his research in order to head to Yamatai. She's got nothing else going on, after all. Lara then travels to Hong Kong, hiring Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), a boat captain who will take her there. Lu Ren's father took Richard there in the first place, so it seems like a perfect match. As in the video game, the ship encounters very rough water and capsizes, which leads to Lara and Lu Ren being marooned on the island. Apparently they are not the only ones. Many smugglers and fishermen have crashed on Yamatai over the years, and they've been captured and forced into slavery by a mysterious company, Trinity. Trinity was named in Richard's notes, so we know this group is bad. The leader on the island is man named Mathias (Walton Goggins) who has been stuck on Yamatai for seven years in an attempt to uncover its mysteries, and he'll stop at nothing to get home to his family.

The story diverges so much from the video game even in using some of the same plot devices and names that I can't bother to list them all. There's just too many instances of this. Knowing that the story was going to be focused on Yamatai and Himiko as in the video game, I thought that Tomb Raider took an incredibly long time to finally get to the point. This simultaneously feels like a drawn out film, one without enough tangible characters, and one where certain aspects of it don't feel long enough. It's a puzzle that is simply unable to be unsolved by the filmmakers, and as such we have what we have here. Such a film has positives and negatives, but I thought the negatives slightly won out here. I suppose I should list a few more of those, and I thought the boat crash was one of them. The film desperately needed an action scene at that point and we got it, but I found the lack of subtlety in visual effects to be quite strange. Everything in this scene was too obviously not real. I also thought that the story lacked inspiration due to the inclusion of the Richard mystery. The story in the video game is more focused. Not only does Lara want to get off Yamatai, but she needs to keep Mathias from turning her friend into Himiko through a ritual. This is one of those things that arguably only fits in a video game, but who knows? We certainly never will. The video game also has far less people in it than the movie, and just a few more characters. The balance is much better. The ending of Tomb Raider is also much too obvious and stupid.

Tomb Raider does have some positives though, most center around casting decisions rather than how those characters were used. I thought that Alicia Vikander made for a good Lara Croft, but that Lara was too much of a passenger in her own story. I did think that Dominic West and Walton Goggins were inspired castings. I never knew I wanted to watch a movie where Goggins played an explorer in the jungle. For all I know there's another one of those. My knowledge of what seems to be the source material works heavily against the film, though. For every interesting puzzle and action scene, there's something that bothers me. I thought Lu Ren was one of the most odd decisions for a character in this kind of movie...ever. What did he do, exactly? He was just there, I guess. I thought Tomb Raider did not need a storyline with Lara's dad, and that's what does the film in. I didn't want to see that, I wanted a film free of her father because when they made the first Tomb Raider film, it was about Lara and her father. I actually can't believe they would be allowed to make a movie with this kind of story again, but it's Hollywood. I shouldn't be so surprised. Everything that Tomb Raider is missing is as a result of that decision, and what's more is that the drawn out epilogue just spits in the face of the viewer in order to set up a sequel. I didn't want it to be this way, I wanted to see our heroine jump across stuff and explore caves to find treasure. Along the way, maybe she'll encounter cultists, or some natives, insane religious nuts, cannibals, whatever. It's probably never going to happen though and we're missing out. The next film will probably only slightly be better than this one, if they even make it.

4.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   A Star Is Born
2.   First Reformed
3.   Widows
4.   First Man
5.   BlacKkKlansman
6.   Blindspotting
7.   The Sisters Brothers
8.   A Private War
9.   Green Book
10.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
11.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
12.   On My Skin
13.   Private Life
14.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
15.   Mid90s
16.   Eighth Grade
17.   Sorry to Bother You
18.   The Old Man & the Gun
19.   Suspiria
20.   Vox Lux
21.   Boy Erased
22.   Bad Times at the El Royale
23.   The Other Side of the Wind
24.   Searching
25.   A Simple Favor
26.   The Hate U Give
27.   Creed II
28.   Hold the Dark
29.   The Land of Steady Habits
30.   Halloween
31.   Outlaw King
32.   Overlord
33.   Monsters and Men
34.   Bohemian Rhapsody
35.   White Boy Rick 
36.   Papillon
37.   Game Night
38.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
39.   Instant Family
40.   Alpha
41.   The Front Runner
42.   The Predator
43.   Apostle
44.   The Angel
45.   The Commuter
46.   Beautiful Boy
47.   The Nun
48.   Operation Finale
49.   The Equalizer 2
50.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
51.   12 Strong
52.   Venom
53.   Skyscraper
54.   The Meg
55.   Assassination Nation
56.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
57.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
58.   22 July
59.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
60.   The Little Stranger
61.   Tomb Raider
62.   Night School
63.   The 15:17 To Paris
64.   Peppermint
65.   Mile 22
66.   The First Purge
67.   Hunter Killer
68.   Kin
69.   Hell Fest
70.   Proud Mary
71.   Robin Hood
72.   The Happytime Murders
73.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Kahran Ramsus

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1051 on: December 20, 2018, 01:04:51 PM »
Dunkirk is incredible.  It might be Nolan's best film.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1052 on: December 20, 2018, 01:59:24 PM »


The Mule (2018), directed by Clint Eastwood

Considering that Clint Eastwood hasn't acted in many years, and considering that his recent film efforts as a director are less than fantastic, my hopes for The Mule were quite low. That was back in June or July, though. Now, after seeing the trailer, I didn't quite know what to think. The trailer was amazing, but knowing that Eastwood rushed this film out so quickly was not the best thing to have knowledge of beforehand. I was very critical of The 15:17 to Paris because of how haphazardly done it seemed to be, because Eastwood didn't use real actors for his lead roles, and because the story didn't merit a film on its own. The Mule is different than that, it's a story that merits a film, and regardless of how Eastwood uses the other actors, there are real actors in this film. However, I must admit that some parts of this film did feel like they could have used a few more attempts. Is that because I already know Eastwood doesn't do that? I don't know. I thought The Mule was a good film that could have been better, but Eastwood's performance was a huge highlight of the movie, and a major bonus from someone who I thought would never act again.

Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood) is a horticulturist, and The Mule begins 10-12 years before the events that start off the story. He's obsessed with his work and this leads to estrangement from his family, with Earl deciding to go to a convention rather than his daughter's wedding. Iris (Alison Eastwood) already has a child, and whether or not this factors into Earl's thinking, there's no way to know. Earl's ex-wife Mary (Dianne Wiest) knows that Earl won't show up and tells Iris to move on, which she does for many years. Afterwards, we also move on for many years, and Earl is now 90 years old. The internet he complained about at the start of the movie has effectively killed his business, both because people don't want his plants and because those who do know how to do it themselves. The free market has decided. Earl is still estranged from his family, but his granddaughter Ginny (Taissa Farmiga) has stuck with him all along. Unbeknownst to her, Earl has lost his business and it is believed by Mary that he's only coming to her house because she has nowhere to stay. It's actually because Ginny is getting married and Earl wants to correct one of his mistakes in not showing up at the wedding of his daughter. Now he can't help Ginny pay for her wedding like he wanted, and this isn't so good.

While Earl's leaving after having had people tear a strip into him, one person there notices he's out of work. He tells Earl that he has a job for him where he could drive things around and make a hell of a lot of money. It turns out this is true and that it's work for a cartel, one run by Laton (Andy Garcia), a man with all the trappings and furnishings of someone in such a role. Earl is told to follow instructions and not look in the bags. Just take them where he's told to take them and go home, as he makes a perfect mule. It's that simple. Meanwhile, the DEA is up to what the DEA is always up to. They need to make busts, and these mules are moving a ton of product. The boss of these agents (Laurence Fishburne) is insistent on making big busts. Colin (Bradley Cooper) is a new agent in Chicago, his job is to make those busts. He has been partnered with Trevino (Michael Pena), and they need to get to work. First up, they need to get themselves a snitch, and they think they've got the perfect guy. In Earl, Laton also thinks he has a perfect guy. Obviously these two stories are going to intersect at some point, but how far along into the film? And what is Earl going to do with all his newfound riches? I have framed things as being tense, but in this case they aren't, and The Mule is more of a strange, comedic movie than you otherwise might expect from Clint Eastwood.

I've seen a lot of people saying that this is Eastwood's best performance, which I would consider to be hyperbole as it isn't one of his best. It is, however, quite fresh and original in the sense that we haven't seen him in front of the camera for so long. I appreciate Eastwood's willingness to continue working at his age, and this is a much better offering than the film he made earlier this year. Will this be his last time acting? Who knows, at his age any day could be his last. I appreciated his performance and thought it was less mean spirited than his character in Gran Torino, and in many ways this is the perfect character for Eastwood to play as his last. There's an added dimension to this role in that it has been an unbelievably long time since he played a character who felt like the happy sort. This performance was much more the kind I would expect from a Robert Redford. Of course, with this being an Eastwood film with him acting, there's lots of commentary about younger people and the like, but I thought it provided the film a nice boost of humor in scenes that could otherwise have been dry and boring. This has few downsides, even though the film does have some, but none of them are Eastwood's performance or any of the scenes with Eastwood. As far as this goes, while you feel like you might know what you're getting, you could be wrong if you're expecting a tense story like Gran Torino.

Some of the scenes without Eastwood, on the other hand, feel like they weren't given as much care as those with him in them. Of course, that's where the old Eastwood habit kicks in of the film feeling like it needed more takes. The investigation into the character of Earl feels barebones and like Eastwood didn't care much about the stories of those on the hunt. I don't think that's even slightly an unfair statement as all examination of the film should back this up. The only thing that doesn't feel turned in is the similarity between Colin and Earl's lives spent away from their families instead of doing what they should be doing. There's really not a whole lot to this story in terms of meat on the bone and the film really lacks it, so naturally there are some people who decided to focus on racist comments that Eastwood's character makes. I didn't think any of those complaints stood up under scrutiny after watching the film, which I would classify as being just fine or barely good. That's really what this is, and if it wasn't Eastwood or Redford in this role, I'm not sure I would have liked it. The role here required someone with that level of gravitas, and without it, it's just a standard film. Simple as that.

There is an additional character that I neglected to mention, and I wanted to point out that on some level Earl's relationship with that character works as a substitute son for the family he never paid attention to. I thought it was great how quickly such thoughts were done away with and treated like they didn't matter at all, which I thought was an unconventional approach for a film in this day and age. The Mule is a good way for Eastwood to bow out as an actor, which I think he will do, but certainly there will be more attempts at directing films in the future. I don't ever see him stepping away from that and he'll probably pass away during a production, which it would seem is the way he wants it to be. I also thought his character's nuggets of wisdom in the film carried over well due to the mistakes the character had made, it made those scenes feel more important. The Mule was enjoyable, but I could just as easily see someone hating it due to how thin the story is. It's up to every individual viewer I suppose.

7/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   A Star Is Born
2.   First Reformed
3.   Widows
4.   First Man
5.   BlacKkKlansman
6.   Blindspotting
7.   The Sisters Brothers
8.   A Private War
9.   Green Book
10.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
11.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
12.   On My Skin
13.   Private Life
14.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
15.   Mid90s
16.   Eighth Grade
17.   Sorry to Bother You
18.   The Old Man & the Gun
19.   Suspiria
20.   Vox Lux
21.   Boy Erased
22.   Bad Times at the El Royale
23.   The Other Side of the Wind
24.   Searching
25.   A Simple Favor
26.   The Hate U Give
27.   Creed II
28.   Hold the Dark
29.   The Land of Steady Habits
30.   Halloween
31.   Outlaw King
32.   Overlord
33.   Monsters and Men
34.   The Mule
35.   Bohemian Rhapsody
36.   White Boy Rick 
37.   Papillon
38.   Game Night
39.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
40.   Instant Family
41.   Alpha
42.   The Front Runner
43.   The Predator
44.   Apostle
45.   The Angel
46.   The Commuter
47.   Beautiful Boy
48.   The Nun
49.   Operation Finale
50.   The Equalizer 2
51.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
52.   12 Strong
53.   Venom
54.   Skyscraper
55.   The Meg
56.   Assassination Nation
57.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
58.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
59.   22 July
60.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
61.   The Little Stranger
62.   Tomb Raider
63.   Night School
64.   The 15:17 To Paris
65.   Peppermint
66.   Mile 22
67.   The First Purge
68.   Hunter Killer
69.   Kin
70.   Hell Fest
71.   Proud Mary
72.   Robin Hood
73.   The Happytime Murders
74.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1053 on: December 22, 2018, 12:22:56 PM »


Mary Poppins Returns (2018), directed by Rob Marshall

It's fair to say Mary Poppins Returns isn't the kind of movie I usually go see, correct? It has been quite a while since I watched a musical and I wouldn't classify Bohemian Rhapsody as one of those. I'm talking about a movie where people sing their way through regular conversations as it comes time to do so throughout the film. I think La La Land was the last one much earlier this year, but in that film there are many less musical pieces than in this one. I wasn't sure what I'd think of Mary Poppins Returns before I decided to go see it. I was hoping for something to bring me back to my childhood for a few hours, and I got that. Was it more than nostalgic? That's something my review will answer. For a lot of people including my mother, Mary Poppins was a sacred property that nobody should dare to try to make a movie about again. That was, at least, until she saw the trailer for this one. I don't really know what to make of this film as a whole due to a few things I thought didn't belong in it at all, but I thought that this felt like a very good film. I am interested to see whether or not it will gain any traction at the box office, because from what I saw, there weren't too many people there to see the film. Is that because I live in an area where people don't care about a magical white lady? Maybe. Maybe it's because Aquaman and Bumblebee are out now as well, so perhaps some parents will wait a week or two to take their kids to this.

Mary Poppins Returns begins in 1935 during the Great Depression, with Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) playing a role that could only remind people of Bert from the original film, in this case as a lamplighter in London. Of course, Jack breaks into song, after which it's time for us to get to the story. Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is now an adult all these years after our first story, living with his three children after his wife's death. John (Nathanael Saleh) is the oldest, Annabel (Pixie Davies) is the middle child, and Georgie (Joel Dawson) is the handful of the bunch. Ellen (Julie Walters) is the housekeeper and is massively underwater in this role, and the family still lives in the house from the first film. People need to keep in mind that this is a kid's movie, after all. After being introduced to the new family, we learn that Jane (Emily Mortimer) helps take care of them, and that there's an impending problem. William Wilkins Jr. (Colin Firth) is the president of a local bank, and he's had his lawyers arrive at the house to post a repossession notice. Michael's wife handled the finances when she was alive, and Michael has forgotten to pay the loan on the house (the pretext for this story is as flimsy as it gets, as you can see). So, it's time for the bank to seize the house if the entire loan hasn't been paid by Friday.

Things are pretty bad, but Michael and Jane remember that their father had left them shares in this bank to save for a future date. They don't know how to prove their ownership of these shares though, and a long search proves futile. Afterwards, our joyless leader of the family decides to throw some old possessions from his childhood out of his house. Amongst those possessions, we have...a kite. The kite is placed outside, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out what happens after that. Down from the sky comes Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), holding the kite, and making clear that she thinks these kids need to get their act into shape. You know how this goes, don't you? The movie has some flaws, but the odd one that sticks with me more than the rest is that for whatever reason, even though the adults now see Mary Poppins in the flesh once again, they believe the events in their childhood with Mary were not real. Ultimately, the story obviously revolves around whether or not the Banks family is able to save their house from the bank, and oddly enough, Mary seems to stay out of that and becomes somewhat of a bystander as the film comes to a close.

The narrative decision for Mary to become a bystander as the film concludes is one of the film's flaws, of which there were a few. The end of the film is about the Banks clan coming together as a family, which is something that Mary Poppins isn't going to be involved in, and as a nature of the story I don't know how it's avoidable for Mary Poppins to not play a passive role in the end of one of these movies. Such is life. Another big flaw is Meryl Streep's scene, the less said about that the better. There is nothing I could say that would prepare somebody for it and this should have been left on the cutting room floor. Who would have the balls to edit Meryl Streep out of their movie though? I should clarify that it's not her fault, it's the character she was asked to play here. The last thing coming to mind is that due to how many of these kinds of movies were made in the years since the original, it's very difficult to come up with an interesting set of songs that kids can easily remember. The latter part of that two part statement is something that the songwriters failed to do. I liked the songs and most of the musical numbers, but they're more geared towards adults. This balance is tough to figure out and I don't think it was accomplished. That being said, I'm not a child and this doesn't play much part in my enjoyment of a film. For that matter I didn't see any kids in the theater at all.

When I was a kid, I don't care how corny it was, I always liked this Mary Poppins stuff. I should have prefaced my review with that, but now that everyone knows, I thought they couldn't have possibly better cast Mary Poppins Returns. Everything seems to slide perfectly into place when it shouldn't. Lin-Manuel Miranda was unexpectedly natural casting and had a better cockney accent than Dick Van Dyke did, not that this was hard to do. The scenes with Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury were also big bright spots, and Colin Firth seemed to make a natural villain although I didn't think the story really needed to have one. Of course, all this praise of the cast is remiss without mentioning Emily Blunt. It's very hard to believe that they found someone who could do what Julie Andrews did. I did not see that coming. Didn't know she could sing either. Her song and dance numbers were the best ones of the film, and her scenes carried the impact that I would have wanted them to have. I had nothing to complain about as it relates to her performance at all and I think she'll be nominated for an Oscar. Or, at least, I think she should be. That being said, it's hard for me to be unbiased here as this was a property from my childhood and I thought it was adapted very well in this film.

Of course, this wasn't going to be Mary Poppins, but it was a worthy successor to the original. The only way for this to have been better would have been to toss away a lot of the elements of the story that needed to be in the film in the first place. There's one series of scenes that for me was too hard to believe, and I wasn't expecting Disney's old style hand drawn animation to make a comeback here, so it floored me. I thought it was funny that Disney would decide to make a film with a decidedly anti-capitalist message, and I still haven't been able to wrap my head around that. I also laughed at how there seemed to be the seeds for a scene about turning back time, but the film decided to go into a completely different direction with it. I was slightly disappointed that the film decided not to use any of the old songs from the original, but overall I thought this was a good film that I enjoyed quite a bit. Mary Poppins Returns felt like something that deserved to be called a Disney film, and that alone is the highest praise someone could give. I expect this movie will receive a large amount of Oscar nominations, and give the categories that there are to choose from, I think it deserves them. Mary Poppins Returns not being one of the year's best films probably won't stop that, because the costumes, set, animation, music, and lead performance were all fantastic.

7.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   A Star Is Born
2.   First Reformed
3.   Widows
4.   First Man
5.   BlacKkKlansman
6.   Blindspotting
7.   The Sisters Brothers
8.   A Private War
9.   Green Book
10.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
11.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
12.   On My Skin
13.   Private Life
14.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
15.   Mid90s
16.   Eighth Grade
17.   Sorry to Bother You
18.   The Old Man & the Gun
19.   Suspiria
20.   Vox Lux
21.   Boy Erased
22.   Bad Times at the El Royale
23.   The Other Side of the Wind
24.   Searching
25.   A Simple Favor
26.   The Hate U Give
27.   Mary Poppins Returns
28.   Creed II
29.   Hold the Dark
30.   The Land of Steady Habits
31.   Halloween
32.   Outlaw King
33.   Overlord
34.   Monsters and Men
35.   The Mule
36.   Bohemian Rhapsody
37.   White Boy Rick 
38.   Papillon
39.   Game Night
40.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
41.   Instant Family
42.   Alpha
43.   The Front Runner
44.   The Predator
45.   Apostle
46.   The Angel
47.   The Commuter
48.   Beautiful Boy
49.   The Nun
50.   Operation Finale
51.   The Equalizer 2
52.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
53.   12 Strong
54.   Venom
55.   Skyscraper
56.   The Meg
57.   Assassination Nation
58.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
59.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
60.   22 July
61.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
62.   The Little Stranger
63.   Tomb Raider
64.   Night School
65.   The 15:17 To Paris
66.   Peppermint
67.   Mile 22
68.   The First Purge
69.   Hunter Killer
70.   Kin
71.   Hell Fest
72.   Proud Mary
73.   Robin Hood
74.   The Happytime Murders
75.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1054 on: December 22, 2018, 06:19:59 PM »


Roma (2018), directed by Alfonso Cuaron

In the case of Roma, as with any other film that receives the kind of reaction Roma has received, one is left to wonder whether or not the hype is merited. I wanted to wait a week after its release to see if anyone would dare step up as a contrarian voice so I could see why they felt that way and tackle the film afterward. I did not find one. Perhaps more than any other this year, Roma is the kind of film that sucks their audience into the environment of the characters. Come the end of the film, I was wanting to know so much more about what these characters would become, where they would go with their lives. This is one of the best feelings I believe a film can leave someone with, one that is very rare yet quite fulfilling. It can best be described as a huge achievement. Roma is also a film that could require some knowledge of history, or at least could inspire someone to go searching for the history of Mexico at the time. This is also the kind of film that someone would have to be completely centered as a filmmaker in order to make. There are little things in Roma that could be considered as being pretentious if not all carried out in a proper way, but the events all seem to carry a greater meaning and purpose to the story. I think, in order for me to properly review Roma, I desperately need a version of this with Cuaron giving commentary over the whole film. I would watch his amazing movie again in a second if such a feature was added. For now, I don't have that option, and like everyone else, I will have to leave my thoughts without the context that I would love this amazing director to leave on every scene in his film.

Roma is a story from Alfonso Cuaron that could be described as autobiographical, where he takes events from his childhood and of the era to create one of the best narratives I've seen in a really long time. It's 1970, and Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) is a maid in a very nice neighborhood of Mexico City. She works in a house under the employ of Sofia (Marina de Tavira), and her husband Antonio (Fernando Grediaga), a doctor. Sofia and Antonio have four kids, Pepe (Marco Graf), Sofi (Daniela Demesa), Paco (Carlos Peralta), and Tono (Diego Cortina Autrey). They also have another maid, Adela (Nancy Garcia Garcia), and Sofia's mother Teresa (Veronica Garcia) lives there too. This place is a madhouse, with a dog who shits everywhere, and there's never any end to the insanity. The start of the film is one night in this house, where we learn quite a lot about the family. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Sofia and Antonio have marital problems. Antonio leaves to a conference in Quebec, comes back far sooner than expected, and he leaves again. Antonio's departure is a point at which pretty much everyone could figure out there's far more to the story than what we're being told. Cleo and Adela do their best, but inevitably they are blamed for some of the strain. Like, for example, not cleaning up dog shit.

Cleo and Adela do have lives outside of the house, and while they're not very satisfying, they seem to be enough. They have boyfriends, Cleo has Fermin (Jorge Antonio Guerrero), and Adela has Ramon (Jose Manuel Guerrero Mendoza). These are boyfriends that I would describe as being part of their social caste, who live in what could best be described as slums. When it's time to go to the movies, Cleo and Fermin decide to get a room. The things that happen inside that room, I would rather not divulge. It's a scene that is best seen rather than described. On their next date, Cleo decides to break major news to Fermin, who leaves her right in the goddamn theater. Meanwhile, the family has to cope without their patriarch, and much of the film works in a way where we are seeing how they cope. At the same time, it's Cleo's responsibility to deal with a life changing event, and of course, she can't let it show too much in her work. I've done my absolute best to not divulge anything to this point, but in the following paragraphs I will. Now you know.

Roma is basically as good as a film can get, in terms of the story and presentation. There are so many ways that this film could have gone wrong, but the amount of care put into each scene is incredible. I did some reading about how they rigged the house for shooting, and I thought it was interesting to learn how Cuaron was able to create a series of continued shots with very few cuts from one scene to the next. All of these scenes tie together wonderfully. There are situations presented in Roma that I feel like I would have wanted to know about. We learn about how Mexicans reacted to earthquakes, which are quite common in the country. We learn about Los Halcones, none of these scenes being explained in any way beyond detail in each scene. Exposition is thrown out the window in favor of rewarding the viewer's attention to detail from presentation to presentation. This is the kind of thing I really like. The major events take a while in coming, but that isn't what Roma is really about. This is a film about how alone women are in creating and shaping their families, particularly at the time. I was left with the feeling that things would be alright as long as the family stuck together, but the relationship between Cleo and the family is strange. She's part of it, but she's not. She isn't treated equally and even though she takes part in these experiences, her role is to observe them and move forward. I thought the actress who played Sofia happened to steal the show in this way, in terms of ensuring that these things maintained balance. Even outside the family, the massacre shows how people see these things and have to move on when they didn't take part in them.

The only negative I was going to put down as being one, was the decision to shoot the film in black and white. Now that I've watched it, I don't think it's a mistake. Black and white is supposed to remind people of the past and this is a film coming from someone's memory and their experience of the past. The scenes in the house are also super unique. There are tons of things in this that seemed impossible to pull off from a visual perspective, but perhaps with color, the allure of them would be lessened. The forest fire is something coming to mind at this moment. The presentation in the theater when Fermin leaves is another. Then there's the martial arts demonstration. The massacre. The hospital scene. The beach scene. Countless long shots through the city and house. This execution of these things blew my mind. I also caught what appears to have been an easter egg, when Cuaron included a scene from Marooned in this film. Is he telling us that seeing Marooned here inspired Gravity later on? This is a fantastic reference. This film carries weight and has life, and the hits in it keep on coming over and over.

There's one thing I really, really want to talk about, but I don't want to blow the entire movie apart. I will just say that I mentioned this scene already, but the detail of how realistic it was nearly destroyed me. I also don't know how many people here have been to Mexico, but the sound was beyond...I mean...BEYOND accurate. I think Roma means a lot of different things to different people. As much as Roma is a love letter to the women in someone's life, it's also a story of Mexico, of Mexico's oppressive government at the time, of economic and social inequalities, of domestic workers, of the things women have to go through when abandoned, of how kids in the country used to and perhaps still grow up. The first scene of the film is one where the maid cleans up fucking dog shit. And it works. That's all you really need to know, isn't it? I don't give out perfect ratings often and I haven't given one this year, until now. I wish I'd been able to see this in a theater, but it wasn't possible as none of the ones close to me were showing it. I'm just waiting for an extreme backlash to come against Roma, but you'd have to be a completely heartless piece of shit with no interest in the technical aspects of creating a film to have had a genuinely negative reaction to Roma. This was a surreal experience, what a story about the human experience. There are literally billions of these kinds of stories one could tell, hardly anyone can do it right, and when it's done right all one can do is applaud.

I am curious to see if the Academy is willing to give a Netflix film their award. They sure as fuck should.

10/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Roma
2.   A Star Is Born
3.   First Reformed
4.   Widows
5.   First Man
6.   BlacKkKlansman
7.   Blindspotting
8.   The Sisters Brothers
9.   A Private War
10.   Green Book
11.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
12.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
13.   On My Skin
14.   Private Life
15.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
16.   Mid90s
17.   Eighth Grade
18.   Sorry to Bother You
19.   The Old Man & the Gun
20.   Suspiria
21.   Vox Lux
22.   Boy Erased
23.   Bad Times at the El Royale
24.   The Other Side of the Wind
25.   Searching
26.   A Simple Favor
27.   The Hate U Give
28.   Mary Poppins Returns
29.   Creed II
30.   Hold the Dark
31.   The Land of Steady Habits
32.   Halloween
33.   Outlaw King
34.   Overlord
35.   Monsters and Men
36.   The Mule
37.   Bohemian Rhapsody
38.   White Boy Rick 
39.   Papillon
40.   Game Night
41.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
42.   Instant Family
43.   Alpha
44.   The Front Runner
45.   The Predator
46.   Apostle
47.   The Angel
48.   The Commuter
49.   Beautiful Boy
50.   The Nun
51.   Operation Finale
52.   The Equalizer 2
53.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
54.   12 Strong
55.   Venom
56.   Skyscraper
57.   The Meg
58.   Assassination Nation
59.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
60.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
61.   22 July
62.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
63.   The Little Stranger
64.   Tomb Raider
65.   Night School
66.   The 15:17 To Paris
67.   Peppermint
68.   Mile 22
69.   The First Purge
70.   Hunter Killer
71.   Kin
72.   Hell Fest
73.   Proud Mary
74.   Robin Hood
75.   The Happytime Murders
76.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1055 on: December 23, 2018, 06:04:52 PM »


The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017), directed by Bharat Nalluri

Was it time for another twist on the old A Christmas Carol adaptation? Bharat Nalluri makes his best case here with The Man Who Invented Christmas. I was interested in watching at least one Christmas movie this year, but I didn't want to watch any of the ones I've seen before. That leaves a very small pool to choose from, but fortunately there was a film that came out last year I hadn't seen. I did not know that this is what the film would be about as I neglected to read a description beforehand, and if I had known, maybe I wouldn't have watched this at all. There's no way to know for sure, but that's the feeling I get. I was left with mixed feelings as I was giving this a view, but come the end I was satisfied with the story enough to feel positively about the film as a whole. This is a weird one to discuss as literally everyone has to know the story of A Christmas Carol, but there's a neat little addition to the events in this film. They're from a different perspective, and the contributions in the film from the characters we know are also seen from this perspective. The Man Who Invented Christmas is interesting enough to have merited its production in the first place, which is about all you can ask for from one of these Christmas movies. I would like to see an original story released into theaters at some point though!

This film, as I already alluded to, looks at A Christmas Carol from a different perspective. How about Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) and his attempts to write the book? As the story here tells it, some years after the success of Oliver Twist, Dickens is going through some hardship after writing books that were not as well received. Dickens is also a big spender and has a lot of things to pay for due to what he's done to his house and with his family. His publishers want a new story, they have their demands for it, and ultimately Dickens is forced into rejecting their attempts at getting him to do things the way they want them to be done. In the process, he tosses an advance in the bin, and along with John Forster (Justin Edwards), they have a job on to get him more money. One day, Dickens passes by a funeral in London, where a rich man is being buried. There's nobody at the funeral at all, Dickens wonders how that could be the case, and this inspires him to write a Christmas story about the situation. The title is a bit sensational in the sense that the film does nothing to tell you about how Dickens invented Christmas, and it's bullshit in the first place.

This is a Dickens biopic more than a Christmas movie, and as such, we learn more about his life and how this book comes to be. While Dickens is writing his book, he's visited by his father John (Jonathan Pryce), a notorious spender who was once sent off to debtor's prison after indulging himself more than a bit too much. John is eccentric and his ways don't mesh with those of his son, and his presence at Charles' house serves as a distraction that makes it difficult for him to write his book. However, Charles is helped by Tara (Anna Murphy), a servant girl who serves to provide further inspiration and ideas due to her own experiences in life and through reading. Her advice is invaluable. While Charles is able to write the story, and while there's the notable characters we all know of in it, he's stuck on how to resolve the story of the book's most notorious man. Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) looms throughout the story, and the difference between this and other adaptations of A Christmas Carol is that Dickens interacts with these characters, most notably Scrooge. In effect, some of these scenes paint Charles Dickens as an eccentric madman himself, so this film has unexpected charm when presenting Dickens' creative process.

The Man Who Invented Christmas is a film that is what it is, I've basically said everything I could possibly say. The film is silly in terms of teasing the idea that Dickens may not finish the book, as we all know that he would, but perhaps this is an adaptation of the story that is best geared towards children. There are lots of reasons I feel this to be the case. When we see these characters all talking to each other or to Dickens, that's how it feels. There are some major factual inaccuracies with the film making it seem as if Dickens was a public joke, but the story presents ideas that some children need to digest about what Christmas means. Or, I should say, what parents want their kids to think that Christmas means. Taken out of context, many of the scenes here make Dickens seem like a lunatic, but lots of younger people wouldn't have taken them that way. Seeing as this was an independent film I'm not sure many kids saw this to begin with, so it feels like a story that had no real audience.

Overall, I think the film thrives on the strength of the performances given by Stevens and Plummer. Plummer in particular should have been placed in this role for a full feature a very long time ago, if we're going about adapting the same story over and over again. However, when looking at things a different way, I feel like this is a story that has already been told too many times. It's timeless, but lots of things are timeless, and it might be time for society to move on from these old stories. Someone needs to create new stories for new generations, and without that, we're going to have problems with  creativity. We already do, but I think it's becoming more and more of a problem as we continue to indulge movies like this one. I'm not surprised that this failed to make a lot of money and once again I feel it's a sign that filmgoers are beginning to reject this mentality. This was a good telling of the story, but it's still frustrating because we have these sorts of opportunities to tell new stories and nobody wants to tell them.

6/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Dunkirk
2.   Get Out
3.   Logan
4.   Wonder Woman
5.   Logan Lucky
6.   The Beguiled
7.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
8.   The Lost City of Z
9.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
10.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
11.   Okja
12.   Kong: Skull Island
13.   Split
14.   Atomic Blonde
15.   Megan Leavey
16.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
17.   Imperial Dreams
18.   Win It All
19.   Breathe
20.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
21.   Alone in Berlin
22.   Trespass Against Us
23.   War Machine
24.   Justice League
25.   To the Bone
26.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
27.   Sand Castle
28.   Death Note
29.   Fist Fight
30.   Sleepless


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1056 on: December 24, 2018, 02:25:02 PM »


Aquaman (2018), directed by James Wan

I don't know how this is possible, although I guess I do, but Aquaman is the first movie I've ever seen in 3D. There's been other movies out this year that were in 3D, but I think Dolby Cinema is a far superior format to use. Aquaman. however, was not playing in Dolby anywhere near me. I think Aquaman was the perfect kind of film to see in 3D seeing as it has better visual effects than pretty much every other movie that I've ever seen. The effects pop on the screen, the colors underwater are fantastic, and there are some amazing creations by the director and visual effects teams. But, is Aquaman fitting of being an introductory superhero movie for a reimagining of a character who has been considered to be a complete joke? Aquaman isn't a perfect film, and I wouldn't say it's the best superhero film of the year, but it's good. I was interested to see how things would develop beyond the visual effects, knowing that it's quite difficult to craft a story around Aquaman that makes sense. This, as a story, is merely acceptable. One cannot ignore all the visual excess, I think that's the best way to describe it. It's worthy or merit on its own and there were times when I couldn't believe what I was watching. Now it's the job of the second film to break past the story constraints of the first and give viewers something more. What story constraints? Read on.

Beginning Aquaman, we are shown Maine in 1985, where a lighthouse keeper named Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) rescues a woman, Atlanna (Nicole Kidman). Initially unbeknownst to Thomas, Atlanna is the queen of Atlantis, and in the DC Universe there are a lot of people who refuse to believe it really exists. Atlanna had washed up on some rocks during a storm, but that doesn't matter to Thomas, and eventually they both fall in love. Over the course of their romance, Thomas and Atlanna share a lot, and they have a son, Arthur (Jason Momoa). Arthur/Aquaman is half-Atlantean and half-human, and due to the manner in which Atlanna left Atlantis, she is eventually forced to return. She was made to be in an arranged marriage and has no real choice in the matter, as commandos will keep coming and eventually drag her back there anyway. After leaving, Arthur is under the care of his father, with some off and on visits from Vulko (Willem Dafoe), advisor to royalty in the undersea kingdom. Vulko trains Arthur well, but Arthur is considered a half-breed and has been rejected by Atlantis, leading to many of the things we've seen in Justice League and in the rest of Aquaman.

The film is very fortunately set after Justice League, so we don't need to learn how Aquaman became a warrior in the first place. There's very little of that. Here's what we know and I'm going to pack this in as best I can. We know that Aquaman is battling Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), because Black Manta is in the trailers. We then know that Orm (Patrick Wilson) and Mera (Amber Heard) are in the movie. Why? Orm has problems with the way humans have treated the ocean as a dumping ground for our trash, conducted wars in the ocean, and pretty much not cared about any of that stuff. Most of all, Orm is power hungry. He's arranged to be married to Mera, who we already know has awareness of Aquaman's existence, and she's interested in him. Vulko and Mera believe that Aquaman needs to stop Orm's plans to start a war with humans, to stop Orm from gaining more power. Aquaman does not want to do this because he doesn't care about Atlantis, but he knows what Atlantis may do the surface world and can't help himself. In stopping this war, Aquaman must find the Trident of Atlan, held by a king in Atlantis' very distant past. In the process of that, we learn a lot about the history of this fictional world, about what happened to Arthur's mother, and what else lies in the depths of the sea.

I think the reason Aquaman will succeed where Man of Steel, Justice League, and Batman v. Superman failed, is almost entirely due to casting. Instead of utilizing a traditional Aquaman, they decided to go with the Roman Reigns look, and it works. It isn't only his look, but the things he's scripted to say and do make a hell of a lot of sense. It isn't like Ben Affleck as Batman, dragging the film down with him, instead Jason Momoa elevates the character to a level I would not have expected Aquaman to ever be at. It's fair to say that at this point DC should try to have Aquaman and Wonder Woman carry their universe. Talk about a sentence I never thought I'd say. It isn't only Momoa's casting, but that of other actors like Dolph Lundgren (who is in the film a lot), of Amber Heard, and of Willem Dafoe. These things all made too much sense. This is a good film with some flaws, but casting isn't one of them. The visual effects are too good, as already stated. The scenes with Black Manta are incredibly effective, and so are the trench monsters and fish people. I was reminded of Avatar while watching this and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I think 80% or more of the scenes in this film used visual effects. Perhaps even 95%. It has to be good when a filmmaker does something like that, and it's good here.

The story is a bit weak in terms of having Aquaman reclaim his throne, and I'd say that it just manages to get by. I don't want to spoil very much because I really hate when people do that shit. The trailer does very little to let the audience know that's exactly what the story will be. Even with a weak story, there are highlights. One is the way that scenes from the past of Atlantis are presented, in Lord of the Rings fashion the way stories of Sauron were told. Peter Jackson would have been happy with this and so was I. However, there's really no way in which I can properly illustrate how weak I thought the conclusion of the film was, but in introducing a character, this is probably as good as it gets. One would have liked Orm to have said more about why he wanted to invade the surface, perhaps with an announcement to the surface about how global warming was destroying their environment and lifestyle, but that is not here. I think I need to see more from this story and these characters in order to make an informed comment on whether or not this is going to work out well. There's no way to know, but I think the Aquaman collection of stories is in good hands.

What Aquaman is more than anything else, is an attempt to make an announcement that a character and new stories around that character have arrived. Some of the stuff in this movie is beyond ridiculous, but it's a comic movie and sure as hell feels like one. That's in great contrast to many of the other DC films, and the journey around the world, or oceans, is quite a fun one. The outlandishness of this film is something people will either love or hate, there's very little room in between here. Some bad scenes, like a remixed version of a famous song about Africa, don't really land at all. Some of these things go much too far, and the underwater world looks like nothing realistic in any way, but this is a fun film. To analyze it beyond that point would be just as ridiculous as the film itself, I don't want to do that, and I'm done talking about it. Aquaman seems very likely to have a box office haul similar to Wonder Woman, which I'm sure Warner Bros. would be pleased with.

7/10

2018 Films Ranked


[spoiler]
1.   Roma
2.   A Star Is Born
3.   First Reformed
4.   Widows
5.   First Man
6.   BlacKkKlansman
7.   Blindspotting
8.   The Sisters Brothers
9.   A Private War
10.   Green Book
11.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
12.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
13.   On My Skin
14.   Private Life
15.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
16.   Mid90s
17.   Eighth Grade
18.   Sorry to Bother You
19.   The Old Man & the Gun
20.   Suspiria
21.   Vox Lux
22.   Boy Erased
23.   Bad Times at the El Royale
24.   The Other Side of the Wind
25.   Searching
26.   A Simple Favor
27.   The Hate U Give
28.   Mary Poppins Returns
29.   Creed II
30.   Hold the Dark
31.   The Land of Steady Habits
32.   Halloween
33.   Aquaman
34.   Outlaw King
35.   Overlord
36.   Monsters and Men
37.   The Mule
38.   Bohemian Rhapsody
39.   White Boy Rick 
40.   Papillon
41.   Game Night
42.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
43.   Instant Family
44.   Alpha
45.   The Front Runner
46.   The Predator
47.   Apostle
48.   The Angel
49.   The Commuter
50.   Beautiful Boy
51.   The Nun
52.   Operation Finale
53.   The Equalizer 2
54.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
55.   12 Strong
56.   Venom
57.   Skyscraper
58.   The Meg
59.   Assassination Nation
60.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
61.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
62.   22 July
63.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
64.   The Little Stranger
65.   Tomb Raider
66.   Night School
67.   The 15:17 To Paris
68.   Peppermint
69.   Mile 22
70.   The First Purge
71.   Hunter Killer
72.   Kin
73.   Hell Fest
74.   Proud Mary
75.   Robin Hood
76.   The Happytime Murders
77.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1057 on: December 24, 2018, 02:25:43 PM »
By the way, re: Mary Poppins, I have to say I was wrong about one thing.

Two of the songs have stuck in my head the same as the original. Go figure!


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Fan of Sports with Integrity

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1058 on: December 24, 2018, 11:13:51 PM »


will you review this in 2019

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1059 on: December 25, 2018, 05:50:07 PM »


Personal Shopper (2017), directed by Olivier Assayas

I wanted to watch something different on Christmas, but it turned out that I had time constraints and needed to watch Personal Shopper today instead of tomorrow. After getting to a certain point of this film, I realized very quickly why this was given some poor reviews from a few credits. Most of them were postive, and that's my feeling of the film as well, but I definitely see both sides of this. I didn't watch Personal Shopper for reasons of being a pervert, and apparently that's a thing, but I watched it because I thought the concept and mystery in a short description was right up my alley. Personal Shopper is a bold film with some interesting ways of handling its theme and the presentations of characters, even with a few bad cases of CGI mixed in here. Its twist at the end is quite obvious, but the more I think about the film, the more it needed to be so obvious. An unexpected entrant into this very small cast wouldn't have made sense. With all that in mind, I realize after watching Personal Shopper that I would really like to be one. What a sweet job. It's not the most fulfilling work to be certain, but it seems easy. The way it's presented here, maybe that's not the case. If you're not into anything related to a ghost story, I recommend not watching this. Ordinarily I wouldn't spoil something like that, but ordinarily such surprises aren't revealed in the first five minutes of the film.

Maureen (Kristen Stewart) is a personal shopper who lives in Paris, doing such work for Kyra (Nora Waldstatten), a celebrity whose role in that world is not mentioned. I tried to pay attention for any potential character inspirations and couldn't draw a comparison. Maureen goes all over Europe buying stuff for this woman, mostly very expensive stuff. Maureen's brother Lewis had a heart attack and died in France, and over the course of the film we learn that they share a genetic heart problem. They were both interested in the supernatural, a fixation that leads us to the events at the very beginning of the film. Now you know I'm not presenting this in order. Maureen opens our events by staying the night at her brother's house, hoping for a sign from the other side. Unlike Paulie Gualtieri, when Maureen has an encounter with a spirit, she doesn't throw a chair at it and go crazy calling people queers. She would like to know more about this stuff. The house is being sold and we find out that the buyers want Maureen to see if the house is inhabited by an evil spirit, because who wants to buy a haunted house? The director is sure to establish one thing, that in the world of Personal Shopper, ghosts certainly do exist. Some of them are bad.

After Maureen discusses the subject of evil spirits, she decides to look into Europeans who had similar interest in the supernatural. After watching some videos about Hilma af Klint and Victor Hugo, this stuff with the supernatural hits another level. At the same time, Kyra is going to break up with a lover, Ingo (Lars Eldinger). When Maureen's on her way to London for Kyra, she starts receiving a lot of strange text messages. Her grief leads her to believe that these texts are from the afterlife, from her brother Lewis. Are they really? Or are they texts from Ingo because he's trying to get another piece of ass? I should also mention that Lewis and Maureen had a deal, one which is kind of ridiculous, but they both made a pact to attempt to do something from the afterlife in order to contact the other.

The pact between Lewis and Maureen was so goofy to me that I wound up forgetting about it when Maureen was receiving these text messages. I also initially thought that the text messaging gimmick was outright stupid and nearly disengaged from the movie. Kristen Stewart's acting ability kept me holding on, and after a little while I became enthralled with the message concept. I full well know how corny it is and don't care. Part of the reason I became so interested is the experimental factor of it and some of the scenes in the film. At the start of the movie, we see Maureen walking through an empty house entirely devoid of context, yet once we are provided that context, it all makes sense. We have an actress acting opposite her phone for a very long time. There is another sequence with a series of long takes that feel quite surreal, and there are other experimental things that just don't work. Some scenes end too quickly, and as already stated, the initial shock of the text messaging scenes is rough viewing. The movie is also lacking in human contact although the point is to show how someone could feel so along in a gigantic city like Paris.

The ending of Personal Shopper is also quite bizarre in that it doesn't exactly provide resolution, but I thought the false ending fifteen minutes or so before that did provide a nice conclusion to the story. The rest is excessive, but I thought this was a good effort. Some of Stewart's line deliveries portray a perfect feeling of detachment from reality, and I must admit that I did find quite a few of these scenes quite scary. That is, after all, the point of the exercise. One particular moment where Stewart has had her phone turned off, leading to a deluge of text messages that show how bad things may become for her, is quite excellent. Another inside Kyra's house is positively terrifying and presented with aplomb. Nothing in it whatsoever gives away the story to come, but I did wonder throughout the rest of the film if this was going to come back up. One particular scene near the end with a glass is actually quite bad, but overall I think I liked this. Personal Shopper has a high Metascore for a reason, and I won't go quite that high, but this is entirely a one woman show and overall the film comes off well.

7/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show
1.   Dunkirk
2.   Get Out
3.   Logan
4.   Wonder Woman
5.   Logan Lucky
6.   The Beguiled
7.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
8.   The Lost City of Z
9.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
10.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
11.   Okja
12.   Kong: Skull Island
13.   Split
14.   Personal Shopper
15.   Atomic Blonde
16.   Megan Leavey
17.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
18.   Imperial Dreams
19.   Win It All
20.   Breathe
21.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
22.   Alone in Berlin
23.   Trespass Against Us
24.   War Machine
25.   Justice League
26.   To the Bone
27.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
28.   Sand Castle
29.   Death Note
30.   Fist Fight
31.   Sleepless


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1060 on: December 26, 2018, 06:15:33 PM »
I spoiled the movie a lot in the third and fourth paragraphs.



Bird Box (2018), directed by Susanne Bier

I had no intention of immediately watching Bird Box, but it turned out that my brother immediately did so and therefore I had to as well. I am a bit annoyed that he watched this so fast and wanted someone to talk about it with, which is a sign that my review will not be as positive as he would have liked. There are so many reasons why this is, and yet, there are so many reasons I should have enjoyed this more. The overall point I want to make is that Bird Box is fatally flawed, a good concept with great characters, a bad narrative, and horrible moral lessons to be learned from this. It's still a fun ride for a large portion of the film. This is a weird situation for a film to be in and it doesn't come around very often, but in this case, I don't think it's the fault of the filmmaker. The book seems to have set the template for this theme, and with that in mind, I don't think it's realistic to change things. Now, that being said, it damn sure needed changing because this is a film that has very little heart. Fortunately, I found that until the last thirty minutes or so, it didn't need to have any. If that was the case through the entire movie, it would have been one of the worst of the year. As it is, it's a dead average film as the positives and negatives are unable to truly balance each other out.

Perhaps foolishly, Susanne Bier follows the patterns of the novel and tells the story in two concurrent narratives that serve to eliminate much of the drama. Five years in the future, Malorie (Sandra Bullock) is the mother of two children who are called Girl and Boy, and they are headed down a river in a boat. She gives them strict instructions not to open their eyes and tells them they will die if they do. Let's move back five years now. Malorie is visited by her sister Jess (Sarah Paulson), who takes her to the doctor for a pregnancy checkup. There's a news story on television about mass suicides, so you know exactly where this shit is going. The suicides were happening over in Russia, but now they're happening in Sacramento. It is not explained a single time where this shit came from, but anyway, it's time for Jess and Malorie to make a run for it. They bail out to her car as people are killing themselves and going insane all over the place in front of them, and Jess sees something in front of her that triggers her into action. She crashes the car and gets hurt, and while Malorie's sitting right there, walks in front of a truck and kills herself.

Obviously, Malorie is quite shocked, but she has not yet gone insane. She runs through a crowd and continously trips over herself, which leads to a group of strangers noticing her. Lydia (Rebecca Pidgeon) runs out to save Malorie and bring her into a house, but she sees something as well. Subsequently she gets into a burning car and kills herself, which leads to someone else coming along Malorie and bringing her into this house. Inside of the house, owned by Greg (BD Wong), there are survivors who just made it through the crowd. Greg's perfectly cast neighbor Douglas (John Malkovich) finds himself to be a leader and he's a complete dick. Lucy (Rosa Salazar) is a police academy cadet, Cheryl (Jacki Weaver) is the mothering type, Felix (Machine Gun Kelly) is a pill popping drug dealer, Charlie (Lil Rel Howery) worked at a grocery store and ran away, and Tom (Trevante Rhodes) is responsible for getting Malorie into the house. So, there we have it. Talk about a fucked situation, and it turns out that Douglas has a lawsuit going against Greg. Or rather, he had one. They all seem to have figured out very quickly that they can't open their eyes outside, and that's that. Meanwhile, we are shown snippets from Malorie's journey down the river, which spoils what happens in the rest of the movie and is an extremely stupid, tension destroying aspect of the movie.

There's definitely mystery in how Malorie came to be alone, but I think it didn't make any sense for us to know that Malorie came to be alone in the first place. That took a lot of tension out of the proceedings, and once another pregnant woman comes into the picture, it's easy to figure out how Malorie came to have two children. This film is quite cliched in this way, a masterpiece it is not. The time jumping destroys the feel of the film too much and I never doubted for a second how this story would end as a result of it. I think there are ways to tell this story that would feel like I haven't seen this kind of story 20-50 times, but that's not what we got. I did think that the cliched characters were still amusing due to who was playing them, and if you liked Burn After Reading, you'll love John Malkovich here. When you want an actor to portray a character a certain way and that's how it actually turns out, that's quite satisfying. The story, however, is not.

I'm very interested to hear my brother's reaction because I know that he liked this, but I don't really understand why. I guess on a base level I get it, it's a decent monster movie. The time jumping works for some people and not others, but what I can't accept is that the film focuses on Malorie learning to love children after five years when she was protecting them from dying. Like, what? I don't like this kind of story because it doesn't make sense to me, but there are numerous funny scenes and the deaths are properly gruesome. I think The Walking Dead may have destroyed these kinds of films for me, though. Not because it's a good show, but because it was so popular that it set the tone for everything else to ape from it. The Walking Dead is also brutally bad and I don't know how people can still watch it. Unfortunately, I am reminded of this from now on, and with the story here being what it is, it's almost a bad film. Not quite a bad film due to some good performances, particularly those of Bullock, Rhodes, and Malkovich. The visuals are great too, and so is the atmosphere without the monsters being seen. But it's close to a bad film and I think I said about all I can bring myself to say about it. I'm trying to drop a lot of important content in my opening paragraph so that I'm not droning on and on.

5.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Roma
2.   A Star Is Born
3.   First Reformed
4.   Widows
5.   First Man
6.   BlacKkKlansman
7.   Blindspotting
8.   The Sisters Brothers
9.   A Private War
10.   Green Book
11.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
12.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
13.   On My Skin
14.   Private Life
15.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
16.   Mid90s
17.   Eighth Grade
18.   Sorry to Bother You
19.   The Old Man & the Gun
20.   Suspiria
21.   Vox Lux
22.   Boy Erased
23.   Bad Times at the El Royale
24.   The Other Side of the Wind
25.   Searching
26.   A Simple Favor
27.   The Hate U Give
28.   Mary Poppins Returns
29.   Creed II
30.   Hold the Dark
31.   The Land of Steady Habits
32.   Halloween
33.   Aquaman
34.   Outlaw King
35.   Overlord
36.   Monsters and Men
37.   The Mule
38.   Bohemian Rhapsody
39.   White Boy Rick 
40.   Papillon
41.   Game Night
42.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
43.   Instant Family
44.   Alpha
45.   The Front Runner
46.   The Predator
47.   Apostle
48.   The Angel
49.   The Commuter
50.   Beautiful Boy
51.   The Nun
52.   Operation Finale
53.   The Equalizer 2
54.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
55.   Bird Box
56.   12 Strong
57.   Venom
58.   Skyscraper
59.   The Meg
60.   Assassination Nation
61.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
62.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
63.   22 July
64.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
65.   The Little Stranger
66.   Tomb Raider
67.   Night School
68.   The 15:17 To Paris
69.   Peppermint
70.   Mile 22
71.   The First Purge
72.   Hunter Killer
73.   Kin
74.   Hell Fest
75.   Proud Mary
76.   Robin Hood
77.   The Happytime Murders
78.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1061 on: December 26, 2018, 06:15:44 PM »


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1062 on: December 27, 2018, 01:46:21 PM »


Mary Queen of Scots (2018), directed by Josie Rourke

I decided to see Mary Queen of Scots before some other films as its box office was such that I wasn't sure it would remain in theaters for very long. This is a good film with its own fatal flaws, similar to many other movies this year that were fashioned as awards season contenders. This awards release season is actually turning out to be an unexpected huge bust, both in terms of tickets sold and the quality of these films. I am obviously a bit disappointed with Mary Queen of Scots, and this will probably show throughout my review, but in many ways this wasn't too disappointing at all. This has the level of intrigue I would have wanted, and I don't know the history so this was interesting in that way as well. Most of my gripes are with the ending of the film moreso than anything else, but this wasn't at the level of an award winning film. One of the battles in the film is nowhere near as epic as I thought it would be, and that's perhaps a large reason for those feelings as well. What this could best be described as, is a piece of historical quasi-fiction. Some of the stuff in this film is simply not true, but it makes for an interesting narrative and usually that wins out with filmmakers. Is that okay? I don't know, but I think this should have been a miniseries instead of a film. There's too much here to properly digest in two hours, and things that needed to be given coverage were not.

The film begins with a title screen informing us that Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (Saorise Ronan) was widowed at 18 and is returning to Scotland, which opens our film. She brings with her a French retinue of maids and other people who hang around court, one of them being Lord Bothwell (Martin Compston), seemingly her most trusted associate. From the moment the film begins, Mary is under siege with pressure to remarry and remove questions of England's successor. See, Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) never married, nor did she ever have an heir. Her court was displeased with this and wanted to ensure that Mary would not try to invade Scotland or try to take the throne for herself. Each of these queens is fascinated with one another, and they never met in reality, but throughout the film they come close to meeting before doing so in a scene that's been in basically every TV spot. They both seem to fear each other and admire each other at the same time for being the ones who share similar experiences in their respective roles. Mary has some major issues though. John Knox (David Tennant) is a Protestant cleric and Mary is a Catholic, and after some of the things he says, Mary is forced to remove him from court. This will create issues. In addition, her half brother James (James McArdle) has to be removed from quote after defying her. So, things are not great.

Elizabeth has her own problems, showing that such issues are not unique to Mary. Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn) is her lover, but he's not of high enough birth and she cannot marry him. Not that she wants to be married anyway. She thinks that the only reason anyone would want to marry her is for her throne, so she will never have an heir. William Cecil (Guy Pearce) is her trusted advisor and tries to prevail upon Elizabeth to seek marriage, but it isn't going to happen. Knowing that Elizabeth won't have her own heir, she decides that she should meddle in Mary's business in an attempt to have an heir she can control. She has her ambassador Lord Randolph (Adrian Lester) make frequent trips to Holyrood, and her plan is to encourage Mary to marry Robert, someone Elizabeth can control in order to create an heir to England and Scotland that suits her needs. There's a little problem, though. Lord Darnley (Jack Lowden) is also at court in England, and his father has some plans of his own. The thing is, he's obviously a lout, but he has charm and Mary could become enamored with him if he's able to hide himself. That isn't what Elizabeth wants, so what happens after that?

The problems with the film are all things I would have to spoil if you don't already know Mary's story, so if you don't want to know anything, turn around here. I think this was a fine film with lots of good intrigue as it relates to the vast majority of these characters, but there's a horrible creative decision made to not show Mary's imprisonment that took me out of the events. The ending of the film is too flat and disconnected from the previous events as a result of that. I don't know if I was supposed to leave the theater feeling that Mary was too stubborn for her own good, but that's how I felt. Countless times she was forced to do things that nobody should have to do, but countless times she was also presented with ways to make her situation easier and she could not help herself. The difficult road was always the one she took in this film. I can't verify whether or not these events are true, and I'm not going to read a history book in order to do so. I think that the filmmaker does have some responsibility to stay true to the events, but events that are so long ago are not harmed by fudging around with them. What people think of something that long ago is irrelevant and we aren't talking about something pertinent today.

When it comes to a period film like Mary Queen of Scots, my minimum expectation is that is beautifully shot and framed. That was the case here! There are numerous scenes that were worthy of merit in this regard, either for costumes, scenery, contrast of colors, or set design. This was what I was hoping for even though the story just doesn't get to the level I was hoping for it to be. The omission of Mary's imprisonment was just too much for me. There are great performances by Ronan and Robbie, but the performances they gave belonged in a more complete film than this was. I said this should have been a miniseries precisely because the amount of twists and turns are beyond ridiculous in this shorter format. Mary Queen of Scots is at Big Show levels of turning and twisting. There's one real constant though, that Lord Maitland (Ian Hart) will fuck Mary over at every single opportunity, over and over and over again, and there's nothing that she can do about him. The story showing that women are largely powerless in dealing with these kinds of men is quite a good point, particularly at the time period shown in the movie.

Overall, this is a disappointing awards season movie even though it's quite good. That seems to be the trend. From something like this, I hoped that the twists and turns would have more impact, but there are too many of them. I would have hoped for a quality battle scene with bloodshed, but there isn't one. Those things are marks against it. The lack of historical accuracy doesn't automatically bother me because very much of it is accurate, but there's definitely creative license taken here. At least Mary and Elizabeth are given the complexity they deserve, and some of the people they're surrounded by are plenty complex on their own.

7/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Roma
2.   A Star Is Born
3.   First Reformed
4.   Widows
5.   First Man
6.   BlacKkKlansman
7.   Blindspotting
8.   The Sisters Brothers
9.   A Private War
10.   Green Book
11.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
12.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
13.   On My Skin
14.   Private Life
15.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
16.   Mid90s
17.   Eighth Grade
18.   Sorry to Bother You
19.   The Old Man & the Gun
20.   Suspiria
21.   Vox Lux
22.   Boy Erased
23.   Bad Times at the El Royale
24.   The Other Side of the Wind
25.   Searching
26.   A Simple Favor
27.   The Hate U Give
28.   Mary Poppins Returns
29.   Creed II
30.   Hold the Dark
31.   The Land of Steady Habits
32.   Halloween
33.   Mary Queen of Scots
34.   Aquaman
35.   Outlaw King
36.   Overlord
37.   Monsters and Men
38.   The Mule
39.   Bohemian Rhapsody
40.   White Boy Rick 
41.   Papillon
42.   Game Night
43.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
44.   Instant Family
45.   Alpha
46.   The Front Runner
47.   The Predator
48.   Apostle
49.   The Angel
50.   The Commuter
51.   Beautiful Boy
52.   The Nun
53.   Operation Finale
54.   The Equalizer 2
55.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
56.   Bird Box
57.   12 Strong
58.   Venom
59.   Skyscraper
60.   The Meg
61.   Assassination Nation
62.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
63.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
64.   22 July
65.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
66.   The Little Stranger
67.   Tomb Raider
68.   Night School
69.   The 15:17 To Paris
70.   Peppermint
71.   Mile 22
72.   The First Purge
73.   Hunter Killer
74.   Kin
75.   Hell Fest
76.   Proud Mary
77.   Robin Hood
78.   The Happytime Murders
79.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1063 on: December 28, 2018, 05:36:25 PM »


Bumblebee (2018), directed by Travis Knight

Earlier this year, if someone had told me I would like Bumblebee more than Aquaman, The Mule, Bohemian Rhapsody, and White Boy Rick, I would have laughed in their face. Perhaps I should reserve assumption for a later date. It isn't only that Bumblebee is good, it's that it's everything Michael Bay's Transformers films were not. The jokes in these films that were included to make unashamed manchildren happy were entirely removed, replaced with scenes that had genuine heart. The enormous cast of the previous films has been enormously chopped down, and the amount of robots the audience would need to keep track of hacked down to a mere few. This is a balancing act our director was able to pull off. It isn't one of my favorite movies of the year because a CGI fest such as this could never be, but I'm absolutely stunned that I liked this. The positive reviews were one thing, but I never read why people were giving those reviews, so this was more than a bit of a surprised. I was going to initially watch all the Transformers movies prior to seeing this one, but that would have been an enormous mistake. It turns out that as long as people go out to see Bumblebee, the stain of Michael Bay's involvement on this property will be removed. Who would've thought?

This Transformers movie is much unlike the other ones. Please repeat that over and over again. We begin with a battle on Cybertron, with Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) leading the resistance against the Decepticons. The Autobots are going to leave the planet, but they're ambushed and B-127 (who becomes Bumblebee) is sent off the Earth. Meanwhile, Jack Burns (John Cena) is leading a training exercise on our planet, until Bumblebee crash lands in California and hurts some of his men. Burns thinks that Bumblebee is there to invade the planet and attacks him, which leads to a Decepticon joining the name. I know it's Blitzwing, but in the film the robot was not given a name. Anyway, Blitzwing and Bumblebee go at it, and Bumblebee loses his voicebox, explaining his silence in the other films. Also, his memory core is destroyed even though he's able to kill Blitzwing before falling out. On the way out, Bumblebee sees a Volkswagen Beetle, turns into it, and that's it. As far as opening scenes go, this was good. Of course the main hook for the people in the theater was going to be something with the robots.

Fortunately, Bumblebee isn't only about the robots and has a story worth our time unlike the stuff with Shia LaBeouf. Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) is a teenage girl about to turn 18, like in the last film of hers I reviewed. As in that film, her father has also died. She's struggling to move on and it seems that she has problems with her mom Sally (Pamela Adlon) as a result of Sally remarrying Ron (Stephen Schneider). Ron seems to not have a job, so that could play a part too, but the film doesn't quite explore that as much as I thought it would early on. Charlie finds a yellow VW Beetle in a scrapyard, and you can see where this is going, but it runs. I should talk about how Charlie has an annoying brother, Otis (Jason Drucker), this guy who works on a pier with her named Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) has a major crush on her, and popular girls like Tina (Gracie Dzienny) think that Charlie is a loser who needs to start caring about herself instead of being such a loser. Of course, you may expect that the Decepticons are going to come for Bumblebee, and you're right, but Bumblebee has no memory of the events on Cybertron and may not be of any value.

Bumblebee is a film that deliberately tugs at heartstrings, but it's a film that does so very effectively. I do think that part of the praise for the movie is because Michael Bay didn't make it, but at the same time, this is a movie with a coherent story, without racist tropes, and juvenile humor. It's what Transformers should have been all along. John Cena's role in the film is hard not to laugh at, because the filmmakers use him exactly how he should be used. This kind of competency in a Transformers movie is unheard of! I thought it was a neat twist on the story for this to effectively have been turned into a girl and her pet type of story. This only works with a good actress in this role, considering that the actress is effectively only acting with herself. Steinfeld does a great job here and her performance carries the same weight as The Edge of Seventeen. You know how hard that is to do, acting opposite a CGI robot? The film is also amuusing in the right moments, and it's properly balanced between blockbuster action, humor, and scenes that carry emotional weight. I wasn't exactly expecting this from a fucking Transformers movie. It's kind of like E.T, and I'm sorry if that hurts people's feelings, but I WENT THERE. That's a film I need to revisit sometime soon though.

The best thing to do as far as Transformers goes, would be to discard Michael Bay's story and pretend it didn't happen. There's no reasonable way to go about this, so it probably won't go down like that, but it should. This film shows that even a ruined property is not entirely beyond redemption. Most of the reasons it isn't a great film are related to the constraints of the plot, but I can't imagine a movie filled with robots being better than this one. It would be quite difficult. This is an 80s movie to the core, and while there's plenty of nostalgia, Bumblebee doesn't go overboard in delivering it to the viewer. I deliberately avoided spoiling any important plot points that weren't revealed in the opening scene, but the scene in the trailer where Bumblebee sits on the couch and breaks it is far better than that in execution. The director just knows how to treat these scenes differently than Michael Bay, the cinematography in this film lingers throughout instead of chopping the film to shit with editing, and obviously I liked this movie, I really did.

It would have been very easy to make a Transformers 6 type movie in continuing the story from where it was left off, but the decision to make a prequel with an entirely different vision on the franchise was quite intelligent. I don't know why Paramount decided to debut their film the same week as Mary Poppins Returns and Aquaman, but I hope that things work out well. This was better than both those films, I don't give a shit if other people feel differently, I feel how I feel. This was the sixth Transformers movie but it felt completely original, like something unrelated to the others, and I really like that shit. As much as Mary Poppins Returns is deserving of awards nominations in certain fields, it was surprisingly a more flawed film than this one, with a director who seemed to not leave scenes on the cutting room floor that really should have been there. I'm completely willing to stand my ground on this one too.

7.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Roma
2.   A Star Is Born
3.   First Reformed
4.   Widows
5.   First Man
6.   BlacKkKlansman
7.   Blindspotting
8.   The Sisters Brothers
9.   A Private War
10.   Green Book
11.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
12.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
13.   On My Skin
14.   Private Life
15.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
16.   Mid90s
17.   Eighth Grade
18.   Sorry to Bother You
19.   The Old Man & the Gun
20.   Suspiria
21.   Vox Lux
22.   Boy Erased
23.   Bad Times at the El Royale
24.   The Other Side of the Wind
25.   Searching
26.   A Simple Favor
27.   The Hate U Give
28.   Bumblebee
29.   Mary Poppins Returns
30.   Creed II
31.   Hold the Dark
32.   The Land of Steady Habits
33.   Halloween
34.   Mary Queen of Scots
35.   Aquaman
36.   Outlaw King
37.   Overlord
38.   Monsters and Men
39.   The Mule
40.   Bohemian Rhapsody
41.   White Boy Rick 
42.   Papillon
43.   Game Night
44.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
45.   Instant Family
46.   Alpha
47.   The Front Runner
48.   The Predator
49.   Apostle
50.   The Angel
51.   The Commuter
52.   Beautiful Boy
53.   The Nun
54.   Operation Finale
55.   The Equalizer 2
56.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
57.   Bird Box
58.   12 Strong
59.   Venom
60.   Skyscraper
61.   The Meg
62.   Assassination Nation
63.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
64.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
65.   22 July
66.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
67.   The Little Stranger
68.   Tomb Raider
69.   Night School
70.   The 15:17 To Paris
71.   Peppermint
72.   Mile 22
73.   The First Purge
74.   Hunter Killer
75.   Kin
76.   Hell Fest
77.   Proud Mary
78.   Robin Hood
79.   The Happytime Murders
80.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1064 on: December 31, 2018, 05:12:34 AM »
Khmer, subtitles



First They Killed My Father (2017), directed by Angelina Jolie

Based on a non-fiction novel, First They Killed My Father is something that should be considered a unanimous truth, but I immediately looked up the novel and found that some reviewers thought the book was inaccurate due to historical falsehoods. I cannot testify to those falsehoods, but the film seems to have removed some of the critiques. It also seems that some Cambodians are willing to excuse Khmer atrocities similar to how Japanese people do with World War II war crimes. First They Killed My Father was released not too long after Beasts of No Nation, so it would appear that Netflix was going to continue to make films about children who suffer during war times. I don't know if that's going to happen, but I do know that this is the kind of film that would never have been made without their involvement. I am a bit surprised that this was actually filmed in Cambodia as a lot of governments do not endorse films that approach the past so critically. This is an odd film in that the events that take place in it are seen through one's perspective rather than frame things as the performance of actors. It seems like something that would be easy to do, except it isn't. Usually movies that try to do this have major issues with presentation, but First They Killed My Father does not. Instead, its issues lie in the fact that this is a presentation rather than a performance, and as such it is quite difficult to become attached to any one particular character.

First They Killed My Father begins with a history lesson for those who don't know, with Richard Nixon and others having decided to bomb Cambodia during the Vietnam War. After the history lesson, we move forward to the point where the US has pulled out of Cambodia. Ung (Kompheak Phoeung) is the father of a very big family, and he's a high ranking officer in the reigning government's military. Loung (Sreymoch Sareum) is our film's main subject, a seven year old girl with no real concept of the world as it is. Ung is upset that he and others in the government trusted the Americans, and even though his family has a nice life, he knows that's going to come to an end very soon. The Khmer Rouge is coming to Phnom Penh, and once they get there, things play out exactly as happened. They decide to evacuate the capital, telling everyone in it that the Americans are going to send bombs, so people should leave. As we know all these years later, this is complete bullshit. Ung tells his family to do as they're told, so they all leave with some possessions, which are taken from them. The scenes of this death march are odd in that there isn't much of the death shown, and these events are sanitized until a point later in the film. I suppose I understand this narrative decision although I do not agree with it.

After the evacuation, Ung and his wife, referred to as Ma (Socheta Sveng), come across her brother out in the countryside. The family stays with the man for some time, but at the insistence of his wife, they're forced to leave. Nobody would want the Khmer Rouge to show up at their house and find out they have a regime officer staying with them, obviously. After some days, they're rounded up on the road and taken to a labor camp, with their identities still hidden. The labor camp is quite bleak, and the situation is clear. All the refugees are forced to build their own houses, to work in the field in the name of Angkar, to eat barely anything at all. The crops are sent to fighting units, and if anyone takes food from them, they are beaten and threatened with being killed. The camp is like North Korea, with propaganda blaring over the speakers regularly. If you have any foreign item, including medicine, you are sentenced to death. This is no situation for a child to be in, but it's one that millions of children were in. As the film shows, it wasn't just children, but monks, every family, the poor, the rich, everyone. No exceptions.

It's hard to come to terms with the lack of involvement from the United States to end this genocide, but it's the kind of thing that we allowed to happen in Rwanda as well. We'd also done a lot of bad things in Cambodia prior to the genocide, enough that one could argue it was our fault in the first place. We also had no apparent ability to really stop much of anything in Southeast Asia. The focused viewpoint of First They Killed My Father is strange in that it doesn't examine the genocide or conflict from any viewpoint other than one person, and in scenes that could have used greater context, it is lacking. Bearing in mind that this is a Cambodian film, such context was unlikely to be provided, yet there was some at the start of the movie. I thought that the story was also a bit disjointed because the story was from this perspective, and the dream sequences are properly bizarre and feel totally out of place. But, that's the book. Jolie does a good job even despite this and does a great job creating an authentic feeling communist regime of the time. The propaganda being so reminiscent of North Korea is only one piece of the puzzle, and I thought it was smart not to show too much of the pre-Khmer Rouge Cambodia. There was just enough of it for the viewer to understand that people in good situations had their lives destroyed.

First They Killed My Father also has great cinematography, which showcases itself best once the explosion of gruesome violence comes. Jolie seemed to have made a decision to mute the violence in this film until her characters start participating in it themselves, it makes the violence a lot more jarring when it finally comes. There's stuff in those scenes that is incredibly difficult to watch, it was similar to the way Mel Gibson presents violence in his films. To say First They Killed My Father is bleak would be an understatement and people should be aware of that when they turn this on, and I'm not really a huge fan of the film's viewpoint being so limited, but this is a very good film. So many times we are shown the child's face to see their reaction to the events around them, perhaps more than anything else I've watched this year. I also think this is subject matter that has been underexposed to American audiences, who either may not know about this or plain out may not care. This isn't a film that I expect a lot of American audiences will have watched, but it's a strong effort. The only major critique I haven't addressed yet is related to Luong's father. I didn't feel a lot of tension as it relates to whether or not the Khmer Rouge would find out about him because the fact is that he was another side of the same coin. Not in a genocidal sense, but in knowing how those soldiers came into power, it was difficult to be invested in his fate.

7.5/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Dunkirk
2.   Get Out
3.   Logan
4.   Wonder Woman
5.   Logan Lucky
6.   The Beguiled
7.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
8.   The Lost City of Z
9.   First They Killed My Father
10.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
11.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
12.   Okja
13.   Kong: Skull Island
14.   Split
15.   Personal Shopper
16.   Atomic Blonde
17.   Megan Leavey
18.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
19.   Imperial Dreams
20.   Win It All
21.   Breathe
22.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
23.   Alone in Berlin
24.   Trespass Against Us
25.   War Machine
26.   Justice League
27.   To the Bone
28.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
29.   Sand Castle
30.   Death Note
31.   Fist Fight
32.   Sleepless


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1065 on: December 31, 2018, 06:15:41 PM »
Spanish, subtitles



Julieta (2016), directed by Pedro Almodovar

Most people who review films like this one from such a notable foreign director are those who have seen their entire filmography, knowing what kind of themes the director generally includes in their films. I am not one of these people and I may be unqualified to review this as a result of that. Regardless, I will push on because that's the point of my reviews, to explore things I otherwise may not have in past years. I was able to hit well over 300 films ranked and reviewed in 2018, I'm hoping to do the same this year even though it could prove difficult. It also may turn out that these reviews drastically change in size, which would mean I simply post my thoughts without talking about the story at all. For now, it's time for a long review about Julieta. I saw that this was nominated for a BAFTA award for best foreign language film, and it being nominated for a big award means I should give it a look. Julieta was also expiring on Starz. This is a film that was based on a collection of three short stories, and it was decided by the director that he should draw out a full narrative from three of the stories. Julieta is a film that could be described as overly dramatic, with a beginning that I thought was so ridiculous I nearly turned the damn thing off. However, as the film rolls on, the events become genuinely compelling, something which I wouldn't have expected with how things opened up.

The film starts with Julieta (Emma Suarez) about to move from Madrid to Portugal with her boyfriend Lorenzo (Dario Grandinetti), and she seems quite happy with herself. Nearly as soon as the film begins, she runs into Beatriz (Michelle Jenner), the childhood friend of her daughter Antia. We learn that Beatriz has run into Antia recently in Switzerland, and that Antia is completely estranged from Julieta. Antia has three children, and unbeknownst to all of us how all these things happened, Julieta decides that she should stay in Spain and lease an apartment in her former building. After she breaks it off with Lorenzo, she decides to fill a journal about her life, in the hopes that someday Antia will mail a letter to her former building so she can send the journal in reply.

The journal begins with an explanation of how Antia came to be. The much younger Julieta (Adriana Ugarte) is a teacher, one who is on a train. On the train, she encounters an older man who creeps her out so much that she flees to the front cabin, where she meets Xoan (Daniel Grao). Xoan is a fisherman from the northern coast, and Julieta is from Andalusia, which is as far from the north as one can get. Xoan's wife is in a coma and has been for some time, and at some point in the near future she'll probably pass away. The train leaves one of its stops after the conversation between the two and stops abruptly, after which we learn that the creepy older man has taken his life. Julieta feels extreme guilt over this, and Xoan comforts her. Afterwards, she goes back to her job and Xoan to his life. She receives a letter some time later and decides she should visit, and upon arriving, she learns that Xoan's wife has died and he had been sleeping with one of her friends in the meantime, an artist named Ava (Imma Cuesta). Once Julieta arrives, that breaks off, and Julieta begins a romance with Xoan that culminates in the birth of Antia (Priscilla Delgado). That's all I'm going to say about the journal other than that this goes down a road I didn't quite see coming.

Julieta is a good film, but some of the cinematography and early moments feels like a thing that I'd watch on Lifetime. That isn't ringing praise, but the way the story builds into something greater than that was quite nice. I must admit I have never felt a stronger urge to shut something off inside of five minutes, which will be reflected in my overall score. This was a film with good performances, but I think its greatest strength is in the presentation of how Julieta's life was when she was much younger. We're talking 25-30 years younger and I should have clarified that much better. There are additional story points I didn't want to mention, but these make for a strong drama. I do have some other gripes, though. One is that the ending cuts off before the story is entirely resolved, another is that some of the translations of the subtitles are plain out wrong. The lack of clarity on translations can be brutal for those with no concept of what is being said.

Overall, what this is, is a straight dramatic film about someone's grief and how they came to be separated from their daughter. For whatever reason, Julieta does not understand why her life has gone this way, but it is clear to me that she was too needy and pushed her daughter away. With the exception of the beginning, this is a well crafted film. I think there are some minor issues with a lack of focus on the details, and I think this is a film that ends too quickly considering that, but overall, I liked it. The mystery of both Antia and Julieta shines through the material, but this seems like a very restrained film, one that a director so many people seem to enjoy should not be making. I could be wrong, maybe I'm not, but without that kind of back history I don't know if there's a whole lot more I can say about the movie.

7/10


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1066 on: January 01, 2019, 12:15:44 PM »


The Favourite (2018), directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Having not yet seen The Killing of a Sacred Deer, I'm not sure if Yorgos Lanthimos had made any thematic evolution prior to The Favourite. I would rather not assume, but I thought this would be similar to The Lobster and yet it was not. The only similarity is the way the film ends without true resolution, but that's quite alright. This is a historical movie and yet it is not, with much editorializing and speculation as to the events. Truthfully, whether this is true or not is no big deal at all, and I don't really care to find out. This is another devilish attempt from Lanthimos, a film focusing on how power is such a corrupting force. It's also more than that, it's one of the best of the year for a reason, because the filmmaker who made this is so confident in their ability to tell this story that they are completely unrestrained and full of ideas. I hope very much that Lanthimos continues to churn films out at the rate of one every year, because there are few filmmakers who can tell stories on this level. These aren't easy roles to portray, but we have a director who knows how to get performances from their actors and actresses time and time again. I also liked that this was a larger film where Lanthimos was still able to tell his story without compromising his vision, and hopefully he'll be able to have such budgets for his films going forward. He will need a decent sized international box office and/or awards for that to happen.

The Favourite is a film that takes place in the early 1700s, with Britain at war with the French. This will be a catalyst for many of the events to follow. Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) has gout and otherwise bad health, and she's a bit strange. Governing the country is not her favorite thing in the world, and with her mental state being what it is, perhaps that's good. Anne had seventeen children either miscarried, stillborn, or dead in childhood, with none remaining alive. She's quite sad. Her confidant is Sarah (Rachel Weisz), the Duchess of Marlborough and called throughout the film by the name of Lady Marlborough. Lady Marlborough serves as the whisperer to the Queen, speaking to her so much that she's the one who runs the country herself, as the Queen wishes to please Lady Marlborough. The Lady is in a difficult position herself, as she has her own enemies, one being Robert Harley (Nicholas Hoult), a very influential landowner and member of Parliament. The Lady's husband is off at war, so she's quite stranded at court as the Duke (Mark Gatiss) leads the charge off in France. The Prime Minister, Earl Godolphin (James Smith) and the Lady have the Queen's favor, but that may not last forever with such a costly war going on.

At the same time, Sarah has a cousin named Abigail (Emma Stone), whose father had gambled away his fortune and given away his daughter to settle his debts. Abigail's family also lost their positions, so she is now poor and a servant. She arrives at court hoping to find work, and through her cousin, she is able to secure a position doing very, very low menial work. Sarah sleeps on the floor with everyone else, and this is very difficult for her because this wasn't her life. However, Abigail does see an opportunity. As a matter of luck, she is called up to the Queen's chamber one night during a bad gout attack. Abigail takes the initiative to go out in the morning and find some herbs to make a pestle, the pestle doing quite well to solve the Queen's problem. After being saved from being whipped, Abigail has found herself a new post, and she's going to be around the Queen a lot more often. Let's not spoil anything else and go back a bit, to the thing that drives the story forward. One night, after a party, Sarah and the Queen wind up back in the Queen's chamber while Abigail is looking at books when she wasn't supposed to be. Abigail spots them in the midst of a tryst, and upon leaving, she is approached by Harley and threatened with what may happen to her because she wasn't supposed to be there. Does Abigail want to move back up in the world? If she does, she needs to win favor, and Harley wants to know what's going on so that he can do so as well.

The Favourite is a title that accurately describes this film more than any other, because the entire story revolves around who will become the Queen's favorite. The trio of actresses all do an amazing job telling this story, a story which received many more laughs than I thought it would from the other people in the theater. I did not think people were that into dark comedy. The role of Queen Anne, due to her frailties both in mind and body, require lots of different things from Colman. Surprisingly she was the standout among the three, with her role changing from scene to scene and all of those roles being given as authentically as could be expected from an actress. The story is full of twists and turns, full of surprise moments, with lots of backstabbing and wit that was what I was hoping for. There were a few belly laughs, but The Favourite is the kind of film with a lot of moments you don't want to laugh too hard at for fear of looking like an asshole. Of course, if you do laugh at them, so will a lot of other people. One notable example is the scene where Abigail is arriving at court as some guy sitting across from her is pulling his pud. I laughed and then a lot of other people did.

Abigail plotting her rise to the top is where the film really thrives, and knowing the director's material you can see it coming the whole way. The stuff that happens is fantastic, you know for a fact that Abigail is no victim regardless of what happens to her, and that she's a woman with a plan. The thing is, all three of the women in this story are at the least somewhat evil, all clutching onto whatever power they have. This makes for an excellent story, one of the best I've seen this year. All three of them will seemingly do anything in order to make themselves happy. They would play each other against one another in order to do so and not even care at all. This is a unique film in that these scenes are executed near to perfection. My only qualms with it are related to its absolutely ridiculous non-ending, one which seemed to leave me and everyone else rather dumbfounded. I can't think of anything else to compare it to, there are non-endings and then there's that one. I'm mostly referring to the way things fade out with the rabbits, for what it's worth.

This is also a great script and some recognition should be given to Tony McNamara and Deborah Davis for writing it. I'm sure they'll receive some as this was a fantastic concept that the director was able to execute very well. There are other characters I did not mention yet, most of whom either serve the needs of Sarah or Abigail in order to further themselves, all of whom are discarded as needed by our main characters. It is interesting to see a film with this dynamic from a female perspective, usually it's the men discarding women en route to power, but this is not the case. I have read that some of the costumes and set design doesn't fit the time, but I thought it felt like a royal castle should have felt. While this is a Lanthimos film and therefore it isn't accessible to everyone, I think it's a film that very appropriately deals with how horrible humans can be to one another. The jokes in this film are certainly mean-spirited as is the story as a whole, but if you aren't interested in what these characters may get up to, I don't know what your deal is. I haven't seen everything from this year yet, but for now The Favourite lands inside my top five. This will win awards.

9/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show
1.   Roma
2.   A Star Is Born
3.   First Reformed
4.   The Favourite
5.   Widows
6.   First Man
7.   BlacKkKlansman
8.   Blindspotting
9.   The Sisters Brothers
10.   A Private War
11.   Green Book
12.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
13.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
14.   On My Skin
15.   Private Life
16.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
17.   Mid90s
18.   Eighth Grade
19.   Sorry to Bother You
20.   The Old Man & the Gun
21.   Suspiria
22.   Vox Lux
23.   Boy Erased
24.   Bad Times at the El Royale
25.   The Other Side of the Wind
26.   Searching
27.   A Simple Favor
28.   The Hate U Give
29.   Bumblebee
30.   Mary Poppins Returns
31.   Creed II
32.   Hold the Dark
33.   The Land of Steady Habits
34.   Halloween
35.   Mary Queen of Scots
36.   Aquaman
37.   Outlaw King
38.   Overlord
39.   Monsters and Men
40.   The Mule
41.   Bohemian Rhapsody
42.   White Boy Rick 
43.   Papillon
44.   Game Night
45.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
46.   Instant Family
47.   Alpha
48.   The Front Runner
49.   The Predator
50.   Apostle
51.   The Angel
52.   The Commuter
53.   Beautiful Boy
54.   The Nun
55.   Operation Finale
56.   The Equalizer 2
57.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
58.   Bird Box
59.   12 Strong
60.   Venom
61.   Skyscraper
62.   The Meg
63.   Assassination Nation
64.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
65.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
66.   22 July
67.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
68.   The Little Stranger
69.   Tomb Raider
70.   Night School
71.   The 15:17 To Paris
72.   Peppermint
73.   Mile 22
74.   The First Purge
75.   Hunter Killer
76.   Kin
77.   Hell Fest
78.   Proud Mary
79.   Robin Hood
80.   The Happytime Murders
81.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1067 on: January 01, 2019, 05:49:44 PM »


The Bourne Supremacy (2004), directed by Paul Greengrass

I thought that the best way to ring in the new year would be by continuing one of the franchises I picked up on the first page of this topic. The Bourne Supremacy seemed like the easiest way to go about things from there. The Bourne franchise is hardly the only one that I've never finished, there are countless others at this point. I need to get on smashing through these, but I'm desperately trying to catch up on 2016-2018. So, such things are going go to go by the wayside for a few more months. I'm trying my best. In any case, I think I needed to watch a spy movie as there hasn't been any released in theaters lately. I was able to remember the events of The Bourne Identity, which was nice. No needing was required, but I thought The Bourne Supremacy was a worse film than the first one. The inevitability of franchising leads to this happening, but I think there's more to it than that. Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is a character who seems to be better off being chased rather than doing some of the chasing. The end of the film eventually circles back to this, but I thought the events struggled a bit when this wasn't the case. There were some cool car chases and all, but I thought the first film in this franchise had heart. If you haven't seen this, just like me, we both live (lived?) under a rock.

After the events of the first film, we move forward two years, with Jason Bourne and Marie Kreutz (Franka Potente) off living in India, hiding from the CIA or anyone else who may come after them. Bourne still has flashbacks too. Over in Berlin, there's spy shit going on. Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) is a high ranking director in the CIA, she's paying a lot of money to a Russian for some files about a theft that happened many years before that. In the process of her agents procuring those files, they are shot by Kirill (Karl Urban), a man who works for an oligarch in Russia. Kirill sets things up in a way where it could plausibly be perceived to be Jason Bourne who committed these murders, steals the files, and bails the hell on out of Berlin. His next mission is to head to India to kill Jason Bourne. After a car chase, he takes his shot, and accidentally kills Marie instead of Bourne as they'd changed seats in the vehicle. Bourne swims away underwater, and afterwards it's time for him to leave India and head to Europe in search of Marie's killer.

There's much more to the story of course, it is a spy-action film after all. Of course, Landy is going to find Bourne's planted fingerprints, not that she knows they were placed there by someone else. It's then time to revisit some events from the first film, with lots of conversations about the team that Bourne and everyone he wound up killing were all on. Deputy Director Abbott (Brian Cox) was the director of Treadstone, which was made obsolete after Abbott had decided to have Chris Cooper's character killed in The Bourne Identity. Landy makes the mistake of telling Abbott what the files contained, but unbeknownst to her, he already knows. This is a poorly hidden twist considering that we already know Abbott had a CIA agent murdered. Seeing as Landy's operation was in Berlin and it went sour, she and Abbott head there to learn more. Simultaneously, Bourne arrives in Europe and begins to have his visions as in the first movie. Where do they send him? Berlin. Of course they do.

This is a good spy movie, but it's just a spy movie without much beyond the basics. It has only a few weaknesses too and is executed very well. What I can't handle are the rapid camera cuts that remind me of what Kevin Dunn does to Monday Night Raw. There's only so much of this I can take and after a point I felt like moving on from the scenes this was happening in. There's also no intrigue between Bourne and another character as was the case in The Bourne Identity. The human touch feels like it has been removed from the film, largely because...that's what happened when it was decided for Bourne's girlfriend to be killed. The Bourne Supremacy also has problems with how slowly the film begins, it feel like it could have been an issue if seeing this in the theater, which I did not. I also find the casting a bit strange and that it's odd to be seeing Joan Allen in this sort of role. There's really nothing to it performance wise, it simply exists and all lines feel like something read straight off the page. It's difficult for any actor to pull this off, and I don't particularly blame an actor for this. It's just weird.

The film isn't all bad, like I said, it's actually good. The stuff Bourne does in order to stay one step ahead of his adversaries is always interesting, and I got a good laugh out of how he decided to enter Europe in the first place. There's also the awesome car chase in Moscow, which I believe has played host to a few over the years in these kinds of movies. The stunts in this are excellent even though they're poorly filmed in one or two cases, but I am left wishing that they weren't so poorly edited. I would have rated this quite a bit higher otherwise. I also do understand that the story is supposed to be Jason Bourne righting one of the wrongs he made and in the process dealing with something that was done to him, and the film was effective in stating that case without ever going overboard with exposition or explanations from Bourne. Bourne being a man of few words is the way it should be. The massive amount of shaky camera does sink this to some extent, but overall I see why people usually watch this movie when it's on television. My mom and dad have seen it numerous times, but I had not. I do realize I'm giving out way too many 7 ratings recently, so I'm going to shake it up a bit tomorrow. Maybe it's just an issue with the fact that most films should be that good and I'm merely just discovering that now. I don't know.

7/10


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1068 on: January 04, 2019, 02:26:45 PM »


Vice (2018), directed by Adam McKay

i was supposed to watch Vice earlier last week, but some life matters got in the way of that, so I pushed back this oddly critically divisive film back a little bit. I am surprised that it is so divisive, even with flaws that I am well aware of. To some, these flaws clearly matter much more and that's okay, but I'm not in that camp. Of course, what I perceive to be flaws others may think are strengths, this is a film that can best be described as narratively bonkers. It's all over the place, it's skewering, not harsh enough at times, and quirky all at the same time. This is the kind of movie you'll either love or hate. What it also is, I hate to say, is true to the facts as they happened. I hate it because I wish those things wouldn't have happened at all, and I strongly believe that the Bush Administration has set us on our current course, but that's how things are. We have the government we deserve, the one people have chosen. We continue to make these mistakes because we as a society do not learn from them. Where Vice fails is because there's a distinct inability to explain what motivates people such as these, but that's also the nature of the world. Some of these things defy explanation, there is no way to know what makes someone this power hungry and evil, it's something only the subject can explain themselves. I believe Dick Cheney never has and therefore it isn't the fault of the film for not figuring it out, but they tried their best to put the events on the table and let the viewer make their own determinations.

Vice has one of the most strange narrative structures I've seen all year, with narration sometimes being given from Kurt (Jesse Plemons), a fictious soldier who was sent off to Iraq and Afghanistan. We don't know this until much later in the film, so sorry for my spoiling. Things start off with Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) in the White House, responding to 9/11 in a very heavy-handed way, showcasing his authority. After this scene, we are jolted back to the 1960s, with Cheney working on power lines in Wyoming. Cheney was an alcoholic and dropped out of Yale as a result of it, and eventually he gets busted driving drunk. After another incident where he's retrieved from jail by his wife Lynne (Amy Adams), she makes some serious demands of him to change his bum life. The way things are going just will not stand, and she doesn't want to live like her parents did. After this scene, we flash forward a bit, with Dick Cheney finding work as a White House intern. I have never, ever heard any explanation as to how this happened. If someone could explain this, that would be great, but this is a mystery like many of the other things about Cheney's life.

Everyone here knows a lot of shit about Dick Cheney, right? I suppose I should continue to flesh out the cast of characters, which in Vice is enormous. Cheney winds up attached to Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell), who we know as the Secretary of Defense, but when Cheney met him, he was Nixon's economic advisor. In the case of everyone Cheney encountered, it is easy to figure out how they got in these positions, but not Cheney. The film does attempt to explain that Cheney was a dutiful student, and that he did everything that Rumsfeld would have wanted from a lackey. Unfortunately for Dick and fortunately for the country, he was not to be in government for his entire life. We learn some things about his daughters, Mary (Alison Pill) and Liz (Lily Rabe), about what he did once Carter took office, about how he accepted George W. Bush's (Sam Rockwell) vice presidential nomination. We learn about what happened on 9/11, how we went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, about Colin Powell's (Tyler Perry) speech at the UN. Almost everything that you'd want to be covered in Vice is covered in detail, if you wanted to know about how the Bush Administration came to believe their usage of executive power was appropriate, that's here too.

While the movie is highly informative, I should detail the flaws immediately in an attempt to temper expectations. There are some outright bizarre scenes, two of them immediately come to mind. One I thought was funny and the other one was not. There are also montages of real footage throughout Vice, I thought all of them were quite appropriately placed, but some seem to have taken that as obnoxious and pretentious. I don't feel that any of these roles are really played for comedy other than Rumsfeld and Bush, but it's hard to see them as anything else. I see Michael Scott playing Donald Rumsfeld and I can't shake it. I can admit that this is a movie I very much enjoyed because I agree with almost all of it. The bizarre scenes I have referenced were an attempt to make something ambitious more than anything else, and the Shakespearean one is admittedly very, very bad. One of the worst scenes of the year. Vice does make a few inferences that I'm not sure are true as well. I don't know if Lynne Cheney is the reason Dick made something of himself, and I don't know if Cheney was corrupted by the power he received in his first job. He wasn't a good person to begin with so there's no way to know. Other incidents and events also aren't given enough time because it's impossible to make the film long enough.

With what I said about time in mind, this is as comprehensive a feature film about Dick Cheney ever could have been. The film could not be longer, and there are some short scenes I would have removed, but none of them are lengthy enough to properly address Halliburton as much as it deserved, or Cheney's legislative record for that matter. However, this is a movie that makes clear how poorly misguided our invasion of Iraq was, it is also one that shows how easily people were made to go along with it. Vice is also a film that addresses the Bush Administration's disappearance of e-mails, and for that matter exactly how they came to pull it off. I haven't see The Big Short, so I don't know how smug that is or how overrated it is, I just see things here how I see them. I do think there are some expert touches. A scene about Cheney's heart transplant lingers on him for a very long time without any heart in his chest at all. Most would call this quite truthful. Another with his two daughters shows that the only religion the Cheneys believed in was that of having power. There are also good lessons about how not being an ideologue in the first place can lead to someone acquiring power and unleashing their beliefs upon everyone else.

Vice is a film that will have numerous Oscar nominations for acting, all of which are seemingly deserved. There's much more to this film that simply Christian Bale's performance, and arguably his isn't even the best one. Amy Adams makes for a great Lynne Cheney, someone who doesn't play a passive role in the events as much as I thought, she was often willing to take the driver's seat and ensure power was taken. Her scene on the campaign trail in Wyoming was great. Tyler Perry only plays Colin Powell in a few scenes, but he too was excellent. I would like to see him in a serious movie playing a role like this one, he was given nothing resembling a comedic line. Steve Carell, though, I don't know what to say about that. I was seeing Michael Scott the whole time, and I thought the portrayal was truthful to things I've read about Rumsfeld before. He didn't give a shit about anyone other than himself and saw things the same way as his protege, but his protege knew that he needed to serve the needs of others in order to get ahead. That, more than anything else, is the real lesson of Vice. In politics, the winners are often those who don't hold strong positions until they have hard power. Playing the long game and being a good soldier is a necessity. This is a good film, and with one scene removed it would have been a great film. Of course, with this film being what it is, people may have different opinions on what that one scene even is!

7.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Roma
2.   A Star Is Born
3.   First Reformed
4.   The Favourite
5.   Widows
6.   First Man
7.   BlacKkKlansman
8.   Blindspotting
9.   The Sisters Brothers
10.   A Private War
11.   Green Book
12.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
13.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
14.   On My Skin
15.   Private Life
16.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
17.   Mid90s
18.   Eighth Grade
19.   Sorry to Bother You
20.   Vice
21.   The Old Man & the Gun
22.   Suspiria
23.   Vox Lux
24.   Boy Erased
25.   Bad Times at the El Royale
26.   The Other Side of the Wind
27.   Searching
28.   A Simple Favor
29.   The Hate U Give
30.   Bumblebee
31.   Mary Poppins Returns
32.   Creed II
33.   Hold the Dark
34.   The Land of Steady Habits
35.   Halloween
36.   Mary Queen of Scots
37.   Aquaman
38.   Outlaw King
39.   Overlord
40.   Monsters and Men
41.   The Mule
42.   Bohemian Rhapsody
43.   White Boy Rick 
44.   Papillon
45.   Game Night
46.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
47.   Instant Family
48.   Alpha
49.   The Front Runner
50.   The Predator
51.   Apostle
52.   The Angel
53.   The Commuter
54.   Beautiful Boy
55.   The Nun
56.   Operation Finale
57.   The Equalizer 2
58.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
59.   Bird Box
60.   12 Strong
61.   Venom
62.   Skyscraper
63.   The Meg
64.   Assassination Nation
65.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
66.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
67.   22 July
68.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
69.   The Little Stranger
70.   Tomb Raider
71.   Night School
72.   The 15:17 To Paris
73.   Peppermint
74.   Mile 22
75.   The First Purge
76.   Hunter Killer
77.   Kin
78.   Hell Fest
79.   Proud Mary
80.   Robin Hood
81.   The Happytime Murders
82.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Online Former Faithless Fool

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1069 on: January 04, 2019, 03:21:52 PM »
I watched the Cheney Showtime documentary when it came out four or five years ago and even then I found it fascinating how there's parts that seemed skipped over like you mention in this review. From what I can remember he became a white house intern just thru his intense and tenacious nature since there were plenty of more qualified people at the time without any worries they might fall off the wagon and end up driving their vehicle thru someones living room... but those people cared about more normal things like spending a lot of time with their family or living what the politician he interned for considered a "normal life" while Cheney had much greater ambitions even though his academic records and other things didn't measure up in a traditional sense.

Offline Fan of Sports with Integrity

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1070 on: January 04, 2019, 10:33:31 PM »
dick cheney sounds like an inspiration for those of us who took the less travelled path.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1071 on: January 05, 2019, 10:22:03 AM »


The Wall (2017), directed by Doug Liman

I have two of Liman's movies on my list for this month, but the first one to watch is The Wall, which is not about our border with Mexico. I thought this would be a good companion piece for Vice, but it wasn't as these were completely different. There's no grand statement to be made about the Iraq War here, this is a very simple movie with a premise that I will struggle to fill out a whole review for, so I'm just not going to do that. I did see after watching this that it was decided to change the film's ending after test screenings, and without spoiling I think that's for the worse. I am also not surprised that this film didn't make good money, even though I remember it being advertised quite well. This is...well, I don't really know how to address this as literally anything I could say is a spoiler. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE TO THE MOVIE OTHER THAN SPOILERS.

Similar to Phone Booth, but even more so than Phone Booth, The Wall is a movie that takes place in an extremely confined space over the course of a few hours. This is set towards the end of the Iraq War, with some of our boys sent over to investigate a pipeline construction site. Our sniper is Staff Sgt. Shane Matthews (John Cena), and his spotter is Sgt. Allen Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). These guys spend a very long time in overwatch, which isn't just a video game. Overwatch is when units support other units, and in the case of this scenario, there was a distress call put out and everyone at the site is dead. Our two soldiers need to be sure that the site is clear, and they spend 22 hours there before deciding that they need to move on. Matthews decides that he wants to investigate the site while Isaac isn't so sure, and once Matthews walks down there, he's shot by an Iraqi sniper. No surprise there. Isaac follows and tries to rescue his dying body, but he gets shot as well.

Isaac is able to take cover behind a wall, but he has major problems. Matthews got shot in the stomach and is dying, Isaac was shot in the knee and is continuing to bleed out. Isaac's radio was also damaged, and his water bottle is destroyed, so he's without rescue and will be dehydrated. I said that Isaac is hiding behind a wall, but to call this a wall is an overstatement, this is a collection of rocks. The sniper (Laith Nakli) has recovered some equipment it seems, including a radio with which he can communicate with Isaac and Matthews. Matthews says nothing, but Isaac is duped and tells the sniper far more than he should, with the sniper having done a good job of masking his accent and knowing enough lingo to bullshit his way through a conversation. Once Isaac finds out, he knows he's fucked, and it's hot and night is coming. Will he bleed out before it gets dark? Watch the movie if you want to know.

This is an outdoor film, but it's also confined to a very small space, and the camera is focused on Aaron Taylor-Johnson for practically the entire movie. He talks to the sniper for the whole movie, we all know this, and it is what it is. There are no wonders of cinematography or pretty much anything. The film only examines base motivations why Isaac and the sniper are in these positions in the first place, and the director rightfully determines that any interest comes from whether or not the sniper can be found. I don't want to spoil the movie, but this is just an above-average film and I liked it enough. That being said, I didn't realize I would hardly be able to write a single thing about this. Obviously this wasn't filmed in Iraq, but they chose a good location as a stand-in and I thought this did feel authentic. That's all I've got.

6/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Dunkirk
2.   Get Out
3.   Logan
4.   Wonder Woman
5.   Logan Lucky
6.   The Beguiled
7.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
8.   The Lost City of Z
9.   First They Killed My Father
10.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
11.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
12.   Okja
13.   Kong: Skull Island
14.   Split
15.   Personal Shopper
16.   Atomic Blonde
17.   Megan Leavey
18.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
19.   Imperial Dreams
20.   Win It All
21.   The Wall
22.   Breathe
23.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
24.   Alone in Berlin
25.   Trespass Against Us
26.   War Machine
27.   Justice League
28.   To the Bone
29.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
30.   Sand Castle
31.   Death Note
32.   Fist Fight
33.   Sleepless


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Hawk 34

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1072 on: January 05, 2019, 12:48:26 PM »
The ending was the best part, I’m glad it pissed people off.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1073 on: January 06, 2019, 05:18:44 AM »


3:10 to Yuma (2007), directed by James Mangold

I have had 3:10 to Yuma sitting on my shelf for around 10 years now, in such illustrious company as Apocalypse Now, Inglourious Basterds, Jackie Brown, Lincoln, and Full Metal Jacket. I am saying that I own these and haven't watched them yet, that's the truth and it's shameful. These are all films that I will be watching in 2019, and in the case of 3:10 to Yuma, I've now seen it. There are countless franchises I would like to wrap up as well, but I'm not so sure I'll be able to pull that off.3:10 to Yuma is a remake of a film that wasn't mega popular at the time, and we always need more Westerns. This was, of course, before Hollywood decided that they were no longer profitable. 3:10 to Yuma was one of those Westerns that proved Hollywood correct because it was not, it is part of the reason that they're no longer made, but that's crazy. I decided to watch 3:10 to Yuma now because I saw that it was leaving Amazon Prime, so I needed to get on it. I didn't exactly know what to expect because I'm unfamiliar with the story, but I have been playing Red Dead Redemption 2 and was hoping for something with a comparably interesting narrative. This Western certainly provided that, and there are so many more of these that I need to get around to watching. I don't think this is one of the absolute best films in the genre, but it was a really strong effort.

Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is a rancher and Civil War veteran, and things in his life have not gone so well. His youngest son Mark has tuberculosis, and the family is impoverished as a result of this and a host of other reasons. He owes money to a local man, Glen Hollander, and the debt is such that he may lose his property entirely. Hollander has also ensured this will happen by damming up the local stream, preventing water from reaching Dan's land. He wants the land so that he can sell it to the railroad, and in their local town of Bisbee, the rail agent by the name of Butterfield (Dallas Roberts) has a pretty good handle on that stuff. One night, Evans has his barn set on fire by Hollander's men because of how much money he owes, and it's clear the next day that he's probably completely fucked. While Mark and his other son William (Logan Lerman) are out trying to find the herd that got free that night, they come across something bad. Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is a major outlaw in the area, he and his gang have decided to rob yet another stagecoach full of Pinkerton agents. As part of his plan, there's a great stroke of fortune in front of him, it's Dan's herd. He uses the herd to stop the coach, and that, as they say, is that for the stagecoach.

After stopping the coach, it's time to get inside. We learn that Wade has an excellent #2 in his gang, Charlie Prince (Ben Foster). Charlie gets shit done, that's his deal. He's able to blow things up, and in the process of that, Dan comes across the scene. He tries to get his sons to leave quietly, but they're spotted by Wade. Wade doesn't want to hurt them, but he also doesn't want to get caught, so he takes away their three horses and leaves the horses tied up on the road some ways away. After Dan tends to the lone surviving Pinkerton, a nasty sort named Byron (Peter Fonda), they make their way back to Bisbee. It so turns out that Wade has gone there as well, and after some stuff I'm going to cut way the hell off, he's captured. Now we have a situation. Charlie was in the town still and knows what happened, he decides that he's going to follow the situation seeing as he isn't wanted himself. The railroad agent I already mentioned needs some help transporting Wade to Yuma, and he's going to need a posse to go do it. Seeing as Dan is super poor and in debt, don't you think he'll join it? For $200 dollars, he'll leave his loving but wanting wife Alice (Gretchen Mol) behind, and make the journey with Butterfield and three other men to Yuma from his own ranch, where they're storing Wade for the night.

I wouldn't go so far as to call 3:10 to Yuma a triumph of anything, but I do think that this was almost a great film. For the most part, this was driven by Russell Crowe's performance, as lots of Westerns are. Most good Westerns need a great bad guy. There's Gene Hackman in Unforgiven, Josh Brolin in True Grit, and Casey Affleck in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. These kinds of performances are needed, they all differ from one another, but this is the best bad guy performance I've seen in a Western besides Hackman's. I need to watch more of them in general before making more grand statements, so I won't go further. Crowe's role here takes all the attention away from everyone else, not that all of these characters are so great in the first place. Peter Fonda's is another excellent role, but our lead played by Christian Bale is a little bit of a passenger in the film up to a certain point. I also enjoyed the way the action just kept on coming. Unlike other films that play it slow and do it well, it was decided here to keep things coming, and all the action pieces were quite good. The big finale was nicely done, and I also enjoyed the way it was decided not to overly edit things.

This is a very male-centric Western, and I was thinking about how if I didn't force myself to watch movies of all kinds, I would probably wind up being like my forefathers in only viewing Westerns and war movies. This does feel like most of the other Westerns I've watched, but it has a little something more that separates it from films like Open Range and Appaloosa, both of which came out around the same time. This is a film that is nicely cynical, which disposes of characters faster than you'd expect. The ones that stick around for a while, right at the moment you wonder why they're still there, they go out of the film within just a few minutes of that. The way I see 3:10 to Yuma is, is that this is just another film on Mangold's resume that helps bolster the idea he's one of the best big budget filmmakers that Hollywood can use. There's some great violence here, numerous instances where the actors have an opportunity to perform, and it's definitely a crowd pleaser. Not quite as good as a film like The Sisters Brothers, which gave no fucks about pleasing the crowd, but a more pandering effort can have its own good qualities. Most of my negatives are related to how implausible the ending is, but hey. Can't have everything.

8/10


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1074 on: January 07, 2019, 05:22:00 AM »


Thor: Ragnarok (2017), directed by Taika Waititi

With us getting nearer and nearer to a time where Captain Marvel is coming out, I need to pound through the remaining Marvel movies I have. Two a month sounds like it'll work from here on out, and I only have three more left now. Thor: Ragnarok was a movie that almost inspired me to get back to the theater, but I couldn't get over pricing issues. Now that I don't worry about price, I'm not very concerned with that. When it comes to Thor movies, I must admit that I didn't care for the other two. In fact I hated the second one, hated it so much I can't even discuss it without talking about how much I hate it. The acting in it is terrible, the story is fucking boring, and the side characters are annoying. Thor: Ragnarok is a film that removes these problems and replaces them with something so much different than the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to this point. It's different, it's great, and I also thought it was the best film of the bunch until that point. I probably won't ever make a list ranking those movies, because I have to make lists at the time I'm watching things in order to be confident in them. Movies with this many special effects simply shouldn't be so good, but in the case of Thor: Ragnarok, there's a hell of a good reason why it is. They managed to do what the other films could not and made me interested in Thor. Who would've thought?

Everyone knows the story of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), but this is a film that puts its own spin on events. After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor is imprisoned by a fire demon who says that Thor's father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is no longer on Asgard. The demon also states that a prophecy will be fulfilled, it is called Ragnarok. He says that he'll unite his crown with a flame that burns in Odin's vault, but Thor's able to free himself, defeat Surtur, and put the crown in Odin's vault away from that flame. Thor returns to Asgard afterwards and finds that Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is posing as Odin, which I believe is exactly where we left the Thor story off at. Thor forces Loki to find their father, and it turns out that he needs Dr. Strange's help in order to do so. Odin is off in Norway, says he's dying, and reveals that his passing will allow Hela (Cate Blanchett) to escape from prison. Hela is Thor's sister, and she is a bringer of death, who will do all kinds of bad shit. Of course, Odin has not entirely told the truth of her origins.

Once Hela appears, I want to do everything I can to not spoil things, so I won't. Through the events of the film, we are introduced to a giant wolf, and a new planet entirely. Sakaar is a world filled with garbage, and it turns out Loki has found his way there as well. Sakaar has lots of wormholes for some unbeknownst reason, but once Thor winds up there, he is enslaved by Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson), a mysterious individual who decides to sell him to the leader of this world. The ruler here is one of my favorite comic book characters, changed entirely for this film, the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). This version of the Grandmaster is very eccentric, like much of the film, and he also holds a Contest of Champions. This is something I very much was hoping for, comic elements that previously were not thought as something to be adapted into a film. At the Contest of Champions, the last piece of our puzzle is entered, THE HULK (Mark Ruffalo). Will Thor be able to get back to stop Hela? How will he do it?

The most obvious point of praise that comes to mind for Thor: Ragnarok is that the comedy actually lands while it doesn't in so many of these movies. The early parts of the film are full of jokes while in the rest it is nowhere near that extent, which is something I also preferred. Thor has been presented as being a bland character in the vast majority of these movies, but that wasn't the case here. Obviously, the choice of director in the first two movies, as well as in both Avengers movies, plays quite a huge part in that being the case. Another reason this works is because the use of other characters, meaning not Thor, is finally done right and is entertaining without exception. The environment is also changed for once, off our own planet into an entirely made up world the likes of which we haven't seen before. It's very funny. This movie is more of the same in a lot of ways, but not that way. Some of the sets for this planet looked inauthentic, but I thought that was a tradeoff I can accept. The movie is also interesting in the way that it never deals with Goldblum's character. So, he may be able to come back in something else at some point. I hope so.

The vibrant colors of the film are something similar to Guardians of the Galaxy, but this is a film that's much better than that, and when comparing the two it's easy to see that one succeeds much more on every level. The way the villains are used is simply better, the story is much more cohesive because Thor has a distinct set of goals, and there are tons of weird moments in this film. The casting of these characters was also excellent without exception, my favorite being that of Cate Blanchett. I didn't realize she was going to be in this movie looking like this. I'm also glad that after all these movies, and it took a very long time for this to happen, but they finally had a giant character appear and completely destroy the area the film inhabited. WHY THE HELL DID IT TAKE SO LONG? I mean, really, we needed something like this to happen that would actually change the dynamic of these movies, and destroying Asgard actually feels as important as it should.

I'm usually not a fan of these CGI fests, and I do find that I've often overrated Marvel films considering how I feel about them months after watching them, but Thor: Ragnarok is going to be an exception to that. The movie goes as far over the top as these need to go, and this all feels unique even though it certainly is not. This feeling of uniqueness is what makes movies like this feel special, and it's something that not all of these films have been able to pull off. The clash between Hulk and Thor feels like something that should have been in one of these movies far sooner, but it not being there any sooner is what made it feel so special now. It's too bad that there probably won't be another Thor standalone movie, because there were lots of building blocks placed in order to do so. If not, hopefully Waititi is given another Marvel group to put his own spin on. I'm sure he will be, too.

8.5/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Dunkirk
2.   Get Out
3.   Logan
4.   Wonder Woman
5.   Thor: Ragnarok
6.   Logan Lucky
7.   The Beguiled
8.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
9.   The Lost City of Z
10.   First They Killed My Father
11.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
12.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
13.   Okja
14.   Kong: Skull Island
15.   Split
16.   Personal Shopper
17.   Atomic Blonde
18.   Megan Leavey
19.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
20.   Imperial Dreams
21.   Win It All
22.   The Wall
23.   Breathe
24.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
25.   Alone in Berlin
26.   Trespass Against Us
27.   War Machine
28.   Justice League
29.   To the Bone
30.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
31.   Sand Castle
32.   Death Note
33.   Fist Fight
34.   Sleepless


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline cobainwasmurdered

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1075 on: January 07, 2019, 05:27:55 AM »
The use of comedy in this was really perfect. Both in how they got it right and when they used it/and when they didn't. The understanding of the big characters Thor/Hulk/Loki was also dead on, which added a lot to the interactions.

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1076 on: January 07, 2019, 09:13:58 AM »
I was blown away at how much I enjoyed this one. Probably a top 3 Marvel movie for me.

Agreed on Asgard getting destroyed feeling big, and on that note, the other part that I thought was particularly unique here is that Surtur carrying out Ragnarok is how Hela is (apparently) taken out. As enjoyable as the Immigrant song fight sequence at the end is, I'm glad Hela doesn't just fall victim to a by-the-books defeat, even after Thor's power awakens.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1077 on: January 07, 2019, 01:39:07 PM »


If Beale Street Could Talk (2018), directed by Barry Jenkins

Barry Jenkins' follow up to Moonlight was always going to garner a lot of interest, but in the case of If Beale Street Could Talk, surprisingly there is less interest than I expected. Finishing 14th on last weekend's box office chart is a major surprise to me, and there are no easily discernable reasons why this is the case. I simply do not understand. Perhaps the previews are not explanatory enough, but I don't understand. Now, with that in mind, If Beale Street Could Talk is a very serious film, so much so that it can be difficult to watch at times. It is more than a bit upsetting. It is inevitable that one would compare this to Moonlight, and I do think that Moonlight is a better film than If Beale Street Could Talk. However, they do share some similarities in terms of how the movies are filmed, in some of the themes they share, with how little dialogue there is at times, and in the creativity with which these films are brought to you. I understand that If Beale Street Could Talk is a book adaptation, but it's a story I did not know, one that I needed to know, and something very pertinent to this day.

If Beale Street Could Talk is a story told through two narratives, one being the on-running story and the other being told through flashbacks related to what is told in the story. I believe the film is set in the 1960's, although it could just as well be the 70's. The present narrative is only a few months to a year before the flashbacks, and it is about Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James), a young black couple living in New York City. Fonny has been imprisoned, charged with doing something he clearly did not do, and the story is clear in showing that from jump. There are some issues with Fonny's imprisonment beyond the fact that he's imprisoned, and the most obvious one is that Tish is pregnant. That's the kind of hammer blow that let me know I was in for a potentially devastating movie, and if you don't want this spoiled for you, I recommend not reading this. Anything about the movie I could say beyond this point is a major spoiler of some kind. Fonny and Tish want to get married, but it turns out that Fonny was imprisoned because of a false rape accusation made by a Puerto Rican (this part does matter) woman. Now, he's locked up, and the key is basically thrown away. There is the potential of getting out, but he needs a lot of good things to happen for him. One of them is for the woman to recant her accusation, because all indications are that she has no idea who raped her and picked the first black guy she could find.

After Tish tells Fonny that she's pregnant, there's a host of other people who have to be told. She has no idea what anyone will think. There's her mother Sharon (Regina King), father Joseph (Colman Domingo), and sister Ernestine (Teyonah Parris). The one Tish is worried about is obviously her father. Surprisingly to her, Joseph is extremely accepting and wants to call over Fonny's folks. Fonny's folks, on the other hand, it's clear the first moment we see them that they may react in very different ways. Mrs. Hunt (Aunjanue Ellis) is a religious nut, and her daughters Sheila and Adrienne are super uptight. They hardly say anything so I didn't list who played them. Fonny's dad Frank (Michael Beach) is one of Joe's very best friends, and his reaction is assured to be positive. Once they're told, of course Mrs. Hunt goes absolutely insane and says all kinds of bad shit. After she leaves, it's time for us to finally get to some flashbacks, to understand how it is that Tish and Fonny came to love each other. It's also time for us to understand how they've struggled in life, what her family will do in order to get Fonny out of jail, and what may become of their unborn child.

Again, I must repeat that to say anything is a spoiler because of the nature of the film and how the story is told. The ending is the most major spoiler, it is devastating, accurate, and pertinent to our times. The film accurately portrays how the justice system is stacked against the unfairly accused, particularly when they're black. Barry Jenkins does a fantastic job of showing what New York City was really like in the 1970's. We've seen it in some films made recently, like A Most Violent Year, but lots of movies prefer to show us a sanitized version of a very dirty, very raw New York City. This is a film that does not sanitize things at all. The city was a grimy place, full of corruption and lots of strange people. The family interactions, on the other hand, are warm regardless of what surrounds them. These are great without exception, this is a filmmaker who knows what they're doing and how to execute it. It appears that Jenkins may be the kind of filmmaker who is only obstructed by the constraints of the stories he takes on. It seemed like it would be very difficult to adapt this material into a feature film, there are things in If Beale Street Could Talk that feel as if they were padded out in order to fill the film. This was expertly done, of course.

As with Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk is a very vibrant film despite its subject matter, full of great colors and scenery, played out in the way that Jenkins makes his films play. In addition, this seems to carry a similar theme of people needing to find themselves in times that aren't good for them. Personally, I'm a massive fan of Jenkins after seeing these two films. It feels like the lives of his characters are more important than in the majority of projects that get made these days. There's no other way to put it. I thought this was one of the best films of the year, and if more people don't go see this, that would be quite disappointing. Regina King did win a Golden Globe last night, but I didn't think hers was the best performance in the film or the Best Supporting Actress performance I've seen this year. Instead, I thought KiKi Layne carried this and showed vulnerability I haven't often seen on screen. It's her show, she does everything to make this film special.

There are no shortage of great performances and great scenes here, the only complaints I have are with regard to story constraints. I almost never feel that way about a film, and usually there's something, but not here. I thought the film brought humor when it needed an injection of it, and I thought the seriousness of the scenes involved was appropriately done and never overboard. There are a few short appearances from Brian Tyree Henry and Dave Franco that serve to balance the events out, giving the viewer what they need when they need it. Their roles serve to drive the flashbacks forward when otherwise it may not have worked, and the efforts to clear Fonny's name are all such good scenes without exception. I'm so pleased that films like these get made now, that they're put into theaters and that I have the ability to watch them. We are living in an era where new stories are explored, and I was going to say I was down on this year as a whole, but look at the top of my list. It's full of these unique stories, things that haven't been done. While it was lacking in science-fiction and Westerns, and I suppose in good comedy films, there's no shortage of great films. It's just that there weren't a lot of good ones. If Beale Street Could Talk is a great one because it was a film specifically about black love, the kind of film there aren't very many of.

9/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Roma
2.   A Star Is Born
3.   First Reformed
4.   The Favourite
5.   Widows
6.   First Man
7.   BlacKkKlansman
8.   Blindspotting
9.   If Beale Street Could Talk
10.   The Sisters Brothers
11.   A Private War
12.   Green Book
13.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
14.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
15.   On My Skin
16.   Private Life
17.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
18.   Mid90s
19.   Eighth Grade
20.   Sorry to Bother You
21.   Vice
22.   The Old Man & the Gun
23.   Suspiria
24.   Vox Lux
25.   Boy Erased
26.   Bad Times at the El Royale
27.   The Other Side of the Wind
28.   Searching
29.   A Simple Favor
30.   The Hate U Give
31.   Bumblebee
32.   Mary Poppins Returns
33.   Creed II
34.   Hold the Dark
35.   The Land of Steady Habits
36.   Halloween
37.   Mary Queen of Scots
38.   Aquaman
39.   Outlaw King
40.   Overlord
41.   Monsters and Men
42.   The Mule
43.   Bohemian Rhapsody
44.   White Boy Rick 
45.   Papillon
46.   Game Night
47.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
48.   Instant Family
49.   Alpha
50.   The Front Runner
51.   The Predator
52.   Apostle
53.   The Angel
54.   The Commuter
55.   Beautiful Boy
56.   The Nun
57.   Operation Finale
58.   The Equalizer 2
59.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
60.   Bird Box
61.   12 Strong
62.   Venom
63.   Skyscraper
64.   The Meg
65.   Assassination Nation
66.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
67.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
68.   22 July
69.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
70.   The Little Stranger
71.   Tomb Raider
72.   Night School
73.   The 15:17 To Paris
74.   Peppermint
75.   Mile 22
76.   The First Purge
77.   Hunter Killer
78.   Kin
79.   Hell Fest
80.   Proud Mary
81.   Robin Hood
82.   The Happytime Murders
83.   Slender Man



koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1078 on: January 08, 2019, 05:09:56 AM »


The Great Wall (2017), directed by Yimou Zhang

The Great Wall is a film that I knew was going to be stupid when I turned it on, and it definitely did not disappoint. I knew the marketing was dumb when I saw previews last year, with a white guy's face plastered all over Chinese stuff, so it was a given that this film would get some hatred from a lot of people. Sometimes, those kind of movies that receive a bad reaction for reasons such as this are unfairly judged by appearances, but this is a film that has very few merits in the first place. It is an easy target for claims of whitewashing because it definitely features that, but this was an attempt for China and Hollywood to make a fusion movie. I think that was literally the entire point, to whitewash a few of the roles in this movie for a Chinese audience. It seems to not have mattered at all in terms of getting people to go see this to the extent Chinese investors wanted, as while this did make quite a lot of money, it was nowhere enough for the studios to make any profit. Good! The film is steeped in things that should be unique to Chinese people, their culture and their history, but the film is shit even if they had cast a Chinese person in the lead role. That's just how it is.

The Great Wall begins with a chase on horseback through the desert, us not exactly understanding why this is happening. It turns out that these are mercenaries, William (Matt Damon) and Pero (Pedro Pascal). They are traveling around China in search of gunpowder, but it turns out they are not actually near a part of China where they can find it until the first few scenes are over. They're resting in a cave with some other mercenaries and are attacked, but they're able to cut the monster's leg off and bring it with them. After they reach the wall, they are taken prisoner by some Chinese soldiers, whom are led by General Shao (Zhang Hanyu) and Strategist Wang (Andy Lau). It turns out that there are a few different orders of soldiers in this, and I'm going to be completely honest, this was never made clear enough at any point for me to discern them. They had different costumes, but that isn't quite good enough. The two soldiers I mentioned were part of the Nameless Order, which apparently deals with a horde of alien monsters called the Tao Tieh.

The Tao Tieh came from space on a meteor that crashed into a nearby mountain, and they're these green things that attack once every sixty years. The thing is, when William and Pero took the monster's leg, apparently this was a week earlier than the monsters were expected to attack. Here comes a battle, and during the battle, William and Pero are sprung free by Ballard (Willem Dafoe), another mercenary who had once been sent to China in search of gunpowder. He got caught and now teaches the soldiers English, which explains their use of it throughout the film. The three Europeans subsequently decide that they're going to steal gunpowder and finally make their break, with no intention of staying in captivity any longer than they have to. Then we're introduced to another military leader and you know what I'm done explaining this stuff. Let's get to why this sucks.

A movie has to be really boring and bland for me to just give up like that, and that's exactly what I thought of The Great Wall. Boring, bland, nonsensical and lacking the ability to separate characters from one another. I need more than costumes, I need some explanations. I also think that the concept is totally ridiculous, I never explained it during my synopsis because I couldn't bring myself to do it. This is a bad film. Even though it's bad, there are some positives. I thought the set design and monster design was pretty good even though I could never get interested in the monsters themselves. The Great Wall certainly has the look, make no mistake about that. It's too bad that the look was wasted on something so banal and cliched, but even in using a fake Great Wall of China, things seem to work out well. There's another scene near the end of the film that looks nicer than most anything, yet the film still stinks even with that being the case.

I'm shocked that this would even be made considering both the inevitable backlash and the quality of the story itself, which is practically nonexistent. What quality? Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe put in some of their worst performances here. Damon seems to alternate back and forth between having an accent, I don't know what the deal was there. It wasn't a good accent in the first place. The reimagining of the Great Wall of China being used to combat alien invasions is absolutely ridiculous on every level, I don't know what the point of this story was, and I can't really decipher it. I did enjoy Pascal's performance in terms of him bringing something to the film when nobody else tried, but that's about all I can possibly think of to say about this. The film was a bad idea, an attempt to make an epic film that didn't quite work out. I've seen worse recently, but not much worse!

3.5/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Dunkirk
2.   Get Out
3.   Logan
4.   Wonder Woman
5.   Thor: Ragnarok
6.   Logan Lucky
7.   The Beguiled
8.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
9.   The Lost City of Z
10.   First They Killed My Father
11.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
12.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
13.   Okja
14.   Kong: Skull Island
15.   Split
16.   Personal Shopper
17.   Atomic Blonde
18.   Megan Leavey
19.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
20.   Imperial Dreams
21.   Win It All
22.   The Wall
23.   Breathe
24.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
25.   Alone in Berlin
26.   Trespass Against Us
27.   War Machine
28.   Justice League
29.   To the Bone
30.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
31.   Sand Castle
32.   Death Note
33.   The Great Wall
34.   Fist Fight
35.   Sleepless


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1079 on: January 09, 2019, 04:58:39 AM »


Free Fire (2017), directed by Ben Wheatley

I was initially hesitant to watch Free Fire because I know it had some horrendous reviews around the internet, but it was still quite tempting. A movie set in 1970's Boston? Sounds like it could be fun. Something obviously ripping off Quentin Tarrantino? That's usually not fun, but who knows. I thought I'd give this a chance even if it didn't deserve one. The catch as far as this goes is that this is a picture that started filming way back in 2015. The release date was an awfully long time away, almost two years. For a film not requiring a ton of post-production, this seems as if it could be a problem. Usually when a film isn't released for such a large amount of time after the fact, it takes forever for them to find a buyer because either nobody thinks the film is good or it can't be sold. I was hoping this was good enough. This is a film that seems to be made in the sense of a filmmaker not caring what anyone else would think about the dialogue or creative decisions, or for that matter whether or not the film is even considered to be good. This isn't a great film, but it's one that goes counter to expectations and gives the viewer something different. Sometimes that's okay, and sometimes expectations need to be thrown out the window.

Our setting is an arms deal, and the film begins with two guys, Stevo (Sam Riley) and Bernie (Enzo Cilenti) driving to meet two IRA members. On the ride over, Stevo tells Bernie that he got beaten up the night before for doing bad shit. The group, including the IRA members, Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley), all meet in front of a warehouse in Boston. Now we have an intermediary, Justine (Brie Larson), and a representative, Ord (Armie Hammer). Let me be clear that the inclusion of these characters makes no real sense, because there should only be one of them. The group of IRA members (I guess the first four) wants to buy M-16's from an arms dealer, Vernon (Sharlto Copley). Vernon brings a lot of people himself, a big man named Martin (Babou Ceesay) who appears to be muscle, and I believe Harry (Jack Reynor) and Gordon (Noah Taylor) drive the weapons in. The trade is pretty simple, weapons for cash. At least it should be simple.

Now, with all these people in the room, it's never going to be simple. Case in point. There's arguments about the guns themselves, because they aren't M-16's. They're very good assault rifles, but not what the deal was supposed to be for. The money is good, but the IRA members get angry when Vernon decides that he's going to count it. Vernon had also placed ammunition in the back of the truck with the guns, but that wasn't part of the deal and he was going to include it to sweeten the deal, but that wasn't needed. Now, after the business with the guns and money, Chris wants all the boxes of guns opened to make sure that's what's there. As already stated, there's a box of ammunition there and the ammo was not supplied. Eventually, Harry notices that Stevo is the one he beat up the day before. The tensions are attempted to be defused, but Stevo winds up ruining that by bragging about what he did to Harry's cousin. In addition, I should mention that Stevo smoked crack on the way over to the deal, so he's erratic. So erratic in fact that he was swinging around a crowbar. Harry can't take this shit anymore, so he pulls out a gun and shoots Stevo in the shoulder. As you might expect, the groups split off and start shooting each other, and Martin is the first man to go down. Along with Martin, down goes the briefcase with the money in it, and of course Vernon wants the money, so we have an enormous shootout for the better part of an hour.

Is this film good? I don't know. There are many aspects of Free Fire that aren't, particularly the idea that people talk to each other during prolonged shootouts such as these. My conundrum is that I thought the lines in these discussions were sometimes quite amusing. Of course that isn't the case every single time, but sometimes. The entire situation is also implausible in the first place, in the sense that it doesn't take so long for people to die once they get shot. It's totally ridiculous, and I'm not sure I've ever seen a longer shootout in a film or TV show. The film only taking place in one scene does allow for the filmmaker to focus on the actors, but a few of them look and sound a bit too alike. I think Free Fire could have used more time than what it had, particularly as it relates to the conflict between Stevo and Harry. This is something that we should have seen the beginnings of rather than having been told about it, as the viewer would have been anticipating their conflict just a little bit more. It's also hard for a movie to sustain itself around one scene, and I'm surprised anyone would try to do that. The Wall was similar in this regard and I intend to give Free Fire the same rating, a film can only be so good when this is the case.

In terms of ensuring this film actually worked, I thought Sharlto Copley did the best job of keeping things entertaining. His South African accent and the lines he was given went together quite well, I was cracking up throughout. This being more of a comedy than anything else was a nice touch, but it leads Wheatley to keep some of these characters around for too long. I also thought that Wheatley should have done a better job laying out the warehouse prior to the shootout. There are some characters that get introduced as the story goes on, but they were weak bullet fodder, which I think cheapened the story to some extent. Overall, I liked Free Fire, but not too much. The film is overly talky like a Sorkin film, but the copious amount of dialogue works to its benefit. The film likely would have been boring otherwise. I'm not giving a ringing endorsement or anything, but I thought this was a lot funnier than it should have been.

6/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Dunkirk
2.   Get Out
3.   Logan
4.   Wonder Woman
5.   Thor: Ragnarok
6.   Logan Lucky
7.   The Beguiled
8.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
9.   The Lost City of Z
10.   First They Killed My Father
11.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
12.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
13.   Okja
14.   Kong: Skull Island
15.   Split
16.   Personal Shopper
17.   Atomic Blonde
18.   Megan Leavey
19.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
20.   Imperial Dreams
21.   Free Fire
22.   Win It All
23.   The Wall
24.   Breathe
25.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
26.   Alone in Berlin
27.   Trespass Against Us
28.   War Machine
29.   Justice League
30.   To the Bone
31.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
32.   Sand Castle
33.   Death Note
34.   The Great Wall
35.   Fist Fight
36.   Sleepless


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1080 on: January 10, 2019, 04:44:34 AM »


It Follows (2015), directed by David Robert Mitchell

I'm seeing Escape Room tomorrow, but before doing so I thought I needed to see a real horror movie. Enter It Follows, a film I wouldn't quite call a masterpiece, but something with a unique concept. This was awfully damn good. David Robert Mitchell has another movie coming out later this year that has gotten mixed reviews, I believe it's called Under the Silver Lake. If the mixed reviews are simply because he decided to push the envelope a lot more, that would be nice. I do think there's further that a director could go from this point, but I did appreciate that there were seemingly a few unique touches. One is the style of the film, both in terms of the color palette and choice of shots. The movie isn't completely different in this way, but it's different enough. There are also some interesting themes, but the most clear thing to see is that Mitchell's films are going to be a visual feast. It's sticking with me more than anything else, nothing showcases this more than the grand setpiece of the film. It Follows is even more about the director's ability to play around with things in order to create a look and feel. It is of course not solely visual, but that Mitchell fills this with 80's synth music like an admirer of John Carpenter. Is the film on that level?

It Follows begins with a scene featuring a girl running away from some kind of invisible figure. I don't exactly understand why or the reason, at least for about twenty minutes. The girl has obviously just had sex, and she stumbles out of a house near to hers. She runs around in circles for a while, and eventually she goes in her house, gets her shit, and decides to drive very far away. While she drives far, this is apparently not far enough. After stopping at a lake for the night, she falls asleep. We come around to the next morning, and she has been brutally murdered somehow, with a compound fracture of the leg. Big time dead. Afterwards, we switch over to our story. Jay (Maika Monroe) is going to go on a date with Hugh (Jake Weary), seeing a movie. Before doing so, we are introduced to her family, which consists of her sister Kelly (Lili Sepe) and an unseen mother. Her friend Yara (Olivia Luccardi) and another friend Paul (Keir Gilchrist) spend a lot of time at her house. Paul is very much the incel type and has a crush on Jay, it is certainly unrequited. Paul seems to be quite jealous about hearing Jay is going on a date with someone who isn't him.

Now, once Jay and Hugh to to the movies, they're waiting in line and all that stuff. They decide to play a game about switching lives, some bullshit. Don't care. When they get inside the theater it is Hugh's turn to ask Jay about the game. He goes around looking across the theater to see what's up, and he sees a woman in a yellow dress standing by the entrance. Jay can't see her, we don't see her, conceivably there's nothing there. There's something there. Hugh demands to leave the theater and they do, nothing seems to come of this. On their next date, Hugh and Jay go to a beach. Things go well. They drive some distance away to an abandoned auto plant and get down, after which Hugh gets in his trunk. He come back, it turns out he has a rag with chloroform on it, and out Jay goes. When Jay comes to, she's tied up in a wheelchair and Hugh takes it upon himself to give some instructions. Here's how it goes. He says that the curse can only be seen by the person with the curse or by the someone who has had it. The entity can take the form of any person and will consistently walk towards her. If It catches Jay, Jay will die and go after the previous person who has had the curse. Simple way of putting it? Jay needs to go sleep with someone else to get rid of this thing. Sounds like bullshit? It isn't bullshit.

The whole thing has a distinct Lynchian feeling to it, although of course there's never anything that does Lynchian like David Lynch. Some of the appearances of this spiritual entity are insane, I don't want to spoil them, but it's a horror movie and there has to be some expectation of seeing this thing. That's part of why I take a shit on some horror movies that decide not to show the enemy. There are instances when we need to see what people are afraid of, and there are times where we do not. It's largely dependent upon whether or not the filmmaker is skilled enough to make their film interesting in the scenes that don't feature the enemy. In this case, I thought It Follows was plenty interesting and that this wasn't a problem. It Follows is also about as long as it needs to be and doesn't feel like a film that overstays its welcome. I was going to say that as far as the film being Lynchian goes, you'll know if you've seen this. I also thought it was interesting how the film explored the idea of sexual intercourse potentially bringing a curse upon someone. There are so many ways in which this is true, but I'm not entirely interested in symbolism. I look at whether or not a film accomplishes its goals and pleases me. It Follows is the kind of film that is very likely to please me for many different reasons.

I should admit that I wound up pausing It Follows for 15 minutes because some nutjob was being chased by the police. It was insane. When I came back to the film, I didn't feel any letdown as if the events here weren't worth watching after seeing some guy plow into cars and traffic lights. I'm careful not to go overboard in praise, but I thought this was very effective in what it set out to do. It was often surprising to see where the film would be going, and it was odd to see a horror movie where the friends of the lead character actually believe what their friend is telling them. I'm not so used to that, and I thought this film was properly surrealistic. Most other directors are unable to pull that off even with far more money in their pocket, and they aren't able to prevent their films from becoming boring when they do attempt that. Obviously, I liked It Follows a lot, and I didn't mention too many negatives, but I think the film did have some. The attempts to obscure the time period the film was set in did not resonate too well with me, and for that matter I wasn't a big fan of the incel character. Still, this was good.

7.5/10


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1081 on: January 10, 2019, 06:25:58 PM »


The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017), directed by Noah Baumbach

The Meyerowitz Stories is a film that came with no shortage of controversy and problems. The first was at Cannes, when it was a debate whether or not the film should be allowed to compete for awards due to its status as a streaming film. It was allowed to do so, but now Netflix films aren't allowed to be shown in theaters in France, so never again will that happen. The other, obviously, is related to Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman has either been blackballed or decided not to work after allegations were made against him. I had interest in The Meyerowitz Stories and was not going to skip the film because of something he'd done many years in the past. I did believe the allegation, by the way. I believe the second of those controversies led to a lot of people deciding that they were going to swerve this one. They're well within their rights to do so, but I said why I didn't. The film itself is a very strong portrayal of family dysfunction, I thought. There are some issues with this story, and I would have liked to see this more focused on one of the characters a bit more, but I thought this was a very amusing film.

The Meyerowitz Stories is something that sounds like it could be an anthology, but it is merely separated into chapters. Danny Meyerowitz (Adam Sandler, up in here looking like Vlade Divac) has separated from his wife, and his daughter Eliza (Grace Van Patten) came along with him to New York City before heading off to liberal arts school as a film student. The purpose of his visit is to move in with his father Harold (Dustin Hoffman), an art professor and sculptor at the school Eliza is headed off to. Harold has been married numerous times, his current wife Maureen (Emma Thompson) is an alcoholic. For some reason Harold believes she has quit drinking, obviously she has not. Danny has a sister, Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), and she's there at the house as well. They're going to have shark soup and it takes like shit. We cut forward a little while, and I'm going to skip over some stuff, but Danny and Harold are going to be spending some time alone in New York City. When Danny was a child, his father ignored him, so this should be some good time for them to catch up. Jean is in the same boat, but she lives somewhere else and will not be taking part in this father-son time.

As part of Danny and Harold's time together, Harold's friend and peer L.J. (Judd Hirsch) is having a showing at the Museum of Modern Art. It's a retrospective of some kind, and L.J. invited them during a phone call without advance warning. For some reason Danny and Harold show up overdressed, and Danny finds himself in a similar spot to some of the things I've had to do. He's lost with nobody to talk to and wonders around the place, while Harold catches up with L.J. and seems to have problems with it. When Danny finally finds someone to talk to in L.J.'s daughter Loretta (Rebecca Miller), Harold hurriedly rushes up to him and tells him he's leaving. This leaves Danny in a position where he has to chase after Harold, and after this he decides to go stay with Jean up in Rochester. In the meantime, the story continues to jump forward, where we are finally introduced to Harold's third child, Matthew (Ben Stiller). Matthew is a very successful financial advisor, he also seems to be having marital problems, and he seems to be impressing upon his father that he should sell his home in Manhattan and move to Maureen's house out in Western Massachusetts.

Here's what's up. All three of Harold's children have problems with him and believe that he neglected them to various extents, this is what the film is about. I don't want to say what happens because that's really lame and kills the enjoyment of the film, but I wanted to say that Adam Sandler has probably never been better. He can act, but he obviously doesn't want to and I don't understand this. The amount of trash he's been in is incredible, but when he wants to do something serious, he's pretty good at it. Some people were saying he should get Oscar buzz for The Meyerowitz Stories, which would be completely ludicrous, but he was really good. It isn't only that the film is serious but that his comedic instincts are restrained. I never thought I would laugh at a film where Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler trash someone's car. This sounds so ludicrous, so bad. It isn't bad. The sharp cuts are something I also found appropriate, even though it's a little jarring. While our characters are in the midst of meltdowns, perhaps it's better that we don't see the aftermath of their worst moments. These people have daddy issues and they are all explained quite well throughout the story, I thought. When Harold tells his stories twice, the reactions to them remain interesting. You never know exactly what's going to happen here, and that's great.

The film isn't without warts, and I think the most notable case of this is the lack of focus on Jean. She's not in the film enough despite being the second most interesting of Harold's children, and even though Elizabeth Marvel does well with the time she has on screen, it isn't enough. This is a huge flaw, and in my opinion, it's really one of the only ones. The end of the film also comes off as feeling really weird, lacking conclusion, life goes on. I don't know I like this or hate it, I can't decide. Numerous times throughout the film I was thinking of things that I found to be realistic and reflective of my own life experience, but a few of them, like the Meyerowitz clan hunting down a nurse who'd had to go deal with other patients, didn't quite feel right to me. The movie is also ridiculous even though that's quite alright. The way Harold bragged about a five second conversation with Sigourney Weaver, if you could even call it a conversation, was great. I didn't want to hear that two times though.

Ultimately, this is a film that thrives on its performances, but the driving force behind each individual event really works for me. There's also something with Harold that I have completely avoided referencing, but this helps bring the film together and converge all these stories into a cohesive narrative. The Meyerowitz family seemed to be quite a lonely sort, whether they had children or didn't, whether they were married or not, and even Maureen is no exception although she's married to the patriarch. This was the 1000th film I've watched, and I think it was quite the appropriate thing to place in this slot. I was going to watch something completely different, but I decided after seeing Escape Room earlier, I should go in a completely different direction. I should also give some extra credit to the cinematography in this film. This is the second time I've noticed Robbie Ryan's work like this, The Favourite was beautifully shot and this was very much the same. Judging from his filmography it appears this is someone moving up in the world over the last few years. Good for him.

8/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Dunkirk
2.   Get Out
3.   Logan
4.   Wonder Woman
5.   Thor: Ragnarok
6.   Logan Lucky
7.   The Beguiled
8.   The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
9.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
10.   The Lost City of Z
11.   First They Killed My Father
12.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
13.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
14.   Okja
15.   Kong: Skull Island
16.   Split
17.   Personal Shopper
18.   Atomic Blonde
19.   Megan Leavey
20.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
21.   Imperial Dreams
22.   Free Fire
23.   Win It All
24.   The Wall
25.   Breathe
26.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
27.   Alone in Berlin
28.   Trespass Against Us
29.   War Machine
30.   Justice League
31.   To the Bone
32.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
33.   Sand Castle
34.   Death Note
35.   The Great Wall
36.   Fist Fight
37.   Sleepless


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1082 on: January 11, 2019, 01:54:44 PM »


On the Basis of Sex (2018), directed by Mimi Leder

Very rarely have I left a film with such a strong feeling that something not happen. In this case, it was a hope that Ruth Bader Ginsburg not die before 2021. Perhaps a hope isn't the best way to put it. It's a request, I'm begging, can this please not happen? Time will tell on this one, I hope I get my wish, and there are a lot of people depending on it. Our country is nearly entirely dependent upon whether or not she will live. With that in mind, I expected On the Basis of Sex to be a propaganda film of sorts, one that served to bolster the legacy of Ginsburg, ensuring that younger people everywhere are more aware of her. She has become a legend and this is something a lot of people feel, it certainly isn't just me. Considering what I thought the film would be, it certainly lived up to my expectations. I wasn't aware of the cases involved and had no intention of looking them up prior to viewing the movie, nor will I do so now that I've given the film a look. I don't care enough to be bothered by the veracity of this film, and I don't think that was the point of this exercise in the first place. It was so that people could have a look at how Ginsburg was as a younger woman, to see things that helped craft her reputation.

Our film begins in the 1950s, with Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) entering Harvard as a first year law student. Her husband Martin (Armie Hammer) is in his second year, and they have a child at home. While at school, RBG is presented with the usual problems that confronted women in that era, particularly those entering the law prefession. The Dean of Harvard Law, a bristly sort named Erwin (Sam Waterston), gathers everyone for a dinner and decides to ask the prospective female lawyers a question. Why do they deserve to be in Harvard Law instead of a man? The film also chucks in another scene with a professor, Mr. Brown (Stephen Root). He's teaching a class, refuses to call on Ginsburg, and once he does, there are lots of jokes made by everyone involved. Do you see why I said this is a propaganda film? There are lots of instances of this and that's hardly surprising. During her first year, Martin gets testicular cancer, and we are shown how determined Ruth Bader Ginsburg really is, as she attended Martin's classes for him, took notes, and typed out his papers that he would dictate to her. Talk about dedicated. This must be true considering that the film has Ginsburg's endorsement and I can't imagine her lying about something like that.

Two years later, after Martin has graduated and with his cancer in remission against the odds, he is presented with a job offer in New York City. Ruth is not finished at Harvard, but she doesn't want to separate their family. Erwin is a dick, so it turns out that they're going to have to, and she transfers to Columbia University. Once she graduates, she encounters difficulties finding work, and unfortunately her dreams are squashed. After being rejected over and over again by prestigious law firms, with her degree seeming not to matter, she decides that she'll become a professor at Rutgers. Her class centers around sex discrimination, which almost immediately becomes a point or purpose. Rather than beat around the bush, I'll get right to it. Martin is a tax lawyer and comes across a case that seems to be something Ruth can handle a whole lot better than him, it's about a man in Denver, Charles Moritz. Moritz hired a nurse to help him care for his senile mother so he could work, and he tried to claim a deduction on his tax forms. He was an unmarried male, therefore he was not eligible for the deduction. Ruth sees the opportunity to bust through gender discrimination, and nothing's going to stop her. She goes to the ACLU and meets with a man, Mel Wulf (Justin Theroux), he joins her case. Her daughter Jane (Cailee Spaeny) has grown up and is now quite the inspiring figure, she will continue to push on however long this takes.

So, I've said this is a propaganda movie, right? It is, even though it's entirely rooted in fact. There's no other way to put matters, it's a fact that Ginsburg was tasked with running through a cadre of white men in order to make things happen, and some of them had to be left demolished in her wake. This aspect of the film seems to have made a lot of people angry, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg tends to do to some people. The thing is, white people of all stripes seem to have problems with this presentation because of how ridiculous it seems, but when it's true I don't care that much about presentation. The film doesn't delve into critical analysis of Ginsburg, because that isn't the point. Everyone's made mistakes, but this isn't the time for a takedown. I thought the film was effective in presenting its message, and I thought Felicity Jones had a great performance. I only see the slightest of resemblance between her and Ginsburg, but the point of the performance is to play Ginsburg, to be like Ginsburg. I think the filmmaker would want to make sure the audience knows how stubborn Ginsburg is and was, this was accomplished quite well.

Even though Ginsburg is a hero figure to a lot of people including myself, I am capable of being critical of the film. The events seem to play out like a TV movie at times, the musical compositions do not do much to counteract this feeling. I also thought the way the events were presented diminishes how Jewish the Ginsburgs were, there's zero representation of is. Ginsburg does have a cameo at the end that can be interpreted as a tacit endorsement so maybe I should keep my mouth shut on that part, but it's something I noticed. I also found that On the Basis of Sex could have desperately used a bridge scene at Columbia between Ginsburg's time at Harvard and searching for a job. The film is also intensely obsessed with subtly making sure the audience knows exactly how far we've come in these years. That isn't a negative like the other things in this paragraph, but I think it's something viewers should be aware of before turning this on or going to the theater. On the Basis of Sex also presents this as being Ginsburg's first courtroom performance and her first lawsuit, so with that information in mind, you damn well better know what the film brings to the table.

With all that in mind, On the Basis of Sex is certainly a hagiography, but there aren't many more figures worthy of having a hagiography made about their life. So, this is totally a mom movie, even if your mom voted for Trump. Maybe your dumbass Trump voting mom would finally understand some things if they watched this, and perhaps not. I would be lying if I said this didn't feel like a Law and Order episode at times, and the casting is certainly part of that. If you cast Jack McCoy in any legal drama, that's damn well what I'm going to think about. The film is about someone's work in the face of rampant sexism, it removes religious bigotry againts Jews for some reason, but I still liked this film as a whole. Of course a large reason why that's the case is because of the film's subject, so I can overlook some of the flaws. As I believe I've said before, list placement matters more here than the score I give the film. The ending of the film was nicely touching and left me feeling good about the movie.

6.5/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Roma
2.   A Star Is Born
3.   First Reformed
4.   The Favourite
5.   Widows
6.   First Man
7.   BlacKkKlansman
8.   Blindspotting
9.   If Beale Street Could Talk
10.   The Sisters Brothers
11.   A Private War
12.   Green Book
13.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
14.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
15.   On My Skin
16.   Private Life
17.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
18.   Mid90s
19.   Eighth Grade
20.   Sorry to Bother You
21.   Vice
22.   The Old Man & the Gun
23.   Suspiria
24.   Vox Lux
25.   Boy Erased
26.   Bad Times at the El Royale
27.   The Other Side of the Wind
28.   Searching
29.   A Simple Favor
30.   The Hate U Give
31.   Bumblebee
32.   Mary Poppins Returns
33.   Creed II
34.   Hold the Dark
35.   The Land of Steady Habits
36.   Halloween
37.   Mary Queen of Scots
38.   Aquaman
39.   Outlaw King
40.   Overlord
41.   Monsters and Men
42.   The Mule
43.   On the Basis of Sex
44.   Bohemian Rhapsody
45.   White Boy Rick 
46.   Papillon
47.   Game Night
48.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
49.   Instant Family
50.   Alpha
51.   The Front Runner
52.   The Predator
53.   Apostle
54.   The Angel
55.   The Commuter
56.   Beautiful Boy
57.   The Nun
58.   Operation Finale
59.   The Equalizer 2
60.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
61.   Bird Box
62.   12 Strong
63.   Venom
64.   Skyscraper
65.   The Meg
66.   Assassination Nation
67.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
68.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
69.   22 July
70.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
71.   The Little Stranger
72.   Tomb Raider
73.   Night School
74.   The 15:17 To Paris
75.   Peppermint
76.   Mile 22
77.   The First Purge
78.   Hunter Killer
79.   Kin
80.   Hell Fest
81.   Proud Mary
82.   Robin Hood
83.   The Happytime Murders
84.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1083 on: January 11, 2019, 06:28:20 PM »


The Lego Movie (2014), directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

I wasn't sure that I was ever going to watch The Lego Movie, but while seeing another film last month, I saw a trailer for the sequel to this. At that point, I decided that I might as well, so here we have it. I believe this is the first animated movie I've reviewed that wasn't comic related or as a result of losing a bet. I am fine with this, and I'm not going to go nuts on animated movies, but maybe I should watch a few more. Don't inundate me with ideas like a lot of dorks do to people when they say something like that, please. I still have to watch The Lego Batman Movie this month, and I could see these becoming repetitive in a hurry, but I didn't mind this at all. I am shocked that this film was able to be done at a cost of $60,000,000. That's obviously a lot of money, but lots of these animated films cost a ridiculously large amount. I know this was in large part created due to the Lego video games, of which I played just a few, but kids really like those games. Obviously, adults have a soft spot for Lego's and that's why this was so successful. I guess I'll say that at least this wasn't The Emoji Movie. I have no intention of ever watching that, but one of these days...who really knows.

Obviously, The Lego Movie is set in some kind of Lego universe with moving and talking Lego pieces. No shit, right? Our scenario is that there's an evil guy, Lord Business (voiced by Will Ferrell). He finds a super weapon called the Kragle, which we later learn is a tube of Krazy Glue. Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) is some kind of wizard, but Business blinds him with his robots. As Business leaves, Vitruvius has a prophecy, that someone called "The Special" will find a "Piece of Resistance", which is a brick that can stop the Kragle. Some years later, in a Lego city of Bricksburg, we meet an ordinary piece, a construction worker named Emmet (Chris Pratt). Emmet goes to work and does all his stuff like a good Lego should do, he's ordinary and not unique. There are many, many of similar pieces, and they build skyscrapers and things like that at the behest of Lord Business. I had a good laugh at the workers following the instructions, I can't explain why I wasn't expecting that, but I wasn't.

As Emmet's about to leave work, he sees a woman searching for something at his site. He walks over to investigate and falls into a hole, and once reaching the bottom of this seemingly endless hole, winds up next to...the Piece of Resistance. Emmet touches it and passes out, waking up in a police station with Bad Cop and Good Cop (Liam Neeson). All of a sudden, the woman shows up again and introduces herself as Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), and rescues Emmet. She believes he is a special Lego who can do all kinds of cool stuff, and we know that's not true, but she takes him to meet Vitruvius in the Old West. Here's how this thing goes. The group absolutely must find a way to put the Piece of Resistance on the tube of Krazy Glue. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it was the top for the tube. Along the way, we see some funny stuff that comes out of nowhere, and I laughed quite a lot at seeing a few of these pieces and ideas.

This being an animated movie, I will struggle very hard to complete a review. I thought that there were parts of The Lego Movie that were pieces of genius, but the live-action part destroyed my immersion. That's fair, right? I was a Lego player like everyone else as a kid, but I played with the kinds of Lego sets that other people probably didn't. I had the gas station, the space stuff, and a few other things that aren't coming to mind right at this moment. Upstairs right now, there's a bunch of stuff in this house that my brother built and left. He spent loads of money on that stuff while working at the Lego Store. He has the Kwik-E-Mart, countless Batman stuff, the Cinderella castle, Orthanc tower, the Simpsons house, and there has to be other things I can't remember. He is and was a Lego fanatic, but I don't know if he's seen this movie. I did think some of the takes at the end of the film were funny though. They were basically spreading out propaganda in terms of how it's okay to play with Lego toys. I could only laugh at this even though the messaging was sort of destroying how much I liked the film.

Overall, I still liked the film, but I don't think it was the greatest animated film ever or some shit like that. I did enjoy the numerous strange appearances from different characters in different franchises, I thought none of them were disappointing at all. The animation is fantastic on a level that it's incomprehensible how these things are even happening, and the choice of voice cast was excellent. I was sure not to look anything up beforehand, but Liam Neeson as a bad cop was a good laugh. This is the kind of film lots of people would be happy with their kids watching over and over, and the gags with things like Band-Aids were a joy. While I would have liked a complete paucity of live-action scenes, this was still enjoyable enough and the live-action scene wasn't completely horrendous. It was a good twist and something I wasn't expecting, but I must admit that without the scene, I don't see how this film could possibly have ended. I was trying not to spoil this in case anyone was on the fence, but I really didn't need to. I thought Batman's inclusion was the best part.

7.5/10


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1084 on: January 13, 2019, 06:16:20 PM »


American Made (2017), directed by Doug Liman

In American Made, we seem to have a film that claims to be based on a true story while stretching the limits of "true story" as much as humanly possible. I was reticent to watch the film around this time last year, knowing that this would probably be the case, but now it appears my format has changed and I don't have a choice. Besides, I think I was looking forward to it at this point. American Made is a film that deliberately intends to invoke thoughts of Narcos, Blow, Breaking Bad, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Goodfellas all at the same time. I think the quality of the film reflects that. I'm going to take some time to talk about how truthful this story is, but what I found most interesting was how cavalier this story treated the geopolitics of the time. We move through a lot of these things very quickly, and not everything that happened at the time seems to matter. The film also manipulates the plot in order to fit a narrative. I have said before that I'm okay with this, but in this instance I genuinely don't know what to think of it. On the other hand, considering how crazy the story is in the first place, is it really that bad? We're inundated with a lot of information outside of our title character's story and nearly all of it is true. Go figure.

Our story begins in 1978, with Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) flying planes for TWA. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) and a very young child, just trying to provide for his family. The first instance of this we're shown is some video of him smuggling Cuban cigars from Vancouver and Montreal to the States. A CIA case officer called "Schafer" (Domhnall Gleeson) is apparently well aware of these activities, and with Barry bent over a barrel, he'll take advantage of it as these CIA types tend to do. Schafer's plan is for Barry to start a new company, or rather for the CIA to start one for him, and through the company they'll fund his activities. Activities? His new job is going to be to fly a plane over Central America doing reconnaissance with cameras attached to the bottom of the fuselage. Barry attempts to tell Lucy of these changes, but it isn't going to work out. She just won't listen and that means he won't tell her anything unless he has to. Narrator: eventually he has to.

We move forward into the 1980s from there, with the job progressing to a point where Schafter asks Barry to start bringing money to Manuel Noriega in exchange for intelligence. Barry does that, and on one of his missions, he's picked up by the Medellin Cartel. That does not sound good. He's asked to fly cocaine to the United States, exactly as you'd expect them to ask them, and he has no real choice in the matter. Remember that he smuggled cigars in the first place to start this whole thing off? He accepts. This is quite difficult to pull off, and for whatever reason the CIA decides to ignore the drug smuggling. After all, the rest of the operation works for them and it's difficult to replace assets, much less an ace pilot. The DEA, on the other hand, they don't really give a fuck about any of that. While Barry's in Medellin meeting with Jorge Ochoa (Alejandro Edda) and Pablo Escobar (Mauricio Meija), he's captured by Colombian police. The Colombians get out, but Barry does not. Here's what he has to do now. He and Lucy have to leave Louisiana, and it's time for Barry to do something much more for the CIA. Something...Contra related. Right after this point, Tom Cruise tells you that shit gets crazy and it sure does.

This film plays loose with the facts, because it turns out that Barry didn't do anything for the CIA until he'd already encountered the Colombians and other drug smugglers south of our border. We don't see that the reason he left TWA was because he was asked to smuggle explosives to Mexico, was going to go through with it, and was arrested. He also moved to Arkansas himself and wasn't forced there by the CIA. The narrative of the film wouldn't make sense if they showed things like that, though. It's ridiculous and much too hard to believe. The film is flawed because it isn't authentic, and it's also flawed because this doesn't explain the results of Barry's actions. At times, American Made feels like a film where someone's bad decisions are excused because they did them for the CIA, but this didn't happen in reality. These things are hard to reconcile with one another. On the other hand, having been to the area of Arkansas shown in the film, I could definitely see how someone could have gotten away with having an army of planes smuggling cocaine out of there in the 1980s. To call this location a backwater does not do justice to the word. The accuracy of other things, such as Barry and other pilots smuggling drugs for the DEA and CIA, on the other hand, are completely accurate. I do appreciate a film spreading that message even though the story of the messenger is not accurately portrayed.

This is a film that I do think perfectly displays the ills of the Reagan era, but it's almost impossible for a filmmaker to not do that and get their film released. What mattered most then was green. Consequences were not something people considered. The country was prosperous and nobody cared how or why. The film is full of moments that show what someone would do to make that amount of money. The customary montage of what someone did with their money no longer interests me as a viewer, it's how they got it. In spicing that up a bit, I think American Made was a success. The scene with the overloaded plane was really nice, there are others with Barry's plane being chased by government agents, and if you need to see scumbag characters, look no further than JB (Caleb Landry Jones). Nobody plays scum better than Caleb Landry Jones and I don't ever want to see him in another role. I bet there are some and inevitably I'll get around to them, but let me have this. I also thought that Tom Cruise is...the absolute perfect person to play someone like Barry Seal. It's a natural role and he seems to revel in it. Cruise's performance is quite enjoyable. I also thought the intrigue regarding the possibility of Barry getting clipped nearly justifies the changes in the narrative. I mean, what if they changed that too?

Like Caleb Landry Jones, there's another role in this film that may have been chopped a bit, that belonging to Jesse Plemons. Plemons was playing a small town sheriff who didn't want to question the benevolent Barry Seal, but there are so few scenes with him in them and he's such a good actor that they had to have filmed things and cut them. It also seemed that Barry didn't care too much about his kids and wife, with scenes that consistently exhibit this. So, they aren't in the film too much. American Made is a movie that revolves around Tom Cruise a lot, and if you can't handle this, or the changes in Barry Seal's story, or the possibility that this may be glorifying a drug smuggler, I can't really recommend this to anyone. The only thing that I think really stinks and is indefensible is the way in which this story feels glorified. Who wouldn't want to bang their wife at zero gravity, fly planes all over the globe, make tons of money, go to insane parties, and have a whole fleet of people willing to do anything for you? Then you throw in the part of the story detailing that Barry basically got away with everything he did wrong due to what he knew about CIA programs, and yes. This is glorifying wrongdoing. It's also so blatantly far from the true story that the story needs to be judged on its own merits, which is what I'll do. I thought American Made was quite fun and I was looking to watch something like this. Sometimes I don't give a fuck about what someone did wrong, I just want to watch something where someone's doing bad things. I do think this is wrong on my part, but I can't help myself. Most people who can't admit that liking this stuff is wrong, they're the ones with a problem I think.

I've been trying to shorten my reviews as a whole, but this was easy to write and took no time.

6.5/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Dunkirk
2.   Get Out
3.   Logan
4.   Wonder Woman
5.   Thor: Ragnarok
6.   Logan Lucky
7.   The Beguiled
8.   The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
9.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
10.   The Lost City of Z
11.   First They Killed My Father
12.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
13.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
14.   Okja
15.   Kong: Skull Island
16.   Split
17.   Personal Shopper
18.   Atomic Blonde
19.   Megan Leavey
20.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
21.   American Made
22.   Imperial Dreams
23.   Free Fire
24.   Win It All
25.   The Wall
26.   Breathe
27.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
28.   Alone in Berlin
29.   Trespass Against Us
30.   War Machine
31.   Justice League
32.   To the Bone
33.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
34.   Sand Castle
35.   Death Note
36.   The Great Wall
37.   Fist Fight
38.   Sleepless


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1085 on: January 16, 2019, 01:55:47 PM »


Ben Is Back (2018), directed by Peter Hedges

I didn't realize until I walked in the door and looked at this just now, but Ben Is Back is a project where Peter Hedges directed his son. How strange is that? I know this has happened countless times, but I cannot immediately think of an example, nor do I find it very important to have an example. What I was thinking while watching Ben Is Back was that this was a very similar film to Beautiful Boy, told from the perspective of a caring mother. There are reasons why this story works better, I will have to explain them as I go, but functionally the film should be the same thing. Both films have older lead actors, here we have Julia Roberts and in Beautiful Boy we had Steve Carell. We have Lucas Hedges here and Timothee Chalamet there. We have observing spouses played by Courtney B. Vance and Maura Tierney. Kids are affected by the problems of their brother too. These movies are...basically the same goddamn thing. Then, at the same time, they aren't. I think one's enjoyment of the two films could be entirely tied to who plays the drug addicts in these respective movies. In addition to that, there seems to be some actual intrigue in Ben Is Back that is not at all present in Beautiful Boy. Let me explain.

Ben Is Back begins with Holly Burns (Julia Roberts) driving her kids home from church on Christmas Eve, it appears that they are going to have a recital. Ivy (Kathryn Newton) is the oldest, Ben's sister. Liam and Lacey are Ben and Ivy's half-siblings, which is only pertinent in the sense of explaining how similar this is to other films. While Holly's at the recital, Ben is trying to get inside their house for some reason. He cannot. Instead, Ben (Lucas Hedges) is standing in the driveway, and Holly is quite pleased to see him. Ivy, on the other hand, immediately decides to get on her phone for some reason. Obviously we will see why. After some time where Holly goes around hiding all the valuables and pills in her house, along comes Neal (Courtney B. Vance), Holly's husband and Ben's stepfather. Neal is alarmed that Ben is there as he's supposed to be in sober living, because some event happened that was pretty bad. We find out exactly what happened later on, but Ben claims that his sponsor said a trip home would be good for him. Holly and Neal subsequently come to the conclusion that Ben will be allowed to stay for one night as long as Holly's watching him, which is going to prove quite difficult.

As the day goes on, Ben decides to look for Christmas ornaments in the attic, do activities with the rest of his family, and so on and so forth. While Ben and Ivy are going to wrap Christmas presents, Ben comes to the conclusion that he should buy some presents from him to give to other people. Holly agrees, so they go out for the day and Ben has things to do. After shopping for a while, Ben encounters someone who triggers bad memories, and Holly has some bad memories of her own after meeting someone else, which leads to Ben going to a meeting. Now, after Ben tells his story at the meeting, none of this done during flashbacks, he is approached by a young girl (Alexandra Park). The girl tells him that he was her drug dealer, which he didn't remember, and she wants to get high with him as her last time before going to rehab. Now, how should I leave this paragraph off? With Ben's mom finding the drugs the girl gave to Ben and Ben claiming that she handed them to him so that she didn't take them? Or should I close it with a mention that Holly's house gets robbed after the children's recital? I decided to mention both of them because I didn't know what to do.

I should immediately address why Ben Is Back is a better film than Beautiful Boy even though there are so many similarities. First, there are no flashbacks in Ben Is Back, which serves to keep the story on the right track. There is no muddled narrative here, no grief porn like when Steve Carell is desperately trying to find his son from miles and miles away. None of that at all. The narrative is much more constrained in Ben Is Back. When Ben departs from Holly, we know why, and there's some intrigue and genuine mystery to it. Such is the benefit of this film not being a true story, but more than that, it seems as if the focus is appropriately weighted upon both lead characters in Ben Is Back. I also liked that Ben had done some truly scummy shit in order for his friends and family members to feel this way about him, it isn't only the drugs that were a problem here. Of course, the story is still very similar despite these things to a point where it cannot be ignored. I did think that Julia Roberts performed her role better than Steve Carell as well, which is odd coming from me because I like Steve a lot. I didn't think I cared much for Julia Roberts, but maybe I'm getting older. People change, after all.

Ben Is Back also does a good job in creating backstories for their characters without doing so in flashbacks, which allows us to understand the meanings of these events without having to spend endless time watching them play out. The older I get, I also wind up appreciating scenes such as these. This is simply a better script and a better story, but it also isn't entirely original and that presents some problems. I liked Hedges performance, and some inauthenticity was required of his role in order to carry it out, but it's quite difficult to believe at times. Of course, a mother loves her son and all that, but this is almost too inauthentic at times. There's also the simple matter that the police should have been called, and the fact that they weren't is simply too illogical for my tastes. This also feels like an anti-drug PSA at times, which I suppose is unavoidable in the end. Still, there are other good characters I did not mention, and this is quite a good film. I don't think it's a classic of the drug addiction-drama subgenre, but it works and carries some decent emotional weight.

7/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Roma
2.   A Star Is Born
3.   First Reformed
4.   The Favourite
5.   Widows
6.   First Man
7.   BlacKkKlansman
8.   Blindspotting
9.   If Beale Street Could Talk
10.   The Sisters Brothers
11.   A Private War
12.   Green Book
13.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
14.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
15.   On My Skin
16.   Private Life
17.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
18.   Mid90s
19.   Eighth Grade
20.   Sorry to Bother You
21.   Vice
22.   The Old Man & the Gun
23.   Suspiria
24.   Vox Lux
25.   Boy Erased
26.   Bad Times at the El Royale
27.   The Other Side of the Wind
28.   Searching
29.   A Simple Favor
30.   The Hate U Give
31.   Bumblebee
32.   Mary Poppins Returns
33.   Creed II
34.   Hold the Dark
35.   The Land of Steady Habits
36.   Halloween
37.   Mary Queen of Scots
38.   Aquaman
39.   Outlaw King
40.   Overlord
41.   Ben Is Back
42.   Monsters and Men
43.   The Mule
44.   On the Basis of Sex
45.   Bohemian Rhapsody
46.   White Boy Rick 
47.   Papillon
48.   Game Night
49.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
50.   Instant Family
51.   Alpha
52.   The Front Runner
53.   The Predator
54.   Apostle
55.   The Angel
56.   The Commuter
57.   Beautiful Boy
58.   The Nun
59.   Operation Finale
60.   The Equalizer 2
61.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
62.   Bird Box
63.   12 Strong
64.   Venom
65.   Skyscraper
66.   The Meg
67.   Assassination Nation
68.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
69.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
70.   22 July
71.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
72.   The Little Stranger
73.   Tomb Raider
74.   Night School
75.   The 15:17 To Paris
76.   Peppermint
77.   Mile 22
78.   The First Purge
79.   Hunter Killer
80.   Kin
81.   Hell Fest
82.   Proud Mary
83.   Robin Hood
84.   The Happytime Murders
85.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1086 on: January 16, 2019, 06:14:21 PM »


Rogue One (2016), directed by Gareth Edwards

Ah, Star Wars. The ever frustrating, for some never satisfying, hardly ever great, yet beloved franchise that releases films that polarize fans like none other. I still haven't seen Solo and it bombed extremely hard, but I'll eventually get around to it. First, I had to watch Rogue One. This was a film that nearly got me out to the theater back in 2016, but as was customary for me at the time, I decided that I didn't really want to go. Times have changed, and while this is a film that I may have waited years to watch at some other time, that isn't the case anymore. Rogue One is a film with an inevitable result, that's something which impacts how good it can truly be. I find that this is an adage which was once again proven true, that the only way to move the Star Wars franchise forward is to create new characters or continue new stories. The Mandalorian is a case of something set in the past that has lots of creative freedom to be interesting, but a film is not likely to bring that to the table if set in the past of this universe. What I found was that Rogue One is the kind of film that brings so many things to the table that the viewer must decide what they like more. Do you like seeing your favorite actors in a Star Wars film or do you like character development? If none of these are amongst your favorite actors, then you very well may feel differently than I do. I thought Rogue One gave me what I wanted.

Rogue One begins with the creation of a new hero, as these films tend to do from time to time. Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is a weapons researcher, hiding on a planet with his wife and child. All of a sudden, Imperial weapons developer Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) shows up with a proposition. He wants Galen to complete the Death Star, and everyone knows what the Death Star is. It needs to be done, he argues, and the Empire will bring Galen's family with him to complete the job. Galen does not accept this as he no longer wants to develop weapons, but he has no choice in the matter. Once his wife comes out of hiding with a blaster and shoots Krennic, she's shot and killed as well, and Galen is effectively taken prisoner. His daughter, on the other hand, she's able to escape. She runs and hides, and eventually is rescued by a rebel extremist, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). This is one of his best roles, I think.

Of course, we move well on from there. Fifteen years later, a pilot has deflected from the Empire. Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) has a transmission taken from Galen, he brings it to Gerrera himself on a desert moon. This place is quite interesting. Jedha is used for the Empire to remove kyber crystals, these allow them to power the Death Star. A rebel agent, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), discovers information about the Death Star and it is decided that something needs to happen. He encounters Galen's daughter, now a woman, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). After Cassian breaks Jyn free, he brings her to the rebels. The new mission is for Jyn to find a way to rescue Galen from the Empire so that the rebels can learn more about the Death Star. For Cassian, his mission is a little different. Once Galen is found, Cassian is to execute him as he's too dangerous to leave alive or something like that. Once they get to Jedha, we encounter the rest of our group. Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) is a blind warrior who believes in the Force, and his friend Baze (Jiang Wen) carries a very big gun. K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) is Cassian's droid, a necessary component of any good team. Then, as you may suspect, Bodhi is being held by Saw Gerrera, who is still on Jedha. The Death Star is also looming. What could come of all this?

As far as what I hoped for, the story has its limitations, yet it seemed to meet all of my expectations. A singular Star Wars film leaves little room to develop characters, considering that everyone has expectations of Star Wars. You need a big battle, this is set prior to the destruction of the Death Star, and that means there has to be some scenes with Darth Vader. I liked that the film also had real consequences, although of course this is something forced upon it by the nature of the story. I don't think this is a fantastic film, but it's suitable. The film has tons of action scenes in order to ensure that fans aren't bothered by new characters, and it's no surprise that Disney would create a prequel show so that people who wanted character development could get that from the story. I thought the droid was the best character in the film, for that matter. Even though many of the other characters are played by people I like a lot, the droid is different and quite morbid. We need more of this kind of thing. I'm sure that'll be a priority in the prequel series, there's no doubt about it. This strikes me as a character who will become a major fan favorite over time.

The story is one where a daughter knows her father has been forced to do something wrong, gathers a posse and goes to find her father, but surprisingly this film decides to take things in a different direction halfway through. Rogue One is somewhat disjointed as a result of that, but I think this decision is redeemed by having all these characters die. There is no illogical conclusion for these individuals, it is appreciated. I'm going to cut myself off before droning on, but I think Rogue One really lacks an impactful scene stealer. There isn't a great leading presence in the film, and the final scene was beyond long. Something I found interesting was the use of CGI to place Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing back in the series. I don't have the same reaction as most people, I guess. Neither moment took me out of the film, and I thought that the likeness of Cushing to...himself (?) was insane. I'm not a big fan of using CGI to bring actors back from the dead, but if it fits any series, using it here or inStar Trek is completely justifiable.

There were a few things I wanted to mention before I go, and the first was that I thought it was nice for the producers or whomever to decide to use some real, vibrant feeling locations in their film. The Death Star explosions are also excellent in this way, as it feels like these locations are folding over on top of themselves. It is a visual I never knew I needed this badly. I also wanted to mention the score, as I thought it was noticeable that John Williams didn't do the music for this film. While different, I found the score to be pretty damn good. I usually don't comment on music because it isn't that important to me, but in a film like this one, you notice it much more so than in others. Personally, I would have liked more character development myself, but we didn't get that and I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way. The film was plenty long enough and nearly too long without character development, so it wasn't possible to do anything else with the film's story.

7.5/10


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Online Spaceman Spiff 🚀

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1087 on: January 17, 2019, 12:23:15 AM »
Huge, huge fan of the space battle scenes during the climactic over Scarif.  The blackness of space really lets the greens & blues of the planet below pop.  Just some absolutely gorgeous shots with the camera set high looking down on the planet as the ships criss-cross the field of view and dive for the opening in the planetary shield before it closes.

Offline AA484

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1088 on: January 17, 2019, 01:41:25 AM »
This was my favorite out of all the post-Disney Star Wars films.  I saw it in iMax and the CGI still didn't look out of place, at least to me.  I thought it was extremely well done.

I may even like this better than ROTJ, although it's still far behind the other two in the original trilogy.

Offline Kahran Ramsus

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1089 on: January 17, 2019, 12:00:30 PM »
I thought Rogue One was far and away the best Star Wars film since the original trilogy.  It is a throwback to films like The Dirty Dozen, Where Eagles Dare, The Guns of Navarone, etc.  Except in space.

Offline cobainwasmurdered

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1090 on: January 17, 2019, 12:39:10 PM »
yeah i thought Rogue One was probably the best and i see the Guns of Navarone comparison especially.

Offline Kahran Ramsus

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1091 on: January 17, 2019, 12:57:13 PM »
Regarding Peter Cushing, I know lots of people that aren't familiar with who Cushing was that thought Tarkin was the real thing until I told them.  You might complain about the ethics of it (although I personally don't have a problem with it, provided they get approval from the family/estate), but I thought the actual effects work was remarkable.

*In Fisher's case, they generally thought it was a younger lookalike.

Offline cobainwasmurdered

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1092 on: January 17, 2019, 12:58:52 PM »
Yeah I didn't mind the cushing thing tbh. It looked great and it fit into the movie pretty well and I didn't think it felt exploitative. I don't want to see it done much more but if it's kept to something like that where it makes sense and is small I don't have a big issue with it.

Offline Kahran Ramsus

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1093 on: January 17, 2019, 01:10:02 PM »
Yeah I didn't mind the cushing thing tbh. It looked great and it fit into the movie pretty well and I didn't think it felt exploitative. I don't want to see it done much more but if it's kept to something like that where it makes sense and is small I don't have a big issue with it.

I wouldn't want it for a major character or one in an ongoing series.  No CGI Hugh Jackmans when Marvel gets around to rebooting Wolverine.  But for a handful of scenes in a one-off film based on a famous film like this one, I think it worked.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1094 on: January 17, 2019, 06:28:38 PM »


The Mountain Between Us (2017), directed by Hany Abu-Assad

The Mountain Between Us is something I literally only watched because the Lakers win over the Thunder ran a bit longer than I'd expected, but in the end, it wasn't such a bad idea. I assumed from the poor reviews the film received that there would be nothing to this, I was wrong. It's actually quite rare that actors are given the opportunity to work in this sort of scenery, so I shouldn't have been so quick to rush to judgment. The movie is interesting, but it's not great. The cast carries this about as far as such a weak script could possibly go, and by cast, I should say a duo rather than a cast. It's really just two people here. When I saw the previews for The Mountain Between Us, I assumed this was going to be quite a bit different. I also thought it would be rated R, so imagine my surprise when at the end of those commercials, that PG-13 rating is blaring in my face. How does one make a survival film with no goddamn gore? This, as well as some other questions I had, were answered as time went on. There also aren't too many romantic dramas that I get around to watching these days, so I think I picked the perfect time to delve into this genre for a night. After all, the Lakers won, didn't they? I was in a good mood. I am surprised at who directed this, considering their past in foreign films, but that isn't a critical statement and merely one of interest. If interested, read on.

Trapped in Idaho at the airport, we have Ben (Idris Elba) and Alex (Kate Winslet). They both need to get to different parts of the East Coast, Alex to New York for her wedding, and Ben to Baltimore so that he can perform surgery on a child. Ben is a neurosurgeon from London working in the States, and Alex is a photographer working for the Guardian. She has had a photoshoot with some skinheads, not the most fulfilling of work to be certain. I do not remember what Ben was doing in Idaho, but I'm sure it was related to his profession. That I can't remember is not the best sign. After trying to get tickets at the airline counter, hoping they can get over to Denver and make their way to the East Coast somehow, it just isn't going to happen. They can't get a rental car as there are none, so it seems inevitable that they'll miss their chance to get home. Eventually, Alex gets the bright idea to head into an airplane hangar and hire a private pilot. Walter (Beau Bridges) is quite an old guy, and speaking honestly, I immediately knew where this was going. They get in his plane to head to Denver, along with Walter's dog, and it looks quite stormy ahead.

After a conversation in which we learn all that information I just told you guys, we encounter said stormy weather. Walter makes an attempt to divert the flight to Salt Lake City, but it's too late. Reason being? Surprisingly, the weather does not bring our flight down, it's Walter's health instead. He has a stroke and the plane begins to go down, clipping a mountaintop, which leads to the tail being removed from the rest of the fuselage. Of course, the plane is actually going to go down, and crashes very hard into some winter snow. Ben wakes up first, a bit shocked by the events but undaunted. He sees that the dog is alive, and that Walter is not. Alex is also badly injured, her leg maimed. Ben has some gouges in his side, but nothing too bad, he'll be able to push on. After using his medical skill to take care of Alex's wounds and injuries, and after burying Walter, he hunkers down and takes inventory of their food. Walter didn't bother to file a flight plan, he was weird and just got in his plane like a dumbass to fly these people over some mountains. So, there's very little chance of help coming along, unless the beacon on the tail of the plane is intact. Once Alex wakes up, she realizes what's going on, and can't believe that they'll be rescued. Ben feels otherwise, and the two will forge forward with that information left in your mind.

There are some good twists and turns, much of which are related to things that happen to the shockingly stable Ben. He's stable for a reason, he's a control freak and has his shit together because of that. Of course, no story with anyone stranded will leave people entirely unscathed, and while I knew that, the times at which these things happen are quite surprising. The script being as standard as it is, it's the direction that leads to these events being surprising. Rest assured that the narrative of the story remains the same, and that the ending of The Mountain Between Us is exactly what you would think it is. There are a few reasons I'm going to edge this film to the positive side, though. Despite being PG-13, there's much more nudity than I'd expected. How this got through? I don't know. Maybe someone at the MPAA got bored. If not for Elba, Winslet, and the director, this is certainly the quality of a TV movie in every way imaginable. The budget of this film being $35,000,000 seems to have no impact in my belief that this could have been a film headed straight to HBO. There's just not a lot to this, no hard questions about survival, and cerainly not any grand moral statement. Cannibalism or eating the dog are subjects never broached.

I'm not saying some shit like "I wish they'd talked about eating the dog," but I'm making the point that this film lacks grit. The film does seem to revolve a bit around the idea that Ben should leave Alex and her maimed leg on the mountain, but while Elba's character is certainly undaunted and a very stereotypical headstrong surgeon, this is something that would have been far beyond reasonable for his character. So, it did not happen. Knowing that there's no gore, no grit, or anything like that, this is a limited film that I think one's feelings of are entirely based upon whether or not they care for the two actors. Very rarely have I watched a two hour film with such little depth, but I do care quite a bit for these actors and was rooting for them to succeed. With all that in mind, there are many things I would have liked in this movie that I didn't get, and I'm a bit surprised that these actors would be in a film with such lack of depth. Or, for that matter, that the director who put together Paradise Now would sign up for this.

5.5/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Dunkirk
2.   Get Out
3.   Logan
4.   Wonder Woman
5.   Thor: Ragnarok
6.   Logan Lucky
7.   The Beguiled
8.   The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
9.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
10.   The Lost City of Z
11.   First They Killed My Father
12.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
13.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
14.   Okja
15.   Kong: Skull Island
16.   Split
17.   Personal Shopper
18.   Atomic Blonde
19.   Megan Leavey
20.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
21.   American Made
22.   Imperial Dreams
23.   Free Fire
24.   Win It All
25.   The Wall
26.   Breathe
27.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
28.   Alone in Berlin
29.   Trespass Against Us
30.   The Mountain Between Us
31.   War Machine
32.   Justice League
33.   To the Bone
34.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
35.   Sand Castle
36.   Death Note
37.   The Great Wall
38.   Fist Fight
39.   Sleepless


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline OldSchoolWrestling

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1095 on: January 18, 2019, 08:52:18 AM »
Good review. I am also a fan of both actors but really disliked the characters they played. I understand they were in a highly stressful situation, but they both came across as unlikeable. Kate would have been better suited playing it more like Titanic, instead she made me wish bad things on her in the movie. Idris was also kind of annoying in blaming her for talking him into taking the flight. I rooted only for the dog to survive by eating them.

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1096 on: January 21, 2019, 04:54:58 AM »
Spoilers.



The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), directed by the Coen brothers

I do not believe I've watched or reviewed an anthology film like this before. As a result, this feels quite foreign to me and I don't really know how to address the events of the film. I'm always interested in seeing what the Coens do, without exception. I need to go back through their catalogue and watch everything, which I suppose will happen over time, but it seems like a necessity. I'm actually very interested to see what the Coens do after making something like this. It's different, so much so that I don't know what to make of some of these stories. The film is really uneven as a result of this, with some stories needing more time and some less, so I think I'll score every story one by one. I did watch this last night, I didn't think it was possible to finish the review until today, so keep that in mind if I'm forgetting things. I thought this was a neat look into the West, both satirical and morbid from story to story, certainly inspired and not lacking fresh ideas. I thought one of the stories was absolute garbage, but I can't deny that it's different. It's also nice to see a film set in an older time period that isn't filmed as if it belongs in an older time period. This is shot like a modern film and that's something impossible to ignore throughout the events. Overall, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs brings a hell of a lot to the table. Is it great though?

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is an anthology, as I already said, with six distinct stories.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs centers around Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson). Buster is a singing outlaw, so his foes don't think he's an outlaw at all. I genuinely hated this story and don't really want to talk about it that much. The positives here are few and far between, and this is basically a musical. Take that for what it's worth.

The movie picks up during Near Algodones, the story of a young cowboy (James Franco). The cowboy intends to rob a bank, but the teller (Stephen Root) doesn't know that. The teller tells a story about when he was robbed, and inevitably Franco's character gets down to business. This story was extremely short and the result of it is pictured above, which isn't too surprising. Business picked up here.

Meal Ticket is a story about an older man (Liam Neeson) who has a wagon which he uses to put on shows. His subject is Harrison (Harry Melling), a man who has no limbs. They travel from town to town and Harrison talks about these things, and surprisingly some people pay them. This doesn't last very long, and the older man's money dwindles as they go from one mountain town to the next.

All Gold Canyon is by far my favorite story, nothing else comes close. A prospector (Tom Waits) arrives in a valley and decides to dig for gold. In these scenes, there is a lot of talking to himself. It's fantastic.

The Gal Who Got Rattled is about Alice Longabaugh (Zoe Kazan), a woman who is on her way to Oregon with a wagon train. Her brother claims that Alice will be able to marry someone in Oregon, the problem is, he dies of cholera not long after they set off. If you know anything about the West, you know the dangers of the wagon train. Another very good story.

Our last story is The Mortal Remains, which focuses on five people riding a stagecoach. We have a trapper (Chelcie Ross), a Frenchman named Rene (Saul Rubinek), an older wife (Tyne Daly), and two strange fucks opposite them (Brendan Gleeson and Jonjo O'Neill). Where are they going? Who knows.

This format of stories in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is something that should have been a TV series, with all episodes registering in at around 30-45 minutes. Instead that wasn't the case. I think I appreciate the Coens ability to present six stories, all of them feeling unique, but I couldn't stand the first one and it left me thrown off-guard for too much of the rest of the film. I did also think it was incredible how easily the Coens were able to create sympathetic characters. Through the wonder of casting they were able to do so practically instantly. The Coens have made better films, there's no question about that, but this is just as unique as the rest. I did find it strange that despite the numerous appearances of Native Americans throughout the film, they did not have their own story in the movie. However, despite that, this is a very violent film with no character remaining free from such issues.

I thought that despite how bad I thought The Ballad of Buster Scruggs story was, I was able to find solace in the performances across the rest of the film. There are no shortage of great ones, but the real standout is Tom Waits as a worn out prospector. I thought his was one of the best performances of the year in one of the most difficult roles to pull off. A lot of people, for what it's worth, seemed to not care for All Gold Canyon at all. I think they're wrong but I wanted to point that out, it's possible people here felt that way and in that case you're wrong too. There are some little touches I didn't care for though. The storybook thing is far too twee for my tastes, and some of the meaning of the stories, like with The Mortal Remains, just aren't strong enough for me to actually pay attention to them. I also was annoyed by one of the background shots in the first story, where it looked like Buster was riding his horse through a landscape with a poorly made representation of the sky crafted as a backdrop. I think people who've seen this may know what I mean.

I think the Coens wanted to make this project because of the short stories allowed them to do whatever they wanted with their film without having to worry about maintaining a plot for two hours, but I would have appreciated The Ballad of Buster Scruggs much more if some of these stories were longer. As things stand, I would call this a very good film, especially considering that the part I hated was only ten minutes long. It may have been even less. Ultimately, a lot of credit needs to be given to the cinematographer, Bruno Delbonnel. The way everything was framed, the choice in lens, and the decision to shoot this digitally, well, all of these things made the film look quite nice. I do believe some of these stories were based on other works, but I think the public at large doesn't really know any of those stories. Because of that, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is something that feels fresh, even though it's possible you may not have liked this at all.

8/10

2018 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Roma
2.   A Star Is Born
3.   First Reformed
4.   The Favourite
5.   Widows
6.   First Man
7.   BlacKkKlansman
8.   Blindspotting
9.   If Beale Street Could Talk
10.   The Sisters Brothers
11.   A Private War
12.   Green Book
13.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
14.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
15.   The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
16.   On My Skin
17.   Private Life
18.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
19.   Mid90s
20.   Eighth Grade
21.   Sorry to Bother You
22.   Vice
23.   The Old Man & the Gun
24.   Suspiria
25.   Vox Lux
26.   Boy Erased
27.   Bad Times at the El Royale
28.   The Other Side of the Wind
29.   Searching
30.   A Simple Favor
31.   The Hate U Give
32.   Bumblebee
33.   Mary Poppins Returns
34.   Creed II
35.   Hold the Dark
36.   The Land of Steady Habits
37.   Halloween
38.   Mary Queen of Scots
39.   Aquaman
40.   Outlaw King
41.   Overlord
42.   Ben Is Back
43.   Monsters and Men
44.   The Mule
45.   On the Basis of Sex
46.   Bohemian Rhapsody
47.   White Boy Rick 
48.   Papillon
49.   Game Night
50.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
51.   Instant Family
52.   Alpha
53.   The Front Runner
54.   The Predator
55.   Apostle
56.   The Angel
57.   The Commuter
58.   Beautiful Boy
59.   The Nun
60.   Operation Finale
61.   The Equalizer 2
62.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
63.   Bird Box
64.   12 Strong
65.   Venom
66.   Skyscraper
67.   The Meg
68.   Assassination Nation
69.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
70.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
71.   22 July
72.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
73.   The Little Stranger
74.   Tomb Raider
75.   Night School
76.   The 15:17 To Paris
77.   Peppermint
78.   Mile 22
79.   The First Purge
80.   Hunter Killer
81.   Kin
82.   Hell Fest
83.   Proud Mary
84.   Robin Hood
85.   The Happytime Murders
86.   Slender Man


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1097 on: January 21, 2019, 04:55:26 AM »
Good review. I am also a fan of both actors but really disliked the characters they played. I understand they were in a highly stressful situation, but they both came across as unlikeable. Kate would have been better suited playing it more like Titanic, instead she made me wish bad things on her in the movie. Idris was also kind of annoying in blaming her for talking him into taking the flight. I rooted only for the dog to survive by eating them.

That's what I hoped for until Winslet showed the titties. Then I hoped for more titties.


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1098 on: January 21, 2019, 06:32:47 PM »


Happy Death Day (2017), directed by Christopher Landon

With Happy Death Day 2U coming out next month, I thought that I better get around to watching this as soon as possible. I didn't know what to expect in part because I've completely forgotten the trailer for the sequel. You know how sorry a trailer has to be for me to forget it like that? I've seen it tons of times by now. With that in mind, that should let everyone know, there's a very strong chance that I wouldn't care about this film whatsoever. That was, at least, until I bothered to turn this on. I have different feelings now than I did beforehand. While I don't think Happy Death Day was a great or even good film, it did bring something to the table. I thought that the concept was clever enough, but the ideas here also have some deep flaws. Fortunately, this isn't a movie that takes itself very seriously, and all one should expect from material like this are some good laughs. The problem is, at the same time, while one's expectations shouldn't be high, it goes without saying that I wanted something more. A film like this really needs to be rated R, needs some gore to make the killings matter, but that isn't here at all. This was a bit disappointing, but the question I wanted to have answered was whether or not this merited a sequel.

Our story begins with on a fictional college campus, the sort reminding me of films from a time long gone by. Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) has gotten drunk the night before, and she wakes up in the dorm room of a classmate, Carter (Israel Broussard). She ignores a phone call, treats Carter like shit, and makes her way out of the room. She gets to her sorority house and throws a birthday cupcake from Lori (Ruby Modine) into the trash, then she goes about her usual day on campus. Apparently she has an affair going with her married professor, Gregory (Charles Aitken). Gregory's wife walks in, so nothing happens, and Tree goes to a party later that night. On her way there, she winds up in a tunnel, and gets murdered by a figure wearing a baby mask, which is apparently the campus mascot. The Bayfield Babies? What kind of stupid shit is that? I guess it's supposed to be a satire.

Of course, this has to have some kind of twist, and it is...Tree wakes up in Carter's bed once again. She relives the day, but this time she decides not to go down the tunnel on the way to her party. Everything before that played out the same, including an encounter with another sorority member, Danielle (Rachel Matthews). Anyway, back to not going down the tunnel, it appears that everything is fine. She goes to her surprise party, encounters some guy, winds up in his room. The problem is, the masked killer has followed her. Down she goes again. This time when she wakes up, she stays in her own room. Doesn't matter, the killer hides there, and she's dead again. So, what's up with all this? I think it's obvious. Tree has to get rid of her killer to break this time loop, and once she does, she'll live on to another day.

Obviously, Happy Death Day is a weird film, but it's very similar to other teen horror movies from the 1990s. I'm not going to say that we need a return of that era, but it's so different that I couldn't help but have positive feelings of the movie for a large portion of it. Unfortunately, the positivity does wear off due to the nature of the repetitive plot. There's no way for a film like this one to not be repetitive, it's the nature of it. I also thought that the film was entirely carried by Jessica Rothe's performance. Nobody else does anything memorable at all, even though quite a few of these people are on screen for a decent amount of time. I didn't know that there was a younger actress out there who could play Kaitlin Olsen's roles. This is quite a good attribute, of course. Movies like these have to be carried by someone, or they're just terrible. This is an average film, but that's okay.

None of the deaths are too inventive as a result of the PG-13 rating, which prevents gore and other things that...would be interesting. Taking this film for what it was, I was glad with what I saw. I was having some major issues with video quality as this was continuing, to the point where I was considering shutting the film off after about ten minutes. I'm glad I didn't do that, but this wasn't as good as I thought it would be. I am interested to know how Tree wound up in the time loop in the first place, and hopefully it's something answered in the second film. However, I can almost guarantee that when it is answered in the second film, a lot of people will complain about it. Perhaps I'll be one of them! I think this was a film for younger viewers, and most of them probably haven't seen Groundhog Day, so in the end this was definitely a good concept for a different generation. What, you think young people are going to watch something as "old" as Groundhog Day? I doubt that shit. Does it offend you if they don't? Admittedly, that does bother me, but this film really needed a bit more character depth with the other roles for me to say it was a good show. In some ways this also feels like a missed opportunity.

5.5/10

2017 Films Ranked


Spoiler: show

1.   Dunkirk
2.   Get Out
3.   Logan
4.   Wonder Woman
5.   Thor: Ragnarok
6.   Logan Lucky
7.   The Beguiled
8.   The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
9.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
10.   The Lost City of Z
11.   First They Killed My Father
12.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
13.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
14.   Okja
15.   Kong: Skull Island
16.   Split
17.   Personal Shopper
18.   Atomic Blonde
19.   Megan Leavey
20.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
21.   American Made
22.   Imperial Dreams
23.   Free Fire
24.   Win It All
25.   The Wall
26.   Breathe
27.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
28.   Alone in Berlin
29.   Trespass Against Us
30.   The Mountain Between Us
31.   War Machine
32.   Happy Death Day
33.   Justice League
34.   To the Bone
35.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
36.   Sand Castle
37.   Death Note
38.   The Great Wall
39.   Fist Fight
40.   Sleepless


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest

Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1099 on: January 22, 2019, 06:25:36 PM »


Ben-Hur (2016), directed by Timur Bekmambetov

Hollywood's obsession with remakes is well known by now, but perhaps there is no more egregious example than the 2016 remake of Ben-Hur. I almost never say this, but did anyone really ask for this shit? The first sign this would be a bad idea should have been went Paramount went into casting for the film. When they couldn't attract any star leading man, they should have known it was a mistake to try to make this film. My understanding is that nobody else really wanted to do the film, and it appears to have taken ages to cast this thing. Bekmambetov was first tabbed to direct Ben-Hur back in 2013, it took until late 2014 to get casting going, andthey began filming Ben-Hur sometime in 2015. As I said, casting the film was difficult, they should have done that first and clearly they didn't. You shouldn't make a film like this without a leading man signed on before development. Unfortunately, Paramount and MGM don't care about those things, and they decided to make a remake that simply could never measure up to the original in the first place. What's more is that there were creative decisions made that effectively take focus away from the title character, pretty much the dumbest thing that anyone could do. Perhaps the worst part, is that in casting their lead hero, the producers cast someone who is best known in this country for a show where they had a mask covering one side of their face. Yikes.

Our film begins with Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) and his adopted Roman brother Messala (Toby Kebbell) racing horses in a field. Judah cracks his head and Messala carries him back to their home, a scene that shows how strong the bond is between the two. Their paths, of course, must diverge. Messala has interest in Judah's sister Tirzah (Sofia Black-D'Elia), but this isn't going to amount to anything. Messala wants to travel the Earth fighting for the Roman Empire, and he's going to do exactly that. Judah is romantically interested in his family's slave Esther (Nazanin Boniadi), and when her father decides to marry her off to a wealthy Roman, Judah decides to state his case and woos her back to marry him. Such is life in Jerusalem under the Roman Empire, I guess. Meanwhile, Jesus (Rodrigo Santoro) makes very random appearances through this film, doing things that you would expect Jesus to do, and at the same time taking up too much focus in a story that isn't about Jesus remotely to that extent.

Some years later, Messala returns as a Roman officer. He's had a tough time of it in places like Persia and Egypt, but he's much acclaimed. While he's returning, the Zealots are taking root in Jerusalem. Historically, the Zealots were people who desired to incite a rebellion in the Roman Empire. You could call these terrorists or freedom fighters. They were violent, and the film does make that quite clear. Of course, they have good reason, Romans don't belong there and were oppressing their people. Judah, however, makes a very big mistake. He decides to help a Zealot, a kid named Dismas (Moises Arias) who has been wounded. This alone isn't the mistake, but it's one due to the things Judah has to deal with at the same time. Messala and Judah have their runion, and during it, Messala asks Judah for information about Zealots, should he have it. Judah refuses to do so, and in response Massala says that a new governor, Pontius Pilate (Pilou Asbaek), is going to be riding into Jerusalem. Massala has a request, but it's more like a demand, for Judah to ensure that Pilate arrives in Jerusalem without any hitch. There are hitches, you can probably figure out that Dismas did something Judah would not have wanted him to do. Massala is put to the test and Judah is blamed for the attack, which leads to Massala...killing Judah's whole family and sending Judah off to row a galley.

I know this sounds similar to the original, but I assure you it's not. The gamut of emotions Jack Huston is able to display in comparison to Charlton Heston, it's actually incredible these two played the same roles. The passion Judah displayed in the 1959 film is not shown here at all, and the relationship between he and Massala is also different in the two films. Someone in charge of this remake just could not bring themselves to treat Massala's character the way it deserved, and whoever did that was more interested in reconciling the brothers than giving the story the depth it deserves. There's only one thing I think is better in this film, it's the way the galley events were treated. Hell, it's the only reason I'm not giving this film a completely brutal rating. There's something wrong with you if you don't see it this way, too. Instead of go the route of the 1959 version, Bekambetov decides that he's going to make Judah Ben-Hur one of those figures that is actually treated like a slave instead of some hokey adoption shit. The boat is full of these sorts of characters, this scene has lots of crazy moments and gruesome deaths (especially for a PG-13 film). There's much value in this, I thought it was an effective presentation.

The effective presentation is limited to this scene, however. The chariot race borders on boring, we've seen things like it in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. So, to be honest, even with the update in special effects, I couldn't care less. The movie also could not be more stupid once the chariot elements are introduced. We have Morgan Freeman as a chariot owner who knows nothing of chariots and horses. He wants to enter the race but seems to have little concept of how a person could even raise a horse to get to that point. The Jesus storyline is also out of place here, considering what the film decided to become about halfway through. I find little value in Jesus having a continued relationship with Judah and Esther, I don't need any of these scenes. Mark Burnett had some influence as a producer on this film, and these scenes almost assuredly were there because of him. It's not Jesus being in the film I have a problem with, I have a problem with these scenes taking away time for our lead character to develop. This just isn't good, I mean, it's not. Jack Huston has absolutely nothing that Charlton Heston did, the things he says carry no weight, and at times the character feels like a pussy. There's no other way to put it, this casting ruins a film that was going to suck anyway. They picked people who've never won awards in Hollywood to direct a story like Ben-Hur, and they really should have known people would never take to that. The quality and attention to detail is lacking in the extreme here. In one of the first shots of the film I swear I saw modern housing in the background of it. That's all you need to know, isn't it? I will also leave you guys with this bit from Wikipedia.

Quote
Producer Mark Burnett stated that films like Ben-Hur, which are centered on faith and the messages of Jesus Christ, need to feel like epic summer blockbusters in order to attract younger and secular audiences.

Isn't this a film about fucking Ben-Hur? If you want to make a good Jesus movie, go do that, I'll probably watch it. Don't smash two stories together like this.

3.5/10


koab [8:27 PM]
damn i thought you guys were good little cucks who would shit themselfs so a POC could peacefully protest