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Offline Kahran Ramsus

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1100 on: January 23, 2019, 07:36:37 AM »
I'm not sure what is so hokey about the adoption stuff in the original.  Judah saves Arrius' life and Arrius ends up being credited with a great victory and he adopts him out of gratitude.  That's a very Roman thing to do.

I never saw the new version.

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1101 on: January 23, 2019, 06:04:07 PM »


The Light Between Oceans (2016), directed by Derek Cianfrance

After The Place Beyond the Pines, I'm sure a hell of a lot of people were looking forward to Derek Cianfrance's next effort. Did they expect that he would make something like this? The Light Between Oceans is a less ambitious film than his previous work, which isn't too surprising given that The Light Between Oceans is adapted from an Australian novel. I don't want to say I was disappointed because this was a good film, but it wasn't The Place Beyond the Pines. What could be, anyway? I shouldn't have high expectations like that. Those two films certainly have thematic similarities, that much was clear to me. It's nice to see something so different than the films I usually watch, but I was hoping for something with more intensity. While that was lacking from The Light Between Oceans, I thought this was solid melodrama. I also think that perhaps this is material best left in a book. Adapting a book with this many twists and turns has some problems, the largest of which relates to the end of the film. In the end, we are left with an ending I didn't want, one twist too many, something sad and still quite unsatisfying. The film was always going to end in sadness, but I was hoping for something else.

Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) is a man who has been through the grinder during World War I. He is clearly bothered by the things he's seen, unable to express his emotions. What Tom needs is a clean slate, something that will get him away from the world and allow him to tend to himself. The solution is to be hired as a temporary lighthouse keeper at Janus Rock, which is quite far off the coast of Western Australia. The previous keeper had been suffering from mental problems related to his isolation from the world. His wife had died two years before, yet he was seeing her attempt to flag down ships. He was taken away, and Tom takes his position. After some time at the lighthouse, he comes to town for a break and sees Isabel (Alicia Vikander) throwing food to seagulls. It turns out that he's going to dinner at the house of her father, and during dinner he learns about the previous lighthouse keeper's predicament. On another break sometime later, he is told that the permanent keeper decided to kill himself. Tom is subsequently offered a position as the permanent keeper for three years. He enjoys the work, so he accepts.

On his breaks into town over time, he becomes more acquainted with Isabel. She requests to be allowed to join him at Janus Rock, but he tells her that only the lighthouse keeper's wife and family can join him there. They are both desperately alone, Isabel in large part because he brothers died during the war. After the two send letters to each other, they decide to marry. They are very happy with each other and return to Janus Rock, continuing on with their life and having the intention of starting a family. Once Isabel becomes pregnant, they are both overjoyed. It's like a storybook. Unfortunately, things don't stay so nice for very long. Isabel has a miscarriage, they are forced to have a burial on the island. They decide to try once again, the same thing happens. Another marker, another burial. A couple days later, Isabel has clearly cracked and is entirely despondent, there is no escaping this depression. At least, that is, until Tom sees a rowboat in the distance. He shouts for Isabel and they come running to the boat. Inside, there's a dead man and a baby in the boat. I'll cut to the chase. In Tom's position, he is obligated to log the events pertinent to the lighthouse. His wife's miscarriage was not logged as it doesn't belong in the book. This, on the other hand, it has to be. Isabel is overjoyed as it seems her prayers have been answered by this child. What will Tom do though? Can they bear such a secret?

The answer to the last of my questions, at least in the case of Tom, is that he cannot. I was thinking about similar torment on someone's conscience as in The Place Beyond the Pines. I seem to remember Bradley Cooper's character being around when bad shit happens, and he couldn't handle it, but he used the events to get himself ahead. That's a film I think I need to revisit at some point in the next year or two, but that's just one of the similarities I noticed. Another was Cianfrance's willingness to let his stories play out over an unbelievably long period of time. The last coming to mind is his introduction of new characters well into the film, and the important placed upon them is similar to his prior movie. Unfortunately, the story he has to tell is one that works against him come the end. I thought the last few scenes were absolutely ridiculous nonsense, all of which happened far too fast over too long a span of time. We are essentially cheated out of seeing what happened to all of these characters, only seeing two of them. This part sucked.

I did like this movie, and I was wrapped up in the events, but I am very annoyed with how the film concluded. Regardless of that, I thought it was strong work. The story itself is quite tragic, although again, the finale does some work to undo that. The scenes on the island prior to the arrival of the child, when Tom's guilt consumes him, all of these scenes carry emotional weight. The introduction of Rachel Weisz's character into these events does the same thing, it's clear to see this is only going to end in painful fashion. The performances in this film from all three name actors are very strong, everyone's motivations laid out on the table. The ending, however, just absolutely kills me. I can't shake it, and I was going to rate the film higher, but as I'm typing these things out, it bothers me that much. The Light Between Oceans is a good film with a pernicious ending that serves to destroy all of the building blocks Cianfrance has created. This isn't his fault as it's an adaptation, but this alone shows that not all material merits being adapted into something else. If he couldn't do enough to make me forget about the ending, I'm sure that absolutely nobody could. I think Cianfrance is a great filmmaker and would like to see more work from him, and I think he has some projects in the pipeline. I think this would have been complete garbage without him and the performances he was able to draw from his cast.

5.5/10


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1102 on: January 23, 2019, 06:05:03 PM »
I'm not sure what is so hokey about the adoption stuff in the original.  Judah saves Arrius' life and Arrius ends up being credited with a great victory and he adopts him out of gratitude.  That's a very Roman thing to do.

I never saw the new version.

In comparison to the way Judah escapes here, it is hokey. Do not bother to watch the new version though, it's terrible. Pretty bad that was the only thing I could think of to place above its predecessor.


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1103 on: January 25, 2019, 06:19:49 AM »


The Lego Batman Movie (2017), directed by Chris McKay

When I saw that they'd made a Lego Batman film, that was the first time I was interested in an animated movie for a long time. Probably since Toy Story 3, so I'd decided that when this was expiring on HBO, I'd finally get around to watching it. That's the case now, and if you want to see this and haven't, and if you have HBO, you should get around to it. My recommendation for people to get around to it isn't a recommendation of the film itself, but I'm trying to say that there's an easy way to watch this if you can. I didn't know exactly what to expect of this, but I thought that with this being an animated movie and all, it was a certainty that this wouldn't only be about Batman. Obviously, it isn't. I am still surprised that the budget wasn't even larger considering the absolutely massive amount of voice actors in this film. There's an enormous list that I won't be posting. What's really important to the audience I'm writing this review for, is whether or not this is too much of a kid's movie? I don't think it is, but at the same time, some of the choices in voice actors and characters is extremely annoying. That's not too harsh a critique, is it? I do think it was a smart move to take the best character from The Lego Movie and make a movie about them, though.

Of course, after The Lego Movie, it's time to delve into other Lego universes. The first I have even the slightest interest in would be DC's, and as the title tells you, we'll start off with Batman (voiced by Will Arnett). Batman is the same here as he was in the other film, no real difference...at the beginning at least. Batman is on a mission to stop the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) from taking over Gotham City, as is always his remit. He does so, and in the process tells the Joker that he isn't as important to Batman as he seems to think he is. Of course, that means Joker is going to seek revenge in a way Batman has never seen before. The next day, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) is helping Bruce get ready for a gala celebrating the retirement of Commissioner Gordon. Gordon is slated to be replaced by his daughter Barbara (Rosario Dawson), something that I wish would happen in a real movie, but I'm sure it never will. Anyway, she has a plan for Gotham, and it includes getting rid of the need Batman. Such is the way these things go. Bruce, of course, is displeased. This is a cartoon movie, so imagine the kind of displeasure you'd get in that kind of thing.

While Bruce is voicing his displeasure, along comes the Joker, accompanied by every minor villain he could find. His goal? To surrender. Why would he do that, well, it's the Joker. Why else would he do something like that. The Joker drags every other minor or major Batman villain down with him, and they all wind up in Arkham Asylum. Again, this is what you'd expect. With that being the case, Batman doesn't know what to do with himself. While at the gala, Alfred and Bruce seem to have made the assumption that he's adopted a child. This doesn't make any sense at all, but that's how we get Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) into the mix. Dick is eager, wants to know more about Bruce, and Alfred invites him straight into the Batcave. Batman has a plan to actually get rid of the Joker, but the likelihood of completing it is quite slim. His intention? To put Dick in the Robin costume and enter Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Batman wants to send the Joker to the Phantom Zone, where all other villains from this Lego universe appear to have been sent. Who that brings into the movie? I guess you'll have to watch.

The Lego Batman Movie isn't as good as The Lego Movie, because it attempts to accomplish way too much and makes the mistake of throwing too many characters out there with no development other than that of Batman. Is that so bad though? Also take into account that the stupid stuff with Will Ferrell and his kid, or any other human beings for that matter, was completely removed from this story. I also think that the novelty of a movie with Lego characters is kind of destroyed by franchising things out like this, and I'm sure that this won't be the only one. I know they did the same thing with Lego video games too. As I already alluded to, the voice cast is too large, and the amount of characters in the film disallows for character development. Sans Batman, of course. I do think Batman's character development is good, and I also think that Will Arnett does a great job voicing him. It was an inspired decision, and I did laugh a fair bit, but not as much as I thought I would.

I'm actually left with not too many thoughts about this movie, because the animation style is basically the same and all that. There's not much to discuss here. I should point out that I really, really hated Robin here. I'm not a fan in general, but the voice and look of the character really bothered me here. I did, on the other hand, really enjoy the use of numerous other Warner properties in this film. I also thought the movie was geared towards those who already had knowledge of DC properties, yet at the same time, the film is a bit too childish to really cater to those like us. Or is it? I don't really know the answer to that. Lots of comic book fans love watching that cartoon shit. Overall, I think this movie moved at far too quickly a pace, but that's just my feeling, and truthfully it isn't much worse than The Lego Movie. As far as the appearances from other properties go, I probably liked Sauron (Jemaine Clement) the most. That was completely unexpected.

7/10

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.   The Lego Batman Movie
20.   Megan Leavey
21.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
22.   American Made
23.   Imperial Dreams
24.   Free Fire
25.   Win It All
26.   The Wall
27.   Breathe
28.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
29.   Alone in Berlin
30.   Trespass Against Us
31.   The Mountain Between Us
32.   War Machine
33.   Happy Death Day
34.   Justice League
35.   To the Bone
36.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
37.   Sand Castle
38.   Death Note
39.   The Great Wall
40.   Fist Fight
41.   Sleepless


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1104 on: January 25, 2019, 06:21:42 PM »


Florence Foster Jenkins (2016), directed by Stephen Frears

I had some reticence to ever list Florence Foster Jenkins, but I decided to do so because Meryl Streep was nominated for an Oscar and I don't think I can not watch something that was nominated for an Oscar. That, I suppose, is the standard that I've set now. I also said at some point that I needed to go through Meryl Streep's list of films and start doing major damage on them, that not seeing her great performances is quite inexcusable. I do think this was a very strong performance, but probably not for the reasons anyone would expect. I don't think people really actually knew what this film is about. The commercial for Florence Foster Jenkins is actually very confusing and makes someone think this is a film about an eccentric singer. That is not what this is. Instead, Florence Foster Jenkins is a film about the way in which others will save their loved ones from embarrassment in an attempt to indulge their wishes. The commercial does not properly advertise this movie, and you'd really only understand it if you've seen the longer trailer. That strikes me as a major problem and because of that, it's no surprise the film bombed in the United States. On the other hand, shouldn't a studio have expected that? After all, we are talking about a period movie without violence...

Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) was a very rich New York socialite who'd inherited a lot of money from her land-owning family in Pennsylvania. Apparently this gave her the means to do whatever she wanted. As this film tells it, she founded the Verdi Club to celebrate her love of music, and her husband St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) managed her career as best he could. The gimmick of the film is unfortunately revealed far too soon, it's that Florence Foster Jenkins was a horrendous singer. We also learn that she has syphilis, and unbeknownst to her, the apartment she thinks Bayfield lives in alone is also inhabited by his mistress, Kathleen (Rebecca Ferguson). Kathleen is well aware of the situation with Florence and Bayfield, but Florence is not and this could present real problems. However, at the time anyway, it does not. Florence has not passed syphilis on to Bayfield as they have not entirely consummated their relationship, with them both being well aware of this. They love each other though.

Anyway, due to Florence having syphilis, she frequently becomes very fatigued and cannot handle much exertion. She decides that she wants to start singing again, though. Florence hires a talented pianist, Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg), and he's hardly able to tolerate her horrendous singing. He knows that this is a better way to live than working in a bar or restaurant, so he keeps on while stifling his laughter. Carlo Edwards (David Haig) is Florence's singing coach, he seems to have no such problems with laughter. He knows beyond doubt that Florence can't sing, but he's able to keep his composure, he's more professional and he's older. When you get older, you're willing to do pretty much everything for the money you can get. Bayfield arranges a recital and tries to fill it with Florence's friends, assuring that Florence will not receive criticism. The problem is that some others are invited in, McMoon can barely keep his mouth shut, and this seems like a situation that could turn out pretty badly. But, Bayfield seems to know his abilities quite well, and perhaps he's enough of a man to really protect his wife when he knows she needs it.

This isn't a great film, but I was very surprised by Streep's performance in projecting a complete inability to sing. You know how hard it is for someone to sound that bad? That takes some effort on her part, but the movie is just as much about Bayfield as it is her. I think to some extent Bayfield is the lead character here, and to that degree I think Hugh Grant's performance was a major surprise. This was his kind of character, though. He has faded quite a lot over the last few years, so I guess it's fitting that he would return with a big performance in something like this. It's right in his wheelhouse and there are rarely films like this one made these days. I think there are some major issues with the timing of this story, though. People are more likely to be interested when they have base knowledge of the subject, but Florence Foster Jenkins has been gone for an extremely long time. Nobody who went to see this, or almost nobody, could have actually experienced her singing as part of their childhood. That's the mistake in this film, it's something that should have been made many years ago even though it's too niche. I was also amazed at the ability of her husband to keep her shielded from criticism.

I did some reading and found that the performance shown at the end of this film was done when the actual Jenkins was 76 years old, but it makes an odd suggestion that Florence Foster Jenkins died because she saw criticism and couldn't handle it. I don't consider that a flaw of Florence Foster Jenkins, but the film is flawed for different reasons. I addressed one above when talking about how long ago these events were, but I also think that the film is quite thin as a whole and doesn't make the best use of its cast. A few of the roles, such as one played by Nina Arianda, steal the spotlight in the very little time they have. Others simply don't make any impact at all. Ultimately, this is a film that's carried by the performances of two people. I see why Meryl Streep was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Musical or Comedy category, and I thought that she was very funny here. I wasn't exactly expecting that, I thought her nomination was one of those cases where she was thrown into a category at the Globes just because they didn't have room in the Drama category. So, I was wrong. Florence Foster Jenkins does have good laughs, but I think it's too generic and doesn't take risks with the subject matter. It's a milquetoast presentation on someone's life, but if you're cool with that and if you want to laugh at bad singing, perhaps this is for you.

6.5/10


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1105 on: January 26, 2019, 06:42:26 PM »


It (2017), directed by Andy Muschietti

When you read books as a kid, you hope that somehow, someday, you'll be able to see these things as movies. At least that was what I thought when I was a kid. The ABC miniseries did not quite do It justice, so it was time to keep on dreaming. Sometimes, when you actually get what you want, it's even better than you thought it would be. That's where I'm at with It, a story that isn't yet completed, but one that I need to see out. I feel like I'm inherently biased in favor of this story, that I can't look at it objectively, and with that in mind my review should be taken for what it is. I was hoping that the film was able to capture moments from the book, although I didn't quite expect the movie to do much in maintaining its themes. One of the issues with the film is how much we've seen this kind of story done, but the source material is...the original version of the story. One of the best versions of the story. I think I've made clear that I've made up my mind. I do think there's another issue with how many times we see Pennywise, but besides that, this is one of the most faithful Stephen King adaptations that exists. This also feels like a time capsule, like another 80's movie, which there aren't enough of.

Our film begins exactly the way it should, with Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) giving his very young brother Georgie a paper sailboat. These events take place in 1988. Georgie sails the boat down a rainy street, and it goes into the storm drain. Once he goes to get it out, he encounters a timeless villain, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). Pennywise is a clown who inhabits the sewers, he's friendly to kids, or at least you'd think so for a little bit. Once Georgie comes closer to get his sailboat, Pennywise does the kind of thing that it turns out Pennywise does. He bites Georgie's arm off, then when Georgie is crawling away, shows incredible reach in dragging Georgie down into the sewers, killing him. The film continues the following summer, with Georgie long gone. Bill and his friends Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Stan (Wyatt Oleff), and Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) spend their time heavily avoiding bullies which are led by Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton). Henry is absolutely insane and it's clear to see that bad shit's going to happen when he comes around. I should describe the other characters too. Richie talks a lot, Stan is a Jewish kid who doesn't care as much about his religion as his family thinks he should, and Eddie is a hypochondriac who is encouraged by his mother to be this way.

When these four kids run afoul of bullies, it isn't very good. Bill finds out that his brother's body may have washed up in a wasteland called the Barrens, and he wants his friends to investigate. At the same time, a fat kid named Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) discovers that their town in Maine has a history of strange disappearances and mishaps. They occur at a far higher rate there than anywhere else in the country. Ben, of course, is also targeted by bullies. After something that happens in the Barrens, our group nears completion. They encounter Beverly (Sophia Lillis) at a pharmacy, when in need of supplies to stop Ben from bleeding out. She's able to easily distract the perverted pharmacist, she's also been torn apart by awful bullying due to rumors about her sleeping with all her classmates. Lastly, in perhaps that character whose story gets cut the most, we have Mike (Chosen Jacobs). Mike is the lone black kid both in the group and for that matter in the whole movie. Obviously, that puts a large target on him, and it's the 1980s, and the bullies in Derry are demented. Here's how things go from here. They are terrorized and need to find out what Pennywise is, what they can actually do about it, and how to stop Pennywise from killing anymore kids. But the things that happen to them before that are all pretty bad, and in some ways this becomes a movie that sees how long you can last before wanting to shit your pants.

I think on some level, It is supposed to be the kind of horror movie you would want to bring a 10 year old to so that you can scare the shit out of them. Considering that's around the age I read the book, I think I would have let a kid watch this. I don't have any kids so nobody needs to call Child Services on me. Anyway, the film does have a hard break in the middle of it, which is another one of the flaws I mentioned here. The break comes and everything rapidly comes back together, which is a problem I suppose. Another are the scenes with children in their underwear. I don't care for these, I never will, and that's why I said this was a movie I think you were supposed to be able to bring your kids to. The box office reflects the possibility that a lot of people did bring their children to watch something they knew about when they were younger. I think the movie is properly scary to this end, there are numerous good jump scares. The scene where Pennywise pops out of the projector would have made me shart if I was younger. I also thought that the director did a good job of presenting the things that scared each child, this was also a difficult task. These things happen without any scenes in between to break them up, so someone may like this or they may not. I liked the change of pace and how quickly things came about.

Because of my attachment to the story, I can't really give this a fair analysis. I did hate the score as well, but all these things are overriden by the atmosphere of It. There are numerous scenes that are going to stick with me, it's a timeless story. I didn't just read the book once, I read it two or three times. So many of these presentations are very unsettling, particularly the one with Pennywise dancing in his lair. The performances of the kids vary in quality, but Beverly, Eddie, and Henry Bowers seemed to stick the strongest. In the end, it's all about Pennywise. The film nearly entirely rests on someone's ability to portray Pennywise, to carry off the feeling that Pennywise could be many things. We know that the being kills kids, but whether or not it's a pedophile, or how much it toys with the children before finishing them off, that's something we aren't going to find out. When you see that face, you wonder. I also think it takes some balls to actually go through with a film opening where the villain has to kill a child in gruesome fashion. This one did not disappoint in any way. Despite my critiques, most of them are small, but I have a feeling I could feel differently if I gave this a repeat viewing. So, I won't do that for a few years. It is something I'm going to have to keep in mind going forward, there are no real shortage of memorable scenes.

The Lois Lane line, by the way, is properly disgusting. I think one of the goals in the film is to make human villains seem as bad as the supernatural. Mission accomplished with that scene, or with the things Henry was doing. Yikes.

7.5/10

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.   It
12.   First They Killed My Father
13.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
14.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
15.   Okja
16.   Kong: Skull Island
17.   Split
18.   Personal Shopper
19.   Atomic Blonde
20.   The Lego Batman Movie
21.   Megan Leavey
22.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
23.   American Made
24.   Imperial Dreams
25.   Free Fire
26.   Win It All
27.   The Wall
28.   Breathe
29.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
30.   Alone in Berlin
31.   Trespass Against Us
32.   The Mountain Between Us
33.   War Machine
34.   Happy Death Day
35.   Justice League
36.   To the Bone
37.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
38.   Sand Castle
39.   Death Note
40.   The Great Wall
41.   Fist Fight
42.   Sleepless


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

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1106 on: January 27, 2019, 06:03:02 AM »
I'm in the minority with Buster Scruggs, I guess, because I loved all of it. It may actually be among my favorite Coen Brothers works, actually. The titular short was like a gritty mockery of Tex Avery cartoons with some love toward 50s westerns, and anything featuring Tim Blake Nelson deserves love.
Maybe the real deep state was the friends we made along the way.

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1107 on: January 27, 2019, 03:13:15 PM »


Stan & Ollie (2018), directed by Jon S. Baird

Perhaps more than any year in terms of awards recognition, 2018 was one where biography movies reigned supreme. One just needs to look at the lack of award nominations for original acting performances to know I'm telling the truth here. In fact, none of the Best Actor nominees performed in an entirely original film. With that in mind, I am very surprised that Steve Coogan was not nominated for his performance in Stan & Ollie. I think his was a performance much better than some of the other nominees, and he would have been totally deserving of winning an award for it. But, such is life, and that's not my grand takeaway from the film. I should admit that I don't really know anything about Laurel and Hardy, or at least I didn't before I saw the film today. The film is very effective in educating its audience while ensuring that people who already know the story are entertained. Stan & Ollie also walks the line between being too sad or too pleasing in a very effective way, and considering what the story entails, it's certainly difficult to do that. While some of Laurel and Hardy's comedy is massively outdated by modern standards, that seemed to not matter as the film went on, and these characters are about as sympathetic as in any in a film all year.

The beginning of our film takes place in 1937, but we'll revisit this scenario at various points in the film. Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) are the famous comedy duo that everyone at least has name recognition of. In those days, they were some of the most famous people in the country. While making Way Out West, Stan has a blowout argument with studio head Hal Roach (Danny Huston). Stan correctly believes that Roach is not maximizing the global appeal of Laurel and Hardy, not giving them the financial awards they really deserve. Stan and Ollie have separate contracts, though. Ollie is still attached to Roach, while Stan wants to go with Fox and do their own thing. He's quite convinced they can make a lot more money and take care of their respective problems. Ollie is supposed to meet with Fox and sign a contract, but he does not, and this leads to Stan feeling betrayed and bitter. After all, he thought Ollie was going to stay his friend for good, that they'd continue to make movies for years and years. That doesn't happen. Instead, Ollie continues to make movies for Roach and does so with a new comedy partner.

Those scenes happen at various points of the film, but I thought it was essential to lay out the situation prior to the following events. One of the only problems I have with the film is that they didn't do this. Many years later, Stan and Ollie are headed on a trip to revitalize their career, with the intention of gathering funding for a Robin Hood film that Stan is desperate to make for them both. Their trip? They're going to head around Great Britain on a theater tour put together by Bernard Delfont (Rufus Jones), a very shady seeming promoter. I kept waiting for him to screw people over, but that didn't happen. The tour is very grueling, and at the start of it anyway, the audiences aren't so big. Their lodgings are also not the best. Delfont is far more interested in his up and coming British star, he didn't really put much effort into this tour. One example of that is how people in Glasgow thought this was a tour where people were playing Laurel and Hardy, not those two doing so themselves. So, what's the deal and what's the drama with all this? Ida (Nina Arianda) is Stan's wife and Lucille (Shirley Henderson) is Ollie's, they are to join their husbands when the tour gets to London. This creates problem as tensions the two men have with each other comes to the surface, and they still haven't heard back from the producer of their proposed film.

The performances in this film, I think they speak for themselves. They are both very accurate representations of the subjects in terms of their looks, with John C. Reilly wearing a fat suit you have to see to believe. There's a scene where Ollie is in bed with his wife, and he takes up nearly the entire bed. The way this is filmed is fantastic in illustrating this and it's obviously the point. I thought Stan & Ollie was a film that accurately describes the struggle comedians and other entertainers go through when their career is on a downward slide to nothingness. We also are given a presentation of how money is often a deciding factor in these kinds of splits, they just happen due to finances and nothing can be done about it. Both pairings of actors have chemistry here, and if you haven't already figured it out, there are multiple scenes with Ida and Lucille together on their own. This is a strong comedy duo in and of itself. The confrontation between Stan and Ollie is also deeply cutting without being vulgar, an argument befitting of such a good film. The characters are both so good and so interesting.

I said that the scenes of Stan and Ollie in the 1930's are ill-placed, this is not an understatement on my part. I think the underlying tension between the two may have been better if the audience was aware of the entire story before the film got well and truly underway. However, these things are completely overshadowed by the costumes and appearance of John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy. The makeup job, fat suit, all of that stuff looks incredibly realistic. I also thought the ability of the actors to perform Laurel and Hardy's shtick is quite incredible to me, that isn't exactly an easy thing to do. This could easily have looked very bad and awful, it did not. Also, it should be pointed out that there were lots of scenes of this, in fact nearly the whole movie is full of this stuff. Overall, Stan & Ollie is a film that makes me happy, it seemed to make everyone else happy too. It was touching at the conclusion of it, and if you didn't like this, I don't really know what you're thinking. One may vary on whether or not they think this is a good or great film, but I unapologetically loved this. Not much else to be said.

8.5/10

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.   Stan & Ollie
13.   Green Book
14.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
15.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
16.   The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
17.   On My Skin
18.   Private Life
19.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
20.   Mid90s
21.   Eighth Grade
22.   Sorry to Bother You
23.   Vice
24.   The Old Man & the Gun
25.   Suspiria
26.   Vox Lux
27.   Boy Erased
28.   Bad Times at the El Royale
29.   The Other Side of the Wind
30.   Searching
31.   A Simple Favor
32.   The Hate U Give
33.   Bumblebee
34.   Mary Poppins Returns
35.   Creed II
36.   Hold the Dark
37.   The Land of Steady Habits
38.   Halloween
39.   Mary Queen of Scots
40.   Aquaman
41.   Outlaw King
42.   Overlord
43.   Ben Is Back
44.   Monsters and Men
45.   The Mule
46.   On the Basis of Sex
47.   Bohemian Rhapsody
48.   White Boy Rick 
49.   Papillon
50.   Game Night
51.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
52.   Instant Family
53.   Alpha
54.   The Front Runner
55.   The Predator
56.   Apostle
57.   The Angel
58.   The Commuter
59.   Beautiful Boy
60.   The Nun
61.   Operation Finale
62.   The Equalizer 2
63.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
64.   Bird Box
65.   12 Strong
66.   Venom
67.   Skyscraper
68.   The Meg
69.   Assassination Nation
70.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
71.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
72.   22 July
73.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
74.   The Little Stranger
75.   Tomb Raider
76.   Night School
77.   The 15:17 To Paris
78.   Peppermint
79.   Mile 22
80.   The First Purge
81.   Hunter Killer
82.   Kin
83.   Hell Fest
84.   Proud Mary
85.   Robin Hood
86.   The Happytime Murders
87.   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 #1108 on: January 28, 2019, 10:53:29 AM »
I need to see that movie.  I grew up watching old Laurel & Hardy films. 

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1109 on: January 28, 2019, 06:43:33 PM »
I need to see that movie.  I grew up watching old Laurel & Hardy films. 

You'll be stunned by their ability to pull these scenes off then. Doesn't feel inauthentic in the least.


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1110 on: January 28, 2019, 06:43:45 PM »


A United Kingdom (2017), directed by Amma Asante

I'm actually left at a loss for words after watching a A United Kingdom, an overly sentimental look at what became an independent Botswana's first ruling couple. I was hoping for more from this film, but I really should have known better beforehand. I took it upon myself not to look at any reviews, simply went by the expiration date and description, and gave this a shot. This wasn't a bad film, but I'm not sure I should have done this. It feels like I've seen this exact kind of historical film so many times before, and I have more on my list for next month in fact. I may change things up though. It isn't that I can't handle watching these kinds of movies because I could watch them all day. What I need is for a film to bring something extra to the table, and A United Kingdom simply doesn't have that. It's one of those things you know when you're watching something, but the most glaring example of this is that the film has the cinematic sheen of a television show. This is the kind of thing that even when a film is much better than this one, I have a hard time getting over. The other thing that I thought about this story was that it desperately needs the South African boogeyman to present itself in a form of a real character, simply mentioning it or using a British government official didn't effectively pull that off. Want to see how? Read on.

Obviously, A United Kingdom is based on a true story, one regarding the heir to the throne of Bechuanaland (pre-Botswana), Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) and Ruth Williams Khama (Rosamund Pike), the woman who would go on to marry him. Seretse is in London after World War II, where he meets Ruth for the first time. He goes on to marry her, but the beginning of this film is extremely focused on the problems that come with such a marriage. Obviously, Seretse is black and Ruth is white, but there's more than that, the British government is very concerned about how this will impact their relationship with South Africa. Despite what you might believe, apartheid South Africa still had gold reserves, and ultimately that ruled over human rights concerns. Alistair Canning (Jack Davenport) presents this picture throughout the film, he's the British representative in Southern Africa. South Africa itself is terrified about the prospect of a black king marrying a white woman and how this will inspire their system to be overthrown/prevented. Ruth has her own problems though, those with her father George (Nicholas Lyndhurst), who hates blacks. He threatens to disown her after Seretse's proposal, but she goes through with it anyway.

After Seretse and Ruth marry each other, there are other problems brought into the equation. As you may suspect, the King of Bechuanaland would not actually have absolute power in the country, that role was done by white overseers. Seretse's uncle Tshekedi (Vusi Kunene) is the Regent, handling the duties of the thrown until Seretse is prepared. That day had come. Problem is, Tshekedi is demanding that Seretse divorce Ruth and marry a Bamangwato princess. As you might suspect, Seretse rejects this, but this leads to enormous problems as the British use the situation to drive a wedge between the two men. The British subsequently argue that the marriage is causing unrest in Bechuanaland, and make moves against Seretse to heavily restrict his power. When Seretse discovers that the British are looking into mining the country, he wants to ensure that the resources of the country go into the hands of his people, not into those of the British. The situation, of course, must come to a head. Ruth is called to London at a time when she's finally become close to Seretse's sister Naledi (Terry Pheto). The three of them realize that Seretse needs to go instead of Ruth. Problem is, what happens when the British decide to banish a king from his own country?

I've addressed most of the flaws I found in this film, but the one I didn't say anything about was the way in which the story was told. It's told in a way that, well, is highly simplistic and almost entirely through dialogue and not actions. We also see that people have problems with the ruling situation, but their concerns are entirely sanitized. People died in rioting over Seretse's exile, there is no scene of this in the film at all. The opening of the film that relates to Ruth and Seretse's courtship is also quite bland and cliched. I do think that the film is effective in presenting many aspects of the political situation, but it doesn't do as strong a job in pointing out that the marriage wasn't the sole reason the British were against Seretse's return to the country. Bechuanaland was an important location for the British, another bulwark against potential Communist thought on the continent. It was also rich in resources as this film makes one clear of. I believe Botswana now ranks 30th on the democracy index, it is a prosperous economy by most standards, and isn't a corrupt nation at all. The British wanted to keep some kind of hold on these resources and keep the region close to their vest.

I was more interested in the political aspects of the film than anything else, but I think it's really quite a standard film as a whole. I think it's effective in ensuring that people do understand the problems with colonialism, but I think the film could have gone further in doing so. There are some good scenes showcasing how Clement Attlee (Anton Lesser) got in bed with the South Africans over their gold resources, and another that shows Winston Churchill was a piece of shit like the rest, but I would have liked there to be more to this. I think the film lacked the anguish that happens when couples are separated like this, and I also think there was a great story to be told here if it was done properly. However, obviously I don't think this was done properly, and while there are strong contrasts shown between like in Africa and life in Britain, the film needs a little bit more driving force. Some explanation is required to explain why Churchill would campaign on ending Seretse's exile and change his mind after the election. There's none here. I would have liked something a bit more raw than this turned out to be, I thought A United Kingdom was lacking heart and passion. I hate to say that about a romantic film because of how bad it sounds, but it is what it is.

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.   It
12.   First They Killed My Father
13.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
14.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
15.   Okja
16.   Kong: Skull Island
17.   Split
18.   Personal Shopper
19.   Atomic Blonde
20.   The Lego Batman Movie
21.   Megan Leavey
22.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
23.   American Made
24.   Imperial Dreams
25.   Free Fire
26.   Win It All
27.   The Wall
28.   Breathe
29.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
30.   Alone in Berlin
31.   A United Kingdom
32.   Trespass Against Us
33.   The Mountain Between Us
34.   War Machine
35.   Happy Death Day
36.   Justice League
37.   To the Bone
38.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
39.   Sand Castle
40.   Death Note
41.   The Great Wall
42.   Fist Fight
43.   Sleepless


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1111 on: January 31, 2019, 05:23:26 AM »


Wakefield (2017), directed by Robin Swicord

Does a thought provoking film always have to be good? Wakefield is something that really tests whether or not that's the case, it's a movie that I actually have a strong feeling of distaste for. I know that's also the point. I don't think it's necessary to have a likable character as the lead in a film, but in this particular case it's very frustrating the way things turned out. I think at some point, a lot of people have felt like the lead subject in Wakefield. They've wanted to retreat from the world, but actually doing it is unconscionable, something most people do not want to inflict on their loved ones. Others have good reasons for retreating and decide to cut their family out for good, which is totally reasonable. Some kill themselves to get out of a bad situation, but that isn't what the deal is here. What we have here is someone who wants to remain involved at the periphery of the lives of their family members, but doesn't want to have real relationships with them and would rather they not know he even still exists. This character is so odious, so far beyond the pale, that I can't in good conscience say that this is a good film. I almost hate it and may have derived the incorrect emotions from watching this.

Howard Wakefield (Bryan Cranston) is a successful attorney in New York City, married to Diana (Jennifer Garner) and living with her and their twin daughters Giselle (Ellery Sprayberry) and Taylor (Victoria Bruno) out in the suburbs. On his way home from work, there's a power outage, so he returns home very late at night. A raccoon heads into his detached garage and winds up in the attic, but Howard's able to get that thing the hell out of there. He subsequently decides to look through the window and is able to see perfectly inside the house, where his family is eating dinner. For whatever reason, he decides to ignore calls from his wife and starts getting happy about her distress, but Howard really gets mad when she walks outside and throws his dinner plate into the garbage. In order to avoid fighting, he sits down with the intention of going into the house later, but he falls asleep. The next morning, Howard decides to narrate some of the details of his life. Diana and Howard decided to start flirting with other people in order to add spice to their sex life, but Diana hates it and can't stand Howard's persistent jealousy. Who could? After all, that's what he wanted and now he's whining like a fucking bitch.

This, unfortunately, is not the first time Howard whines like a bitch. When he wakes up that next morning, he believes that Diana will accuse him of having an affair, so he decides to wait for her to leave for work before heading into the house. The problem with that is, she's not going to leave for work for quite a while. When she sees that his car is in the garage, she realizes that Howard didn't leave her, and it's time to call the police to report him missing. Howard feels terrible about this and decides to go inside, but Diana's mom Babs (Beverly D'Angelo) shows up at their house. Howard hates Babs with every part of his soul, he will absolutely not go in that house while she's there. Eventually, everyone leaves and he goes inside, but this is when he has a major breakdown. After he goes inside, he realizes that Diana is carrying on with her routine without him, and he just can't have that. He thinks that his disappearance is a blessing in disguise for her, or that she's relieved, because she probably thinks she married the wrong guy. So Howard, in his infinite wisdom and consistently laughing at his wife's difficulties, decides to head back into the attic, with no intention of ever leaving, while spying on Diana the entire time.

The main flaw in this film is something a good director never would have revealed, and it was so easy not to do it. She just couldn't help herself. There is a scene where one can see that it's possible for any of to have seen Howard if they'd looked at the attic window while walking out of the house, and I think that's completely inexcusable. We are talking about Howard being in that attic for around 9 or 10 months without getting busted by any family members, that doesn't hold up under any level of scrutiny. I said something earlier about how I got the incorrect emotions from this film, and what I meant was that I found some glee in seeing Howard push the self-destruct button on his own life and effectively turn himself into a loser bum. There's also some joy in everyone being able to move on the longer that Howard stays gone, but this is something I also think is unrealistic unless it really was the case that Howard was a black cloud on their life as he seems to believe. This could also be considered a portrait of someone having a nervous breakdown, which he clearly was. I just find some deep disconnect with the reality of what would happen and what did happen in this film.

There's certainly some artistic merit to the film, I would never argue otherwise. In fact, it's the only thing keeping me from saying this was outright bad. I did have a ton of interest in seeing a story about someone who withdrew from life to this extent, but I think the story is ultimately too much and that anyone besides Cranston would not have been able to pull off the weight of this role. The problem is that his character is scum to the degree that only murdering or raping characters have been able to feel as low as, I had no sympathy for him at all. The character also has thoughts that are frankly insane, and all of these are narrated to the audience. There's a scene where Jennifer Garner has pretty much no clothes on and all he can manage to do is complain about her outfit. What the fuck? I just can't get behind this kind of character at all, this is super bizarre and I hated this character beyond all rationality. Towards the end of the film, once he decided to snap out of it, I did feel a bit bad for him. Problem is, I remembered that he abandoned his children and had only had thoughts about them a grand total of one time, and he enjoyed seeing them go through pain at the beginning of his disappearance. Fuck this guy.

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.   It
12.   First They Killed My Father
13.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
14.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
15.   Okja
16.   Kong: Skull Island
17.   Split
18.   Personal Shopper
19.   Atomic Blonde
20.   The Lego Batman Movie
21.   Megan Leavey
22.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
23.   American Made
24.   Imperial Dreams
25.   Free Fire
26.   Win It All
27.   The Wall
28.   Breathe
29.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
30.   Alone in Berlin
31.   A United Kingdom
32.   Trespass Against Us
33.   The Mountain Between Us
34.   War Machine
35.   Happy Death Day
36.   Justice League
37.   To the Bone
38.   Wakefield
39.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
40.   Sand Castle
41.   Death Note
42.   The Great Wall
43.   Fist Fight
44.   Sleepless


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1112 on: February 02, 2019, 06:07:55 PM »


CHiPs (2017), directed by Dax Shepard

I think there are two things I should get out of the way as it relates to CHiPs, a reboot movie clearly intending to launch a franchise. The first of those things is a question rather than anything else. Is it terrible to relaunch something that was never that good in the first place? I don't understand the outrage from those who thought this shit on a horrible television series, and that's truly what it was. Maybe it's that this continued the CHiPs tradition when people were hoping for something more? I don't know. One of the reasons I watched CHiPs tonight was because I heard someone the other day say that they ran into Erik Estrada, and that sounded like a good enough reason to me. The other problem with the film is that I can't stand Dax Shepard. This is probably related to the fact that my dad watched Let's Go to Prison no less than ten times and would regularly rewind the movie to go back and laugh at his favorite parts. So, yeah. That's where I'm at here. I also have absolutely no idea how he was able to land a gig directing a studio comedy like this one. I'm not alone in thinking he's done nothing to deserve that, right? It turned out that in the end, Warner Bros. got exactly what they deserved.

Shepard's film has a very different story than what CHiPs was in the first place, which could be part of the problem to begin with. FBI Agent Castillo (Michael Pena) is undercover with a crew of bank robbers as their getaway driver, helping to evade police in Miami. He changes vehicles and torches the car they were in to begin with, then he reveals that he's an undercover agent and helps the FBI arrest these guys. While that's going on, a former X-Games motorcycle guy named Jon Baker (Dax Shepard) has joined the CHP Academy. He really wants to be in our highway patrol because his marriage to Karen (Kristen Bell) has all but dissolved, with his glory days long gone it has been very difficult to keep his wife's interest. Jon fails nearly all the tests, but he can ride a motorcycle better than everyone else, and that leads to him being graduated on probation. He has to be a good officer in order to keep his job, or he's going to get canned. These scenes happen in around the same amount of time that it would have taken anyone to read the first two paragraphs, which sets the tone for a movie that is paced too quickly. I should also mention that Castillo is a sex addict and Baker is a pill popper.

Now, our impetus for the two officers coming together is that there's dirty shit going on in the California Highway Patrol. An armored van has been attacked by motorcycle riders, and their leader goes by the call name of "LT" (Vincent D'Onofrio, and if you can't instantly tell you're an idiot). Anyway, LT accuses the armored guard and a helicopter pilot named TJ of stealing from him, and they're boyfriends. TJ decides that given the choice of LT killing his boyfriend or TJ killing himself, TJ will do the deed. So, TJ jumps from his helicopter to his death. Now, Castillo is informed by his boss Peterson (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) that he's going to go into a new job, working as a CHP officer with a cover name of Francis Llewellyn Poncherello, or as everyone knows that name, Ponch. Ponch is supposed to go in and claim that he was transferred from Redding, and his new partner is going to be the village idiot, you guessed it (if you even care), the new guy Baker. We are subsequently introduced to numerous characters, including officers Lindsey Taylor (Jessica McNamee), Ava Perez (Rosa Salazar), Lt. Raymond Kurtz (Vincent D'Onofrio), the CHP Captain Jane Lindel (Jane Kaczmarek), and Castillo's supervising FBI officer, Clay Allen (Adam Brody). Castillo and Clay have some history, at the beginning of the film Castillo shot Clay on accident.

Movies that rely on gay panic to this extent can very rarely be good, but the moment I knew this wasn't going to be an exception to the rule was when I looked at my notepad and remembered that the scenes that were filmed in "Miami" were really filmed here at the port. I could tell instantly and I don't know why anyone would attempt to pass that off as the bridges are too obviously an LA landmark. More to the point of why this doesn't work, even though I enjoyed how much the film traversed across Los Angeles, very few of the gags in CHiPs land. The ones that do are more of the variety that is hard to even believe those things are being filmed, the bathtub gag being the worst of those. I'll save you guys the details on that one, and if you aren't interested in seeing how bad a movie can really be, you shouldn't watch this. One of the series of jokes that did land was a fight through the house of the widow whose husband killed himself. I was waiting for that to happen because Shepard took the creative decision of ensuring the audience would know that would happen, and even though I hated that part, the fight was very good. There's also a few funny things with Baker being a willfully blind cuck, and I can't help myself when it comes to that stuff. I think it's amusing. The film is also horrendously cast with multiple actresses given roles beneath their talents. One example of this is the way Rosa Salazar moved on to a big tentpole film like Alita: Battle Angel. That one may not be so good either, but surely it's better than this?

Unfortunately, or perhaps rather fortunately as I would rather there not be a series of these movies, this was quite terrible. Terrible enough in fact that there's no way there could ever be a sequel. The changes from the television show are all unanimously not good. I didn't understand why it was decided for Ponch to become an FBI agent, or why he'd tell Baker almost instantly about his real job, but anyway, that doesn't really matter to me. None of this did. I wanted to get this bad movie out of the way because I had a few more this month, but I do think CHiPs achieved its goals. I assume everyone in it got paid somewhat nicely, and this was a motorcycle chase movie. Motorcycle chase movies can really only be so bad, and a lot of these chases were quite good even though the end results of them were completely predictable. This is way too goofy, and I didn't think there would be such prolonged discussion of analingus in this film, but I guess I should have known better. There were many reasons this had bad reviews, but I feel an incessant need to find these things out for myself. I think there's an increasingly smaller market for films like this one, though. Nothing in it is truly unique, and even though I'm always down for motorcycle chases, I don't know what to think of this. It's a movie directed with no flair or anything at all. The comedy genre is basically dead and CHiPs is just another example of that.

If anyone cares about the list placement of this, I'll justify it. Recoiling at bad jokes and laughing a few times is a hell of a lot better than being unable to pay attention due to how boring a film is, or having a lead character who I hated so badly I wanted to see them die for the entirety of the story.

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


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1113 on: February 03, 2019, 06:31:08 PM »


Chuck (2017), directed by Philippe Falardeau

I think almost everyone in this country is at the least somewhat aware of Chuck Wepner, right? Chuck should have done a lot more to capitalize on this, but instead it appears that not very many people were aware of this film at all. You could barely call this film's release in theaters a real release. I didn't even know this existed until a few months ago, even though Chuck boasts some actors and actresses that I really enjoy. That's just a bad promotional strategy. Part of the other problem is that the film is only merely quite good. This is one of my favorite stories, though, and it's one that refuses to sanitize its content for anyone. Chuck Wepner had a hard life, he fucked up, and his local celebrity status did absolutely nothing to help him at all. The cast of Chuck is slightly too large, and there's some inconsistency with the story in terms of how characters fade in and out, but perhaps this is all quite truthful. I am getting a little tired of these kinds of biographies, which is a problem considering how much of the film landscape is littered with them, but I did enjoy this one. Of course, a biography about Chuck Wepner is a hell of a lot different than one of someone whose life we know more about. In the case of Wepner, we only know about 15 rounds against Muhammad Ali, and the rest is somewhat of a secret. At least until now.

Chuck is the story of Chuck Wepner (Liev Schreiber), a boxer best known for fighting Muhammad Ali (Pooch Hall) in Cleveland. Chuck was never a world champion, but he was tough as fuck. You don't get a nickname like the "Bayonne Bleeder" unless you can take some huge punishment and brawl. However, this story is about before and after the fight, with some huge emphasis placed on afterwards. Chuck is married to Phyllis (Elisabeth Moss), and they have a daughter. The problem is that Chuck can't keep it in his pants, and this gets a lot worse the more famous he becomes. Chuck's day job is one as an alcohol salesman, which puts him in contact with some strange people, and he likes to have fun. Unfortunately, one of the times he's having fun, Phyllis sees what's going on and decides to move out of the house with their daughter. Chuck is seemingly undeterred in his hustle, and it turns out that he's top ten in the world after years of club fighting. His manager Al (Ron Perlman) has a proposal from Don King, who wants a racial war kind of fight as Don King always really wanted. After the Rumble in the Jungle, Chuck will get a shot at the winner. Sounds great, right?

Chuck subsequently heads off to a training camp in the Catskills, the first time he's ever done that and the first time he says he's done anything like a real professional. Chuck narrates this film of course, because otherwise a lot of the events in it wouldn't make sense. I was reminded of Liev Schreiber's time on HBO boxing, narrating their 24/7 programs, it's a pleasant memory. Anyway, Chuck and Ali finally have their press conference showdown, this turns into a race thing, and what's done is done. However, the point of this film isn't the Ali fight, it's the downfall that came afterward. Chuck found some real positives in his fight with Ali, even though he came away battered and bruised. He was a real celebrity in New Jersey now. Of course, as you might suspect, overnight celebrities always do bad shit. There's drugs, and oh yeah, there's women too. It turns out that he'd entirely forgotten about his brother Donny (Michael Rapaport) for years, his best friend John (Jim Gaffigan) starts hanging around again too, and that he's interested in a bartender named Linda (Naomi Watts). Marriage will certainly not deter this man in his quest to destroy his life.

This is a slightly unique story in that I didn't find any redemption in the presentation of Wepner's life, and perhaps that's what I appreciated most here. Instead, there's an evaluation of the things that lead someone to ruin themselves after one moment of fame. There's not much to say about someone going on cocaine binges, womanizing, or thinking they're too big to be around other people. All of this applied to Chuck Wepner as the film presents it. I think to this end, Liev Schreiber was great casting. I would also like to see him play Jake Roberts at some point, not that I think that's going to happen, but the likeness when he grows out a handlebar mustache is uncanny. I think Chuck does make some mistakes in covering too long a time span in too short a film, but there are good performances from everyone throughout the film. Elisabeth Moss has one good series of lines when she catches Chuck about to start cheating on her, I thought this was one of the best parts of the film. Another is a scene where Wepner is watching the Academy Awards all by himself in hopes that his story portrayed in Rocky would win, and even though he celebrates he finds out that nobody cared.

There aren't enough stories about what happens to those who are unable to handle even the most minor of fame, and trust me, this certainly was minor fame. Getting destroyed by Ali shouldn't have made anyone super famous, but Chuck seemed to think that it did and that everyone should have cared about him. He was wrong. I think the weaknesses of the film lie in the fact that the plot does meander, if you can even call it a plot. Wepner is also a relatively minor subject, and if you don't care about prizefighting, you may not care whatsoever about this film. Ultimately, this is a film that I would consider to be a good ride at best, possibly boring if you don't care about the subject, but I think everyone can say there are strong performances here. Of course, this is yet another modern boxing film without much boxing in it. That presents some problems as well, I don't really care for that. The point of Chuck was that Chuck had some charisma and he ruined his life. The director does fall a bit in love with his subject, but I thought this film was similar to The Wrestler. When someone's past their prime, thinks they're famous, and there's nobody to go home to, some bad shit is going to happen. There are very few exceptions to this in reality, and I was glad that the film didn't pull any punches. Falardeau was clear to show that Chuck Wepner wound up in prison, many films would not, and I appreciated that.

7/10

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.   It
12.   First They Killed My Father
13.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
14.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
15.   Okja
16.   Kong: Skull Island
17.   Split
18.   Personal Shopper
19.   Chuck
20.   Atomic Blonde
21.   The Lego Batman Movie
22.   Megan Leavey
23.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
24.   American Made
25.   Imperial Dreams
26.   Free Fire
27.   Win It All
28.   The Wall
29.   Breathe
30.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
31.   Alone in Berlin
32.   A United Kingdom
33.   Trespass Against Us
34.   The Mountain Between Us
35.   War Machine
36.   Happy Death Day
37.   Justice League
38.   To the Bone
39.   Wakefield
40.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
41.   Sand Castle
42.   CHiPs
43.   Death Note
44.   The Great Wall
45.   Fist Fight
46.   Sleepless


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1114 on: February 05, 2019, 06:23:19 PM »


Wilson (2017), directed by Craig Johnson

I didn't initially know what to make of Wilson, because when I first ran a search to see if this got positive reviews, there were a fair amount of positive and negative ones. I also looked at the cast, and I saw a fair amount of interesting actors who could make for a good film. I don't want to write a long list or anything like that, but there's quite a few. I did see that Wilson was an adaptation of a graphic novel, one which I actually won't look into to see if it was faithful or not. I don't think it cares. My take on the film is that it whiffs massively, I didn't laugh hard for about 38 minutes. This was a film that I'm surprised was ever made, and even though the roles were perfectly cast, it didn't resonate with me at all. How am I going to fill out a review for a short, not good movie that left me without too many thoughts? I haven't quite figured that out yet. I think Wilson was desperate to play on Woody Harrelson's celebrity and likability to create an asshole character...and it just didn't work at all. There are things about Wilson that I liked, and in some ways this is a good concept, but I didn't like it. It's fair to say Woody Harrelson should not be doing the same kinds of comedy gags that Clint Eastwood does about our culture.

Wilson (Woody Harrelson), as I already alluded to, is a man that seems to think there are lots of things wrong with what the world has become and none of them are his fault. He hates comptuers and all that stuff, like you'd expect from one of those kinds of characters. The anti-millennial shit comments are endless from this man and none of the gags are amusing, so it's fair to say that I never would have had a fondness for this character like I did Clint Eastwood's in The Mule. Wilson is an older white guy who thinks everything's wrong with the country, and that's how we got Trump, so yeah. There's not a hell of a lot I can say about this. We're introduced to him at a point where lots of things are leaving his life, and his friends are moving off to Missouri for whatever reason. He also routinely drops his dog off with a sitter, Shelly (Judy Greer). Surprisingly he doesn't try to hit on her, and instead he shoots his sights far lower. Ugly lady coming out of the pet store? Of course, that's Wilson's kind of thing. His way of getting her phone number is to try to rear end her, so this is the kind of guy that isn't exactly mentally balanced on any wavelength at all.

One day, after immense life failures, Wilson decides that he wants to contact his ex-wife who he hasn't seen in a very long time. Her name is Pippi (Laura Dern), and Wilson thinks all kinds of disgusting bad shit about her. I don't know if it's true and that isn't the point of the film. It turns out that they take a liking to each other again, and Wilson talks about an abortion that Pippi once had. She didn't really have it. Instead, their daughter was put up for adoption and is now 17 years old, she's named Claire (Isabella Amara). I don't see a good way to cut to the chase from here, but I'll do my best. Wilson essentially forces Pippi to go with him to the Mall of America to surprise Claire, and after many conversations, it turns out that Claire is not living her best life. She's bullied constantly, thinks that nobody cares about her, and she doesn't have any friends. Are Wilson and Pippi good enough influences to become her friends? The answer is obvious, of course they aren't.

The humor is hit or miss, but I could see someone really enjoying how dark Woody's material is here. It's the kind of movie that I can't ever recommend, but who knows? The thing is, speaking only for myself, I thought this was terrible and painful. It wasn't only the sketches, but the entire concept of the movie grated on me so badly. I'm usually not hyper critical of comedies, I just want to laugh. I didn't laugh at all though! This is supposed to be an examination of Wilson's life, but there's no explanation of his job situation or how he can afford to do anything at all. Even the scenes with Cheryl Hines and Margo Martindale don't bring anything to the table. This turns into a family comedy at some point, then it's a prison movie, and I just hated this shit, I really did. The prison movie line isn't a joke either, but I don't want to say how that happens. Wilson is a complete mess, I'm considering cutting things short here before typing another paragraph. It is genuinely that bad, but some people loved it. I am quite convinced that nothing could have made me like this, I hated it almost immediately. Wilson is the kind of guy who would walk up to you at a urinal and start talking to you, then the film actually shows him doing that, and I just couldn't handle it at all.

It isn't that Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern give bad performances, the problem is that they are unable to transform the material into something cohesive. The director was also working against them in this way, there's nothing tying most of these scenes together. It's presented like an episode of Always Sunny with none of the same charm? I don't really know how to describe a movie where it seems to me that everything falls apart. I found no value in Wilson's redemption as he was such an enormous piece of trash before that point, and I'm kind of over those redemption stories to begin with. The movie is goofy, but that's really all it is. What it should be is an examination of why people with that kind of attitude fail in life, but we didn't get that. As a whole, I'm giving this one a full burial job, I have never seen anything with a cast I liked so much that I hated as much as this. This is comedy gone bad, the director should be banished too. I didn't like A SINGLE SCENE and hated this more than Fist Fight, that says it all.

3/10

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.   It
12.   First They Killed My Father
13.   Spider-Man: Homecoming
14.   I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
15.   Okja
16.   Kong: Skull Island
17.   Split
18.   Personal Shopper
19.   Chuck
20.   Atomic Blonde
21.   The Lego Batman Movie
22.   Megan Leavey
23.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
24.   American Made
25.   Imperial Dreams
26.   Free Fire
27.   Win It All
28.   The Wall
29.   Breathe
30.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
31.   Alone in Berlin
32.   A United Kingdom
33.   Trespass Against Us
34.   The Mountain Between Us
35.   War Machine
36.   Happy Death Day
37.   Justice League
38.   To the Bone
39.   Wakefield
40.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
41.   Sand Castle
42.   CHiPs
43.   Death Note
44.   The Great Wall
45.   Fist Fight
46.   Wilson
47.   Sleepless



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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1115 on: February 06, 2019, 12:08:50 PM »


Men in Black (1997), directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

I am fully aware that it makes zero sense for me to never have seen Men in Black, and after watching the film I understood this even less. There's no real excuse as this was a movie that was regularly on television in my house for years, but I never bothered to watch it for myself. So, with that in mind, I guess today was the time. I was thinking throughout Men in Black that this was a film made in an era long past, one when Hollywood was still very focused on creating movie stars. Of course, Will Smith was supposed to be that guy for a very long time. I suppose that he was, but those days are now over. There should be an examination into what created the end of the Hollywood movie star system, but I'm not the person to write about that. After all, how could I? Look at the amount of things I haven't seen before. While it's a shame that I've never seen Men in Black prior to today, and I probably would have liked it more when I was a kid, I thought this movie still held up to a greater extent than I'd expected. I also still have two more of these to go. Overall, this was what I hoped it would be, and featured one acting performance that I found quite surprising.

Our film begins with a scene out in the desert, with a man driving immigrants across the border. Of course, he's paid for that, but he has no idea what's coming. He's stopped by Border Patrol, but along come some men in suits. Agents K (Tommy Lee Jones) and D (Richard Hamilton) decide to interfere with the stop and test some of these people being transported, with the intention of learning things about them. They find that one of them doesn't speak Spanish, and doesn't really say anything at all, so they take the man out into the desert. The rest are ordered to get back in the van and continue into the US. Over in the desert, there's a rather amusing problem. The illegal alien is an actual...alien? K and D take care of the problem, but in the process of doing so, D decides that he's too old to keep doing this job. It turns out that K has just the solution for that, he has a metal stick he can take out of his pocket and use to remove someone's memories. It's called a neuralyzer, on it goes, and away goes D's memories. Afterwards, K starts looking for a new partner.

Enter the next sequence, focusing on James Edwards (Will Smith). James is an officer with NYPD who gets in a foot chase with a very athletic suspect, too athletic in fact to be a human. Now that we already know about the alien problem, there's no real suspense with this, but after some cryptic comments, the alien leaps to his death. Afterwards, James is at the station, and all of a sudden in comes Agent K once again, interviewing James this time. After their conversation, and after another funny alien scene, James is neuralyzed and left with a business card that has an address on it. The reason? Agent K wants to find someone to join Men in Black, a secret organization that answers to no part of our government. They protect Earth from alien threats, monitor the existing alien population on Earth, and use those neuralyzers to ensure that alien activity is kept secret. Men in Black was established in 1961 when an alien ship landed in New York City, it was subsequently converted into a World's Fair exhibit, but an organization was needed to handle alien refugees. Enter MiB. The poster straight out gives away that James joins the organization, he is assigned the name of J. Meanwhile, in upstate New York, an alien crashlands on Earth and kills Edgar (Vincent D'Onofrio), a verbally abusive farmer. This alien is a violent one, and covers its body with Edgar's skin. His goal? Watch the movie I guess.

The performance I was referring to when saying someone had a great performance was that of D'Onofrio. I was impressed with the prosthetics, but even more than that, his ability to carry out the role was incredible. I haven't watched an alien related science-fiction movie set on Earth in a hell of a long time, I guess since Venom? I don't think that should even count, but it probably does. I'm naturally forced to compare the two films on some level, but there isn't much of a comparison. This was more of a comedy than anything else, and it was a funny movie overall. I still don't know why I never watched it before, and this is the kind of thing I'm going to keep thinking about for a while. I wouldn't say Men in Black was obviously a film intended to launch a film franchise, but you can tell that this was supposed to be rolled out in a way that would allow Sony to make a pile of money from this. Obviously, that worked out well for them and that's why this is continuing, but the film succeeds because it's a self contained story. Unlike, for example, Venom. See the need for me to draw a comparison?

I think the thing that may not stand up under scrutiny are the CGI special effects, but I thought they weren't anywhere near as bad as I expected. There's some other things related to computer technology, but you know, you should expect that from an older film. By the standards of the time, the effects were great. I don't know how modern audiences would react to them if they were seeing the film for the first time, though. The partnership between Smith and Jones makes this a winner, but I'm not going to be overly effusive in praise. It would be very difficult to mess this up, but I see that the second entry in the series has some bad ratings, so I'll get to see how. Some of the in jokes and references to this kind of science-fiction are lost on me, but this was fun and I laughed a lot. If I do have any complaints, it's that Men in Black is almost completely lacking in character development, I felt like I knew nothing about these two guys after watching them for 90 minutes. That's acceptable I suppose, but I didn't really appreciate it, and the end of the film didn't do too much to redeem that. I'll watch the second movie sometime next month, I'm interested in seeing how badly that went wrong.

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

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1116 on: February 06, 2019, 06:04:40 PM »


Gold (2016), directed by Stephen Gaghan

As I believe I've said before, I don't have too many more of these recent Matthew McConaughey performances left to watch, but it seems like he's going to keep churning them out as often as he can. The one after this is going to be The Beach Bum, which I have no idea what to think of, but the last one I saw was a horrible film in Serenity. As I said when I reviewed it, there are no words. I think McConaughey's ability to pick bad projects is unmatched, every performance he gives is far above the quality of the actual films. I think Gold is perhaps another example of that, which him hitting a few notes here that I don't think I've ever seen him do before. Oddly enough, I actually bought a ticket to see Gold once before and got a refund before showtime. Keep in mind that I didn't go to the theater at that time. The concept was interesting enough to me, and the trailer did a hell of a job getting this over. This looked like yet another adventure movie through the jungle. Of course, it wasn't exactly that, but I think the film may have been about the wrong character. I felt myself far more interested in how these things were pulled off, and how a character was able to pull the wool over the eyes of his partner, but that wasn't examined here at all. That's a mistake and one that ultimately dooms this film.

Gold starts in 1981, with Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) running a prospecting company with his father, who dies on the same day that we meet him. Times were good at Washoe while Kenny's father ran the company, not so much while Kenny was doing it. We fast forward seven years, with his father long gone and with it their nice office building. Kenny is broke, their business is broke, and his employees work out of a bar to keep expenses down and in part because they have no other job to go to. Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) is quite the dutiful girlfriend to someone who doesn't really deserve her, and once Kenny lost his house, he moves in with her. Kenny is a huckster, there's no other way to put it. This is something one can see from a mile away, but he had a dream. In this dream, he was led to Indonesia to meet up with a geologist, Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez). Mike had previously had a copper strike there, so Kenny makes his dream a reality and flies out to Jakarta. Kenny is able to convince Mike to go into business with him, and he's able to raise some of the money he promised to finance their mining operation. About one-third of it or so.

Mike and Kenny are the embodiment of true believers, they're convinced that their mine is going to get them both rich. The film is based on a true story though, of a mining company called Bre-X. Once you know that, some of the intrigue dissipates, and that's why I said the film should have followed a different character. Anyway, the mine is a bust, it doesn't work out at all. The mine fails to show any gold and the workers know this, so they bounce back to their villages in the jungle. Working for free is not in their life plan. Mike, on the other hand, he has a plan to get them back out there. He promises fresh water so that people won't get sick, but Kenny gets a bad case of malaria and goes down for the count. So, while Mike's getting water filters and while Kenny's sick, the workers come back to the mine. Once Kenny finally comes out of it, Mike tells him that they've struck gold and have a real gold mine. The reports are extraordinary, so Kenny opens the office building back up in Reno and they are approached by Wall Street with some plans. Mike comes up with a proposal of his own, to bring some bankers out to Indonesia to show them the mine for themselves. The goal? If the bankers are convinced of the viability of the mine, that it goes hand in hand with the reports they've read, they're willing to fork over millions in investment dollars. Kenny and Mike could be rich.

Of course, this is based on a mining scandal as I've already said, and therefore I would have liked the film to focus on the individual accused of duping investors out of millions of dollars. In this case, that would be Mike. Mike was the man with the plan, he wasn't going to fail at striking gold, he was convinced it was there. Once it wasn't, he would do whatever it takes, they were going to make money off some fucking gold. The film should have been focused on him, and I'm called to think of War Dogs, which had a similar focus and came out the same year. At least in that film, which I thought was a fair bit better, the two characters were on screen together doing bad shit for a hell of a lot of the running time. In this case, the story is focused on Kenny, and even though this was a great performance I think that was a mistake. I also don't care for the twist in these kinds of movies where characters often get out with some amount of the illegal profits, but it's becoming so common that I better just get used to it and score films accordingly rather than whine about it.

I don't understand how someone could make Syriana and follow it up with Gold, because these two films are in such distinct contrast to one another. I think that Bryce Dallas Howard and Edgar Ramirez are extremely underused, and I have left out some details of the story but there are a few surprise appearances I felt the same way about. There are some good cases of storytelling here, particularly when it comes to Kenny being a narrator. McConaughey's transformation and performance are great, but ultimately they don't fit into a film that doesn't deserve them. Any attempt to make a moral turn with a story like this can't have the character walk away with millions of dollars at the end, I know I've already said this but I need to reiterate it. Kenny becoming rich is not a story told with any kind of meaning beyond the superficial, but I thought this is a story that could have gone much further. After all, a ton of the details were changed and that should have given Gaghan the license to do whatever the hell he wanted. Instead, this is another Reagan era tale where people attempt to get rich off the backs of others, this time in a foreign country where they practically use slave labor, but this is a poorly told variation of that story. After all, unlike American Made, nobody's banging it out while flying jet planes.

I should point out that this was merely a slight whiff. I did find the events quite entertaining on their face, but a film like this needs to be taken for what it is even when it looks nice. Let me clarify. Even when it looks nice while featuring one of the ugliest character transformations I've seen in a while. Hopefully I won't ever have to see McConaughey play a fat ass again and have a nude scene. That was brutal, I wasn't expecting that. With a better focus and a different touch, this could have been a hell of a hard hitting film, but instead we didn't get that. Gold just doesn't go far enough.

5.5/10


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1117 on: February 07, 2019, 11:12:02 AM »


They Shall Not Grow Old (2018), directed by Peter Jackson

This was the first time I've ever went to the theater to watch a documentary, and They Shall Not Grow Old seemed like the perfect time to actually go do this. I wasn't sure exactly what the focus of this documentary was, but the trailer looked good! I think most people were in the same boat as the trailer doesn't really elaborate on the focus of the documentary, but I did find the subject matter quite welcome. Comparatively there is a dearth of footage for World War I, a fact Peter Jackson is clear to make people well aware of at the end of the film. Perhaps the best part of this documentary is the half hour Jackson spends after the credits explaining how this project came together. He was sure to point out that he wasn't trying to offend anyone by colorizing the footage, and certainly this isn't a case of a sanitized product. Some of the footage here is very gruesome, this is a raw experience. It's also not quite what I expected, but that's great. Did I want to see something else explaining the origins of World War I? No, I did not. That territory has been covered too many times, so instead Jackson gives us something different.

Peter Jackson's They Shall Not Grow Old focuses on the lives of infantry soldiers during World War I, supplemented with some footage and photographs of their experiences. These pictures are mostly colorized, there was sound added to the film, and some lip readers were used to give re-enacted voices for the soldiers. If you didn't know they used voice actors, you genuinely couldn't tell. The documentary is ridiculously spot-on in this way. As I already stated, some of the footage is super gruesome, and there are numerous pieces of footage taken before entire units would have died. The film is also narrated by soldiers who took part in the war, but I'm not sure if any of the soldiers on camera had also provided audio commentary all those years ago. Jackson got his footage and narration from the Imperial War Museums, there was plenty of it. He said there was 100 hours of video footage and even more audio commentary (600 hours), the latter of which his team had to go through entirely in order to decide what video footage to include.

Choosing what to include had to be an extremely hard task, but Jackson's crew decided to visually restore all the footage they received, so in theory there could be more documentaries like this one. I do not know if they colorized all this footage though. I thought this wasn't the most interesting documentary in the world in part because this is subject matter routinely covered in books, but there are lots of important facts people may not have been aware of. This is, however, one of the most incredible documentaries ever made. World War I isn't something I had any real picture of in my brain other than black and white ones, but these pictures have been completely usurped by the ones in this film. I did also laugh at learning that part of the colorization process required Peter Jackson to reveal that he had a ton of World War I memorabilia. He never answered the question of why he had it, but that was something nice to learn as well.

They Shall Not Grow Old is an amazing technical achievement on every level, enough so that in many ways I'm lacking the words I need to describe it. Jackson wanted this to be an understanding of what it would be like to be a British soldier on the Western Front, and this succeeded in so many ways. There is numerous commentary one would laugh at, some that are absolutely horrifying, and the images on screen fit in both categories as well. There were so many dead bodies and faces of soldiers Jackson said went on to die in the immediate moments afterward that these images are going to be burned into my brain. I was thinking that this felt like a project Peter Jackson really wanted to make, regardless of whether or not there was any money in it for him and it turned out that there wasn't. I also think They Shall Not Grow Old is a film that needs to be viewed, so I decided not to say too much about the details and the order in which they occur. You can probably figure it out for yourself. I decided never to put documentaries in my lists, but if this had been eligible for awards it would have won a lot of them.

9/10


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1118 on: February 08, 2019, 10:59:16 AM »


Black Panther (2018), directed by Ryan Coogler

With my viewing of Black Panther tonight, that concludes my time watching 2018's Best Picture nominations. I do not believe I will go back to revisit these anytime soon, so my opinion on this and those other films shall stand for a long time. I think with that in mind, that in something that is a little surprising to me, I found Black Panther to be a worthy Best Picture nominee. But it's Marvel capeshit? Yeah, it's capeshit of the best kind since Nolan's Batman movies, and the reason why is because Ryan Coogler is a director who knows the appeal of a Marvel film is in how a director can utilize their ensemble cast. Numerous directors have failed to accomplish something like this. This film is bold on so many levels and feels like something unique, something that could launch these films forward. Of course, the latter of those things is because the technology used by the characters in this film will launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe forward in allowing other characters to use those ideas. Whether or not they will is something that remains to be seen, but I think you'd have to be a goof to not have enjoyed this. Black Panther was a success in part because this is a formula we haven't seen before, executed better than almost every other way in which we've seen it.

Our film begins with a short origin story to Wakanda, with an explanation of the scenario that leads to one having Black Panther's superhuman abilities. I won't lean into the details because this is a film that requires far too much explanation for that. The point is, the things that happened when the meteor struck Africa led to tribes uniting to form the nation of Wakanda. Wakanda uses the vibranium from the meteor in order to develop advanced technology and hide themselves from the world. The film outside of this story starts in 1992, with Wakanda's king T'Chaka (John Kani) visiting his brother N'Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) in Oakland. N'Jobu is in Oakland on an operation, but T'Chaka accuses him of assisting arms dealer Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) with stealing vibranium. It turns out this is true, and that N'Jobu has been spied upon. We move forward a little bit to T'Chaka's death, with T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) becoming the King of Wakanda. His first job prior to being crowned is for he and a special forces agent named Okoye (Danai Gurira) to extract his ex Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o for her to join T'Challa's family members at his coronation. Ramonda (Angela Bassett) serves as Wakanda's Queen Mother, and Shuri (Letitia Wright) is T'Challa's sister. Let's continue.

T'Challa is challenged for the throne by M'Baku (Winston Duke), leader of the one tribe that never unified when Wakanda was created. The rules are that one is allowed to do that and the throne is no certainty for anyone. Unsurprisingly, Black Panther wins and we continue on with our story. It turns out that Klaue now has an accomplice, a younger guy named Erik Stevens (Michael B. Jordan). Erik and Klaue had a plan to steal a Wakandan artifact from a museum, and what do you know, they pull it off. Of course, T'Challa finds out about this, and his friend W'Kabi (Daniel Kaaluya) wants him to bring Klaue back alive so they can kill him. Did I mention that W'Kabi and Okoye are lovers? I guess I did now. I should also mention that Zuri (Forest Whitaker) is T'Challa's uncle and had crowned him after the combat challenge, and that Erik...is really named N'Jadaka. He's also N'Jobu's son, and he has plans of his own. This man has been trained to make things happen. In addition, while our favorite Wakandans are off in Korea, there's the introduction of a CIA Agent, Everett Ross (Martin Freeman). Who knows what this guy's really up to, and I was hoping that the Red Hulk would make an appearance, but we aren't ready for that it seems.

I don't want to say a lot of the shit (very truthful shit, I should add) that people have already said about Black Panther, so my focus is going to be on Marvel's inability to create other films like this one. I should also add that this is one of the most reviewed films I've ever seen and so I think I should avoid the beaten path. Everyone knows I agree with the beaten path anyway. I don't understand how with their resources that they weren't able to woo directors like Taika Waititi and Ryan Coogler far sooner, instead using uninspiring Hollywood plug-and-shoot type directors that had no unique outlook on these properties. I think on some levels this policy was an incredible policy and that it shouldn't have taken so long for Marvel to create films on this level. It shouldn't have happened like that. I would also say that this film worked for me because the villain actually got to kill some characters who seemed like they were going to be important. Who would've thought? In addition, the visual effects were spectacular, and using an Asian city for a car chase was an inspired decision. The lighting factored into that decision, of course. The car chase was incredible, and while I'd seen a very short clip of part of it before, I wasn't expecting that.

The ideas used here were spectacular across the board, none moreso than the use of costumes and the atmosphere in Africa to create things like...WAR RHINOS! The goddamn war rhinos would have been my favorite thing in practically every other movie, but not this one. Winston Duke had a great performance as M'Baku, his was another that would have been my favorite part of practically every other movie. Not this one though. Instead, my favorite parts were the complete usage of the ensemble, of the ancestral plane, of Rachel Morrison's cinematography, and Ryan Coogler's vision to compose all of these things together. It's one thing after the next that created a project that went far beyond what anyone's expectations should have been. I am resistant to talking about things other people covered better than myself, but I thought this was a great example of presenting a futuristic city in a way that felt realistic and genuinely plausible. The people in that city kept their humanity, it was just that some of the things in that city changed. This was what I was hoping for.

When wrapping this up, now I should focus on a few of the actors. Obviously Michael B. Jordan has received a lot of credit, but I also think that to some extent his performance is a bit overblown considering what was out there last year. The role was far more crucial than his performance, it was perfectly written and no good actor would have messed it up. I also thought that it was nice to see Andy Serkis get an opportunity to act without having to wear a motion capture suit. His ability with those suits has led to him wearing them for pretty much the entirety of his career, and I don't know if that would suck or not. I think it would. Ultimately, this is a movie that feels fresh even though it really isn't, that introduces so many interesting characters in a ridiculously short period of time, and one that makes quite a few good political statements. That's more than I hoped for and I think this was one of the best films of 2018 in the end. Granted, I'm still not all the way caught up, but this should land in my top 15 no matter what.

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.   Black Panther
10.   If Beale Street Could Talk
11.   The Sisters Brothers
12.   A Private War
13.   Stan & Ollie
14.   Green Book
15.   Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
16.   Mission: Impossible - Fallout
17.   The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
18.   On My Skin
19.   Private Life
20.   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
21.   Mid90s
22.   Eighth Grade
23.   Sorry to Bother You
24.   Vice
25.   The Old Man & the Gun
26.   Suspiria
27.   Vox Lux
28.   Boy Erased
29.   Bad Times at the El Royale
30.   The Other Side of the Wind
31.   Searching
32.   A Simple Favor
33.   The Hate U Give
34.   Bumblebee
35.   Mary Poppins Returns
36.   Creed II
37.   Hold the Dark
38.   The Land of Steady Habits
39.   Halloween
40.   Mary Queen of Scots
41.   Aquaman
42.   Outlaw King
43.   Overlord
44.   Ben Is Back
45.   Monsters and Men
46.   The Mule
47.   On the Basis of Sex
48.   Bohemian Rhapsody
49.   White Boy Rick 
50.   Papillon
51.   Game Night
52.   Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
53.   Instant Family
54.   Alpha
55.   The Front Runner
56.   The Predator
57.   Apostle
58.   The Angel
59.   The Commuter
60.   Beautiful Boy
61.   The Nun
62.   Operation Finale
63.   The Equalizer 2
64.   The Spy Who Dumped Me
65.   Bird Box
66.   12 Strong
67.   Venom
68.   Skyscraper
69.   The Meg
70.   Assassination Nation
71.   The Girl in the Spider's Web
72.   The House with a Clock in Its Walls
73.   22 July
74.   Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
75.   The Little Stranger
76.   Tomb Raider
77.   Night School
78.   The 15:17 To Paris
79.   Peppermint
80.   Mile 22
81.   The First Purge
82.   Hunter Killer
83.   Kin
84.   Hell Fest
85.   Proud Mary
86.   Robin Hood
87.   The Happytime Murders
88.   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 Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1119 on: February 08, 2019, 06:32:33 PM »


I, Daniel Blake (2016), directed by Ken Loach

One night I was looking around on Showtime, and I saw that there was a very highly reviewed movie on with interesting subject matter. Obviously, it was I, Daniel Blake or I wouldn't be writing this at all.  The subject matter is very unabashedly leftist, which is to say that it's the goddamn truth. I, Daniel Blake is also a great story besides that, and I've read that Loach makes a lot of films similar in theme to these. I will have to check out more of them. I think there's definitely a gap in terms of public awareness of material relating to the less fortunate, but that's mostly because people don't want to know about things they believe they cannot do anything to stop. The problem with that is that the public can actually put a stop to these things, they simply have to choose to do it. As a society, we have failed. It's really as simple as that. People like to tell each other platitudes while not doing anything about these problems. I have volunteered at a food bank before, but I don't have the means to donate. It should be the job of government to do that, but...we don't elect governments that would. I'm not sure what's to be done about this when the general public is so eager to place their heads in the sand and pretend that we don't have these sorts of problems.

Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a widower who lives in Newcastle and works in construction, he happens to have a heart attack. His cardiologist has not allowed him to return to work, but the film begins with a work assessment given by a company contracted by the British government. At the work assessment, he's treated like shit by someone who isn't a doctor and has no genuine knowledge of his condition. The government idiot doesn't even bother to contact the doctor, and decides to deem Daniel fit for work. There is no reasonable way in which he could ever really work a full time job again, it's too stressful and it's asking for trouble. The bureaucracy in Daniel's way is absolutely incredible, I don't know how one could bother to cope with this. He needs to apply for an appeal, but that requires him to be called about the decision which he has already received a letter about. To call this absurd is an injustice, that's a word nowhere near strong enough for this situation. Of course, there's also the massive amount of time spent off the phone in order to be told that he needs to be called by someone else.

Eventually Daniel heads back down to the Jobcentre because he's asked to do something he cannot, he has to apply for benefits on a website. Daniel has no knowledge of computers whatsoever, this is something he just can't do. While at the office, there's an issue with someone else, a single mother named Katie (Hayley Squires). Katie arrived late for an appointment because she'd just arrived in Newcastle from London a few weeks previous and had no real idea where she was supposed to be going. Her son Dylan is a bit of a terror, and I just don't see how this situation is fair to anyone. Daniel decides to tear into the employees at that place, because they're doing wrong by their fellow man after all, and they don't seem to have compassion for anyone. Katie and Daniel become friends after this, and we learn that when Katie was in London, she lived in a homeless shelter with her children. The hook for the rest of the film is that Daniel is forced to apply for jobs that he can't take because they'll kill him, and it's clear to see that the welfare state in pretty much every civilized nation is absolute trash.

This is a film that resonates across borders, and I was telling someone the other day that it's hard to present good political material on film or television. This is clearly an exception to that, it's one of the best presentations of poverty there is. I think the film is a little too short as a whole, and I do think the film isn't really groundbreaking in terms of its presentation of poverty, but those are the only flaws I can think of. The performances of our two actors are excellent, they bring real urgency. More than that, it's the presentation of the welfare bureaucracy that really lands. I do now people who have gone through a similar situation and I don't envy them at all, it's simply not right. There were things Daniel did that I thought were great, that I really needed to see for cathartic purposes. Inevitably an old person ashamed to be on the dole has a high chance of lashing out, and I was pleased that this is the way in which he did so. Sometimes I feel like I need films like this one. The realism here is off the charts, there's no cartoon villain at the welfare office, these things are presented with the reality and coldness that such situations really have.

The film feeling so realistic is its real drawing card, but this is also a hard hitting and truthful presentation on society. Perhaps it's one on the future of society as jobs continue to disappear? This is something that everyone really needs to consider. I do think this is a depressing film, but at the same time it's one that brings the hope that other people out there know about these situations and intend to force changes in them. Whether or not they'll be able to do that is something there's no way to know at this point. Some of these scenes really hurt and bring pain, especially when you stop to think that multitudes of people are going through this or worse on a daily basis. I probably will not forget this, and I know that's a horrible platitude, but the film fully leans into the reality of being poor. The horrible shit that happens to someone in that situation never stops, it stacks upon someone until they simply can't breathe or take anymore. The ending of the film encapsulates this feeling completely. Society, unfortunately, is fucked.

8.5/10


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1120 on: February 10, 2019, 06:45:40 PM »


Battle of the Sexes (2017), directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

It appears that tonight was time to watch another film that nearly got me out to the theater in 2017, that one was Battle of the Sexes. Why that? First of all, it's just a damn good story. Secondly, the cast for a film with this budget is quite good, particularly in terms of the film's leads. I wouldn't begrudge anyone for not wanting to see Battle of the Sexes as the story is part of America's sporting lexicon and most people are certainly aware of it. That being said, it's a story that also needs to be told on film. I have heard before that this is a movie that was made with the intention of showing a case of breaking the glass ceiling when dealing with a scumbag, and as that pertains to the 2016 election, I suppose this is a true way of looking at it. I should also point out that I did not consider this at all until I finished the movie and there was a scene where someone was holding a "Billie Jean for President" sign. Of course, if politics are on your mind all the time, you'll think about it a lot more. I do not. So, with that in mind, let's move on from this. This is a story far more about Billie Jean King than Bobby Riggs, and that was a good decision. The less we see about Bobby Riggs, the more interesting the film becomes when he appears, and this makes for a mixture of the two people that leads to a very interesting film.

Everyone at least has superficial knowledge of Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), right? If you don't, pick up a book because this isn't the place for that. Biopics are a touchy subject in this way, but as it comes to Billie Jean King, I didn't know enough that this story would have become rote. Gladys Heldman (Sarah Silverman) was a female tennis promoter, and along with Billie Jean King they both worked to create the Women's Tennis Association, the first women's tour. The movie spins a yarn that Billie had a dispute with Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman), who effectively served as a stand-in for male tennis promoters around the world. The dispute was over pay, and the women threatened to start their own tour, but Kramer didn't listen. So, instead, Billie Jean and eight other women sign up to play on the Virginia Slims Circuit, leading to their banning from tournaments organized by the USTA. None of the other women really feature throughout the film, with the exception of Rosie Casals (Natalie Morales). As the tour picks up, Margaret Court (Jessica McNamee) joins up, and for those who don't know, she was an even more accomplished player than King. Not even close.

Meanwhile, there's Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), a huckster extraordinaire. Riggs was a famous player in his time, but at the point of the events of this film he was in his mid-50's. Bobby was more than famous, he was also accomplished, but these things all happened in the 1940s, around thirty years before the aforementioned Battle of the Sexes. Everyone knows that he played Billie Jean King in the Astrodome, but how did he get there? Bobby is married to Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue), who simply can't tolerate any of his gambling addiction. This addiction will not stand in her house, he gets the boot. After being thrown out, he decides to bring his carnival barker act into play, and challenges whoever the #1 women's tennis player shall be at the end of 1970. He'd already challenged King and had been told no. King is having some issues that the film presents as a postulation that led to the loss of her #1 ranking. She starts an affair with a hairdresser, Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough), and her husband finds out before a match against Margaret. It also turns out that Margaret is a homophobe, something which has been proven to be true in recent years.

There's no real hook here other than to see the events as they played out, with the added joy of Steve Carell once again portraying a more competent version of Michael Scott. He is completely typecast in my mind and nothing he can do will ever change this. That doesn't matter when he's in good material and this is good material. I want to see more of Steve Carell acting goofy, he's done a whole lot already but that's his thing. I also thought there was an interesting portrait of Billie Jean King here. It is very explicitly stated that nobody is able to find out about her sexuality because of the potential ramifications on the women's tour and the sponsorships they would lose. These scenes are played quite well, and this is never expressed as a motivating factor in King's play, but on some level you'd have to expect that it was. A flaw in this storyline is that Larry King (Austin Stowell) is presented as a passive observer of this and does nothing beyond a threat. I should note that this is not THE Larry King. I thought Battle of the Sexes also did a good job ensuring that people took Riggs bluster for what it was, merely bluster and an attempt to sell something. The distinction between that and of the sexism of the male promoter who feels like a true believer was also quite welcome. Movies do not often make such distinction.

It turned out in the end that King and Riggs remained friends for life, because of course they did. Really, they did. It's funny the way those things work out, because in that way it feels like both of them were in on the Riggs act and the whole thing wasn't really about that at all. The film presents the picture that it wasn't, and Billie Jean King is still alive to dispute things if that was the case, and she did not. I thought this was a great portrayal and representation by Emma Stone, and I will be the one to point out that during the real broadcast of this event, all Howard Cosell did was talk about Billie Jean King's looks. Have we come far enough where that doesn't matter in a sporting context? Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg tells me to some extent we have come that far, but I read some odious tweets from mainstream media after the fight that would dispute that notion. I don't know how far we've come when I think about things like this. Pay has certainly come a long way in terms of the differences between what women and men are paid for the same product, with the same attention on each product as is the case with MMA and tennis. It's also very difficult to watch the female athlete being treated like shit in this movie.

I think Billie Jean King said it best when discussing this film, that the film doesn't have to be entirely accurate. I've said that a lot about biographies because it's true, it's about capturing the feeling of the time and the people involved. This does that about as well as a film can possibly do. The promotion of the titular event, of the way they used old footage of athletes thoughts at the time, of the usage of Howard Cosell and his commentary, and of the ludicrous jacket Bobby Riggs wore into the Astrodome that day all made me laugh really hard. It captured the moment brilliantly. My score for the film is going to be almost entirely due to the limitations of the script, and due to this being an event a lot of people knew so much about in the first place. I am also quite partial to sports biographies. The Battle of the Sexes is something that has the issue of being too well known and not of something a lot of people would find so important that they'd have to see a movie about it, and the box office reflects that notion. However, I do think this is the kind of movie that has some rewatch value. Steve Carell and Emma Stone are great here, it's a duo I never knew that I wanted to watch together, but there is a bit of wanting them to be together more than happened in reality.

If anyone cares I did some housekeeping on this list after having time to reflect.

7.5/10

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.   It
15.   Battle of the Sexes
16.   Okja
17.   Kong: Skull Island
18.   Split
19.   Personal Shopper
20.   Chuck
21.   Atomic Blonde
22.   The Lego Batman Movie
23.   Megan Leavey
24.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
25.   American Made
26.   Imperial Dreams
27.   Free Fire
28.   Win It All
29.   The Wall
30.   Breathe
31.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
32.   Alone in Berlin
33.   A United Kingdom
34.   Trespass Against Us
35.   The Mountain Between Us
36.   War Machine
37.   Happy Death Day
38.   Justice League
39.   To the Bone
40.   Wakefield
41.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
42.   Sand Castle
43.   CHiPs
44.   Death Note
45.   The Great Wall
46.   Fist Fight
47.   Wilson
48.   Sleepless


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1121 on: February 11, 2019, 06:22:42 PM »


The Belko Experiment (2017), directed by Greg McLean

I assume that quite a few people were initially interested in The Belko Experiment because of James Gunn's script, but what I've learned over the last little while is that films don't succeed on the merit of the script, but rather the direction. That isn't to say James Gunn's script for this film was any good, because it wasn't. What we have in The Belko Experiment is a film that never could have worked for many different reasons, but the direction of the film took any potential for whimsy out of the equation. As a substitute we received a brutalist version of something that could have at the least been somewhat adequate. There are numerous scenes that feel like they've gone too far in the context of America's mass shooting problem. Maybe that was the point, but I don't really accept that. I have a taste for horror that actually works, this is something I've seen numerous other times. There are ways to do this and there are ways not to do it. One example of the good way is Battle Royale, which I think most have seen by this point. This is one of the bad examples! Sometimes with bad films I'm not able to put into words why I didn't like something, but in the case of The Belko Experiment, I damn well know why I didn't like it. That isn't a good sign for a movie like this one.

Our film has a triple start of sorts, with Mike Milch (John Gallagher Jr.) driving to work at Belko Industries in Bogota. On the way, he buys something from a street vendor. Barry Norris (Tony Goldwyn) is his and everyone else's boss, and he arrives the same day to find that the Colombian workers at the company are being turned away by security guards he doesn't know. Meanwhile, there's a new employee who I swear wasn't named, but her name is Dany (Melonie Diaz) and she arrives around the same time. She is told that tracking devices are implanted in the head of she and her fellow employees to ensure that they aren't kidnapped, which is quite common in Colombia. There are other characters as well, including Leandra (Adria Arjona), Mike's girlfriend; Wendell (John C. McGinley), a creepy fuck who has a crush on Leandra; their boss Terry (Owain Yeoman), a family man not from America like the rest of these people; Bud (Michael Rooker) and Lonny (David Dastmalchian), two maintenance workers; and lastly Evan (James Earl), the building's only security guard. The last of those things is genuinely dumb as fuck for a building with 80 foreign employees in a country with a high crime rate, but anyway, once the 80th employee shows up, there's a big problem.

A voice (Gregg Henry) comes over the intercom, and we see that nobody's in the room with the intercom, so this is not good. The voice instructs the employees to kill two of their co-workers or some bad shit is going to happen. People try to run outside, but this isn't going to work out because steel shutters have sealed off the windows and doors. They are all locked in. Everyone ignores the announcement, thinking that it's a prank, or not finding the courage to go out there and doing this, but this leads to the aforementioned bad consequences. There were people on the roof, the most important of them being Marty Espenscheid (Sean Gunn), an admittedly amusing conspiracy theorist who has a hard time believing any of this shit is happening. This shit is happening. The woman he's standing next to appears to be mowed down by gunfire, and so do a few other people throughout the building, leading to four dead. This shit is getting way more serious though. The film mostly follows Mike, who attempts to remove the tracker from his head once he and everyone else realizes the tracker exploded and killed those four people. Mike is subsequently warned that he will be killed if he continues, so he does not. After that, the group is told that thirty of them must be murdered inside of two hours, and if they aren't, sixty will die. This leads to a faction led by Mike (John Gallagher Jr.), who believes they should sit there and die. The other faction is led by Barry, who is ex-Special Forces and wants to get home to see his kids, regardless of whatever it is he must do.

There are numerous large problems with the film, but I think the worst one is that Mike is one of the most dislikable characters I've ever seen in a movie like this one. The concept is tired and played out as it is, but he's an annoying fuck. I will admit that I was hoping for someone to kill him so that I didn't have to tolerate someone who was acting like this. That's merely one of this film's problems, and I can't say more about Mike without spoiling everything. Another is that the concept is tired as fuck and beyond played out. Does anyone want to continue to watch movies based on the Battle Royale concept? I can think of some ways that I would, like for example if everyone was to die or for there to not be any protagonist at all. I can't believe Mike was the protagonist and I didn't see it that way, but he was! This was terrible. The last thing I feel obligated to complain about beyond how uninventive this is, is the way that the massacre scene played out. I've never said this before as it pertains to any other film, I think this was too far. It felt like a classic case of shock value just for the sake of it, but I didn't think this was acceptable at all. These were just random characters I don't think I'd even seen prior to this point in the film, so the scene holds no weight and is entirely unnecessary.

I know full well how morbid this would be, but one of these films really needs to have the characters follow the instructions to the letter. I'm sure one of them's out there, but hell if I know what it is as I'm not a horror expert. I wanted to see what would happen enxt once they followed instructions, we were robbed of this in a very predictable manner. The characters also bring absolutely nothing to the table on any level at all, there's no background for any of them. At least something like Escape Room that works upon a similar idea of survival (I won't say concept because that's not true) provides some background for its characters. One could lazily argue that there are too many for The Belko Experiment to properly do that, but that's when it's time to pick and choose. If they can bother to focus on some characters, which they did, we need some background. When a film doesn't provide that, why should I care? You have to get to know the characters to care about when they die, this didn't do that, and it's a shitty movie because of that and for countless other reasons. The massacre scene is something I need to have bleached out of my brain, I found absolutely nothing interesting about that scene at all.

I have a long way to go for 2017, I mean a really long way. There will certainly be a lot of bad movies along the way, but I'm not sure how many of them will feel more brazenly ridiculous than this one. I got no enjoyment out of this and I found that the film failed to pose the kinds of questions that a movie like Battle Royale did. It also frankly didn't have any kills anywhere near as interesting as the ones in Battle Royale. While the film would have the same problems, at least I would have been entertained by the ridiculous scenarios in which people's lives came to an end?

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.   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.   It
15.   Battle of the Sexes
16.   Okja
17.   Kong: Skull Island
18.   Split
19.   Personal Shopper
20.   Chuck
21.   Atomic Blonde
22.   The Lego Batman Movie
23.   Megan Leavey
24.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
25.   American Made
26.   Imperial Dreams
27.   Free Fire
28.   Win It All
29.   The Wall
30.   Breathe
31.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
32.   Alone in Berlin
33.   A United Kingdom
34.   Trespass Against Us
35.   The Mountain Between Us
36.   War Machine
37.   Happy Death Day
38.   Justice League
39.   To the Bone
40.   Wakefield
41.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
42.   Sand Castle
43.   CHiPs
44.   Death Note
45.   The Belko Experiment
46.   The Great Wall
47.   Fist Fight
48.   Wilson
49.   Sleepless


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1122 on: February 12, 2019, 06:02:12 PM »


The Girl on the Train (2016), directed by Tate Taylor

My brother told me quite recently to watch The Girl on the Train, and he'd said he read the book and that was good as well. What he did not tell me was that the book and film are supposedly in such large contrast to one another. I didn't bother to find out myself, I don't want to read. I was figuring that the reason my brother recommended this to me was because it was at least somewhat similar to Gone Girl, which I suppose the film was on a superficial level, but I just don't see the similarities at all. It's only similar in the way that both are mysteries, but I don't think every mystery is similar just because someone is searching for something. That just doesn't wash with me. So, with that tangent out of the way, how about the movie? The Girl on the Train is a mystery, and yes, it is a murder mystery, but this is one from an unusual perspective. This is also based on a novel that sold very well, it was set in London and the setting was moved for American audiences. Fortunately there are no bad accents here and it seems to have been decided for a few of the actors to not even try to fake an accent, and while that isn't a priority, it's best to not be distracted during a mystery like this one. The real mystery for me is how the film made so much money. What we have here is a very average movie, with slightly more positives than negatives, but I don't see how this could have been a best-selling novel. Perhaps the changes in the story were too much.

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is an alcoholic, and she's going to tell her life story throughout the film. Or, at least, her recent story. She says that her husband said she had an incredible imagination, and she explains why she rides the train. Her spiel sounds absolutely insane, and it's clear that she has a tenuous grip on reality. She says she always sits in the same seat, has ridden this train for years, and she views a neighborhood every time imagining the lives of people she passes on the train. She also wonders if the people in the neighborhood ever pay attention to said train. Numerous times we see her watching a blonde woman, who we later learn is named Megan (Haley Bennett); along with her husband Scott (Luke Evans). Megan and Scott seem to have a great marriage and Rachel tells us that they have the perfect marriage, one she believes she could have had herself. We also learn that Rachel is a heavy alcoholic and drinks bottles every day, and she's also very fascinated with the blonde woman to the point of sketching her on a pad. How strange. Rachel also says that she used to live a few doors down, which explains her interest in the neighborhood.

Now we should address the blonde woman. We go back six months, with Megan speaking to her therapist, Dr. Abdic (Edgar Ramirez). She tells Dr. Abdic that she has had to become a nanny when she doesn't want to be, and that Scott wants her to become a mother, which she also doesn't want to be. Dr. Abdic asks her if this job helped, but no, it fucking sucked and Megan doesn't want to do it. Subsequently, we are introduced to Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), who is washing her baby Evie while the nanny is there. Guess who the Nanny is? It's Megan. There have been more and more phone calls on the telephone that aren't answered, and they speculate that...Rachel has been calling Anna's house. The reason? Rachel used to be married to Tom (Justin Theroux), who is now Anna's husband. Easy to see how all this comes together, and we are given a flashback to Rachel taking Evie at some point and running outside, Anna getting the baby back unharmed. Rachel's life is such a mess at this point that she lives with her friend Cathy (Laura Prepon), who does somewhat enable her destructive behavior. At least, that is, until one day when Rachel sees Megan and Dr. Abdic sucking face. At least, that is, until the same night when Rachel gets super drunk and decides to tell Scott about this. At least, that is, until Rachel passes out in a tunnel and wakes up with blood all over herself. The next day, it turns out Megan is missing, and she is now being investigated by the police. Detective Riley (Allison Janney) does not believe a single thing she says. What could have happened that night?

The Girl on the Train's story was moved from London to the Hudson Valley, which I suppose was a good decision in order to maintain interest from American audiences. The film made good money, but most of that came from foreign audiences, so I'm not sure it even mattered! A lot of my complaints are related to things I don't really want to spoil, and some of the positives are as well. I have read complaints that this feels like a Lifetime movie, but I would never go that far. Emily Blunt's performance here, particularly in a scene where she's drunk and saying she would attack Anna (yes, I left that out), is quite strong. Stronger than this material deserves I'd argue. I would also say that her performance does enough to keep me hanging on for the duration of the film, even when there are points where I feel like I couldn't give a shit less about any of the other characters. It's not that they're bad characters, but they are distinctly in a supporting role here compared to Blunt's portrayal of Rachel. The film revolves around her almost entirely, with the Megan scenes not really resonating with me until the last one. Oddly enough the last big one is the point at which someone should care about her, but I think that revelation belongs nearer to the beginning of the story.

The film does make mistakes similar to the thing I put down in the last paragraph, where all the pieces come together in a deluge of scenes lacking breathing room whereas the beginning of the film does not have any of this sort of action. The Girl on the Train feels imbalanced because of that. Emily Blunt is able to carry this material, but it's only so far that one can carry it. I don't know if the book was better, don't care either. The Girl on the Train is a film for women in the end, I don't think there's anything wrong with being able to point that out. There's also nothing wrong with that, but the reveal of each lurid detail, and of the numerous red herrings thrown out there, that stuff is like bait for an audience who desperately wants to see stories like this one. That's cool too. I did find all of the characters very dislikable though, and it was only my (and probably many other people's) crush on Emily Blunt that really kept this one going for me. It was interesting to see her play this role, but really, that's just about it. The material is schlock, I thought it was okay due to some performances, take that for what it's worth. I don't want to say anything else because it would spoil the film.

6/10


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1123 on: February 13, 2019, 06:18:35 PM »


The Zookeeper's Wife (2017), directed by Niki Caro

At this point, I feel like some of my 2017 watching is list padding, but I'm not sure that entirely applied to The Zookeeper's Wife. I was interested to say how a Holocaust film could possibly tie into one about the fates of animals, and it turned out that the fate of the animals went by the wayside. I thought that was quite strange, and this wasn't what I'd expected. However, is it bad that this wasn't what I expected? That's something I intend to examine, but I have to address the proverbial elephant in the room (no pun intended). The question is whether or not a Holocaust film has to be great in order to have artistic merits, or if they are all great by default? If one isn't great, is it offensive? I'm not entirely sure how to answer any of the questions I've posed, but I think that a movie about this subject, particularly this one, does have artistic merits without being great. I still believe there are some issues with the film and I will address them all if anyone cares, but I also think that people who find such films offensive may be going a bit overboard. Yes, to some extent this does sanitize the events due to the producers seemingly wanting to get a PG-13 rating. There's a nude scene here where I don't understand how they got said rating, but anyway, I've once heard people complain about weak movies in this subgenre being offensive. I wanted to say I don't think that applies here.

Our film begins prior to the invasion of Warsaw, with Antonina (Jessica Chastain) aiding her husband Jan Zabinski (Johan Heldenbergh) in directing the Warsaw Zoo. This appears to be a very fulfilling job to say the least, and everyone seems to be having quite a good time in their roles at the zoo. Their largest help as a zookeeper appears to be Jerzyk (Michael McElhatton), who is fiercely loyal. One day, they are visited by Dr. Lutz Heck (Daniel Bruhl), the head of the Berlin Zoo, and from that point on you can see what's coming. From the trailer I don't know how you wouldn't anyway. Once the film moves to September 1939, the bombardment of Warsaw begins. Bombs kill many animals, these scenes make for tough viewing. Antonina bunkers down with her son Ryszard, they're able to live, but the zoo is thrashed. The Polish Army arrives and shoots many of these animals because they're running out into the streets, this scene is horrible. If not for the PG-13 rating, if a director had really leaned into this gruesome aspect, I don't know if I could have pushed on through this scene. Once the dust settles and the Nazis arrive, Dr. Lutz arrives to have soldiers shoot the rest of the animals, and they'll take over the zoo to use as an armory.

Jan and Antonina have basically no choice in these matters, they also have friends who have impending problems beyond human comprehension. As happened in Warsaw, Jews were going to be sent to the Ghetto, and two of their friends Magda (Efrat Dor) and Dr. Fraenkel (Iddo Goldberg) are trying to find a place for their friend's insect collection. While there, Antonina makes an offer to shelter Magda in a closet, full well knowing she and Jan may be killed because of this. After this, as you may expect, Jan and Antonina decide to use the zoo to save Jews. In order to really pull that off, they're going to need some help. They decide to speak to Lutz at his headquarters in Warsaw, at which point a trade is made. The Zabinski's want to turn their zoo into a pig farm that will feed the German occupiers, which will allow them to make trips into the Warsaw Ghetto to find garbage to feed the pigs with. At the same time, Lutz has his own wishes. He has a crush on Antonina, but what he wants to do is recreate the Aurochs as a symbol of the Third Reich and their capabilities. Jan really intends to use these trips into the Ghetto to bring Jews out in his feed trucks after pouring the pig feed all over them and concealing their bodies, but Lutz doesn't need to know that. It appears they have a deal, and the movie played out from there.

The reason The Zookeeper's Wife isn't a great film is largely down to the fact that it appears that the main character never had any arc. She was resolute throughout. It's different, but this is a little difficult because the main obstacle in the path of the Zabinski's is initially presented as quite a nice person and a man of science. This facade evaporates quickly, and Jan's character arc happens so fast that it jumps over numerous steps. The animals also disappear from the film as a necessity and are replaced with humans inside of cages that reside in the Zabinski's house, this is quite a reminder of the way in which certain human beings are treated based on small differences with one another. I also thought the film's director made a bad mistake in allowing every actor to present whichever accent they wished to do. I liked Chastain's Polish accent well enough, but this clashes strongly with Bruhl's perfect English as a Nazi occupier. I also believe this is sanitized for children, then you have Jessica Chastain's nipple in here and I don't know what to think at all. That seems to conflict with how American parents treat their children.

While not a great film, I do think this was a good film. Or rather, good enough. The scenes with the animals being bombed are absolutely horrifying, if you don't feel anything when you see that you don't have a heart. There's also the fact that this is told from a female perspective, a rarity in a Holocaust movie, but one I'm sure there will be many more of in the future. I won't say this is the first because it isn't, but these films are simply not told from this perspective. I know this was supposed to be a starring vehicle for our lead actress, but I thought the role of her husband really stood out. Jan's scenes seem to hit the hardest, but they don't hit as hard as they should, and that's the thing I keep circling back around to. The scenes in this film could have been great in the hands of someone else, this could be a great film. It isn't a great film though, and because of that, The Zookeeper's Wife feels like many other movies that we've seen before, which is too bad. One thing I was surprised by was that Daniel Bruhl once again played a Nazi, this being the second time he did so in a film that was released in 2017. I know he also played Baron Zemo, but that character was altered so that he wasn't a Nazi. There are others too. Still though, man. Don't typecast him!

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.   It
15.   Battle of the Sexes
16.   Okja
17.   Kong: Skull Island
18.   Split
19.   Personal Shopper
20.   Chuck
21.   Atomic Blonde
22.   The Lego Batman Movie
23.   Megan Leavey
24.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
25.   American Made
26.   Imperial Dreams
27.   The Zookeeper's Wife
28.   Free Fire
29.   Win It All
30.   The Wall
31.   Breathe
32.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
33.   Alone in Berlin
34.   A United Kingdom
35.   Trespass Against Us
36.   The Mountain Between Us
37.   War Machine
38.   Happy Death Day
39.   Justice League
40.   To the Bone
41.   Wakefield
42.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
43.   Sand Castle
44.   CHiPs
45.   Death Note
46.   The Belko Experiment
47.   The Great Wall
48.   Fist Fight
49.   Wilson
50.   Sleepless


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

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1124 on: February 17, 2019, 06:24:39 PM »


1922 (2017), directed by Zak Hilditch

In 2017, there were a lot of Stephen King adaptations. Some were for the theater, others were streaming, and there were some that were aired on television. I've only reviewed It, but there will be quite a few more coming. I think I have one more this month, but for now, it was time to watch 1922. I was hardly able to concentrate after seeing tonight's Elimination Chamber match, but in the end this film hooked me more quickly than I'd expected. A lot of Stephen King adaptations are very difficult to bring to the screen, but that's because they attempt to cover too much ground when it's difficult to do so. 1922, on the other hand, is a much more simple story. It is filmed in a way where only an idiot would struggle with the concept or with how things work, and if you are that idiot you shouldn't out yourself. I'm not familiar with the source material, so I must admit that I was unnerved when there were all these rats over the place. I wish I'd known! The subject matter, as you might expect, is quite morbid. There are rats that are supposed to make you feel sick. 1922 also features a great performance that makes a slow burner like this one work. It seems as if the source material needed to be padded by such a performance, and that's what we got. Bad shit was going to happen, and it's a lesson about unforeseen consequences.

1922 starts with a flash-forward featuring Wilf (Thomas Jane), a farmer in Nebraska who has went to a hotel to write a confessional letter. What has the man done? We take no time to head back to 1922, where Wilf lives on a farm with his wife Arlette (Molly Parker) and son Henry (Dylan Schmid). Henry is 14 years old and becoming a man, and with life expectancies what they were, Wilf is worried about what his son will inherit in the future. Arlette and Wilf are having some serious marital problems because Arlette did not take to life out on a farm, away from a city and away from all those people. Arlette wants to sell an adjacent 100 acres of land that she inherited from her father, with Wilf owning the other 80 acres and farming them both. Wilf has no interest in this plan whatsoever, the thought of it makes him sick. He hates city life and hates the people there even more, his land is the source of his pride. The problem is that Arlette wants to open a dress shop and will divorce Wilf. She does not care to live at their farm any longer and has been seeking a lawyer to sell the land to a pig farm and slaughterhouse, which would render Wilf's land unable to be farmed as blood would flow down the stream and ruin crops. This cannot happen.

Wilf decides to plot against Arlette, using some of the scummiest things I could imagine, and I'm going to spoil them. Wilf believes that he needs to convince Henry to help him murder Arlette so that he does not lose his land or his son. His plot is quite devious, he knows that Henry has interest in their neighbor's daughter, a girl named Shannon (Kaitlyn Bernard). Arlette wants to take Henry with her to Omaha to open that dress shop, Henry doesn't want to go. Wilf consistently plants thoughts in Henry's head to get him on his side. When Henry isn't paying attention, it's time to fill Arlette's head with thoughts of Wilf actually appeasing her and moving to Omaha with the family. This makes Arlette very happy. Once Henry sees his mom happy, drunk, and talking shit, that's going to be it for him. He can't handle it. Wilf and Henry summarily do the deed, but there are lots of unforeseen consequences. I really mean there are lots. There are also lots of rats, and I also mean there are lots. Wilf and Henry must figure out how to adjust to their new life without Arlette, work the farm, and they also must ensure they are not caught.

Deciding how many details to reveal for a film like 1922 is one of my favorite aspects of these reviews, and I think I cut myself off at the right time. This is one of those films that takes a great approach of building up minor transgressions until something really fucking bad happens, and when it does happen, I found those scenes to be enthralling. Of course, the scope of the film is extremely limited, but the director does a great job of turning Wilf into a complete character. We see and hear all his motivations, his actions, understsand what makes him tick. He has an accent that makes him sound like a complete idiot, but he reads all the time and is a true deceiver. That's his deal. People like this guy always find the faults in others, and they usually use that information to tear someone down and make them into what they want them to be. They also don't always realize the consequences of their actions. Wilf, for example, didn't think that his son would become so rebellious without a motherly influence. He thought wrong. Maybe the things with him would have happened anyway? There's no way to know, but he did something wrong and there was no coming back from it.

The supernatural aspect of a film like 1922 isn't my absolute favorite thing in the world, but I thought there was enough room for interpretation that one could come to a conclusion that Wilf went insane and his insanity kicked into overdrive the longer he lived after killing his wife. That sounds right to me. People are often unable to shake what they've done. I also thought it was interesting how much of the film centered around Wilf being by himself, and I thought Thomas Jane did such a good job with this scenario. It's very difficult to act alone, as many actors have said before, but good actors do it in a way where you can't see their difficulty through the lens. I'm going to watch something a little longer tomorrow as these stories I've been watching lately don't always have a large scope, with a few exceptions. That isn't a negative, but it's a factor that serves to make these reviews a bit shorter. You could tell this was done on a small budget as it seemed the editor decided to use the same piece of music, but I'm not a particularly musical person and I could be way off on this one. In any case it was strange and I thought that was another weakness of the film, but otherwise this was very good. I was trying to explain my rating a little bit here, but make no mistake, this is worth watching.

7/10

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.   It
15.   Battle of the Sexes
16.   Okja
17.   Kong: Skull Island
18.   Split
19.   1922
20.   Personal Shopper
21.   Chuck
22.   Atomic Blonde
23.   The Lego Batman Movie
24.   Megan Leavey
25.   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
26.   American Made
27.   Imperial Dreams
28.   The Zookeeper's Wife
29.   Free Fire
30.   Win It All
31.   The Wall
32.   Breathe
33.   The Man Who Invented Christmas
34.   Alone in Berlin
35.   A United Kingdom
36.   Trespass Against Us
37.   The Mountain Between Us
38.   War Machine
39.   Happy Death Day
40.   Justice League
41.   To the Bone
42.   Wakefield
43.   The Hitman's Bodyguard
44.   Sand Castle
45.   CHiPs
46.   Death Note
47.   The Belko Experiment
48.   The Great Wall
49.   Fist Fight
50.   Wilson
51.   Sleepless


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

Online Firmino of the 909

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1125 on: February 19, 2019, 06:19:29 PM »


Icarus (2017), directed by Bryan Fogel

It often turns out that with good documentaries, the intent is to make a film that winds up entirely different from the finished product. This is the case with Icarus, which I'm certain was not supposed to be a movie about the Russian doping program during the Sochi Olympics. Both subject matters are patently absurd, the documentary is completely ridiculous, and yet it's all true. Could Bryan Fogel ever have imagined his subject would take him to Vladimir Putin. The answer to that question is obvious. There are so many ways to feel about Icarus, but the one that I'm left with is Vladimir Putin's willingness and capability at engaging in numerous international conspiracies. This is a man with a vision so far beyond anything I'd expect from another human being, and the most hilarious thing about these conspiracies is that all of them have been found out. Or have they? There's an endless amount and there's probably even more, but he's not particularly good at managing the after-effects of his machinations. The subject matter is no exception to this. The funniest part about Icarus is that the initial story would have likely never seen the light of day, so this is a case of great fortune. It's also a case of Bryan Fogel doing a great job of piecing together the events and ensuring that they're easy for the viewers to understand.

Bryan Fogel seemed to be fascinated with Lance Armstrong and with amateur cycling, and had the intention of documenting his progress in an amateur cycling competition over in Europe. I'm also fascinated with Armstrong and that's why I've reviewed two films about him, but Fogel was far more obsessed. He did very well in his first time running the Haute Route, which is a very difficult race in the French Alps. Fogel finished 14th out of 440 without using drugs. His goal for the documentary? It's time for him to win the race. If he can cheat and get away with it, anyone could do it and compete. His findings are shockingly not so great. After a very long doping program, one where he wasn't caught, he gets to the race and has a mechanical issue on one of the first stages. Fogel is never able to recover from this, which shows there's also a psychological aspect to winning said races, as well as the possibility other people are cheating too. Plus, the race is pretty damn hard, and even though he'd made huge gains in his capabilities, there's just so much more to competing than that. Or is there? Maybe it's just that the mechanical problem put him too far behind to recover. There's no way to really know.

While preparing for the Haute Route, Fogel is rejected by another doctor who doesn't want to ruin his reputation, even though this is supposed to be a documentary exhibiting how doping controls can be defeated. Instead, Vogel is passed on to Russia, to someone who runs a goddamn anti-doping lab. There's no real way to know this person's motivations in helping Fogel, particularly with what comes after the race, maybe this was his intention the whole time? I genuinely don't know. Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov was the director of Russia's national anti-doping laboratory, but he's telling Fogel exactly how he can beat the system and possibly even win the race. My suspicion is that Rodchenkov did this with the intention of cultivating a relationship with an American who could bring him here, which would allow him to reveal everything he knew and not die in Russia as tends to happen to people who do those things. Eventually, Rodchenkov becomes good friends with Fogel, and he decides to tell Fogel that Russia has a state-sponsored Olympic doping program which he oversees. Most people at least know some of the details of this, but you can't possibly understand how a state-sponsored program could work and be successful without watching this documentary.

It's difficult to understand how this actually works until you realize that WADA has decided to clear Russia in the wake of this. It's a matter both of not wanting to know and not wanting to do anything about a problem once someone knows about. I am left with the idea that the concept of anti-doping in sports is completely bogus and that someone could beat tests if they had a doctor who knew what they were doing. Make absolutely no mistake, these doping conspiracies are not unique to Russia, this is merely one that we know about. There have been more of these kinds of scandals than I can count. The fact is that people don't really want to know. Cycling has been forced into exposing these because the French are infamously anti-corruption, but that is the only sport with fans who really do want to know. It's a fact that we accept these miraculous recoveries from injury, the long careers of certain athletes, and their wonderful athletic abilities simply because we want to believe they are naturally possible when most evidence shows us that it is not. It is conceivable that many athletes could have a doping program if this regular guy could have just a little assistance in pulling it off.

The Olympics were supposed to be pure sport, but the wool has been removed from the eyes there, the lipstick off the pig. The IOC appears to be an incredibly corrupt institution itself, as Icarus shows us. A lot of their executives did not want to believe and in the end they allowed Russian athletes to compete, claiming that politics was getting in the way of sports. This is one of the most brazen and easily disproven lies I've heard. What I liked was the way that this film laid all the cards on the table and was willing to tell the truth about how athletes are a pawn in these political games, which is what international sport really is at times. The Olympics is one of the most political events going and everyone should be able to acknowledge that these days. The lone flaw with the film is that Fogel takes a bit too much of a central role in the documentary when Rodchenkov should have been given the complete focus of the events, but in some respects this is unavoidable. Rodchenkov was left unable to travel and could not participate in all of these meetings, nor did he want his voice on the phone because he was paranoid. The reasons for his paranoia are all laid out here, with the most obvious one being that Rodchenkov's friend who participated in the doping program mysteriously died after Rodchenkov's disappearance.

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 Harley Quinn

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #1126 on: February 19, 2019, 09:54:41 PM »
Been waiting a while for you to tackle Icarus so glad you finally got around to it :)